Reason For The Blog Comes True

There is no way to ease into this, so It will just be easier to be blunt.

Yesterday morning on my way home, I was involved in a motorcycle accident. Essentially I was traveling out of town on W Locus St. Those of you who know Wilmington, will know that W Locus is one way, and has two lanes. I was in the left lane as I crossed 73, a car pulled out into the right lane. As we neared Nelson, the car began to slow down in what I assumed was an attempt to turn right. But unfortunately they tried turning left from the right lane. I ended up bouncing off the car, riding over an 8″ curb and having to lay it down stopping just shy of a wooded area, that began a steep descent into a creek bed.

Upon impact with the car my foot was crushed between the motorcycle and the car. With everything I have been preaching, this should be the proof you are looking for. I was wearing my Helmet, Tour Master Jacket, Icon back protector, Speed and strength gloves, and Icon boots. Because of these items, I stood up after wrecking, got my bike stood up. I was walking around instantly after coming to a stop. I am not gonna lie, I did have to go to the hospital for X-rays, but no broken bones, just a bruised foot. My Icon boots saved not only my foot but my ankle as well. 

This last little tid-bit is for those who like to say I am just going up to the gas station, or I am just going around the corner, I don’t need to put anything on. Well, yes you do. I was only 2 miles from my house. The cop tried to tell me I was lucky, he mentioned there are a lot of motorcycle accidents in that area, and most of them are not so fortunate. I said it’s not lucky, its called wearing your gear. And he agreed.

Whether you are a rider or a passenger, this stuff works. And on those days when it is 90 degrees, and your first thought is that it is too hot for the helmet, jacket, gloves and all that. Well here is another motto to live by. “Tis Better To Sweat Than To Bleed”

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Tire Inflation Importance

So part of being safe on a motorcycle is making sure your bike is up to par, so to speak. One of these specs you should always check is tire pressure. A poorly inflated tire, and a poorly worn tire due to improper inflation is a recipe for disaster. Like wanting an engine to fire on all cylinders, you want your tires to have the proper grip on the road. Think of it this way, with a car you have four 8.5 x 11 inch, or roughly a notebook paper size contact patches connecting you to the road. On a motorcycle you have two, each are about the size of a credit card. So I think you can imagine how important tire care is on a motorcycle.

I found a scholarly journal called Motorcycle Tire Safety. It speaks of the improper tire inflation on motorcycles. It states that 50% of motorcycle tires are under inflated. Under inflation of motorcycle tires can be quite dangerous. It can cause low gas mileage, improper tire ware, improper tire grip, and also effecting braking. All but one of these can result in an accident. One of the topics in the article is of a company called SmarTire Inc. of Richmond, British Columbia. SmarTire has designed a pressure sensor device that is installed around the rim, inside the tire. They have become quite popular in 4 wheeled vehicles, but SmarTire is trying to branch over into the motorcycle industry in an attempt to help people become more aware of their tire pressure. Once the tire reaches 15-20% deflation, it illuminates a sensory light on the motorcycle allowing the rider to be aware of the situation immediately. SmarTire is hoping that by creating this device the accidents that are a result of under inflation will be reduced. Creating safer rides, and less accidents on the roads.

Here are a few pics of the results of improper tire inflation

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Take It To The Track

So many young people get bikes and make poor decisions, and/or dangerous decisions. I am one of them. I think just about everyone does it when they start riding if they are at a young age. A lot of young adults buy sport bikes that are a bit too powerful for a beginner rider and get injured or worse yet killed from riding over their head. Meaning they are trying to ride above their current skill level.

But what a lot of riders do not realize is you can take your bike to the track. It is just as easy as taping up your lights, and heading to your local track. You can work your way up to more advanced levels, and eventually if you want, racing in different racing leagues like W.E.R.A. (www.wera.com)

If you wanna go fast, contact your local track. Ohio has a couple race tracks, of course Mid-Ohio being the major one. I know a lot of guys, and gals who ride track days there. Some are even instructors at the track. If you live in the state of Ohio, please go visit http://www.midohio.com.

