Open Road Music Video Starring Joe Janiak – Directed, Shot & Edited by Todd Clark

Throttle Boss Product Review – Throttle Rocker II vs Cramp Buster

Throttle Rocker II in package

I am a little behind in writing blog posts but Diana has been picking up the slack for me. We have purchased and tested a handful of products that we still need to write about.

The first miracle product I need to tell you about is a throttle boss. I was starting to experience a lot of wrist discomfort and was thinking my riding future was in danger. I experienced serious discomfort all three days of our Rhode Island trip and was constantly trying to readjust my grip to find a comfortable position. I was unsuccessful.

Skip, who accompanied us on our Rode Island trip, had a Cramp Buster brand throttle boss and was willing to let me try it; but his was 1-3/8″ diamter and my grip required a 1-1/8″ diameter Cramp Buster. The Cramp Buster comes in two diameters and two styles for a grand total of 4 different versions. Check out the cool video on the Cramp Buster home page. You can buy Cramp Buster from JC Whitney. I believe Skip had the Throttle Rocker II prior to having the Cramp Buster and said the Throttle Rocker would loosen on him. I think he meant it would slide out of position. The Cramp Buster looks like it can be readjusted on the fly while riding and the Throttle Rocker II can not. Again, check out the demo video.

Throttle Rocker II throttle boss

I purchased the Throttle Rocker II on Friday and tested it yesterday on a four hour backroad trip (8 hours round trip) to my brothers house in Rockville, Maryland. I bought mine at Mary’s Bargain Cycle at the New Castle Farmers Market and it was worth ten times the cost. It only cost $9.99 and you can get one from J&P Cycles.

The difference was felt immediately and was like night and day. Now I can control the throttle with a loose relaxed grip instead of the death grip. It is like having a lever attached to the throttle so you can use your whole hand including your palm to control the motorcycle. All I can say is this product is a must have item. Do not delay, get one.

The biggest difference between the Throttle Rocker II and the Cramp Buster is the Cramp Buster is a single piece of plastic that wraps tightly around your handlbar grip while the Throttle Rocker uses a velcro strap to wrap the plastic throttle boss in place. The Throttle Rocker is a universal “one size fits all” design while the Cramp Buster comes in two sizes. The Throttle Rocker comes in left and right models which are formed to fit your palm and look just a tad more comfortable than the Cramp Buster which is the same for both left and right. The Cramp Buster comes in a wide and a narrow. It appears from Skip’s comment that the Cramp Buster might be better, but if given a choice of buying a Throttle Rocker or nothing… I would get the Throttle Rocker in a heartbeat! I might even go back and get the left side for balance and comfort.

No tools required for installation. Immediate comfort. Costs less than $10. This is a no brainer!

Kuryakyn also makes throttle boss systems.  One works with special Kuryakyn grips and assembles with tools into a more permanant but adjustable position. You can check out this set up at JC Whitney or J&P Cycles. Kuryakyn also has the Pilot Grip with built in throttle boss, but this doesn’t look adjustable to me.

Accessories for your Harley Davidson®

Side note for Delaware readers: Mary’s Bargain Cycle has moved to a new location inside the New Castle Farmer’s Market.

Motorcycle Trip to Newport, Rhode Island aka Our Trip With Skip

Alpine Overlook

Rhode Island is in many ways like Delaware since both states are so small. For example the one Moto-Maps route that is in Delaware is halfway in Maryland. The two Rhode Island Moto-Maps routes that are in Rhode Island are half in Connecticut. What is my point? My point is that even though this post is about our “Rhode Island Trip” we rode our bikes in five states: Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island.

We had a fantastic trip and I wish I could cover every detail for you but I am going to attempt to summarize this trip.

