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Motorcycle policy shift stresses mentorship

By | General Posts

by Scott Prater from https://csmng.com

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Due to a recent increase in accidents and mishaps, Fort Carson active-duty, military-member motorcyclists must obtain a Fort Carson Motorcycle License, through their unit motorcycle mentor, to ride legally on or off post.

The policy, which affects military personnel only, is effective immediately, though military police and access-control-point personnel won’t begin enforcing the policy until July 15. Military members who are new to the installation will have a 30-day grace period to obtain the new license.

Though the new policy may seem stringent to some at first, it does follow Army regulation, and the process for obtaining the new license is fairly simple.

As part of the policy, most units on post are assigned a motorcycle mentor, who assists riders in obtaining the required rider training and filing the proper paperwork to earn their Fort Carson Motorcycle License.

“This new policy is designed to provide more mentorship to our motorcycle riders,” said Derrick Merriwether, safety specialist, 4th Infantry Division. “We’re training them to the best of our ability to ensure that they are safe on the roads. That’s what this is all about. When a rider joins the program, their unit motorcycle mentor will check the rider’s bike, check their personal protective equipment and their level of experience. Then the mentor will work with the rider to be better prepared for the road.”

All riders seeking a Fort Carson motorcycle license must hold a state issued driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement, and must pass the post’s Basic Rider Course, hosted regularly by experienced instructors at the Fort Carson Motorcycle Training Range.

“This really affects the new Soldiers — the (privates) through (specialists) — who buy these brand-new vehicles but are not very experienced riders,” Merriwether said. “The policy allows the command to see a rider’s exact proficiency on the motorcycle and then provides that all-important mentorship and knowledge.”

Motorcycle riding is inherently riskier than driving an automobile. Riders have no vehicle protective structure surrounding them, and are less visible to other motorists, so they must maintain awareness of other drivers, obstacles and potential escape paths to help mitigate that risk.

Maj. Chris Horton, the 4th Infantry Division motorcycle mentor, has been riding for roughly two decades and recounts a harrowing experience that occurred early in his riding days.

“I thought I was an experienced rider,” he said. “And after taking a basic rider course, I thought I knew everything I needed to know. I was as confident as I could be … then I had an accident.”

Horton’s description of the incident indicates it could have happened to any rider.

“A vehicle stopped suddenly in front of me,” he said. “I swerved to avoid it, but I ended up driving down into a roadside ditch, where my foot peg caught the side of the hill. I was able to repair the bike, but I injured my shoulder pretty badly and ended up needing surgery to repair it years later.”

In the rider courses at Fort Carson, mentors and instructors teach the best techniques for swerving, something Horton said would have helped him avoid his accident. Mentors also teach braking technique, obstacle avoidance, counter steering and finding escape paths.

“From the time a rider notices a hazard, it takes four seconds for him or her to execute a maneuver,” Horton said. “Executing a maneuver is a skill, and these are skills that can be learned and practiced.”

Skill development is a key part of the mentorship program. That’s why the new Fort Carson policy also requires riders to complete mandatory progressive training.

“We have two advanced courses at Fort Carson, the Basic Rider Course II and the Advanced Sportbike Course,” Horton said. “Required courses can be taken on or off post, but keep in mind that Fort Carson motorcycle training courses are provided to active duty military members at no cost to the service member.”

Early this week, several riders completed the Basic Rider Course at the Fort Carson Motorcycle Training Range on the post’s north side, near the railhead. Horton was on hand to mentor and teach along with other instructors.

Sgt. 1st Class Garret Pool, senior targeting NCO, Division Artillery, 4th Inf. Div., said he purchased a new bike in the last year and picked up motorcycle riding at the urging of friends.

“This has been helpful, even just the familiarization part,” he said. “I’ve learned some important new techniques, and I learned some things I already knew, but was performing sloppy. I’m not as proficient as I’d like to be, but I’m getting more familiar. We’re practicing things I’ve never thought about before, and I can see how they’ll be useful on the road. It’s obvious these instructors are extremely knowledgeable.”

Fort Carson motorcycle licenses are valid for five years. Riders can find more information about the new policy, reporting procedures, licensure and training requirements from their unit motorcycle mentor.

Ride the Arizona Backroads or Die Trying

By | General Posts

Eric Herrmann’s Can’t Get Enough of the Desert and the Tarantula Gang

By Bandit, with illustrations by Eric Herrmann

Eric Herrmann wrote, illustrated and published a book about riding in Arizona. It’s called Ride the Arizona Backroads and it’s a guidebook for bikers who want to ride hot, flat, desert, rattlesnake invested roads of Arizona.

