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Posts Tagged ‘OVMA’

“Redux” is often used in literature and film with the meaning of “brought back or restored.”

This time it applies to a motorcycle ride which took place back in 2008 under some clouds of controversy.  I won’t bore you with details of the past because it’s been 3+ years since that ride which had record attendance on a bright sunny fall day in the northwest.

Just mark your calendar as the Free The Colors ride is being resurrected from the ride “tool box” and planned for April 15th.

The ride is not about rules of engagement.  Rather it’s about a journey and it seems to me that the best trips in life invariably involve some detours and improvisation to smooth out the bumps in the road.  Sometimes when we’re lucky, they also involve motorcycles and meeting new friends.

And speaking of friends, the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association (OVMA) will be celebrating 22 years of service to Veterans, their families and the Community on Saturday, April 14th. The current State President, Stefan Dudley ‘Taz’ (HDE, Bend area), asked that the West Valley Chapter plan and run the Free The Colors ride on Sunday April 15, which will result in a full weekend for OVMA.

The ride route (see map) will start out at 12 noon (sharp) from the VFW Post #584 on 1469 Timber St, SE, Albany.  From there they will be going to Lebanon, visiting the site where a new Veterans Home will be built. Then on to Scio, visiting a Veterans Memorial, then to Jefferson, from there to I-5 N, they will be stopping at Rest Lawn Cemetery in W. Salem, (OVMA has a Memorial there), and from there to the Independence Veterans Memorial.  They plan to fit in a lunch and/or rest stop somewhere on the ride, and from there back to 99W down to Albany, and to the Legion.

There will also be a breakfast at the VFW from 9-11:45am

Hear that sound?  It’s time to ride and let the sun shine in on April 15th!

Poster photo and map courtesy of OVMA

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Tomorrow, on Veterans Day, my heartfelt thanks is extended to all veterans and their families.

This is not a day of celebration, rather a day of reflection to honor those who currently serve in harms way and have sacrificed on our behalf.

You are not forgotten.

Photo taken at Wanker’s Corner Saloon during Sept 11th celebration.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  Do you know the difference?  Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring those who died serving their country.  On Veterans Day we thank and honor those who served in the military.

I’m grateful to our Veterans who served in the military and made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom.  On November 11th the city of Albany, OR holds a Veterans Day Parade which is one of the largest west of the Mississippi River.  Members of the OVMA and Hub City ABATE are helping coordinate various motorcycle groups that plan to ride in the event.  It’s an open event for all motorcycle riders, however, due to the large number of riders any individual groups should register so the coordinators can plan accordingly. 

Albany, OR

Albany, OR

If you’re a solo rider then it’s suggested that you join/stage with other groups or visit the OMRF site and determine the best method of participation.

For those who plan to arrive early in Albany there are a couple of waiting area choices:

  1. United Freedom Riders (UFR) will host coffee and donuts at Ted and Rhonda’s house (next to the Albany H-D dealership) starting at 8:00am.
  2. Hub City ABATE and others are planning to meet at: the Front Street Bar and Grill (2300 Front Ave NE) who will be serving a $5 biscuit/gravy and coffee breakfast for all the riders. (See Map)
  3. Or, you can go straight to the staging area under the overpass to downtown (See Map).

Do you know a Veteran?  Maybe it’s your mother, father, sister, brother cousin or a teacher.  You can be very proud of them as many have given much to keep us safe and free.  Of the 25 million living veterans, most (75%) served during a war or an official period of hostility. More information on Veterans can be obtained at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or see how the White House honors Veterans.

Have you thanked a veteran today?

UPDATE: November 14, 2008 – more than 40,000 spectators and participants attended the Albany Veterans Parade.  See photos, video and report by Tim King (Salem News) HERE.

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Oregon Medal of Honor Memorial

Oregon Medal of Honor Memorial

Many motorcycling events raise money for charity and support great causes.  

Although not a fund raiser (like many OVMA events), yesterday’s “Free The Colors” ride supported a most worthy and noble cause. In my view the ride felt more about what a riding experience can do for the motorcyclist soul….the experience being one thing, but the rewards are quite another.

Looking out over the large number (80+) of riders winding through the fall foilage of Oregon’s backroads — the wind and sun on our back was inspiring.   The weather being perfect for late October helped pull the ride together.   I made new friends, shared stories and swapped ideas — it was all part of the experience.  When your style meshes and you make connections with Veteran’s it’s easy to see what’s meant by the feeling of comradarie and the community of motorcycle riders.

A few shout outs.  To the NW Vets who showed up to wish the OVMA a good ride showed a lot of class.  Thanks in general to the OVMA and specifically to the West Valley Chapter for all the hard work and safe ride.  A big shout out to the High Desert Eagles chapter who I believe traveled the farthest distance to make the run.  Many thanks to my blog posse for supporting the event and everyone who made us non-members feel most welcome.  

