Motorcycle Safety – Respect and Skin in the Game

I don’t remember much, it was almost 40 years ago. My first thought when I regained my senses was to find the piece of the bike which had the key in it – didn’t want somebody stealing it. Obviously, I was still rattled a bit. That was the last ride for that Honda CB 450.

I remember the dog that shot out of nowhere as I rode home, I may have been coming from high school. It came running out of a cow field and right into the bike. Almost went down, but found myself riding along the sandy shoulder of the road. Hardly suited to off-road riding, I was rolling on the throttle to keep the front wheel of that heavy Honda from washing out in the soft sand, picking up speed.

I remember thinking I was doing pretty good on this bike in those conditions, heck, I’d saved it, but making the coming curve meant I needed to be back on the pavement.  I picked my spot only to find there was a deep gully where so many cars had run wide and a mound of patch built up in a futile attempt to fill it.

I remember the loud bang as the front wheel hit the asphalt.

I remember looking straight down at the pavement as the now vertical bike landed on the front wheel and for an instant it seemed to balance and roll along in control. Then the bars were jerked violently from my hands as the front end buckled, and it was slow motion silence as I floated through the air doing a somersault.

I remember thinking “This is going to be a bad one”.

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How to Avoid Skinning Yourself Alive – Brittany Morrow from Brittany Morrow on Vimeo.
Direct link – http://vimeo.com/22897515

Looking at my helmet my head probably contacted first. Considering my injuries, I then laid out on my back and slid down the road and into the pasture. The bike probably took out the barbed-wire fence just before I went through it, no deep cuts or lacerations.

I remember walking along the road thumbing for a ride. I knew there was a fire station nearby, if I could get there they could help me.

I remember the cars slowing down, I looked fine from the front, then taking off when they saw the bloody mess where all the skin had been taken off my back. The light cotton shirt and blue jeans I was wearing in the summer heat of Florida might as well have been paper. No protection at all. Last time I would ever ride without at least a jacket.

I spent the next few weeks lying face down on the fold-out couch as my wounds healed. Most of that was in a codeine stupor. Seems every joint in my body had donated some flesh. A few scars remain, but the years have faded most of them. There would be more to come before I learned the value of leather and then textile gear.

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Direct link – http://youtu.be/Uz748Q4tkGo

I don’t often tell this tale. There are others. So why bring it up?

I spent a few hours this weekend at a rally. Don’t really like doing events, it can be pretty boring. You end up doing a lot of people watching.

Many of the riders were from out-of-state, groups from Georgia, Florida. Standard biker attire, blue jeans and a t-shirt. Some wore shorts. Slip on shoes. Many of the passengers wore only jeans and a tank top. Some pretty ladies. Not even wearing gloves. The smallest skid lids that would keep you from getting pulled over.

I went through my recent photos. All too common attire. Photos of riders on some of the most challenging roads they will ever see, for the first time. You can often see the look on their faces that tell the ride is demanding something from them.

I watched Daryl’s (Killboy.com) recent 12 minute video from the Dragon. Easy to spot the bare flesh rolling by, particularly the passengers, on one of the most challenging and dangerous motorcycle rides in the world.

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WAKE UP PEOPLE. Riding in the mountains is some serious sh*t. RESPECT IT.

Go off the road up here and road rash will probably be the best of outcomes. We’ve got rocks and trees right up to the roadside. You’ll probably be plunging over a steep hillside or worse yet a rocky cliff. It takes hours to get a rope team out to haul your inured body up to the ambulance.  Show some freakin’ respect for it.

Word to you “easy riders”watch the video – You know who you are. Low and slow and always in control. Too hot to wear gear. I like the feel of the wind and the sun, yadda, yadda, gonna work on my tan. Gotta look the part with the right biker attire – blue jeans, your biker t-shirt, the tiniest helmet you are forced to wear – I never planned any of the motorcycle accidents I’ve had. Most happened relatively close to home. Just a short ride, a commute, running to the store, work, school, going to hang out with my buds,  etc. Almost all have been under 30 mph. Just riding along minding my own business, taking it easy, la-la-la. If there was skin exposed, it was skin in the game, skin lost.


Direct link – http://youtu.be/EhJ74f-MGak

PS – I’m not just posting this  for you flatlanders – it’s pretty common up here as well. As if that big fat bike is going to protect you. Gotta look the part, dress like everyone else, feel the freedom! WAKE UP. Think about all those times you’re rounding a curve and there’s a car half in your lane coming at you. All those times some old geezer pulls out at 10 mph in front of you. It’s always the worst of curves where the cars slip off the inside edge and kick gravel and rocks onto the road. You KNOW it happens. You KNOW what I’m talking about.

