Found this on the VTX Owner's Assocation web board, reposted from a Valkyrie board.
By Tom Ruttan
CYCLE CANADA - APRIL 2002
The bike's passenger seat swept up just enough that I could see over my father's shoulders. That seat was my throne. My dad and I traveled many back roads, searching for the ones we had never found before. Traveling these roads just to see where they went. Never in a rush. Just be home for supper.
I remember wandering down a back road with my father, sitting on my throne watching the trees whiz by, feeling the rumble of our bike beneath us like a contented giant cat. A motorcycle came over a hill toward us and as it went by, my father threw up his gloved clutch hand and gave a little wave. The other biker waved back with the same friendly swing of his left wrist.
I tapped my father on his shoulder, which was our signal that I wanted to say something. He cocked his helmeted ear back slightly while keeping his eyes ahead.
I yelled, "Do we know him?"
'What?" he shouted.
"You waved to him. Who was it?"
"I don't know. Just another guy on a bike. So I waved."
"You just do. It's important."
Later, when we had stopped for chocolate ice cream, I asked why it was important to wave to other bikers. My father tried to explain how the wave demonstrated comradeship and a mutual understanding of what it was to enjoy riding a motorcycle. He looked for the words to describe how almost all bikers struggled with the same things like cold, rain, heat, car drivers who did not see them, but how riding remained an almost pure pleasure.
I was young then and I am not sure that I really understood what he was trying to get across, but . It was a beginning. Afterward, I always waved along with my father when we passed other bikers.
I remember one cold October morning when the clouds were heavy and dark, giving us another clue that winter was riding in from just over the horizon. My father and I were warm inside our car as we headed to a friend's home. Rounding a comer, we saw a motorcycle parked on the shoulder of the road. Past the bike, we saw the rider walking through the ditch, scouring the long grasses crowned with a touch of frost. We pulled over and backed up to where the bike stood.
I asked Dad, "Who's that?"
"Don't know," he replied. "But he see to have lost something. Maybe we can give him a hand."
We left the car and wandered through the tall grass of the ditch to the biker. He said that he had been pulling on his gloves as he rode and he had lost one. The three of us spent some time combing the ditch, but all we found were two empty cans and a plastic water bottle.
My father turned and headed back to our car and I followed him. He opened the trunk and threw the cans and the water bottle into a small cardboard box that we kept for garbage. He rummaged through various tools, oil containers and windshield washer fluid until he found an old crumpled pair of brown leather gloves. Dad straightened them out and handed them to me to hold. He continued looking until he located an old catalogue. I understood why my dad had grabbed the gloves. I had no idea what he was going to do with the catalogue. We headed back to the biker who was still walking the ditch.
My dad said, "Here's some gloves for you. And I brought you a catalogue as well."
"Thanks," he replied. I really appreciate it." He reached into his hip pocket and withdrew a worn black wallet.
"Let me give you some money for the gloves," he said as he slid some bills out.
"No thanks," my dad replied as I handed the rider the gloves. "They're old and not worth anything anyway."
The biker smiled. "Thanks a lot." He pulled on the old gloves and then he unzipped his jacket. I watched as my father handed him the catalogue and the biker slipped it inside his coat. He jostled his jacket around to get the catalogue sitting high and centered under his coat and zipped it up. I remember nodding my head at the time, finally making sense of why my dad had given him the catalogue. It would keep him bit warmer. After wishing the biker well, my father and I left him warming up his bike.
Two weeks later, the biker came to our home and returned my father's gloves. He had found our address on the catalogue. Neither my father nor the biker seemed to think that my father stopping at the side of the road for a stranger and giving him a pair of gloves, and that stranger making sure that the gloves were returned, were events at all out of the ordinary for people who rode motorcycles. For me, it was another subtle lesson.
It was spring the next year when I was sitting high on my throne, watching the farm fields slip by when I saw two bikes coming towards us. As they rumbled past, both my father and I waved, but the other bikers kept their sunglasses locked straight ahead and did not acknowledge us. I remember thinking that they must have seen us because our waves were too obvious to miss. Why hadn't they waved back? I thought all bikers waved to one another.
