Biker Lifestyle

Indian Summer Poker Run in North San Diego County

Early fall is prime weather for riding a motorcycle in California, and for riders lucky enough to be in the San Diego area Saturday, September 28, 2013, the Biggs Chapter of the North San Diego County Harley Owners Group is hosting the 4th Annual Indian Summer Poker Run. We’re highlighting the event, which is one of hundreds of poker runs that take place across the U.S. this time of year, because of the beautiful scenery along the ride, the great causes it supports and the focus on motorcycle safety awareness.

Linda Torres, Biggs Chapter member, said they expect 600 to 700 participants this September, and that the event gets larger every year. The ride takes bikers up the North San Diego back roads and features several great views. Another unique part of the event is called the “Roadkill Rodeo”. “We set up a situation with a large RV or semi truck, then we put motorcycles around it and let people get inside the truck or RV to show them that riders can’t be seen on a motorcycle,” Torres shares. “It’s amazing to people when they get up inside our semi that you can’t see a motorcycle that’s directly in front of it.”

The Indian Summer Poker Run also features games such as races and a helmet toss. In classic carnival style winners can receive stuffed animals or raffle tickets. The chapter has collected almost $10,000 in raffle prizes to give out at the event (including a Biker Gift Shop gift certificate, so get excited.)

Money raised from the poker run goes to support several causes throughout the year: Wounded Warriors and Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego being two of the biggest.

Indian Summer Poker Run in North San Diego County

Wooden Motorcycle on a Weekend Trip to Detroit

You probably think your motorcycle was made with attention to detail, but on a recent trip to the DIA in downtown Detroit, my family and I got to enjoy this piece of artwork.

Wooden Motorcycle at DIA by Yoshimura

The life-size motorcycle is carved completely out of wood. The artist was sculptor Fumio Yoshimura who created the work in 1973, and in person it looks like you could hop on, rev it up and drive past the Andy Warhol prints in the next room. Yoshimura became famous for his sculptures of tomato plants, kites, sewing machines and other very exact looking objects, but we all agreed the wooden motorcycle was his best subject, although I read he actually sculpted a full-size hot dog cart during his career!

So even if it won’t run, it sure looks pretty. (You can almost say the same thing about a lot of OCC’s creations, but anyway).

Wooden Motorcycle at DIA by Yoshimura

Biker Social Media Taking Off: Reviews of Top Biker Social Networks

Biker Social Networks

In only the last two years, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts have joined biker social media sites in droves. No longer stuck dealing with the masses on Facebook or Twitter, bikers have their own online community, or rather a whole bunch of online communities to choose from.

There are plenty of reasons this is a good idea. It gets bikers together to share experiences, knowledge and tips, and bonus, there are almost never pictures of people’s cats. What’s not to like? And honestly we can’t always be riding with our biker pals. Sometimes a biker social network is the next best thing.

But why now?

Why are biker social networks suddenly so popular? We see four likely trends converging to create this situation.

1. First, people are buying motorcycles again. The recession is over and people have money not only for bikes but to plan trips, make repairs and more. Even CNN Money agrees:  Hog Wild: Harley-Davidson sales are rolling again.
With more people investing in the lifestyle, there is naturally going to be more interest online. People want answers to questions about what bike to get, how to fix that scratch on the fender, where the best rides in North Carolina are, you name it. And then there is just the desire to talk to others who share their passion.

Can’t Wait for the Spring Riding Season? - Warm Things Up with Heated Motorcycle Gear

It’s cold out, but so what? If there’s no snow or ice on the ground then riding in temperatures in the 40s can be its own kind of thrill. Just be sure you have the right gear for the job. The first step you’ll want to take is making sure your motorcycle is equipped with heated handgrips. When your hands are sticking out in front of you taking the full force of the wind, they will feel like they are experiencing temperatures as much as 20 degrees colder than what it reads on the thermometer. Besides being unpleasant, this can also be dangerous if it causes your hands to lose dexterity and control of the throttle. Heating elements work best when they are built into the grips themselves. Along the same line, heated seats can be a good way to make sliding onto a chilly bike a bit more bearable. Look for seats that are designed for your bike’s make and model for the most comfortable fit.

 

Custom Motorcycles at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show

The Progressive International Motorcycle Show was in the Detroit area last weekend, and the fam and I decided to check it out. Because of the icy roads and falling snow, no one was actually riding their motorcycles to get there. But despite the weather, the place was packed - with people and motorcycles. If you’re in the market for a new bike, I highly recommend the show, which is basically a glorified commercial for all of the brands there. And there are a lot. Harley Davidson, BMW, Honda, Triumph, Indian, Yamaha, Ducati, Victory, Kawasaki, Suzuki; pretty much everyone is there with their latest models.

Like last year, the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show was the highlight of the show for me. Here are a few of my favorites from the contest.

Custom 2003 Harley Davidson FLHTSI

 "Fat Ass Bagger" - a Custom 2003 Harley Davidson FLHTSI

Custom motorcycle at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show

"Bastard Deluxe" - A Custom Motorcycle from the Progressive International Motorcycle Show 

Custom 2011 Harley Davidson FLHX 

"Checkmate" -  A custom 2011 Harley Davidson FLHX

Custom Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing Motorcycle

"El Vaquero" - A custom Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing motorcycle 

Does Commuting on a Motorcycle Save Money?

