Category: V-Rod


Rose and I hopped on the FJR and headed up to MAX BMW in Troy yesterday. I emailed Ben last week asking him if I could demo some BMWs and write about them on the blog. He emailed back telling me to come on up and try them out. I’ve never been on a BMW, so this was pretty exciting to me. Before last night, I had no idea what all the hype was about the BMW motorcycle. What I did know is that BMW riders seemed very serious about their motorcycles and riding them. I have a much better understanding of them now. Here is how my trip to Max played out.

We arrived at the dealership around 4:30 and there were a good 20 plus bikes in the parking lot and another 10 or 12 parked out front that were demo bikes. As we got off the bike and were taking our jackets off, a car pulled up with a Papa John’s sign on the roof. We walked in the front door and start looking at the bikes. It was really busy in there, so we make our way over to an employee and asked for Steve or Craig. Ben told me in his email to look for Craig or Steve. I was directed to Craig and introduced myself and Rose. Craig was not only more than happy to help us, he immediately made us feel like part of the family. I started by telling him about my emails with Ben, and he asked which bike I would like to ride. I told him I would be happy to ride any that he would let me ride and then mentioned that we came on the FJR. Craig pointed out the K1300GT and began telling us about the bike.

The best part is that this bike has many features that are similar to those that the FJR has. The motor is the same size, and also an inline 4 on this model. It has a power windshield like the FJR and heated grips. There were a few things that the FJR didn’t have though. Like a heated rider and passenger seat, Traction control (ASC), Electronic Suspension Adjustment and cruise control. The horsepower was also a little better, 160hp compared to the Yamaha’s 140hp.

After showing us the bike, Craig welcomed us to have some pizza and a soda while he copied my license and grabbed the release form. In the meantime, we started talking to some guys that sat down at his desk to eat. The guys we met were awesome! They were in town for the Rally that MAX BMW is holding this weekend up in Pownal, VT. They came in all the way from Green Bay, Wisconsin, via Boston and Niagara Falls. These guys aren’t afraid to get out and ride!

Craig came back with the key and told me to take it for a ride, explaining the demo route that they use. He told me to ride it as many times as I liked to get a feel for the bike. Rose and I hopped on and off we went. I did the first lap at a slower speed to get used to the bike and to get familiar with the road.

When we got back to the main road and had to go left to the dealership or right to do it again, I was about to ask Rose if she wanted to go again. Before I could get the sentence out, she said “Let’s go again”. She was like a kid at an amusement park. And who was I to disappoint her? We hit the route again, this time much faster and more aggressively.

This bike loves to be laid over. I went into a corner and did my usual lean, and I could feel a huge difference over the Yamaha. The bike went over so easily. It has a great amount of power and it was just plain old fun to ride. After the second loop, we took the bike back, as it was after 5 and MAX closes at 6.

We got back to the dealership and I took a few pics of the bike to show the similarities. In many ways, these bikes are very similar. Craig met us outside and asked how we liked it. We chatted with him for a bit and he welcomed me to try out another bike. Noting the time, I didn’t want to keep them there after closing, so I declined, stating I would love to come back and try more bikes out in the future. Craig happily obliged and welcomed me to come back.

We went inside to look at some of the other bikes and met the guys from Green Bay again. You can’t find much nicer people than these guys. We started chatting with them and next thing you know. it’s 7pm. We’re still in the dealership, and they are still selling and servicing bikes. That really impressed me. The guys from Green Bay were here getting oil changes and one was getting a new tire. They had come down from the site in Pownal where MAX is holding their BMW RA National Rally. They have maps at the dealership if you want to go.

I can’t say enough about how well I was treated at MAX BMW. And it wasn’t just me. Everyone that walked in the door while we were there was treated the exact same way. The guys and gals at MAX are a class act. I highly recommend stopping by and checking out these bikes. Just bring your checkbook, because if you ride one of these bikes, you’re going to want to take one home!

Here are some specs from BMW’s web site. See ya soon!