I patted my father on his shoulder and yelled, "How come they didn't wave to us?"
"Don't know. Sometimes they don't."
I remember feeling very puzzled. Why wouldn't someone wave back?
Later that summer, I turned 12 and learned how to ride a bike with a clutch.
I spent many afternoons on a country laneway beside our home, kicking and kicking to start my father's '55 BSA. When it would finally sputter to a start, my concentration would grow to a sharp focus as I tried to let out the clutch slowly while marrying it with just enough throttle to bring me to a smooth takeoff. More often, I lurched and stumbled forward while trying to keep the front wheel straight and remember to pick my feet up. A few feet farther down the lane, I would sigh and begin kicking again.
A couple of years later, my older brother began road racing, and I became a racetrack rat. We spent many weekends wandering to several tracks in Ontario-Harewood, Mosport and eventually Shannonville. These were the early years of two-stroke domination, of Kawasaki green and 750 two-stroke triples, of Yvon Duhamel's cat-and-mouse games and the artistry of Steve Baker.
Eventually, I started to pursue interests other than the race track. I got my motorcycle license and began wandering the back roads on my own. I found myself stopping along side roads if I saw a rider sitting alone, just checking to see if I could be of help. And I continued to wave to each biker I saw.
But I remained confused as to why some riders never waved back. It left me with almost a feeling of rejection, as if I were reaching to shake someone's hand but they kept their arm hanging by their side.
I began to canvass my friends about waving. I talked with people I met at bike events, asking what they thought. Most of the riders told me they waved to other motorcyclists and often initiated the friendly air handshake as they passed one another.
I did meet some riders, though, who told me that they did not wave to other riders because they felt that they were different from other bikers. They felt that they were "a breed apart." One guy told me in colourful language that he did not "wave to no wusses.'' He went on to say that his kind of bikers were tough, independent, and they did not require or want the help of anyone, whether they rode a bike or not.
I suspected that there were some people who bought a bike because they wanted to purchase an image of being tougher, more independent, a not-putting-up-with-anyone's-crap kind of person, but I did not think that this was typical of most riders.
People buy bikes for different reasons. Some will be quick to tell you what make it is, how much they paid for it, or how fast it will go. Brand loyalty is going to be strong for some people whether they have a Harley, Ford, Sony, Nike or whatever. Some people want to buy an image and try to purchase another person's perception of them. But it can't be done. They hope that it can, but it can't.
Still, there is a group of people who ride bikes who truly are a "breed apart." They appreciate both the engineering and the artistry in the machines they ride. Their bikes become part of who they are and how they define themselves to themselves alone.
They don't care what other people think. They don't care if anyone knows how much they paid for their bike or how fast it will go. The bike means something to them that nothing else does. They ride for themselves and not for anyone else. They don't care whether anyone knows they have a bike. They may not be able to find words to describe what it means to ride, but they still know. They might not be able to explain what it means to feel the smooth acceleration and the strength beneath them. But they understand.
These are the riders who park their bikes, begin to walk away and then stop. They turn and took back. They see something when they look at their bikes that you might not. Something more complex, something that is almost secret, sensed rather than known. They see their passion. They see a part of themselves.
These are the riders who understand why they wave to other motorcyclists. They savour the wave. It symbolizes the connection between riders, and if they saw you and your bike on the side of the road, they would stop to help and might not ask your name. They understand what you are up against every time you take your bike on the road-the drivers that do not see you, the ones that cut you off or tailgate you, the potholes that hide in wait. The rain. The cold.
I have been shivering and sweating on a bike for more than 40 years. Most of the riders that pass give me a supportive wave. I love it when I see a younger rider on a "crotch rocket" scream past me and wave. New riders carrying on traditions.
And I will continue in my attempts to get every biker just a little closer to one another with a simple wave of my gloved clutch hand. And if they do not wave back when I extend my hand into the breeze as I pass them, I will smile a little more. They may be a little mistaken about just who is a "breed apart."
DEATH BY GROCERY BAG
How's this for a sphincter tightener?
