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Fears and Thrills

Posted on July 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, “Do one thing everyday that scares you. Eleanor Roosevelt.” I was on the back of our motorcycle when I read that quote. Be assured, riding a motorcycle scares me to death, but at the same time thrills me.
The scary part arrives out of fear. While riding I fear automobiles whose drivers run red lights, stop signs, and move toward our side of the road. I fear those drivers who are talking on their cell phones and are not paying attention to what is going on around them. Watching other cyclist pass by driving to fast and worst of all without helmets scares me.

What ifs also scare me. What if a deer runs out in front of us or that car behind us doesn’t stop and it hits us. What if the motorcycle’s tire blows out or what if my husband has a heart attack while riding the motorcycle like my friend was telling me her friend did. What if I am riding behind him when he has that heart attack?

Although all of those things scare me, the thrill of riding triumphs over all my fears. I am addicted to traveling our local countryside by motorcycle. I’ve never had the desire to ride solo. I love riding on the back of the cycle with my husband and I’m happy he is the one in control of the motorcycle. This affords me the opportunity to daydream, think, and a lot of time for sightseeing.
I love the courteous jester of the low wave cyclist give each other with their gloved hand held down to their sides. When we pass them, we know to look for the wave and offer one of our own to them. I enjoy watching the curiosity of the children whom we pass. I always offer a special wave to them and love to see their excitement. They make me feel like a celebrity.

Traveling through the Central Kentucky region has led to many discoveries. Most Central Kentuckians know about all of the more popular places such as Boonsboro, Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge, and the Horse Park. But, do they know about other areas rich in woodlands, creeks, streams, flowers, and waterfalls? Perched on my throne on my two-wheel chariot, I have glimpsed many glorious sights such as these.

Most people do not have the opportunity to smell, feel and hear Kentucky. Oh how I love the fresh air blowing gently through my helmet slapping my face with melodious sounds and glorious odors. The smell of just mown grass, blooming flowers, and even the foul smells rising from farms with a variety of animals all help bring a peaceful contentment to me. Memories of my life growing up on the farm tenderly attack me.

Some of the Madison County scenery we have been fortunate enough to view is things such as the creek off Barnes Mill Road with its gorgeous waterfall, the Reservoir at Red Lick, The Pinnacle in Berea and the mountain scene enfolding before us while traveling Big Hill as well as the beautiful lake at Owsley Fork surrounded by mountain peaks. We enjoy riding to the Valley View area and watching the ferry crossing the Kentucky River.

We also have discovered many beautiful places in other areas surrounding Madison County. In Bourbon County, there is a wall built of stone laid by hand many years ago. The wall extends for miles, surrounding beautiful farmland. The wildflowers growing on the countryside of Montgomery County were breathtaking. In Garrard County, we saw an endless field of buttercups growing wild.
Recently while riding through Lincoln County, we discovered the Cedar Creek Recreational Area. Sitting on a bench, I watched as the water slapped against the sand covered beach. Four geese honked as they floated on the lake. Several boats skimmed across the waves. All along, I could hear the roar of automobiles in the distance and an airplane as it flew overhead.
The noise did nothing to break the peaceful contentment lingering over the area. This was a beautiful place to come to sit and contemplate.

Evidence of previous visitor’s was strewn across the beach. Cigarette butts, broken bottles, plastic soft drink tops, and various sorts of garbage littered my getaway.
I tried hard to ignore the ugliness and focused my attention on the beauty surrounding me. Massive Oaks, remarkable maple and gangling locust trees stood tall around the lake, not to mention the many spiky cedars.
Goldenrods, daisies and many other wildflowers that I could not identify danced in the wake of the breeze. This place was a nice find.

If you are looking for something to do locally, hop in your automobile and ride around the countryside. You never know what you might discover. If you are brave enough, try riding a motorcycle. Discovering your world on a motorcycle is very exciting, besides, with the price of gasoline rising daily, you might be surprised how far a tank of gas will take you. A word or two of caution though, stay on your side of the road, watch what you are doing, be careful. Don’t forget to wave.

