Steve Keene aka Smurf

Here in Delaware and Maryland the HOG Chapters are pretty tight. I know most of the Directors and many of the officers from the other chapters. Diana and I were in Cheriton, VA a little over a week ago with two other members from First State and we met a HOG member from All American of Hughsville, MD. The member didn’t know his Director by name but told me it was Smurf. Below is a picture of Steve Keene, aka Smurf, presenting First State with the plaque for furthest traveled at their chapter’s Brain Freeze Poker Run back on June 27th. He’s the guy handing me the plaque. I’m the goofy bald guy with an orange t-shirt and camo pants. That was our 5th award this year. We now have 10.

first state hog at all american brain freeze poker run

I was checking out the Rider Stories on the Harley-Davidson You Tube channel and came across this video. I was thinking “I think I know this guy. He seems very familiar. Oh my gosh, it’s Smurf from All American!”

Kevlar® Reinforced Motorcycle Riding Pants

pants

Who wants road rash? Not me! I don’t feel particularly safe riding my motorcycle wearing normal jeans. Even if you wear leather chaps over your pants, they don’t cover your butt! Jeans reinforced with Kevlar® fabric panels sound like a winner to me.  You can purchase jeans that have Kevlar® fabric panels sewn into the areas that are most likely to hit the pavement. This means: They cover your ass!

kevlar reinforced pads

Kevlar® fabric was invented by DuPontTM scientist Stephanie Kwolek in 1965. The fabric is lightweight and has an extremely high tensile strength. Pound for pound Kevlar® is five times stronger than steel.  It was the first material identified for use in concealable body armor. Police officers throughout the world owe their lives to bullet proof vests made of Kevlar®. My first introduction to Kevlar® was during a carving class. I was instructed to buy a wood carvers glove made of Kevlar®. The glove protects my left hand from getting cut while I hold a piece of wood when I’m carving. It is amazing how this lightweight knit glove can’t be cut!

There are a several brands of Kevlar® riding pants to choose from such as as Draggin’ Jeans. Several brands are available from companies outside the United States like Brosh in Isreal. I purchased a pair of Sliders® Kevlar® reinforced cargo pants that are available exclusively from http://www.competitionaccessories.com/. I have been wearing them on almost every ride since I got them seven months ago. Yes, I do try to wash them between rides as often as possible and no I don’t smell like dirty socks… at least I don’t think so.

Camo Sliders Cargo Pants with KevlarBlack Denim Sliders       

They feel exactly like you would expect a pair of cargo pants to feel if they had an extra layer of thick felt like material sewn in. They are perfect for riding in the spring and fall, but my only concern was if they would be too warm to wear in the summer. I wore them all summer but the temps didn’t get much higher than 90 degrees during my test rides. Although they were on the warm side, there wasn’t a ride that I went on that was unbearable… but there were quite a few days that I wished for some vents that I could open up. They do get a little bulky if you wear chaps over them, but again nothing to complain about.

My wife, Diana, ordered a pair of women’s cargo pants from Brosh of Isreal. The Brosh pants feature removeable Kevlar panels and optional body armor to protect your knees. Now she can ride her motorcycle to work and not have to bring a change of clothes (jeans are not allowed at her place of employment).

Brosh womens kevlar reinforced cargo pants        

Neither one of us has gone down, so we can’t attest to the protective qualities of these pants.  You can however go to You Tube and find video clips from Draggin’ Jeans and other manufactures that show product testing that is quite interesting.

If you like your skin and don’t like the feeling of third degree burns then you should look into buying a pair of protective riding pants like Sliders® or Draggin’ Jeans. They don’t cost an arm and a leg and they might save your ass!

On Ramps and the Dummy Lane

Last week on Tuesday’s Tip we talked about the safety hazzards of approaching an off ramp on the highway. This week we follow up with the dreaded on ramp hazzard.

Lane selection is a key element in safe motorcycling; especially on the highway. The middle lane offers the most escape options but often times you are going to find yourself on a two lane expressway. When traveling the two lane expressway you have to choose between the hammer lane and the merge lane. In the hammer lane some jerk is going to come up on you like there is no tomorrow. Technically the left lane is for passing only and you shouldn’t be cruising in it. It feels uncomfortable for some people to travel in this lane. In the slow lane, or the merge lane, you have people getting on and off the highway. One of our most experienced Road Captains calls this the “Dummy Lane” due to the hazzard of merging traffic. You have to decide for yourself which is the worse of two evils.

