Friday, April 06, 2007


Please point your bookmarks to:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thinking of moving the blog

I've been looking at Wordpress and I like the features and interface a lot better than Blogger. So I might move the blog to :
I was able to import the current blog entirely into Wordpress with the exception of a few videos. Once I have everything set up the way I like at the new site, I'll post the "This blog has moved" notice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Season 3 !

Spring is here! The weather's been on the cooler side but we did have some sunny days last week. I took the bike out for a short ride on Sunday, my first ride this season. Bike runs great, though I suspect its running slightly rich-might have to put in a smaller main jet or tweak the mixture screw.
In preparation for The Big Out-West trip later this year ( more on that soon!) I purchased some touring gear today. I'd been looking at all-weather touring jackets and finally settled on the Tour Master Transition jacket. It looks great, is waterproof and is loaded with features including vents, armor, multiple pockets and removable inner liner for cold weather. And its very reasonably priced compared to similar jackets by Aerostitch or Firstgear. To go with it, I bought the Tour Master Venture pants. I should be receiving both items next week and I plan to test them out on a 2 day trip riding the back roads in Indiana. Next month, I'll be getting a new helmet- this time I'm going for the modular (flip-up) style full face helmet.

Tour Master Transition

Tour Master Venture

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Great Website

Check out this website: They have a growing database of motorcycle roads, route mapping based on Google Maps, motorcycle forums and articles.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Which one should I buy?

Lately, I've been thinking about adding another steed to my stable, maybe later this year. I love my cruiser but I have been yearning for a bike that has the handling and horsepower of a high performance sports bike and is also comfortable for long distance touring. So I've been looking at these sport-touring bikes as potential candidates for my next bike. The pictures below are of the 07 models but I would probably get a used one. Which one would you buy?!

Honda ST 1300

Yamaha FJR 1300A

Kawasaki Concours 14

BMW R1200 RT

Moto Guzzi Norge 1200

Triumph Sprint ST

Monday, January 08, 2007

Reading the Winter Blues Away!

While winter has been unusually mild thus far, I haven't been out riding since I put the bike away in early December. I have, however, been reading some interesting books related to motorcycling. Here is my review of two of my favorite books. I'll be posting some more books reviews occasionally.
Subscribers of Cycle World magazine might be familiar with the writings of Peter Egan. I was aware of his popular column Side Glances in Road and Track, and had assumed he was simply a car nut. Then I came across two books, Leanings and Leanings 2, both compilations of his articles in Cycle World over the last 25 years. Peter Egan is, I realized, first and foremost, a motorcycle enthusiast. His writing is essentially about his lifelong love affair with motorcycles. He has owned over 40 bikes, of all types from vintage Nortons and Vincents to modern Ducatis and Harley Davidson Electra Glides. He has ridden on some of the best motorcycling roads in the world, from touring the Alps and the Isle of Man to off-roading in Baja California to riding the length and breadth of North America. His essays, based on his experiences, take the reader along on the journey, with his vivid descriptions, heartfelt emotions and poignant observations. For many of us, his is the life we dream of: days spent riding in exotic locales or tinkering with vintage motorcycles in the garage, evenings spent in the company of like minded friends or, occasionally on the computer hammering out another heartwarming story that millions will read. But Egan beguiles the reader into thinking that, despite his enviable lifestyle, he is one of us. He yearns to spend more time riding, or wishes he had the means to lay his hands on that old Triumph. And in doing so, he echoes the same desires in his writing that his readers have - to do more of what they are passionate about. And for readers who "get it", who share this passion for motorcycles, these two books are literary gems.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Last ride of the season

I didn't think I'd still be riding in mid-December but I managed to go on a short 40 mile ride last Sunday before winterizing the bike. Compared to last week's (daytime) temperatures in the mid 20s, Sunday's 45° was almost warm! The light dusting of snow we got last week could still be seen in patches out in the countryside and the roads were heavily salted. After nearly losing traction on a couple of corners because of the salt, I changed my riding style to a more leisurely one. I cruised along the Ohio river, took some pictures and then decided that puttering around on salty back roads wasn't my thing, so I returned. Added Stabil to the gas, took the battery out and put it on a float charger, gave the bike a final wipe-down and called it a season.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I have a brand new bike!

