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Archive for October, 2011

H-D Brake Light Switch

Harley-Davidson issues a recall notice, NHTSA Campaign ID Number 11V506000NHTSA, earlier in the week.  The component in question is the brake light switch.

According to the recall report excessive heat from the exhaust may cause the switch to not activate the brake lamp or activate the brake lamp when no brake is applied and/or cause a brake fluid leak at the brake light switch.  H-D is recalling certain model year 2009 – 2012 Touring, CVO Touring and Trike motorcycles manufactured from June 6, 2008 – September 16, 2011.
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The list of affected models is significant and the potential number of units is over 250,000.  H-D will notify owners and dealers will install a rear brake light switch kit free of charge.  The recall is expected begin on or about October 31, 2011.  Owners may contact H-D at (414)343-4056 or go to NHTSA for more information.
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Photo courtesy of H-D.
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NW Hog Lamp - In the Shop

Old motorcycles represent good memories for me and I suspect for many of you reading this blog.

Honda introduced the CB750 motorcycle to the U.S. in 1969.  The bike was targeted directly at the U.S. market after company officials fully understood the opportunity for a larger bike.  It had 750-cc, 4-cylinder SOHC engine, electric start and disc brakes.  The motorcycle set the bar very high for manufactures.  Disc front brake and an inline four cylinder engine were previously unavailable on mainstream production bikes. And with a price under $1500 (U.S.) it had significant advantages over British competition.

All those new motorcycles left Japan for America and some forty odd years later you’ll find them forgotten in the auto wrecking yards across this land.

Finished lamp on the desk

John Ryland scours the Richmond, Virginia junk yards in search of the motorcycles and their recycled parts.  His main business is rescuing and creating retro-cool-custom bikes from the rustic heaps.  Not the West Coast Chopper or OCC slick and polished, rather the brutally sparse and elegant.  You see the steel and welding is straight up and honest.  At the time he worked in an ad agency, but the economy had its way and what was a hobby began as full-time adventure building motorcycles from parts and frames he found in junkyards and classified ads. The operation is called – Classified Moto.

I ran across John while catching the tail end of a CNN segment that featured a custom motorcycle builder who on a whim decided to a build a lamp.  Yes, the kind that lights up your life, or workshop or home décor.

As I watched this behind the scenes video I could almost smell the gasoline, grease and arc welder as John grinded and then aligned the metal springs and shocks on his workbench along with the transmissions gears and brake rotors.  The walls in one corner of his ‘office’ were covered in chalkboards and scribbled notes about how the lamps were built.  I decided right then that I had to have one of these “Road Warrior” welded and hammered out creations and decided to upgrade my desk – Classified Style!

Born Date

I did the ‘Google’ and placed an order a couple months back.  I ordered up “Honda CB750” circa 1980.   Yeah, I run with V-twins these days, but I’m talking about the four-into-four exhaust pipes classic!  Japanese models are widely regarded as the purest specimens and besides many collector’s may well make this invaluable.  John’s wife Betsy helps out in the shop and she kept me up-to-date on the order as it progressed.  They are a real joy to work with.  At one point they were running low on parts and had to run a special ops into S.C. where they scored a truck load of parts to keep up with the high-demand.

So, to the spirit of those who still find adventure behind the grips of an old motorcycle I say check out Classified Moto.  You’ll be humbled as people walk past and look twice while saying cool lamp!

Photos taken by author and courtesy of Classified Moto.

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Riding Down A Dirt Road

This is a sea change.  It’s some of the highest quality and best video story telling I believe Harley-Davidson has ever created – bar none.  Props to the marketing group and more importantly the agency, Campfire NYC, who are the creative storytelling folks behind this marketing experience.

The motor company has taken a unique and interesting approach on the motorcycle culture through the lens of its new “Harley-Davidson: The Ridebook.”

“The Ridebook” takes a look at the different people within the Harley culture.

The first video (HERE) in the series is about the Tomcats Barbershop in Brooklyn, NY.  Tomcats is co-owned by Joey Covington and Alex Melnichenko and has become the go-to place for motorcyclists to get 1950s-era haircuts.

Harley-Davidson plans to release a new video in “The Ridebook” series every week for the next five weeks.  The motor company described the “Ridebook” as:

“A riding manual from the voice of those few who cherish the search for a new scenery with the wind in their face. A glimpse into a stripped down lifestyle, free of the clutter and filled with style, quality, and the essentials.”

The next video in the “Ridebook” is called the HD Archive (By The Selvedge Yard), which will explore the Harley’s home in Milwaukee. Future videos include Bike Anatomy, Ghost Town U.S.A., H-D Vintage Fashion, and Open Air Playlist.

Watch the videos and be enlightened!

Dirt Road photo courtesy Hog Killers, Hawaiian Gardens, CA., Ridebook courtesy of H-D.

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I’ve heard this stated many times before… “When the revolution comes, they’ll not only want to know what side you’re on, but what side you’ve been on.”

I’m reading about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and watching the “Occupy Portland” protests skeptically. The protesters in Portland (estimated by police to be about 5000) gathered in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland yesterday after marching from the city’s waterfront.  With so few news outlets in the northwest, we’re not quite sure what these protesters want.  Some say they want Obama re-elected, but claim to hate “Wall Street.”  You know the same Wall Street that gave its largest campaign donation in history to Obama, who in turn, bailed out the banks and made Goldman Sachs what seems like the 4th branch of the government!

99%

The one thing we do know is they’re angry, that 1% have all the money and they’ve got next to nothing and believe they are the 99%.

