WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

When this guy goes, he really goes

By James - 7/20/2006

From Yahoo News

An Italian scooter rider fleeing from police hit the throttle and racked up a record penalty of 144 points off his 20-point driving licence in a few minutes of reckless riding.

After the 15-minute chase, his list of offences had grown: not stopping when police ordered, running a red light, riding the wrong way down city-centre streets, riding on pedestrian footpaths and speeding.

He was also found to be riding without rear-view mirrors, insurance or lights, and with a licence plate incorrectly attached to his vehicle.

I can’t believe that he broke as many laws as he did and not injure anyone. That is a remarkable task.


Bikers know what it is like it be brushed aside

By James - 7/16/2006

The state of South Dakota is getting a lot of press with Stugis coming up and I ran across an article describing the protests over a proposed “biker bar", campground, and concert venue to rival the Buffalo Chip campground.

The protests stem from the proximity of the bar to Native American sacred grounds of the Lakota and Cheyenne tribes. A second development that is encroaching on the grounds is a gun range. Both of these developments are noisy and would interfere withthe fasting and praying that the area is currently used for. While I expect that there is a lot of prejudice against gun nuts and the stereotypical “Wild One” biker, both of these developments will be very noisy.

I am all for a place to have a good time but I hope the sacred grounds are protected. As a biker I know what it is like to be brushed aside for the convienence of the many. On the road it is convienent to change lanes without signalling. Off the road it is convienent to make presumptoins of my financial situation or social skills. There are things that society lets us do, mainly because of the guilt that they kill bikers at an alrming rate. They let us split lanes. They let us go through the carpool lane with a single rider. They let us park on the sidewalk and rarely ticket us.

These “perks” may make it better to ride a motorcycle but it does not address the real problem. It does not make cagers view motorcycles as real forms of transport. All anyone wants is equality and respect. That is why I would like to see these sacred grouns protected. Nothing is going to correct the wrongs of previous generations but we can start to do the right thing today and why we need education and accountability. Nobody can live on excuses and perks. Everybody needs respect and equality.


The Helmet-Terrorists Hold our Head Hostage

By James - 7/14/2006

According to this article Ben Roethlisberger is not using his celebrity status to endorse or condem helmetless riding. Some thought that because of the severity of his injuries he would be shamed into doing public service anouncements.

“I don’t think that’s my place,” the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said in a television interview Friday.

“Some people feel that, you know, I probably should be doing that and being a big advocate for that,” Roethlisberger said from Los Angeles. “But for me, I’m going to let people make their own decisions … So I don’t think you’ll see me doing any kind of billboards or advertisements.”

I am both dissapointed and impressed with how he is handling this incident. I am disapointed because Ben was riding faster than he was willing to crash. Someone with so much to lose needs to take reasonable precautions to guard his future. I am impressed because I am so sick and tired of celebrities using their publicity to jam their political views down our throats. I hope all atheletes, movie stars and lip-syncers take a page out of Ben’s playbook. Do what you are good at, entertaining me, and stop complaining about problems you barely understand. Let people make their own decisions. Following the reasoning of a superstar will only get you into trouble.

I can’t stand the people who are scared into their position, like supporting helmet laws only after having their face rearranged by a crash. It is so transparent. Since when is fear a good reason to do something. People who use fear to motivate are called terrorists. Good for Ben to not give in to such tactics.

So who should we listen to? Well kids, listen to your parents. The trouble is, a lot of kids have crappy parents. Just today I saw on the morning news a sad story.

A boy who died after the dirt bike he was riding was struck by a sport utility vehicle on a West Oakland street early Friday morning was not wearing a helmet and was riding the bike without a headlight, Oakland police told CBS 5.

Mikal Robinson, 15, of Oakland, suffered serious injuries in the 2:15 a.m. collision and died at Highland Hospital at 5 a.m., according to police.

The driver of the SUV won’t face charges, according to Alexander.

Usually I am all over the clueless drivers of cages, but in this case the accicent was clearly not the cager’s fault. I have to ask the parents of the boy, Why was a 15 year old out at 2:15 in the morning? Why was he riding a stolen, according to the morning news, minibike, without a headlight in the middle of the night? And why did they not require him to wear a helmet? The police are still investigating but I think they need to be investigating the boy’s parents for being neglectful.


With motorcycle buddies like this, who needs enemies?

By James - 7/11/2006

RAPID CITY – A 34-year-old Rapid City man was speeding and had been drinking when he suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle crash, according to the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

But that is not the worst part, well ok, that is really bad, but I couldn’t belive what his buddies did when they saw him crash . . .

There were two other people on motorcycles who were traveling with Lester. They witnessed the accident but fled the scene, according to the patrol. They have since been located and interviewed.
First Sgt. Don Allen (said) they had been drinking as well and feared arrest so they drove off and left Lester. Charges are possible against the other cyclists, Allen said.

Pick your riding buddies carefully, because you never know when they will be picking up pieces of you off the roadway.

From The Black Hills Pioneer


You girls better hang on!

By James -

You think you have girl problems?
From Police say biker fled after losing passenger

Witnesses said Broughton and his passenger, Mary Morris, of Gettysburg, left the parking lot of Earl’s Inn on a motorcycle at 1:44 a.m., Pennsylvania State Police at Gettysburg said.

Shortly after pulling from the parking lot, Broughton accelerated quickly, causing Morris to be thrown from the bike, police said.

