Motorcycle Riders Company In Odenton is Gone

Last week, the motorcycle repair and retail shop called Motorcycle Riders Company, 1099 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD 21113 closed its doors.  It was a sad day for me when I saw it.  I had planned on taking my 05 Harley there for a change of fluids.  Mike’s team had put on a set of white walls on my bike last season for me.  I wanted to work with Mike and MRC to produce a podcast sponsored by them.  I am sad it never happened.

Independent businesses like this one are a rarity.  Good ones even more so.  I don’t know why it closed but my guesses would be that although the service was great the numbers didn’t show it. I hope to get the owner on if possible to give us the inside scoop.  I wanted to add podcasting to Mikes marketing efforts but like many small businesses he didn’t know what he didn’t know.  In my mind, I was going to be the motorcycle podcaster that advertised his shop, his Friday night events and specials. He was working it.  He had the support.  He had a community.  I don’t think I convinced him though.  If I was as committed to my theory, as I believed I could be, podcasted on site anyway.  Something about being told “no” early in your creative journey, I guess.  Two Harley Davidson dealers locally weren’t that amendable either to any ideas I had where podcast were concerned.  They’ll come around.  Someone else will present the idea and it will be accepted.  It’s always that way.

On the MRC Facebook page Mike thanked everyone for their patronage and support over the six years of being there.  He went out classy like he came in.  Nothing frilly, just honest, humble Mike.

The Motorcycle Talk podcast is the updated version of Motorcycle Radio that I started “back in the day.”  Looking to take this one where I failed and podfaded too early before.

 

 

10 Awesome Things To Consider Before Getting A Bigger Motorcycle

Let’s say you have been riding a year and found out that the bike you bought just didn’t do it for you. What would you do? Here is some great information I got from experienced rider, and writer,
Cash Anthony at http://msgroup.org

Tips For Little Riders Of Big Bikes:  The balls of your feet will tell

 

1. No matter how many miles you have behind you on a smaller bike, don’t assume you can ride a bigger one on the street without practicing on a parking lot first. Moving up to a bigger bike is almost like starting over. (Most little riders going up to a bigger bike don’t have to be told this, but you never know. Some ‘little people’ still have ‘big brass ones’…or else they wouldn’t be trying to ride a big bike to begin with.

2. If you can flatfoot one side and have ‘ball of the foot’ control on both sides of a big bike, you can probably ride it safely under most circumstances. [Most bikes can have their seats cut down about an inch to improve your ability to control it at the expense of some comfort.

3. Since the fear of dropping a big bike needs to be overcome early, assuming your bike has sufficient guards on it to prevent damage, you may want to take it onto a grassy area and practice dropping it gently from a standstill a couple of times in order to learn the art of standing on the high peg and stepping away from the bike with your other leg, in the event you ever do. This, in order not to end up underneath it. You also may need either a reverse gear (if such is available for your model) or to ride with accommodating friends in order to get your bike out of incline trouble, now and then. Most of your fellow riders will be so impressed with your ‘big brass ones’ for what you’re riding that they’re glad to help. If not, find riders who are.

4. Before you take your big bike on the road for the first time, sit on it and learn where all the controls are, even the ones you don’t think you will need (your ‘mute’ button, for example.) It can be so exciting to ride one of these beasts that should you forget to learn some of the basics early on, it may be too late when you’re out there in traffic and too terrified to even move around on the seat.

5. When you stop a big bike on an incline across your lane, put your foot down on the HIGHER side only at first, and reach very carefully with your foot for the lower side. If you have to, you CAN hold that big bike up with one leg for a very long period – after all, its weight is on the tires, not carried by your leg. Short-legging a big bike (and dumping it) is usually a matter of absent-mindedness… but in some groups, you’ll be wearing that pacifier for a while if you forget.

6. When turning a big bike at slow speeds, a tiny amount of pressure on the rear brake can help you maintain control of the degree of lean you want. NEVER forget to look through the turn!

7. To get a big bike off the side stand when it is leaning so much you can’t easily pick it up, grip the front brake and clutch levers securely (whether the engine is running or not) and push the bike FORWARD as you try to bring it upright in one smooth movement. (This modestly compresses the front suspension, making the bike a little shorter.)

8. Be sure before you take your big bike on the road that you don’t have pant-legs or chaps which will tangle on the peg as you put your feet down at a stop.

9. Just because it’s big doesn’t mean it won’t lean smartly. If your engine will dependably carry you through a curve with power, you’ll be able to lean a bigger bike just as much as a turn requires, with normal skills, at prudent speed. This is a matter of confidence and parking lot practice. You can control it through the foot brake and the clutch.

