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Riding Free from DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

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Meeting of the Minds

Last week the 35th Annual Meeting of the Minds was held in Bloomington, Minnesota. The gathering of so many dedicated and selfless motorcycle advocates in one place was powerful. We in D.C. are continually talking with lawmakers about our membership and the riding community but being in the same room with the people we represent further fueled our passion for advocating on your behalf.

Two full days of meetings and panels covered a wide range of issues including collaboration between SMRO’s and clubs, lobbying tips and tricks, our health, being a better brother and sister, the MRF PAC and the establishment of the 2020 MRF legislative priorities.

On Saturday night, we heard from two guest speakers. First Rep. Peter Stauber from the 8th Congressional district of Minnesota spent 20 minutes discussing many of the issues we face at the federal level in D.C. Congressman Stauber is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and pledged to work with the MRF to fight for our priorities in the upcoming transportation bill. Additionally, as a former law enforcement officer, he understood our concerns regarding motorcyclist profiling and was proud to be a cosponsor of H.Res. 255 since June. He offered to meet with the D.C. team in the coming weeks to follow up on our priorities.

Second, State Senator John Hoffman from the Minnesota State Senate addressed the group. He spoke about working with local motorcycle rights groups and the battles and victories that have been fought at the State Capitol in St. Paul.  

Having both a federal and a state elected officials speak to us demonstrates that motorcycle rights are a battle fought on different fronts.  State legislators and federal lawmakers each play a different but useful role in the fight for motorcycle rights. We want to thank ABATE of Minnesota for arranging the guest speakers.

We want to recognize representatives from the American Motorcyclist Association and Harley Davidson for making the trip from D.C. to be a part of Meeting of the Minds. Collaboration between our organizations has been improving for the last few years, and we appreciate their willingness to visit with our members and continue working together on areas of common interest. 

As always, the MRF board came to Minnesota a day early for a board meeting and overall review of the MRF as an organization. It goes without saying that these board members sacrifice their time, energy and money to sustain the MRF and the continued the fight for motorcyclist rights. Thank you to all the board members for their selfless efforts.  A special thanks to Fred Harrell, Director of Conferences & Events, for his work organizing the 35th Meeting of the Minds. 

Finally, none of this would have been possible without ABATE of Minnesota.  Our friends in Minnesota spent countless hours of their own time volunteering to ensure this edition of Meeting of the Minds went off without a hitch. We are grateful for their efforts and for setting a high standard for the 36th edition of Meeting of the Minds in Indiana in 2020.  Be sure to mark your calendars to join us next year on September 24-27th.

Do Your Homework:

As an advocate for motorcyclist rights, every member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation should know one simple number, the number of motorcycles registered in your state. Whether you are meeting with a lawmaker, legislative staff or just having a dialogue with a non-rider, the ability to drop that number into a conversation is a powerful tool.

Being able to quantify how many riders are in a given state demonstrates that motorcyclists are not some minor part of the transportation world but rather a substantial part of the fabric that makes up our state and local communities.

Some states provide even more in-depth statistics including total driver licenses with motorcycle endorsements and motorcycle registrations by county. We encourage you to do your homework and gather as much data as possible. You never know when having motorcycle statistics at your fingertips will come in handy!

Do you know how many motorcyclists are registered in your state? If not, click here to see the most recent statistics from the Federal Highway Administration 2016 report.

Standing Update:

We are currently at 91 cosponsors from 36 states and one territory for H. Res 255, the motorcycle profiling resolution. An additional 6 new cosponsors since our last update. The map below shows which states have at least one lawmaker signed on as a cosponsor.  Is your state not filled in yet?  Check with the D.C.  team about how we can work together to secure cosponsors from your state.

As we continue to move the needle here on Capitol Hill,  we ask that you stand by for any future Calls to Action to help ensure that we can secure the passage of this resolution.

Harley sets target of 4 mln riders in U.S. by 2027

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by Tanzeel Akhtar , Benzinga Staff Writer at https://www.benzinga.com

Harley-Davidson, Inc. HOG 3.9% said Tuesday it is strengthening its efforts to build the next generation of riders and hopes to grow the total number of Harley riders in the U.S. to 4 million by 2027.