I'm on loop 635E near US 75N in Dallas this morning, traffic moving at
near a major interchange, so lots of cagers lane-changing and braking at the
last minute. I and my trusty ST1100 are cruising comfortably, aware of all
dangers, looking out for surprises, alert and ready. And then I was
confronted by something that no MSF, AMA or rider's course could adequately
predict. You know those plastic grocery bags? Ever seen one being blown
around in traffic? I saw one a couple of lanes away. Didn't pay it much
heed (why should I?). And in less than a second, it was caught by the draft
of three vehicles in precisely the perfect way to toss it into my path where
it wrapped around my helmet like an octopus around a meal! Just as I was
exiting 635E to 75N.
So here's my predicament: completely blind on a motorcycle in traffic
decelerating through 45mph in a decreasing radius blind left turn on rough
pavement with slowing traffic in front, traffic to the side, traffic to the
rear, and a guardrail/embankment on the left. The good news - it wasn't
For an instant, I'm dumbfounded because I've NEVER been in any predicament
remotely resembling this one. I'll carry the mental snap shot of the moment
before the bag got me for the rest of my life, I'll bet. White Saturn about
1 sec in front (braking), Haverty's delivery truck to my right front, red
Cadillac Fleetwood immediately to my right, tractor trailer hauling culverts
on a flat bed to my rear, concrete embankment and mangled guard rail to my
left. And then, instantly, my world is a pale "Tom Thumb" on translucent
What do you do?
First reaction - relax throttle while reaching quickly with the left hand
remove bag (try turning Bible pages with touring gloves for full effect). I
couldn't feel the bag, much less grab it. Next, wipe my glove across my
helmet from side-to-side to move the bag... that doesn't work either - the
wind has got this bag glued to my helmet. Perhaps a full second has elapsed
now (probably a lot less, but time does funny things when you're in the
barrel) and I hear my first horn - the Cadillac to my right. I don't know
if he's honking at me, the truck ahead or the sun above. I assume me
because I'm probably swinging wide through the turn. So I pull the right
bar back to lean more (left hand still flailing at the helmet) and start
rear braking (right hand fully occupied steering). But there's a guard rail
over here somewhere and at this speed, it'll mangle my leg beyond repair.
So I tuck my knees in as hard as I can. Back to the helmet. I'm clawing at
the bag now, but it won't move at all and I can't see at all. That Saturn
ahead was braking, wasn't it? And this turn is getting sharper, I know, but
I have no idea where I am in the turn or where I'm headed? All this and
And then the tractor trailer behind me lets loose with airhorns and
airbrakes. Situation critical.
I don't remember consciously thinking of this - it was probably
desperation - but I jammed my thumb under the visor and ripped it up as hard
as I could. (Aside: A quick thank you to the Arai Corporation for making
the Signet/e visor removable by simply lifting up and popping out). The
visor popped out of the left side of the helmet and I was momentarily given
about 2 inches of clear sight - enough to see the guard rail and the
nearly-stopped Saturn in my path. I braked hard (stalling the engine in 4th
gear - remember, left hand occupied), sliding the rear a bit, ending up
neatly parked between the Saturn's rear fender (maybe a foot to spare) and
the guard rail. A foot or more, and I'd have been in the marbles. I don't
really want to think of how nasty that step off would've been. Immediately,
the shopping bag floatedly lazily from my visor to the ground. The tractor
stopped about 4 feet from my tail light. After a couple of seconds to
reorient myself to the planet (and extract the Corbin from my rectum), I
jammed the left side of the visor into the helmet enough so it wouldn't
flap, started up and headed off. Got the shakes about 1/2 mile down the
So here I sit, some hours later, replaying the thing in my mind, shaking
head in disbelief, staring at my left thumbnail neatly folded back to the
quick. There is absolutely NO way to have predicted that and, despite 25
years of riding experience (13 on the street), NOTHING that would have
adequately prepared me for it. And in a million years, it'll never happen
again. Anyone else have something this weird that almost killed you?
Moral(s) of the story. Ride ready. Expect anything. Survive
the next guy.
I knew I had more detailed instructions saved somewhere....
