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Ride it to work!

Riding it to work!

On Monday, June 15th it is the 24th annual Ride To Work Day.

Some of you will leverage the day as a way to highlight the value of motorcycles and increase government awareness on the positive benefits.  But, most will ride to work because it’s just fun!

And speaking of government…  you may have missed that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed the state’s “dead red” bill (SB 533) into law, allowing motorcyclists and bicyclists to proceed through a red traffic signal if they have waited through a full cycle and the light failed to change. The bill passed both the state’s legislative houses on unanimous votes and takes effect January 1, 2016.  Oregon is the 17th state to pass such a law although each state has unique restrictions.

However, the Oregon House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development killed the BikePac initiated bill (SB 694) that would have made lane splitting legal in Oregon.

Lastly, the U.S. Department of Transportation has called for additional safety requirements for motorcycle helmets to reduce the use of “novelty helmets” that offer little protection in a motorcycle crash.  The DOT proposal includes standards for helmet thickness, compression ability and other features which novelty helmet are unlikely to comply.

As always be smart and ride safe!

Photo courtesy of RTW.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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2013 Ride to Work Day

2013 Ride to Work Day

Back in the day when a cowboy joined an outfit he threw down his bedroll in a chuck wagon.  When he does that, he gives his loyalty 100% to the outfit.  It’s a cowboy thing.  If you don’t like the way an outfit is run, you grab your bedroll, pony and ride on down the trail.

It was a code established by the rugged pioneers and is just as relevant in today’s world as back then, but I’ve gotten off topic.

I’m talking about riding for the “motorcycle” brand.

Huh?

Yesterday marked the 21st Annual Ride to Work Day—it’s a day when thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts across the U.S. ride their motorcycles to work in a show of mutual support and solidarity. Originally created by Motorcycle Consumer News columnist Bob Carpenter in 1992, the event has served as a way to promote motorcycles and rider safety; combining the ride with numerous activities around the country, including charitable events.

Many riders don’t need another incentive to ride, but the Ride to Work Day is not just something to talk about, but to participate in.  I count myself as one of the thousands of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts across the U.S., so I was up early and headed to the ‘plant’ which in of itself is a rare occurrence since I work remote most days.

Sure, I exposed myself to the situation where someone doesn’t obey the rules of the road… like that beat up Toyota mini-van which made an abrupt 2-lane change as they entered onto Highway 217.  The cars were slamming on brakes which was a little concerning, but not nearly as bad as the dude in the well-worn Ford Escape that cut me off on Highway 26.  His NO SIGNAL lane-change was so close that I thought about asking if he’d check my front tire pressure!  Or how about on the way home the lady in the Red Mazda – yeah you – with heavily tinted windows so preoccupied with her cell phone texting that she nearly rear-ended the car in front of her.

I’ve blogged at length about distracted driving in Oregon and how it’s the norm rather than exception and can honestly say that after being on the road in rush hour traffic I was not inspired, but if nothing else I was there in a “show of force” saying I rode to work today!  It was not only an opportunity to raise awareness about motorcycles, but it also provided me a chance to talk about road safety.

And speaking of transportation, one disappointment from yesterday’s Ride To Work event is the seemingly lack of visible support or promotion of two-wheel transportation by John Kitzhaber, Oregon Governor or the legislators.  You might recall that Governor Kitzhaber met recently with and challenged the Oregon Transportation Commission to create a 21st century transportation system that best serves Oregonians.  And, I’m quoting here… “A transportation system that will attract and grow business, provide mobility, reduce the carbon impacts of transportation and transition into a truly multimodal and efficient transportation system for the state of Oregon.”

I would think that two-wheel transportation is part of that “system” and the absence of visible support is odd given Oregon’s home-grown, Brammo that manufactures electric motorcycles in Ashland, and it’s perplexing given that Senators Ron Wyden and Representative Greg Walden worked to get a tax credit extension for Brammo.

One has to ask if we have the right group of individuals at the transportation table at the beginning of the process to define the problem and solution together?

Photo of author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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The 21st annual motorcycle Ride to Work Day is June 18th.

Our current culture largely considers motorcycles as “toys” which is unfortunate as they deserve a much larger status as a legitimate mode of personal transportation.

The third Monday in June is an opportunity to highlight motorcycles as a viable, fun and fuel-efficient mode of transportation.  It’s expected that over a million commuters will participate, demonstrating the positive benefits of riding.

