“In Memory of Karen”

In memory of karen fortner

When Karen became the Activities Officer for First State HOG last fall, she had several goals.  The one she voiced most frequently was for our chapter to win a “Best Represented Chapter” award at a local poker run.  She had noticed that our chapter wall at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson was lacking awards.  We have got to do something about that!  Besides the plaque, Karen wanted to increase participation in our chapter rides and events.  She loved to plan picnics, dinner rides, and other events…and the bigger the better!  I don’t think there was anything she loved more than to be a part of a huge group of riders in formation, heading out to have some fun.

Back in March, without thinking much about it, our chapter quietly took the award for most participation in the Motorcycle Accident Victims Foundation Saint Patrick’s Day Poker Run.  Then only a couple of weeks later we took nearly 40 people to the Delmarva HOG Poker Run in Seaford, Delaware.  Karen’s husband Ed was the road captain for this trip, and Karen was so tickled every time another bike pulled into the lot that morning at our pickup spot.  She jumped up and down like a school girl when they announced that our chapter had taken the prize.

Karen got her wish – not once, but twice!  And the riding season had barely begun!  Unfortunately Karen’s season was about to come to an end, permanently.  She was killed on April 24th while riding on a chapter trip. First State HOG members were devastated by the incident, but we have come back even stronger.  We will not let Karen’s dream die.

On Saturday, June 13th, we took a group of riders down into Maryland for the Baltimore Metro HOG Chapter “Panty Poker Run.”  This trip was great fun, and somehow we managed to win “Best Represented” again.  Our neighbors in Baltimore had been very supportive after the accident.  Several of them rode the hour-long trip in the pouring rain for Karen’s viewing and funeral.  When they learned that we were dedicating our award to Karen, they decided to get it engraved “In Memory of Karen” and will make the trip up to our next general meeting to make the presentation.  We got caught in some rain on the ride back that day, a rainbow appeared as we got closer to home… we knew it was Karen smiling down on us.

first state HOG men at baltimore metro panty poker run

On Sunday, June 21st, we took a group of riders up into Pennsylvania for Tri-State HOG’s Father’s Day Poker Run…and AGAIN won the award for best represented chapter.  FOUR awards to hang on our wall at the dealership!  They’re going to have to get us a bigger wall soon!

But wait, there’s more!

On Saturday, June 27th, several of us headed to the All-American HOG chapter’s “Brain Freeze” Poker Run.  Given our chapter’s propensity to ride for ice cream, we figured a poker run with ice cream joints at every stop was just the ticket!  With 20 on 14 we did not have enough people to beat out some of the more local chapters.  But given that we rode 125 miles to get there, we did ride away with the plaque for “Longest Distance Traveled”! Chalk up award number FIVE!

first state hog at all american brain freeze poker run

Karen’s spirit is alive and well in First State HOG.  We love you and miss you girl!

Riding with the Head Road Captain

It’s me! The princess of biker blogging.

Today I pre-rode next week’s “Yuengling Factory Tour & Ride” with First State HOG’s Head Road Captain.  I was up at the crack of dawn (and I thought I was supposed to be on summer vacation?) to head out for this 200-mile all-day affair.  The weather was perfect (it has finally stopped raining) – low 80’s, partly cloudy, and not too humid.  I can’t think of a much better way to spend a summer day.

The route our HRC planned is challenging and will be great fun!  We ride through the sights, sounds, and smells of Amish farm country for quite aways up in Pennsylvania – dodging buggies and road apples of course!  There was actually one point today where there was practically a horse-and-buggy traffic jam!

There are twists, turns, and switchbacks galore.  Inclined starts and steep declined stops.  There is this one long sweeping 20-mph blind curve that just keeps on going until you swear you must’ve done a full 360.  Even the twisties have twisties!

At one point I pulled up alongside the HRC at a stop sign.  He asked me (as he had all day) how I was doing, and I replied “That section requires VIDEO!!!”  (Hopefully I will have figured out how to work the video feature on my handlebar camera by next week.  It should be awesome to watch!)

I got lots of chances to cruise along trying out my new engine-guard-mounted highway pegs.  (More on those later too)

The ride challenged me to confront some of my riding weaknesses, and build my confidence in those areas.  There was also opportunity to add a few more miles of experience riding the superslab.  Now I just have to conquer “The Bay Bridge” and I will no longer consider myself a novice rider!  Altogether it was a great day! I enjoyed the route and the supportive company of our Head Road Captain. I feel as though I improved my skills quite a bit, not to mention I hit the 5,000 mile mark on my new Dyna Super Glide. Now I need to get an oil change!

I can’t wait to do this ride again for real next week!  Maybe HRC will let me ride wing…

Women Riders Rock!

Biker Chick

Sometimes when the day’s original ride is over you just aren’t ready to put the kickstand down for the night.  Such was the case the weekend before last. We had a nice ride out to Broom’s Bloom Dairy in Belair, Maryland for farm fresh ice cream. When we got back to Bear, Delaware most of the riders went on their merry way after saying “goodbye” at our final stop. Six riders were not quite ready to call it a day: Jay, Rich, Dana, Gladys, Paula & myself.  Yes, you read that right…TWICE as many women riders as men!

