Motorcycle gear review – Liberty Sport Motorcycle Sunglasses

I’ve really come to like these sunglasses a lot. They easily adapt for motorcycle riding and the inserts make a big difference. The lens quality is superb. I don’t leave the house without them anymore.

Liberty Sport – www.libertysport.com

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
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Video Camera Survives Drop from Speeding Motorcycle

When my GoPro video camera falls off my motorcycle I find it in pieces –


http://youtu.be/euOYb-hkhew

I’ve been shooting a lot of video from my motorcycle recently to prepare for the launch of a new program where you can get short videos about motorcycle riding in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains delivered via email. It’s pretty cool, I think you’ll like it a lot. It’s something you choose to sign up for, and you can cancel it at any time. There’s no spam or advertising, no sharing your name or info, it’s all private and secure.

I’ll be featuring motorcycle friendly places to stay (especially those that offer you a discount), sharing some of my favorite Smoky Mountain motorcycle rides, telling you about great motorcycle products I’ve tested (like my GoPro HD video cameras, Liberty Sport Motorcycle Sunglasses, etc.) and showing you different sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway to help you plan your motorcycle vacation travels and make the best use of your precious motorcycle riding time.

Image - Smoky Mountain Rider

Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rider - It's All Here

I’ve got 8 videos in the works now and plan to launch the Smoky Mountain Rider Motorcycle Video Ride Guide in about a week. (you can sign up for it now at www.smokymountainrider.com)

I’ll be doing a more thorough review of the GoPro Hero HD cameras in one of those videos, but if you want to know more about them now go to http://gopro.com/products/ . If you want to buy one, I urge you to get the motor sports package –  (not the helmet package), you’ll get more mounts for your bike.

I’m really excited about the Smoky Mountain Rider Motorcycle Video Ride Guide, I’ll be putting a lot of effort into bringing you the most useful info I can about motorcycle riding in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. Go ahead and sign up now.

PS – I sent this video to GoPro and they’re sending me the part I lost at NO CHARGE!  They’ve have always provided me great service.

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Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
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Electric Bike Kicks Some Gas Ass

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIMQ0c7JKIU

I don’t see an electric bike in my future – right now. Still, it’s with some pride that I’ve watched the development of this new technology and I am impressed that the cutting edge performance is appearing first in motorcycles – not cars. It was just a couple years ago electric motorcycles were little more than mopeds with a battery. Now, they are matching the performance of gas powered bikes and for the first time appearing on the podium at an honest race.

I picked this up from US Rider News and you can read more and see a couple more photos at http://usridernews.com/2011/01/24/electric-superbike-reaches-podium-finish/ .

 

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SportBikes4Hire.com – I Spend A Day With a Customer. What fun!

Wayne – had an absolute blast riding with you today. Your knowledge and these roads add up to a experience that should be had by all that like freespirited riding. I’m glad that I rented the Aprilla from Greg @SportBikes4hire.com and that he told me about you. I will tell all my riding buddies back in PA about my excellent experience and I highly recomend your maps or you as a tour guide or both. WOW I had fun. Thanks much  – Jim M.,Riegelsville,PA

Photo - logo on windscreen

SportBikes4Hire.com offers one of the best experiences you can find on a motorcycle.

When I first heard about SportBikes4hire.com I, and others, were skeptical. Turn loose someone you barely know one of these “crotch rockets” on some of the most challenging roads in the world?  It sounds like Julia Child’s favorite Halloween recipe for death, carnage, and mayhem.  Thoughts quickly conjure up grisly scenes and visions of bikes in pieces. After more than a year in operation, it turns at such is not the case. Quite the contrary, the clients of SportBikes4hire.com end up with the experience of a lifetime.

Photo - Sportbikes4hire

I met Jimmy and his rented Aprilla Mille in Brevard on a beautiful Smoky Mountain Saturday morning.

It all came about quite suddenly. Friday evening I got a call from Greg asking how one of his customers could get a hold of some of my maps. Evidently the guy had no clue about any of the local roads and needed help. He was making a short visit to family south of Asheville, saw the add for SportBikes4hire.com and couldn’t resist the opportunity. I asked Greg to give him my cell phone number so I could suggest some roads. Jimmy called me later that evening.

We talked for a little while, and I gave him a list of roads. As I ticked them off I kept thinking to myself, “I can lead him to the major roads, but he’s never going to find the real gems without getting hopelessly lost, and without knowing something about the roads he could quickly get in trouble.” While he’d have a GPS, it wouldn’t do the job and he’d end up missing out.

Photo - on the ride

Jimmy quickly adapted to the bike and the warmup ride went well.

I asked him to give me a call in the morning when he was ready to head out. Maybe, just maybe, I’d run down and bring him some maps. I even hinted I might ride along with him. I had my concerns. What if he was a bumbly and had no business on a bike like this on these roads? What if I took him out, pushed too hard, and he got hurt or worse? I needed to sleep on it.

