Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Are you maintaining your ABS?

No matter what your summer beach body looks like, you  
should know that ABS (aka Anti-Lock Braking System) - if you have it - is important. (I apologize if you were hoping this blog was going to talk about abdominal muscles!)

Do you know if your bike has ABS? The technology has been around since 2005 in Harley-Davidson Touring & Police models, V-Rod models got it in 2008, and today ABS is an option (if not standard) for every 2-wheeled motorcycle Harley makes. 

Look for the ABS module in the space in front of the motor, between the down tubes of your bike's frame, just behind the front wheel.

Or check out your front brake caliper - there will be a wire running alongside the brake line.
Still not sure if your bike has ABS? Just type your bike's VIN into FXCHD's "Contact Us" webpage and I'll look it up for you.

Ok, so back to maintenance: the memories made while riding your motorcycle will last a lifetime! The brake fluid.... not so much!! It is right in the H-D owner's manual that you should have your brake fluid changed every two years - no matter what your riding style is.

Regardless of who made your motorcycle, your bike will take care of you as much as you take care of it. Changing your brake fluid is part of the cost of properly maintaining your bike - just like oil & filter changes, brake pads, tires, etc.
That's because the "brake fluid ages and absorbs water over time. This reduces its performance and ability to protect the internal components of the brake system. If left unaddressed, it may eventually lead to a loss of brake function." <directly from Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. (it don't get more official than that!!)

And, unless you're a certified mechanic with the necessary 
tools, specifically Digital Tech II, and knowledge to replace your brake fluid as recommended, I urge you to take your bike to your local authorized Harley-Davidson dealer. 

This is where that old saying comes in: If you think it's expensive to hire an expert, try hiring an amateur. Going fast is fun, but being able to stop when you want is necessary for motorcycle riding. Hire the expert and have us service your bike.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ride Motorcycles and be Happier - 10 Ways

At times I'm your typical Northern California girl - I love yoga, definitely a nature lover, I'm into Zen-like thinking, and I subscribe to a number of "feel good" blogs.

One Elephant Journal article I read recently was titled 10 ways to Choose Happiness. (However I'm not a complete "hippie" because my first thought was, "One of them better involve riding a motorcycle!!") 

And, while the author didn't mention motorcycles in the article at all (how DARE they!), as it turns out all the bullet points can be achieved when you're a motorcyclist. Here, I'll show you: 

  • Detach: On my motorcycle all I have to do is twist the throttle and I detach myself from all the negatives of my day.
  • Give & Receive: By joining NNY H.O.G. (our local Harley Owners Group chapter) I am able to give advice and mentorship to those around me. And the camaraderie & great memories I receive in return? Priceless.
  • Appreciate Yourself: "Give yourself some love on a daily basis." Easily done when I'm riding, or thinking about riding, or planning a ride, or reading about riding.... You get the point.
  • Connect with Nature: Riding a motorcycle is
    "You in the mini-van - how long you in for?"
    completely different than riding in a car. In a car the windshield & cabin act to keep you in a cage, detached from what is around you - like you're watching a movie. When you're riding a motorcycle, you are IN the scene rather than staring at it from afar. You see & smell much more on a motorcycle than you ever do in a car. You're definitely connecting with Nature on a very intimate level.
  • Be In The Moment: To be a good motorcyclist you need to be focused on what you're doing, NOW.
    What happened 10 minutes ago, last week and last year all melt into the background. And the only future you need to be aware of is which road you're going to take.
  • Love Yourself: The fact that I didn't reach my weight goal, or that my teeth aren't going to pass the "tissue test" or that I didn't get many "likes" on my Facebook posts, doesn't matter in the least to my Harley-Davidson!! But seriously I don't really care about any of that stuff because I learned a long time ago that none of that matters. Thanks in large part to riding, I've come to know I'm beautiful. Period.
  • Practice Gratitude: It's easy to complain, but then
    I realize how blessed I am - I can simply jump on my bike and ride away from it all and not everyone can.
  • Get Inspired Daily: I'll think back to Harley-Davidson's four founding fathers who, over a century ago, had the foresight to start a company that evolved into a way of life that I so enjoy. Listening to other Bikers tell their story of their favorite road is another way I'm inspired.
  • Focus on the Good: I was stuck in traffic on a hot July day, getting caught up at how I should have
    taken another route - getting too focused on the bad. I started looking around and there was a straight up Amish guy sitting close by, just looking at me on my bike as I sat sweating. All of a sudden he gives me the biggest smile and flashes me a 'biker wave'!!! The best one I've ever gotten came out of something I didn't initially see as good... 
  • Practice Self-care: Putting on my riding gear and making sure my bike is well maintained certainly rev up my mind, body & spirit!!
So there you have it, when you ride a motorcycle you're a happier person. It's true that money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy you a Harley, which is pretty much the same thing! 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

