Fall Motorcycle Riding

Fall is here crisper air and falling leaves are the telltale signs that summer is over and fall is here. Before you have to worry about snow and ice, you may need to prepare for wet roads and slippery leaves littering your favorite stretch of road.

Riding your motorcycle in autumn means being prepared for fluctuating temperatures and getting caught in the rain now and then.
Make sure you are wearing adaptable gear, such as a riding jacket with a removable liner and a helmet with close able vents, so that you can adjust to the temperature at various times of day. You may want to consider keeping rain gear with you as well.

Fallen leaves can obscure the surface of the road. Be careful when riding over and through leaves, as they may be covering potholes or imperfections in the road, and wet leaves may affect your wheels’ traction.

You’ll also need to keep your eyes out for wildlife, because some animals become more active during the fall as they are migrating or looking for food before the long winter. At this time of year, for example, deer can be particularly active at dawn and dusk — so keep your eyes peeled and use extra caution. So be prepared so you can enjoy your fall time ride and take in some beautiful scenery. This is my favorite time of year to ride.

Keep it between the lines

Michael Theodore
National Public Relations Coordinator

State Watch

From the AMA

The Ohio department of Transportation has teamed with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to create Central Ohio’s first “Distracted Driving Safety Corridor” along a stretch of I -71 in Delaware and Morrow counties. The 22 mile corridor will be staffed with more troopers looking for violations. ODOT also will install signs warning drivers they have entered the corridor where there is zero tolerance for distracted and unsafe driving.

Two bills were introduced in the state legislature on the topic of distracted driving. S.B. 279, from would expand the current law for minors to all drivers, prohibiting hand held device use and making it a primary offense, Currently adults texting while driving may be cited only if they are stopped for another reason. S.B. 285 introduced would make comprehensive changes to the state’s distracted driving laws based on recommendations from the Ohio Department of Transportation Distracted Driving Task Force. The bill would restrict all hand held e-device use and make use of devices a primary offense. It would add incremental penalties for repeat offenses. The bill would add to the existing offenses of vehicular homicide vehicular assault the new offense of “vehicular harm”. It also would make device use violations a “strict liability” offense, meaning the driver’s intentions are not relevant. This provision addresses the defense of “but he/she didn’t mean to crash.” S.B. 285 also calls for distracted driving instuction in driver’s education courses.

Gov. Mike Parson signed H.B 1963, which gives motorcyclist 26 or older freedom of choice regarding helmet use while riding. To ride without a helmet, though, motorcyclist must provide proof of heath insurance and have an ‘M” endorsement on their driver’s license. The new law takes effect August 28.

A new law went into effect that prohibits drivers from holding their cell phones while the vehicle is in motion. The use of hands free technology remains legal while driving.

Thanks to Harley Davidson for launching the “Learn-To-Ride” programs to draw new riders to the motorcycle lifestyle. The “Learn-To-Ride” differ from existing programs by offering one-on-one or small private group training in a low- stress environment under the supervision of a professional riding coach.
Michael Theodore
National Public Relations Coordinator

