Category Archives: Miscellaneous Archives
Treds - 12” Motorcycle Overboots
by Gus Breiland
With spring comes the every day threat of rain, slush, grime and just pain filth. I love riding, but sometimes this crap really gets to me. It is not so much the riding conditions themselves, but what these conditions do to your gear.
Last year I finally found some waterproof boots that I enjoy both riding in and walking around in once I get there. Now I have a way to guarantee that those boots will survive the filthy salt spray that comes from the light rainy days of Minnesota’s spring. I am not worried about the water proofing of my boots not working, but what the road salt and chemicals that MNDOT puts down all winter will do to those boots. That stuff tends to not only eat motorcycle and auto parts but it tends to dry out my leather boots so I look and feel like the Wicked Witch after Dorothy drops a house on me.
The T.R.E.D.S 12” Overboot is a great piece of gear. The one-piece construction pulls on with relative ease and snaps snugly around my shin. They fit over hiking boots, riding boots, sneakers, dress shoes or even your bare feet. This latex rubber boot stretches up to 800% its size and resists tearing.
Not only does it resist tearing but I could not force the issue either. I tried tearing a sample of the material provided to MMM and also the boot itself. The sample piece had a splice in it and after pulling on that splice, I could not increase the length of the cut. I put 2 or 3 more cuts into the sample (not an easy task in itself) trying to find the grain of the rubber, but no dice. This material returns to its original shape and tears do not increase in size at all.
The boot adds a bit of height to your toe for the shifter. It is not a big deal, but it will change your spacing a bit. Some will find that they have to adjust their shifter while others will just adjust their shifter foot. I am the latter.
Not only is this a great addition to your riding gear but also your gardening gear, construction gear, or pushing your buddy’s boat off the shore gear. The boots come in a box folded one over another and strapped with the same material. Save the strap and throw the boots into your saddlebag on long rides. When weather threatens, pull them out and pull ‘em on. You will find that they take up little room and are quite valuable if you like dry feet.
T.R.E.D.S has a wide variety of boots that include the over the shoe, a 12” boot, 16” and even a 17” tall boot. I have been using the 12” boot and if works just fine. I slip them on, tuck them under my riding pants and my feet are dry from start to finish. The 12” boots cost roughly $30 plus shipping. I highly recommend grabbing a set for yourself, if not for gifts for your riding friends. They may even invite you back to their house or forgive any past transgressions you my have been guilty of.
You can order your T.R.E.D.S directly from http://www.treds.com/ or 1-513-489-2283. Otherwise if you have questions, email them at email@example.com. Their sizing was right on for me. I have a size 11-foot, so I ordered the 11-12 boot and it fit perfectly. Since the boot stretches so much, the boot will adjust to your foot (stretching that is) rather than your foot having to adjust for the boot.
by Bill Hufnagle
Have you ever been pick-pocketed or mugged? How did you feel knowing someone was stealing your hard-earned money? Wouldn’t it feel even worse if they were using your money to fund a scheme to rob you again and again?
You bet it would. If you are a law-abiding, motorcycle-riding American citizen, this is happening to you. A crafty group of self-proclaimed safety advocates, and very likely one or more businesses you write checks to, have aligned themselves to steal your right to ride. They are even trying to eliminate funding for rider safety education programs. You can be certain that if they succeed, those surcharges on your motorcycle license won’t disappear. The money will be spent on something else totally unrelated to true motorcycle safety.
These groups are undermining legislation we propose to make public roads safer and dangerous drivers more responsible for the harm they do. Consider the mere slap on the wrist the ex-congressman Janklow got for killing a motorcyclist in South Dakota. Watch and see what the court metes out to Bishop O’Brien, convicted of a hit-and-run death involving a pedestrian in Arizona. Something tells me the penalty for killing a pedestrian is higher than for killing a biker. While I know that these cases are not identical, there is still no reason in God’s creation that one human life is worth more than another because of a chosen, legal mode of transportation.
Why do the courts, juries, and halls of elected government seem to tilt against us? Why are sensible laws that would increase our safety dead-ended, while laws mandating helmet use or forced organ donation seem to pop up as predictably as crocuses in the spring? The reason is clear. We are losing the public relations battle in the halls of power. Our opponents are simply better funded. Therefore, they are more capable of buying political results. They are also more motivated since they are working against us out of corporate greed.
We just want to be left alone to ride free and enjoy our private lives. Please don’t get me wrong. We have our advocates and many of us spend loads of time and money supporting them. I often call upon my fellow motorcyclists to join and support those groups. But that is not what I want to ask you to do today. I have another technique I would like you to consider.
I suggest that we also fight this battle on another front by hitting them where they will really feel it—their bottom line. As I alluded to before, these companies are taking your money and spending it against your freedom and safety. Let’s work to reduce that funding. Consider these groups of “safety advocates,” and then look at their actions against our rights and where they get their money:
1) Advocates for Highway Safety (AAHS)—The name sounds innocent enough. But, these folks are at the forefront of attacks on our motorcycle rights and our safety initiatives.
2) Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) —Their name says it all: they represent the economic interests of the insurance industry.
3) Public Citizen (PC) —Formed by Ralph Nader and now run by our longtime archenemy Joan Claybrook, this group is another vocal advocate against our rights. Claybrook was the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NTHSA) under President Carter. If you are old enough to remember those days, you also remember the federal highway-funds blackmail of states about mandatory helmet use, the 55 MPH speed limit, and the long waits in lines to buy gas at inflated prices—assuming it was even a day you were allowed to buy gas.
There are more groups, but these stand at the forefront. I suggest you do some web searching on them and see what they stand for, how they are connected, and where they get their funding. You won’t like what you find. Insurance companies directly fund both AAHS and IIHS. You directly fund these. PC claims it “does not accept funds from corporations, professional associations or government agencies.” But, it has a seat on the board of directors of AAHS. These groups are too tightly woven together, too connected in the halls of government, and too supported by the insurance industry—either directly or indirectly. The insurance industry is just looking out for its bottom line. If the companies can take your money and keep you from exercising your right to manage your own risks, they will profit more. A quick review of which insurance companies are using your money against you will no doubt reveal that you might not be able to find one that doesn’t. So what can you do?
Here is my suggestion: Research who your insurance company is and which groups they support. Then take action. Write polite letters to them. Tell them that you are unhappy that they are taking your money and using it against you. Make sure to tell them how much you pay them per year. Ask them to stop it immediately.
Here is where it can get really effective. Most of you own some stocks and or mutual funds or are part of some type of retirement fund, probably invested in some of these insurance company stocks. Further, your employer, union, city, town, county, state, and so on have money in pension funds that are probably invested in these insurance companies as well. Write polite letters to all of these fund managers and stockbrokers demanding that they divest of these stocks. Also send them a copy of the letter you sent to the insurance company. Send the insurance company a copy of the letter to the funds managers and brokers. Civic-minded investing helped end apartheid in South Africa, and it can help change the second-class treatment of motorcycle riders in America.
It is just a modest proposal, but maybe some motorcycling organization can champion this and make it a movement. Then some day we can overcome these injustices and be set free. Ride Free!
My friend Kelly McEnany from Asheville, North Carolina, told me about a dish that used cauliflower like mashed potatoes. The idea sounded so good that I rode home and made it in my own fiery way. The flavor of the cauliflower makes spuds look like duds. I have served this to people who dislike cauliflower and they loved it. It’s a great way to get the little bikers in your house eat their veggies.
1 medium-size head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets and steamed until tender
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1. In a food processor, combine cauliflower, butter, white pepper, salt, cayenne, and garlic powder and pulse several times to break up the cauliflower florets.
2. With the machine running, slowly add the half-and-half through the feed tube and process until the cauliflower is smooth. (If the cauliflower is very moist you may not need all the half-and-half.)
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Biker Billy hosts a syndicated television cooking show, “Biker Billy Cooks with Fire”, and has authored three cookbooks. Just released in 2003 is his latest book, “BIKER BILLY’S HOG WILD ON A HARLEY COOKBOOK”. The book includes 200 recipes from HOG members and Harley riders across America and an ample supply of Biker Billy’s own fiery recipes.
The book is endowed with Biker Billy’s unique biker banter. It is sure to bring the adventure and flavor of the open road to your table and family.
The illustrated book is published by Harvard Common Press and is available in bookstores everywhere for $19/95, or on Biker Billy’s web site where you can have it autographed. Check out www.bikerbilly.com where you can also find information on Biker Billy’s touring schedule.
Column copyright Bill Hufnagle 2003. Recipe reprinted with permission from “BIKER BILLY’S HOG WILD ON A HARLEY COOKBOOK”, published by Harvard Common Press, Boston copyright Bill Hufnagle 2003.
By Gary Charpentier
I’ve never been a patient man. The fact that I turned forty last year is simply a chronological curiosity. It is nothing more than another mile marker on what is turning out to be a long and difficult journey. Age has not mellowed me at all, especially when it comes to spring fever. I still get the same jittery urges I’ve always had `round about this time of year. As soon as the snow cover gives way to mud and dead flora, my throttle hand starts twitching and my mind begins playing those old road movies again.
But Old Man Winter is a stubborn brute. He is hanging on by his fingernails, blowing his last frigid gasp into the middle of March, stirring up the final, feeble snowstorms of the season, and keeping those salt-slingin’ plow trucks in business. I hate that wretched geezer! Why can’t he just retire gracefully and go back to the icy hell that spawned him? Could this be yet another sign of global warming? NOT! (Sorry Mr. Soucheray…)
So far the month of March has given me a couple of false starts. Twice this year I have ridden Kermit to work, and while it wasn’t exactly pleasant, it wasn’t too terrible either. I dressed in my trusty leather snowmobile gear and braved the elements with minimal drama. When I came to ice on the road, I just rolled across it with a steady hand on the throttle. You have to stay loose in these situations, ready to respond but not all tensed up. The scenery wasn’t all that great, as late winter is the ugliest of seasons here in Minnesota. All the stuff that died last fall has been smushed down and slightly decayed under heavy mounds of disgusting snow. At least it hasn’t begun to stink yet….
