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Archive for November, 2007

We’ve all heard the “Boomer” term or sound bite from advertisers or from the evening news anchor.  More recently there has been a lot of debate about the aging Harley demographic and Boomer accident/fatality rates on motorcycles.

But, if you are like me and recently turn another year older, I wasn’t clear on where the name Boomer was derived?   So, like millions of other web consumers that on a daily basis go on-line to find something or be entertained — I thought I’d best research this gap in knowledge.

The term comes from two primary audiences: the Baby Boomers Generation and Generation Jones – both born during the big 20-year, post-World War II boom in births from the mid-1940’s to mid-1960’s.

  • Baby Boomers were born 1942 to 1953; we associate their youth with Howdy Doody, Davy Crocket hats, and later, Woodstock and Vietnam War demonstrations.
  • Generation Jones, born 1954 to 1965, is a newer concept and name that represents the actual children of the sixties (more wide-eyed than tie-dyed); Jonesers were weaned on The Brady Bunch and Easy Bake Ovens and later were the teens of 70’s heavy metal, disco, punk and soul.

Wow, something new!  I’ve heard the urban slang of “Jones’ing for Something”, but never Generation Jones.  Today, Boomers are 53 to 64 years old and 16% of the adult U.S. population; Jonesers are 41 to 52 years old and 26% of all U.S. adults. Together they make up almost 80 Million people, arguably at the prime of their lives.

I shouldn’t really say “they,” but rather “we,” or “me” because many of us are part of one or the other generation.  I’m truly excited about this new generational paradigm. Generation Jones makes me feel young.  Having been the recipient of extensive major media coverage, AARP mailings and a need-not-apply elusive group of the 16-34-year-old MySpace group, I’m thinking this new “Jones” demographic is worth some buzz.

Jonesers were originally and mistakenly lumped in with the Boomers because of shared high birth rates.  But, generational personalities come from shared formative experiences, not head counts. The dramatically different formative experience of Boomers vs. Jonesers has created two very different generational personalities. I’ve never felt like a “Boomer” even with the AARP flyer in hand, but I totally “get” Jonesers, the differences as well as the similarities.  

I feel so much better now that I’ve redefine my own identity! Next I’ll be evangelizing how a cell phone is technology for anything other than talking?!

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black bike hearstRecently my post on motorcycle fatalities received a comment from the Black Velvet Hearse Company.  It’s the brainchild of motorcycle enthusiasts who wanted to give other riders the opportunity to enjoy their last ride the way they would want to. The Black Velvet Hearse is a desire to provide a unique, memorable, and remarkable service to the biker community.  

The “Til Death Do We Ride” slogan caught my attention and the service is provided for motorcycle riders by motorcycle riders.  They have an interesting web site and it’s a unique product that I wanted to pass along.  

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Here’s an interesting video on the Harley 2008 Anti-Lock braking system. It’s a bit long (8min), but explained in detail.  It’s curious how during wet braking the rider stays upright and they talk about limitations of the system when over braking on corners.  As always the best braking method is “upright”.  Enjoy.

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island_rideThe sun, the sand, the sound of waves crashing on the beach – huh?

I took a week+ off from blogging and fully enjoyed vacation in the tropics. I did the entire relax by the pool with SPF-30, read books, caught up on local Oahu news and ordered lots of refreshments with large slices of Pineapple!

One book I read that I wanted to mention was by John Wood. He released a memoir entitled Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. At the pinnacle of his career he departs Microsoft to start Room-to-Read and lays the groundwork for a long-term vision of world change. Great book and I admire his life-altering decision to leave the corporate world to create a non-profit.

sunset_oahuThe trip was not on a Harley. I worked real hard to avoid traffic and driving, yet with temperatures ranging between 78-81 degrees a “HOG” ride was on my mind. I toured the Island of Oahu with my “Island Girl” from the beaches of Waikiki, through the windy mountain roads and around the island to the North Shore…all in a rental car. Sure, I found a bit of paradise on Oahu and managed to take some pictures…my other hobby. Honolulu has grown leaps and bounds over the years, and today even more skyscrapers are filling the tropical island. The city itself is impeccable and a shopping mecca. It’s a special place and the people are friendly and its natural beauty and unique culture is what draws me back.