I’m reminded of a quote:

“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.” John Churton Collins

It was truly my pleasure to help support OVMA, the Veterans and their families.  Be safe and ride free.

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For those of you participating in the Free The Colors Ride, below is the finalized OVMA ride route. The map is only an approximation of the ride route:

  1. (A) Join the ride at the beginning in McMinnville. Leave Shari’s parking lot at 11:00AM SHARP! Be there early.
  2. (B) Join the ride at the first scheduled stop. Leaving the parking lot of K-Mart on Hwy 22 in South Salem at 12:10PM SHARP! Be there early.
  3. (C) Next scheduled stop. I-5 Northbound Rest Area (near Wilsonville). Time will be contingent upon the time it takes to ride from South Salem to the rest area. Riders need to be there by 12:20PM SHARP!
  4. Ride will depart rest area and proceed toward Wilsonville to I-205 North to the Oregon City exit for McLoughlin Blvd to (D) Ross Island Bridge.
  5. Ride will cross over to 99W and proceed to King City. Will then head out on Durham Road back to I-5 South.
  6. Ride will proceed I-5 South to (E) Salem Harley-Davidson

Some other important items being communicated through various channels by the OVMA deserve being repeated:

Law Enforcement will be providing traffic control assistance and the OVMA has expressed their appreciation and gratitude.  This ride is to celebrate the OVMA and its 16 years of service to Oregon State veterans and their families, and to demonstrate their continued intentions to be good neighbors in the Oregon MC community-at-large.

As stated in previous blog post/comments HERE, the OVMA will not tolerate bad actors.  Attitudes should stay at home.  The OVMA will cooperate with Law Enforcement fully and on all matters, as they have in the past.  There is no plan nor was there ever any intent to route this ride anywhere near other MC clubhouse’s or any other organization’s meeting areas.

The OVMA State Road Captain is currently working on placement of riders, and assigning assistant Road Captains, and road guards to assist during the ride.  Flyers will be available and passed out with the appropriate hand signals for those who are unfamiliar with group riding.  It’s predicted we will have large numbers of riders show up for this ride.  If you  are unfamiliar with group riding and/or have a question please ask someone for assistance.

First and foremost is SAFETY along with showing courtesy on the road to others we will be sharing. This ride is about Freedom, Fellowship, Comrades-in-Arms, and Brotherhood.

The theme says it all – “For Those Who Fought For It – FREEDOM has a Flavor the Protected Will Never Know”

Enjoy the ride and be safe out there!

UPDATE: September 27, 2008 – The ride results are HERE.

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Most everyone has heard of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall.

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall

The chorus got up the nose of England’s establishment as they viewed it a protest or anti-education song. It was a political knee-jerk reaction to a song that had little to do with the education system… it was about a much bigger topic of reminding people not to conform.

And speaking of non-conformance, if you’ve followed previous post/comments on this blog you’re already aware of the intimidation “rain clouds” creeping into the northwest.

But, did you know about the state-wide efforts this Saturday, October 25th as ‘Free the Colors’ Day? It’s a grassroots state-wide show of support for the Oregon Veteran’s Motorcycle Association’s (OVMA).  Riders from every corner of the state, regardless of affiliation are planning to support OVMA’s stand against intimidation.  You may recall that at the heart of Pink Floyd’s ‘Brick Wall’ story is how a group of school children from north London came to sing and express freedom on one of the music’s most iconic records… we’re not kids anymore so understand this freedom issue is bigger than just the OVMA.

Hopefully freedom to associate resonates with you and you’re planning to participate on October 25th.  For any non-OVMA biker friends, if you do ride on ‘Free the Colors Day’ on behalf of the OVMA, you can show your support by flying America flags and/or tying a twist of blue ribbon and gold ribbon on your bike or around your right arm (the colors of the OVMA) as a sign of support.  The support will help send a message.  For those riders who plan to join the OVMA West Valley Chapter sponsored ride:

  1. Join the ride at the beginning in McMinnville.  They will leave Sharis parking lot at 11:00AM SHARP!  Be there early.
  2. Or join the ride at the first scheduled stop.  They will be leaving the parking lot of K-Mart on Hwy 22 in South Salem at 12:10PM SHARP!  Be there early.
  3. Or join the ride at the only other scheduled stop.  I-5 Northbound Rest Area (near Wilsonville).  Time will be contingent upon the time it takes to ride from South Salem to the rest area.  Riders need to be there by 12:20PM SHARP!
  4. The ride route will be determined by the OVMA State Road Captain and approved by their State President.

OVMA member ‘Pappy’ has assigned the following statement to the run which represents what they would like to make known: ‘For Those Who Fought For It – Freedom Has a Flavor The Protected Will Never Know’

UPDATE: September 27, 2008 – The ride results are HERE.

