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Archive for the ‘motorcycle’ Category

10 things cars and trucks should know about motorcycles

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

From Ultimate Motorcycling:
10 things cars and truck should know about motorcycles
Press Release

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s mission is to make the nation’s streets and highways safer for motorcyclists through rider training programs, operator licensing programs, and public information campaigns. While these priorities continue year-round, May is designated Motorcycle Awareness Month, which provides the MSF an additional opportunity to enhance drivers’ awareness of motorcyclists who share the road with them just as the spring riding season kicks off.

“It’s a fact that car drivers and other motorists are at fault most of the time in multiple-vehicle crashes that involve a motorcyclist,” said Motorcycle Safety President Tim Buche. “That’s why we’ve initiated several public outreach tools specifically targeting the driving community. MSF has life-saving messages for everyone, whether they are behind a handlebar or behind a steering wheel.”

MSF launched a new website, in 2007, with safety tips, video instruction, and other resources to help car, truck, and bus drivers learn how to safely interact with motorcyclists on the nation’s streets and highways. MSF offers these timely guidelines from

10 Things Car, Truck, and Bus Drivers Should Know about Motorcycles

1. Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle – they ignore it (usually unintentionally).

2. Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots (door/roof pillars) or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc). Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.

3. A motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.

4. Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say three or four seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.

5. Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.

6. Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle’s signal is for real.

7. Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.

8. Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”

9. When a motorcycle is in motion, see more than the motorcycle – see the person under the helmet, who could be your friend, neighbor, or relative.

10. If a driver crashes into a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian and causes serious injury, the driver would likely never forgive himself/herself.

Since 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests, and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military, and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling.

Oh, the weather!

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Brandon takes Katie to/from daycare, which means that I’ve gotten to ride my motorcycle this week!

It’s SO NICE OUT!!!! And, my commute is much faster when I can lane-split (I only lane-split when all traffic is stopped and not going to be moving… for example, coming up on a red light). VROOOM!

unridden in almost a year

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

To celebrate the new year, I’m going to take my bike out. I just hope my gear still fits :)

/me is excited!

(No, Katie is not coming!)

*shaking little fists*

Friday, February 29th, 2008

You know what I like less than spending more than 4 figures on having a motorcycle repaired?

When that bike dies on the freeway with my husband riding. NOT OKAY.

B is totally fine, but his bike did fall, meaning that the mirror he replaced is now broken, again. I’m pretty much completely fed up with CalBMW — not only do they charge FAR too much, they apparently can’t even bother to make sure that the bike is working before they put it back on the road.


the middle and the ride back

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Seeing Santa Barbara again was… incredible. I really, really missed that city, and the flood of memories that came at me while walking around downtown, on campus, and in IV was amazing. I forced Brandon, Matt, and Kelly to take me virtually everywhere on campus, and we recalled classes that we had in certain buildings and I broke into (via an unlocked door) Ellison Hall to see if LSIT/SSCF/HSSC was still there (the lab that I worked in throughout college as helpdesk). We walked by the Hillel building and I kept saying, “I BUILT YOU!” (I was president and helped raise the money to build that sucker).

*sigh* It was nice. Too bad Appethai is now a Giovanni’s Pizza place. I wonder if Jenna or John care. :)

We wanted to make sure that we picked up the pups from the kennel on Sunday, so we left VERY early. We rode 154 to 101, then stopped about every 50 or so miles to try to warm up because it was not only cold, but we were both a little tired still from the ride down, so we were getting sore more quickly. We had breakfast in Los Alamos at a very cute little restaurant, and also stopped for coffee in King City; the only notable thing about the ride was the man in the bigass truck in Prunedale who apparently thought that it was unfair that we could lane-split in stopped traffic and pulled so far to the side of his lane that he almost hit the guy in the other lane. The guy in the other lane kept moving left to give us space, so the truck kept moving left to cut us off; it was insane.