Saturday June 14th – Day 1

Diana and I met up with our good friend Skip from our HOG chapter at 7:00am at Mike’s Famous Harley Davidson in New Castle, Delaware at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. We crossed the bridge over to New Jersey and traveled up the New Jersey Turnpike. Traffic wasn’t too bad that early on a Saturday. We got off of the Turnpike in Fort Lee, NJ and jumped onto the Palisades Parkway which was very nice but then we jumped off onto Route 9W North which was just OK. We took some pictures at the Alpine Lookout on the Palisades just before hopping onto 9W. We followed 9W to the Route 287 East across the Tappen Zee Bridge which crossed the Hudson River. From there we caught the Hutchinson River Parkway which was great! Those Connecticut and New York drivers drive very fast on the parkway! You have two lanes with occasional on and off ramps on the right hand side. Beatiful trees and landscaping like most parkways. Very nice! At the state line the Hutch becomes the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut. We pulled into a service area for a pit stop and parked where a motorcycle ride was gathering for a charity ride. We talked with some of the New Yorkers, love the accent! Merging back onto the parkway with the cars travelling at 70+ mph was a little challenging. At the end of the Merritt Parkway we had to get back on the Interstate and took 95 North into Rhode Island. Eventually we got off and took Route 1 to Route 138 into Middletown, RI where we ate at Flo’s Clam Shack. This place is great, you have to go there. The fried clams are awesome! The chowda was great! After dinner Skip gave us a tour of the famous Newport, RI mansions. Then we got ice cream at the Newport Creamery. Yummy! It was getting dark and it was going to rain so we put on our raingear, said goodbye to Skip and headed to West Greenwich where we found a Super 8 Motel that charged less than $100 for a nights stay. It was not easy to find a Motel for less than $90 near Newport. Skip visited overnight with his Mom in Newport. The ride from Newport to West Greenwich was a little scarey. It was dark, it was raining and the New England backroads are anything but flat and straight. On top of that they are lined with Pine Tree’s that drop pine needles all over the road and I didn’t want to find out if they get slippery in the rain. I did however like that the tree’s acted like a giant umbrella in some area’s. I missed one of my turns so I jumped on the Interstate for a short ride to the next exit where the motel was. Even though riding in the dark pouring rain with speeding cars and trucks on Route 95 is a little scarey in the end it worked out well. We got to the Motel a little wet. After unpacking I checked my phone and found that Joker had left me a message. Unfortunately he would not be able to meet up with us while we were in his neck of the woods but he wished us a good trip. Sunday was Fathers Day so I was not surprised that we couldn’t work it in.

Tappen Zee Crossing

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Tilghman Island and Harrison’s Chesapeake House – another great motorcycle ride on the Chesapeake Bay

The Bay

Saturday, June 7th was a day full of adventure, exploration, fact-finding, romance, and a little too much sun.  We had already checked out a few places last week in Rock Hall, MD in hopes of finding a great fishing getaway for Dad’s father’s day gift.  The town was great, and the trip was nice, but nothing had really jumped out at us.  Then some friends from First State HOG suggested a place down at Tilghman Island–a little farther south and just past St Michael’s which we’ve heard so much about.

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What Does Harley Davidson Mean To You?

It’s me! The princess of biker blogging.

Harley Davidson is much more than a moco.  The bar and shield has become a symbol of American freedom, the spirit of the open road, a slap in the face to mainstream sensibilities, a fantasy, a way of life, a noisy declaration of independence, an obsession, an escape, a revered American icon.  Harley Davidson represents adventure, freedom, individuality, and living life with all five of your senses.  It is a legend.

The Harley mystique is all about attitude — a feeling that because you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle you are special, you belong.  In a society that worships at the altar of internal combustion, riding a Harley just may be the last pure expression of what it means to be American…the freedom to go somewhere, anywhere, just you and the road and the wind in your hair.  The essence of the Harley lifestyle is to dress up in black leather and ride your Harley to the horizon, calling for all the world to see you like an outlaw rather than the mild-mannered citizen you are the rest of the week.  It is no wonder that today this American icon is so loved and recognized around the world.

Today’s Harley owner is more likely to be a dental hygienist, trucker, or coffee shop owner than a rebel without a cause.  We are male and female, young and young at heart, but we all share a passion for the brand and everything that it represents.  So much so that (second to the word Mom) the bar & shield is the most common image to be immortalized in human skin.

Harley Davidson does not just sell motorcycles — they sell dreams and lifestyles.  The brand is so powerful that it can sell products that have little or nothing to do with motorcycles.  You can get an HD version of Monopoly for your kids, Harley lingerie for your wife and/or girlfriend, or a black leather Harley jacket for your poodle.  Many people who have never and will never ride a motorcycle still purchase the collectibles and sport Harley brand clothing.  In fact, many dealers actually make more money from Motor Clothes and accessories than they do selling motorcycles!