Well, not really.....I should say its almost like having a brand new bike! I finally got around to making all the performance modifications I wanted to on the bike. The rejet kit and air filter had been gathering dust for several weeks. I also wanted to drill and de-baffle the exhaust pipes, not just for a better sound but to open up the exhaust a bit, since I was going to put a K&N filter in. ( The idea is to let more air in by using the K&N filter, mix it with more gas in the carburetor by replacing the jets with bigger jets and then open up the exhaust for gettting all the gases out quickly).
On Saturday, my brother and I finally started working on the bike around noon. We drilled out the pipes using a hole-saw and broke the baffles off to open up the exhaust. Resisting the urge to start up the bike to hear the new sound, we then removed the tank and opened up the carburetor. Changing the jets is not really a difficult job- if you know what you are doing. Fortunately, I had printed instructions and pictures from this site. The rejet went pretty smoothly, except for the panic attack I had when I thought I had lost a tiny 'O' ring in the carburetor. I replaced the stock main jet with the 155 main jet from the Dynojet kit and also replaced the jet needle and spring. Dynojet does not provide a pilot jet, instead they recommend backing out the mixture screw 3.5 turns. By the time we dropped the K&N filter in and put the tank back on, it was almost 6:00pm. I was quite nervous when it was time to fire up the bike. Had we missed something? Did we put the carb back together properly or were we going to hear horrible, grinding noises and see black smoke and sparks?
It took a couple of tries for the gas to get to the engine but once it fired, what a sound. The de-baffled pipes sound a lot better ( and louder!) than stock. I took a ride around the block and right off the bat, I notice that the throttle was more responsive.The real test would be the mid-range and top end response, but it had gotten cold and dark by then. Happy that at least I hadn't screwed it up, I reluctantly parked the bike for the night.
On Sunday, I went to my first NFL game ( The Cincinnati Bengals vs the San Diego Chargers). It was a great game, but the Bengals lost. This morning (Monday) I finally tested the bike for a couple of hours on some local back-roads. I must say I am extremely pleased with the results. It feels like there is more torque in every gear and the throttle response is phenomenal-snap it open and the bike takes off like a scalded cat. Ok, so I still can't pop a wheelie, but gimme a break, its a 600lb cruiser!
After the test ride, I let the bike cool down and then used some Blue-Job to restore the discolored chrome on the front cylinder header pipe. Blue-Job actually works-the chrome is almost back to its original luster. Now that the bike is not running lean ( i.e. high air to fuel ratio), the pipes won't get so hot and discolor again.
Its mid-November but riding season is not yet over for me. As long as there's no snow or black ice out there, I intend to ride!


Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall Colors trip to West Virginia and Virginia

Trip Summary ( for those who just want to see the pictures!): 3 days, 1015 miles. Rode on some fantastic roads in W. Virginia and did half of the Skyline Drive in Virginia. Camped both nights. Scroll down for some pictures.

Day 1: It was a bleak, wet Friday morning when I set out for W. Virginia. It had rained heavily the previous night but the forecast said there would be no rain Friday. I had packed everything I needed in the Harley-Davidson sissy bar bag (borrowed from John) and my two saddlebags. Clothes, tools, chargers for the camera and phone, rain-gear, fleece, toiletries, some trail-mix, water. The tent and sleeping bag were strapped on to my luggage rack. Despite the gloomy weather, I was feeling pretty good. There was that feeling one gets when embarking on a much anticipated trip-a mix of excitement and nervousness that was more potent than the 3 cups of coffee I'd consumed !
After a quick stop at at New Richmond on route 52 to check the bags, I rode at a steady 75 mph to Portsmouth, OH where I had lunch at Arby's. I was glad I had a windshield to protect my torso from the cold wind, in spite of its bad design which caused some buffeting. Made it to West Virginia around 2:30pm and continued on I-64 toward Charleston. The fall foliage looked more colorful, even along I-64. South of Charleston, I got on to route 60 which runs along the Gauley River. I passed several small, impoverished looking towns located around big, ugly coal mines. Big barges carrying coal floated slowly down the river and several times, I got stuck behind a slow moving dump truck carrying...yup, you guessed it...coal. At the Gauley bridge, I took route 39 toward Summersville. On any other day, I would have enjoyed riding on 39 but by then I was getting tired and wanted to stop and set up camp before dark. I reached Summersville around 6:00pm. A local at a gas station pointed me toward Mountain Lake campground. Now, I've been to a fair number of campgrounds and this one was the best one I've seen so far- based on how clean the restrooms were. Considering that there was not a single other soul camping there, that was to be expected ! It was a little weird being the sole camper in a huge campground. Maybe all the sane folk were at home, warm and cozy. I quickly set up the tent, snapped a few pictures and rode into town to find some dinner. By the time I got back, the groundskeeper had, at my request, dropped off a bundle of firewood. I made a few calls, told everyone I'd made it safely thus far and then got a nice fire going. I sat by the fire for a long time, savoring a cup of chili, thinking about the day. When the fire went out, it was only 8:30pm, but very cold, so I retired to the tent and tried to sleep. Sleep, however, did not come for a long time. Maybe it was the excitement of the trip.