10. If the wind seems to be buffeting a big bike more than the little bike you used to ride, try to relax and know that your wheels are securely under you. The weight of the big bike will tend to keep the rubber on the road in the absence of crisis braking, even if you have to lean. If you increase speed somewhat in a strong crosswind, this may help to give you stability (and will get you to the next stop a little sooner, where you can relax your pucker string for a while).

You will soon get past the feeling that you are ‘flying a 747’ or that the big beast ‘wants to go faster’, although those are common reactions when you get on a bigger bike. Big bikes tend to have smoother engines and a somewhat different gear ratio from your smaller ride. Once you do get the hang of it, and after that magic ‘click’ in the mind that tells you you’re really RIDING this thing, remember to relax and enjoy yourself — and now and then, when you feel comfortable, to wave at your admirers!

7 Things Nobody Told You About Harley Davidson Motorcycles

My first motorcycle was a Honda CB 350. I’ve owned a Suzuki, a Yamaha, and two Harley-Davidson motorcycles. If you are new to riding or wondering which cruiser or touring motorcycle to buy, the Harley may be a consideration. Can I share with you seven things nobody has probably told you about the Harley Davidson motorcycle?

It’s iconic.

Two guys in their twenties named William Harley and Arthur Davidson started this in 1901. Before you can compare cubic inches, comfort or cost you have to realize its considered “the American Motorcycle,” even though the Indian has been around longer.

It’s a tradition.

It had some bad years. Any Harley rider will tell you that Harleys were suspect when the company was owned by AMF. Todays bikes are more robust, reliable and modern.

It’s a status symbol.

The Harley Davidson motorcycle logo is the most recognized motorcycle brand to this date. It has survived every war since WWI, the Great Depression, several ownership changes and competition from a plethora of other companies, and repped by veterans and tough guys everywhere. It’s the image that sells. People who want a Harley don’t want a -motorcycle-, they want a Harley. Someone who rides a Honda might get a Suzuki or a Yamaha next time, but for a Harley person it’s Harley or nothing. I fell into the culture and hoopla too with my first bike. It was more expensive than a comparable cruiser. It had the trademarked sound. It is still just a motorcycle. What’s special? It is the name. It’s one of the oldest, most famous bike brands.

They sell more shirts than motorcycles.
In 2015, Harley Davidson sold $292 million in non-motorcycle merchandise last year.

Celebrities like Rihanna, Kanye West, Kid Rock and Selena Gomez have all been photographed wearing their brand. Don’t think Harley Davidson are sending out freebies though, When trying to get a relationship with them for this podcast I got shot down. Their position is to be “snooty” like Rolex, Tiffany’s and other brands not for the working man/woman. It is working because that is who ends up buy the stuff. Leather jackets, biker boots, t-shirts and fingerless gloves are all coveted and sought after items. In full disclosure, I too, bought a heavy leather jacket off EBay before I even had my first bike. Over the past 100 years Harley Davidson has become more than just a brand, it has become a lifestyle, which is what makes this company truly unique.

Quality

These days you can buy a metric cruiser bigger than Harley. My buddy got a Honda and from the side, it looks like a Harley. I ain’t mad at him. Some argue about electronics, imparted parts and all of that.

The electronics are made in Japan. The wheels are made in Australia, Pistons in Germany. The transmission is made my Matsuba in Japan. Outsourcing brings down manufacturing costs, so that is why it’s done. The front end is made by Showa and they are owned by Honda. Remove the front fender and look at the left fork right where that fender bolts on SHOWA stamped in big letters. If you are a Puritan and you want one that was built here in the USA get a 1971 or earlier Panhead, Knucklehead, or Shovelhead.

What President Trump is doing.

Almost all parts are outsourced these days in both cars and motorcycles. That is why the tariffs discussed with the Trump administration is causing concerns. Mr. Trump says

“his trade policy is aimed at reviving domestic manufacturing, Harley-Davidson’s move shows how the White House approach could backfire as American companies increasingly rely on overseas markets for materials, production and sales.

Harley Davidson said on 6/25/2018,

“it would shift some production of its bikes overseas to avoid stiff retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union in response to Mr. Trump’s trade measures. The company said the move “is not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the E.U. and maintain a viable business in Europe.”

Add to declining domestic demand recent headwinds from abroad, in the form of European Union tariffs, and from within, with President Trump criticizing the company’s plan to ramp overseas production, and the shares 2.1% in Tuesday morning trade, and 10% over the past three sessions.

Damn Millennials.

