Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunrise Reflected - Daytona Beach

Sunrise Reflected - Daytona Beach, originally uploaded by mstoy.

First I must give credit to mstoy on for this excellent photo. Next week I will be on vacation in Daytona Beach. I can only hope I will be able to get a photo as good as this one. What a fantastic sunrise shot!

While in Daytona I will be visiting a few biker hangouts, though I won't be on the bike. I'll post anything interesting I find. My current plan is to be in Daytona again for 2010 Bike Week in March.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Slices of Americana

When in Charlotte, NC one can experience two nostalgic drive-in restaurants that still have curb service. Better take warning: if you are on a motorcycle it will be hard to hang the tray on your bike.

Curb Service Still Lives

At 2900 Wilkinson Blvd. you will find Bar-B-Q King. This place has been in business since 1961 -- a time when big gas gulping muscle cars cruised into drive-ins treating the whole family to tasty American food. This is a throwback to an era when Americana was defined by the automobile. Families drove their cars everywhere without considering the cost of gas.

The Famous 21 South Drive In

Just off the Independence expressway on the other side of town is the 21 South Drive-in - in business since 1955. You can't beat a good burger and onion rings served on a tray that hangs off your car window. Too bad we don't have Dad's old 57 Chevy to cruise in for a burger, fries and shake. There is nothing like a Super Boy burger to fill your belly!

It is great to see these places have withstood the test of time. They still stand despite the encroachment of corporate chains. If all we had were fast food and casual dining chains every town in America would look the same.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Pennsylvania Anti-Turnpike Part 2: US Route 30 from Gettysburg to York

View Larger Map
Note: This is a follow-up to the post on May 3, 2009.

US Route 30 between Gettysburg and York is not a particularly enjoyable ride, but it might be preferable to the Turnpike if you are looking for lots of places to stop for a break. If you are in hurry, opt for the traffic, trucks and rough road on the Turnpike. It is only a 29 mile ride from Gettysburg to York on US 30, but it will take every bit of an hour. The traffic moves slow. There are traffic lights and several towns to go through. Better not be in a hurry.

I always enjoy riding through small towns, imagining what life is like living there, how people make their living, and what they do in the town for recreation. Stopping the bike for a bottle of water and a restroom break always gives the chance to talk to people. If you are on a motorcycle with out of state tags, they are sometimes just as curious about you as you are about them.

You can start in Gettysburg, soaking up the history. Park the bike and walk around town. There are many shops and cafes to enjoy along the streets of Gettysburg.

Along this stretch of US 30 you will find Battlefield Harley-Davidson. This dealer on the east side of Gettysburg. This Harley dealer is well known as one of the nicest facilities in the area.

If you didn't stop in Gettysburg, the town of New Oxford is worth a stop. This is a very typical Pennsylvania town, with Victorian architecture, a busy town square and down-to-earth people.

The rest of the ride is pretty unremarkable, but once you move east of York, there is Amish Country in Lancaster, PA. Look for the Part 3 post coming soon covering York to Philadelphia.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Has Anyone Heard of Victory Motorcycles?

This blog covers all types of bikes from all makers, with no favorites, and no brand bashing. I am not for or against any brand. Just making some observations.

Victory is "the other" American motorcycle company. Why does nobody know this?

Last evening I watched Paul Tuetul, Sr. and his sons of Orange County Choppers, you know the TLC show "American Chopper", on Larry King Live. I love that show. Those guys are interesting. The bikes they build are awesome. Anyway, one of the questions Larry King asked: "Is Harley the only American motorcycle company?" The Tuetuls all look at each other, shrugged and said that they think it is.

The people at Polaris Industries who make Victory Motorcycles must be devastated by that. No doubt Victory has a very ineffective marketing program if "bike guys" like the OCC gang have no idea there is another American motorcycle company. The company is in Medina, Minnesota for God sake!

Most newbie riders (and wannabes) that I talk to always say they want a Harley. Nobody says they want a Victory. Again, I think it is Harley's awesome marketing program. What other commercial brand do you know that is so sought after that people tatoo the brand name on their body? Harley's marketing program might be the best in the history of business! I would be interested in hearing what marketing pros think. I am not one.

Victory definately needs a marketing program if they ever want to penetrate the market. I did some googling and found a Victory owner's blog that makes the same case.$300-000-000-image-makeover/

For the record, I would consider buying a Victory. They look very exciting. They seem well built. I recently met a rider who has ridden his Victory over 100,000 miles.

Can Victory ever make a significant dent in the market share Harley holds? Comments please?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cats are Starving while I Wait for the Storm to Pass

I sit in my office waiting for a thunderstorm to pass. Today at lunch I knew there was a 40% chance of thunderstorms. Forty percent? That is less than half-a-chance it will rain. It's a no brainer. Go home for lunch and get the bike.

All was fine until time to go home. 5 PM, lightning started flashing to the west. A quick check of the online radar map showed a huge storm bearing down on me. So I sat in my office with a co-worker and watched the storm approach. Wind tore at the trees. Lightining struck the building across the parking lot. Rain fell in sheets.

So I waited an hour after it stopped. The pavement is starting to dry. Lo and behold, a lightning bolt struck again just a mile from here. Another storm is popping up out of thin air! Ahh....these hot humid days of summer on the Eastern Seaboard.

