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This is Category: Norther Rider
Following are the News Items published under this Category.


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Norther Rider: Laughlin Revisited
Posted by: admin on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - 10:15 AM


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Norther Rider: Indian Road Hazards
Posted by: admin on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - 09:35 AM
It started out as a nice day with good weather and the Chief running like a top. The wife and kids borrowed my mom’s motor home and were following me. Our destination was the Ponoka Vintage Motorcycle Run. We left Killam all smiles. After a brief visit with a friend In Forestburg, we were o­n the road again, cruising at 65 to 70 mph. Having lost sight of the motor home for some time, I pulled of to the side of the road to wait for them. Twenty minutes later I headed back looking for them. Ten miles back was the motor home with o­ne blown tire o­n the rear and no jack to be found. We slowly drove the motor home back about 10 miles to Brad’s farm where we changed the tire and stopped for a cold refreshment. Back o­n the road again, Three hours and o­nly 25 miles from home (with no bar stops).Old bikes don’t get great fuel mileage and with the extra back and forth traveling from the previous troubles, well you guessed it! Out of fuel o­n the old Chief just 3 miles from Bashaw and o­n top of that a storm blowing in. After searching the motor home, all that we could come up with was a new garden hose. Not wanting to cut the hose to make a syphon hose, we used it as a towrope. We towed the Chief 3 miles to the gas station arriving just before the storm hit. I wish I had taken a picture. We parked the Chief behind the gas station and had a late supper in the motor home while we waited about an hour for the high winds and rain to let up.We were finally done with all our stops and back o­n the road again heading for our destination. About 5 miles out of Bashaw the charging system quit. When the headlight was put o­n the bike died. With out much choice I ran the bike with no headlight and we proceeded o­n. Power slowly died o­n the Chief and it died about 10 miles from Ponoka in a valley, in a rainstorm.Guess what? The tools that I put in the motor home last year weren’t there and cell phones don’t work in low spots. Having no luck in stopping passers by to borrow some tools, we moved the motor home to higher ground and called my friend Rod to bring out some tools, electrical wire and tape.Rod showed up well equipped with tools, wire, tape and beer. The initial attempts to fix the charging system did not work and we were getting wet so I reverted to plan “B”.From the motor home I took moms flashlight that uses 4 D batteries (1.5 volts X 4= 6 volts, the same as the Chief). Using the electrical tape, wire and batteries I made up a battery pack that would fit in my jacket, then I tied it into the bike battery. The bike came to life in a couple of kicks. I grabbed Rods flashlight, put it in my mouth as a headlight and hit the road. (As Marcel asked, NO I did not have a taillight and NO I would not have put a flashlight there if I had o­ne.) I now know that 4 slightly used flashlight batteries will power an Indian Chief about 10 miles before it dies but that was enough to get me to the run and 15 feet inside the gate.Saturday I put my battery o­n the charger for a few hours. I didn’t work o­n the charging system because I had a wedding to go to. I just left my Indian at the run. o­n Sunday my son Nick brought out the truck (I hate like Hell to load a bike, they were meant to be ridden). The Chief won its class at the show and then my son Nathan and I won the wiener bite o­n the chief. After the events I reluctantly loaded the Chief o­n the truck knowing that it wouldn’t make it home o­n the charge in the battery.Thinking my problems were done, I tied down the bike in the back of the truck. About then, Nathan’s friend David said, “ How come there is a wire sticking out of the rear tire o­n the Chief? I am now in the middle of repairing the flat rear tire o­n the Chief and then the charging system is next.
By Bill Felgate

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Norther Rider: October in Bow Valley
Posted by: admin on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - 01:08 AM
October in Bow Valley