Forget the blue jeans. Useless. Repeated personal experience. You’ve got 2 choices – textile or leather. If you can get some armor in there it will help keep bones from breaking. Respect the ride. If you don’t need it, at least respect your rider and get her the right gear. She’s trusting in you, do her right.

If there is skin exposed, it is skin in the game, a game you are forced to play every ride. 

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

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– 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

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. Isn’t it time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely? It can transform your mountain riding experience.  Total Rider Tech

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Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina – The Rattler Motorcycle Map

Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina – The Rattler Motorcycle Map

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209, a.k.a. "The Rattler".

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209, a.k.a. "The Rattler". Do it as an out-and-back or make a nice loop ride - one of many ways to go on this great biker road

The Rattler Motorcycle Ride is one of the great motorcycle rides in North Carolina and is one to include in your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle adventure.

So you already know about the great motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains, maybe you’ve made a motorcycle tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

You’ve already tasted the Tail of the Dragon (if it didn’t take a bite out of you), and probably enjoyed the sweet curves of the Cherohala Skyway.

By now you realize there must be a ton of biker roads out there“So, WHAT’S NEXT?”

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209, a.k.a. "The Rattler" This is some of the best motorcycle riding you'll find in the world. These riders are looping back to NC 209 on NC 63.This is some of the best motorcycle riding you'll find in the world. These riders are looping back to NC 209 on NC 63.

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209, a.k.a. "The Rattler" - This is some of the best motorcycle riding you'll find in the world. These riders are looping back to NC 209 on NC 63.

Not one, but two motorcycle rides immediately spring to mind, so I flipped a coin. The Rattler won.

For years, this great motorcycle ride was well known amongst locals (and those in-the-know) as “209” or “Hot Springs”. It’s one of the default, always-good motorcycle rides that you can do over and over again and enjoy it every time. A few years back, it got named “The Rattler“. I don’t know who started that, but it stuck, and you can buy T-shirts along the route – I guess it’s official.

The Rattler motorcycle ride takes you on a 30+ mile jaunt through the mountains and valleys north of Maggie Valley and Waynesville to the tiny town of Hot Springs near the Tennessee border.

Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina - The Rattler

Great Motorcycle Rides North Carolina - The Rattler; Nice valley rides coursing along rushing streams, climbs over several mountain passes, and tight-tight twists as you approach Hot Springs

It’s a great “lunch ride” or “afternoon spin” as it only takes an hour or less to ride the twisty two lane. It’s also a “warm up” for those motorcycle touring fans who really know the area.

One you get to Hot Springs, you are surrounded with good motorcycle roads to choose from if you know where they hide.

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209 The Rattler

Great Motorcycle Rides in North Carolina - NC 209 The Rattler - pastoral views of mountain farms and creeks, winding passes through forests, and some of the most challenging tarmac you'll ride wait for you in North Carolina on The Ratterl

Ride Guide –
36 miles to Hot Springs – About 1 hour ride to hot springs.
98 miles to do loop ride shown – 1/2 day ride.

Route: 

Start: Exit 104 on Highway US 74. Lowes store at this exit. Pass under US 74. Follow NC 209 north.

3.7 mi Cross I-40 at Exit 24. It’s an easy ride through the valleys for a few miles.

11.9 mi Turn Right onto Betsy’s Creek Road to continue on NC 209. Ferguson’s store / gas marks this corner. Lots of signs.

22 mi Junction NC 63. Note and pass through. – Store and gas at this junction. Popular spot for a break, loop returns here.

36.6 mi NC 209 ends at Hot Springs. Return as you came or continue on loop ride.

To continue on loop ride – 

Pass through Hot Springs. Cross the French Broad River and follow US 25 for 5 miles. US 25 will reach a stop sign.

41.7 mi Turn right @ stop sign to continue on US 25 / 70 towards Asheville.

50.9 mi Veer right into Marshall on Main Street. Follow into town.

61.6 mi Turn right at the traffic light in the center of Marshall and cross the bridge over the French Broad River.

You are now on Bailey Branch Rd. It will become Meadows Town Road. Meadows Town Road ends in 10 miles at NC 63.

71.5 mi Turn Right @ stop sign and follow NC 63 to return to the mid point of NC 209.

85.5 mi Turn left @ stop sign onto NC 209 and follow back to Junaluska to finish the ride.