The company reports there were about 3 million total Harley-Davidson riders in the U.S. in 2017. Harley-Davidson said it has also sharpened its objectives outside the U.S. and plans to grow its international business to 50% of annual revenue.

“We see a meaningful opportunity to leverage the power of the brand to demonstrate how riding a Harley-Davidson fills the mind, body and soul in ways that help riders live for real,” CEO Matt Levatich said in a statement.

“We’re on a quest to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders. We are activating our refined plan with focus and an intensity to create new pathways to Harley-Davidson and expand access and appeal to more people around the world.”

Harley-Davidson shares were trading down 1.98% at $34.71 at the time of publication. The stock has a 52-week high of $46.22 and a 52-week low of $30.17.

Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson hosts 7th annual Toy Run

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by Sean McIntosh at https://www.reddeeradvocate.com

Bikers jumped on their motorcycles this weekend to help make Christmas better for central Alberta children.

The seventh annual Toy Run was held at the Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson Saturday morning, where toys and money were donated to the Red Deer Christmas Bureau.

“We have to hold the event a little early every year so we can ride before the snow hits,” Bailey Quirico, Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson marketing manager.

“Our hog chapter, a group directly out of our dealership, puts (the Toy Run) on for us. So we just basically host it and provide the food.”

The bureau is a non-profit organization that supports children and families in need at Christmas through mobilization of community volunteer and financial resources.

The total dollar amount raised is expected to come in around $1,000, with about 100 toys donated – the business had toy donation bins up for the past two weeks.

Quirico said the event has grown since its inception.

“It’s getting a lot more attention. We’ve noticed a lot of other riding groups are starting to do it as well,” she said.

“A lot of times (the participants) will strap the toys to their bikes and do little parades. It’s a way to give to children for Christmas.”

Teresa Patterson, Red Deer Christmas Bureau Society vice-president, said the organization is 100 per cent volunteer-run and receives no government funding.

“The only way we keep our doors open is events like this … and with the help from all our sponsors,” she said.

“We completely rely on community fundraising and volunteers.”

This past year, more than 1,200 children received presents, as well as Christmas dinner and breakfast.

“I think one of the biggest Canadian traditions we have is Christmas. With the way the economy has been we have seen a jump (at the Christmas Bureau) and it has stayed high,” she said.

The bureau is “very popular in the community and everyone thinks it’s very important because Christmas is a traditions close to Canadian hearts.”

The bureau will host its annual general meeting Sept. 26. For more information, visit reddeerchristmasbureau.com.

A contraction of “Norton” and “Triumph,” the Triton was born

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Road racing on a closed circuit may be the most demanding of a motorcycle chassis, an engine and the leather-clad rider. Perhaps most revered, especially for its chassis, is the “Featherbed” Manx Norton made from the 1950 through 1962. Earliest Manx models were rigid (no rear suspension) with girder forks. Then the plunger rear suspension was developed. But fitted with the McCandless brothers Featherbed frame for 1950, the Manx was at its height in chassis design, and the bike to beat on tracks like the Isle of Man.

But the Manx Norton was never road legal, so many street riders seeking maximum handling qualities emulated the Manx, and substituted road-going Norton twin frames and used more street-able engines like Triumph twins at the same time. A contraction of “Norton” and “Triumph,” the Triton was born; the Norton featherbed frame and a Triumph twin engine. Going all out and using a Vincent twin engine, a NorVin was created.

As with this machine, clip-on bars, a “bread loaf” fuel tank, a decked seat, alloy rims, big front brakes and rear-set foot-pegs were mandatory, even if comfort was compromised. These features put the rider low in a streamlined posture and offered fuel capacity for long races. Light weight is desirable for racing so many components are aluminum, even magnesium on true old race bikes. This Triton uses a lot of aluminum for chassis components and to add to its style, much of it is polished. Bold striping on the silver paint and red piping on the seat mimic the Manx Norton design as does the oil tank access through the seat and conical rear brake.

As big fans of closed course road racing, European and British riders built the earliest of cafe racers and proudly rode them on public roads, often running over the speed limit. The craze came to America in the 1960’s and has thankfully had a recent resurgence though it is more likely 70’s Japanese bikes that are reworked into cafe racers today.