Rav T. <ravman_22@NOSPAMyahoo.com> wrote in message
> Hey all.... I was just looking into getting the
> rims on my car polished...They are made of aluminum
> so it would be the same as the guys who polish
> their frames... I was wondering if anybody knew
> of any good websites...or had any tips or tricks
> to polishing aluminum to a nice shiny shine :)
> Network Associates Certified Professional
> Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Polishing your Bike Frame
Polishing your bike can be easy if you follow the correct steps to make it simple for yourself. I will detail the steps and equipment needed to polish your frame and swingarm. I will also give you a list of materials needed to complete the job as well as a few places to purchase these items. Good luck with your project.
1. You will need a buffer. I recommend a Sears/Craftsman 6in. Sander/Polisher model 91052.
This is a very inexpensive buffer. The buffing process can be rather harsh on a buffer so I don't recommend using a $200 Porter Cable. The Sears buffer is only $50 and does the job very well.
2. Spiral Sewn Buffs
3. Loose Section Buff
4. Emery Compound
5. Tripoli Compound
6. White Rouge
7. Buff Rake
8. Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner
9. Ear Plugs and Safety Glasses
10. Mothers Mag and Aluminum Wheel Polish
We are now ready to get started on our polishing. The first thing we need to do is to remove any body panels that we do not want to get broken, screwed up, or polished. I removed everything from my bike including the rear subframe. I did, however, leave the swingarm on the bike when I polished it. You can remove it if you like. I will not make a difference. The next thing that we need to do is to mask off everything that will not be removed from the bike. We do not want to get any overspray onto the remaining parts of the bike. I just used masking tape and newspaper. I suggest putting several layers of newspaper so that the oven cleaner does not soak through.
Now that our work area is clear, we are now ready to start stripping the anodized finish off of the work area. I highly recommend wearing safety glasses from here on. Start by spraying the oven cleaner on the work area. Try to spray close to the area as to prevent over wetting your newspaper. Let the oven cleaner sit on there for about 20-30 minutes. Wipe off the oven cleaner with a wet sponge. Now reapply a coat of oven cleaner to the work area. Now the work area should start to turn black. Once it has turned black, you can wipe off the oven cleaner. Check to make sure that all of the work area is black. If there are spots, then you need to reapply the oven cleaner to those areas to get the anodizing all of the way off. The areas that still have an anodized finish will not polish.
Now that our work area is free of any anodized finish, we are ready to start polishing. Install a spiral sewn buff onto you buffer. I had to use two washers on the bottom of the buff to be able to crank the buff on really tight to the buffer. You will not want the buff to spin on the shaft of the buffer. I also recommend leaving the handle off of the buffer as this will just get in your way. We will start with the Emory compound first. This is a rather abrasive compound. We will apply this to the buff. I recommend putting in earplugs now as the buffing process is quite loud. Turn the buffer on and lock it in at the fast speed. Now take the Emory compound and apply it to the buff. By holding it against the surface of the buff, it will start to melt onto the buff. We can now start buffing. Hold the buff against the surface of the work area. Use a little pressure, but not too much as we want the buff and compound to do the work. You will start to see the black disappear from the work surface. You are actually starting to buff the work material now. You will begin to see results in no time at all. I suggest moving back and forth in a slow even motion so you do not heat the metal too much and cause imperfections in the final look. If you are leaving a residue of compound on the work area then you are using too much compound. Be sure to rake your buffs every few minutes to keep them clean. Once the buffs have filled with metal, they will buff very slowly and will be gray and hard. It is time to replace the buff at that time. Continue buffing all of the surfaces until they are smooth and appear polished. Even though the work area will appear polished, it will not be as appealing in the sunlight as it will if you finish the process.
The second step is very similar to the first step except for the compound. We will now need to switch to the Tripoli compound. This is a less abrasive compound as the first and this process should not take near as long. Follow the steps as before, once again letting the buff do the work. This will help to remove most of the scratches that the first step has left in the metal. Your work area should now really start to luster. We are very close to finishing the project. The next step is to clean any of the compounds that may have built up from the buffing process. I recommend using Mothers to clean this residue off. We do not want any residue built up that can scratch the surface again.
