*A Little Acetone Will Take Those Tags Right Off
*Kaptain Knievel White-Knuckles the Kanyon
*House Members Try to Stop the Lobbying
*YZF-R1 is Must-Have For Upper-Crust
*Motorcyclists Do It With Poetry
*Minnesota gets The Art of the Motorcycle
By Troy Johnson
Thundering Through D.C.
They came from all over this great land to mourn and to celebrate the veterans of the Vietnam War. On Memorial Day over 250,000 people, most aboard bikes, rolled into Washington D.C. for the Rolling Thunder Rally. This past year has seen many books and films focus on W.W.II, for those in attendance this is their way to make sure that the 58,000 soldiers killed and the 2,200 still missing in action in Vietnam are not forgotten.
Now in it’s 12th year the Rolling Thunder Rally, named for President Johnson’s bombing campaign during the war, has become one of the premiere events for Harley riders. “We want the politicians to know we haven’t forgotten and we don’t want them to forget,” said Bob Fernando, who rode from Indiana to be a part of the rally. On the morning of the rally riders assembled at the pentagon for an escort by police to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. Prayers were offered, songs were sung, and everyone had a story about their time in the war or the friends they had lost. “This is the parade we never got,” said Dave Flores, one of seven firemen (all Vietnam veterans) who rode 3,200 miles to take part in the rally. “It’s the home coming I never got.”
A Little Acetone Will Take Those Tags Right Off.
Does your dad have everything? Is he really tough to shop for? I bet he would love a gift that will make him the envy of every adolescent boy in the neighborhood. From Yamaha and Tommy Hilfiger we get the Tommy Bike. During June and in time for Father’s Day, four limited edition YZF-R6s emblazoned with Hilfiger’s autograph and his all to visible logo are being given away. Customers of Bloomingdale’s and select Yamaha events are being given the chance to enter drawings for the four look-at-me machines.
“Racing is something we have been interested in and involved with for several years,” said Hilfiger. “Designing a motorcycle for Yamaha was the perfect chance for us to explore new sponsorship opportunities in the racing world and partner with the world’s leading motorcycle manufacturer. This venture also allows us to offer our customers a product that is truly unique, special, and exciting.”
Those of you wanting to enter so badly that you’re ready to drop this paper and run to Bloomingdale’s will find entry forms in the men’s department. Those of you with more control can enter on-line at Yamaha’s web site www.yamaha-motor.com. No word if this means the greasy tee-shirts and overalls of Yamaha pit mechanic’s will be replaced by jazzy Hilfiger nylon running suits and oversized bell-bottom jeans.
Kaptain Knievel White-Knuckles the Kanyon.
Keeping up the family tradition of being more courageous than prudent, Kaptain Robbie Knievel broke his own world record in May by jumping the Grand Canyon. He easily cleared the gorge and broke his old record by more than five feet, for a total jump length of 228 feet. Fireworks erupted and a crowd of several hundred cheered as Knievel touched down on the landing ramp. If he would have miscalculated or had mechanical trouble he risked a 2500 foot drop to the canyon floor. Riding an unspecified 500cc dirt bike he hit the jump at 90 mph. After landing he did wipe out but was unharmed for the most part. The jump was televised live by Fox during prime time hours. “I’m a little wiped out in the head,” said Knievel after the jump. He was going to attempt the same jump in April but canceled it at the last moment due to wind conditions in the area.
Knievel gained notoriety in 1989 by jumping the fountains at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas the same jump the nearly killed his father, Evel Knievel, 21 years earlier. Evel had said that he had always wanted to jump the Grand Canyon, but retired before he got the chance. “You’re talking about one of the seven wonders of the world, and I want to do it,” said Robbie before the jump, “Everyone has a calling and has to make a living. I’m not trying to kill myself.”
House Members Try to Stop the Lobbying.
The AMA reported last month that nineteen congressmen have written a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater complaining that his agency is ignoring federal regulations by lobbying for mandatory helmet laws. In the sharply worded letter the congressmen criticized the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for continued lobbying of states despite the passage of the Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21) that forbids the NHTSA from lobbying state legislatures for helmet laws.
Among the items they asked for in the letter was a stop to the production and distribution of a NHTSA video entitled “Without Motorcycle Helmets We All Pay the Price” and the introduction of opinionated testimony into legislative debates on helmet laws. The congressmen stated that the video is a clear attempt to persuade state lawmakers to adopt mandatory helmet laws. “We are very concerned that NHTSA’s irresponsible use of taxpayer money and rhetoric continues unchecked in direct opposition to congressional intent,” said Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois.
YZF-R1 is Must-Have For Upper-Crust.
This past month the Robb Report issued it’s annual Best of the Best awards. It seems according to the magazine that motorcycles do have a place in the ultra-luxury lifestyle that this publication gives us all a glimpse of every month. In the Sport Bike category the top on their list is the Yamaha YZF-R1 and here’s what they think about it, “The ultimate expression of street-legal performance, Yamaha’s R1 raises the bar by which all other supersports machines will be measured.” Rounding out the list of top sport rides were the Yamaha YZF-R6, the Ducati 996, Honda VFR800F and Honda CBR600F4.
In the touring class their favorite was the BMW K1200LT which in their eyes, “Combines luxury and high performance in a beautifully integrated package.” And in the “Sitting Pretty” cruiser category they didn’t go for a high-buck status bike for the best cruiser instead choosing the Honda Valkyrie. Three Harleys, the Night Train, Road King, and Springer Softail, and one other Honda round out the cruiser picks.
Motorcyclists Do It With Poetry.
It seems people’s perception of bikers as burly chested, greasy louts is further from the truth than we way want to know. According to a survey done by Progressive Insurance of male motorcyclists and non-riders they found that riders are much sappier and romantic than non-riders. The survey revealed that motorcycle riders were five times as likely to cry during a romantic movie as non-riders. The top movie that riders reported making them cry was The Lion King.
“Male motorcyclists are not who you may think,” explained Ben Sheridan of Progressive, “On average they are older and usually mid to upper income levels. But what is fascinating is that they are as romantic as any other group.”
Among the more frightening facts from the survey is that 63% of riders asked said they are moved by poetry while only 23% of non-riders admitted to it. The average number of times during the year that male riders give flowers is five, for non-riders it’s only two times. Accountants who ride are seven times more likely to be moved by poetry than non-riders. 55% of riders said money was not essential for happiness in life as opposed to non-riders of which only 13% responded the same. Riders were four times as likely to admit having cried during an episode of the Andy Griffith Show than non-riders and accountants who ride were number one in this group.
The follow is a list of the top five movies for male non-riders: Terminator II, Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, The Godfather, and Airplane. The top movies for male riders are: Shakespeare In Love, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jerry McGuire, Prince of Tides, and Titanic. With the news of our sensitivity now out in the open I fear that it is only time before riders are bounced out of their favorite watering holes by roving bands of floral designers and hair stylists.
Minnesota gets The Art of the Motorcycle
It is with great excitement that we at Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly are able to announce that The Art of the Motorcycle exhibit that drew record crowds to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York is tentatively scheduled to come to Minnesota in January of 2000. All aspects of the show are not finalized, but this is what we know so far. The exhibit will consist of approximately 65 bikes with an emphasis being put on machines of significance to Minnesota. It is slated to run from January through April of 2000 at the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus. The most important aspect of the planning left is the need for sponsors of all sizes. Without them the show will not be able to run. So I would ask anyone interested in sponsoring the show to call Judy Neiswander at 651-644-2992. Your help will make this possible.