 

Now when going to track days you will need specific gear. Most likely your helmet will be fine for the track, as long as it is full face helmet. For me you can scroll down and check out my upper body gear post to see my helmet of choice.

Now for the gear that one would consider clothing. Your typical street gear will not work for the track. There are two types of suits when it comes to the track. There are what is called two piece suits that essentially are pants and a jacket that zip together at the waste. If you look closely at the picture you will see where the jacket and pants meet.

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The other type of suit is a 1 piece suit. 1 piece suits can be more expensive, but are generally more protective. Me personally I like the comfort of a 1 piece over a 2 piece suit. I was able to pick up this suit for a great price. I grabbed the Teknic Chicane One Piece. Check out the websites during the winter and spring months to catch all the deals.

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Next up lets take a look at your gloves. Now in my earlier post I put up pics of some Cortech, and Speed and Strength gloves. While those will protect you in simpler scenarios like street riding. The track takes on a whole new situation. So picked up a great pair of gloves from the same company who makes my suit. They are Teknic Lightning gloves. I was able to purchase them for a great price through a vendor while attending an AMA race. These are great gloves with awesome protection.

teknic lightning gloves

 

And lastly we come to the feet. While the Icon Super Duties are great boots, they would do little for the track. There are many track boots on the market. Now there are many affordable track boots out there, but one name stands above the rest. I picked up the Sidi Vertigos. They are not cheap, but what these boots allow you to do, is say you do wreck, you are able to buy replacement parts for the boots. Essentially turning them into new boots again. Sidi is one of the best boots out there.

Sidi Vertigo Boots

 

 

So what I am trying to say is if you feel like getting dangerous on the bike. Take it to the track.

Lower Body Gear

So with the lower body I suppose we can start with pants. Or even closer to the body, we start with something that almost resembles underwear. With this I speak of Knox Cross Shorts. (www.planet-knox.com) These shorts are lined with hip, and tailbone armor. They go on under your pants, and are very comfortable. Tail bones and hips if damaged can bed rid someone. You can’t work if you are laid up.

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Now of course we go straight to the pants. Just like the normal pants market, the motorcycle industry has many brands of jeans/pants. The pants I am going to speak of are Sliders Kevlar Apparel. (www.compacc.com) These pants are designed with kevlar in the high impact zones to protect your skin from road rash.

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Lets move down to the feet. People need to realize that flip flops and sandals do NOT protect your feet. People lose toes, and quite possibly a foot due to improper foot protection. My daily boot of choice is the Icon Super Duty 4. They are comfortable, and give great ankle protection. The other attraction is they are very affordable. You can not beat affordable protection.

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Upper Body Gear

Now I have been slacking the past few days, and I apologize. The next couple posts will be a continuation of gear. Plus the latest advancements when it comes to things like armor that is found in one’s gear. Now just to prove that I do not just talk the talk. I have decided to list and show the gear that I wear, including my helmet. Now of course, like any rider there is many types of gear. There is even stuff out that companies market towards motorcycles that would do nothing for you if you were to get into an accident. I do not understand how that is legal but it is. I will be showing my everyday riding gear, and then my gear for the track. Now as you browse through my gear, you will most likely start thinking to yourself that this apparel is quite dull. So if you begin to think that, try and remember a saying, it is a saying I typically live by. “You don’t dress to look good, you dress to crash.”

I suppose I will start with my helmet. My favorite helmet brand is Scorpion. (www.scorpionusa.com) It is not only my favorite helmet due to comfort, and support. It is also my favorite helmet for the price. Scorpion makes awesome affordable helmets, and they protect just as well as most other popular brands. If you were getting into riding this is my number one recommendation. Number one because if you were only going to wear one thing for protection I would enforce the helmet. My helmet is the Scorpion EXO-750 Vintage. I love this helmet, one part I really like is if the helmet isn’t quite snug, you can use the air pump built into the helmet to get it to fit just right. (Just like the old Reebok Pumps)

Scorpion EXO-750 Vintage Helmet

 

The next item on the list, is my jacket. I have owned two of these jackets. Only difference between the two is the current one is just a bit longer than the first. This way, when I lean or bend over it still covers my backside. The jacket brand I speak of is Tour Master (www.tourmaster.com). They are not a massive popular brand like Icon, Speed and Strength, Joe Rocket, and Harley. Tour Master is a company for just that, Touring. They are designed to keep you comfortable and protected for those long rides, no matter what the conditions. I can write a 5 page persuasive paper on just this jacket. I have ridden in single digit temp weather, all the way up to triple digit temp weather. All while wearing that jacket. Affordable, comfortable, and most importantly it will protect you. My jacket is the Tour Master Sonora Air Jacket.

