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Archive for June 8th, 2010

It’s called the Harley-Davidson: Road Trip.

Visualize for a moment retirement homes all across America experiencing the roar of the V-Twin engine, the shine of the chrome and the feeling of power and freedom from a joy stick and from the comfort of a lounger!  The older crowd can switch from Wii-Fit to biker hoodlum in seconds!

It’s coming soon courtesy of Destineer,  a developer of family-friendly video games for game consoles. They partnered with Harley-Davidson to bring the ultimate cross-country adventure game exclusively to the Nintendo Wii system.  The game takes place from the seat of a H-D (choose one of six models) motorcycle and should you accept the mission you’ll be on a special assignment from HOG Magazine to chronicle a road trip across America.  Don’t worry the camera is included with the game.

Now some of you will get testy when I say the Wii is for “oldsters” and from what I’ve observed they are likely to be very sweaty oldsters at that!  However, the Wii console has been selling like discounted hot-cakes at the local Denny’s!  The people buying these systems are not hardcore gamers.  They are mainstream adults and amazingly, the elderly can’t seem to get enough.  It’s highly likely we will be reading in a couple months about a retirement home who was taken over by a trio of motorcycle oldsters battling it out over the best road trip across America.

I’m not sure if this is what H-D had in mind when they referred to reaching people who have never considered a motorcycle before while not alienating the core audience that grew up with the brand.

Full Disclosure:  I own a Wii console as it goes well with my White Russian, Big Lebowski bowling outfit!

Photo courtesy of H-D and Destineer Games.

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Leslie Porterfield

Bonneville Salt Flats.  It’s no stranger to speed records.

And if you stroll through the race pits now days you’ll probably notice a lot of ponytails beneath helmets.  And they belong to women racers!  Racing in general is no longer a male dominated sport and motorcycle racing is no exception.

Harley-Davidson has made no secret of their strong interest in the female motorcycle market.  From support of the Women Riders Month, the International Female Ride Day to the dealer garage parties, Harley is helping women all over the world to join together to ride and break down any old stereotypes.  In some ways this is old news because in 1915 the 20-year-old Effie Hotchkiss drove from New York to California on a 3-speed Harley.  Or if you prefer during WWII, Bessie Stringfield rode from Army base to Army base as the only woman in the Army’s motorcycle dispatch unit.  Solo women motorcycle riders are revving engines as much as the next guy.

Now we have the world’s fastest woman on a motorcycle, Leslie Porterfield (34).  Not only does she hold the world record as the fastest female on a motorcycle, but she owns and operates High Five Cycles (Dallas, TX).   And, among many other accomplishments she has become the first woman to earn inclusion in the prestigious Bonneville 200 mph Club.  The first woman in its 61 year history.  After a nasty crash in 2007 she came back in 2008 to set the land speed record of 232MPH in the 2,000cc turbocharged class (on a 2002 turbo-modified Suzuki Hayabusa) and in the 1,000cc production class (2008 Honda CBR 1000) set the record of 192MPH.  Then at the 2009 International Speed Trails she claimed top speed of the meet award with a 240MPH pass.  Motorcycle tuning is performed by Scott Horner (Heads Up Performance) and Rhys Griffiths (APEX Speed Technology).

It turns out that Ms. Porterfield is featured on the cover of MyTekLife Magazine’s current issue, and for those lucky enough to be in the area she will be visiting Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson.  She is the honored guest during the Hogs and Dogs event on June 26th.  The location is 13850 N. Cave Creek Road and the event will include an opportunity to get autographs, and hear Ms. Porterfield talk about what’s next and going faster.   As a sidebar, Mr. Stubbs has an extensive racing career too which includes winning the Daytona 100 mile race in 1963.

For reference — the world’s fastest motorcycle crown belongs to Chris Carr and Denis Manning who logged 367.382MPH through the measured mile.

Photo courtesy of MyTekLife Magazine’s

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Reminiscent of the sly wizard in Frank Baum’s classic The Wizard of Oz, chances are most people have probably never heard of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) program manager of motorcycle safety and safety standards, Michele O’Leary.

Who is Michele O’Leary?   A person who wants you to wear a helmet and protective clothing.  The person who manages the motorcycle endorsement funds and determines how it gets allocated.  But wait there’s even more…

The Statesman Journal has an interesting interview with O’Leary and it provides insight on the person behind the curtain.

First off, O’Leary came to the job with a motorcycle endorsement and owns a motorcycle!  It’s good to be able to relate to rider issues and in my book this was a step ahead of the Harley-Davidson CEO (Keith Wandell) when he was hired last year with neither.   As a member of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on motorcycle safety, O’Leary has the inside track and has been successful in getting legislation changed to increase fines/penalties on certain types of infractions deemed safety oriented.  Is that good?

I became acquainted with O’Leary as part of my safety rants back in April to do anything and everything to encourage the use of the States variable message signs (VMS) for motorcycle awareness. Those neon signs are peppered across the metro area roadways and provide information about traffic congestion and accident reports and in my little world I thought they would make an excellent public safety reminder for drivers to watch out for motorcycles.  My request was promptly denied and I got “schooled” on the ‘correct’ usage of variable message signs by the ODOT traffic engineers. Previous posts related to this subject matter at: Motorcycle Safety TacticsSpotlight On ODOTWanna Be Policy Makers.

Many might debate that we need to ‘just say no’ to the ever increasing attempts by the government to manage every aspect of our lives through increased regulation.  Others will say it’s a noble cause to help make Oregon motorcycle riders safer.  Read the interview, learn who is looking out for you and judge for yourself…

And finally, if the above wasn’t enough to digest… from the edges of the internet come information about a tornado strikes festival celebrating The Wizard of Oz.

Photo courtesy of Picasa.

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