I don't mind the rain to much if I am dressed for it. I like a full face helmet and a rainsuit. Today I left my rainsuit behind and wore my shorty helmet. The ligtning is prohibitive anyway. I guess I will wait another hour. I've already had my quota of riding in the rain so far this year with that stormy trip I took to Charlotte 3 weeks ago.

Ms. Bikerphoto just called to remind me to pick up catfood. Those cats are eating me out of house and home...but that is another story for another time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The King of Motorcycle Seat Upholstery

This is what John Longo has on his business card. He is in Rockville, MD. For 40 years, he has designed and hand sewn leather seats on many show bikes. 365 times bikes with his seats have been featured in the centerfold of biker magazines. Here are some photos of his work.

Seat by John Longo

Seat by John Longo

Elvis seat by John Longo


His website is

Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe - Silverado

Yamaha Royal Star Silverado
Here is a photo of a Yamaha Royal Star that caught my eye in the parking area at Outlanders in Luray. Like me he has sought out a gravel area to park this heavy bike. My Kawi Nomad is pushing 800 pounds and this Yamaha is 787 dry, so the muddy parking area was out of the question for these bikes.

The Royal Star is super smooth. The silky whir of the v-four sounds somewhat turbine-like, something that takes some getting used to. It is only a 1300 - a detuned version of the super speedy V-Max engine. The four valves per cylinder with overhead cams are meant for higher revving, so keep those rpms up for max power. It doesn't make loads of low end torque like a Harley, but when you get it wound up it makes nearly 100 hp. That's more than enough to haul two people and a load of luggage up a mountain.

The dash and speedometer is styled a lot like a 58 Buick, wih the speedometer needle moving horizontally. Photo courtesy of Dave 77459 on flickr.

I'm not sure why these bikes don't sell better. They are rock solid machines starting at under $15,000. Yet they are rarely seen on the road. I suppose it is largely due to Harley having a much better marketing program than Yamaha, so most people opt for an Ultra Classic when in the market for a touring bike.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rebuilt Street Glide

When riding near Charlestown, WV I stopped for gas and met a biker on this Harley Street Glide. Alec had bought this bike wrecked, sold his Ultra Classic and rebuilt the front end. The chrome wheels really caught my eye, so I asked Alec if I could photograph the bike. I really like the 19 inch front wheel and the chrome accents on the engine. This black cherry color looks beautiful when complemented with just the right amount of chrome, and I think Alec has just the right amount on this bike.

Click on the images to view them larger.

Outlanders Poker Run and Biker Party - Luray, VA

Outlanders is a KTM dealer and motorcycle apparel store in Luray, VA. Each year they hold a poker run for local charity and a good party. We rode down to take in all the happenings on June 6. There were vendors, show bikes, models in bikinis, and plenty to eat. This post is a few of the better pictures I took.

There were quite a few nice choppers, but the crowd around them made it hard to get a good shot. Sorry I don't have any information on the builder of these bikes.

VegasFuel Chopper

Outlanders Chopper

Now, no biker party would be complete without a girl like this.

Penthouse Model

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Danger of Electric Motorcycles

If loud pipes save lives, electric motorcycles are deadly. I have walked in front of an approaching hybrid car because I didn't hear it coming. Thanks to the quick reaction of that driver I didn't get hit. So think of what it would be like to be riding your silent electric street bike on a city street. Not hearing your approach, a pedestrian steps off the curb right in front of you.

Fans of electric vehicles seem to not remember their high school physics. It takes exactly the same amount of energy to move a vehicle regardless or where that engegy comes from. It is very likely that the electricity used to charge the battery is generated by burning fossil fuels. Electric vehicles do very little if anything to reduce carbon emissions.

A lot is written nowadays about the future of motorcycling. Some think electric bikes are the wave of the future. I certainly hope they are wrong.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's a Vegas, Baby!

So you say you want to be different? You already ride motorcycles. That makes you different from those plain vanilla people in the office. But do you want to be different from other bikers, or do you want to be just like all the rest of them. You can be a member of the club and ride what all your buddies ride, or you can standout and ride something different. Go for the gusto! Ride a Vegas, Baby!

Lucky Lime

The 2009 Victory Vegas comes in a standard model. There is also the blacked-out 8 Ball model, and the stunning Jackpot model. Just looking at the Vegas Jackpot will make you forget about your boss. Riding it will make your heart race. The 106 cubic inch v-twin comes to life and pulls smooth and hard from idle. With this much torque at the low end, no need to worry about winding the bike out. No matter when you shift, the next gear is ready to pull with power. The seat height is a nice 25.7 inches, which should allow most people to stand flat footed while waiting to drag race those other bikes to the next traffic light.

With 4 vales per cylinder, self-adjusting cam chains and hydraluic lifters, there is no need for periodic valve adjustments. This is a low maintenance machine designed for long life and high performance. The 5 year warranty offered on all Victory Motorcycles is unmet by any other company.

At $18,499 the Vegas Jackpot is not for the casual biker. It will set you back a few grand, but you get lasting pleasure, unlike what happens in that town in Nevada where the pleasure is oh so temporary. If you are more price concious, the all blacked out Vegas 8 ball goes for just $13,799. What a bargain! Then you can take the five grand you save and ride your Vegas to Las Vegas!

Photo courtesy of:
Rickey Brown
Bayou Photography
Owner: Jeff Funderburk
Elizabeth, Louisiana
Model: Kacee LaNell
2009 Victory Vegas Jackpot Lucky Lime
106 C.I.

By the way, the pipes on the bike pictured are not stock.