When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum you can view this Triton and a few cafe racers based around British, Italian and Japanese motorcycles and some true road racers, the inspiration for the cafe racer. This great Triton is from the John and Jill Parham Collection.

Specifications:

  • Engine: Four-Stroke Twin, Unit Triumph
  • Type: Overhead Valves, Two Valves per Cylinder
  • Bore & Stroke: 71mm x 82mm
  • Displacement: 649cc’s
  • Compression Ratio: 8.5 – 1
  • Ignition: Battery/ Points
  • Carburetor: Twin Amal Concentric
  • Starting: Kick Only
  • Horsepower: About 45HP
  • Primary: Chain Driven
  • Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Transmission: 4-Speed
  • Frame: Featherbed Duplex, Steel
  • Suspension: “Road Holder” Hydraulic Fork / Swing-arm, Koni Shocks
  • Brakes: Drum Front / Drum Rear
  • Wheelbase: 56.5 Inches
  • Weight: 375 Pounds
  • Top Speed: 115MPH

Motorcycle ride raises money for St. Jude

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September 13, 2019 by Clint Eiland at https://www.wbbjtv.com

DYERSBURG, Tenn. — More than 200 motorcycles, nearly $1 million and 450 miles.

Those are just some of the numbers involved in St. Jude Rides.

“Almost 400 people total, and to see it all come together, and to be here in Dyersburg, it is just overwhelmingly emotional,” Jill Libert, development specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said.

“One of the most well organized events that I’ve ever been a part of,” Stann Wiebler, marketing manager at Walter Brothers Harley Davidson, said. “They do so much planning. The police do a phenomenal job of getting us here safely.”

The trip started Thursday in Peoria, Illinois, where riders began a six-hour drive to Dyersburg. The motorcade arrived in Memphis on Friday, where they delivered a check worth around $1 million to St. Jude.

Wiebler’s father helped start the event 13 years ago, and Stann has done it the last six years. He says this event is one of his favorites.

“It’s a huge event in our family. It’s part of our business anymore. No decision goes in to our business these days without thinking about St. Jude and how it would affect it,” Wiebler said.

“It’s a very passionate group. They fund raise all year long with asking family and friends. They really are outstanding and selfless,” Libert said.

Each rider raised at least $1,000, with one couple even raising $40,000.

“Kids are precious. Thank you to all the people who are here to do this,” Kevin and Debbie Onnela said.

As they rode into the hospital parking lot, the patients and employees were there to welcome them.

“Patients, doctors, they all come out into the streets, and they have signs and balloons, screaming and yelling, a lot of tears flowing on these big, bad motorcyclists as they’re coming in seeing the kids,” Wiebler said.

“They do a lot for the kids. And I’m pretty impressed about that. They do a lot,” rider Brian Bruen said.

Organizers with the group say they raise more money each year.

Cross Country Chase Stage 8

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Excitement is building as we race toward the finish line with two more days of riding under predicted dark skies, wind and occasional rain in the forecast. Today’s weather, however, afforded riders their first look at the ocean as they made their way toward Crystal Harley-Davidson for an elegant hot lunch served on the dealership veranda. Riders enjoyed the hospitality and lingered over lunch before hitting the road again with the hopes of staying dry, which didn’t happen, but the sporadic rain served to cool things off enough to make the trip even more enjoyable. By the time the group pulled into Lakeland Harley-Davidson for the hosted dinner, the clouds gathered for another attack and sent riders off to the hotel with soggy duds. Again.

So, race fans, here are the scores from Stage 8. You’ll notice the top five have been juggled again but the top two spots are a BSA ridden by Todd Cameron in first and a Harley-Davidson ridden by Jim Gilfoyle holding second, followed closely by a Triumph, then five Harleys, an Indian and a Norton to round out the top ten spots with a good showing from a variety of marques.