The Bow Valley HOG Chapter had a busy month in October. As always, the Sunday brunches at Kane’s Harley Diner, which is followed by a ride, and Wednesday night stomps at Canada’s #1 honky-tonk, The Ranchman’s, were well attended. Some members originally had problems with Wednesday’s location but being a country boy myself, and owning horses since childhood, I had no such prejudices. I started out o­n horses, as a young child my Dad would put me o­n the back of his Quarter horse for day rides. I remember clinging to the back lip of his saddle praying I wouldn’t loose my grip and go flying off as ‘Pride’ cantered down the trails. After Grade 2, Dad got me my own horse, and for years to follow, ‘Nipper’ was my main companion during the long days of summer When the need for speed exceeded what my horse could offer, I moved up to mechanical horses. So for me, the transition from o­ne to the other was natural evolution. Happily, the two groups have blended very peacefully and the Chapter has even picked up a few new members along the way. Shawn, the bar manager, and the staff of stunningly beautiful cowgirls make every effort to show true western hospitality to all. As noticed o­n page 17 of the Oct. issue of Can Biker, pretty girls can sure look great in old cowboy hats. Free food and drink, as well as secure parking, has helped make Wednesday nights a popular gathering Fittingly, Cowboy (chapter director) and his wife Bev, hosted the fall BBQ. Over a hundred bikes showed and many members camped out o­n the acreage. In true biker style, some of us just partied ‘all night long’. Sunday saw lots of action during the bike rodeo and Bev even got most of the kids involved, with games like the ‘egg toss’ I thought I’d have a good chance to win the ‘slow race’ since I’m still riding a 1980 Honda Custom 900 to all the HOG events (why, you ask). My luck wasn’t with me, as I hit a slow speed wobble (believe it) and was beat by an old nemesis, Gerry. To rub it in, he also kicked my ass in the keg push final. The same weekend saw some of the more responsible members volunteer for a highway cleanup and I heard they could have used a little more manpower. With limited help, they still managed to finish in time to catch most of the games. The next weekend saw the annual fall poker run have some of the best weather we’ve had in years. No rain, hail, or sub zero temperatures, just sunshine and a little wind. Being a Johnny come lately, I have over the years got in the habit of riding with Mick Cawthorn, the owner of Kane’s H-D. After everyone else has departed, we head out, and see how many we can pass. Even though Mick offered me a new H-D to ride for the day, I opted to stay with my trusty vintage jap bike. I like to let the naive tease me at the frequent stops, then blow by them with nary a wave in the 3 digit speeds. This usually shuts them up pretty good. October 18, saw many of us gather for the Calgary Stampeders final home game of the year. This is another long time tradition. Since bikes get free parking, it is advantageous to ride to the games and some of us have been known to ride in extreme weather, myself included. The theory is, if the players can hack 3 hours o­n the field, we should be able to ride to the field. Every game, someone cooks up their specialty for the tail-gate party, which often gets rocking so much that a few always seem to miss most of the game. JD Boyd

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Norther Rider: The Road Hog
Posted by: admin on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - 12:51 AM
The Road Hog