Millennials aren’t buying motorcycles like the generations before them. Young millennials, according to statistics are only two-thirds as likely to ride motorcycles as their elders were at this point in their life. A source quoted on Marketwatch.com pointed to student debt as one potential roadblock to motorcycle adoption with this cohort. Compared to older generations, more of today’s young adults have college degrees, and that means more debt. In the stock market game, the motorcycle category has been struggling for some time. Shares of U.S. market leader Harley-Davidson Inc. HOG, +0.83% have tumbled more than 25% over the past year, with U.S. retail unit sales falling for the past three years. In comparison, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.72% has run up 12% the past year.

I’m over the hyperbole. We live in the greatest nation and with that comes the freedom to choose. My 2005 Electra Glide Standard has caused me no issues. I’ve babied it, garaged it and kept it stock except for the radio system. I’m ready to sell it again. I’m saving for a Honda Goldwing.

What are your thoughts on Harleys? Got anything to add?

Miracle on Interstate 40

Yamaha XS Eleven Venturer

It was day four of a beautiful and wonderful ride across the United States of America by motorcycle.  I was given nine days to travel from Camp Pendleton, CA to Quantico, VA for Marine Security Guard school in May 1982.  I wanted to ride my Yamaha 850 instead of draining it and shipping it over.  I wanted to see the country I would be representing if I passed this school and was sent overseas to protect a US embassy.  I wanted the experience of riding a long distance.

Did I tell you I love motorcycling?

The feel and freedom of riding is like nothing else in this world. I had a schedule.  Ride eight hours a day, eat three times, rest, and repeat until I got home.  I lived in Maryland, so when I crossed the state line of North Carolina, I felt home.  I have family in North Carolina.  I was born a few miles north of there on the Virginia line.  Crossing the state line at sunset gave me a rush.  I thought if I could push it a couple of more hours, I could get closer to Gates, NC and surprise my Aunt Shirley who had the best barbeque I knew.  My mouth was already watering over the minced pork sandwich I was going to ask her to make for me.  It was going to be epic. The interstate was quiet.  Cars were scarce.  The radio couldn’t lock on to any station but I let the static play on for noise.  I had made it from the West Coast to the East Coast.  Nobody I knew had done that before on a motorcycle.  I was corporal in the United States Marines and couldn’t legally buy a drink yet because of my age but this was worth celebrating.   I was a “hard charger” in the Corps.  I had been promoted out of boot camp, meritoriously earned my E-3 and E-4 ranking.

I was looking forward to this new school and military occupation because I was not a good heavy equipment operator in comparison to my peers back in Camp Mateo.  Those guys were wizards having been long shore men, construction workers and farmers prior to joining the military. The drone of the radio and the darkness of the North Carolina highway swallowed me.  It felt like I was driving into a tunnel made by trees and asphalt.   The Pigeon River and the wetlands near the road interrupted the silence with a plethora of bugs that hit my windshield, my knees and my knuckles.  Two hours and I would call it a day.  That would push my riding on this last day to ten hours.  I was starting to feel it.  My back hurt where my arms had been in a permanent “U” for almost a week riding this motorcycle.  I was looking forward to a motel with a tub in a few hours.  I was going to soak, and sleep tonight. The trip across the country was beautiful because I saw the desert that starting In Barstow, Ca, and Flagstaff, Arizona.  It actually got cool in Flagstaff and I was glad I had bought a new leather jacket that seemed to hot for the first part of the ride.  In New Mexico, I ran into the first Native American brother I can remember.  We bumped shoulders in McDonalds, as I was leaving and he was entering.  The dude was lean and solid.  Normally I would have said something “smart” being a Marine, and all, but this guy was a throwback to the original people of this land.  Something told me not to play.  He had no shirt, and just a vest.  We were the same size, but he had no fat on him.  Instead of saying something dumb, I apologized for bumping into him.  New Mexico was aesthetically amazing to see.  Nothing like I was used to.  Texas took forever to cross and I think I was in it two days of my trip. It was between there and Oklahoma that I saw my first tornado.  I had company on the highway.  Since Barstow, I saw basically the same tractor trailers going east.  I don’t know where they stopped but I caught up to the same ones every day.  When I got to Oklahoma, one driver warned me of a storm that was coming our way.  He told me to get my “crazy A off the highway and hunker down somewhere.”  He yelled it out the window as I sped passed him.  I pulled over and put on my rain gear.  I searched the radio frequency for a report.  I finally got one a few minutes later in between the bluegrass station I found. The sky got dark and the stillness of the air was noticeable.  The road was empty except for me and a truck I could see miles ahead.  The fields on both sides of me were flat for miles.  Then I saw the craziest thing.  The black angus cows that were grazing, started to sit down.

Dorothy! Dorothy!