K 1300 GT: Pricing, Options and Accessories

Base MSRP: $19,150

Premium Package: $22,595

* Xenon Light

* ESA II

* Heated Seats

* Heated Grips

* Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM)

* Cruise Control

* On Board Computer

* ASC (Traction Control)

Options

* Xenon Light: $500

* ESA II: $900

* Heated Seat: $350

* Heated Grips: $300

* Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM): $250

* Cruise Control: $450

* On Board Computer: $295

* Anti-Theft Alarm: $395

* ASC: $400

* Low Seat (31.5 – 32.3 inches): n/c

*Actual price determined by dealer. Price excludes taxes, license, options and $495 in destination/handling charges. Prices and specifications subject to change without notice.

Here is the text of the first post I have made on the Times Union Biker Blog.  This entry can be found here.  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Rose Winters

Over the last few months, I have been talking with Mike Huber about blogging for the Times Union. I first met him in March at the Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation conference at St. Rose. I have since been to a few other Times Union sponsored events we would always end up talking about creating a biker blog.

I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. 1) To help raise awareness of motorcycles on the roads. 2) To share my love for the open road with other bikers. I have recently had a few friends involved in serious motorcycle accidents, one unavoidable and one because of someone’s carelessness behind the wheel.

I would also like to shed a little light on the stereotype that bikers are “bad people.” Sure, there are bad apples here and there, but for the most part, bikers are the most kind, charitable people you will ever meet.

Some of the regular readers may already know me from my interactions on many of the current Times Union blogs. For those that may not know me, I am (obviously) an avid motorcycle rider. I have been riding for ten years and really enjoy being out “in the wind” on the bike any chance I can get.

I am also a photographer. My love for photography is just as strong as my passion for motorcycles. That’s why I created the Capital Region Photography Meetup Group. The initials of this group (TCRPMG) make up the username I have been using on the blogs and on Twitter.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s find out a little about you. What do you know about motorcycles? Do you ride them? Do you have family that rides?

When I started blogging back in January, I had two ideas in mind.  First, I wanted a blog that was about photography.  I wanted to share my love for photography with my readers, and offer help should they want it.  Second, I wanted to start doing product reviews.

From time to time, companies will send products to bloggers to let them test it out and write about them.  The logic behind this being that the blogger can get the word out about their product to many, many people with a real world opinion about the product.  It helps the company gain potential customers and gets the bloggers more traffic.

A few months ago, I started a second blog solely dedicated to product reviews.  I also post the reviews on this blog when I do them, but that blog will only have product reviews on it.  When I review a product, it goes on both sites.

I have only found a few companies so far to review products for, and would really like to find a few more.  So far, LowePro has been great about sending me camera bags to test and review.  I am trying to keep the focus of the blog to photography products, but will add motorcycle products as well.  Both genres play a huge part in my life, and I think I can bring a great deal of info to both markets.

Not only do I have my reader base, but I have Twitter and Facebook.  Along with them, I have 2,700 people that are members of The Product Review Place to share the information with.  So, the products would get a ton of exposure.  My reviews are posted on that site as well.

So, if you are a company that has a product that you need reviewed, please leave me a comment and I will get in touch with you about what we may be able to do for each other.  See ya soon!

*Image courtesy of Consolidated Freight Co.

It’s 1:30am and we just got home about an hour ago from our usual Wednesday night ride. Just had a sandwich and figured I need to get a blog done for today.

As the title says, I will be keeping this short and sweet, as I am getting up early in the morning to go on a Patriot Guard mission.  We will be riding to stand in a flag line and be there for the family.  As you will read in the Wiki link I added, the Patriot Guard was originally formed to ward off protestors at Military funerals.  The Westboro Baptist Church members would protest the funerals with outrageous statements that men and women are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan because we tolerate homosexuality.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is very sad that we have to have these funerals, but I am glad that I can pay my respects to this young man that gave his life fighting for our freedom.

So, in the morning I will hop on the bike and head up to Queensbury, and along with probably 100 or more motorcycles, we will escort this soldier to his final resting place at the Saratoga National Cemetery.  When we get there, the bikers will hop off their bikes and line the road into the cemetery as the funeral procession rolls in.  If you can make it to pay your respects, please do.  Let’s show this family how much we appreciate what this soldier did for our country.  Hope to see you there.