Anyway. Total mileage for the trip: 637.

he may be a senator, a general or a turn-key

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Prominent songs in my head while riding up yesterday:
“He Looks Like Spencer Tracy Now” — Deacon Blue (whenever I drive by Los Alamos I think of that song, because it’s about Harold M. Agnew… see this)
“Pour Le Monde” — Crowded House
“My Rights vs. Yours” — The New Pornographers

our ride highlights

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Brandon and I started the day driving down 101s. B thought that 1 hit 85 directly so we took 85, but he bypassed 17 (because he didn’t know that was the easiest way to get from one to the other), so we eventually pulled over and decided to take 152 in Gilroy over to 1s. 152s was really nice — there was an awesome, more technical curvy section before it straightened out and joined with 1 in Monterey, and it went through a lovely redwood grove (that was a little chilly) but also had a kickass view of the valley.

We stopped for lunch in Big Sur, where gas was a full dollar more expensive than it was in Menlo Park. Holy cow, $4.35/gallon? Ouch! Also, it turns out that we found the most expensive restaurant ever as well, but the food was tasty and other riders were hanging out there, as well. (I had a caesar and some butternut squash soup; B had a seared ahi salad.) Of note was the family sitting behind Brandon drinking Bud Light with their little girl, out of glasses. I didn’t know Bud Light deserved glasses.

Brandon and I (or, just I) soon determined that not having a Chatterbox or some form of communication device was Not Great. There’s no good way to tell the person in front of you that you want to do X when you can’t catch up to them and when they aren’t pulling over very frequently. We tried to work it out during lunch in Big Sur, but B told me to a) honk and b) turn my turn signal on early. Apparently these things don’t work when a) you’re wearing earplugs and b) the sun is shining into your light casings anyway, making it hard to tell when they’re lit. He endured a bit of yelling at by me before we started riding again, at which point he used SCUBA signals instead (which I know). However, I didn’t think having to pee warranted using the full-on “HOLY SHIT COME AND GET ME” signal that people use at the surface, so again we had problems. Now we’re all figured out, though (except that he was flashing his brights behind me while we were on 101 so I thought something was wrong because it was so dark that I couldn’t see him).

Taking 1 was… gorgeous. There were some sections where the view was absolutely stunning, and you’d get that salty-spray smell while coming around a curve. It was breathtaking. After a while, it was also very tiring, so I was happy when we got into San Simeon (and I waved at Hearst Castle) and things straightened out. At San Luis Obispso, B let me take over the lead since I know the area, and we blew down 101 to get to Santa Barbara through the pass that I’ve always hated driving because it’s windy and dark and there’s no street lights. Also, at this point, I was cold to my core, the batteries in my socks had stopped working, and extremely sore (especially my knee, my right shoulder, and my right hand). So, I tried to bust us through that section as fast as possible but ended up riding with my brights on and pulling over a lot more frequently (hi, Buellton!). Eventually we got to Goleta and I was completely flooded with memories. (I haven’t been back here for 8 years, next month!)

We got a little lost getting to Matt and Kelly’s house because, when I transferred the directions from email to a piece of paper in my tank bag, I completely left out a turn. Eep. However, when we did get here, it was SO good to see them. We went to State St. and had dinner at the SB Brewing Company, and I regaled B with tales of places near where we were (Natural Cafe == Jenna’s favorite restaurant, Iron Cross Tattoo == sketchy place where I got my navel pierced, the James Joyce == where we used to drink non-beer and hang out by the fire place, Starbuck’s == the place that held Jenna and my favorite store). Then we came back and made cookies and watched half of the Fifth Element (to be concluded tonight).

Matt and Kelly (and Boris the kitty) are kickass hosts.

So, now we’re going to go back downtown for brunch and to check stuff out. I can’t wait to see this place in the daytime! :)


Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Brandon and I are leaving to drive to Santa Barbara on our motorcycles today. Hopefully I’ll post from the road! :)

(ETA: My in-laws rule. They gave me heated socks and I’m wearing them under my boots. In combo with my Gerbing heated gloves, I shall be toastier than ever!)


Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

I dropped my bike off for its 600 mile service and let them know that the last time I was driving on the freeway for an extensive amount of time, the oil pressure light went on. I pulled over, turned the bike off, and it went off and hasn’t come back on again. The guy asked me if I was sure it wasn’t the FI light and I said, “It was red and had a picture of an oil can. I’m sure.” I even explained that I had looked into it and there were a few reports of Ninja 650s with faulty oil pressure sensors.

I go to pick my bike up and they tell me the light was the low fuel light. UH NO. The low fuel light came on right as I arrived, is markedly different than the oil pressure light, and… wtf. I’m not a moron. Then I look at the paperwork and it says “investigate FI light” and then “problem was low fuel light.”

Thanks, thanks a lot for that. *eye roll*

i’m a supastah

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Hot damn did I rock at dirt biking today.

First off, I am now a speedy little thang on the green trails. I somehow managed to get myself on a blue trail and realized right as I saw a ton of pretty intense moguls (what do they call those when they’re made of dirt?), slowed down too much, stalled, and fell over. After much effort and help from B, I got over them and did the rest of the trail… which in turn made me even speedier on the green trails. So, I decided I wanted to tackle that blue trail again, this time knowing what was coming.

Holy crap. This one section, called Knob Hill or something like that, was INSANITY. I almost bit it three times but kept going and blew on through to ride over the Ridge Road again (gorgeous). So, we did another blue trail (Adobe Road) and I kicked ass there, too! I also practiced locking up my back wheel going down hills (in dirt you do this on purpose) and that was awesome. Brandon had about nine kinds of praise for me today :)

I installed my heated gloves when I got home. They are SO toasty warm. I need to figure out where I want to put the thermostat, though. :)

yay motorcycle stuff

Friday, November 16th, 2007

We went to the Cycle World International motorcycle show in San Mateo today. It was awesome! Not only were there lots of great bikes and people who love to ride, but there was a Gerbing booth as well as four places that make custom earplugs. I had been wanting a pair of Gerbing heated gloves, but I wasn’t sure what size/style, so having the ability to try them on was super cool — and the lady gave me a free cover (a $10 value!). I had been idly throwing around the idea of getting a pair of custom earplugs that I could plug into my iPod, but then I realized that I am not really at the point where I want to ride around not only being unable to hear road noise but also listening to music. So, I got some normal plugs. (Those little foam ones don’t work for me because I have teeny ear canals.)

Anyway, I feel much better now :D

it’s official

Friday, November 16th, 2007

I’m now officially the advisor of El Al BBG #1863. Yay! I met the N’siah and S’ganit last night and they were fab. Sadly, I remember almost every cheer I ever did in BBYO. I have my first event with them this weekend.

In other news, next week is Thanksgiving and then our Thanksgiving ride, woot!

In other other news, I dreamed last night about being completely covered in tarantulas. Ew.

our day at Corbin

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Brandon and I drove down to Hollister this morning to have a seat made for me and have Brandon’s old seat re-stitched (it has been sitting out in the sun for 7 years and the leather had stretched out enough that it split a seam). We got there around 9:30 and left at 2:15.

The outside… it’s a little off the road but really obvious once you get there.

We got free breakfast at their on-site cafe, sweet!

Inside, there are a lot of neato old motorcycles.

This is the Sparrow, a Corbin concept car.

These are Roadsters, I think, They’re also concept cars and are PURDY.

This is where the drive-ins sit while they get outfitted.

My purdy new seat!