Last year the City of Portland, and Mayor Sam Adams proclaimed the third Monday of June as Ride to Work Day, so I encourage you to participate and use the day as a reminder to get involved in the motorcycle community.

Photo courtesy of Ride to Work.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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It’s not a radical idea.  It’s just one day where everyone can agree to ride a motorcycle.

It’s called Ride To Work Day and the annual event is Monday, June 21st.

The Ride to Work Day was inspired by “Work to Ride – Ride to Work‘” marketing materials created between 1989 and 1991 by the Aero Design and Manufacturing Company, a Minnesota based manufacturer of motorcycle riders clothing. In 1992 these items inspired motorcycle magazine editor Fred Rau to write an editorial calling for a national ride to work day.  The first annual Ride to Work Day event was proposed in Road Rider magazine (now titled Motorcycle Consumer News) in the May 1992 issue.

The Ride To Work organization is a non-profit group advocating and supporting the use of motorcycles and scooters for transportation, and providing information about everyday utility riding to the public.

See you on the road…

Photo courtesy of Ride To Work.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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RTW_SignMany of you may know, but just incase it’s slipped your memory, this coming Monday (15th) is the annual Ride to Work Day.  In its 18th year of advocating and supporting the use of motorcycles for transportation and everyday utility the organization hopes to draw significant attention on the number of motorcyclists to the general public and to politicians.

In the U.S. the average driver travels 29 miles per day and a total of 55 minutes on the road.  Motorcycle riders are a minority.  Commuting and transportation riders are a minority within a minority.  So, in the semi-famous words of Ben Stiller and the “Do It” guy of Starsky & Hutch…  “No, seriously come on. Do it.  Do it.”

Photo courtesy of RTW.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Driving to work, whether at a factory, an office or a retail outlet, happens 10 times a week…assuming you drive home after ward.  Let’s say your commute is 20 miles, 200 miles a week, 50 weeks a year, for a total of 10,000 miles.  Now let’s do the math. Your trusty Chevy SUV delivers a snappy V8 performance of 16 mpg, which means you pumped 625 gallons into the tank over the last year. At $3.65 a gallon, that equals $2,281 ($190/month). If your motorcycle is getting 40 mpg, that means 250 gallons, or $912 ($76/month).

In the Northwest the cold and rain limits the number of months a person can drive unless you’re really into wet weather riding.  So, the above numbers are not an exact apple to apple comparison, but you get the point.  A motorcycle can save you money while putting a smile on your face!

On July 16th it’s the annual Ride to Work sponsored by the organization with the same name.  This ride is to demonstrate to elected officials and the public that the motorcycle community represents a significant percentage of the population, that riders are from all occupations and walks of life, that motorcycle styles may vary from “blinged-out” choppers to fuel efficient scooters, that riding on two-wheels helps reduce traffic and we ride for transportation as well as recreation.

See you out there!

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What do you do on a winter day in Oregon?  Well it’s been way too cold and with hurricane winds blowing and power outages, riding a motorcycle would be for only the hard core.  

I’m not a hard core biker. It’s not my primary mode of transportation or my all weather vehicle.  I don’t ride when there is a chance for ice on the roads or if the local news show streaming mini-rivers on the suburban streets. It’s been a few weeks since I last rode and I’m feeling withdrawals. But I wanted to be positive and thought I’d start this list of “The Good Things About Winter for Bikers”: 

  • Make a list of things you’d like to accessorize on your bike this spring.

  • Dust off your bike with some expensive spray whiz stuff that absorbs dirt.

  • Plug-in and un-plug your battery tender to double check its working.

  • Surf the owners manual for some esoteric data point to lay on your buddies at the next rally.

  • Sweep the leaves from around your bike in the garage.

  • Buy a DVD player, attach it to the Garage TV and watch biker movies while sitt’n on the Harley.

  • Hang that 6×6 flag you bought in Street Vibrations to up level your garage art.

  • Read biker blogs and research Goth-Mennonite cross over biker events.

  • Scrub the want ads in the local paper and rant about the prices people want for used bikes.

  • Grab a TV tray and set up a “sig-other” dinning event in the garage to tally the number of non-chrome bolts which need to be replaced.

  • Buy a BBB (Biker Babe Bikini) calendar and flip through the winter months to get you through those dark days of winter.

 Now it’s your turn.  Any additions to the list?

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