Saturday, December 31, 2016

For auld lang syne, my friends 💖

Glancing in the rear-view at 2016
Well - here we are, another year older and hopefully wiser. Like everyone else, I like to take a quick review of the passing year. But in true Biker fashion, it'll be just a glance in the rear-view mirror!

Is it me or did this year go by fast? With the passing of so many celebrities this year it serves as a good reminder that our lives - celebrity status or not - are all too short. So we've really got to live, laugh & love while we can!

Me & Nancy at Bonnie Castle for the NY H.O.G. Rally
And part of what living means to me is riding my motorcycle with friends. With the NY H.O.G. Rally being in Alexandria Bay this past July, I met lots of new riding buddies. A group of NNY H.O.G. and Fairfax, VA H.O.G. chapter members even rode down to the Baseball Hall of Fame (even though I live in NY, my team is the SF Giants, baby!!) 

Riding out to Boston for the H-D Annual Dealer Meeting and the reveal of their newest motor: the Milwaukee-Eight.
Trying the new Milwaukee-Eight motor

Thanks to the Watertown Chrome Divas & Azz Dogs - they rode along with me and helped lead the Red Cross Ride. 

Last but not least I froze my butt riding out to meet Adam Sandoval & Scooter of #ScootinAmerica. ICYMI Adam was on a quest to ride around the lower 48, going to every Harley-Davidson dealership to raise money for Veterans Families and the Wounded Warrior Project.

As part of the New Year's traditions, I asked the guys
Me, Adam & Scooter
I work with if they had any resolutions. Usually they don't, but if they do it's to ride more miles - which is the only resolution I have.

Of course I'm already planning lots of rides for 2017 - I just hope I can fit them all in!! I'd love to go to the H-D Museum, which I can roll in with the National H.O.G. Rally. A little bit closer to me is the Revolution H.O.G. Rally. I can't forget the 10th Annual Ta-Ta Watertown Chrome Diva Ride! And since the Annual Dealer Meeting will be in LA, I'd love to ride most of Route 66 rather than fly (keeping my fingers crossed on that one!). 

As promised, that's it! Short and sweet. Now it's your turn: What riding did you do this year? Are you going to try and get more miles in 2017? Where do you hope to be riding to? Don't be shy!

And so, I'll close this last Life Behind Bars blog for 2016, from all of us at FX Caprara Harley-Davidson: Let's drink "a cup o'kindness yet, for auld lang syne!" Cheers!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

6 ways to easily customize any Harley

In just over 10 weeks we get to "Spring Forward"  which means the riding season will be soon after (at least for those of us up North). 

But we've got to get there from here first.... What's a Biker to do? At FX Caprara Harley-Davidson we like to Customize! (Check out the bike we're working on now.)

It can be as small as axle nut covers to as big as custom paint sets - it's all up to you. (And you can always ask Dennis or Kate in our Parts Department for advice!) One word of warning tho- once you start it's not easy to stop!

Now, if you're planning on using this as a reference on what to buy your significant other, please note you'll still need to know what year and model s/he has (i.e.: 2016 Road Glide Special or 2016 FLTRXS). BUT most Bikers tend to be real picky as to what they want on their bike, so unless they've said, "I want the Number One Skull Derby Cover," it's best to gift them a H-D Gift Card and let them pick it out themselves.

1) Mirrors, grips, levers and more.
Mirrors are very easy to put on - so simple I can do it! Levers moderately so, and grips a little bit more. But these are the little things people tend to notice as they get closer to your bike. Heated grips, no matter where you live, make riding nice when the weather turns cold!

2) Foot controls - floorboards & pegs, brake pedals, shifter knob and linkage.
Floorboards and foot pegs are more of a comfort item (at least they are for me!) and are easy to install. Brake pedals & shifter knobs are simple to put on too, but shifter linkage is a little more involved.

Harley even has entire hand & foot control collections -
the Slipstream Collection is just one.

3) Fuel tank: gas caps, knee pads, tank bras and more.
Providing the most surface area on the bike, the fuel tank (or air box with the V-Rod) is usually the first or second spot on the bike where one's eye goes to. Gas caps are pretty easy to put on, unless it's a flush mount or also has a fuel gauge built in.

4) Headlamp trim rings and visors.
If you're wanting to enter your bike in some bike shows, then it's the little things that will make the difference. That's where these come in - the aesthetic value outweighs the usefulness, but still it's a nice add on that shows you care about the look of your bike.

5) Air cleaner covers, derby/primary covers, timer covers.
The motor is generally the first part of a bike that most people look at, so it's a good place to start customizing. And, like the hand & foot control collections, Harley has collections so they can all match. Not saying they have to all match! Again, this is usually particular to the Biker who owns the bike. If you're getting a derby/primary cover, don't forget the gasket (sure you could re-use the old one, but that's like putting on the same underwear after a shower..... just saying).

6) Windshields, windshield bags and trim.
If you're bike doesn't have a windshield, you usually can get one that is detachable. Some even have windshield bags that will fit which make a handy place to store sunglasses, keys, etc. If your bike is from the touring family, then you can switch out your stock windshield for a "Wind Splitter", and maybe add a windshield bag (sometimes depends on the windshield). Windshield trim is a nice touch to really 'complete' the bike. 

So there you have it- six easy ways to customize your bike while the snow flies. That's one nice thing about living up North- taking advantage of the down time to work on my bike! Check out Harley's Inspiration Gallery for more ideas.

Monday, December 26, 2016

T'was the night before Christmas - the Biker version

Here's another Christmas Poem I came across the other day and, even though it's the day after, I'm going to share this now rather than wait another year [life is short ya know!].

