Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Wear Your Gear

I'm writing this post to encourage and inspire you to wear your safety gear when riding your motorcycle. I recently crashed and wearing my gear saved my life and prevented serious injury. Dont get me wrong, I'm still hurt. However, I'm at home sleeping in my own bed versus being in the hospital. There are no broken bones, just lots of bruises and the mental scars of the event. 

It was a lovely spring day. The sun was shining and warm. It was well into shorts and sandles weather in the mid 80s. I was excited for tasty home cooked meal at my girlfriend's house. I had stayed a little late at work and missed most of rush hour. 

I carefully zipped up my roadcrafter over my shorts and t-shirt after securing my boots. I attached the tether from my helite vest to my sv650. I fastened my arai helmet and strapped my gauntlet gloves on. The SV purred to life as I left the office lot.

I quickly entered onto I94e from the downtown St Paul entrance ramp and looked for a place to merge. A light colored sedan came from the left, dive bombing the upcoming exit ramp from the far left lane, crossing over three lanes. I saw it coming and quickly started to brake. I barely missed the rear bumper of the car as it continued to exit never knowing I was there. I missed it by mere inches. 

The bumper was the last thing I remember seeing before the world spun around and around. "Dont target fixate" I tell my students, "look where you want to go!" I was looking down and that's where I went. 

I crashed in the right lane of I94e. I couldn't move at first. The airbag deployed very tightly around me, protecting me. I took a moment to take stock of my situation. The bike was leaking gasoline, radiator fluid and oil. I turned off the bike. "I dont want to start on fire I thought." Which quickly turned to "get out of the road!" My right leg was pinned under the bike as I lay in traffic. I couldn't get up nor could I get free. Deep breath and keep trying. I didnt want to get run over as traffic was flowing freely when I went down. I tried harder and managed to pull my leg free. I tried to stand and felt horrible pain in my right leg, so I hopped as fast as I could to the shoulder and flopped down. 

By this time, others had stopped and came to help. "Are you ok they asked?" I was dazed. I replied "I dont know, I hurt all over." I was breathing really quickly. I forced my self to breathe slower. I took off the airbag vest which was bear hugging me. Then fumbled with my gloves and helmet. Someone was asking me to look at him, so I did. I saw someone else talking to 911 on their cellphone as I heard sirens coming. 

An off duty trooper saw the bike as he drove from i35e south onto i94e. He spun around and drove the wrong way, against traffic to get to me. I later learned he was on his way to take his pregnant wife to the hospital and had seen a motorcyclist die a week earlier. He was worried I would be next. 

When the trooper arrived, the others left. He took my license and started asking me questions. I tried to explain what happened. I was still a bit dazed. Then there was firefighters and an ambulance. I asked for some ice for my leg and left hand. The trooper talked into his radio calling it in. He told me he didnt believe my story and that his partner had seen me doing wheelies further back. 

I took the rest of my gear off. The EMTs examined me while the firefighters admired my gear. The EMT asked if I had hit my head, I replied "nope!" Then we both looked at the road rash across my helmet and I updated my statement to "I guess I did hit my head." The EMTs concluded unlikely to have broken bones and strapped some ice packs on me. They all remarked I was lucky to be alive and that I had good gear. Then they left. 

It was just me, the trooper and a highway helper at that point. The trooper said we should get my bike out of traffic and made me get up to help him and the helper. I hobbled after them and watched them lift the bike up while I fiddled with the shifter to get it back into neutral. Then they backed it onto the shoulder next to my gear. 

I have towing as part of my America Motorcycle Association membership. I tried to find the number in my phone. I couldn't figure it out. I recognized I wasnt thinking clearly earlier and took pictures to try and remember what had happened. I called my girlfriend and asked her to come get me. Then I called another friend to come get my bike with a trailer. Both quickly said yes and came to my rescue. 

The trooper asked me to sit in the back of his car as it was safer. I agreed. I saw him typing on his computer to someone that he didnt believe me and that I made the story up about the other car. I was gutted and angry. I stayed silent. Getting mad at him wouldn't help anything. How could he not believe me?! 

Another trooper came and they walked over to my motorcycle to talk. They chatted for a while. I kept holding my ice packs. I was up to three and out of hands and straps to hold the fourth. My original walked around to my side of the car. I had the rear door open and was trying to stay focused on my cold packs. He said the other trooper confirmed my gear and bike didnt match the other rider. He then surprised me by apologizing. After that, he became much nicer offering me some advil and water. I was grateful he was mature enough to admit his mistake! I'm also happy that I didnt argue with him earlier which would have probably made things worse.