Dana had to get back to north Wilmington, but she wasn’t really sure how to get there from where she was, so Jay led the way from Bear through Newark and over towards Rt 141.  Along the way we dropped off Gladys at the Christiana Hospital to visit a friend; and the women still outnumbered the men 3 to 2.  Eventually Rich and Dana peeled out of the group to head to their homes, so we were down to 2 women and 1 man.

Since we were near the beginning of the covered bridge tour from the previous week… Paula, Jay, & I rode most of that route back around through woods, parks, and twisty roads towards Newark.  On the way we bumped into another women rider, Marty,  from our HOG chapter who pulled up to us at a Stop sign to say “Hi.”

Now that Jay had ridden the Covered Bridge Tour near a half-dozen times, he had all of the turns memorized so he didn’t have to creep along looking for the next turn.  And since there weren’t 20 bikes following along behind us, the three of us cruised at a pretty good clip.

When we got back to downtown Newark we stopped at the Deer Park Tavern for nachos and a Yuengling. We had tons of fun, and it was just what we needed to cap off a great day of riding. We covered over 130 miles, and the best part of all was THE WOMEN ROCKED!

Stay tuned as we visit the Yuengling Brewery for a private tour the first week of July. This should be a great ride!

MSF Group Riding Video

I received an e-mail last night from an aquaintance in the motorcycle industry who said he had volunteered to become the Road Captain for his riding group and was looking for guidelines, rules and hand signals for group riding. I was flattered by the request and gave this advice: “watch the MSF Group Riding Video available on the MSF website.”

I think this video should be a prerequisite for anyone even thinking about going on a group ride. It covers alot of vital information in a short ten minute clip.

Of course I gave a lot more advice on being a Road Captain, but I won’t bore you with all the details.

Harley-Davidson Air Horn

Air HornBe heard! Oftentimes having a pair of loud pipes is not enough! Occasionally you need a loud burst directed in front of you to get the attention of a cager and it’s times like this that the Harley-Davidson® Premium Air Horn Kit part # 96423-05 can be a life saver! In comparison to the stock horn, this horn is much louder and it can be the difference between someone noticing you and not noticing you. In my opinion, this horn is comparable to the horn of a mid size car; definitely not your standard useless motorcycle horn. This horn has some honk to it! The premium air horn kit retails for $139.95 and requires the additional purchase of a model specific mounting kit. When you weigh being noticed in a close call versus missed wages, pain and suffering due to an accident this is a no brainer; it’s a good investment.

Whether you purchase this horn or not, please practice finding the horn button with your thumb so that you can find it automatically when you need to honk! Now that I have a horn that can be heard, I cover the horn button with my thumb in situations where I might need it… like going through an intersection or parking lot. Or when a cager is nosing his way out of a side street or driveway. I think the air horn is helpful for lead Road Captains to warn these nosers that a whole string of bikes is coming through, “so back up cager!”

The installation of this product may be something that you want your dealer to perform. I purchased mine at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson in New Castle, Delaware. They installed it for me and it works great! I love it! If you have any questions about this genuine Harley-Davidson product please contact Parts & Service Director at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson 302-658-8800

Stay tuned to RC USA for reviews on practical motorcycle parts you can put to good use.

Covered Bridge Tour Pictures

Covered Bridge Ride

A few weeks ago I got a new toy: the Go Pro Helmet Hero camera.  Not wanting to look like a total dork with a camera sticking off the top of my head, I attached it to my handlebars with a special attachment purchased separately.  The perfect opportunity to experiment with my new toy arose when First State HOG chapter went on their local Covered Bridge Tour.

It’s a long story, but the route got passed through several pairs of hands before it landed in Jay’s lap.  The two of us pre-rode the trip several times over Memorial Day weekend making changes to suit our needs and adding two more bridges to the original six.  With the help of a couple of our chapter’s veteran Road Captains, we made the necessary adjustments for taking a large group of bikes along this challenging route.  The tour passes through 8 covered bridges in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.  Along the way you ride through woods, rolling hillsides, and country farms.  Many of the roads are narrow with no shoulder or guardrail.  There are blind curves, steep grades, and inclined stops just to keep it interesting.

The weather was gorgeous for our pre-rides as well as the following weekend when 20+ bikes joined us for a hugely successful trip.  Despite the fact that several of our gentlemen were riding solo that day, we still had a total of 30 people to wrap up the ride with dinner at Wesley’s Seafood Restaurant in Fair Hill, Maryland.

Covered Bridge Ride FSH

I had the Go Pro Helmet Hero set to take pictures 2 seconds during the pre-ride and every 5 seconds during the official chapter dinner ride. In total the camera took 4000 pictures. I edited them down to 88 and posted them to Flickr. Click here to see the complete set of photos (taken mostly by my Helmet Hero camera) on Flickr.

I have never seen so many people request a copy of the route after a ride.  Everyone had lots of fun.  The route is fabulous!  Last weekend a couple of us re-ran a good portion of the route on our own.  With only 3 bikes, and no longer having to follow directions step-by-step since Jay now has the route memorized, we were able to fly through some of the twisties at a brisker pace than with such a large group as we had done before.  It is even more enjoyable that way – not only great scenery, but fun to ride too!  As Lem would say “It’ll really make your ass pucker!”

A full product review of the Helmet Hero camera is coming soon…