The Thinking Rider

Article is from the AMA

Applying Knowledge to Circumstances
Riding a motorcycle gives a physical and emotional feeling unlike any other form of transportation and movement, one that, “If you have to ask about it, you wouldn’t understand.” The wind pressing against our bodies and smells of the places we ride, a closeness to the road, the world, and other riders create a craving to get out there and do it again. Most of us have clear mental pictures of our happiness formed by those extraordinary rides. Our souls are calmed and rejuvenated enough to push though another day of hard work to get back in the saddle to become one with our machines again.
One of the reasons we remember great rides is because we operate in the zone, managing the factors that come our way in the environment, the road and the machine. When problems arise, we adjust the ride by using our previous experiences, avoiding the sometimes hazardous situations. All of this works nicely for a thinking rider.
What doesn’t work well is jumping on a motorcycle without considerable thought, experience and maturity. Knowing is half the battle, it takes predetermined thought and sound reflection. Insight can be built in many ways: reading,taking a riders course, talking with other good and safe riders, or being cautious while learning how to manage motorcycle controls.
The bottom line is it takes commitment and work to ride well and more importantly, for loved ones safely.
We can improve the ride though reflection. Reflection is no more than thinking through how we ride, then working towards improvement in our decisions. Thinking is instrumental to riding well – before, during and after riding.
Thinking during the ride is reflection – in – action, and it can be extremely valuable to respond to hazards based on previous experience, before we need to react to them without thought. The challenge is comparing what you already know ( a mind – map )  to what is currently happening ( the present circumstance ) and responding appropriately.
Reflection – in – action is thinking during the ride to adjust your actions compared to the current situation, growing in knowledge and experience enough to modify your mind – map. Being able to change behaviors lower risk, and helps us to enjoy the ride with far less fear of negative consequences.
The most capable motorcycle riders ride the streets and roads within their personal limits, leaving a significant margin to respond to hazards instead of reacting with old thoughts of what some Monday morning quarterback told you to do.
Those who ride beyond their limits are not only dangerous to others on and off the road.
Displaying such un – thinking behavior should be considered entirely unacceptable by others willing to be responsible riders.
Riding within personal limits, using reflective thinking, will help ensure our own continued success in riding. Success creates great memories and allow us to share the pure joy of motorcycling with our loved ones, maintaining internal happiness for ourselves.
Keep the contact patch between the lines
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain



Motorcycle Touring 101

Article is from the AMA
Getting ready to go the distance.
Motorcycle touring is a wholly different, more exciting and—oftentimes—more surreal experience than plopping down in the driver’s seat of a car or SUV for a road trip. It is a natural extension of the motorcycle lifestyle and accentuates the road riding experience.
If you’ve never gone on an overnight motorcycle trip, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the concept. Every day, people load up their motorcycles and ride for hours through the elements. You can, too.
If your road riding has been limited to short rides in your hometown, touring helps you become a better rider and often leads to discovering cool places that you didn’t know existed.
Those who have toured will tell you that it’s an immersive way to experience some of the best landscapes the United States has to offer—wholly different from looking out the car window and watching the scenery pass by.
Motorcycle touring also is fun to do with a group, and a lot more fun than piling two or three friends into a sedan. Going on a tour with experienced riders alleviates some of the trip planning and preparation responsibilities, and there’s a bond formed among those who have spent two or more days riding together while stopping to visit landmarks or just rolling through scenic countryside.
You don’t have to ride thousands of miles on your first tour—or ever, for that matter. You can tour as near or far as your family and work commitments and budget allow. Touring isn’t about distance: it’s about living the motorcycling lifestyle to the fullest and using the knowledge you gain from your tours to grow as a motorcyclist and hone your riding skills.
In the following sections, we’ll provide guidance to help you get started on the right foot.
More important than what to pack or where to ride is making sure your bike is ready for a trip, no matter what road-going motorcycle you own.
Many of the motorcycles marketed as touring models feature large-displacement engines, but you don’t need a 1,000cc or larger motorcycle to take a trip. To be clear, big touring rigs do offer advantages, such as torque power, protection from the elements, supple suspension, good luggage capacity and comfort for two.
However, any street-legal motorcycle can be modified for touring duty, as long as it’s a mechanically sound machine you feel comfortable operating. Some bikes’ baseline ergonomics may not suit some riders, but there are so many ways to customize a motorcycle for comfort.
You don’t have to plan 10 hours in the saddle each day. Touring is what you can ride per day. A good start would be about  300- to 400-mile days when  touring. If you seem good you can increase your miles as you see fit.
Less time in the saddle each day (and more time visiting neat places along your route) makes having a purpose-built machine less important. It’s all about the ride and the distention and meeting new people along the way and the scenery. Stop to take pictures along the way.
The first step to getting into motorcycle touring is outfitting you for the ride. You can add all the add- on’s  you want to your bike, but if you don’t have the right gear and right seating position for you, the rest won’t matter.
Remember, what’s uncomfortable after an hour or two becomes unbearable after a full day on the road, even with a lot of stops along the way.
Comfort starts with your head. Make sure you have a properly fitted helmet. Match the helmet to your head size and shape. It’s also a good idea to wear earplugs when touring, where legal.
Two of the most important adjustments you can make are to the motorcycle seat and handlebars. Some riders do just fine with a stock seat, but many prefer to make a change to the part of the motorcycle that bears most of a rider’s weight. Some styles of motorcycle, such as dual sports and sport bikes, often come with small seats that quickly become tiresome.
Seat replacement options are available from a variety of companies, and there are seat accessories made of sheepskin, wood beads or air pockets that can increase rear-end comfort on a budget.
Handlebar height and angle also are big contributors to touring comfort. Most motorcycles use tubular handlebars or “clip-on” bars and mounts that can be changed to match rider preferences.
Tackling the open road also means maximizing your motorcycle’s wind protection. If you’re used to riding country roads for a couple hours at a time, spending hours each day in a turbulent wind blast can be a rude awakening.
The importance of wind protection increases with interstate riding and inclement weather. A fairing or windshield can help reduce riding fatigue when traveling at higher speeds on highways.
This is especially true for cruiser, standard and dual sport machines that feature little (if any) bodywork.
One downside to adding wind protection is hot weather. Without adequate air moving over a rider, temperatures inside a riding jacket can rise quickly. So, be alert, stay hydrated, open the vents in your jacket and consider a wet t-shirt, vest or neck scarf to help cool you down.
The more time you spend on the road or at stops along the way, the more challenging the ride may be.
Skipping riding for a day if dark clouds start rolling in may not be an option when you’re in the middle of a tour. Or you may unexpectedly find yourself riding through high winds, hail or heat waves.
It may be 80 degrees and sunny when you leave  but in the 30’s with snow coming down by the time you reach your destination.
Make sure to pack motorcycle-specific rain pants and a rain jacket, as well as at least one set of rain gloves.
Rain gear is the one of the best gears to have. Not only for keeping you dry. But it will keep you warm on the cooler temps and block the wind.You will find out that the rain is more difficult to deal with on two wheels on the highway.
You’ll also want to pack a cleaning kit for your face shield or goggles. Humid conditions, bugs and road grime can gunk up your eye protection very quickly. Having a way to clean them is a safety essential. Having more than one face shield or set of goggles with you makes for quicker visibility stops. (It may be easier to change a shield than try to scrub the bugs off of one.)
It’s also a good idea to apply sunscreen each morning before you take to the road. Areas around a rider’s neck and between the end of a jacket sleeve and the start of riding gloves can be exposed to direct sunlight. And your face can get sunburned through a clear face shield.
Perhaps the most important thing a rider needs to do each day of a tour is hydrate. Even in cool temperatures, the body loses water over the course of a day. Touring riders need to top off their own fluids each morning and drink at least a little water when they stop. It’s far better to over hydrate than under hydrate.
It is better to not drink caffeinated beverages, like soda and coffee, on travel days and sticking to water or sports drinks. Also it is good  making sure you’re in good physical shape before getting into touring.
Something else riders need to be prepared for is a mechanical breakdown. Modern motorcycles are far less prone to failure than older machines, but there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong with your bike. On a tour, being a hundred or more miles away from home can greatly complicate the situation.
At the beginning of each riding season—and after each use—make sure all the components of your bike’s tool kit are accounted for. Pack some extra fuses and other small parts that may be prone to failure. It’s also a good idea to have a flash light and tire pressure gauge. Aftermarket companies offer a wide range of tool kits for touring.
Some problems require having your bike towed and worked on in a shop. One of the best tools you can have in that situation is Roadside Assistance. It’s also a good idea to have a power bank to charge your cell phone in emergencies.
If you’re considering getting into motorcycle touring to take a week-long dream trip of several thousand miles, that’s great. Much like the advice we’ve all heard—“Your first bike shouldn’t be your dream bike”—your first tour shouldn’t be your dream tour. Start with weekend tours that feature 250 miles or fewer each day.
Especially for your first few tours, plan frequent stops. You eventually learn how far you can go before needing a break.
Some motorcycles have short fuel ranges of 140 miles or less, so plan a 15- to 20-minute stop each time you need to fuel up. Some touring bikes have large fuel tanks, but don’t feel obligated to ride fuel-stop-to-fuel-stop without taking a break.
Online mapping sites like Google Maps, and Map Quest take the guesswork out of planning fuel stops and have information about places or events to see along the way.
Another great way to find way points is state or local tourism bureau websites.
The more you tour, the more you’ll discover. When you ride somewhere, you almost always see something that’s worth stopping to see or worth coming back to check out on the next trip                                                                                  Before you leave all the excitement of heading out on your a motorcycle tour can lead to small issues being overlooked. Here are three things you can do to make your tour go smoothly.
Get plenty of rest the night before: The excitement of going on your first tour can make you feel energized, but you’ll need that energy a lot more the next morning when you leave than when you go to bed. Make sure to head to bed a little early and get plenty of rest the night before your first trip.
Don’t pack the night before: One way to help with getting a good night’s sleep is to not leave packing until the last minute. Make a list of the things you’ll need to pack well in advance of the trip, practice packing them into your new luggage and do several test rides around your neighborhood with the loaded luggage mounted to your bike. Do not try packing the night before you leave because forgetting something small can lead to a big problem a long way from home.
T-CLOCS your bike the night before: Make sure to give your motorcycle a once-over before you head out on your first trip. Use the T-CLOCS (tires and wheels, controls, lights/electrics, oil/fluids, chassis, stands) method to make sure your machine is mechanically ready for a couple hundred miles or more of riding. One of the most important aspects of touring is tire life. You don’t want to run out of tread in the middle of a trip. Make sure your tires have more than enough miles left on them before you head out.
Keep the contact patch between the lines.
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain 