I started to read it immediately, and if you plan to blast into Arizona, you might want to read the first nine pages, quick. They immediately give you the life-saving do’s and don’ts around desert riding.

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Motorcycle safety foundation helps prepare riders for Arizona’s roads

By | General Posts

Kimberly Chapman was known as the “ultimate motorcycle enthusiast,” earning a national reputation for being a motorcycle community advocate.

The 55-year-old was killed in 2011 when she collided with a vehicle that pulled in front of her at a Phoenix intersection.

Months later, some of Chapman’s friends spearheaded the creation of the Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for safer practices for motorcyclists and eliminating distracted driving in the state.

“She was heavily involved in the motorcycle community,” said Mick Degn, the foundation’s executive director.

“I’ve been a motorcycle rider and been involved in motorcycle organizations and we just felt that there wasn’t anything that was really being done to help be preventive in regard to motorcycle crashes. So myself and seven other folks formed AMSAF.”

“As we spent time looking at what we wanted to accomplish, our biggest thing was to help reduce crashes and fatalities and promote motorcycle safety and awareness,” Degn added.

In Arizona, 150 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2018, a decrease from the 161 killed in 2017.

In Tucson, fatalities doubled from 7 to 15 from 2018 to 2019.

The foundation, which primarily focuses on educating riders of all levels, used a pilot scholarship program to reduce the cost of motorcycle training, an expense reaching upwards of $300, according to Degn.

By 2014, the foundation’s mission expanded to allocating monthly scholarships.

So far, more than 3,500 Arizona riders have been trained.

The foundation’s statewide effort has received support from the Arizona Governors Office of Highway Safety, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona Trauma Association and various organizations in the medical and law enforcement fields.

“We’ve seen an increase in motorcycle registrations — there’s 400,000 plus people registered, but at the same time we also see that even though they’re registered motorcyclists at the end of the day, they’re not trained,” said Alberto Gutier, director of the highway safety office.

“One of the issues that we have with motorcycles is the lack of what I call mutual respect. Motorcyclists need to respect the vehicles and follow the rules of the road and cars also need to have some respect for the motorcycle community.”

In November, the governor’s office provided a $50,000 grant for the foundation’s efforts.

It’s being used to fuel the foundation’s newest effort of operating the state’s first helmet scholarship program for motorcyclists.

“Arizona is a choice state on wearing a helmet, but if you’re going to wear a helmet we want people to wear a good helmet, a department of transportation helmet that’s going to protect them,” Degn said.

The foundation has helped more than 100 riders get discounted helmets, working with five vendors in the state, including RideNow Powersports and Cycle Gear in Tucson.

After applying for the scholarship and giving a $50 tax-deductible donation, the foundation provides $125 off a helmet. The sellers tack on an additional 25% discount.

“You wouldn’t believe the number of phone calls I get from parents who want to get their kid a motorcycle, but they want them to take a motorcycle course first and they want to get them a good helmet,” Degn said.

“We help them in both ways … we’ve been able to save them money in both areas and now they can help their child.”

The scholarship saves riders hundreds of dollars for a full-coverage helmet, which could cost nearly $600.

While “safety is hard to sell,” according to Degn, the foundation’s future includes finding partners with large Arizona employers and organizations as they continue to promote their mission.

“That’s why we have to continually talk about distracted driving, sharing the road, meaning looking out for each other, looking out for the two-wheeled vehicle and the four-wheeled vehicle down the road,” he said.

Major traffic switch headed to I-10 near Ruthrauff: Construction crews are shifting traffic on Interstate 10 near Ruthrauff by the end of the week.

On Friday, all westbound I-10 lanes will shift to the westbound frontage road and all eastbound lanes will shift to the westbound I-10 lanes by Saturday.

Crews will work from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., reducing I-10 to one lane in each direction.

The Sunset Road exit ramp from westbound I-10 will move to the southeast, ADOT says. This exit will provide direct access to westbound I-10 frontage road businesses.

Riding a Harley-Davidson Can Help Fight PTSD, Veteran Group Ride Planned

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com/

In the first month of of 2019, Harley-Davidson released the results of a research that showed just how beneficial riding a motorcycle can be for the mental well-being of humans. As it seems, motorcycling is even good to treat more serious conditions.

Back in 2015, Harley started supporting the efforts of an organization called Wounded Warrior Project. The group provides services and programs for war veterans post-9/11, and among these programs there is an idea called Rolling Project Odyssey.

This Odyssey is centered around bringing together soldiers and help them heal their mental scars through adventure-based learning. And that includes riding Harleys in groups, just as a Harley should be ridden. This type activity has been found to be beneficial in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), among other things.