After all Oahu is famous for its miles and miles of white, sandy beaches, but one can’t help but think how every day is a Harley day in Hawaii.

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hd_cafeSome refer to this desert journey through the darkest corridors of the soul…a ride in the hotbed of temptation and sin…Las Vegas. Nothing compares to the feeling you get pulling onto a wide-open stretch of road in Vegas.

Unfortunately, I was there for the BlogWorld conference and not able to ride. I was even more bummed coming from cold rain as the weather was in the low 80’s, but there would be no saddling up the steal horse to experience any desert frontier.

Instead I was flying home late from the 2-day conference and there was this gal coughing the entire 3 hour flight in my row…needless to say I contracted whatever she was spreading into the air. Ugh!! Went from feeling just fine to miserable in record time.

I was able to take an evening walk on the strip and shot a couple photos to remind me of the fun.

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Hard Ride SiteAll the 2008 motorcycles will be on display at the first ever Portland International Motorcycle Show which is set to take place on December 8-9, 2007.

The event is at the Portland Expo Center and if you are in the market for a new cycle this is the show to attend.

There will be lots of sport bikes, cruisers, motocross bikes, quads, scooters, Lehman Trikes and side-by-sideon displays from most manufacturers like Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, plus European brands like Ducati, Aprilia and MV Augusta. Of course Harley Davidson will be there.

The show hours are Saturday: 10:00am – 8:00pm and Sunday: 10:00am – 5:00pm. For more info HERE.

Let’s pull together the posse and head on down for a little bit of look’n, sit’n and talk’n.

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custer gravesI like spirited debate and don’t shy away from conflict and this is a bit longer than many of my posts so, I apologize up front for those of you looking for instant gratification.

One topic where the “elephant” in the room needs to be introduced and brought out into the light of day is the issue of motorcycle fatalities.

I dislike being morbid, but there are motorcycle trends that we should stop and take notice of:

  • Motorcycles represent 2.5% of all registered vehicles but 11.3% of traffic deaths.Motorcyclists ages 50 and older who die in wrecks has grown from 14% to 24% since 1997.
  • Motorcycle ownership among riders aged 40 and over has increased dramatically, from 15.1% in 1980 to 43.7% in 1998.45% of motorcycle drivers killed in traffic crashes were not wearing helmets.
  • Engine displacement of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes have increased, from ave. engine size of 769cc in 1990 to 959cc in 2001.In 2005, the motorcycle fatality rate was 73 per 100K registered motorcycles compared with 13.7 per 100K passenger vehicles.
  • Speeding are bigger factors in fatal crashes of Supersport and Sport bikes compared with other classes of motorcycles – 4X higher.

This data connects with the Harley buying demographic and rider assumptions of the boomer generation. Houston we have a problem! From celeb wrecks to average Joes getting older the incidents have jumped, even if little noticed in the media especially here in Oregon. For the last 3+ years all the articles written about motorcycle accidents include some type of statement to the effect of “financially secure baby boomers looking for adventure” are the main cause of serious accidents resulting from inexperienced riders combined with more powerful motorcycles. Blah, blah, blah…

This type of reporting is boring and somewhat irresponsible! There is little to connect the two unless you compare Sport Bikes which attract the below 30 something demographic. And if older people have decreased motor skills then why aren’t there increases in automobiles accidents due to increasing horse power? Yet many media outlets claim riders are killing themselves due to rookie inexperience. Yet the accidents continue

The latest internet searches provided the following:

