H.O.G. State Rallies – Get Involved

H.O. G. membership has many benefits and one of the most popular is H.O.G. state rallies. State rallies are gatherings for H.O.G. members to get together, ride and have fun. You can: attend rallies, volunteer at rallies and even organize rallies.

You can attend a H.O.G. rally in your home state or travel to an out of state rally. By attending out of state rallies you will meet new and interesting riding companions. You will also be introduced to a variety of new roads and adventures (new foods and restaurants too!). Attending your local state rally is a good way to form friendships among members of all the H.O.G. chapters in your state. You’ll find that there are many more like minded fun loving H.O.G. members in your neighboring chapters who love to ride and have a good time just like you.

You can attend state rallies and even better yet, you can get involved as a volunteer! Nothing makes an event more enjoyable than contributing to its success! As the 2010 Delaware/Maryland State H.O.G. Rally Volunteer Coordinator I had the pleasure of meeting and working with many H.O.G. members that I usually don’t see often or who I had never met before. It was a great experience for me and the volunteers. Every volunteer had a good time pitching in to make the rally fun and I had a great time working with everyone and making new friends.

The 2011 Maryland/Delaware State H.O.G. Rally is just around the corner on July 28th thru 30th in Salisbury, Maryland. I’m sure that our 2011 Volunteer Coordinator, Beth Garrett, is looking for volunteers to help make this year’s event a huge success. If you would like to help, you can contact Beth at (410) 274-7472 or through the state rally website www.demdstatehogrally.com/volunteers.php

State rallies are completely a volunteer effort and organized by fellow H.O.G. members. Your assistance as a volunteer is always appreciated but don’t rule out the possibility of planning and organizing a future rally. I recommend you contact Beth and see what you can do to help out at the upcoming rally in Salisbury. You should also take a look at the other 2011 H.O.G. Rallies and set a course for an out of state adventure!

Looking for a biker who likes the Philadelphia Flyers and has $15,000+ to donate to a good cause

Flyers Goblin Custom Motorcycle

Fans can bid now on an exclusive one-of-a-kind Philadelphia Flyers custom chopper.  Built by Savage Cycles, the Flyers themed Goblin has amazing features such as a 1200 Buell engine, custom Goalie Mask Headlight, and stretched 4.8 Gallon Fuel Tank which is signed by the entire 2010-11 Flyers team and coaching staff.  Net proceeds benefit Flyers Charities, a division of the Comcast-Spectacor Foundation, to help support local non-profit organizations such as Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, March of Dimes, Police Athletic League, and many others. Click here or call 215-389-9426 for more information.

Where’s Wooley?

Where’s Wooley? Flat Wooley that is. He is currently in California. Seems that after visiting Lady R in Alabama he headed west to visit BB, VD and WillyD. You can check out his travel blog at http://flatwooleytravels.blogspot.com/.

Check out his blog asap! This dude can write! He comes write off the page at you. Not like some of them one dimensional fake bikers. This dudes the real thing!

Finding Those Backroads

One of the benefits of of our H.O.G. Chapter and its Road Captain program is that the Road Captains introduce our members to roads that they never would have rode on had they not ventured out on a chapter ride. Most people including myself just don’t randomly go riding down strange backroads. Some people who own motorcycles, myself included, wake up on a nice sunny day with no plans and the road is an empty slate. Without a plan, a destination or an idea these people just stay home. Others are spontaneous and throw a leg over and just hit the road without a clue following nothing but their nose. And then there are others who can dream up a route on the spot and hit the road. I imagine there is a huge group who heads to the local biker destination bars thinking they are the quintessential biker.

For those of us in the first category belonging to a good H.O.G. chapter is awesome! We check the calendar to see what’s going on, show up at the meeting site and then a Road Captain will take us somewhere fun! We may be newbies or rubs but we put hundreds if not thousands of miles on those motorcycles thanks to the H.O.G. Road Captains and the online chapter calendar. Regardless of what you call us, we ride em! This is the very process that opened my eyes to the fact that going to Hooters on bike night isn’t what riding is all about.

