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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 40,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 9 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


Robinson Hill Road – Guest post by a co-worker

A co-worker of mine had a scary close call a little while back.  I asked him to write down what happened so I could share it with you all.  Here is what he wrote:

Picture this… a steep downhill stretch of road that’s over a half mile long with a sweeping left-hand curve at the bottom. Now imagine that you’re below, on your motorcycle, approaching that same curve ready to head up the hill. What you don’t know is there’s a car barreling down the hill having lost its brakes. Off to the right, woods block your vision so everything seems perfectly normal until you catch your first glimpse of the car rounding the bend at a meteoric rate of speed. Suddenly your ride home is now a game of survival and the odds are not in your favor! For me, this daydream became all too real.

Many emotions go through your head at a time like that. My first thought upon seeing the speeding car was “what an idiot!” Too often cars come down that hill too fast but never like this. This was different. I could immediately see they were on the edge of control but it looked like amid the screeching of tires they might actually save it. Then the car lost its grip with the road and slammed into the outer guard rail with a crunch. Now I’m thinking “Wow! I just witnessed an accident.” However, the car bounced off the guard rail and shot back across the road into my lane, now totally out of control. It was at this point that I started (finally) to get alarmed. Remember I’m on my bike still moving up the hill and the gap is closing in a hurry. There’s a ditch to my right and a guard rail to my left. I don’t have a lot of options. My thoughts now are “I’m going to be part OF the accident!”

The car continued to careen towards me while teetering on the edge of the ditch. I thought “Is it going into the ditch to my right? If so, will it stay there? Or will it come back out of the ditch and start rolling? Will the car correct its course and manage to get back into its own lane and zip past me? Or, worse yet, will it just continue on towards me?” These are some of the outcomes going through my head in what was really only a matter of seconds. What should I do? How is this happening? Will I survive?

The woman driving the car, in hindsight, did quite well under the circumstances. Instead of “duck and cover”, it seemed she continued trying to control the car. After bouncing off the guard rail and nearly going into the ditch she must have thought she had dodged a bullet. I can only imagine what went through her head when she saw me sitting on my bike directly in front of her brake-less 1999 Buick (I had come to a complete stop by this time). She may have wrenched on the steering wheel because the car started swinging broadside to me, now blocking both lanes. I still had hopes there might be time for the car to grind to a halt before hitting me but that wasn’t to be. Instead, the car just kept coming… and coming… and coming.

I now shifted into survival mode. It didn’t appear that standing my ground was going to work. Therefore I started to dismount to the right side of the motorcycle with every intention of throwing myself off to the right since the car now seemed to be heading back to my left. I had one foot on the ground and was swinging my other leg over the bike… when time simply ran out. The tail end of the car swept around and smacked my front tire knocking the motorcycle to the ground. I was left standing on my feet, watching the bike disappear from under me and the car continue to slide across the road where it planted itself nose-first in the bank on the other side.

Then it was quiet.

I can’t tell you why the planets lined up that day to bring the two of us together in that manner. All I know is that she and the three children in her car survived and so did I. Our vehicles took a beating but we walked away without a scratch, at least physically. Had I been just a hair sooner leaving work, which would have put me just a little farther up the hill, things could have ended very, very differently. Believe me, I’ve played out all of the “other endings” in my mind and none are very attractive.

I always ride with safety gear: full-faced helmet, armored jacket, gloves and riding boots. I have taken the motorcycle safety course. I am always expecting the worst from other drivers when I’m on the road. I KNOW this sport is dangerous. Therefore I treat it with a great deal of respect and try to minimize the risks. But I ask myself; on some days…like this day…does any of that matter? Perhaps my TRAINING did have some impact on the outcome. I was SCANNING the road in front of me which caused me to immediately slow and eventually come to a stop. I did ANALYSE the situation and decide my only course of action initially was to wait until the car’s path became clearer before I acted. I eventually MADE my choice and left the bike in time to avoid being injured. I will always wonder though if I could have done more. Maybe it all comes down to fate. On the other hand, I like to think it just wasn’t my time!
So when I see some of the stunts other motorcyclists pull when out on the road and I see bikers wearing shorts with their passengers in halter tops, or when I see them zipping up between lanes of cars and passing in no-pass zones, it’s obvious to me they haven’t had the close call yet that I just experienced. Perhaps their riding styles would change if they did. Perhaps not. Maybe they believe that “today” isn’t their day. I just have to ask “why ride in a manner that only hastens that day’s arrival?”