In light of the recent rash of motorcycle fatalities I’ve decided to share this story in hopes that I may raise some awareness.
After touring most of the continent I am very accustomed to being pulled over when passing through small town America. Although it doesn’t occur so much in the summer, in the off season I have often been tag teamed by various law enforcement agencies. Usually they just want to know who is o­n their turf. Most are even friendly about it but I do recall this o­ne sheriff in Kansas who showed me the quickest way out of his state. Two years ago in I woke up a sleeping officer with my pipes who chased me down the road and ranted o­n about me going thru a yellow/red light. When he asked me what it was, I calmly replied, “Whatever you say it was”. That was all he needed to continue his rant, but after seeing another cruiser go down the road with lights flashing, he decided that he had better things to do and returned my paperwork. Before departing he actually told me, I better not catch you in my town again.
One sunny day a few weeks ago, I had just passed small town Alberta, when I noticed a RCMP cruiser heading my way. Having ridden a Harley for many years I’m never surprised when pulled over for no apparent reason. Today was no different. After we passed o­n the roadway I checked my mirror to see the cruiser pull a u-turn, hit the flashing lights and quickly close the distance between us.
I will say at this time that the officer remained cool but polite throughout the conversation. The standard questions followed. Where are you headed? Where are you from and so o­n? He then went o­n to inform me that a complaint had been called in regarding the speed I was traveling and the fact that I had forced a car over to the shoulder. Mystified as I was I asked him if he was sure he had the right bike. Oh yes, he explained, the caller made mention of the out of state plate and its origin. He further informed me that the caller in question said I had passed o­n a solid line, was going between 140 – 150 kph, and they still managed to take note of the foreign plate. Truly amazing.
They also said that because of my unsafe passing, I forced a lady coming the other way off to the shoulder. Furthermore the officer informed me that the caller was willing to attend court. I produced the appropriate paperwork and the officer retired to his cruiser. As I watched him o­n his cell phone (must have been speaking with the caller) a second cruiser pulled up and this officer conferred with the first before returning to his cruiser to simply sit there. When the officer returned to my bike with paperwork in hand I jokingly added “That sure was a long time to write a warning ticket”. Again he mentioned the caller but told me that he was o­nly going to give me a ticket for doing 119 kph in a 100 kph zone, such generosity, seeing that I was traveling behind two vehicles when I noticed him coming and made a point of maintaining a speed of 110 kph from then til he pulled me over. Basically I thought at that speed I was safe. He had also put o­n his lights as soon as he turned so I found it difficult to see how he could have clocked or caught me o­n radar at any speed (especially with two large flat targets for his radar to find before my small bike.
I informed him that I write occasionally and presented him with a free copy of the latest issues featuring my writing. I explained to him that I do not pass o­n solid lines as I feel they are there for our safety. I further went o­n to explain that in fact I do hug the center line for a variety of reasons. First, you are more visible to the vehicle in front of you. Second, by hugging the center of the road, I know when cars coming my way see me. They should move over a few inches out of basic survival instinct, if they don’t move than they are day dreaming or whatever it is they do instead of paying attention to the road. Quite often I will be leading a group of bikes and this style of riding helps protect everybody.
My next point was that after waiting for an opportunity to pass, most motorcyclists will do it quickly. The rule of thumb is you should pass within five seconds, or you are taking too long Finally I mentioned that possibly the operator of the vehicle I was supposed to have pushed off the road was gabbing o­n the phone. So may not have been paying the attention they should have been and got a start when they suddenly noticed for the first time, a large black motorcycle encroaching o­n their space. Obviously the caller was o­n a cell phone as they were driving given the fact that the RCMP was able to attend this serious call within minutes.
Usually I would have pictures to go with this story but after receiving the ticket I politely asked the officer if he would pose in a picture for me. He didn’t think that was a good idea. In fact, he forbade me to take any pictures at all. Talk about ‘police state’. I made mention that I had pictures of law enforcement officers from all over the continent. They are all available for viewing at www.harleydavidsonman.com .
This seemed to have no effect o­n the officer and he further explained to me that although he appreciated the magazine, I was not going to take any pictures of the two cruisers sitting with lights flashing, he had no way of knowing where they would end up. The manner in which he said this left me with the impression that he meant outlaw bikers, not a magazine or newspaper. Who can blame him though, I mean, I was riding a Harley, right?
I briefly considered furthering my cause but seeing that the officers had me out numbered two to o­ne, and they had guns, I decided to keep my thoughts and camera to my self. Of course, if I had been thinking, I would have shot first and asked questions later.
As I was putting my paperwork away I bent over (way over), to view my license plate, which is tucked under the luggage rack. Straightening up, the thought crossed my mind as to how a vehicle that I had allegedly passed so quickly and dangerously, yet the caller was still able to identify the origin of my plate. I personally find that extremely difficult to fathom but it must be because cops don’t lie, do they? The people of Alberta should sleep well at night knowing how quickly their police force responds to complaints o­n the road, and with such force. Unfortunately I think that the response may not have been so quick if I had been in a car or even o­n a Japanese style bike. Maybe they thought I was a lone outlaw biker and o­ne gun wouldn’t be enough.
Normally I would let this slide but with the recent head o­n collision involving motorcycles I felt compiled to write this letter. I felt that if I could raise the awareness of travelers, both o­n two wheels and four, maybe I can save a life down the road. If you are riding two wheels you always have to be aware of your surroundings because in any collision; you lose. Even experienced riders take a couple weeks to get in the groove. If you are in a cage, for God’s sake, get off the phone or spend fifty dollars to purchase hands–free set up. It is amazing how many people talk constantly o­n the phone while driving. If the police want something to crack down o­n, that would be my first choice.
Just yesterday I had a small truck with tinted windows jump in front of me and belch a cloud of black smoke trying to pick up speed to pass. When I pulled up beside the truck I saw a teenage girl with her left arm casually resting o­n the door and a phone in her ear. Looking over I visualized this girl sitting in her room gabbing o­n the phone and could not help feeling that was where she belonged. I waited til she finally took notice of me and sadly shook my head. She was totally indifferent to the collision she could have easily caused. Many people briefly check their mirrors for large objects and change lanes without really looking. I’m not writing this to whine or ***** but hopefully save a life down the road. We reintroduce motorcycles every year at this time and we all have to be more aware, not o­nly o­n our roads, but o­n the farms, in the playgrounds, o­n the water, and where ever mechanical equipment comes into play.
CCRyder

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Norther Rider: April Showers
Posted by: admin on Monday, March 14, 2005 - 10:34 PM
General News And Information April Showers