98.4 mi End of ride

Here’s a 10 minute video that takes you through the ride step-by-step

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

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– 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

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. Isn’t it time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely? It can transform your mountain riding experience.  Total Rider Tech

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Great Motorcycle Ride Rivals the Tail of the Dragon

You hear a lot of folks say “I know of roads better than the Tail of the Dragon, but I, like you, am often doubtful of such claims.

The Dragon at Deals Gap is pretty much the benchmark motorcycle ride to measure and compare to. There are darned good reasons the Tail of the Dragon is legendary. But what about those other roads?

Photo - Start of ride on south end

This abandoned gas station/store on Banner Elk Highway (SR 194) alerts you to the start of the ride. The road is just beyond it.

Here’s one I really enjoy, Beech Mountain / Flat Springs Road. I won’t claim it’s better than the Dragon, but it ranks right up there.

The pavement is not as good in places. There are connecting roads and driveways so you’ve got to ride alert, watch for gravel and sand at those connections and in tight turns. There are no motorcycle resorts at either end. Still, Beech Mountain Road is an excellent, challenging , and fun ride.

Photo - view from road

View of what I think is Roan Mountain. It's not the rare views that make Beech Mountain / Flat Springs Roads good, it's the ride.

This great motorcycle ride is labeled as Beech Mountain Road on the south side of Beech Mountain, then becomes Flat Springs Road once you start descending the north side of the mountain.

Grades are steeper than the Dragon but generally mild. It’s a bit longer. Best of all it’s a road I use to bypass traffic and avoid going through large towns and the city of Boone.

I use it often when I’m headed up to Tennessee and Virginia to ride The Snake and the great roads nearby, and it’s also in the neighborhood of Roan Mountain and the Murder Mountain Ride. It’s a good one to know about and add to your list of great back roads.

Image - Map shows location of Beech Mountain Road

Beech Mountain / Flat Springs Road help you avoid all the traffic to the east.

So how does it stack up?

I was going through my video files one day and found two that were nearly identical. Same camera angle. Same bike. A complete ride through both roads. So I matched them up side by side to see how the roads compare in a contest. The outcome was surprising!

 

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

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Learn Total Control

– 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

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. It’s time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely, it will change your mountain riding experience. It worked so well for me I became an instructor! Total Rider Tech

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Great Motorcycle Rides Easy to Find Online

Great Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rides discussed live online @ Map Chat

I’ve kicked off a new series of live online interactive webinars discussing the best motorcycle rides in the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains called Map Chat.

First Tuesday of each month at 8 PM eastern time, join me as I review one of my America Rides Motorcycle ride maps in detail.

Get the schedule and links to the webinars at http://americaridesmaps.com/map chat.html

Here’s a 5 min edited version of the first of the Map Chat series where we discussed Map #1 – Great Rides Near the Start of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

The full (40 minute) version of the webinar is posted online at: http://youtu.be/8g4GatVrUNc

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

Total Rider Tech Logo

Learn Total Control

– 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

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. It’s time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely, it will change your mountain riding experience. It worked so well for me I became an instructor! Total Rider Tech

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image-virigina-motorcycle-ride-map

#1 Great Rides near the Start of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

See  / purchase the map discussed – Map #1 Great Rides Near the Start of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia 
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Ride the Dragon Like a Girl!

A short video of a woman motorcycle rider showing the boys how to ride the Dragon like a girl.

Ride The Dragon Like a Girl!

Location: North Carolina / Tennessee border at Deals Gap

Chasing a Lady Dragon Slayer on the Tail of the Dragon. This girl could ride. Starts at the Calderwood Dam overlook at the Tennessee end.

http://youtu.be/XEG-AvXjOg8

I’ve been updating the Motorcycle Ride Videos Page here at Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rider. I was out at the Dragon at Deals Gap this week when I met this young lady Dragon Slayer who took us on a run through the curves. It was a lot of fun and this girl can ride!

Lots more motorcycle ride videos in the works, check back!

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed, 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 Riders Enjoying Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color

This year, I spent the peak of the leaf season riding my motorcycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I photographed the scenery and captured other riders on their motorcycle vacation as they roared past. I selected some of the better ones and a few video clips to share memories with those of you who made it this year and to show those of you who are coming next what they’ve missed out on.

