2011 Too Fast Too Furious

It’s already the last night of the year and time for my inner reflections here on Road Captain USA! 2011 was busy and went by fast! I was hoping 2011 would be the year I could shake off the disturbing feelings left from the motorcycle accident that happened in 2009. It was not. In fact I witnessed another fatal motorcycle accident while driving to a doctor’s appointment. Not as disturbing as losing a dear friend but still disturbing to see a dead rider in the middle of an intersection and a motorcycle in flames in the middle of the road.

So we did not shake off the blues and ride to our hearts content as we were hoping to do. Instead we worked our butts off and didn’t ride nearly as much as we had wanted to. There were a lot of car road trips as well as a fair amount of weekend motorcycle trips… but nothing epic to write about. It was my last year as Director of First State Chapter and I put a lot of work into making sure it was a quality year for the chapter. We had a record number of overnight trips with Diana organising and leading more than half of them. My career seems to have turned up a notch and I worked harder at work than ever before. Between my responsibilities at work and my making HOG a volunteer job I was working all the time and have lost touch with fun. “Ride and Have Fun” was my mantra but now it doesn’t seem so easy to live it. I know how to make things fun for other people, but have never been good at having fun. Work, work, work! I made motorcycling into work! I don’t even like to ride anymore! I know, heresy! I have been on break from riding and hoping that backing off from the HOG chapter and starting fresh in the spring will be a good strategy. No cold weather riding this year; I haven’t done any riding since September. The tactic is to miss it so much that come spring I’ll be in love again with the open road.

There is a lot going on in my head regarding group riding and my involvement with HOG but I still can’t organise those thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I am still involved with HOG! In 2011 I helped John Hardison with a proposal for the 2012 Maryland Delaware rally proposal and the proposal was voted in. Diana and I are both serving on the 2012 rally committee. The rally is in 6 months and that will be our focus from now through mid June. In July and August we will attend two HOG rallies as participants. That should be fun!

We bought a 4×4 truck today! Our hope is this purchase opens up a new chapter in motorcycling for us called: Trailering! I know there are hard core riders who frown on trailering. Many of you proudly wear your “I rode to Daytona” and similar patches and turn your noses up at traler queens. I’m sure you can argue that riding to the destination IS the experience. Everyone is different! I’m not a biker! I’m a recreational rider and a Harley enthusiast. I don’t like to get up early and I don’t like to ride after dusk. I don’t want to travel the highways on my motorcycle with Diana knowing the fatality that can result from the smallest obstacle, misjudgement or cager at highway speeds. I do love traveling on my schedule, hitting the backroads and riding all day in the mountains with my wife (and sometimes friends). So trailering is appealing. The 4×4 pick up truck also opens up other passtimes like camping and boating which could enhance or even replace riding. I know, heresy!

In 2012 I will continue to work hard but I’m hoping to play hard too! I hope you can join us at the 2012 Maryland Delaware State Rally in Deep Creek Lake on June 14, 15, 16 and 17th at The Wisp Resort in McHenry, Maryland. Make your reservations now as the resort is filling up quick and we have special rates. Click here to go to the Wisp Resort website. There are only about 160 rooms available at the resort, so hurry!

Motorcyclist’s Legal Handbook

m legal handbook Click the pic for more info

Most motorcycle books fall into a catagory filled with similar books but this book is in a catagory by itself. The Motorcyclist’s Legal Handbook by Pat Hahn is aimed at keeping your driving record clean. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was expecting something a little more in depth. This is pretty simple, too simple: don’t break the law, keep a low profile and you shouldn’t have a problem with excessive points on your drivers license. If you do get stopped or receive a ticket, fight it. Pat Hahn gives you good advice on how to handle being stopped by the police and what to do about getting a ticket. The chapter where Pat explains how to fight a ticket was the most interesting. I’m the type of person who just pays the fine because I did break the law and I got caught. Pat has a point that traffic police have a pretty easy gig nailing speeders. At any given time a number of drivers all around us are speeding and somehow you get singled out and receive a ticket for going what you may feel was not excessive. There are so many laws you are likely to be breaking some law and the police officer can probably ticket you for something no matter what. Most people like me usually pay the fine without a fight thus making this traffic ticketing business much more profitable for the government than sending police out to track down hard criminals. Like jury duty, Pat feels it is our American duty to exercise our right to argue against the ticket. Pat has good strategies on how to pay the fine but not receive points on your driving record which leads to higher insurance costs. This advice alone is worth more than the cost of the book.

This is a 240 page book and half the book is a state by state referance to the motorcycle related laws. I like the quality of the gloss coated paper and great pictures at the beginning of each chapter. Nice photography! I prefer my books to use a serif faced type for the text to make it more readable where the letters flow from one to another. With the exception of the sub title “How to handle legal situations from the mundane to the insane” the entire book headlines, text and graphs are in a sans serif font. I give the publishers a demerit for that! Yes, I know my blog is guilty also. Sorry!

Pat is good at research and making cool graphs but I wish this book covered more legal situations as the sub title promised. Here is another book review I did on a different Pat Hahn book in 2008, click here.

One Percenter Encyclopedia

The One Percenter Encyclopedia Click the pic for more info

I’m a big fan of Bill Hayes! I really enjoyed reading his second book: The Orignal Wild Ones – Tales of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club.  After I reviewed it in January Bill extended an offer to me to let me help him with his third book, but he never took me up on my acceptance. Maybe I’m too outside the three patch community to be involved. I was actually relieved when I was not enlisted to help. Less than a year later Bill’s new book, The One Percenter Encyclopedia, is now available. Bill, if you are out there reading this and you decide to follow up with a second edition, please give me another chance to help.