I did not plan on becoming a Road Captain and I don’t know a million backroads. I’m not even from this area and I only got into riding a few years ago and even then the concept of “backroads” was new to me. I do go out of my way to locate, learn and put together ride routes that will please the members of my H.O.G. chapter. Usually a “thank you” or any show of appreciation from riders who go on one of my rides is all that it takes to make it all worthwhile. But yesterday I was given one of the best compliments by at least two riders and it was said a few times which made me really happy: “I don’t know how you do it. How do you find all those backroads?!”

It’s hard for me to keep a secret and that makes sense because I come to my trusty computer all the time and type everything into it for the good of the Internet audiance. Here is how my process usually goes:

1) I check Moto-Maps to see if there are any recomended ride routes in the area I am looking to go riding.

2) I use Microsoft Streets & Trips to connect the roads and find other roads.

3) Somehow I manage to schedule several rides to the same area so that we can check the routes out, change them up and fine tune them before the actual chapter ride takes place.

Moto-Maps Delaware

Click here for more information on Moto-Maps

Microsoft Streets & Trips mapping software

Moto-Maps Banner 4

New Additions to Blogroll

Thank you for visiting Road Captain USA. Don’t forget there are other quality motorcycle blogs out there. Check out my blogroll for some of the best. Here are three new editions to my blogroll:

Rick On The Road

USA Tour on a Harley

Ms M’s Place

Dyna Saddlebag Project – Part 2 Bag & Bracket Installation

Princess Di’s New Ride

Once I had come to grips with relocating my turn signals I set to work deciding on the saddlebags themselves.  I was looking for as much space as possible without looking big & bulky, in a bag that would fit a Dyna – something that would neatly blend with the lines of my bike.  Throw-over styles were not an option because one of my primary objectives is to open up my rear fender and allow it and its lovely rack to be seen for their beauty, so covering it back up with a cheesy slab of leather would defeat the entire purpose.  My Mustang seat (as well as my chaps) have a simple braided trim, which I would’ve liked to duplicate if possible.  I did not want lots of studs, conchos, and other gaudy trim items.  I didn’t really know ahead of time, but as I researched I determined that I really like the slanted styles as opposed to the big boxy-looking straight ones (which turned out to be a good thing because of the exposed shocks on my Super Glide).  I definitely did not like anything I saw with bold harsh lines to it, preferring smooth curves instead.  I settled on the Revolution Swooped Hard-Mount Saddlebags by Willie & Max in synthetic leather (item code 03436).

Willie & Max Revolution Saddlebags

Although I intend that the bags will remain on my bike nearly 100% of the time, I decided that it would be worth the expense to invest in quick-detach mounts that would make it easy to remove the bags for bike cleaning (as if that ever happens), or to take all of my luggage into a hotel room instead of pulling everything out and carrying it individually.  I decided on the Easy Bracket for my bags.  I am also still considering getting an Easy Tote carrying handle and/or some type of saddlebag liner tote.

When my saddlebags arrived, I almost cancelled the order for the Easy Brackets because of the shape of the back side of the bag.  Since it is not flat, the Easy Bracket would likely need some kind of alteration in order to fit.  And the top of the bag overlaps the side a bit, so I wondered where & how the key-lock mechanism would fit & work.  I was unable to get any information on the exact (or even approximate) dimensions of said bracket, so I have had to judge from photos of them attached to bags.  Long story short – I decided to toss it in the air and see if it would fly.

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Jay had been extremely worried about the docking posts not fitting into the threads left behind by the bolt that originally attached the turn signal.  I wasn’t sure what the heck he was talking about, but he was absolutely correct.  It is not that the posts don’t fit into the threads, there are no threads at all!  Since the bolts originally holding on the turn signals were mounted from inside to outside, there is no need for threading on the inside of the fender strut.  We needed to purchase the docking hardware kit for detachable accessories (part # 53961-06) in order to replace the rear fender mounting bracket with one that is threaded.  (The picture below shows a side-by-side comparison of the old piece and the new one.  If you look closely you can see that the new one is threaded inside while the old one is not.)