Going in is far better than ordering online; they actually changed the normal stock model significantly to make up for the fact that I prefer sitting far forward on my bike (aka “humping the tank”). While riding motorcycles on the freeway is SUPER boring, the ride back was a lot better because my lower back didn’t go numb :D

i pass the blame to givi

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

It turns out that Givi USA forgot to send me the vitals of my setup, not Twisted Throttle. So, they’re expediting it to make sure that it gets to me by Friday, yay.

stupid motorcycle people

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Twisted Throttle managed to send me the bag I ordered. Not the mount, not the light… just the bag. And, I need it by Friday so I can have it installed when we ride down to Hollister to see Corbin.


ride away!

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

I went for an 8.5 hour motorcycle ride yesterday (830-5).

Check out the pics! (Carolyn has skillz, yo.)

saturday’s ride: a report

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

I purchased my new bike on Thursday night, and took it up to Skyline via King’s Mountain on Saturday.

I was doing well (although going a bit slower) up KMH and taking my corners pretty tight, but I felt myself have a couple of seconds of target fixation at points (even though I recovered from them virtually instantly) and also a totally irrational about of panic over curves that went around drop-offs. Then, we hit the straighter part of Skyline, where I noticed that I am a HUGE wuss about straightaways up there. First of all, there’s a dappling of shade/light from the trees that makes it almost impossible for me to see, so I slow up considerably. Secondly, there’s a lot of irregularly-colored tar/cement, which, with my unscrubbed tires, worried me a lot.

When we got to Alice’s, I parked across the street while B ran off to get gas. As I tried to get some warmth back into my hands (it certainly didn’t help my riding that I was shivering uncontrollably up there), four guys started looking at my bike, and then talking to me about it and my accident. They seemed to be impressed that I wasn’t letting it phase me; they even said it was pretty awesome to see a woman riding, and asked me if I had stopped up there to pick up on guys (referring to themselves as “pretty easy”). It was … nice that they were so nice to me, but at the same time, it pisses me off that I am so reticent about riding now. Obviously it’s better to be safe than sorry, but I was SO scared for so much of the ride that I was not having very much fun.

My next ride of any considerable length is going to be with Carolyn (aka userinfobluepoof) on Saturday around the East Bay. Also, I’ve started to order some gear for a Thanksgiving ride Brandon and I are planning on taking down to Santa Barbara. :)

ps: I made an album of motorcycle-related pics.

well, there’s no point in that anymore…

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I bought this last week:

Same color and everything.

My sis knows ’cause I told her; my mom knows thanks (not) to my husband and father.


saturday day’s alright for riding

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Today has been pretty dang productive.

First off, we took the pups to the pup park, where Ash displayed his newly upgraded barker and barked a WHOLE LOT.

Then, we went down to Road Rider, where I got myself a pair of leather pants and returned a shield I’d bought there back in June? July? for my now be-salvaged SV650.

Then THEN, we went up to Skyline, where I learned that any semblance of confidence I had acquired from previously riding a motorcycle is gone. GONE!

But I can get over that ;P

walking == overrated?

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Friday was a gorgeously rainy day, so Brandon and I opted to go dirt bike riding yesterday (also, I was feeling pretty damn healthy). The park in Hollister was CRAZY busy because it was the first weekend that red stickers are allowed (short explanation: vehicles that don’t have spark arrestors are more likely to start fires so they get red stickers and are only allowed out during the wetter season; our bikes DO have spark arrestors so we’re green-stickered), but we eventually did find a place to park and hit our first trail.

Uh, yeah, I’ve become wussy. I was riding WAY slower on the first track (Rancho Road), testing out my leg (turns out I have a lot more muscle atrophy than I thought, and even standing on the pegs to help absorb some shock from the bumps). The second track (Harmony Gate), I could feel my leg getting tired, and was also actively scared about going downhill. The THIRD track was a very easy one, so I passed people up and giggled a lot more. On the fourth one (Rancho again) I finally “got a pair” and sped up a lot, but at the end I could barely stand on my weakified left leg so we opted for home.

Holy crap do I hurt today: shoulders, thighs, and my poor knee.