State Watch

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require helmets for all motorcycle riders and passengers younger than 21. A similar bill passed the house in 2019,but failed in the state Senate.

H.F. 3699, introduced in the Minnesota House, and companion bill S.F. 3605 in the Senate would require the state to move to an E15 blend of vehicle fuel. If the bills become law, Minnesota would be the first state to require the use of the fuel, which contains 15 percent ethanol by volume. The national standard for fuel is E10 (10 percent ethanol by volume). The bill would exempt fuel sold at airports, resorts,marinas, houseboat rental companies and fuel sold for use in motor sports racing, collector vehicles and off road use. The legislation also requires retail stations to provide one fuel pump with a dedicated hose nozzle dispensing a fuel blend containing 9.2 to 10 percent bio fuel for use in vehicles-such as motorcycles that are not approved by the U.S. EPA for use with more than 10 percent ethanol.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a bill that allows motorcyclist to wear earplugs or earphones for ear protection while riding. Ear plugs can help protect riders and passengers from potential damage to their eardrums from exhaust and wind noise. The bill was supported by the AMA and ABATE of Ohio.

House Bill 101 would require hands-free use of cell phones, except for “one-touch or one-tap operation and would elevate distracted driving to a primary offense. Currently, distracted driving is a secondary offense in Utah, meaning law enforcement authorities cannot ticket drivers for the offense unless they were stopped for another infraction.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captian

State Watch

Articles from American Motorcyclist (AMA)

Ohio motorcyclist would be allowed to use earplugs while riding under a bill passed by the state legislature and forwarded to Gov. Mike DeWine, It currently is illegal to use headphones or earplugs while riding in Ohio.The use of earplugs can help protect riders’ hearing from the noise caused by wind,loud exhaust notes or other traffic, The new law ( H.B. 129) would still prohibit the use of earphones for listening to music or other entertainment while riding. The definition of earphones does not include speakers or other listening devices that are built into protective headgear.

H.3355 would prohibit the use of electronic devices while driving. Introduced by state Rep.Bill Taylor (R -Aiken),the offense would be known as “Driving Under the Influence of an Electronic Device (or DUI-E).”

State Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) introduced a bill that would allow lane filtering in Virginia under certain conditions, but the bill failed to emerge from committee following a 3-3 tie vote. H.B. 1236 would have allowed motorcyclist to move between traffic that is stopped or moving at 10 mph or slower, as long as the motorcyclist is on a road with two or more lanes in each direction, the motorcyclist does not exceed 20 mph while filtering, and the maneuver can be preformed safely.

A bill introduced in both House and Senate would allow motorcyclists to ride without a helmet. H.B. 2070 and S.B. 153 would allow those 21 years or older to operate or be a passenger on a motorcycle without a helmet if they have held a motorcycle license for a minimum of two years.

H.B. 2285, introduced by state Rep Noel W. Campbell (R-Prescott), would make it legal for motorcyclist to over take and pass another vehicle that is stopped in the same direction of travel in the same lane if the street is divided into at least two adjacent traffic lanes in the same direction of travel, the speed limit does not exceed 45 mph and the motorcyclist is traveling at 15 mph or slower.

The Kansas City council approved a ban on texting while driving for all motorist within the city limits, as part of its Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities. State law prohibits drivers younger than 21 from engaging in distractions while driving. The city of Columbia already has adopted similar legislation.Also, the freedom of Road Riders is again asking state lawmakers to repeal the mandatory helmet law. Although Gov, Mike Parson (D) vetoed a repeal last year, as a state legislator he supported legislation permitting helmet choice.

The AMA sent a letter of support for H. 3064 and S. 2077, which would introduce responsible motorcycle lane splitting to Massachusetts, but did not take a position on a provision of the bills that would allow riders to use the road shoulder or breakdown lanes. Lane splitting would be permitted when two or more designated lanes of travel in the same direction are traveling at speeds of 10 mph or slower. The rider would not be allowed to travel faster than 25 mph.

The New York City Council is considering a law that would require side guards on trucks fulfilling contracts with the city, such as private garbage trucks contracted by the city to plow snow. The side guards are designed to prevent motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclist from being caught under trucks in traffic. Sponsored by council members Ydannis Rodriguez and Ben Kallos, the bill would require these vehicles be equipped with side guards by Jan 1, 2021.

The state Senate is considering a bill that would ban vehicle operators from using handheld devices while driving. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by five senators, is backed by the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety, police chiefs and United Heritage Insurance.

State Delegate Kathy Szeliga ( R- Baltimore County, Hartford County) has reintroduced a bill that would allow lane splitting in Maryland, as well as require state agencies to create guidelines for safe lane splitting and ways to incorporate the practice into rider education. Szeliga’s H.B. 920 was referred to the House Environment and Transportation Committee. This is just the second time a lane splitting bill has been introduced in Maryland. This bill would require that the state agencies, including the Motor Vehicle Administration and State Highway Administration, develop guidelines for safe and appropriate lane splitting for motorcyclists and other road users. Also Maryland, S.B. 237 would make motorcycle helmets optional for riders and passengers if the motorcycle operator is 21 or older, has at least two years of riding experience and has completed an approved safety course.

Ninety-two percent of those commenting on a proposal to reduce tolls for motorcyclists favored the idea. Seven percent opposed it. And 1 percent were neutral. The Maryland Transportation Authority has proposed reducing tolls for motorcycles by 50 percent, among other changes. Of the 287 comments received, 167 addressed the motorcycle proposal. The AMA put out a call in July of 2019 to support the proposal and also urge officials to simply eliminate the tolls for motorcycles. A final decision on the proposal is expected by the end of this year.

Effective Jan 1,2020 residents must pass a basic knowledge and skills test to obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit and pass advanced knowledge and skills tests to get a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s licenses. Those caught riding without an endorsement could face a base fine of $48 that could rise to $136 with fees and assessments. Under the new rule, an additional penalty of $250 for operating a motorcycle without the proper endorsement is instituted. The new law also creates a subsidy program intended to make rider training more affordable.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

How to Prepare your Motorcycle for Spring

Article is from Bike Bandit

Spring is officially here, and it’s about time to get riding again. If you were able to get all your winterizing done when you were forced to hang up your riding boots for the cold season, your bike should be almost ready to ride; but if not, getting your bike road-ready might take just a bit more effort.
Either way, using our guide, it should only take a couple of hours to get your bike in tip-top shape for riding season, so you don’t miss a single day of it when it gets here!
So here’s a quick rundown of the 7-point plan to Winter recovery, in order of importance:


Manual Labor

Whether you’re still stuck indoors or if riding season has already begun, reading your owner’s or service manual can help get you prepared for spring maintenance. This Spring Preparation guide will give you some great general pointers on how to be prepared, but your manual has all the specifics for your own bike.

Skim through it after reading our guide to get a feel for what kind of procedures you’ll need to do, and what kind of tools you might need to order before digging in.

Fuel First

Stale gasoline is an often forgotten yet very problematic issue with stored vehicles, so we recommend addressing your fuel and fuel system first, before anything else. Gasoline is a very refined chemical composition, and it actually deteriorates very quickly. After a few months, the more combustible elements in gasoline will have already begun to evaporate, which can cause your bike to run rough (or not at all.) If your bike has a high compression engine, like in many sport bikes, old fuel will cause even bigger problems.
In addition, while sitting in a tank, gasoline can react with oxygen to create varnish deposits in the fuel system, which can clog lines, filters, and jets or injectors. Due to temperature variations, condensation can also form in a gas tank, adding water to your gasoline, which can create even more severe problems.
If you winterized your bike correctly, you will have either drained the fuel or added a fuel stabilizer to the fuel in the tank (fuel stabilizers like Sta-Bil can extend the life of fuel to a year or more.) If you did drain your tank, take a peek inside for any rust, gunk, or condensation that could cause problems later. Refill your tank with high-octane fuel before you start it up, to make sure the gas running through the system is as fresh as possible.
With fresh fuel in the tank, we can move on to addressing the other most common storage issue – dead batteries.

Battery Maintenance

The most common issue with bikes sitting all winter long tends to be the batteries. Every time a battery goes dead, its life gets cut down, and it only needs to be drained a few times for it to become really problematic. Smart riders will have kept their battery on a trickle charger while it was stored, but if you forgot this step, it’s not too late to order one and charge your battery back up for that first ride of the season.
It’s recommended getting a “smart” battery charger that automatically turns itself off so you don’t overcharge and damage it, such as a Battery Tender Smart Charger. No matter what charger you pick up, it’s still a good idea to check your battery fluid levels before hooking it up, and top off any low cells.
If you have a lithium battery (which is a great upgrade) you’ll need to treat it a little differently. You should still use a trickle charger, but you’ll need one that is lithium battery-specific,for the Lithium batteries so you don’t top off the cells with water either.
If you happen to hook up your battery to a charger and nothing happens, chances are that your battery is just too far gone to be revived. It’s definitely better to find out a few weeks before riding season so that you can order a new motorcycle battery without having to delay your first spring ride that we know you’re looking forward to, so check the battery in advance!


Tires are a part of your bike that should really be checked before every ride; only a few square inches of rubber keeps hundreds of pounds of metal (and you) in contact with the road at any given time, so having tires in good condition is essential.
When checking tires after storage, you should be conscious of potential flat-spotting on the tires from sitting for a long time (especially on soft compound tires), and bringing tire pressure up to spec, as air will have undoubtedly seeped out after months of not being used. Check the tire wear too; it may be a good time to go ahead and replace tires before spring hits, so you know you have good rubber for the whole riding season.

Oil and Filter

You may have changed your oil as part of your winterizing process, but if not, it’s a good idea to change it before starting a new riding season. Every motorcycle is different, so you’ll need to consult an owner’s manual for the exact procedure, but it’s a good practice to change your oil and filter at the same time.

Forgotten Fluids

One of the most neglected things on a motorcycle is the brake fluid.Even when your bike isn’t being used, brake fluid is extremely hygroscopic, meaning, that it has a tendency to absorb moisture straight out of the air (brake fluid attracts so much moisture that simply leaving the cap off a bottle overnight can ruin it!)
At the very least, check and top off the fluid levels in your master cylinder, ensuring you use the correct brake fluid for your bike (different DOT brake fluids should not be mixed.) Ideally, you should do a complete flush of your brake system with new fluid.

Another often forgotten fluid is coolant; check and make sure coolant levels are up to spec, especially after your bike’s been sitting for several months. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can do a complete coolant flush also, clearing out all the used coolant with white vinegar and distilled water, and refilling your system with a fresh mix.

Spring Cleaning

That first time you hit the road again after a long hiatus, make sure your bike looks as good as you feel. Unless you’re working on making a Rat Bike, give your bike a good scrub and wax it up to help protect it from riding season hazards such as dirt, rocks, bugs and even the sun.
With the battery charged, fresh fuel in the tank, all moving parts lubed up, and a paint job that sparkles in the springtime sunlight, there’s only one thing left to do – go ride!
Keep the contact patch between the lines
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Cold-Weather Motorcycling Presents Unique Challenges

Part of this article is from On All Cylinders. And part from one of my old articles.
To start, let’s assume you’ll be wearing  a full face helmet. Since you can lose a lot of heat through your head, a full face helmet is a key piece of winter riding apparel. You should regularly inspect your helmet anyway, but during the winter specifically check to make sure the headliner is intact and vents are free to open and close. For added peace of mind, companies make anti-fog spray that can reduce the chance of your faceshield fogging over.
Don’t just grab a big parka out of your closet; get a cold weather motorcycle jacket or heated jacket liner. Remember, baggy clothes won’t hold heat and the constant tug of the wind contributes to rider fatigue. A cold weather riding jacket should be snug and include extra thermal protection that can be zipped in and out when necessary. It’s also important that the jacket does not restrict your movement, so you’re able to maintain control of your motorcycle.
Based on riding position, your legs are often the most exposed parts of your body—ensure that they’re well protected with riding pants be that they are insulated leather or gore-tex riding pants. Make sure they fit well, but still allow you to put your leg down at stoplights and manipulate your foot controls. Companies make full or partial chaps also  that guard your legs against the cold and can be easily removed, making them a good choice for the commuter.
As with the jacket and pants, winter gloves should fit perfectly. That allows them to retain heat, while still giving you free movement to work your clutch, brake, and various buttons and switches. Gauntlet-style gloves have skirts that overlap the sleeves of your jacket—further sealing out any cold air.
Winter riding boots play an important role, as your feet are often unprotected by a fairing. That leaves them exposed to road wind. Winter boots should overlap your pants, cutting down on exposed areas of skin. Make sure your boots have decent tread and can handle slippery environments. Water can puddle and freeze in the ruts created from semis resting at stoplights, making intersections treacherous.
Don’t forget about your neck. You can address this by wearing a turtleneck undershirt, or purchase a dedicated neck wrap. Avoid scarves—the last thing you want is a loose scarf end dangling around your rear sprocket! Socks are important too.
Water-soaked clothing holds little thermal protection, which is why winter riding gear should be water-resistant. Wool is a smart choice, because it can wick moisture away from the skin. Be aware of any built up sweat, too. Your gear needs to breathe and allow any sweat to dissipate through your clothing.
Dress in layers. Long underwear adds another level of warmth, while sweatshirts and jeans provide a good middle layer of protection. Always err on the side of dressing too warmly; you can always peel off a layer to cool down. All the years that I was a winter warrior I used heated gear from the jacket liner to the pants to the socks to the gloves. Best winter riding investment one can make if you are a true winter warrior. It’s just like riding on a toaster is what I tell everyone who see’s me out riding during the winter months.
Now that you’re dressed to grapple with a yeti, let’s look at your motorcycle. Without going into a full-blown inspection list here, remember to do regular checks of your chain/belt/shaft, tires, brakes, and suspension, to make sure your ride is roadworthy. Winter roads are obviously more daunting than summer roads. You’ll experience ice, road salt, and potholes—make sure your bike is physically ready for winter’s assault. And that you are physically ready to ride in the winter elements.
You can also modify your bike to make your ride more comfortable—specifically in the form of heated grips. Heated grips use your battery’s power to warm elements in (or under) the grips. You can also add heated seats. Make sure that your bike’s electrical system can handle the extra current draw and you have room to install the switches, wires, and relays necessary to make them work.
Depending on the style of motorcycle, the addition of a faring (or larger windshield if already equipped) is an obvious way to protect your body against constant icy wind blasts. As with any install, make sure that all of your levers, mirrors, and switches operate freely before venturing out on the roads. If you’re looking at a dedicated winter fairing, select one that offers maximum body coverage.
When you’re ready to take to the winter road, remember that there are several unique hazards posed to a motorcyclist in winter. Be wary of any new potholes that appear; snowplows love turning highways into obstacle courses. Always be on the lookout for excess road salt and sand—it tends to build up near intersections. Your fellow motorists are more of a danger than ever, as it’s uncommon to see a motorcycle in the roads in the dead of winter.
Depending on your location, ice represents the ultimate hazard to the winter rider. You do not want to hit a patch of that stuff. It might be a good idea to drive your route in a car first, scanning for any potential icy zones.
Be safe: ride alert, ride prepared, and ride confidently. Winter riding can be the most rewarding motorcycling you’ll ever experience. I personally really enjoyed riding during the winter months. Another key tip here is don’t ride at night time in the snow belt area’s during the winter. All the years when I was a winter warrior I did not ride at night time during the winter. Only rode during the daylight hours. Now for all you riders down south or out west just continue to ride in the winter in awesome riding weather.                                                                    Keep the contact patch between the lines.                                                              Michael Theodore                                                                                                                      National Road Captain