The Harley research we mentioned earlier, conducted by scientists at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, showed that riding a motorcycle for 20 minutes can increase the heart rate by 11 percent, reaching a level similar to that achieved while performing a light exercise.

That in turn increases alertness, and helps decrease hormonal stress biomarkers by 28 percent. The study’s findings were based on data taken from 50 experienced motorcyclists that were made to ride their own bikes on a 22-minute route.

“Rolling Project Odyssey was a life-changing experience for me,” said in a statement Jonathan Goolsby, an Army and Rolling Project Odyssey veteran.

“The experience has taught me many things that I have been able to implement into my daily life, like finding my center and keeping my cool when things start to get tough.”

This year’s Rolling Project Odyssey kicks off at the beginning of next week starting in Jacksonville, Florida, and going through Daytona, where the Bike Week marks the start of the riding season on the American continent.

Why A Car Tire On A Motorcycle Is A Bad Idea

By | General Posts

by Justin Hughes from https://www.rideapart.com/

They call it the “dark side” for a reason.

A while back, Kate discussed the perils and pitfalls of using a car tire on the back of your motorcycle, a practice known as “the dark side.” A video just came across a Facebook group I’m on demonstrating, clear as day (the daylight you actually see under the tread), why this isn’t good.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road:

What it comes down to is simple. Bikes lean. Cars don’t. OK, yes, cars do lean a little due to weight transfer and suspension loading and unloading. I autocrossed for years—I get it. In the car world, though, we fight against this lean as much as we can with stiffer springs and sway bars. We’ll even dial some negative camber into the alignment so that when the car goes around a corner at full tilt, the tire is straight up and down for maximum grip. A car tire has its maximum grip when its full tread width is in contact with the road.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, need to lean in order to turn at any speed faster than walking. It’s the fundamental way that bikes work. Motorcycle tires are made to lean. Their profile is round, not square like a car tire. In most cases, you’re either going to drag hard parts while leaning hard or chicken out before you lean hard enough to get onto the tire’s sidewall.

Here, though, we have a perfect view of a car tire on the back of a Honda Valkyrie. On the surface this may seem like a good idea for such a big, heavy bike, especially if it does a lot of highway travel where it doesn’t lean much. Here, though, it’s on the Tail of the Dragon, a stretch of US 129 on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee with 318 curves in just 11 miles. It’s a twisty paradise for motorcyclists and sports car drivers, but the worst-case scenario for a car tire on a motorcycle.

I encourage you to watch the video, but even the thumbnail says it all. When the bike is leaned over, that car tire is on its edge, with only about one-third of the tread contacting the road. This is the exact situation that autocrossers strive to avoid. Even worse, the harder you turn, the more you lean, and the less tread contacts the road precisely when you need grip the most. In particularly hard turns, the car tire rolls up onto the sidewall, which is never intended to contact the road. I’ve had road debris puncture tires on my cars without much difficulty. You don’t want to vastly increase the chance of this happening by placing the sidewalls directly on the road.

If the only riding you do is long stretches of highway with no turning at all, I suppose a car tire could work. They do last much longer than motorcycle tires, though if you’re leaning hard through the turns the edges of the tread will wear extremely quickly. Ask this former autocrosser how I know. Personally, I find the turns to be the most fun and challenging part of riding. If I’m going to attack the twisties, I want a back tire that’s designed for the job, and that won’t give up its grip right when I need it most.

 

Going electric could help revive the motorcycle industry

By | General Posts

by Peter Valdes-Dapena from https://edition.cnn.com/

Motorcycle sales, particularly in the United States, have been struggling ever since the Great Recession. As older riders lose interest, or simply become unable to ride any longer, the younger generation hasn’t been showing the same kind of enthusiasm.

But the industry is hoping that electric motorcycles — with a quieter, simpler experience — might be the key to attracting new riders.

For one thing, electric motorcycles are easier to ride. With an electric motor, there’s no need to shift gears. To experienced riders, that’s no big deal, but most Americans today have become accustomed to automatic transmissions and don’t know how to shift gears.

“It’s just a lot easier learning curve,” said Susan Carpenter, a writer and radio host specializing in motorcycles. “You just hop on and twist the throttle. If you can balance, you can go.”

Another benefit is that electric motorcycles are much less noisy than gasoline-powered motorcycles. To many veteran riders, the roar of the engine is part of the excitement. But a lot of other people would prefer to enjoy their surroundings much more peacefully. The bikes also don’t have hot engines and exhaust pipes that can become burn hazards, especially when parked around kids.

