Saturday, October 29, 2011

Riding in a Memorial Poker Run Today

Today is the day of the annual Officer Anthony Holly Memorial Poker Run in Phoenix.
Me and The Raider get to help lead out the run up to Wickenburg under Sunny Arizona skies.
It is a melancholy day for a lot of the riders. Many are local police officers, and word came last night that another of their Officers had died in the line of duty.
So this day has kind of a double meaning
Riding in the Desert

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Making the Cruiser Motorcycle That Touched Your Soul, Your Own

You buy a bike and you ride it for a while. You come to love it. You put it in the wind and you love it. It fills your soul with something that you've never found, anywhere else. It's only a machine, but, it's a machine that touches your soul.

Then one day, you walk out, and it strikes you... that it looks just like everyone else's. Somehow, to you, the machine, the Motorcycle has a personality of it's own, but, it LOOKS like every other Motorcycle of that make and model that was ever built... and... THAT, ain't right!

Thoughts of how to put you, into the bike start rattling through your head. Thoughts of how to bring out that inner personality of the machine that you believe exists.

Now, you know as well as I do, that folks that don't ride, think when a guy starts talkin' like this; Why, he's gone 'round the bend and has fell down so many times that he's, by God bent something bad. and he is now... whooooee! Tee Total WhAcko! :)

Yeah well... Ok. :)

Well, WhAcko or not, this past summer, sitting up in the Montana high country, those thoughts of making my Raider my own started rattling in my head... and I started doing some doodling.

Not sure when the dinero is going to happen, to make this happen... but I've got a pretty clear idea of what my Raider should look like.

The first thing I did was envision a paint scheme... at first I was just thinking pretty conservative, solid color... but... it just didn't ring the bell... Like they say; "It wasn't happening."

Finally, one day when I wasn't even thinkin' on it, the idea struck me, ding! ding! ding! That bell started ringin'... and I went to work sketching it out...

Now, this ain't THE correct and proper orange. I didn't have the right colored pen for that ;) but... picture it with a deeper, bronzier or browner, metalic orange on my Raiders tank...

It's gonna be a hard time to have the bike down for the time it'll take to get this air brushing done... when that time does come.

Then... my current, traditional, Leather Saddlebags would be changed out to Tsyukayu Coner hard bags... of course, painted to match the tank color...

*Tsukayu Coner Hard bags on a Raider*

Even though I like the Factory Star Pipes... so that the bags will fit... I'll have to change out the factory pipes, to get 'em lower.  Not sure what brand the 2 into 1 style is in the Coner bag pic... but... I'm kinda Partial to the 2 in it 2 Vance and Hines pipes...

*Vance and Hines 2 into 2 exhaust pipes*

There are a couple other pieces and parts I'd like to change... but these are the big ticket, and major design ideas that have been collecting in those moments when I've got time between getting my next book finished and repairing broken parts on the fifth wheel, so we can get back on the road. :)

I can't wait to give my Raider the custom look the machine deserves... and put her in the wind touring on a long wide circle. The fact is simple and true. Machine or not. It touches my soul in a way nothing else does.

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Update on How I use My Black Widow Motorcycle Ramp

We live on the road in a fifth wheel trailer. My Raider rides between camps on the truck, sitting crossways behind the cab.

Almost every time we stop somewhere, while the Bike is riding, I get asked; "How do you get it up there?

Sometimes, if I'm not feeling much like talking, I just point at the ramp folded up on the tail of the truck. Other times I'll explain; "Aw, I just get a good firm grip an' lift that sucker!"

Truth is, it got to where loading the bike was getting to be an unpleasant task. Loading it one time, back in the spring, in a camp on the Escalante in Utah, I damn near rode the bike off the other side.

You might not be going very fast climbing that ramp... but at just a couple of miles an hour, it don't take no time at all to cross that eight foot bed... so an old guy, having a "senior moment", or a young guy, who ain't found out yet... that he AIN'T bullet proof,  can see things get ugly in a rushin' hurry! Yup. A slight bobble along the way, and the old lady inside is gonna hear bone crunching sounds followed by bad words, dirty names and plenty of blue smoke!

Because of the configuration of my truck, (it's a little extra tall) the ramp and my motorcycle, the routine required that I ride the bike up the ramp, onto the truck, without stopping.

Though my Black Widow ramp is 12 feet long to give me an easier break over at the top so the Raider doesn't high center; it still hits the ground at an angle steep enough, that when the front wheel of that raked out Raider starts up the ramp, my feet can't reach the ground any longer. So, I can't just ease it up the ramp, I have to go for it... which is a bit of  a problem 'cause the hole I have to hit at the top, only allows a couple inches of room for error.

I've changed things a bit since this last video was made. Where that aluminum box was, is now Two larger Cargo boxes... It's not as open as in this video. The space I have to hit has a pretty narrow margin for error... Maybe an inch or so on either side.

And since I can't put my feet down, I gotta go for it, fast enough for the bike to stabilize, without stopping... or so I thought.

I don't know why it took me so long to come up with such a simple idea, but now, loading is an easy, pretty much stress free deal.

I took two 2X6 planks and attached two 1 1/2" angle braces to one end of each plank.

Now, I hang the ramp on the truck. Then hook the planks on a couple of feet up from the bottom of the ramp, one on each side. I use the attached angles to hook onto the ramp and keep them from slipping.

That gives me raised "Footboards" to span that transition from the ground, up onto the ramp. As soon as the back wheel gets close to the ramp, I can get my feet back down again.

Now, rather than worryin' what's gonna happen if I miss the target a touch, or do some other dumb thing :) I can just walk the bike up the ramp slow and easy. I can stop half way up if needs be. My feet can always reach... so no need to just push on up without stopping... Just a couple of cheap boards and a couple bucks of hardware and that bit of stress, loading the bike is wiped away.

Now that I've got things figured out, I'll get a fresh video made as soon as I catch up on all my other chores... Busting the Pin Box on the trailer, right in the middle of finishing up, and working to get my second novel published has kinda got me a lil' distracted for a bit... That and having an accelerating case of Early Onset Old Timers Syndrome ain't helping any!

In the mean time I'm also getting ready to continue heading South for the Desert, before winter gets any closer!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Return to the Home page of Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
Visit our sister site goin' RV Boondocking

Share your stories and opinions;
*Tell us Which you think is the... The Best Touring Motorcycle
*Share...  Your Personal Motorcycle Philosophy with us!
*Tell us about your...  Great Motorcycle Roads