We chatted about his soon to be fatherhood while we waiting for my ride. My friend got there first with the trailer. The trooper helped him load the bike and helped me pick up my gear and place it in the back of the truck. I wished him good luck and hope that he is a proud father of his first child now. He thanked me for wearing gear and left. 

My friend drove us off the freeway where we met up with my girlfriend and then we drove to my house. 

I few days later went to the doctor for xrays and to confirm my suspicions on my injuries. Contusions on my left hand, right shoulder, right hip, right knee, calf and ankle. My mind keeps replying what happened and trying to sort it out. I'm also struggling with moving so slowly and coming to terms with what could have been my end. I'm not sure on the condition of the bike. I dont want to look at it yet. I want to focus on healing my mind and body first. The gear and bike are easy to fix with a little money. The other two take some work. I'm grateful to be alive.

Please wear safety gear while riding. Take some time to give your loved ones a hug and to let them know you care. 

Epilogue/FAQ: I will keep riding. Not sure what's wrong with the bike yet. Going to buy a new aerostich, helite will repair the airbag vest. Hunting for a new helmet and boots neither are currently being made anymore. It was therapeutic to write this post. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

And then there were three

Adios WR250R! When I bought this bike new, I had dreams of riding it to far away places. Maybe do the TMAT or ride to Alaska or the far end of South America. Life got in the way and those dreams started to fade. 

I had a lot of fun with it while I did have it, but I barely rode the WR250R last year. It spent some time with a friend whose motorcycle had died. It helped him ride while he fixed his bike and I secretly hoped he would fall in love with it and buy it. He didn't. He is more of a sportbike guy. 

Enter my friend visiting from Texas! He has recently retired early to homestead in West Texas. He has acres of dirt and has been talking about getting a street legal dirt bike. Wow! I had a deal for him :) 

We concluded the negotiations with cherry chocolate chip ice cream. I feel like every vehicle sale should conclude in ice cream or another delicious treat. I'm glad the WR is going to a good home. Enjoy the ride Joe! 

PS: the remaining three are: sv650,dl650,super9. 
PPS: I plan to buy an electric bicycle and then invest the rest. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 Minneapolis Motorcycle Show

This month the International Motorcycle Show came to Minneapolis. I worked the MMSC booth encouraging riders to take training and handing out the coveted “Start Seeing Motorcycles” bumper stickers. I had a great time chatting with all the current and future riders who stopped by.
The highlight of the show for me was the freestyle motorcycle stunt show. I tried to capture a few pictures and posted a short video to twitter. They barely do the show justice. The flips and tricks were really impressive.
Watch the video here if the embed below doesn’t work: https://twitter.com/EverydayRiding/status/827938935292755968
There were quite a few interesting bikes in the custom bike show contest. These are some of my favorites.
Overall, the show was decent. Sadly, I wasn’t very excited about any of the new bikes the various manufacturers had. I also don’t need any new gear, so many of the booths weren’t interesting. I did pick up some brochures for a couple track day events and some new more advanced rider training. I’m looking forward to those.
Did you attend an IMS show recently? What did you think?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Riding the Skyway in Australia


My 14th and final trip of 2016 was Australia. My goal was to leave Minnesota 12 times. I spent Christmas and New Years in and around Sydney. For Christmas, I was in The Blue Mountains and spent time hiking and relaxing. I rode the Skyway in Scenic World (pictured above). The Skyway is a cable car with lots of windows and a glass floor. One of the views from the Skyway is below. Very beautiful!


I made a 360VR video using a Gear 360 and posted it to YouTube. The link is below. I recommend watching on your phone. You can move the phone around to change the view. You can do similar with the controls in the upper left when watching on your computer. Enjoy! 

Riding the Skyway at Scenic World in Australia 360VR

PS: Subscribe to my channel on YouTube: EverydayRiding to watch videos as soon as I post them including some fun with a drone.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Motorcycle–2008 DL650A

Vstrom DL650

I’ve been wanting a Suzuki VStrom DL650 for a couple years now. Since I sold my Ural earlier this year, I finally had the funds to make it a reality.

I got very lucky with craigslist and found a DL650 very near my house and for a great price. I was really excited once I saw it had ABS. It was covered in dust and cobwebs. The front tire was very sketchy and cupped, but I rode it home safely. The previous owner didn’t ride it at all.

I’ve had it for over a month now, and I love it! I don’t know why I waited to get it! It is a lot like my SV650, but with better wind protection, ABS, and better luggage support (no more broken racks!). The fuel injection is a nice bonus, and I feel safer having ABS again.