Watch on YouTube http://youtu.be/fQEqdbrt1fI

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

Total Rider Tech Logo

Learn Total Control

– 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

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. It’s time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely, it will change your mountain riding experience. It worked so well for me I became an instructor! Total Rider Tech

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Motorcycle Friendly Places – Waynesville, NC

Got to plug my home town. There’s also a reason I live here – the best motorcycle riding in the world is in my back yard. Shot this video early this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7jOE6EgZbQ

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

Total Rider Tech Logo

Learn Total Control

– 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

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. It’s time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely, it will change your mountain riding experience. It worked so well for me I became an instructor! Total Rider Tech

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You’ll find NC 215 and some of the best motorcycle rides in this outstanding area along with a guide to more than a dozen roadside waterfalls on America Rides Maps “The Best Motorcycle Rides EAST of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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The Blue Ridge Parkway – Old World Craftsmanship Endures

Photo--Blue-Ridge-Parkway-Sign

Blue Ridge Parkway - History preserved

As you make that Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle ride this year you will encounter one major detour near Doughton Park just south of the Virginia border in North Carolina. Within this stretch of road, the beautifully crafted stone walls which line the shoulders of the Blue Ridge Parkway are being restored and foundations added to insure they endure long into the future.  Originally built by master stone masons brought from Europe, descendants of the original craftsmen now labor to re-craft the work done by their grandfathers.  This video shows the care being taken to preserve the historic legacy of the national park insuring each stone is returned to its original position.

While the park service has routed traffic north on a detour which takes you through Sparta, I’ve identified another more challenging and scenic detour route that will take you on a ride that gets you away from all the other traffic and takes you to sights those others miss seeing. This video shows you the details of what I believe is a better detour route for motorcycle travelers –

Use this link to download a map of this detour route you can print at home and take with you on your journey. goo.gl/pCRdP

This section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is detailed on America Rides Maps Map #3 – North Carolina / Virginia Border Rides, part of the 6 map Blue Ridge Parkway set.

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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 the Blue Ridge Parkway – Peaks of Otter Lodge

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-restaurant

The Lodge and Restaurant at Peaks of Otter

The Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant located at milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers the motorcycle traveler a serene and beautiful setting in the Virginia mountains –

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-across-lake

The setting is serene and relaxing

Jackie and I paid our first Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle touring visit to the Peaks of Otter Lodge this past weekend and give it a good, though not outstanding recommendation. In some ways it outshines the other Blue Ridge Parkway lodges we’re familiar with, in others it falls just a little short.

Photo-view-from-room-at-Peaks-of-Otter-Lodge

View from our room

Like the other Blue Ridge Parkway lodges, it immerses you in a remote and isolated setting. The nearest town is Bedford, less than 10 miles distant. The city of Roanoke is 25 miles further south on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The climb to reach the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most beautiful stretches of heavy woodlands in the Jefferson National Forest with glimpses of the surrounding mountains, the piedmont to the east, and the Shenandoah Valley to the west from the occasional overlooks.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-lobby

The Lodge lobby is nice

There is a Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center nearby, a campground, hiking trails, historic sights, and a picnic area. Set on a  small lake in the bowl between two of the three peaks that give the area it’s name, the views on every horizon are stunning and often mirrored in the still waters of the alpine pond. A gentle trail offers a 20 minute walk around the lake to admire the hollow from all perspectives.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-bar

Extra points for having a nice bar

The Lodge does stand above the other parkway inns in it’s rich and welcoming appearance. The gift shop is attractive, and the bar is such a welcome touch after a hot days ride. The restaurant overlooks the lake with captivating, at times enchanting views of the natural panorama. Unfortunately the restaurant is where the Peaks of Otter Lodge fell short for us.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-Dining-view

Captivating views from the dining room

The food does not hold a candle to the that served at the Pisgah Inn, the Blue ridge Parkway Lodge south of Asheville, NC. Service was great, pleasant and attentive wait staff insured we got what we needed. The setting is outstanding with the views but the musak was some sad mix of nursing home dirge and “One Flew Over the Kukoo’s Nest” which distracted from the atmosphere. A place this nice deserves a chef, not a cook and a new set of CD’s for the player – please throw the Victrola in the deep part of the lake.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-lodging

Rooms are clean and comfortable

The facilities are well maintained and spotlessly clean. The grounds were  manicured with precision and care. The rooms were comfortable as were the beds, and quiet. It makes for a peaceful and relaxing stay.

Overall, a stay at the Peaks of Otter Lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway is welcoming and relaxing on your motorcycle vacation. Taking the dining experience to the next level would make it outstanding.

ADD – I have one big request from the Park Service: It’s the 21st century, how about a little catch up? I don’t mind not having TV, it makes the rooms quiet and draws you out of them to embrace the natural experience and beauty. Cell service comes and goes with the breeze, and the wind rarely blows – you’ll be chucking quarters into the pay phone to reach the rest of civilization. Isn’t it time to embrace our new reality and offer a wireless network?

Other Reviews from Trip Advisor

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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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