Total miles: 302

First stop to check the bags

The Gauley river in West Virginia

Mountain Lake campground in Summersville

Ready to set up camp!


Settling in for the night

Day 2: I awoke with a cold and a sore throat around 7am. There was a heavy fog outside and everything was covered in dew. I was glad the bathroom had hot showers, so I proceeded to take one. By the time I packed up the tent and was ready to go, it was around 9am. A quick stop for breakfast at BK and I set out on that still misty morning, full of excitement. The plan was to ride on the Highland scenic route through the Monongahela National Forest in the Appalachian mountains and make my way to Skyline drive in Virginia. As the sun broke though the fog, it transformed the countryside into a menagerie of colors of the fall foliage. There I was, a lone biker cruising though the winding mountain roads, trying to take it all in. It was a challenge to stay focused on the road, when the scenery was so mesmerizing. At times, I just gave up and had to stop, turn the motor off and let it all sink in. But as spectacular as the scenery was, the roads themselves demanded full attention. The mountain roads are full of surprises-an unexpectedly sharp corner, a wet patch of leaves from the previous day's rain, sweeping turns that never seem to end- It was a motorcyclist's paradise! I rode for hours, stopping only to snap a couple of pictures. Eventually, at 3pm, I stopped for lunch at a mom & pop's restaurant to try some local cusine. The lunch special was baked pork chops with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, bread and coffee all for a ridiculously low $7! I didn't realize how hungry I was until I saw all that food.
By then, it was a relatively warm 58° outside and there was still plenty of riding left to be done. However, I realized there would be no time to go to Front Royal in Virginia, where the Skyline drive begins, so I decided to catch it at its mid point, near a town called Elkton. I reached the entrance to the Shenandoah national park around 5pm. After riding the scenic roads in West Virginia all day for free, I wasn't pleased that I had to pay to enter the park and ride on Skyline drive. ( $10 for motorcycles, $15 for cars). As a motorcyclist, Skyline drive was mildly disappointing. Sure, the views from the overlooks are spectacular. But the road is full of the so called "leaf peepers" in slow moving cars. The drive is actively policed by park rangers who mercilessly hand out tickets to those driving above the posted 35mph. I was happy to finally exit the Skyline drive near Waynesboro, VA around 7pm. Now all I had to do was find a motel, get some rest for the long ride back home the next day-well, that was not to be. Thanks to a NASCAR race at the Martinsville speedway, it seemed like every motel in Virginia was full. It was getting dark, but I decided to proceed west on I-64 until I found a motel. After several unsuccessful stops in Virginia, I decided to keep going until I reached W. Virginia- surely there would be motel rooms there! No such luck. By then it was 9pm, I had been on the saddle for over 10 hours and my wrist and back were starting to hurt. At a town called White Sulfur Springs, an employee at the local McDonald's told me that an old lady had private campground in her backyard on the outskirts of town. Without too much trouble, I found the place and she was happy to have another camper. She told me she used to ride a bike in her younger days. It was cold and by the time I had set up the tent, my fingers were numb. I slipped into the sleeping bag and tried to sleep. But sleep wouldn't come for many hours. My cold and sore throat had gotten worse, I was sneezing and starting to feel a bit feverish. I hoped that I wouldn't fall severely ill and be unable to ride back home on Sunday. I figure I slept no more than 3 hours that night.

Total miles: 360

Foggy Saturday morning

W. Virginia fall colors

Highland Scenic Highway

View along the Highland scenic highway

West Virginia countryside

Germany Valley

My lunch !


Skyline drive scenic overlook

Day 3: I woke up around 7:30am feeling pretty miserable but another hot shower fixed that. The tent was wet from the morning dew, but I packed it up and was ready to go by 8:30. I stopped at the same McDonald's for breakfast and coffee. I was in the restroom there when I overheard a conversation between a couple of guys. They were saying something about a biker from Ohio, who must be insane to be riding in the cold. They were talking about me, I realized, and that made me smile. Come to think of it, I didn't see too many bikers on this trip-maybe ten in all. And I guess we must be a bit insane!