Tour Master Sonora Jacket

 

Now as time has gone on, I have been able to buy a winter only jacket. Not because the Sonora wasn’t doing its job, but because I wanted a jacket for warm weather only and a jacket for cold weather only. So I went with what I think is the beast of cold weather jackets in the Tour Master line. The Tour Master Rincon.

Tour Master Rincon Jacket

 

 

Now here is one important piece of my arsenal. Now all the jackets are required to be fitted with armor. They put armor in the elbows, shoulders, and the back. The armor does have to meet a specific requirement, but I felt that the next most important part of the body is the spine. Nothing against the built in back protector, but the more the merrier right? So I pulled the back protector out of the jacket and picked up an Icon Field Armor Stryker vest.(www.rideicon.com) Full spinal, and chest protection.

Icon Field Armor

 

So the last of the upper body is the gloves. Now the amount of gloves that are sold on the market is unbelievable. I will tell you right now that I wouldn’t wear half of them. So many gloves are passed off as protective riding gloves, and so many would fall apart in an instant. So I am rather picky with my gloves. I have a few pairs of gloves, but I will just put up the two pairs I use the most. The summer set I use are the Cortech Vice shorties.(www.cortechperformance.com) Great gloves, comfortable, affordable, and most importantly have great built in protection. As you will see in the picture. The other set I wear are my cold weather gloves. Those are the Speed and Strength Devils in Details.(www.ssgear.com) Wind proof, water proof, and very warm. Just a great set of gloves. Quite affordable with good protection.

Cortech Vice gloves     speed strength devilsindetails glove

 

 

 

You may be thinking to yourself why do I care what he wears. Well if you are someone who is reading this in hopes to get ideas on what to buy, all of these items I have put up are not only great products, but they are affordable. Most importantly they provide the protection you need. So hopefully you can use this as a guide if you are searching.

My next post will be over lower body protection along with my track gear.

Rock the Gear

How to Avoid Skinning Yourself Alive – Brittany Morrow from Brittany Morrow on Vimeo.

ROCK THE GEAR

rockthegear.org

briter2morrow.com / TheRoadrashQueen.com

I have posted this video because not only does it speak the message I want to hit on next, but it shows what happens. Its speaks so much with so few words. The other reason I show this, is do to the fact it is a female. It is not of some guy showing off his scars. This is of a beautiful young lady who thought she would be okay with just a helmet. The helmet is an important piece, but it is not everything. I will post with more facts, and information, but I think she deserves your complete attention. Also please visit the websites, whether you ride or not.

The Use and Effectiveness of Helmets

Day after day, year after year we hear of motorcycle accidents be it through the local television news, by newspaper, or just on a local website. Most of them speak of a death of someone involved in a motorcycle accident. Typically it is the motorcycle rider. Most of the time the information given on the accident is very general. No real facts, mostly just speculation. Unfortunately most of the responses to these reports or articles are the same. “Motorcycle riders are idiots.”, “He was probably speeding.”, “Probably some drunk Harley rider.” and lastly my favorite “Probably some punk on one of those crotch-rockets.”. Being a rider myself, I hear this stuff almost daily during the summer. The kicker of it all is I hear a good portion of it from other motorcycle riders. Now I am not taking the i’m a motorcycle rider stance, that we are all innocent. No I am taking a third approach. I am not looking at the accidents from the motorcycle rider stand point, nor the typical anti-motorcycle ideal-isms. No I am taking an analytic point of view of it all. I am not going to look at who’s fault it was, I am going to take a preventative look at things.