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Army Harley-Davidson

Army Harley-Davidson

Military life is a lot about adrenaline (shooting weapons, parachuting out of planes, repelling from Blackhawks, etc.), not to mention the amount of testosterone filled “hoorah” recruits go through during basic that gives many the feeling of invincibility.

However, military personnel and motorcycles are a lethal combination as the News Observer reports that since 9/11, more American troops have died in off-duty motorcycle accidents than fighting in Afghanistan.

I’m not going to debate if the military personnel buy high-powered motorcycles and hit the streets to burn off adrenaline, testosterone or boredom.  Or if it’s due to a lack of maturity, a lack of training or inexperience riding powerful sport bikes.  Or if it’s due to psychological stress that lingers returning home from combat.  I’m interested, but will leave that to the experts to determine.

I want to talk about motorcycle accidents and Dealer responsibility.  But, first a couple of background facts:

  1. All military branches of the armed forces have seen significant increases in motorcycle fatalities.
  2. As of October 1st, 24 deaths have occurred in the Marine Corp which breaks the previous record of 19 fatalities set the year before. Nine of the 24 were from Camp Pendleton. In 2000, when the Marine Corps started keeping track of motorcycle fatalities, seven riders died.
  3. The Marines have had a higher fatality rate than the civilian population, according to Peter Hill, head of engineering with the safety division at Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  4. A survey of motorcycle use in the Marines, has so far counted 17,348 riders nationwide, 56 percent of them on fast sport bikes, and the count is projected to reach about 25,000.
  5. Military personnel are required to take a three-day basic rider course or a one-day experienced rider course before they are allowed to ride on/off base. However, most know how to get around the requirement by storing motorcycles off-base either at dealers or friends home.
  6. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are about 7.5 fatalities per 10,000 civilian riders. In the Marine Corps, the rate was about 9.5 per 10,000 riders this year, according to Marine Corps statistics.
  7. For every mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 32 times as likely to be killed as someone in a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  8. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, sport motorcycles generally weigh half as much as a cruiser-style motorcycle and have about twice the horsepower.
  9. In the civilian population, the fatality rate is four times higher on a sport bikes than on a cruiser.
Marines Walk By Sportbikes

Marines Walk By Sportbikes

I’ve written previously on motorcycle safety HERE, HERE and on alcohol related accidents HERE.  I’m sadden by the above statistics and especially dislike reading about our young veterans getting injured or killed on motorcycles.  Many AFTER they’ve returned from the Gulf.  My efforts here are to bring visibility of a growing problem and maybe in some small way help reduce motorcycle fatalities.

But, let’s return to the role of the motorcycle dealer and their prevention responsibility, if any.  First, I fully believe they have a lot of responsibility as the first line of “defense” so-to-speak and doing a good job of “fitting” motorcycle to customer, but unfortunately know they are also simply a corporation that makes money selling motorcycles and motorcycle accessories. The owners of these dealers and the manufactures they represent want you to believe they are biker’s best friend, but at the end of the day it’s all about business and what will bring them the most sales volume and the best return on their investment.  I’m not arbitrarily discounting their genuine desire to avoid or prevent motorcycle accidents, but most all dealer’s have many more requirements to rent/ride a motorcycle from their business than they do to purchase one!  Some dealers pass out vouchers for customers to attend local safety classes, but do you think a sales person would ever say… “You are just not ready for that 175mph super bike, let’s put you in a big scooter” or “Sorry, but that chrome laden Ultra Glide is just too heavy a motorcycle for you and might I suggest that you step into a Sporty”.  Yeah right like that would ever happen!  

Yet another example of the great lengths that dealers/manufactures will go to catch the military personnel attention is the rising popularity of motorcycle sales at overseas military exchanges, which offer two American makes, Harley-Davidson and Buell, at bargain prices. After the Afghanistan war started, sales jumped nearly 50 percent, to more than 4,000 a year thru this channel, and have held steady, according to figures provided by the different services’ exchanges. At exchanges in the two combat zones alone, troops bought more than 1,500 motorcycles in 2005 (last year of stats) and took delivery of them on their return to the U.S.

I know it’s crucial to draw a line between courage and recklessness.   Knowing your limits, respecting others on the road, proper training, and being completely aware of what’s going on around you are all factors in why people stay alive on a motorcycle.  Now if we could recalibrate the mentality of the dealer network from the operator assumes all responsibility mind-set to more along the lines of it being critical to reducing fatalities and maintain your customer base.  If you’re in the “channel” I welcome your comments or ideas…

Want more training info?  Look at a MSF course which is an intensive two or three day classroom and riding course supervised by expert riders. Or if you’re a veteran be a life-long learner and take a refresher course.  Team Oregon has consistently been rated very high in motorcycle training too.

Marine photo courtsey of North County Times and Hayne Palmour IV – Staff Photographer

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