Friday, September 26, 2008

Leaving Today -A 6,000 Mile Moto Odyssey on a Honda Rebel 250!

Ken Linder of the blog Walk the Razor's Edge is leaving today on a 6,000 mile, 23 day motorcycle trip on his Honda Rebel 250. That's a long way to go on such a small bike. Why would anyone want to do such I thing?

The answer comes in Ken's own words, "A map, a motorcycle and a cause. This is a ride from Las Vegas, Nevada to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (and back) to raise funds for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and help awareness of domestic violence to the public."

A man on a mission, a Rebel with a cause.

Ken could use our help. On his webpage Ride for NCADV there's a donation link to help fund his trip and support the NCADV. Click on the site navigation bar to find out about the planned route and more about his cause. Send this post along to others and feel free to publish it on your own blog.

I deeply respect Ken for undertaking this project. He is the stuff true heroes are made of. Society is quick to admire and reward celebrities, but its ordinary people doing extraordinary things that really deserve our attention. People like Ken Linder, who with very little resources, a small motorcycle and a big heart, rides the high road toward a better world.

So, what do you think?

Ken's Ride for NCADV

Walk The Razor's Edge

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Motorcyclist & Blogger Evan Tanner goes "Into the Wild", doesn't survive.

"I plan on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life." Strangely prophetic words from one of Evan Tanner's last blog posts before he embarked on his fatal motorcycle journey.

Evan Tanner, a man well known in the sport of "Mixed Martial Arts" (MMA) was found dead about 2 miles from his campsite out in the remote desert area of Imperial County California, near the Arizona border.

On September 8 he used his cell phone to text a friend. He apparently had run out of gas while riding his Kawasaki KLR650 and was attempting to hike through the 115 degree desert heat back to his camp. Preliminary reports cite the cause of death was heat related.

Evan's very last post, just 5 days before he died was titled "Into the Desert", suggestive of his probable awareness of the book and subsequent movie titled "Into the Wild" about Chris McCandless. Chris was another young man with a penchant for adventure, going out alone to places well beyond the bounds of human civilization. He too didn't survive.

Was Evan Tanner's death preventable? Certainly. He could have stayed at home and sat on the couch. Tragic story yes, but at least he died doing what he loved most, treasure hunting. And now he rides on the ultimate adventure, out beyond the boundaries of life.

"Treasure doesn't necessarily refer to something material."- Evan Tanner

So, what do you think?

I first heard about this story over at Motorcycles Can Save the World

Evan Tanner's prophetic posts: "Treasure Hunting in the Desert" dated August 16, 2008 and his last post "Into the Desert".

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Motorcyclists Can Help the Victims of Hurricane Ike

Texas was ravaged by Hurricane Ike and as I write this post 6 days after the storm more than a million people are still without electricity. Thousands have lost their homes and many more than that are suffering the aftermath of the disaster.

Motorcyclists and scooterists are a charitable bunch and there's some things we can do to help the victims. Short of going down to Texas and getting personally involved in the relief effort, the next best thing we can do is donate financial support to organizations that are on the ground doing the good work of humanitarian assistance.

Donation Links:
American Red Cross Hurricane Ike Disaster Relief
The Salvation Army 1-800-SAL-ARMY
World Vision 1-888-56-CHILD
ASPCA Animal Rescue

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Is There an Air Powered Motorcycle In Your Future?

Researchers at the National Center University in Taiwan have come up with a motorcycle that runs on compressed air instead of gas to run the motor. With nothing but air coming out of the exhaust pipe and huge energy savings potential, the idea may have some traction.

Problem is the prototype motorcycle can only hold about 2 1/2 gallons of compressed air which limits the range before refueling to about 3/4 of a mile.

However, in the future the tank size will increase and they expect to come up with ways to improve the range up to 20 miles. Compressed air refueling could be implemented at current gas stations.

It's high time for the world to give up on costly and polluting fossil fuels but it's not going to happen overnight. I'm looking forward to following the progress of the development and implementation of the compressed air motorcycle in Taiwan.

Cars may be the more viable vehicle for compressed air technology. Their larger size enables them to carry larger air tanks. In fact a company called Zero Pollution Motors is well along in development of a hybrid air/gas powered car. It runs on air only when going under 35 miles per hour. At higher speeds the motor burns fuel to expand the air and recharge the tank.

The "ZPM" car is expected to hit the U.S. markets in about a year and a half and the company is already taking reservations for delivery. The company plans on selling the modernistic looking car directly to the consumer, skipping the middleman, so there won't be a dealer network. This is one way ZPM plans on keeping the cost of the car affordable and appealing to the masses. It's expected to sell for around $18,000.

Man what a great idea! The compressed air vehicle idea sounds much simpler and less costly than other new technologies I've heard of. I'm looking forward to being the first (grey haired) kid on the block with an air powered motorcycle! I've got to get me one of those bad boys! I might even start up a gang called the "Airheads"

So, what do you think?

Article: "The Air Powered Motorcycle By Jem Stansfield"
Article: "Motorcycles Designed to Run On Air": Discovery News

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Motorcycling & Rafting On the Streams of Time

Highway 22 shoots like an arrow out of the western Oregon city of Salem towards and over the Cascade Mountains and the high desert beyond. The busy highway rockets hurried travelers past small towns like Aumsville, Sublimity, Stayton, Mill City, Lyons, Gates, Idanha, Detroit and Marion Forks.

