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Delonte West

Delonte West

Do 3-wheeled motorcycle (“Trike”) owners carry more weapons than the 2-wheeled brethren?

Although there is no scientific research or poll which confirms the “packing” attributes of each vehicle type, the recent arrest of NBA player Delonte West is an indicator that we might want to give the 3-wheeled riders a bit little more distance in the future!

Turns out that Mr. West, a D.C. native-turned NBA player for the Cav’s was riding his Can Am Spyder and was pulled over in Prince Georges County, MD at 10pm for — now get this — cutting off a law enforcement canine unit.  After being pulled over for “making an unsafe lane change” he was arrested for weapons possession.  What was most impressive was the assortment and number of weapons he was carrying on the trike — THREE!  One for each wheel.  A Beretta 9mm in his waistband, a Ruger .357 magnum strapped to his leg and a shotgun in a guitar case slung over his back.  Police charged West with two criminal counts of carrying a handgun for the Ruger and the Beretta, and issued him a traffic citation for driving “in excess of reasonable and prudent speed.”

CanAm Spyder -- Shotgun "optional"

CanAm Spyder -- Shotgun "optional"

Either he’s been watching too much “Arnold” (Terminator) or Son’s of Anarchy on FX.  Or maybe its time to put down the PS3 controller and give Grand Theft Auto a rest because this is retarded behavior.

My parents always taught me to follow the rules.  Don’t run with scissors.  Don’t litter. Don’t talk with your mouth full.  Don’t swim right after eating.  And don’t stick a loaded weapon down your pants (at least with the safety off — right Plaxico!).  Clearly I was brainwashed.  We have been fed this crap all our lives, that role models are the “gangsters” or rouge professional athletes.  The rich and famous are the ones addicted to the drugs.  Jail should be full of famous people, but they are so abnormal, and so admired, that we let them go on reduced charges.

Tomorrow, instead of going to Walmart to get a life, I’m going to steal some gasoline from the neighbors and go on a motorcycle road trip.  I’ll wear a samurai sword, get a DUI, smack a girl half my size, jump up on the brew pub stage and give Beyonce a video shout-out.  I’ll be abnormal tomorrow… just like Delonte… I want to get noticed for impersonating an athlete.

Photo courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images.

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baggageSigns of spring are popping up here in the northwest and as folks start to make plans for the next big motorcycle adventure the mental exercise of figuring out what to load on your bike vs. what you can live without always becomes a challenge.

I’ve certainly seen my share of overloaded motorcycles on the road (photo: right).  Stacked “high-n-wide” with a two-man dome tent, a sleeping bag, an air mattress, cooking gear/utensils and not to mention the face cream, prescriptions, soap, towel, clothes, rain gear, running shoes and the assortment of battery inflation devices (for the air mattress)!  I’ve even witnessed a couple logs of firewood bungeed to the side of bikes, and they probably didn’t have room for the bike cover or laptop?!

Yeah, slapping a 100 pounds on a backrest bag that hangs out 2 feet behind the back axle, and the center of gravity is a foot higher than your helmet is a little….ahem… risky to say the least and makes the entire bike “twitchy.”  I’m not sure about yours, but the last time I looked at my luggage rack it had a tiny sticker on it stating “25 pounds max load.” 

So a couple lessons learned to pass along that you can do what you will with:

  1. Packing takes some thought and effort. If you’re riding 2-up it doubles the effort. It’s easy to throw things together at the last minute, but the end result is too much stuff.
  2. Essentials are just that – essential! Unless I’m parachuting into the Mojave desert I always pack foul weather gear. Personal items like toothbrush/paste are stored in zip-lock bags to avoid spillage. I’ve found rolling t-shirts, undies and socks together and rubber banding them makes a concise package that I cram anywhere. I pack a pair of shorts, swim suit, flip-flops assuming the weather allows for it. Packing wet underwear from the previous night swim or hot-tub party is no fun.
  3. Toolkit – (small one) is stored in the bottom and as far forward as possible in the bag. Intent is to keep the weight positioned down low, below seat height if possible and contained within the wheelbase for stability.
  4. On week long road trips or more I’ll take/wear “ratty” old t-shirts and/or underwear and then just toss them in the garbage after use. A great way to lighten the load as the trip stretches out and gives me space for new t-shirts.
  5. Pay close attention to payload warnings on luggage racks, backrests and the like. I know I’m repeating a bit here, but I’ve seen a lot of folks overload a rack, sissy bar, or seat rail and it creates instability as the front tire is barely skimming the asphalt. For years I rode a FatBoy without saddlebags and would take items from the (facing forward) T-Bag and stuff/move it forward to tank bags, windshield pouches, back packs, and so on.
  6.  Take the extra time to adjust shocks and increase pressure in your tires per the owner’s manual — especially important if the route plan is high-speed freeway, instead of meandering down a 2-lane road.
  7. I don’t fret over what I’ve packed or not. If I forget something, I’ll stop and buy it down the road or I might find that I can manage just fine without it. I’m not a boy scout trying to be prepared for every possibility. I pack light and don’t tote heavy, bulky stuff.

On this blog you’ll find a packing list which can be printed and used to prep as well as check off items.   If you have some terrific road packing ideas let me know.  I’ll add them to the list for others to consider.

Photo courtesy Flickr

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