As gas prices creep up around the $4 or even $5 mark, the impressive MPG numbers of your motorcycle begin to look better and better. Commuting on a motorcycle sounds like smart way to save money, but before we make a decision let’s take a look at the numbers.

Gas Pump in Indiana

Total Motorcycle has a great tool to find the fuel economy of motorcycles and scooters from modern bikes to those dating all the way back to the ‘30s.

Motorcycle Fuel Economy Guide

Modern cruisers have a wide range in fuel economy, but your typical Harley-Davidson cruiser will get around 42 mpg and a sport bike can get fuel economy as good as 50 or 60 mpg depending on engine size.

Now compare that to your average modern sedan which will get a combined fuel economy of around 29 mpg or your average small truck with a combined fuel economy around 19 mpg, and the motorcycle begins to look like a bargin. 

For more exact calculations of your particular car, fuel economy numbers on almost any modern vehicle are available at fueleconomy.gov.  

At this point it might seem like commuting on a motorcycle is a no-brainer for saving money, but there are several more things to consider before you hop on a motorcycle and head to the office.

Choosing a Motorcycle Jacket: Why Motorcycle Leather is Different from Fashion Leather

Leather jackets are instantly associated with motorcycle riding, and it's not hard to figure out why. Not only do they keep your skin from scraping against the pavement when you have an accident, but they also have the ability to make almost anyone instantly cooler. Check out this kid, if you don't believe me.

Cool Kid in Motorcycle Jacket

But not all leather jackets are created equal. A true motorcycle jacket is a purpose-built piece of equipment, so for those new to riding or for those who what to see if their current jacket is tough enough for the job, read on for an overview of optimum jacket design. (Important note: they don't necessarily have to be made of leather.)

 Don't Wear This

The wrong jacket for a motorcycle

 It may be tempting to grab any leather jacket from your closet, but a fashion leather jacket simply wasn't built for the road. The leather on a regular jacket is thinner and won't hold up properly against abrasion in an accident. It is also likely to be open at the neck, sleeves and waist, allowing wind to rush in and make for a chilly ride, not to mention the puffed up appearance you're likely to have. 

Keeping Out the Wind 

Daytona Beach Bike Week 2012 Tattoo Guide

With Daytona Beach Bike Week 2012 in full swing, you may be trying to figure out how to make the good times last. You may even be considering memorializing your experience with a tattoo. I mean, what else is gonna guarantee you never forget the bikini wresting girls you met on Main Street after riding around the Loop on your Harley better than getting stuck several hundred times with an ink-filled needle? Events like Bike Week are a popular excuse opportunity to get that first tattoo or add to your already well-decorated arm sleeve.

But let me just say this, especially for those of you who may think a tattoo is not for you – even if you haven’t made a clear-headed decision to make your body a canvas for some memorable body art, it is always a good idea to create a contingency plan beforehand. This is because, as we all know, sometimes tattoos just happen, and if you don’t have a plan in place you might wind up waking up one day with Kermit the Frog on your butt.

So, to avoid all potential permanent cartoon character/Muppet markings (unless of course that’s your thing, cuz there’s nothing wrong with that) I suggest putting a little thought into your perfect tattoo before you ever go near a parlor. We’re talking about finding the image that is really going to tell people what you’re all about.

According to the random Google search I just did, there are a vast number of symbols that bikers have adopted as their own. Eagles, flames, skulls, motorcycles racing, a grasshopper riding a motorcycle, the name and year of the biker event where you got the tattoo – all of these can create an impression. See these biker tattoos for some inspiration.

How to Decide on the Best Motorcycle Helmet for You

Motorcycle helmets are a top controversial topic among riders. Some see them as life savers while others see them as hindering their experience of the open road. Depending on what state you ride in (or will be riding through), wearing a helmet may be less of a choice and more of a legal requirement.

Half Helmet with Skull Flame Design

Half Helmet with Skull Flame Design

“The Wild One” Movie Review: Rebellion, Freedom and Jive Talkin’

I’ve learned if you’re into motorcycles at all, the name of this movie, “The Wild One”, will come up again and again, though if you’re looking for an edgy biker film, this quaint ‘50s tale isn’t likely to hold up against the current idea of an outlaw biker gang depicted in shows like “Sons of Anarchy”. That said, it was a controversial film when it premiered in 1953 and was actually banned in England for a number of years. The mystique of the outlaw biker and the iconic black motorcycle jacket are just two of the ways the movie is still influencing motorcycle culture. Since the flick first came out, the image of the rebel biker, epitomized by Marlon Brando’s character Johnny Strabler, has been imitated, parodied, and homaged in everything from Nickelodeon cartoons to the latest installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. With so many references and people talking about this movie, it was time to Netflix it and see what all the hoopla was for.

Despite the racy title, to modern movie audiences the main character, Johnny, will probably come off as less than wild, unless, of course, you’re referring to his talent for riding a motorcycle at highway speeds without losing his signature floppy cap. My theory is he wasn’t so rebellious, just cranky from his hat being on too tight.

The plot, loosely based on an actual incident of motorcycle enthusiasts invading the town of Hollister, Calif. in 1947, takes place in the fictional town of Wrightsville, a sleepy community that looks like the set of a wild west movie. Johnny’s motorcycle gang of around 40 members, The Black Rebels Motorcycle Club, rides into town after causing trouble and stealing the second place trophy at a motorcycle track race the next town over.

Marlon Brando sporting his oft copied biker jacket and cap from "The Wild One".
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