Last Sunday turned out to be a glorious day. With late season warmth and sunshine, it was the last hurrah of summer before the cold winds swept it all away.

This made for an almost overwhelming temptation to turn the day into a ride. So off we went my son and I down Highway 22. We had no destination in mind, just a ride for the sake of riding and spending time together.

A thousand scents filled my nostrils and sparked memories of other days and other rides; diesel exhaust from a truck up ahead, wood smoke from a warm fire in an unknown home, meat cooking on someones backyard barbecue, the musk of the earth and dying leaves.

A numb butt, hunger and a full bladder from the mornings coffee forced a stop at Poppa Al's which was right off the highway in Mill City. The overly optimistic person who named it a city probably didn't foresee the end of big timber days. Over- harvesting, clear cuts and the late arrival of sustainable forestry practices doomed this would be city from the start. It's a town and will always be a town and that's as it should be.

Poppa Al's was a past frequent haunt of mine back in the river running days. My two older boys, now grown and distant, friends now gone, and I, would pull our kayaks and rafts up on the bank of the North Santiam River at Mill City. Then we would walk up the hill to Poppa Al's for a burger and hot chocolate. We shivered dripping wet in our clothes, semi-hypothermic as we waited for our orders to get filled. Those were the days before we knew about more adequate clothing like polypropylene for the ice cold white water.

As my son and I sat at an outside picnic table, dry and warm, we watched my Sportster attract other motorcycles like a magnet. Within minutes an older couple on a Victory pulled up, then a boy on a sport bike pulled into the other end of the parking lot, then came Harley's, about 3 of them.

Old memories came alive and my mind drifted back to the last time I was at Poppa Al's. I couldn't have known or even imagined back then that it would be more than 15 years before I would return.

All too seldom do I think about that whenever I'm doing something that it might be the last time, or possibly a very long delay before I could do it again. Maybe if I were more conscious of that I would appreciate and enjoy things more.

Poppa Al's looked outdated even 15 years ago, but with lots of character. The old place is reminiscent of a simpler, slower, and more care free time. I've done a lot of changing over the years but not Poppa Al's. Except of course the price of a burger and a coke.

We pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward the river for a look. I thought about how the boy, my son, would all too soon be an adult. He grew up different than my older boys; he never got the chance to experience the river. I wondered how it was that we were at that place and at that time. It was an unplanned ride after all. I don't believe much in chance or coincidence. I tend to think everything has a purpose, a message, or a lesson to be learned.

The sound of the waves as they surged and splashed over car size boulders were like a siren song. A call to return to the river. I glanced toward the horizon and the sun was going down, it almost seemed to pause its descent for a moment before disappearing completely behind the mountain. "It will be back in the morning" I abruptly said out loud, startling my son who was glancing toward the highway in the other direction .

Yep, I decided it was time, I would come back again with a river raft and we'll be dressed in polypropylene, my son and I. And I will not take that moment for granted.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Does Sarah Palin Ride a Motorcycle and Does it Matter?

I've heard rumors that Vice Presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska is a motorcyclist. I tried to do some quick research around the Internet to learn more. It's an intriguing thought, having a motorcycle enthusiast in the White House.

However, the only thing I found that links Governor Palin to motorcycles is a press release of a speech she made proclaiming May, 2007 as "Motorcycle Awareness Month" in Alaska.

And for that I applaud her, thank you Governor. But if it turns-out she is actually a motorcyclist herself; will that affect my decision on whom to vote for in the upcoming November election?

If it was tossup, and I couldn't decide either way, maybe the motorcycle connection would be the deciding factor. However, for me anyway it's not even close, not by a long shot.

So, what do you think?

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Motorcycling Through the Seasons of Change

Zipping the liner back into my riding jacket, inserting the wool liners into my 28 year old Army issue leather gloves, keeping the choke knob out a little longer while my motorcycle warms up, -all tell-tale signs that summer has come to a close and autumn has arrived, as measured by the likes of me, a motorcyclist. Here's my "Ode to Riding the Seasons":

Winter is the dark and damp ride before spring. And it's a cold ride that steels the body and fills the soul with resolve. Riding the open air exposed to the chilling elements brings a new appreciation for the warmth and protection of shelter and the warmer seasons of the year.

Riding through spring is an affirmation of the eternal cycle of life renewed. The sights and senses awaken to newly sprouted growth and the anticipation of possibilities ahead.

The warm glow of a summer evening is a welcome respite from the heat of the day. The unimpeded view of a sunset is enhanced, and the caress of the warm wind turns motorcycling into a sensual delight.

Fall is a paradox, its harvest time and death all at once. The frequency of my rides increases. And the sight of leaves blowing in the autumn wind quickens my desire to ride while I still can before winter sets-in. Anxious feelings soon are replaced by the peace forged from acceptance of the season and the inevitable winter ahead.

Winters come and they go. Enduring them is not difficult, knowing that everything has its time. The dark days must come before the light. Contrast is the mother of appreciation, and a life without it is nothing more than a dull and wasted blur.

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