Saturday morning was one of those early fall days in the Smoky Mountains that postcards feature. Still warm, skies blue and clear of morning fog that so often blankets the valleys, I was sipping coffee on the porch when the cell phone tweeted. What the heck. If nothing else I’d have a nice ride over and back to meet him and give him the maps if he didn’t size up. I threw on my gear and headed for the high ground.

Photo - Stopped in Rosman for the first break

By the time we reached the first break in Rosman, it was obvious Jimmy knew what he was doing. Time to bump it up.

We met in a shopping center parking lot in Brevard. Time for the quick assessment. He had the right gear – good. The bike, a 1000cc Aprilla Mille was impeccable and fitted with top equipment (save the GPS which had been zip tied on in a decent jury rig). Jimmy was used to riding a BMW K bike so he was accustomed to handling the power. He was honest and humble in describing his abilities and experience – all good. When I asked for next-of-kin contact info he didn’t flinch. And he’d admitted never ridden a full on sport bike. Let’s go.

Photo - out on the ride

Approaching the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoying the fresh pavement on the climb.

I led him out south of Brevard on some roads to let him get his bearings where I could watch in my mirrors to see how he was adapting. No problems. Turning south I bypassed one side road at the last minute thinking it was a bit much to throw at him this soon. We turned west and started on another great road that would start to put him to the test. He did well. Cautious where he needed to be, but willing and able to use the bike where he was comfortable. I stopped in Rosman to see how he was doing.

He was having fun and getting comfortable with the bike. It was a good choice for these roads. I was having fun. Time to kick it up a notch.

Photo - shot from motorcycle while riding

Look Ma, no Hands! Pitching through the curves while snapping photos.

We spent another few hours zipping through some of my favorite roads, old and new, with a little bit of everything thrown in. Spanking fresh new asphalt, crumbly bumpy back roads, first gear hairpins and high speed sweepers, one lane bridges, a break on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Jimmy soaked it up and rode with a controlled enthusiasm that showed he was aware of his comfort zone yet able to enjoy what the bike had to offer.

Photo - motorcycles at Devil's Courthouse

We made only one brief visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a break at Devil's Courthouse. Everything else was on more challenging roads.

We were both smiling when I left him 30 miles or so from where we started with directions to follow US 276 back to our meeting place. It was a good day riding. I’d do it again. I hope he comes back.

Photo - tank with logo

The Aprilla is one of many choices. For today's ride, it was one of the best.

SportBikes4hire.com offers a great service. Fly in and they meet you at the airport. They’ll bring the bike to you all ready to go. It’s an experience that you’ll treasure and a chance to ride a great bike on the best of roads. When you consider all the time and expense of hauling or riding your bike here, it’s a superb option – heck you can make it a quick weekend trip. Find a cheap airfare and come on. Spending some time in the mountains and want a day to get away from the family and do something exhilarating? This is it.

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

 

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Cycle Sportz in Swannanoa, NC – Great Prices, Great Service, minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Photo - Cycle Sportz Motorcycle Shop

Cycle Sportz Motorcycle Shop in Swannanoa, NC - just a few minutes east of Asheville

The care and service of your motorcycle is all part of the relationship you have with it. For some, doing all the work themselves is it’s own reward. As for me, I’d rather be riding, and have neither the time, location, nor the proper tools to do the job efficiently. There are some things that I only trust to the dealer. If they’re going into the engine, I want somebody who does the same job day in and day out, who knows every little foible and trick specific to my particular motorcycle year and model. And the little things, like changing oil and filters, lubrication and adjustments, I prefer to do my self. For the rest, I’ve found a place that does the job well and inexpensively – Cycle Sportz in Swannanoa.

Photo - gear and supplies at Cycle Sportz

One section of the storefront at Cycle Sportz. They have a good selection of gear and supplies. What they don't have on hand can be gotten quickly.

I was introduced to Cycle Sportz by Mark Cresswell, one of the promoters of the Asheville Bikefest, Sturgis, Laconia, Panama City, and other large rallies. Having owned a motorcycle shop for many years, he knows quality work and a good shop when he sees one. His recommendation was sound and now it’s my turn to pass it along to you.

Photo - the shop area at Cycle Sportz

I've never seen the shop when it wasn't spotless. Everything is neat and organized, the kind of place you can trust to do the job well.

I’ve used Cycle Sportz three or four times now so I can provide a reliable report. Don can be trusted. His prices are excellent. While you may find a tire online at a lower price, by the time you factor in shipping, mounting, and balancing, he’ll most likely beat it. The work is quick, they are ready for you when you show up, and I’ve always been permitted to observe and even ask questions.

Photo - my motorcycle getting serviced.

New front tire done. He knows his merchandise from experience and will help you find the best for your application.

As to Harley’s, there’s probably nothing I wouldn’t trust him to tackle. He’s built many customs. He’s also knowledgeable with BMW’s and there’s always one or two in the shop. You’ll also see a lot of custom sport bikes in these photos. Don and his staff are versatile and knowledgable.

Photo - installing my new chain

A fresh rear tire, new chain and sprockets going on. So shiny on my dirty bike.