I’ve changed the oil, lubed the chain, changed the brake fluid, new front tire, new rack to accept my givi bags, and a windshield adjuster from madstad. Next up are heated grips and hand guards to keep the rain off.

I look forward to many more fun miles to come!


PS: Thanks Steve for the photo!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Goodbye Ural


This past weekend I sold my Ural sidecar. I’ve had it for sale for a couple weeks now. It was something I have been wanting to do for many months. I’ve struggled to bring myself to sell it. It felt like it was part of my identity even though I only rode it a few times in the last year.

I originally bought it because I loved the look of it and the idea of it. I wanted to experience the challenge and adventure of riding a motorcycle in the winter. A sidecar seemed much safer than the scooter I was riding previously and it was.

Over the years, the challenge and adventure started to wane. I had “figured it out” if you will and it became routine and easy. After six years of riding in the winter, it became a chore. There wasn’t a break that I have now with the car. When I am too tired to ride, but could still drive. I previously had to stay home. There is more balance now.

I love riding in the snow and in the extreme cold! There aren’t that many days were those have been happening in MN lately. I also loved the impact I had on those around me. Being able to brighten someone’s day just by riding to work was a nice thrill.

I’m not sure what will replace the Ural yet. I’m eyeballing a vstrom. I’ve been looking at them for a few years now. An R6 sounds fun as does another sidecar. I’m also not sure what my winter riding future has in store for me. I am not done with winter riding; just done with Ural winter riding. Stay tuned to find out what’s next as I figure it out myself.


Above is the proud new owner of my Ural. I sold it with 17,000km on the odometer which was broken, so it was more likely 20,000km. I’ve had it since it came out of a crate in 2009. It’s been a fun bike, and I am glad to see it going to a good home.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Installing a Shockwave Horn on an SV650

Banshee Shockwave

The shockwave is the newest horn from Screaming Banshee. It’s smaller, lighter, cheaper, and most importantly, louder!

I’ve had very loud horns on my motorcycles and cars before. They were kind of frustrating since they only had one sound: crazy loud. One of the things I like about the shockwave is how it has two loudness modes. The first with a quick tap is normal 100db, but with a long press it is the full 123db! Nice to say “hi” and another to say “look out!”.

It was easy to install this horn on my SV650 and it is MUCH louder than the stock. I ended up putting it on the left side of the engine since there isn’t room above the fender in the stock location.

These are the tools I used to install the horn on my SV650.

Banshee Shockwave

Banshee Shockwave

The contents of the Shockwave box. The horn itself, connecting wires, connectors, and mounting hardware. My box included an extra mounting bracket shown on the left.

Banshee Shockwave

Here is a close-up of the back of the horn with the dipswitches for changing the function of the horn and the 25amp fuse.

Banshee Shockwave

1) Remove the side panels with the 4mm hex

Banshee Shockwave

2) Remove the two seat bolts with the 6mm hex

Banshee Shockwave

3) Disconnect the battery with the Philips screwdriver

Banshee Shockwave

4) With the 6mm hex, remove this bolt on the left side of the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

5) Crimp the round connector onto the black ground wire.

Banshee Shockwave

6) Put the ground wire on the inside of the bolt and horn mount, so it connects to the raw metal of the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

7) Use the short mounting bracket and the blue loctite.

Banshee Shockwave

8) Put the mounting bolt and washers on the other end using loctite again. Tighten the bolt in the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

9) Mount the horn on the bolt and make sure there is a gap between the horn and the engine. Tighten with the 14mm wrench.

Banshee Shockwave

10) Attach the wiring harness to the back of the horn.

Banshee Shockwave

11) Crimp the flat connectors onto the end of the blue wires.

Banshee Shockwave

12) Route the blue wires around the frame and radiator to the front of the bike where the stock horn is plugged in. Detach the wires from the stock horn and connect to the new blue wires.

Banshee Shockwave

13) Crimp the other round connector onto the red wire. Route the red wire along the frame back to the battery.

Banshee Shockwave

14) Connect the red wire to the battery and tighten. Reconnect the negative side of the battery.

15) Reattach the seat and side panels.

Banshee Shockwave

16) Use the zip ties to secure the cables to the bike. I attached mine to the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

17) Test your new horn and use it wisely!

Banshee Shockwave

The total install time was less than 20 minutes. It was one of the easiest mods to my SV yet.

While I received this horn as a demo unit in exchange for this post, I liked it so much I bought another one.

Get your horn at: https://screaming-banshee.com/ 

Until July 20, 2016, there is also a Kickstarter going at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/846667950/shockwave-the-first-smart-motorcycle-warning-syste