Electric motorcycles also qualify for federal and state tax credits, similar to those for electric cars, although in smaller amounts.

There are tradeoffs, of course. Electric motorcycles have the same disadvantages as electric cars, namely cost and range. Motorcycles can only accommodate small batteries so they have a lot less range than gas-powered bikes. And that range diminishes greatly during high-speed highway riding because the bike’s electric motor has to compensate for increased wind resistance pressing against the rider’s not-so-aerodynamic body.

Hoping to get the attention of a new generation of riders, Harley-Davidson introduced the LiveWire electric motorcycle earlier this year.

But with a starting price of nearly $30,000 — more than three times the cost of an entry level motorcycle — it’s unlikely to attract many novice riders. With its extreme performance capabilities — it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds — the LiveWire doesn’t appear to be for first-time riders. (The bike does have selectable performance modes so it can be set up for less aggressive riding.)

“LiveWire sets the stage and sets the tone and is designed and priced to be a halo vehicle,” said Harley-Davidson spokesman Paul James, explaining that the LiveWire is aimed at establishing an image for the brand’s electric offerings rather than being a big seller. “And we’ll quickly follow that up with other form factors and other electric two-wheelers that will be in various price points and aimed at different customers.”

Harley-Davidson (HOG) wanted this bike to get people used to the idea of a motorcycle that doesn’t have the brand’s signature engine burble, said James. The LiveWire does make its own distinct sound, though. It comes from the gears that carry power from the electric motor to the belt that spins the back wheel. Harley-Davidson engineers spent time specifically tuning the naturally occurring whirring sound, much as they would the rumble of a gasoline engine.

For the real novices, Harley-Davidson offers the IronE, which targets tiny riders aged three to seven. The teeny off-road bike is powered by a small detachable battery similar to ones used for electric power tools and starts at around $650. Harley-Davidson has also shown pedaled e-bikes and scooters as concepts.

California-based Zero offers electric motorcycles like the Zero FX ZF3.6 for around $9,000. That bike has an estimated 27 miles of riding range from a small battery that can be easily changed for a fully charged one when it runs low on power. For about twice that amount, or around $20,000, bikes like the Zero SR/F can get about 123 miles in combined city and highway riding. (That compares to the 95 miles Harley-Davidson estimates for the LiveWire.) Buyers can also add battery power using a “Power Tank” accessory.

Zero’s bikes are used in a program called Discover the Ride, which introduces novice riders to motorcycle riding and takes place at Progressive International Motorcycle Shows across the United States. Riders demonstrate their basic two-wheeler skills on an electrically-assisted bicycle, then they are offered a ride on a Zero electric motorcycle.

Cake, a Swedish company, has models starting at a slightly more affordable $8,500. For that price, a buyer can get Cake’s ultra-minimalist Ösa+ model. Its design was inspired by a workbench and it looks like it. With detachable clamps, the owner can quickly customize the bike with cargo racks or an additional seat. The Ösa+ has a top speed of just 60 miles an hour. It’s intended as an urban workhorse.

Cake also makes the slightly faster and pricier Kalk& with a more traditional, but still distinctively spare, design.

With their emphasis on light weight and simplicity, Cake bikes take the idea that electric motorcycling should be different from riding a gas-powered bike to an extreme. The models are particularly popular with new riders, according to a company spokesman. After being available in the US for a little over a year, there’s a three-month waiting list for the bikes, Cake claims.

Riding in the Rain on Motorcycle: What To Remember?

By | General Posts

When the rain comes, most of the motorcyclists store their bikes in the garage, and close the riding chapter until the sun shines in the following spring! Such abstinence indeed keeps them free from risks associated with motorcycle riding in the rain.

But unfortunately, they cannot understand that by doing this, they are depriving themselves of one of the best motorbiking experiences! They can never feel how thrilling a motorcycle ride can be in the rain staying inside the garage!

So, move on the roads in the rain, but never forget the risks associated with it. What to do then? We shall discuss in the ongoing lines how should you ride and what should you do while riding a motorcycle in the rain to get the most out of it and still stay risk-free.

But you should not forget one thing – unless you are an expert and confident enough at riding a motorcycle under challenging conditions, you should not take the risk for fun only. The safety measures and safety accessories can safeguard a confident, careful, and expert guy, not a novice. Anyway, let’s go to our main points:

Get the Right Gears

Choosing the right gear for rainy conditions is your first task. A good piece of waterproof rain-suit, boots, gloves, and a vest (obviously electric) will make you equipped for a rainy drive. They will help you keep warm, and especially the vest will act to prevent the colder wind soaking you. These should be good enough to keep you warm and protected. Still, if you want something more, you can consider wearing extra layers, especially some of your clothes, e.g., instead of one thick undergarment, multiple thin undergarments.