It's similar to the Christmas classic "A visit from St. Nicholas" (aka "T'was the night before Christmas"). Like the last poem, I don't know the author of it... What I do
know is I posted in on my Facebook page and they were kind enough to remind me about it in my "memories." 

I actually did a very small version of this myself - see the picture on the right - but this is the entire poem done up in "Biker" style. So here it is:

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the garages, not a motorcycle was rumbling,
except for Santa Claus's.

The leather was hung in the closet with care in hopes that nice weather soon would be there. Our bikes were all nestled snug under their covers with visions of blacktop and burning up rubber.

With Momma in her bandana and I in my skull cap, we had just settled down for a long winters nap. When out on the lawn, arose such a rumble - I sprang from the bed and I started to grumble.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear? A pack of motorcycles, with riders in gear! With one old rider so lively and quick I knew in a moment it must be a biker named Nick.

He was dressed in Red Leather, from his head to his foot and his clothes were all tarnished with bugs and road soot. A bundle of chrome he had flung on his back - down the chimney he came, carrying a big red sack.

He spoke not a word but went straight to his work. As he filled all the bike boots, then turned with a jerk, and laying a finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his bike, to his team gave a sign. They all cracked their throttles and got into a line. "Now Harley, now Honda, Now Triumph and Indian; on Kawi, on Suzuki, on Yamaha and Victory."

But I heard him exclaim as he roared out of sight:

"Keep the rubber side down and have a good ride!"

Monday, December 19, 2016

To Our Military Men & Women, active & retired: THANK YOU (not a big enough word)

Even though I've never served I understand better than most
L to R: My daughter, son & husband at my son's
graduation from Marine Corp Boot Camp, Nov. 2013
the sacrifices members of the U.S. Military Armed Forces make. I come from a military family: my father & half-brother both served as I was growing up. My husband served 18 years as an Army Infantryman, enduring six deployments - twice to both Afghanistan and Iraq, before he was medically discharged. And now my son is serving in the Marine Corp, currently deployed to Japan - his first Christmas not at home.

When I read this poem I immediately knew I had to share it here. It came to me from a friend of a friend of a friend, so I'm not sure who wrote it. But I have a feeling that the author would rather have our men & women of our military and their families remembered before s/he. 

A Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love, I would sleep,
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, but I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, 
and I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, a lone figure stood his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, 

perhaps a Marine, 
huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, 
he looked up and smiled, standing watch over me, 
and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

Put down your pack; brush the snow from your sleeve-
you should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
to the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "It’s really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line, that separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore, I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before.
My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December."
Then he sighed, 
"That's a Christmas Gram always remembers."

"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures; he's sure got her smile." 

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, the red, white, and blue... 
an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and 
the being alone, away from my family, 
my house and my home. 
I can stand at my post through the rain 
and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole 
with little to eat. 
I can carry the weight of killing another,
or lay down my life for my sister or brother,
who stand at the front against any and all.
To ensure for all time that 
this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "Harbor no fright. Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least? Give you money," I asked, "Or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
 for being 

away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
to fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
to stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
that we mattered to you, as you mattered to us."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Cowboys & Indians - there is no a difference!

Those who know me could use the term "Harley Snob" to describe
me. I'm a person who slavishly admires the Harley-Davidson brand and can be condescending or overbearing to others. (But I'm definitely not this version.)

As a horse crazy kid growing up in the somewhat wild-west of Northern California back in the day (1970's), I always played the part of the cowboy, even though there is supposedly a small amount of Potawatomie blood in my veins. Tom Boy, always in the dirt, looking for trouble, never quitting, and my mom had a tough challenge getting me in a skirt or dress pretty well sums up my childhood. It was no real big surprise to anyone in my family that I became a fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles from an early age as well.

"But there is this one motorcycle brand that gets my gears grinding practically every time I hear or see their commercial...."

This does not mean that I believe all other motorcycle brands are crap. Honestly! I still have friends that ride metric bikes and the occasional 
Spyder rider. And I will do a "Biker Wave" to all on two or three wheels.

Especially since FX Caprara Harley-Davidson also has Honda Motorcycles, Can-Am/BRP and Arctic Cat Snowmobiles & ATVS under our roof. (Side note: all manufacturers had to give their permission to do so, and each brand is clearly separated in it's own area.)

But there is this one motorcycle brand that gets my gears grinding practically every time I hear or see their commercial, and it's because of Indian's claim that they are "America's First Motorcycle Company." 

"I read it all the way through, but it's when I got down to the last two paragraphs that I was reminded about one simple thing...."

Even though they started in 1901 (whereas Harley-Davidson started in 1903), they actually closed the doors to their factory in 1953. Since then they've gone through six - count 'em! - SIX corporate successions, with Polaris Industries (who got their start in snowmobiles) being the most current.

Harley-Davidson is the oldest, continuously operated motorcycle manufacturer in America. Hands down. Period.

So, when I saw this blog titled: I can't let Dad sell his Softail about the author's dad asking him out to an Indian Demo Event, my blood pressure went up a notch. I mean, let the man sell his Harley for any other brand of motorcycle except for an Indian!

I read it all the way through, but it's when I got down to the last two paragraphs that I was reminded about one simple thing: 
It really doesn't matter what you ride; 
it only matters that you ride.

To all those who I may have offended in the past with my condescending attitude towards any motorcycle without a Bar & Shield, my sincerest apologies. I offer my 'Biker Wave' in peace and say, "Let's go Ride!"