It’s quite obvious a vehicle could come charging down the on ramp and merge at the least opportune time. I hope you are all checking the on ramp as you pass to make sure no one is coming. Better yet I hope you aren’t in the right hand lane when passing the on ramp (assuming the on ramps are on the right).

When leading a large group lane selection becomes even more important as multiple lives are at stake. The larger the group, the longer it takes to clear the off and on ramps. No one may be coming down the on ramp as the lead riders in the group are passing, but by the time the end of your pack is passing… a car may have entered the ramp. The left lane may be the better place to be if there are only two lanes. If you are leading a group in the slow lane and you see a car merging you have four options:

  1. Slow down so the car enters in front of you.
  2. Speed up so the whole pack can clear the car before it merges.
  3. Change lanes to avoid the car.
  4. If options one through three are not available, then pray that your group is versatile enough to create space for the car to slide in.

I have seen some nice folks in cars ride up the shoulder of the road rather than break up the pack. I have also pulled out of formation to shift to the left lane and then pulled back into the pack after clearing a car trying to merge. It is times like these when communication devices like CB radio really help out in managing a group ride.

Dan, aka Irondad, brought up the overpass issue last week. Due to going under an overpass or some other obstruction such as tree’s you will not have a clear view of the on ramp. In these cases I often times change over to the middle or hammer lane knowing that there is an on ramp that I can not see. After passing the on ramp and checking to see if the right lane is clear I return to the right lane if that is where I was. I have done this riding with two bikes and riding with twenty bikes. It’s the safe thing to do. You don’t know what could be coming down that on ramp.

Back Road Touring Guide of Georgia

Georgia Moto-Map

This week on Moto Map Monday: Georgia

“Where to ride?” is the question and “Moto-Maps®” is the answer! Moto-Maps are travel size 3.5″ x 6″ laminated flip charts of scenic back-roads for motorcyclists. Each booklet includes six to seven maps with turn by turn directions for 6 or 7 loops. Each ride is a full day trip ranging from 3 to 8 hours to complete. The maps cost less than $10.00 a piece and are available at www.shop.roadcaptainusa.com

This week we are featuring the Georgia edition of Moto-Maps Back-Road Touring Guides. This edition features seven scenic motorcycle rides that explore the back roads of Georgia. Start locations include McCaysville, Calhoun, Atlanta, Columbus, Fort Valley, Waycross and Savannah. If you are taking a motorcycle trip to Georgia you should make sure to get this back-road touring guide.

Moto-Maps compact size make them a great stocking stuffer for the motorcyclist in your life. They are also a great tool for Road Captains.

Click here for more information on the Georgia Moto-Map from www.Shop.RoadCaptainUSA.com

Inside Georgia Moto Map

Click here to see all 25 Moto-Maps





Everything Sonic featuring Dave Grohl

Harley-Davidson Hi-Vis Womens Rainsuit 98250-10VW

rain gear hi viz women

It wasn’t too long ago that we were criticising Harley-Davidson’s selection of riding gear for women. I believe that Harley-Davidson has realized that real women riders are a viable market and they listened to the complaints. Finally women can buy attractive functional riding gear and also motor clothes that a professional can wear to work. It’s not just biker whore and giant mama anymore!

I saw this new women’s rain suit at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson during the Smyrna Fall Open House and even though we had no money I told Diana she had to go inside and check it out. For $175 it’s actually a great buy. The list of features is long.

First off I think Harley’s hi viz orange is a great color. Secondly this jacket has awesome reflective graphics on the back of the jacket that kicks butt! The jacket has a hood and a fitted elastic waist; this isn’t a just a relabeled men’s rainsuit. The pants come up high past the waist to keep H2O out. The pants have suspenders and stirups to keep everything where it should be. The butt has a grippy bottom so you don’t slide around on your seat. There are heat shields on both legs so your pants don’t melt onto your exhaust pipes. The best feature is probably how the pants completely open up the sides making entry much easier than most rain pants. You can zip them down from the top or up from the bottom, it’s your choice.  The rainsuit packs into its own little Harley-Davidson duffle bag. Although Diana has not road tested the rain suit yet, you can tell she likes it a lot.

Rain Gear 1

rain Gear 2

hood

suspenders

pants

bottom

stirups

storage