Everyone wants a piece of the often imitated/never duplicated American icon.  They want to experience that feeling of belonging to the largest fraternity on earth.  How sad it is that some will go to such great lengths to grasp at some tiny part of that free-spiritedness.  How wonderful it is that we don’t need to grasp for anything because we have found it.  We have declared our individuality.  We live free on the open road.  We spit in the face of our own mid-week alter egos.  We enjoy the journey as much as the destination.  We ride Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Perpetual Motion – Riding Within Your Limits

Diana Pillion Princess

In a recent post on Motorcycle Philosophy, Steve Johnson discussed with some friends some of the benefits of Learning to Ride the Hard Way.”  They were saying that if you have an accident you can take from it a valuable learning experience.   The philosophy being: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The problem is, this method of learning might kill you!  In the post, the question was raised How am I supposed to improve if I don’t try pushing myself? 

Here’s my take on the matter: 

When I completed the BRC at Cecil Community College in August 2005, I took a lot from my instructors.  After skills tests were completed, written test scores were tallied, and certificates of completion were issued, the lead instructor charged us with the following words:   

“When you all first walked into this room 48 hours ago, I would not have even imagined taking any of you out onto the interstate highway.  Now I would have no hesitation in doing so…with no other traffic, and all of the entrance and exit ramps closed off for several miles in each direction!  Just because you have met the minimum requirements to be eligible for your motorcycle endorsement, that does not by any means make you an expert rider.  Take it slow, know your limits and ride within them, never ride outside of your comfort zone.”

I took those words to heart.  My first rule for myself was not to ride on any roads with more than one lane in each direction or with a speed limit greater than 30 mph.  I wanted to ride my bike to work which was located on a 40 mph, 5-lane, very busy street.  This proved to be a challenge, but I formulated a route through neighborhood roads where I came out across the street from the high school and crossed Reisterstown Road at a traffic light, directly into my parking lot.  It took me about twice as long as it would taking a direct route in my car, but I got there safe and sound.  After work, I would generally take a few laps around the neighborhood before turning into my street for the evening.

 After a month or two of this, I was beginning to feel quite comfortable with the shifting, steering, braking, and general operation of the bike.  I decided it was time to step it up a notch.  I chose a stretch of road which was still only 2 lanes but had speed limits of 40 mph.  My entrance spot had clear visibility in both directions, and plenty of room for me to turn around and go back just in case I decided the traffic was too heavy or if for any other reason I felt like I needed to bail on the idea because I was outside of my comfort zone.  I made an easy right turn onto the road, and had several turn-offs available to the right that I could take any time I decided that I’d had it.  That never happened.  Instead, my little Sporty buzzed with excitement as I hit fourth gear for the first time ever!  Then in a flash, I could sense that she wanted to go to fifth!  Wow!  Adrenaline pumped through my veins as I sensed a euphoria never before experienced!  I was really riding

Now I considered riding my bike to places that I hadn’t before.  I rode to my hairdresser in the next town over who was soooo jealous I had my own bike and she didn’t.  She admired my new Harley, and then laughed as I mashed my freshly styled hair under my helmet for the ride back home!  I devised all kinds of routes that kept me off the main strips and on two-lane roads.  Speed quickly became a non-issue.  It was time to tackle the next step:  the 5-lane road… 

Next morning, I took my “regular” route to work–this time on my bike.  I entered Reisterstown Road by making a left turn at a traffic light.  I moved directly into the right lane, where I stayed for the half of a mile until my right turn into the high school parking lot.  After work that day, I pulled out of the lot and followed that big scary road (not any more) for the entire 2 miles until it drops down to 30 mph and two lanes, then I turned off through the neighborhood towards my house. 

Riding within my limits? always.  Out of my comfort zone? never.  Moving forward, improving my skills, becoming a better rider? absolutely!  (Last week I even rode on an Interstate!) 

As you practice skills or repeat experiences, they will eventually become routine…thereby naturally moving the limits of your abilities and comfort zone perpetually forward.  In this manner, you will always be improving your riding skills without ever having to learn anything “the hard way.”