Victory Kingpin Review

Posted on July 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

This is not an article written by a wannabe motorcyclist article writer that is under direction from the magazine owners on what to write and say based on which motorcycle company is paying the most in advertising dollars at the moment. This article keeps it real.

As I mentioned, I purchased my Victory Kingpin in February of 2004 — A very good year. After looking at Harley Davidson and seeing how Harley has become a mass production company of cookie cutter, oil-leaking machines, I decided to look elsewhere. If a Harley is you bag, then that is all good. For me, I do not understand the appeal. Next I looked at the Honda VTX 1800 — Very nice bike. Best performance and all around cruiser for the money. I wanted this bike.

At the last minute I catch glimpse of a Victory Vegas advertisement. I decide I need to know more. I find that the 2004 Victory motorcycles are being sold by mostly Indian dealerships. Why? Well this is about the time that Indian corporation has decided to go out of business. So the nervous Indian dealerships are quickly signing on with Polaris to sell the Victory motorcycle lines. Was this fate or what? The Victory dealers are enjoying record sales now and selling high-quality American motorcycles. I go to my local Indian dealership, check out the Vegas, then in the back of the small showroom I see Victory Kingpins sitting there calling to me. One was the Black/Bronze 2004 two-tone color. I wanted this motorcycle. The look of the bike, the test ride.

Yes, I said test ride. And the professionalism of the Victory dealer made me sign for the bike that day. Sure I was nervous buying an unknown and unproven American (86% American that is) motorcycle. I knew the inherent problems with buying a Harley and I did not want to go there or be labeled a Harley rider. Not for me. Common sense told me I should have gone with the Honda VTX 1800. But the Victory had styling, had performance, and had comfort and handling that I wanted. It cost eight thousand more than a Honda, but who cares when it comes to the bike you want.

The Kingpin was a joy to ride from day one. I upgraded to the Stage I performance kit, which included new slip-on exhaust, a new K&N air filter and a remapping of the Victory Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The new slip-ons gave the bike a deeper throatier sound. Not the metal clanky sound you hear with Harleys. After doing the recommended engine brake in, I started to get comfortable with the new machine and explore its handling capabilities. With its low-center of gravity, this bike handled like a dream. Not as good as my sport bike but very impressive.

I initially was afraid to work on the bike since it was so expensive and foreign to me. But that winter I started doing some modifications on the bike. The modifications started small with simple bolt on add on like the highway bars, chrome goodies and mirrors. The following year I got even more serious and started wiring in brake light and headlight safety modulators. Then I started swapping out stock parts like the ugly stock turn signals and replacing them with custom LED lighting products from the boys at MBW Motorcycles. Now the bike was started to look custom and I was learning my way around.

The latest modifications I have done include more wiring in of the PIAA driving lights, adding a custom after market drive sprocket overdrive pulley. The latter modification involved removing the fuel tank, exhaust, rear wheel, belt drive, right foot controls. This was a serious modification and I had to make sure I put her back together correctly. I strongly suggest you buy the Service manual for your motorcycle. You need to know the torque specifications and which bolts need Loctite. I did succeed in getting the Kingpin back together and running. I took some time in practicing how to align the rear wheel with the belt drive. I did this a few times and bought a Motion Pro belt tension gauge to make sure I was a close to accurate I could be. With all of these modifications, my confidence in working on the Kingpin has gone from zero to what can I try next. It is Zen like to work on motorcycles and to ride them.

Now we are in spring of 2006. The Victory Kingpin is two year old. With all of my modifications and 10,000 miles I have not had one single mechanical problem with this motorcycle. Yes I am shocked. Especially since this was the first year for this motorcycle. There were bound to be some problems. The answer is simply no. This motorcycle is a gem. I can count on this bike on long trips. Feel comfortable riding the bike, and feel confident that I can keep her running for years to come.