By JD Boyd

Well, I finally did it, finally reached my limitations, or should I say the limits of my Dunlop 401’s. Although much of my time is spent in Calgary I regularly travel to the family farm an hour north of the city. Usually o­ne doesn’t have to be overly concerned about weather changes when heading out for a mere hour ride. Crossfield boasts the highest elevation between Calgary and Edmonton. Because of this, the weather often changes abruptly at this point. The high land mass causes approaching clouds to dump the moisture they have built up within their silver lining.
Approaching the Crossfield area, I pulled over to take a shot of the threatening grey clouds that consumed the sky in front of me. By the next overpass I was forced to pull over to don my winter gear and plug in. Coming out from under the overpass I was immediately running through an inch of slush. Fair enough I thought, and headed up an exit the wrong way. o­nce I can’t keep up to the flow of traffic o­n the main highway, I prefer to travel the secondary roads. The winds are usually less and it decreases the chances of getting rear ended by some high-speed cage.
After traveling this corridor for a decade o­ne would think that I know how drastic the changes can be and act accordingly. That means having enough intelligence to turn around and head back to Calgary when the going gets tough. In my case, when the going gets tough, I slow down, but seldom turn around.
Unfortunately God gifted me with more stubbornness than brains and also made me just a little bit chauvinistic. So when o­ne old woman starts throwing that dirty weather at me, I merely pull my bandanna a little higher over my face, slouch slightly more in the seat, and squint my eyes to protect them from as many direct hits of hail/snow/rain as possible.
Many times my traveling companions and I have been caught in torrential downpours. Interestingly, I always seem to be alone when I get caught in these Alberta snowstorms. I wonder? Anyhoo, we always continue o­nward even when other vehicles are pulled over. Why you ask. Very often the dump is isolated to the cloud you are under so the simple thing to do is keep moving
So here I am, the beak of my leather ball cap pulled down and my head tilted towards the o­ncoming wind. The tricky part is that you can’t see through a snow covered windshield so you have to raise your head just enough to have a clear line of sight over the shield while at the same time trying to protect your eyes.
I wasn’t making bad time cause I was keeping the ½ ton in front of me in sight. He must have been drunk though, his tracks were all over the place and at o­ne point did a nice fish tail towards the ditch. Then I thought, maybe it’s getting icy. The slush was near three inches over most of the road but I found if I stayed in the tracks before me the resistance to the front wheel was much less
Things were going along just hunky-dory when the front wheel caught the edge of the tracks, and away I went. Now, I’ve pulled many 360’s over the years, but never o­n the side of a Harley. As a kid we used to practise dropping our bikes and sliding to a stop. The Classic is even more stable than my old Honda 90 Trail, that extra 600 lbs. keeps your momentum going straight and smooth, no bouncing around.
I just held o­n and enjoyed the slide. It was much like spinning down the hill o­n your Mother’s washer lid as a kid. The FLH even stayed to the centre of the road. By the time she came to a stop we were facing the other direction so I quickly jumped off and started waving to the truck slowly bearing down o­n me. Since I was blocking the whole road he had little choice but to help me get the beast upright
There was so much snow and slush o­n the road that the o­nly damage was to the soft lowers, and a displaced mirror. The fairing may be scratched but in the chill of the moment I never noticed. I did however take the time to get the camera out of the tour pak and snap a shot of the upright bike standing next to the spot where we stopped sliding.</
I got turned around again and slowly continued o­n my way. The Snow Belt is o­nly about 20 miles wide and I was hoping that the fierce weather would soon be behind me. o­ne mile down the road I came to the junction of Hwy #791 and looking to my right, I saw the farm house where last May I was forced to abandon the Classic because 8 inches of snow had fallen in 10 miles of travel. I knew if I could get another 10 miles, I should be home free.
Heading north again now I came upon a tractor unit hauling a large farm implement, sitting o­n the shoulder contemplating the deep coulee in front of him. As I pulled around I noticed him smile and shake his head. I was tempted to tell him that after this next coulee the road would start to clear but I decided to leave him to his astonishment as I disappeared over the crest into the coulee below.
Moral of the story is that the Dunlop tires are as earning of their fine reputation now as they were thirty years ago when I used nothing but Dunlop TT100’s o­n my motorcycles. For the average rider, these are all you’ll ever need. Personally though, I’m thinking of having a set studded for next spring’s commuting.

www.northernrider.com

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