The list of bikes that have dropped out includes 1-BSA, 3-Indians, and 4-Harley-Davidsons and the list

#5 James Maloney
#17 Rick Salisbury
#42 Michael Bruso
#50 Rowdy Schenk
#62 Scott Funk
#70 Will Lusignan
#77 Brent Mayfield
#91 Jeff Fredette

There are an additional 5 riders with various issues that have taken them out of the competition in terms of contending, but they continue to ride to finish out the trip and that list includes 2-Harleys, 2-Indians, and the only Zundapp entered:

#51 Shane Masters
#36 Bill Reese
#96 Richard Campbell
#22 Don Gilmore
#65 Mike Butts

As of tonight’s tally, there are still 35 riders who have made all 1,980 miles with no penalty points, though another 8 have actually made the miles but were docked points for various reasons.

SO, what does all this mean? Basically, that the number of bikes that will actually be motoring across the finish line on Sunday afternoon is still very unpredictable! The public is welcome to come on out to Key West to cheer riders on as they’re waved in with the checker flag and to join us for the celebration at the awards banquet afterwards. Tickets are available for purchase by going to https://www.cannonballstore.com

See ya there!

Hunter Sills Racing Earns Four World Records and One U.S. National Record at the AMA

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Hunter Sills Racing Earns Four World Records and One U.S. National Record at the AMA and FIM-Sanctioned Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials With Their BMW S 1000 RR Motorcycle

Associated Press | WENDOVER, Utah – September 10, 2019 – ( Newswire.com )

Hunter Sills Racing captured five records with its BMW S 1000 RR at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah, during the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials event held Aug. 24–29, 2019. The team also earned Top Time of the Meet and Fastest Naturally Aspirated Motorcycle and increased the speed of their world’s fastest BMW motorcycle to 238.398 mph. Both riders, Erin Sills and Trev Richter of Hunter Sills Racing, earned 1000cc FIM records aboard a nitrous-powered BMW bike affectionately known as “Snoopy.”

With improving track conditions over the week, the team was able to set records early, then progressively improve them over the event. Ultimately, Sills piloted the Alpine Performance Centre-built BMW S 1000 RR to 237.287 mph to earn the FIM kilometer record in the faired, naturally aspirated 1000cc class; a record that was previously set in 2014 by her late husband Andy Sills, also of Hunter Sills Racing, at 221.863 mph. Erin was later able to improve her own FIM mile record set in 2018 on the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia at 229.265 mph, making the new mark 236.889 mph.

“After the poor track conditions presented by Mother Nature during Speedweek, we were looking forward to seeing how our bike would perform on a better course,” said Sills, rider and owner of Hunter Sills Racing. “Shane Kinderis of Alpine Performance Centre put together an incredible motor which performed beautifully with the Wizards of NoS nitrous system. I also found the AirTech fairing to be incredibly stable and grounded at speed.”

“Our senior race technician Curtice Thom worked alongside Shane Kinderis again, a pairing that has proven to be very successful over the years. They did an excellent job of keeping the bike in peak performance, and I’m very pleased with our results. As always, we owe a great amount of success with this project to our many technical partners,” added Gary Orr, owner of San Diego BMW Motorcycles and Hunter Sills Racing team member.

Richter, known previously for his “Race For Relief” charity effort World’s Fastest BMW GS (http://huntersillsracing.com/race-for-relief-2018/), also saw much success in his first event racing the BMW S 1000 RR, winning back a record the team lost in Bolivia in 2017 to Nick Genet. Richter increased the FIM and AMA 1000cc naturally aspirated un-faired (“naked”) mile record to 195.674 mph and the FIM kilometer record to 196.206 mph.

“Riding the over 275 horsepower motorcycle without a fairing presents a unique physical challenge, but the team gave me a bike and suspension set-up that enabled me to reach my goal of earning World and National records in my first event,” said Richter.

Hunter Sills Racing is also proud of its contributions to the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials racing community during the week. With the express permission of the Bureau of Land Management, the team built and donated a mock “Bonneville Salt Flats” sign which was installed at the entrance of the Salt Flats for the week-long event. Following the event, HSR auctioned the sign, earning $4,000 to benefit a fallen rider who needed help with medical bills. Erin Sills also continued her Shemoto Scholarship, awarding $2,000 to the Buell Sisters team of Ashley Woodford.

The next event for Hunter Sills Racing will be in support of the Women Riders World Relay, a year-long around-the-world journey of over 10,000 female motorcyclists. Erin Sills will participate in the WRWR’s United States relay Oct. 2-12, 2019.