Another crucial component for your rainy ride is an appropriate helmet, which should be safe and have features, including breath guard, anti-fog visor or fog-defrosting visor, and a clear shield for more excellent vision.

Whatever gear combination you make, consider that they are comfortable and helpful for your riding. You cannot choose anything that gives you extra comfort and warmth but creates a riding obstacle at the same time. For instance, a neck warmer will provide you some extra warmth, but it may limit your head-turning capacity when you need a shoulder check, which is a risk for sure. That means whatever you do, you have to make the right balance at the end.

Stay Calm and Ride Smoothly

As the tires of your bike cannot grip the road as it does in a non-wet road condition, so you must try to ride with calmness to ensure a smooth ride. Don’t be in a hurry, and do things smartly. The way you used to adjust the throttle must be smoother. Apply small increments and lean angle throttle adjustment. Apply the brakes slowly and gradually, but do not forget to get the breaking done earlier instead of stabbing your brake lever at the last moment.

Pass Intersections, Manhole Cover, and Pavement Sealer Carefully

In intersections, where autos come to and stop, you will find a higher amount of oily stuff, which gets worse due to rain. You may not be capable of handling this at high speed, and the risk of accidents goes higher than anticipated. So, it is better to reduce your speed when you arrive at the intersection until you cross it.

Careful about manhole covers and pavement sealers. They highly reduce the traction of tires of a motorbike and increase the risk of slip or accident if drove without caution. Try to locate if there is any manhole cover or pavement sealer in front of you and avoid them. If you find space around them, go that way; otherwise, be slow and smooth over them.

Get a Dry Line

Do not be one of those riders who get a dry line on the pavement/road but go through the wet part for fun or ignorance. Doing such a thing increases risk. You should prefer the comparatively dry line your way as we know it offers more traction and maneuverability.

But it becomes tougher when you go through an off-road track. We suggest you not using off-road biking when it is quite wet. But even if you do this, that will need some extra expertise and control. You should also have some extra safety measures and gear, including head safety.

Last Words

Riding in the rain is an excellent source of joy and thrill, which you can never enjoy non-wet weather. But, you must follow enough precaution as explained above to get the best out of it safely.

READ THESE AND MORE TRAVEL TIPS IN THE CANTINA

Ducati partners with Lenovo for designing superbikes

By | General Posts

The bike manufacturer will use a Lenovo high-performance computing cluster that will help the company to drive rapid innovation.

Ducati Motor Holding has joined hands with Lenovo for the design of its superbikes.

The bike manufacturer will use a Lenovo high-performance computing cluster that will help the company to drive rapid innovation.

As the brand says, it is continually looking for innovative ways to make its vehicles faster, safer and even more attractive.

Konstantin Kostenarov, Chief Technology Officer at Ducati, said, “Our HPC environment is the engine that drives the development and design of our road and racing bikes.”

He also added, “We use advanced aerodynamic and fluid dynamic modelling tools to calculate how a particular design or bike feature will react in different riding conditions. We don’t just do this for the superbikes that we sponsor on the racecourse, but for our road models too, so all bikers that choose Ducati enjoy an exceptional riding experience.”

Previously, Ducati used its own HPC infrastructure for the design process, but recently, it found that is no longer delivering the performance, reliability or flexibility which is needed in order to test new designs within tight deadlines. Hence, Ducati decided to use Lenovo’s HPC infrastructure.

Stefano Rendina, IT Manager at Ducati, said, “Previously, we had to transfer the results of our models and stress tests from the HPC environment and then use an entirely different workstation to transform this data into easy-to-understand visualizations. The process of transferring data in this way was both time-intensive and expensive—slowing down research and development.”

News Source https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Riding in the Rain on Motorcycle: What To Remember?

By | General Posts

It’s all about Zen, Treachery and Survival
By Isabella Katee

When the rain comes, most of the motorcyclists store their bikes in the garage, and close the riding chapter until the sun shines in the following spring! Such abstinence indeed keeps them free from risks associated with motorcycle riding in the rain.

But unfortunately, they cannot understand that by doing this, they are depriving themselves of this motorbiking experiences and bragging rights! They can never feel how thrilling, spine-tingling a motorcycle ride can be in the rain!

So, move onto the roads in the rain, but never forget the risks associated with it. What to do then? We shall discuss how should you ride and what should you do while riding a motorcycle in the rain, to get the most out of it and still stay risk-free, which is impossible.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FEATURE ARTICLE IN THE CANTINA