After breakfast, I set out toward Ohio at a steady 80mph along I-64, then cut across via route 60 back to I-64 near Charleston and then onto route 52 in Ohio. This time, the mission was simply to get back home. Easy enough- just a couple of hundred miles of mindless riding on the interstate and route 52. But the aches and pains and lack of sleep from two days of riding and camping made things a bit harder. It was also a lot colder and my fingers were frozen over the handlebars. The last hundred miles were the longest I have ever ridden and to top it all, when I reached Cincinnati, I got stuck in traffic on I-75 from the Bengals game. Still, these were minor inconveniences. The euphoric high I experienced riding those beautiful twisting roads in W. Virginia is something I crave, so I'm already planning my next long distance trip, sometime in spring!

Total miles: 353

The old lady's backyard campground.

Time to pack up and go home!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Trip to W.Virginia and Virginia this weekend

Looks like I timed it right! The fall colors in W. Virginia and Virginia's Shenandoah national park should be peaking in the next few days. I plan to set out either on thursday or friday morning (depending on how many days I can take off from work) and return by sunday evening. I'll be camping, unless the weather is really bad, in which case I'll seek a motel. In preparation for the trip I changed the engine oil, filter and (shaft) drive oil today. Here's the trip route from Charleston, WV.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

AMA ad targeting distracted drivers

Take a look!

Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm weak......very weak

I did it again. Bought more stuff for the bike. This time, I decided to go the performance route. I had planned to rejet the carburetor and put in a K&N air filter later this year. Well, I decided to go ahead and do it before the Fall trip to W.Virginia and Virginia, so I ordered a Dynojet rejet kit and a K&N filter. This will the the first time I'll be messing with the bike's innards, hopefully I won't screw it up! While I won't be replacing the exhaust pipes just yet, I plan to open up the stock exhaust by removing the baffles. Combine a high flow air filter, a rejetted carburetor and a free flowing exhaust and I should get a noticeable increase in hp and torque throughout the rpm range.

Dynojet jet kit
K&N Filter

Monday, September 18, 2006

Accessories installed !

I received the accessories last week and spent saturday morning installing them. The saddlebags and highway pegs were easy to install, but it took a while to get them exactly where I wanted. The windshield was a bit of a pain to get on, it involved removing the turn signals and headlight to reroute the wires behind the windshield mounting bracket. I think the accessories look pretty good. However, in terms of function, the windshield was a big disappointment. I noticed severe buffetting at all speeds, caused by wind rushing from under the shield. After doing some research on Volusiariders, it seems the solution is to get lowers ( deflectors mounted on the front forks ) to reduce buffetting.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Preparing for Fall

This year, I plan to ride out to West Virginia sometime in October when the fall colors are at their peak, camp and ride some of the scenic routes there, maybe even do some rafting. The perfect excuse to spend some money on accessories for the bike. I decided to go the practical route, instead of the performance route. So instead of getting the Roadhouse 2-into-1 exhaust, K&N filter and rejet kit, I bought a windshield, saddlebags and highway pegs. Net damage: $511.00. Can't wait to receive the accessories and install them on the bike! Meanwhile, here are the pics from the seller's website:

OEM Suzuki adjustable height windshield ( $299)

Saddlemen Midnight Express Jumbo Slant saddlebags ($114)

Kuryakyn Highway pegs with offset mounts ( $98)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

July/August rides

Ok, I'm not going to make any lame excuses for not updating the blog in the past few weeks. It certainly wasn't because I didn't ride....I rode almost every weekend on my favorite routes in Kentucky and Indiana.
A few weeks back Angie and I took the ferry across the Ohio river into Kentucky.

We then rode to Rabbit Hash and Jane's Saddlebag. Angie really liked the place, so the very next weekend we took John and Amiee there. Jane's Saddlebag is a great place to relax after a ride. The owners Pete and Nancy are very friendly and the food is great. Their Woolly Burger ( named after the Woolly Mammoth fossils discovered at Big Bone Lick State Park next door) is excellent and highly recommended. There are plenty of interesting things to see including a petting zoo with goats, horses and even a Lama named Dali! And there's always some cool bikes parked outside!

In jail at Jane's Saddlebag

Some cool bikes

Dali Lama!

Pete and Nancy

After several hot weekends with temperatures in the 90s, the weather last weekend was perfect. Angie and I rode out to the farm in Versailles via Madison, IN with Aimee and John. There Aimee got a chance to ride a motorbike (a dirtbike) for the first time and she was thrilled!
We ended the day relaxing around a bonfire.

With Aimee and John

At the farm

Aimee's first solo ride on a motorcycle!

Whats a night at the farm without a bonfire?