  • On Friday, October 26th, there was a fatal crash on Oregon 217. It was the middle of the day, clear skies, dry road and in the mid-60’s (which in itself is unusual for a Northwest winter!) when Craig E. Lewis (Camas, WA), 61, motorcyclist rear-ended a car in the south bound lane. The Tigard police (Jim Wolf , spokesperson) stated that the motorcyclist was making a lane change and didn’t notice that traffic had stopped.
  • Then early October an organized “ride” to a biker funeral from Medford to Portland turned deadly when three people were injured North of Salem in a motorcycle crash. The large group of motorcyclists were northbound on Interstate 5 as part of an organized ride. Near milepost 265 northbound, 37-year old Patrick H. Lucas of Molalla, was on the northbound shoulder on his motorcycle, waiting to join the ride. According to witnesses, the group slowed down to allow Lucas to fall in the back of the pack, but he instead attempted to merge into the middle of the group. He hit 69-year old Jerry W. Worthington of Butte Falls, Montana and they both went down. A third motorcycle ridden by 60-year old John H. Jensen of Wilderville, Oregon collided with the first two and a fourth motorcycle driven by 56-year old Patrick A Treece of Coos Bay, ran over the wreckage.
  • And back in September, a lady died and the passenger was injured on Oregon 219 south of Newberg. Carolyn Caylor, 51, of Okanogan, Wash., was killed and Shel Rae Claddagh, 38, of Canby was injured. The two were found by Caylor’s husband and stepson, who were on other motorcycles in the three-cycle tour, about six miles north of Newberg. The cycles were about a quarter-mile apart and the relatives went back to look for the women when their three-wheel 1994 Honda Goldwing disappeared. They were found down a 40-foot embankment after the motorcycle missed a sharp left curve.

I feel very sorry for all these families. I truly do. I don’t know the situation for sure, but nationally the accident data tells a story that judgement errors are making it more and more deadly to be a motorcyclist. This is alarming to me as I like the open road and it might be something our posse will want to get involved or address?

The Oregonian recently reported that the number of registered motorcycles rose 61 percent from 1995 to 2005, from 3.8 million to 6.1 million. The number increased 83 percent in Oregon during the same period, from 59,468 to 108,958.

This is a useless statistic. More bikes on the roads, more accidents – duh! Stats are a tricky thing. To understand the fatalities there would need to be collision reconstruction to identify crash causation (cause analysis) and recognition experts to help identify if alcohol and/or drug impaired the driver etc., for every motorcycle accident. Things like speed, road conditions, urban vs. rural setting etc. are needed to assess trends. And if the stats are higher for those riding high-performance sport bikes vs. cruisers. The reports don’t do this, rather they measure the broad fatality rates, as measured by deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles and per million vehicle miles traveled. This number has steadily climbed while at the same time the overall motor vehicle fatality rate has fallen. Troy Costales, administrator of ODOT’S Traffic Safety Division, said there are about three motorcycle fatalities in rural Oregon for every one in an urban setting. The No. 1 cause, he said, was excessive speed going into corners.

It’s not just Oregon. In Montana more motorcycles are on the roads too. There are now about 80,000 bikes, which is compared to about 50,000 in 2005. This year in Montana 34 people have died in motorcycle crashes which compares to 27 last year. If you look outside the region in Iowa the upturn in Deer movements accounted for 10 deaths in Iowa – 9 of the 10 were not wearing helmets. And in South Carolina they are on a pace to exceed the 106 fatalities of last year. Even Michele Obama (wife of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) campaign van collided with a motorcycle on a two-lane country road in central Iowa on October 9th. Fortunately it only sent the motorcyclist to the hospital.

One notable exception is in Washington State. Motorcycle fatality collisions have decreased as a result of troopers focused attention on motorcyclists who were driving under the influence, speeding and driving negligently. As of August 31, there were 43 deaths resulting from collisions involving motorcyclists. For the same time period last year, there were 61 deaths. From April 2007 to July 2007 (peak riding in the NW), Washington troopers doubled the amount of arrests of motorcyclists who were driving under and influence and increased the amount of citations issued to those riders who exceed the posted speed limit by two-thirds.

There is no easy explanation why the motorcycle death toll continues to increase, but ABATE (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) the motorcycle advocacy group believes better training for bikers and educating other motorists will decrease motorcycle deaths. I have to agree. I’m not trying to mandate helmut laws so, save your clicks. You do what you think as I’ve only presented some stats.

Just be very careful out there!

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