Lets start with helmets. (Please keep in mind that the information supplied will be a couple years old due to the length of time it takes to collect all the data.) *NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,550 motorcyclists in 2010. *They also state that if all the motorcyclists had worn a helmet, another 706 lives would have been saved. *Helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders, and 41% for motorcycle passengers. Now lets think about all of these motorcycle accidents that keep popping up on the TV news, or on the front page of the news paper. I would love to keep track of just the local motorcycle accident deaths and see how many of them were wearing helmets. I think you will be quite surprised with the results. Keep in mind, just wearing a motorcycle helmet alone is 37% more effective, and 41% for the passengers. Now I am not so naive as to say that Helmets always work. I know they don’t always work. If you wreck and get run over by a dump truck, or some large cargo vehicle, chances are you will die. But there are so many minor accidents involving motorcyclists where the rider’s head hit the pavement or hit the hood or windshield of a car, and it killed them. If they just would have been wearing a helmet, they could be still alive today. *In 2010, in the state of Ohio there were 157 total motorcycle riders kill. 74% of them, were not wearing a helmet. That is just shy of three quarters.  For those of you who don’t feel like doing the math, that is 116 of 157 that were not wearing a helmet.

That was a small bit about facts, how about a real life example. My father, who is near his mid 50’s, has been riding motorcycles since his teenage years. He has built, fixed and/or ridden just about every brand out there. For the longest time my father rode a Harley. Not only can I still see in my head, but we have pictures of him in his riding boots, jeans, t-shirt, and shades, ready to hit the open road. I never thought twice about it then. As a child, he is my father. Just like any child, there father is invincible. So for years he road this way, and you are correct. He hardly ever wore a helmet. In fact the only time he typically had a helmet on was when he was in a state the had helmet laws requiring every motorcyclist to wear one. Thankfully, he managed to make it through all those motorcycling days unscathed. Now for a while, my father(and my mother, who rides also) took a hiatus from motorcycles. They sold their bikes and bought a camper, and a boat. They decided traveled to camp sites, went to Canada once or twice. They took some time and enjoyed other things in life. Eventually, the itch came back. It was not an itch for one more than the other. They both love to ride. So they decided to buy motorcycles again. My mother, stayed traditional for the most part and picked up a Triumph cruiser style of bike, my father on the other hand, he decided to go a different route. He went a little more exotic and picked up a Ducati Multistrada. I can still remember when they first bought them, mainly because I had to drive the car back following the two of them on their brand new motorcycles. It was kind of nice seeing them back on two wheels together again. But that excitement was somewhat short lived. Just about a month after purchasing his bike, my father was on his way home from work when the driver of a pick-up truck decided to try and make it across an intersection before my father got there. The driver of the truck came to the stop sign of the side road, and was in so much of a hurry to get across he decided to pull across in front of my father. Using all his knowledge he had learned over the years of riding, my father did everything he could to slow down. The problem was he could not drift into the other lane because this was at the top of a hill. So if he attempted to go around the truck in the other lane and a car came over that hill. Well, we don’t want to think about those results. So try as he may, my father was not able to slow down in time, and he and the bike hit the rear bumper of the truck. Sending the bike crashing to the ground, but my father over the bed of the truck, and straight down on his face and shoulder. He slid across the pavement 5 to 10 yards. I know this because I saw the marks on the pavement from his head. Well better yet, they were the marks from his helmet.  When purchasing their new bikes my parents decided to invest in riding gear. Whether is was due to the fact they were getting older and more brittle or just becoming more wise in their ways. Whatever the reason, I am thankful. Without that helmet, most likely my father would not be here today. If he had managed to survive the accident without a helmet? Half of his face would be missing. Even the ambulance and fire crew were impressed by what the helmet(and jacket) had done in protecting my father. Impressed so much they wanted to keep the helmet and jacket for show and tell when speaking of what riding gear can due at seminars. It was at that moment that made up my mind when it comes to wearing a helmet. I have been able to see what a helmet can do for me, but most importantly I have seen what a helmet has allowed me to still have. My Father.

*Info collected from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “Traffic Safety Facts: 2010 Data”
 ~released July 2012 by the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis