Jun 30
Biking Image
icon1 Guy | icon2 Small Talk | icon4 06 30th, 2009| icon32 Comments »

The image of motorcyclists in America has changed over the years. In the 50′s and 60′s most people thought of, “The Wild Bunch” when it came to bikers. One of the pivotal moments in the way the American public came to view motorcyclists was Honda’s 1963 advertising slogan, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” Honda portrayed riders of their 50cc Super Cub as housewives, and other regular people. The following year, Honda became the first foreign company to sponsor the Academy Awards taking the campaign national. From the 70s up through the 90s motorcycle riders weren’t necessarily considered criminal, but most of the public still thought of them as a little eccentric.
As we rolled into the 21st century, the baby boom generation was dealing with the empty nest syndrome. Many of these people had had bikes when they were in high school. Others didn’t have bikes, but had friends who did. Now, with the kids gone and more disposable income that before, many of them bought motorcycles. The cost of motorcycles soared as they got larger and offered more features and accessories. As result biking developed a following of financially and socially stable hobbyists. To many people the image of a biker is now an aging boomer, throwing money at a mid-life crisis.
As we begin closing out the first decade of the 21st century, a new and disturbing image of motorcycle riders comes to us from the turbulent middle-east. Video and still images snuck out past Iran’s media crackdown show thugs intimidating protesters from the seat of motorcycles. Let’s hope motorcycles don’t become symbolic tools of totalitarian control.

AP Photo In this image made from video Saturday June 20, 2009, showing a motorcycle as it burns in the street in Tehran, where protesters appeared to be fighting back security forces, and setting fire to militia members' motorcycles, as Iran state-run television network IRIB broadcast this video.

AP Photo
In this image made from video Saturday June 20, 2009, showing a motorcycle as it burns in the street in Tehran, where protesters appeared to be fighting back security forces, and setting fire to militia members' motorcycles, as Iran state-run television network IRIB broadcast this video.

— Guy Wheatley

Jun 22
GPS
icon1 Guy | icon2 Uncategorized | icon4 06 22nd, 2009| icon3No Comments »

I mounted my gps unit a few weeks ago. I don’t trust the suction cup to hold it to the windshield, so I decided to make my own mount. I fabricated a bracket from a strip of steel, carefully bending it with the correct gap for the mounting stem. I then drilled holes for the long bolt that holds the stem to the suction cup assembly. Finally, I needed a friction plate on the mounting bracket so that the stem would hold position. I’ve used bee’s was as a mold for epoxy before, to make “plastic” parts. I planed to use it to duplicate the ratchet face from the original mount onto the bike mount. Temporarily I used friction tape to give the teeth on the stem side something to bite into.

Fabricated handle bar mount.

Fabricated handle bar mount.

The other issue is that this is not a water proof unit designed for a motorcycle. In the past, I just had to take it off and store in a water tight bag when the rain set in. Of course I can’t use it that way, so no navigator in the rain. I’ve seen some water tight cases for them on a site that sold gps accessories. They ran from $18 to $45. But these were all designed to use as hand held. None of them had a mounting system that would work on the bike. So I began to think about how to fabricate them.
I was showing this to a friend and explaining what I was trying to do. He looked at my bike and gps for a second, then stuffed the mount with suction base still attached down into the area between my gauges and the windshield. There was just enough room to gently wedge it in place where it rides quite securely with out blocking any of the other gauges. He then told me he uses a plastic bag slipped over his gps and a twist tie to hold it shut at the bottom to prevent mist from coming up from below.

Well Duh! Sometimes the simple solutions are the best.

gps mount

gps mount

Mount with gps

Mount with gps

Bag over gps

Bag over gps

— Guy Wheatley

Jun 16

I’m back from vacation. I camped at Wright Patman, just a few miles from Texarkana. The original plan was to go to the Magna Owners Of Texas rally known as MOOT Mag, at Koyote Ranch in Bandera Texas. That’s about 488 miles from Texarkana. At the last minute, things came up and I couldn’t get out of town. So another MOOTster, who also couldn’t get to Bandera, and I had our own little ralley at Wright Patman.
We took a 160 mile ride with some of our BikeNight friends Saturday down through Vivian Louisiana, then over to Jefferson Texas. It was HOT! We hit Vivian at 11:00 am. At one point we stopped to ask directions to a store we were looking for. We were close to a car wash and one of our group dropped in some quarters and used the spray wand, set on rinse, as a mister.

While one of our group was seeking enlightenment, another was seeking relief from the heat. When it's right at 100˚ a car wash wand set on rinse makes a pretty fair mister.

While one of our group was seeking enlightenment, another was seeking relief from the heat. When it's right at 100˚ a car wash wand set on rinse makes a pretty fair mister.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord and pass more quarters! Truley a revival from the heat.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord and pass more quarters! Truley a revival from the heat.

We’ve just about decided to make that our Standard Operating Procedure on these hot summer rides. Go 60 miles and find a car wash. Soak down, head out and go another 60 miles and find another car wash. We’ll have to appoint someone to be sure we have quarters.

— Guy Wheatley

More photos of the ride can be seen on my personal Website:
Wheatley Photo gallery

Jun 9
The wave
icon1 Guy | icon2 Small Talk | icon4 06 9th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

The weather was great this weekend, so I rode both days. This was a gas burning expedition rather than an attempt to reach a particular destination. We took a circuitous route through Ashdown, then back over to Fulton before heading into Old Washington. Discovering they’d rolled up the streets a little after noon, we went in to Hope to find a restaurant.
We went from divided 4 lane roads to narrow roads I’d call a lane and a half. A question I came up with is, how far is too far to wave? Most bikers will give other bikers the low wave we they pass each other. It’s an easy call on a narrow little strip of blacktop winding through the back country. But when the other bike is 100 yards away in the other lane on the Interstate it’s a little less clear. I don’t want the other biker to think I’m unfriendly, but there has to be a distance limit.
If traffic is heavy, or if I need both hands for safety sake for some other reason, I keep them on the bars.
If you pass me someday and I don’t wave, don’t think I’m a snob. I either didn’t see you or felt I needed to drive more the socialize.

Guy Wheatley

Jun 4

My first bike. A 250 NightHawk. Here it is decorated for the Christmas parade.

My first bike. A 250 NightHawk. Here it is decorated for the Christmas parade.


I bought my first motorcycle in April of 2007. You approach something like this differently at 52 than you would have at 25. I got a small bike to learn on. My first bike was a 250 NightHawk. Sharon was always a participant and we started riding 2 up almost as soon as I started riding. Our decision to move to a larger machine was neither bravado, nor phallic compensation. Bodies that have been around for five decades need a little more suspension and padding than the little NightHawk offered. We also needed to haul more gear as we started going camping. Making longer rides to festivals meant we often needed a little more room to haul stuff back home.
My fun ride. A VF750 Magna. The V-4 engine delivers a lot more power and excitement than you'd normally expect from a 750cc power plant.

My fun ride. A VF750 Magna. The V-4 engine delivers a lot more power and excitement than you'd normally expect from a 750cc power plant.


The next ride was a VF750 Honda Magna. Maggie stood us in good stead for the next year, but as we began contemplating longer trips, it became evident that we were going to need something even larger. Our week long trip to San Antonio required more luggage than we could have loaded up on Maggie.
We got the opportunity to pick up a 2002 Victory TC Deluxe. With an engine twice the size of the Magna in a V-twin configuration, we had a solid and powerful machine for long trips. Our longest to date was the week long vacation to San Antonio. We had a blast and plan to make other motorcycle vacations over the next few years.

2002 92 ci Victory Touring Cruiser

Big Vic. Our long haul bike. I'll take a heavy load of luggage a long way.


The Victory is a good machine, but I find myself bucking the trend. I’d rather have a high revving multi-cylinder engine than a V-twin. Honda’s flat six is calling me. But I don’t especially like the looks of the Gold Wing. Instead I find myself drawn to a Valkyrie. Not the Interstate model with it’s dual headlights and fairing, but the tourer model. I just like the look of a cruiser. And I love the creamy smooth power delivered from the 1500 cc flat six engine through the drive shaft.
I’ve got to get Vic cleaned up and on the market so I can start looking for my next ride.

Guy Wheatley

Jun 2
Why do I ride?
icon1 Guy | icon2 Small Talk | icon4 06 2nd, 2009| icon31 Comment »

Taking in the scenery on Arkansas Hwy 195 between Old Washington and Texarkana.

Taking in the scenery on Arkansas Hwy 195 between Old Washington and Texarkana.


I saw this question posted over on the Victory Owners Group forum. The responses ran the gamut from bravado to claims of stress relief. Some riders had been on motorcycles since childhood while other had only been riding a few years. I suppose there are as many reasons for riding as there are riders.
I fit into the group of Boomers who didn’t get to have a bike when we were kids while it seems like all of our friends did. I suppose that is the reason I bought the first bike a few years ago. My kids were grown and out of the house, I had the financial means, and the wife agreed. It was time to satisfy the craving to have something I had been denied. My view of biking involved some fuzzy image of leather jackets with “Born to be Wild” blaring as background music. In the early days, I’d ride like I had some point to prove. Long distance for endurance and riding in cold and wet weather to prove … well … I’m not really sure what I was trying to prove as I look back on it. I didn’t want to be one of those fair weather, “Sunshine,” bikers discussed with so much contempt on some forums.
I quickly got past that though and discovered a different set of emotions when riding. My wife rides 2 up with me. She started riding with me almost as soon as I started riding. We found we were at our happiest puttering along on some little back road taking in the scenery at, or slower than the speed limit. We normally carry water and soft drinks as well as a snack. At the first sign of a numbing posterior, we’ll pull over. And while riding just to ride is fun, we find we prefer to have a destination. There are dozens of “Flower,” festivals in the small town surrounding our area in the spring, and various fall festivals starting in October. These are good excuses for rides. They give us someplace to go and something to do when we get there.
I guess a one sentence answer to the question of, “Why do you ride?” would be, It’s something Sharon and I enjoy doing together.

We'd been through town before and seen this dragon. We stopped to get photo this time. It looks like it's taken a shine to Sharon.

We'd been through town before and seen this dragon. We stopped to get photo this time. It looks like it's taken a shine to Sharon.

— Guy Wheatley