The team would like to thank their sponsors who make all of this possible: Top 1 Oil, San Diego BMW Motorcycles, Alpine Performance Centre, Colorado ADVmoto, WomenRidersNow.com, BMW Motorrad USA, Helite Airbags, JBA Speed Shop, Motochic, Moto-Skiveez, Ohlins USA, PitBull Motorcycle Stands, Racer Gloves USA, Remus Exhaust, Schuberth Helmets, Sprint Filter, Wizards of NoS, Worldwide Bearings, and Wunderlich.

About Hunter Sills Racing:

Hunter Sills Racing is a female-owned professional land speed racing team including motor builder Shane Kinderis of Alpine Performance Centre, Gary Orr of San Diego BMW Motorcycles, race technician Curtice Thom, and riders Erin Sills and Trev Richter. The team races in memory of the late Andy Sills. Together, the team has earned over 40 World and National records, two Guinness World Book records, Mojave Mile 200 MPH Club membership, Mojave Magnum 200 MPH Club membership, BUB 201 MPH Club membership, Bonneville SCTA 200 MPH Club membership, El Mirage SCTA 200 MPH Club membership, top average mile speed to-date of 238 MPH, and title of World’s Fastest BMW. When not racing the Salt Flats, Richter and Sills both serve as off-road adventure motorcycle riding coaches. Erin Sills has been named 2013 Advertising Age Woman To Watch, 2014 American Motorcyclist Association Female Athlete of the Year, 2014 University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business Distinguished Alumni and is a retired executive with Facebook, Inc. A frequent speaker on behalf of the sport of motorcycling, Sills also serves on the board of directors for the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame Foundation, the FIM Women’s Commission, WomenRidersNow.com and is the founder of the Shemoto Scholarship for females in the sport.

Cross Country Chase Stage 2

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A glorious sunrise kicked off a day of cruising country roads and enjoying warm hospitality as Chase riders boarded the S.S. Badger for a 60-mile cruise across Lake Michigan before enjoying lunch during a visit at the gracious Harbor Town Harley-Davidson dealership. The day was topped off by dinner, fellowship and a bike show at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

Riders loaded up the belly of the S.S.Badger with their antique motorcycles and spent the 4-hour cruise on the old ferry by napping, eating or playing bingo with the very animated staff of the coal-burning ship. Lucky rider, Evan Riggle, #11, would later show off the cool ship cap he won during bingo aboard the transport ferry during his first-time visit to the H-D Museum.

Luck also followed third place rider #72, into the museum. Larry Luce managed to roll onto the campus before the tire on his 1938 Velocette KSS went completely flat, so instead of visiting the museum exhibits as he had planned, the first-time visitor barely had time to get the flat fixed before the museum closed, though he did have time to enjoy a plateful of the great dinner the museum had prepared for the riders. Luce will start Stage 3 alongside the other riders, though James Malone, #05 and Don Gilmore, #22 have left the race completely. Good news is that rider #51, Shane Masters, has rejoined the group and is ready to make up for lost time. Be sure to check out the scores tomorrow and see where your favorite rider stands!

Cross Country Chase Stage 1

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A dark and dreary start for the Chase did nothing to dampen spirits as 68 riders set off for their 267-mile day. By the time the first antique bikes started crossing southbound on the wet and foggy Mackinac Bridge, a group of 1,500 antique tractors had already begun their trek north. It’s an annual parade that just happened to coincide with the Cross Country Chase ride and seemed quite appropriate as the antiques met midway.

Drizzle kept riders occupied through out the day, but the rain stopped long enough for the group to enjoy a nice lunch hosted by Hagerty Insurance in Traverse City, Michigan, which was followed closely by a short stop to take the daily quiz. Brainy bikers stood with clipboards and quickly answered 10 multiple-choice questions before hopping on their bikes and booking on to the final stop in Ludington. From there they will board the Badger Ferry for Stage 2 tomorrow morning.

The top three positions are still held by the same Class I riders from yesterday’s Prologue, and last place is still Shane Masters, who we hope will rejoin the group for Stage 2. As it is, the sweep trailer was loaded to the max with broken bikes for Stage 1. Let’s wish them all an overnight recovery.