As usual, the biggest hazard by far was the four-wheeled traffic of SUVs and pocket-rocket punk cars. They don’t expect motorcycles to be on the road yet. “Not until the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and birds are singing.” as an old “biker dude” once told me. Sitting tall in the saddle of my KLR, I realized quickly that I wasn’t as confident as I had been on my sneaky-fast Ducati or even my old Cafe Scrambler. Kermit doesn’t always have the horsepower necessary to blast our way out of dangerous, confining situations. Cars and trucks get faster and larger every year, which makes them more dangerous to those of us who choose two wheels for transport. Meanwhile, drivers get more distracted with gadgets and fast food and psycho talk-radio as they try to hustle their way to work. I really had to keep my head on a swivel and use the horn and high beam to make sure I was noticed. It was harrowing, to say the least, but a thrill nonetheless. Sparring with violent death has always been one of my favorite hobbies.
The weather forecast for the next week contains snow showers separated by partly cloudy days in the low forties. Well foggitaboudit, I’m gonna ride! Simply put, I’m done with waiting. If Old Man Winter gets in my way, I’m gonna kick him in the balls and ride a wheelie over his writhing, withered carcass! I know this means that I will expose my nearly new motorbike to salt-spray and somnolent motorists. I am truly sorry for that. But a man can only take so much, and I’ve reached my limit. I will rinse off the salt as best I can and blow everything dry with compressed air. Then I can squirt on a coat of WD-40 to help ward off corrosion. Worst-case will have me disassembling my faithful steed just like my old friend the M-16A1 and lovingly apply a coat of gun-oil to all of it’s working parts. Can’t hurt, right? (I love the smell of gun-oil in the morning!)
Just to test my commitment on this, I took a little ride tonight. It was twenty-six degrees, the roads were full of salt and sand, little patches of ice here and there, but certainly navigable to someone who had ridden in the depths of winter before. Kermit and I roamed the side streets of South Saint Paul, leisurely exploring the old neighborhoods, taking note of Turnabout Books on Southview for later investigation. I say that because with all the gear I was wearing, it just wasn’t convenient to stop in and browse for literary treasure. I’d have looked pretty silly waddling around the store in my black leather space suit. I think I’ll wait until spring really gets here to pay them a visit. Besides, by then I’ll have installed my new Dirt Bagz panniers and we’ll have more luggage room for the ton of books I almost always buy. Turnabout had to close their store on Smith Avenue, which is closer to my home. There was a lack of foot traffic and parking in the area. That’s a shame, but too often it’s the inevitable fate of Mom-n-Pop stores located in the urban jungle.
So on we rode, right to the end of streets overlooking the Mississippi River valley and the old stockyards. I stood there astride Kermit at the guardrails, looking down and remembering the horrible stench that used to emanate from the abattoirs. I recall riding in the back of Dad’s `65 Plymouth station wagon over the 494 bridge, knowing we were close to home by the presence of that putrid odor. It’s mostly gone now, but on some days if the wind is just right, you can still catch a whiff.
We followed serpentine pavement down the hill to familiar Concord Avenue, turning right to take that road south past the great 494 loop and into the southern suburbs. It’s interesting to note the juxtaposition of new development with the landscape of my early childhood memories. It seems like two different worlds, set in uneasy proximity. When I was only a toddler, my parents rented an apartment along Concord with a spectacular view of the Ashland refinery. I remember dark winter nights when my breath would mist on my bedroom window as I gazed out at the flames of waste gas burning from the tops of those tall pipes, all set in a sea of brilliant mercury vapor lights. “Puff the Magic Dragon” was on the Top Forty charts at that time, and I would hum that song to myself as I dreamed up fantasies of fire-breathing monsters and castles made of stars.
Just before we got to Highway 52, I turned Kermit around to head back home again. The chill was starting to get to me, and Amy would have dinner ready by the time I arrived. We rode back past the defunct Indian Motorcycle dealership. The place now sells something called Big Dog. Bunch of over-priced, over-painted, baubles-on-wheels if you ask me. But apparently some people like them well enough to keep them in business. Subtlety doesn’t seem to be in fashion these days. We passed the sign for Betty’s Truck stop and Cafe, which closed only last year, and affirms my maxim that nothing cool ever lasts.
After climbing up the backside of Ton-Up Hill, we pulled into the garage and I shut Kermit down for the night. We are supposed to get an inch or two of snow by tomorrow morning. I don’t know if that’s true, or if the weather geeks are trying to cover their collective asses. Doesn’t matter much to me. I’m all through with waitin’. Tomorrow we RIDE!