It would be great if there were an encyclopedia that told you everything behind the 1% lifestyle. To 99% of us what really happens in club life will remain a mystery. Unfortunately Bill’s new book does not reveal the rituals, traditions or secrets of club life as a one percenter. It doesn’t even attempt to define the term. This new book has nine chapters that list many of the most notable motorcycle clubs from A to Z. Some entries are a one liner and some are more meaty with interviews, pictures and a history. Of course the big 5 make for the most interesting. Other clubs of interest that grab my attention are clubs mentioned in other books and documentaries. For example there are the Aliens from Brooklyn mentioned in John Hall’s Riding on the Edge. The 13 Rebels, Yellow Jackets, Sharks and Galloping Goose mentioned in The Original Wild Ones also by Bill Hayes. The Hessians, Ghost Mountain Riders, Top Hatters, Devil Dolls and POBOB’s seen in the very informative three hour DVD documentary version of American Biker which preceded Bill’s first book of the same name. The Vagos covered in Terry The Tramp. I was surprised to find out the Pistoleros exist in the real world and not just in the movie Hell Ride. I was also surprised at some of the club names such as the Peckerwoods, Finks,  No Name and The End. The Delaware based Thunderguards are mentioned along with a quote from our local newspaper: The News Journal. The newspaper quote mentions Wilmington city officials shut down the Thunderguards social hall after a triple shooting took place nearby. It does not say if the motorcycle club members were involved. Like most of what happens behind the club life curtain this and many more mysteries will remain a mystery even after you read this book. At least to 99% of us!

Additionally this books includes an interesting Forward by Dr Stephen “Skinz” Kinzey, an Afterward by Gypsy Raoul and a Conclusion. I think the best part is a bonus in the form of a Bibliography and Book Review by Gypsy Raoul and Bill Hayes. Bill breaks motorcycle books down into catagories… which I have always wanted to do myself. Furthermore his reading collection is much wider than mine and he recommends some books that I am going to have to get. You’ll have to get this book for yourself or wait for my reviews on these books to find out more about them. For now, my lips are sealed!

Visit www.BikerTruth.com, my Amazon store or www.Motorbooks.com for great books and DVD’s about the sport and culture of motorcycling.

1%er Biographys Kick Ass

I enjoyed Hell’s Angel about Sonny Barger. I’m not sure if this was the first ever biography of a 1%er but I think it is the best. This kind of book in my oppinion is it’s own catagory: The 1%er Biography.

hell’s Angel by Sonny barger Click the pic for more info

Most of the books in this catagory are written by a coauthor because most biker’s don’t have the professional writing skills to create a best seller, but they sure do have a hell of a story to tell! In my humble oppinion the coauthor/biker team usually does not make for high quality reading. The chapters are made up of unrelated life memories and experiences organized into chronological order creating a compilation of that person’s most exciting parties, battles and run ins with the law. That said I can not strongly reccomend any other specific book like this except the one mentioned above… but I still enjoy reading them! It’s like a train wreck or bad accident, I can’t stop looking or reading!

You can’t blame me! Why wouldn’t you be able to put such a book down? Because: no one else knows what really happens behind the Motorcycle Club curtain except true patch holders and they aren’t going to tell you! It’s against club policy. There are a few bad ass shitkickers out there who lived the life and dared to put it down on paper and have it published for the rest of us to read. These lives are filled with bar room brawls, shootings, drugs and of course wild women. 99% of us live normal lives according to our civilization but 1% dare live outside the confines of accepted rules and practices. They are the Outlaws! We think we are free, but these cowboys on their two wheel steeds push freedom to the limit and sometimes have to forfeit their freedom as a result of the Outlaw lifestyle. These warriors lived their lives by their own rules outside the law and their stories are fascinating!

Terry The Tramp Click the pic for more info

Most recently I read Terry The Tramp – The Life and Dangerous Times of a One Percenter in hardcover published by Motorbooks. A long time ago I read Outlaw Biker – My Life at Full Throttle in paperback. Another not so well written but fascinating story full of tales from the other side of the MC curtain.

Outlaw Biker Click the pic for more info

The above books takes the author’s life experiences and strings them together into a disjointed collection of chaotic events that can blow the normal squares mind! There is another book from Motorbooks that comes to mind worth mentioning but it doesn’t exactly fit this catagory. The author, John Hall, evolved from outlaw to college professor after being educated by Penn State while serving time. He has the writing skills! He wrote his own story and it kicks ass! It reads like an excellent tale about the coming of age of a young biker. It’s a great story and each chapter leads naturally to the next creating a fantastic novel. Click here for my review of Riding on the Edge – A Motorcycle Outlaw’s Tale.

2012 Custom Motorcycle Calendars

2012 choppers and bobbers calendar 

Order your custom motorcycle calendar for 2012 by clicking on the pictures shown here. Perfect for home, office, shop or even your man cave.

custom motorcycle calendar

2012 Harley-Davidson Calendars

2012 harley-davidson archives collection wall calendar 2012 Harley-Davidson Wall Calendar 

It’s that time of year to purchase your new 2012 Harley-Davidson wall calendar for your work space. Choose between three different Harley-Davidson calendars by clicking on these pictures to purchase through my Amazon store.

2012 harley-Davidson calendar