What a difference 12 weeks makes

For my regular trips from my home office in Bexley, Ohio, to RevZilla HQ in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is the expedient route, not the scenic route. A 475-mile day makes for head-down, keep-moving kind of travel, not the preferred sightseeing, spur-of-the-moment detouring, back-road routes that are the motorcycling ideal.

That was especially true of my first trip there, which was also my second annual February motorcycle trip. This past week, I rode to Philadelphia again. Obligations on both ends meant it was still more about getting there and getting home than about enjoying the ride, but the ride is automatically a whole lot more enjoyable when the temperature is in the 70s (going) or 60s (returning) instead of the 40s (going) and 30s (returning). Let these two photos of roadside Pennsylvania farms along the Turnpike do the talking of what a difference 12 weeks make.

snowy farm scene

February, 2014

spring farm scene

May, 2014

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The long winter’s nap ends

Daytona 675 in springThere are a few reliable signs of spring: the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, the buzzards come back to Hinckley, and my Daytona 675 comes out of hibernation. The first two happen in March, and the third, which is a less reliable signal than the birds, may take place any time during April or May. Continue reading The long winter’s nap ends →

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Spring: sprung

spring flowers

At last, spring flowers and motorcycle weather. No trying to feel the throttle and brake through bulky winter gloves.

This winter, in my part of the world, has been one to chill the spirit and numb the will. Officially, it was the second snowiest on record here. Having never had a single pipe freeze in this old house, this year I had two burst on the multiple sub-zero nights we suffered. But all that’s behind me now because today I rode my motorcycle, for the first time this year, without an insulating layer (or three) under my jacket, with uninsulated leather gloves and no need for the heated handgrips. Just 250 miles of riding, and no rush to hurry home to the warmth of the figurative hearth. Riding the way it’s supposed to be. Continue reading Spring: sprung →

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Experiments in E-ZPass on a motorcycle

This will be old stuff to those who live and ride in the Northeast, but for riders like me, who live where freeways really are free, it’s a dance we come to  late. I’ve finally installed an E-ZPass on my motorcycle. So far, it hasn’t been quite the smooth experience I’d hoped for. Continue reading Experiments in E-ZPass on a motorcycle →

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A very different kind of custom

When we envision a “custom” motorcycle, we almost always imagine a motorcycle that has had some of its utility removed in the name of art.

Choppers are ever more stretched, seats get lower and lower, ape-hangers get higher and higher. As a result, lean angle is reduced to five degrees and front end feel is gone with the bling. Sportbikes get long swingarms and lowered suspension, until the sweetest handling bikes ever built are converted into something that turns with the responsiveness of a garbage scow. At the V-Twin Expo this year, I saw my first 32-inch front wheel. I’m sure lots of people thought it was cool. I couldn’t help thinking what a nightmare it must be to ride that bike at anything above parade pace.

Mark Morel's ZX-10RWhat if building a custom didn’t mean sacrificing function for form? After all, “custom,” at its most basic level, means building a one-of-a-kind machine that responds to one man’s (or one woman’s) personal ideal.

That’s what Mark Morel did. He modified his motorcycle with his own hands and skills to suit him. His motorcycle wouldn’t get a second look from the guys at the V-Twin Expo, unless they were looking at it to disparage it. The hard-core sportbike crowd would probably consider it a sacrilege. But it’s every bit a custom: one man’s perception of just exactly the bike he wanted. Continue reading A very different kind of custom →

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The good and bad of the Daytona 200’s internet-only era

fanschoice.tv promo imageWell here we are in 2014 in the brave new world of internet-only coverage of the Daytona 200. Because nobody could figure out how to televise this year’s six-round AMA Superbike series profitably, and since few people actually go to Daytona International Speedway for the race, there was a troubling chance that the 73rd running of the event could be the race that fell in the woods and didn’t make a sound.

The solution was www.fanschoice.tv, which showed all the races from Daytona online this year, with no commercial interruptions except that awkward Cortech thing that popped up in the middle of the broadcast like someone’s junior high school audio-visual editing project. So now that the top level of professional motorcycle roadracing has fallen so low that even cable won’t touch it, how was the coverage in this new age? As usual, there was the good, the bad, and the fistful of dollars. Oh wait, I’m mixing my old movie references again.

Let’s start with the good. Continue reading The good and bad of the Daytona 200’s internet-only era →

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What’s next: RevZilla

RevZilla logoIn an industry that has more than its share of stagnation and failures, RevZilla is a success story. Continue reading What’s next: RevZilla →

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Another road trip in February

Snowy rest stop

On the road (again) in February. The roads were clear but the backdrop was quite snowy.

Last year, it was just for fun. This year, it was more about business. But either way, I once again found myself obsessively checking weather forecast updates every few hours to see if my plan for a motorcycle road trip in February was going to happen.

Once again, the weather waited until the last minute to cooperate. But with temperatures solidly in the 40s and sunny skies above, I headed east from my home office in Ohio to the headquarters of RevZilla in the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. Plans are for me to do quite a bit of work for RevZilla this year, so this is the first of what I hope and expect to be several such trips.  Continue reading Another road trip in February →

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