Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

The COVID-19 Motorcycle Back Rider Barrier

Like most of us, I’m thoroughly sick and tired of the pandemic at this point!

The confusing and contradictory advice along with the arbitrary changes with mandates and shutdowns by government “experts” has created a lack of trust.  Are the decisions really based on evidence and rigorous analysis?

In a crisis like the pandemic, predictability and consistency in government policies are not only ideal, they’re a lifeline.

And, just as there was some semblance of normalcy returning in late August/September, after an impromptu ride to Glacier National Park and a few Starbucks coffee runs with the option of actually sitting INSIDE to enjoy a dark-roast brew…the long-predicted fall surge hits.

This time around it felt different.

Some people I know became sick, and as I write this post some are just now recovering from COVID, which is good news and very fortunate.

In the meantime, consideration of your feet is now a key requirement for Harley-Davidson. Especially for who’s in, who’s out, who’s promoted and who’s been hired at the motor company.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see this coming.

Harley-Davidson executives with footwear industry expertise — being the new turnaround vehicle of brand insight into what Harley’s customers truly need — and how to deliver it without previous motorcycle and/or riding experience.

So, what does Clarks, Croc’s and the world’s leading footwear manufacturer, Bata Group, have in common with Harley-Davidson motorcycles?

I’m referring to Serena Di Sarra, who recently joined Harley-Davidson as Director of Marketing, Asia Pacific and Latin America.  It’s likely coincident, surely not cronyism, that Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz, who previously ran PUMA, a company that designs and manufactures athletic and casual footwear, awarded an executive marketing position to Di Sarra.

Given the various 2020 “x-Wire” strategic “walk-backs” at Harley-Davidson it leaves the impression that decision making is (has been?) wishy-washy. Similar to some of the arbitrary government pandemic mandates, constant changes to strategic directions at the motor-company could be symptomatic of a flaw in the process. Some of the walk-back examples are almost as pointless as the head-scratching motorcycle back rider “protective shield” — a motorcycle barrier adopted by the Philippine government that was mandated to fight off the spread of the pandemic.  Don’t get any ideas Gov. Kate Brown!

But, I’ve digressed

Once again I’m writing this post from a virtual lockdown situation, missing my family, friends, colleagues, and the events that didn’t or won’t happen this year.

We can all absorb the gut punch of a one-year interruption in our riding passion if it means coming out stronger on the other side — and I believe that will be the case. When riding events and rallies come back, they’ll return with an “unprecedented” sense of what had been lost and a greater appreciation of our riding relationships.

What gets a motorcyclist through a mask-wearing northwest pandemic winter?  Reading technical manuals, making a bucket ride list, repairing, upgrading and waxing your way out of discontent.

Photo courtesy of RAPPLER.com 

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Severe weather conditions continued across Wisconsin. Most businesses and the ever important holiday shopping season grinded to a halt.

Power outages along with blizzard conditions, a wind-chill advisory and missing people meant Governor Jim Doyle declared a State of Emergency for all 72 counties.  The Governor’s State of Emergency calls to active duty elements of the Wisconsin National Guard as deemed necessary by Brigadier General Don Dunbar to assist authorities where needed. The declaration instructs all state agencies to assist in any response or recovery efforts that may be encountered.

But the wind and cold brought some unexpected news to help thaw the frostbite.

Harley-Davidson reported that it bought back $297 million in notes.  These were senior unsecured notes, with a face value of $297 million, that were scheduled to mature Feb. 1, 2014. If the company had held the notes until they matured, it would have cost $438 million more in principal and interest.  Harley said it repurchased the notes Dec. 10 for $380.8 million from Davis Selected Advisers LP using cash on hand and that the purchase will lower Harley’s fourth-quarter pretax profit by about $82.7 million.

Should the good folks at H-D be of the mindset to step outside and celebrate today I’m thinking they might want to brush up on their avalanche safety skills and practice using their mountaineer beacons.

Photo courtesy of Seattlest.com

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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outdoor_tempI guess it’s now officially winter here in the Northwest.  

It snowed most of the day yesterday in Portland and sub-freezing temp’s are on order for most of the week.  Not a huge revelation if you’re local to the area.  We’ve sure had some gorgeous fall weather for riding and I doubt we’re going to see anymore of those 50 degree days for good awhile.

snoxcycleBut just because it’s winter does not mean you can’t take out your motorcycle for a ride.  I’m of the viewpoint that when the snow and ice start coating the asphalt it’s no place for a motorcycle, but others may think differently.  In fact, if your so inclined there is a conversion kit that will turn a dirt bike into what’s called a SnoxCycle in a little over an hour.  For about $3K you could be riding a motorcycle on snow that is a thrilling experience.

Dirt bikes often get parked in the garage for much of the winter months, but this conversion will have you racing snowmobiles in record time.

SnoxCycle photo courtesy of Gizmag


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Need I say more? 

Don’t get me wrong I like fall and during the winter I manage to shred the mountain a couple of times, but I’m just not ready to end the great riding season of 2008

But it’s turned cold and as you can clearly see  on the weather chart its going to be very wet this weekend!

So in protest I’m going to boycott winter stuff this weekend. I’m not going to bust out the jeans and the sweater.  I’ll be the one in the coffee line with a mild case of Hypothermia caused by an extended exposure to a damp environment… but, I’ll be in my favorite Hamm’s t-shirt and flip-flaps…I’m not going to let it be winter. No, I won’t, I won’t!

Forecast reminds me of that Gary Allen song about rain

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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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