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As a temporary hold while we waited for my Easy Brackets to arrive, we used the rest of the kit to bolt the fender strut back on.  (Note: the kit only comes with two bolts, although you need two for each side.  How Harley-Davidson expects you to attach this stuff with only two bolts I have absolutely no idea!  We used leftover parts from an old kit to finish the job.)

Harley-Davidson docking hardware for Detachable sissy bar

Once my actual brackets finally arrived, we set to work installing them.  Then we quickly realized that we really hadn’t needed the docking hardware kit because the rear bolt doesn’t need anything to thread to.  It just slides through the hole in the same manner as the turn signal bolt did and is held in place with a nylon lock nut on the inside.  Having already installed the replacement (threaded) inner bracket we were worried that we’d have to take it back off again, but the rear bolt for the Easy Bracket is only 5/16″ so it slid right through the 3/8″ threading and installed perfectly.  Altogether this step took about 15 minutes of pondering and about 5 minutes of actual work to complete…it is as easy as changing out 4 light bulbs.

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Easy Brackets

The brackets slid on easily, but were not so “easy” to remove.  They are machined so perfectly to exact specs that they are actually a very snug fit.  We couldn’t get them back off without banging on the bottom edge.  Not really wanting to have to bang on my saddlebags once they were installed, Jay ground out the edges of the holes just about 1/32″ for a little better ease of removal.

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Remember I said the back of the bags were not flat?  Well Jay came up with another ingenious idea to combat that problem.  He took some 3/4″ plywood and cut them out to the shape of the back of the bag, then he carefully routed out the curves from the “saddlebag side” of the board.  This created a new flat surface for mounting the brackets and also gave the bags themselves more rigid support.  We painted and lacquered the wooden forms before assembling everything.

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As anyone who has ever mounted saddlebags can probably attest to, positioning them properly is probably the most nerve-wracking, if not difficult, part of the job.  The saddlebags need to be aligned vertically, horizontally, rotationally, and in coordination with each other – all at the same time as being sure to clear the shocks, pipes, axle, swing arm, belt drive, and just about anything else you can imagine!  Once you actually get it aligned where you want, marking the bracket is pretty difficult too…since you have to reach around and get the pen in between the fender and the bag then make a mark without messing up any of your alignments!  This was also very awkward due to the fact that the bike was sitting on an angle on its kickstand.

Once we made the initial marks, we laid the bags out side-by-side and compared measurements, tweeked the positions a little, then re-drew a nice solid border around the easy brackets and marked the positions of the holes to be drilled.

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After drilling out the holes, we temporarily bolted the brackets to just the wooden forms so we could easily re-check the alignment on the bike.  We actually even hung the bags over the wooden forms to see how they would look all together.

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Mounting everything together required longer bolts than the ones that came with the kit, so we made a trip to the hardware store to get them.  While we were there we also picked up some stick-on rubber forms that we used to fill in some of the uneven spaces between the wood & the back of the saddlebag.  We drilled holes in the round ones and used them similar to a washer to absorb some of the vibration and make it a more structurally sound mount where the bolts went through.  Then we used the long strips around some of the edges for a nice snug fit.

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Easy Bracket Attached to Willie & Max Revolution Saddlebag

The last step was certainly the easiest.  Once everything was mounted where it needed to be, all that was left to do was slip the keyhole slots of the Easy Bracket over the mounting posts on the fender strut and drop the saddlebag into place.  This went off without a hitch…I totally understand how they got their name!  Reaching the key to engage the lock mechanism was less of a challenge than expected  because our wood plates filled in a lot of the saddlebag top “overhang” creating much better clearance for the key.

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Here’s the final product.  Now I am completely ready to “Go Places” this riding season.  I removed my tail bag and doubled my storage space at the same time (and I still have the option to use the luggage rack for more space if needed).  I rediscovered my bike’s sleek lines by opening up the back fender, and kept the minimalist look.  What do you think?

Dyna with Saddlebags

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Fat Rear End