Police said Broughton stopped briefly, but then fled east on York Street.

I don’t think there will be a second date.


Motorcycle Inspiration: Best of Craigslist

By James - 7/10/2006

Craigslist is a community policed classifieds site that is expanding all over the world. Started in San Francisco during the dot-com boom, I have been using it for years. I bought all four of my motorcycles through Craigslist and they have a section for “Best of Craigslist". Here are some of the motorcycle inspired posts in bite-sized prose:

Kinky encounter in the grocery store
There you were, in produce. I was bagging my broccoli. You were feeling up an avocado. The creak of your leather jacket and the sheen of your boots caught my attention…

Basic physics - was the attraction to me that strong?
I know you’re out there. I dream of you. You remember: you were in the slowest lane on the bay bridge that day, and I was in the lane next to you. I was cruising along, listening to my favorite song, when you decided you wanted to be in my space…

please don’t buy my motorcycle - $4100
I don’t want to sell it and you probably would crash it anyway. I mean, motorcycles are dangerous. Only the foolhardy go fast on two wheels. When I bought this bike, my dad (a former cop) solemnly informed me that “There are two kinds of motorcycle riders–those who have crashed and those who are gonna crash.” Although his tight little adage has proven inacurrate in my experience, I believe that his message rings true. So, please, think carefully before you buy my bike…

Looking in the mirrow this morning I went “Eeeee Gad!” Being in shape is nice but time to get a tan on that ghost-like body LOL! So I thought why not have fun while bringing a full body tan back on!? Here’s my plan: I’m an attractive guy looking for a fit female who owns/rides a motorcycle to join me for rides to Bolinas…

My CL Date (WTF!)
I’ve changed a couple of names to protect the innocent/guilty. So this is about a girl I met on CL but not in the typical manner. Any input would be nice. Background: I’d been thinking about buying a motorcycle—the upright kind, not a crotch rocket – and so I was looking at used bikes on CL…

Hey Crackhead
On Wednesday morning I emerged from my girlfriend’s building by U.N. Plaza to find that you had sawed the tops off both the sparkplugs on my motorcycle. At the time, I had no idea why anyone would do that. Other than the sparkplugs, the bike was untouched. Some kind of bizarre vandalism? A fraternity prank gone awry? I had no idea…

My New Ride, or Seeing What Life Is Like Inside a Cage
6 Months ago today I made a life decision and chucked my car. Partly because I couldn’t afford it, you know, outrageous insurance, war for gas, repairs I can’t do anymore (govt. and Detroit has seen to that), Bush, etc. But mostly because I bought a motorcycle…


US roads more dangerous than Iraq?

By James - 7/8/2006

I read this article from Harlan Kentucky that saddened me and put things into perspective.

An Army soldier home on leave from Iraq died yesterday from injuries he suffered in a motorcycle crash in eastern Kentucky.

Sergeant Jonathan Howard had served two years in Iraq and was on a 30-day leave when he crashed into a car on U-S 119. . .

He was hit by a Cadillac that crossed the centerline and struck his motorcycle.

Police say a grand jury in Harlan County will will review the results of the death investigation and decide of charges are warranted.

Someone who survived two years in Iraq comes home to enjoy some time away from the roadside bombs, the morter attacks, the small arms fire, and insugents and is killed because we give people a licence who are not capable to maneuver their land yacht on public roads. Do I have to mention the irony, or are you tuned into it?

The sad part is that Sergeant Howard died because it was convienent for the other driver. More likely than not, the cager was more engaged in their cell phone conversation, or was late because of poor planning, or some other excuse for driving beyond their ability.

Four recent studies conducted from 1994 - 2004 from the United States and United Kingdom examined the causes of auto accidents. The top four causes are:

  1. Human Behavior
  2. Road Maitenence (Includes debris in the road)
  3. Road Design
  4. Manufacturer Defect

All four studies loosely used these categories and found that human behavior was the cause of automobile accidents between 86% and 95% of the time. The next two hardly register over 5% and defects cause accidents between 0.2% and 0.4% of the time.

Only when we put human life above convienence will we require stricter testing and more training before people get their licence.


Mailbag: Learn How to Build a Motorcycle

By James - 7/1/2006

My husband is interested in learning to build motorcycles. How’s the best way to get started? I wondered if there’s some type of school or training program that I could surprise him with for his birthday? Any suggestions?
- Dena

There are two things I would suggest to learn how to build motorcycles.

The first is read. There are books about building custom bikes and there are manuals that deal with the engines, braking systems and everything else. Here are the most popular books about building choppers on Amazon:
How to Build Choppers - Amazon.com

The second thing he should do is practice. There are “bootcamps” and there are aprenticeships, but if this is just a hobby those may be too instensive for the weekend builder. The best option for you seems to be community college or university auto shop. For a fraction of what it would cost to rent or buy all the tools you need, including welders and paint sprayers, you will have access to all the equipment and an instructor to show you how to do it.

Don’t start from scratch on the first bike you build. Buy a cheap “clunker” and bring it back to life. Make sure it is cheap so you can experiment and fix it if you mess up. Start on a older and/or smaller Japanese V twin and hone your skills until you are confident in them and then you can reburbish a bigger motorcycle, get a kit bike, or start from scratch.

Lastly, unlike the motorcycle shows on TV, slow and steady is the way to build a motorcycle. Making sure it is done right is the most important thing in bike building. Don’t rush it. Your life as well as your passenger’s depends on it.

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