I have my Kingpin completely customized to my style. With one or two performance modifications in place, I find the need to give the Victory Freedom 92 cubic inch engine more power. The method to which I will use to satisfy this need is to install an Eaglecat custom Victory air box and a Lloydz Victory Fuel Control module. Bit the items combined will give your Kingpin an additional 11 horsepower. Yes I said eleven horsepower. I have the dyno sheets to prove this.

9 Branding Traps We Get Caught In

Posted on June 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

In 1954, a unique being came into this world and the branding began. The baby was a girl, the first child of first-generation Canadians, granddaughter of refugees. Her Mennonite parents spoke German and ran a fruit farm. The nurses put a pretty pink bow in her fiery red hair and delivered her back to her mom. Five siblings would follow and she would grow up to become a nurse like her mom.

Although I’m still a red-headed female, the attributes that labeled me then are very different from the brand I’ve become.

Branding is essentially a marketing term used to categorize us and convey a specific message. It’s not who we are. It’s the perception of who we are and like beauty, it’s in the eyes of the beholder. As a child, my dad told me Del Monte meant “kill the farmer.” Obviously he was feeling squeezed by a giant food producer and that has stuck with me to this day.

It’s the tangible way we reflect personal philosophies and personalities. It reflects our values, perspectives and interests. Not only do we run impressions of people and things through our own filter and assign them a brand, we also label ourselves based on those that have been assigned to us. We immediately form opinions of the motorcycle – and its rider – based on whether it’s a BMW, Yamaha, Honda, Harley-Davidson or Ducati.

Just like preconceived notions can lead us to misjudge the appropriateness of a motorcycle, so too can we misjudge others. These elements on which a motorcycle brand is created, can become judgment traps.

  1. Size. While there is a correlation between engine displacement (cc’s) and power output, it’s not a given. Likewise, we can’t determine a person’s capabilities or personalities by their physical size and shape.
  2. Color. We joke about whether a black bike is faster/nimbler/prettier/more powerful than a blue bike. In reality, color makes no difference. Just like age, skin or hair color make no difference to who we are as beings.
  3. Functionality, features. There are all kinds of options that can be purchased over and above the standard bike but unless they enhance safety, that they’re available doesn’t mean we need them. Likewise, we often make our lives overly complex, just because advertising has convinced us we need something.
  4. Accessories. There are lots of gizmos and gadgets we accumulate and granted, they can add convenience, but they don’t speak to the capabilities of the machine. Similarly, choices we make can camouflage our brand.
  5. Country of origin. Just because you’ve had an unfavorable experience with a Japanese/British/German bike does not mean that all things Japanese/British/German are bad. Nor does a person’s heritage necessarily reflect who that unique individual is.
  6. Stature. Differences in seat height, center of gravity and suspension can make an 800 pound cruiser easier to handle at slow speeds than a 500 pound dual sport bike. Individuals vary too. Don’t form an opinion based on first impression without knowing all the facts. You’ll likely be wrong.
  7. Heritage. Even a new motorcycle has a legacy, depending on experiences with others in its brand. The family, culture and society into which I arrived on this earth were instrumental in shaping the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that guided my early behavior. Traditions, role models, religion, fairy tales and myths all passed down from one generation to the next, set the expectations based on cultural norms,
  8. Stock issue. This is what our bike is – or who we are – before people start working on us. The setting we’re born into initially establishes our brand but as we become more self aware and evolve, we come to realize that often, the branding that’s been thrust upon us by others is not who we are. Like the ugly duckling, we sense we don’t fit and at some point strike out to find the tribe where we do belong.
  9. Reviews, opinions of others. People base motorcycle purchases on journalists reviews and experiences of others. It’s really good to do your research, but in the end, it’s important to realize that the opinions of others percolate through their filters, their thoughts and beliefs.

Our brand is one of our most valuable assets and we control it. It’s something we create to express who we are, not something we are pigeonholed into because of an arbitrary label.

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