8 Questions Answered About Bikers You're Too Scared To Ask

If you're within the North American continent, then at some point you probably have encountered a Biker as they were pumping gas into their bike, crossing on the ferry, at a stoplight, etc. But ever since Life Magazine published that article about the "Hollister Riot," and the movies (Wild One)
and television shows (Sons of Anarchy) that have followed, the general public has been a little leery of the so-called Biker crowd. 

It's only natural that you have questions about these black leather clad men & women, but didn't know who to ask. Certainly most Bikers seem very cold, so it's only natural you want to keep your distance... so here's everything you've wanted to know about them but were afraid to ask.

What exactly is a Biker?
There is no easy answer to this one... you might as well try to define the meaning of life while you're at it. But Motorcycle-Central.com broke it down into 8 variations for you. However, the majority of Bikers aren't going to "fit" exclusively into just one category. For instance, I see myself as a combo of Brand Loyalist, Cruiser, Philosopher and a small bit of Mechanic.

What does "KSU" mean?
When Bikers are organizing a group ride for charity or for fun, we will have a time to meet up at a preset location and a KSU time, usually 30 to 90 minutes after the meet-up time. "KSU" is an acronym for "KickStands Up" - or a shortened version of "the ride will leave at."  

Why do Bikers wear black ALL the time, even when it's 100°F outside?
The easy answer is that black doesn't show dirt... we are smashing bugs (and sometimes even birds!) with our riding gear. Gas & grease are also easily accessible while riding a motorcycle, so black items of clothing won't show the stains and dirt. Plus with some of the newer technology, like 'coldblack', wearing black in the heat of summer isn't as bad as it once was.

Why do some Bikers wave at each other?
The "Biker Wave" is nearly as old as motorcycling itself. It's
just something Bikers do as they pass each other while riding (I've even "Biker Waved" at riders from my driveway while washing my bike!). It's a way to show camaraderie to others who share the same passion for life on two wheels. But not all riders wave and as a rider, there are certain times you can't wave (your left hand is busy with the clutch), and that's ok too - there's no hard & fast rules to doing the Biker Wave. Except for this dog - bow wow.

Is it ok to sit on a motorcycle?
Only if you're in a dealership showroom is it ever ok just to sit on a motorcycle, and even then you should ask first or wait until someone offers. If the motorcycle is on the street or at a rally, then the rule that my dad taught me is the one you should follow: Look with your eyes, not with your hands (or butt).

What do all the patches mean?
And again, a question that doesn't have just one, straight-forward answer. A "Broken Wings" patch can either mean the rider had a crash and/or broken bones. Fat Boy, Heritage, Dyna & Sportster (and more) are different Harley bikes. You can also have Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead and Evo which are different types of Harley motors. Two-piece and three-piece patch sets can show that the Biker is in a motorcycle club or association. Then there's also the 1% patch. Here's a webpage that goes into a little more detail.

Now that you mention it, what is a "1%er"?
Going back to 1947 and what is now known as the American Motorcycle Association made the comment that 99% of motorcyclists are law abiding citizens - which implied that 1%
are not. The 1% of motorcyclists are the ones who ride hard no matter what the weather, party hard, not "main-stream" type of people. 
     Then there are 1%er "Biker Gangs" - Hell's Angels, Outlaws, Bandidos, Pagans, etc. These motorcycle clubs follow a lifestyle that work for a certain type of personality. There's camaraderie, danger, living on the outskirts of society, no-apologies, a bond stronger than you have with blood relatives and a dedication to each other than most people will never understand. 
     If you encounter a Biker with a three piece club patch and a 1%er patch and/or tattoo, you definitely do not want to f*ck with them and now is not the time to prove just how tough you are. Just give them the same respect you would anyone else. 

Do I have to be a 1%er in order to be a true Biker?
Short answer: No. However most Bikers embody many of the 1%er characteristics: you love to ride your motorcycle - even a day riding in the rain is still riding; you help your fellow rider when you can - especially if they're stuck on the side of the road; you like to hang out and party with people who share the same passion. All you need is two wheels.

Do you have a question about Bikers that I failed to answer here? Ask it below in the comments and I will answer to the best of my ability.