The wind started to pick up.  I twisted the wrist and sped up.  My goal was to find a motel in the next few minutes.  The rain slowed my roll a little as I didn’t want to eat pavement.  It stopped but the wind increased.  Brush, hay and all manner of things were starting to flying into the roadway.  And then I saw it.

Looking like a giant black snake writhing on the horizon was a tornado on my right.  I sped up.  I prayed.  For a few minutes I had to lean my bike like I was taking a turn just to keep it upright against the wind.  A billboard let me know that a motel was a few miles up ahead.  Thanking the Lord, I leaned in and aimed for it.  When I arrived at the motel, they had opened all the doors and windows in preparation for the storm.  They were used to it.  I was not.  I didn’t realize how afraid I had become.  I rode right into the lobby from the highway.

That wasn’t looked upon favorably but they understood when they saw my face.  “You’re not from around here are you, son?  “No sir.  There is a tornado right behind me,” I said. Well get that bike out of here and I’ll I give you a room.  I rolled my bike to the room and chained my bikes front wheels to a post in hopes it would be there in the morning.  I was beat. I took a bath and awoke to cold water.  I was still in the tub.  The storm and tornado passed.  I survived but my leathers were soaked from perspiration.  I forgot how I dried it but I was good to go the next day. When I crossed into Arkansas, the landscape changed.  Trees appeared.  The altitude of the mountains made my bikes carburetor sputter.  I saw the first African Americans since Los Angeles here.  Knoxville, Tennessee was a blur but the country was also breathtaking. And now here I was on this back road of North Carolina.  I locked my wrist at 60 miles an hour and motored on.  I awoke to a car beeping its horn frantically trying to wake me up.  The driver was on my right as I was now doing 80 mph in the left lane.  There was a pool of saliva on my tee shirt.  There was a car in front of me, with two kids looking wide eyed at me and the whole event.  I lifted my chin and saw them wave.  I looked to my right and saw the driver mouth the words, “wake up, you were sleep”.  I looked at him and said what are you talking about man?  You act like I was sleep on a motorcycle.  Then it hit me.  I was.  By the grace of God, I was still alive.  How long was I out, I don’t know?  When did I change lanes?  How was I able to ride unconsciously?  I was not in control.  I slowed down to 50 mph and let the cars pass me by.  I beeped my horn and pulled off on the dark country road where I proceeded to have a church worship service.  The frogs joined in and it was awesome.  I’ve been a man of Faith ever since…

 

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works — Psalm 9:1

 

*the pictured Yamaha is not mine.  This one is an 1100 but mine looked just like it at 850 cc.

Are you a motorcyclist, biker or rider?

What do you call yourself?

For those that love riding on two wheels, this is one of the questions that we ponder is where we are on the spectrum of our peers. There are three major types of motorcycle: street, off-road, and dual purpose. Within these types, there are many sub-types of motorcycles for different purposes. But the ones who ride call themselves different things. After you read this let me know where you fall on the scale.

The question of who you are varies in the eyes of the beholder. The difference between a biker and a motorcyclist isn’t easily answered. We who ride are both male and female I am glad to say. To make it easier on my writing, I refer to the masculine. No slight was intended sisters.

Are you a biker or a motorcyclist?

One is considered tougher, independent, and rebellious. One rides even if they have a choice of vehicles. One has logged in thousands of miles in all types of conditions. One is most likely to own a motorcycle and park it in front of a bar or club most of the time. It’s all about the image to them and not about riding at all. One only cares about riding and not the image. Their entire life revolves around bikes and riding. They like to ride with groups and consider others like them family. One is an outlaw.

One is the kind of guy with way too much chrome on his obviously overpriced cruiser. One rides expensive European bikes. One prefers Japanese sport bikes. One is prejudice against anyone that doesn’t ride the same American made bike as him or an equivalent that costs more. One garages his bike and doesn’t ride any day that isn’t a sunny weekend in the summer.

One doesn’t wear protective clothing, and can be seen riding in a t-shirt and a helmet that is legal but not safe. One wears a full face helmet that does more in an impact than protecting the crown of the head and jacket/ pants that actually protect his body from the road.

One thinks that highway riding is boring, and would rather take the back roads everywhere just to enjoy the turns. One has taken a motorcycle safety foundation course. One knows how to take his bike apart and put it back together.
As I put this together I saw that the ONLY difference lies in who is using the term. Anyone with a bike can be called a motorcyclist. If you look at the characteristics of those considered “outlaw bikers” there are some traits that show that there are those that imitate that lifestyle up to a point.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Unfortunately, looking like an outlaw and not being one is looked upon negatively and referred to as “posing”. But wait there’s more…In a time of multiple choices, some even still use a different term. They call themselves “riders.”

Titles have always been important. So what do you call yourself?

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