Life is short. Life is wonderful. I ride a motorcycle because I like to live. Living is riding. Riding is living. Just be smart about it.

As I’ve said in the past, you never know what’s gonna happen on the road out there.  I’m glad everyone involved in this accident was OK.  It could have ended much worse.


RevZilla Monthly Giveaway!

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Safety Tip of the Week – Highway Pegs or Boards

Safety Feature

Highway Pegs

Wait what?  Highway pegs or boards are a safety device?  And the answer is yes.  Yes they are.  Our friend James R Davis over at MSGroup.org has a nice little article on them.  You can read it here.

He points out some very good things about highway pegs or boards.  I can wholeheartedly agree as well.  I’ve been on some longish trips and you’re legs can get very cramped on the pegs all the time.  You can stand up to help alleviate that, but the best solution is to put some highway pegs or boards on your bike.  This allows you to move your legs if needed while remaining safe!

As a matter of fact, this is a project I’ve been thinking of undertaking on the Zombie.

-Todd


Article of the Week – Potholes

Don't try this at home!

Pothole!

Okay, no, the pic is misleading, I didn’t go diving headfirst into a pothole.  I found the pic online and thought it was funny.  However, what I did do is hit a pothole on the motorcycle.  A particularly deep pothole.  Hard.  Very hard.

I was on my way to work and apparently was not awake yet as I missed my usual turn and had to continue on and take the next turn over to the street I wanted.  As I got to this new intersection, I looked over my right shoulder just to make sure no-one was there before I took the right turn onto the ramp.  BANG!  I hit something very hard!  It felt as thought someone had taken a baseball bat and hit me in the palms of my hands as hard as they could!  After the initial pain, I noted that the bike was now running on only one cylinder as well.  I checked for any other immediate damage and didn’t see any so I continue to work, on one cylinder.

At work I was able to look it over better; both mirrors where knocked loose, the right fork was up 1/2″ in the triple clamp, and the license plate was bent up into the rear fender.  Holy cow that was a hard hit!  I borrowed an Allen Wrench from a guy at work (I left mine home) and put the fork back into place.  I tightened up the mirrors with my pliers in my tool box.  I straightened out the license plate as best I could.

After work I rode the bike home, with one cylinder firing intermittently.  Joy.  Once there I tried to figure out which cylinder was acting up.  Of course it then refused to cooperate and decided to run fine.  Okay, I’ll let it go and try to catch it next time it does it.  Well, a week passes before it finally does it.  Of course I am in traffic.  I pull over and yank the right spark plug wire – no change!  So my right coil is going out.  Nice, I just bought these last fall.

So, time for an adventure with my daughter Sabrina; fix the coils!  I have my old set which I seem to recall had a bad left coil.  Take off the gas tank and unbolt the coils.  Then I take off the right coil and set it aside.  I go dig out my old coils (good thing I kept them!).  Now we de-solder the wires to the original right side coil (they were both broken further up).  Next to de-solder the good wires off the now bad coil.  Then solder the wires to the original coil (which I hope works!).  Button the whole thing back up and cross our fingers.

Success!  The old Zombie fires up!  Now to hope they stay working.  I need to find a source for replacement coils as new ones are no longer available from Honda.  Soon I’ll be back with another story about the saddlebags Sabrina and I installed for our upcoming trip.

For now, keep an eye out for potholes!  My accident could have been much worse!