State Watch

Information for State Watch is from the AMA

Senate Resolution 63, introduced by state Sen. Anna Caballero promotes increased public awareness on the issue of motorcycle profiling. The resolution also encourages collaboration and communication between the motorcycle community and local and state law enforcement agencies to engage in efforts to end motorcyclist profiling. It also urges state law enforcement officials to include statements condemning motorcyclist profiling in policies training materials.

ABATE of Wisconsin reports that two state senators are circulating a draft bill that would allow retailers to dispense all blends of fuel through one pump nozzle. The bill (LRB2170/P1) would apply to fuel blends up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). The AMA joins ABATE of Wisconsin in opposing this bill, which would dramatically increase the likelihood of inadvertent misfueling by motorcyclists. No motorcycles or ATV’s sold in the United States are certified by the EPA to operate on fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol (E10).

The Department of Driver Services Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program received a $83,464 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to help reduce motorcycle fatalities, increase driver awareness of motorcycles and educate motorcycle riders about safety initiatives. The grant allows the safety program to continue promoting state and national safety initiatives. The GMSP promotes driver awareness of motorcycles on the highways, rider education at 40 locations across the state and motorcycle safety initiatives. The GSMP operates motorcycle training for new and experienced riders. Classes focus on riding a motorcycle legally and safely.”We want to ensure everyone has access to proper rider education,” said Holly Hegyesi, GSMP Program Manager. “Motorcycle safety classes are essential for new and experienced riders, alike. Almost one third of motorcycle fatalities involve a rider without a valid license.”

Motorcyclist in Missouri will be required to wear helmets while riding, at least for another year, after the states legislature declined to overrule Gov. Mike Parson’s veto of a bill that would have repealed the current motorcycle helmet law. Parson cited safety concerns raised by the state Department of Transportation in issuing the veto. Freedom of the Road Riders supported the bill, which would have provided riders and passengers 18 or older the option of going without a helmet,if they carried health insurance.

The Program is Set To Revive
President Donald Trump signed H.R. 831,the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act, on Sept 22,2019.
The bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to request nominations for, and make determinations regarding, roads to be designated under the national scenic byways program, which has been closed for six years. The AMA was part of the coalition that helped create this program in 1991 and played an active role in the efforts to revive the program. The program provides resources that help communities along designated byways benefit from the tourism they generate, while preserving the characteristics of the roads that made them great destinations in the first place. Even before the bill passed, officials said they were prepared to seek National Scenic Byway designation for 44 roads in 24 states.                                                                        Michael Theodore                                                                                                                National Road Captain