The last step is to remove all of the fine scratches from the work surface. This process is the easiest, but the compound is the hardest to use. We will use the loose sewn buff and the White Rouge. The hard part is the fact that we are using a loose sewn buff so it is hard to get the compound onto the buff. Once it is on though, you will just lightly apply this to the work surface. This will remove any final scratches left by the first couple of steps.
You will be able to keep your work looking nice by cleaning it with the Mothers. This process does not have to be done all of the time. The finish will be quite resilient once the polishing is done.
Check out a picture of my polished frame and swingarm
Here are the manfacturers, part numbers, and prices for the buffs and compounds. The rest of the items can be purchased at various local stores. The phone numbers can be found online at each of the manfacturers homepages.
ProductPart #--------------PricePart #----------------Price
Spiral Sewn Buffs2026---------------$5.99SSCW65------------$5.00
Loose Section Buff2046---------------$5.99LCW65-------------$5.00
White Rouge3005---------------$5.99WBC7 --------------$7.00
Kcorea1 <email@example.com> wrote:
: Does anyone have suggestions for getting bug splats off of my jacket?(other
: than going to the dry cleaners or getting a windscreen). Thanks, Kevin O.
Saddle soap, followed by neatsfoot oil. There's also this stuff
called... oops.. Plexus or something like that. Someone'll know....
I was about to sit down a add me 2 cents. Then I read your letter and realized
couldn't make half as much sense as you put into it.
Charles Statman wrote:
> Oh my gosh! You all make me want to freaking VOMIT!
> Let me start by saying, yes, in my long career as a motorcyclist, I have
> crashed, at speed, wearing:
> A) No helmet
> B) Bell Shortie
> C) Shoei X9 Air Full Faced Helmet.
> And I am still alive.
> And I did not cost tax payers a dang cent.
> Now I wear a helmet every time I ride. By choice. I have heard the SOUND a
> helmet makes when smacking the street. Helmets are a GOOD Idea.
> BUT I also live in the United States of America. A wonderful country founded
> on the idea of freedom from government control.
> Too many citizens are too eager to allow the government to "help make our
> world a safer place" by relenquishing our personal freedom. Sure, helmets
> are safe, lets make it a law! Seatbelts are safe, lets make it a law! Not
> riding motorcycles is safe, lets make it a law. Staying in our home is safe,
> let's make it a law
> Where do we stop? where do we draw the line? Where do we, as Americans
> stand up and say "I am not a moron, let me make my own choices?"
> I have heard all your piss ant arguments, save them. I don't care and I don't
> want to hear them. What I want is for each of you who reads this to THINK!
> Think about your freedom, and think about how much you trust the government.
> Hell, they can't even keep the lights on in California! Think about where
> you will take a stand and say "STOP! this is about MY Freedom. Not the
> insurance lobby! Not the "saftey industry" ME! "
> Regulation is NOT the answer. Education is! Take all the wasted helmet law
> enforcement dollars, and put it into more MSF classes. Put it into more
> driver education programs. Stop fighting helmets, and start fighting to
> Educate car drivers about motorcycles. We are more fuel efficient, we are
> enviromentally better, we take up less space, we are fun.
> In Texas we fought hard to repeal the helmet law. Did we say "oh, any fool
> can ride around without a helmet?" NO We made very specific provisions:
> You are about the age of 18
> You have completed the MSF class
> You carry a personal insurance policy.
> This way, educated, financially responsible adults can make free decisions
> about their lives.
> Hmm. what an idea!
> And if you don't like it, crawl into your couch, and sit quietly in your
> house, and try really hard to be as safe as you can, cause pretty soon, the
> government WILL find something you do that is not safe, and take that away
> > Guess what, helmets are no silver bullet. Wearing a helmet decreases
> >> Like it matters at this point......
> >>> 75% of all bike accidents are the fault of the other driver.
> >>>> want to look cool or thumb their nose at the "safety Nazis".
> >>>>> We can now expound upon the virtues of stricter helmet laws and banning
> them dangerous murdercycles.