-Todd Quigley


Article of the Week – Live to Ride, Ride to Live

-by Todd Quigley

Live to Ride

Live to Ride, Ride to Live

I think we’ve all heard the phrase “Live to Ride, Ride to Live”.  I know I’ve heard it a lot.  I usually see it associated with Harley-Davidson, though it has often been associated with motorcycling in general.  In light of a recent pair of unrelated motorcycle accidents, I found myself trying to assuage my wife’s fears of me getting killed in a motorcycle accident.  This phrase came to mind.

Let’s look at it in two parts.  First, “Live to Ride”.  This implies that the purpose (maybe not the sole purpose) in life is to ride.  I can agree with that; there is nothing quite like the feel of riding down a back road somewhere soaking in the view, the smell of the outdoors, and the thrill of hurtling down a road on the seat of a motorcycle.  I find myself finding time to ride any time I can.  I also find myself watching the weather closely, hoping it will stay sunny for a weekend ride I’ve got planned.  All in the name of the ride.

Let’s look at the second part now; “Ride to Live”.  Now this one can have many meanings.  Riding to live being like breathing to live.  A requirement to one’s continued existence.  It can also be read as riding being the only way to live, as in life isn’t worth living without the ride.  However, the way I take it is this; Ride in a way that you continue to live.

I don’t think many people take it that way.  In fact I’m sure that many don’t.  It’s one of the reasons why I write this blog.  How am I sure that many don’t think about riding to live in this way?  Avoidable accidents.  The key word there is “avoidable”.  Many accidents I see on the news, the internet, or hear about from others are completely and totally avoidable.  I hate to say this, but people need to look at the facts.  As a motorcyclist I am at a greater risk to injury in an accident; we are exposed with no metal bodywork surrounding us, we are not safely belted into a car, we don’t have airbags to prevent us from being hurt.  We need to ride like we know this!

One recent accident involved a motorcycle turning on a green arrow when an SUV blew through a red light and hit him.  The motorcyclist died shortly thereafter.  We are all sad for the motorcyclist and his family.  Many people criticize him for being at fault just because he’s on a motorcycle.  I criticize him for not being sure that traffic had in fact stopped.  I don’t go through green arrows blindly.  I cannot count the times I’ve seen someone run a red light.  I’ll slow to a stop and check before continuing.  Sure I may piss off the guy behind me, but I don’t want to get hit.

Another accident involved a couple on a motorcycle who were killed when the car ahead of them stopped suddenly on the interstate.  Again, I am sorry for their families.  Again, we are all sad for them.  Again, many people criticize them for being motorcyclists.  Again, I criticize them for not riding safely; they were following too closely.  In a car, we often forget about following distance.  Cars are equipped with anti-lock brakes, crumple zones, airbags, and seat belts.  The price for following too closely isn’t high as it is on a motorcycle.  On a motorcycle, following too closely can kill you.  Easily.  I practice emergency stops.  I have a good feel for how fast my motorcycle can stop.  I follow a great distance behind the car in front of me.  Yes, the gap is large so people tend to move over into it.  I just slow down a bit, opening the gap.

My wife also said, “well you can’t plan for everything that could happen”.  Actually, you can.  You can practice for bad conditions and emergency stops,  you can ride as if someone is in fact about to pull out in front of you, you can wear all your gear, you can pack an emergency kit.  Basically you can ride as if someone is trying to kill you.  That might be a bit extreme for some.  But the truth hurts, THOUSANDS of motorcyclist die each year.  Someone is trying kill us; we are.

Ride to live my friends.  Yield at intersections, keep your distance, watch for others (they often do what you don’t expect), slow down on curves, practice your riding skills.  Ride to live.


National Ride to Work Day – 2011

Hello friends!  Today is National Ride to Work Day.  How many of you managed to make it in with your motorcycle today?  I hope everyone made it in safe and upright!

 

-Todd Quigley


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