In at 10, out by 11, and ready to go with everything clean and shiny once finished. I drive by several shops and my dealer just to have Don and team do my service.

Photo - wrapping up the job

Quality parts and a little bling. Now to scrub in those new tires on the way home. Happiness!

Cycle Sportz is located on Hwy 70 just a few miles east of Asheville. Exit I-40 at exit 55, then turn right at the traffic light. It’s just a few miles up the road. The nearest Blue Ridge Parkway exit is US 74 which is within sight of I-40. Go east to the next exit. It’s a handy place to know about if you need something while passing through on your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle vacation.  Put (828) 298-7888 in your cell phone just in case.

Quality work, great prices, and efficient service. Wayne recommends Cycle Sportz.

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

 

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Motorcycle Gear Review – Fieldsheer Mercury 2.0 Pants – I’m Liking Them in the Mountains

A sunny day, blue skies, balmy temps, what a great day for a spin on the motorcycle. We all revel in such opportunities, but when it comes to motorcycle vacation plans, your schedule does not always fall on those perfect days. All too often the weather is questionable, and with limited time you set off to make the most of it come what may.

Photo-rain-happens

Don't let a rain storm ruin your travels. With the right gear, you just keep on going.

I’ve given up on counting on the predictions. There are days when I must ride regardless. With most of my time spent in the Smoky Mountains, you can rarely trust a forecast or plan with certainty on what’s happening over the next hill or ridge top. Best to adapt the Boy Scout attitude of “Always be prepared”. Leathers and chaps have long been retired. Nor can I be burdened with always packing a decent rain suit. A good one is not only bulky but costly. You have to stop and put it on, stow it when wet, I can’t be bothered. I have embraced synthetics and come to value the gear produced by Fieldsheer.

Case in point, a situation I see repeated all too often. I got a call last week that some magazine writers from Florida were in town and wanted someone to show them some great rides. I knocked off for the day, and headed over to meet them. Who can’t use a little more publicity.  The storm clouds were gathering and there was obvious rain to the southwest. No problem, we’ll head for the blue skies to the northeast and skirt around it.

By the time we saddled up and got ready to leave, the first wave of rain had hit up high near the Blue Ridge Parkway where they were waiting. It was still sunny a few miles down the road and I knew we could pass through the shower and get ahead of the storm which would hang to the south. Dressed in blue jeans, T-shirts, and skid lids, they were not only saturated by the time we reached the bottom of the hill but couldn’t see where they were going with their open faced helmets. I lost them at the first gas station as they sought shelter. I circled back, and we waited for the shower to let up to return them to the motel. Their day was ruined. I headed out, rode for a bit, and returned home bone dry in my synthetic gear. How many have wasted their valuable motorcycle vacation time waiting in shelter or cutting things short when they become wet, cold, and miserable from a brief shower? Don’t let it happen to you, plan ahead and be prepared.

Photo-motorcycles-shelter-from-rain-at-gas-station

An hour wasted at a gas station that could have been better spent for proper gear.

I’m long acquainted with Fieldsheer motorcycle gear. It’s my everyday year-round riding apparel. My jacket, now 4 years old or more is still waterproof, and the ballistic cloth has survived going down at highway speeds without significant damage, the protective armor built in insuring I walk away from spills with little more than my ego impacted. After three years I’d done enough to my old pants to warrant a replacement. The occasional knee down and a spill or two had loosened the stitching in the crotch and I had a minor leak. Santa blessed me with a new pair of Mercury 2.0 pants, and after six months, I can give them a preliminary rating – stellar.

The quilted lining served me well through the winter. Comfortable and warm, it has been removed now that the summer heat is here. I really appreciate the small zipper controlled thigh vents that are easily opened while riding. Full side zippers insure that should the temps really climb, I can add even more ventilation. With repeated forays through some heavy downpours I can attest to their being waterproof. Sizing runs a bit large, though that probably contributes to comfort – plenty of room to move around without restriction. The velcro waist bands make for quick cinching when I make those trips into the weeds to commune with nature. The fly is so well gusseted as to be useless as an avenue for quick relief, but in exchange water tight.

photo-filedsheer-mercury-pants

Available in black or silver, Fieldsheer Mercury 2.0 pants are versatile and practically indestructible while offering comfort and function..

You can find FIELDSHEER MERCURY 2.0 PANTS online for under $150.00. They’ll serve my purpose for 95% of the riding I do, with a set of mesh pants as back up should I decide to head for more tropical climes (not likely). I no longer plan around weather, waste time parked under overpasses or sit out storms slurping endless cups of bitter truck stop coffee. They also come in silver, and womens versions.

Rain is temporary. Good gear endures and keeps you riding and should be part of your motorcycle touring kit. If that’s important to you, I highly recommend these pants.

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27f3Uq49PcU

Fieldsheer Site: http://www.fieldsheer.com/site2009/IE/product/mercurypant.htm

Other Reviews:

http://www.stromtrooper.com/showthread.php?t=27272

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/122_0901_fieldsheer_adventure_jacket_mercury_pants/index.html

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com

 

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