People are hurting. This is not a one party issue. This is a human issue. This is a fight over the future of America.  I’m not saying you can’t be rich, but you’ve got to pay your taxes.  How much should they be?   Let’s start the debate.  However, when people are losing their homes, their jobs, everything they’ve saved, and you don’t exhibit compassion, you don’t reach down to help them, then you’re on the wrong side.

We all know friends or have family members who have worked really hard all their life only to lose their home and get no support from the banks.  The banks are on the wrong side.  Greedy real estate bankers loaned money to anyone who could “fog a mirror” which then cratered the housing market and is now helping bankrupt the country.  Then they demanded taxpayers bail them out, a demand that complicit, corrupt politicians (yes, of both parties) were only too happy to oblige.

Occupy Portland

And, like most of the protestors I’m fed up with the political gridlock in Washington.  Both sides stand in the way of change.  At this point I don’t see any difference between George Bush than when Obama was elected.  The middle-class is worse off.  The gap between rich and poor is alarming. Because it stifles ambition. Why make the effort if you can’t get ahead?  And if you think the American Dream still exists, you probably live in Europe, the odds of going from the bottom to the top are much more difficult.

And suddenly all of this is a hot issue?!  Huh?

Some politicians and members of the media have chastised the protesters suggesting that they should stop protesting and go get a job or should instead start companies so they can help form a less self-involved, more gregarious and forward-thinking American capitalism.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  Slam the folks trying to shed some light.

These people aren’t against the system. Most are not lazy people sitting around looking for a handout.  They don’t want to bring down America. They just want some sense of fairness restored to the system as it is, and they want a chance to participate and be heard. Instead, they’ve been marginalized by corporate money and ripped off by their banks and financial institutions.  They’ve been promised that hard work and a good education are what it takes to succeed, then slammed by a lack of opportunities, then told by sneering political candidates that if you’re poor, well it’s they’re own fault. It’s not really surprising that things have reached a boiling point.

This isn’t about protests; it’s about how banks, corporations and corrupt government policies are disenfranchising and bankrupting everyday Americans.  The protests are about taking proactive steps towards rectifying — or at least shedding light on — that situation.

Since the Vietnam War, I’ve never seen anything like this as a form of political protest. It’s wrenching, honest and true.  Personally, I can’t stop thinking about this guy,

Photos courtesy of AP (Map), Oregonlive (Pioneer Place) and We Are The 99 Percent.

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Apple II Ad

Steve Jobs has passed away and what we’ll find over the next couple of weeks will be planned storylines about the life of Apple’s co-founder and his time in Oregon attending Reed College.

I had an article ready to post about the letdown of the iPhone 4S launch.  Given all the hyperbolic speculation and secrecy leading up to the launch I’m not sure expectations could have ever been met, but it all just feels off. Like way off today.

I did a blog post HERE last year about Steve riding on a BMW, nostalgia and my early Apple experiences.  I have very clear recollection of Apple when living in North Dakota attending college.   For awhile I worked part-time at Team Electronics (Store #30) in Bismarck.  This was circa 1977 and I distinctly remember when the first Apple II computer showed up at the store.  In college we were learning how to write BASIC programs for an Intel 4004 CPU (4-bit).  No one knew what to do with the Apple II (8-bit), but soon enough we figured out how to spent hours playing a Star-trek game (loaded by cassette tape).

Whether you love or hate Apple–or fall somewhere in between–it’s hard not to acknowledge that Steve Jobs was a remarkable and brilliant man. He’s also a man who we don’t really know a lot about in his personal life. But he’s also a man who changed a lot of lives.  Mine included and I wanted to thank him for that today.

Wozniak and Jobs in the early days

Steve Jobs clearly loved what he did and I’ve returned several times to his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, where he said:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

I didn’t really know what my reaction would be until the moment actually came.  I’m profoundly sad today on the news of his passing.  Steve’s remarkable ability to touch every person on the planet started in Minneapolis and for me it started in 1977.  My heart goes out to his family and many friends.

Photo courtesy of Apple.

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Pumpkin Festival

I previously blogged about Street Vibrations and the club-on-club shooting in Sparks, NV last month at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino which left dead the HAMC San Jose Chapter President (Jeffrey Pettigrew).

We now have the first documented incident of how the HAMC and Vagos violence has provoked a response from law enforcement in Manteca, CA which is about 75 miles east of San Francisco.

It happened at a Pumpkin Festival in “the family city.”  Yes a Pumpkin Festival.  Two members of the Bikers for Christ Motorcycle Ministry were asked to leave the street fair by the Manteca Police because they were wearing their motorcycle vest with ministry patches on the back. They were told it was due to the shooting in Sparks, NV.

Keep in mind that the Christian Motorcycle Ministry is a non-profit ministry.  Not a street gang, or are they really even a motorcycle club.   Their purpose is to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the biker world, a section of society,  that many have chosen not to associate with. The ministry has been operating for 21 years without problems.

Isn’t profiling against the law?  The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Cohen vs. California, 403 U.S.15 (1971) that individuals have the constitutional right under the First Amendment to wear clothing which displays writings or designs. In addition, the right of an individual to have freedom of association has long been recognized and protected by the Courts.

What’s next?  I suppose, motorcyclists will be asked to leave events because they are wearing a H.O.G. emblem on a vest or people wearing a Harley-Davidson t-shirt or one from their favorite Sons of Anarchy television show. I find this whole situation discouraging.

Photo taken by author in Hood River.

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