*Image courtesy of http://www.amlgnp104tn.org/files/PatriotGuard_Riders.jpg

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and were on the road by 8:30, headed back up to meet the guys for the ride we didn’t get to do on Thursday.  When we got to the hotel the guys were staying at, one of the guys was missing.  He had gone back down to the expo to exchange the boots he bought the day before.  They were a size too small and hurting his toes.

He got back to the hotel and went to put them on, and the strap on the back to pull them on broke.  Crap.  Guess we’re not leaving anytime soon.  We all got geared up and went back down to the vendor where he got the boots.  They exchanged them and this pair did the same thing.  He was offered a refund, but he needed the boots as the heel on the boots he wore to Americade had separated from the boot.  So, he kept them and we got ready to ride.  While we were waiting, we noticed that there were helicopter rides leaving from that area and flying over the Americade festivities.  They were only $60 too, which was pretty cheap.

Rose and I also bumped into someone we know while we were waiting there.  A friend of ours that rides with us every Wednesday night happened to show up and we flagged him down and said hi.  After a little bit of chatting with him and taking pics of the helicopter, the guys were just about ready to leave.  As we walked towards them, Rose pointed out a sports bike with Louis Vuitton material on the windscreen and seat.  Not something you see every day, but definitely interesting.

When we got back on the road, we headed out to Old Forge.  The guys head up there every winter to go snowmobiling, and they really like the area, so we were going to check it out.  It was quite a hike, but we pulled it off.  We ended up riding about 250 miles that day.  It was a long day, but we had a lot  of fun.  Two of us even went ahead of the pack and cut up a really great twisty road.  It made me so happy.

Back at the hotel that night, the guys fired up the grill and cooked hot dogs, burgers, bacon and ham steaks.  They even invited others that were out in the hotel courtyard to come and have some of the food.  They had an extra bed free, so we spent the night so we could hang out later and not have to ride home in the middle of the night.  The next morning, it poured.  We waited for a break in the downpours and headed for home.  We had our rain gear, so we stayed dry, but we passed a lot of bikers that didn’t have rain gear, and boy were they wet!  It pays to be prepared.  See ya soon!

Every year, Rose and I head to Americade in Lake George to see the massive influx of motorcycles.  The bikers come from all over the the US and Canada to participate in this rally.  It is estimated that 50-60,ooo bikes will ride into Lake George for the week of Americade.  I didn’t take the time to count them all, but there were a load of bikes there, despite the gloomy weather we had last week.

On Thursday morning, we put on our rain gear and headed up the Northway knowing we might hit some rain.  It’s annoying, but not a big deal if you are prepared for it.  We have friends that live close to us that head up every year and stay in the same hotel.  So, we went up to meet them for a ride to Old Forge.  There was a threat of a pretty strong thunderstorm, so we decided to stay local and head downtown to the expo and the forum to see what the vendors had to offer.  The picture below is of the parking lot outside the expo.  Despite the threat of rain, the bikers turned out in droves to peruse the forum.

Inside the expo we found hundreds of vendors.  Some of the bigger names were companies like Kuryakyn, Givi, Nolan, Mustang seats and so many more.  If it is motorcycle related and you are looking for it, there’s a good chance you can find it in the expo.  You could get new tires, pinstriping, seats and many more accessories added to your bike while you wait.  It is truly a one-stop shop for bikers. As we walked around, I saw something that made me smile.  Indian motorcycles seems to be back in business.  They have gone out of business and been brought back a few times, and it seems like they’re back again.  Indian motorcycles are the epitome of a classic motorcycle.  Even the new ones look like the classics of the past.  Here’s the truck and some of their motorcycles.

After a few hours in the expo, the sky started to look a little dark.  As we were walking out, we heard thunder off in the distance.  Time to hustle up and get on the bikes.  We got back on the bikes and headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we saw a few bolts of lightning and it rained pretty hard.  Luckily, I hadn’t taken my rain gear off, so I stayed nice and dry on the ride back to the hotel. This is what we saw when we left the expo…

We hung out at the hotel and had some great times with our old neighbors from Delmar.  It’s a really great time, as a lot of the same people come back there every year.  So, it’s like a family reunion each time.  People are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to come hang out, sharing great stories and good company with you.

Around 10pm, Rose and I hopped on the bike and headed back to Albany.  We were tired, but needed to get home to take care of the dog.  Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to hear more about our trip back up on Friday.  See ya soon!

With the first day of summer just about two weeks away, I start to think of why it is my favorite time of year.  I think the warm weather is a bit of a given, but I have a few other reasons why I love it.

The Pool – I’ve been a water rat since I was a toddler.  I also lived close to the ocean in Virginia growing up.  So, I have spent many hours of my life in the water.  I’ve also been pulled out of the pool (over the side) because I couldn’t breathe more times than I care to remember.  That has not stopped me from going back in.  To this day, I still will spent a good portion of the day in the pool.  I love it!

The Grill – I love cooking on the grill.  I do it all year long, but it’s much more pleasant when it isn’t below freezing outside.  This morning I made bacon in a frying pan on the side burner of the grill.  I like to make it outside so it doesn’t smell up the house.  It doesn’t matter if it’s hot dogs or steak, I love cooking out there.  Plus the grill overlooks the pool.  Bonus!

Motorcycles – Riding is a huge passion of mine.  I still do it in some of the colder months, but like other things, it’s much more enjoyable when it’s warm outside.  Being on a motorcycle is such an amazing feeling.  It’s so relaxing.  It also will make you forget all your problems for a while.  Great for clearing your head.

Friends – This one sort of ties into all of the others.  Summer to me is about hanging out with your friends, having a cookout, swimming in the pool and riding.  There’s something about the camaraderie of bikers that makes you proud to be a part of that family.  I’ve met some of the best people while riding or talking about motorcycles.

Photography – This is also a given.  I do have a photography blog and a Photo Group.  The sun, the flowers, nature, cars and waterfalls all make me very happy when I get out with the camera in my hands.  There are a lot of places that I want to shoot this year.  Hopefully this nice weather (well, before this weekend) will continue and I can check more places off my list.

What about summertime makes you happy?

A few ducks were cooling off in the motel pool at last year's Americade.

Image courtesy of Hub Pages

Please read this one.  And then share it with everyone you know.

It had been a busy few days, and I woke up tired yesterday morning.  Yes, I woke up tired.  So, when a friend sent me a text asking if we wanted to go out on the motorcycle for the day, I turned him down.  I wasn’t feeling alert, and being alert is a huge must when riding.  We went about our day and did some things around the house.  Later on, we went out to get some stuff for the garden.  We were walking around the nursery I hear a text alert from Rose‘s phone.  Rose then said to me “Oh my God, (friend’s name) has been in a motorcycle accident.

We hopped in the car and headed for the hospital to see him and comfort his girlfriend.  We got there and were allowed to go in and see him.  He was in a lot of pain but his injuries were not life threatening.  Here’s what he told me:

He was riding by the lake just past The Mill and a lady in a minivan was sitting on the side of the road by the lake.  She apparently decided to do a u-turn across the road without looking in her mirrors.  He locked up the brakes and laid the bike down and hoped for the best.    He said he hit the bumper of the car.  He was pretty heavily medicated by this point, so I don’t know if it was the front or the rear bumper.

The accident left a him with a huge gash across his knee, a compound fracture and a chunk of bone out of his foot.  He went into surgery and we waited around for him to be out, so we could make sure he was in the clear.  He was, but they had to amputate all of his toes (on the right foot) and part of his foot (right).  I am both saddened and angered as I type this.  Someone couldn’t be bothered to look in their mirrors, and now he has to live with this for the rest of his life. The road by the lake is a major highway with four lanes and a turn lane in the middle.  Why would you do a u-turn across that road?

And then there are the what-ifs…

  • What if we had gone with him?  Would we have been in the same accident?
  • If I was on the Harley, would they have heard us?
  • What if he just stopped for five minutes, even to get gas?
  • What if his girlfriend had been on the bike with him?
  • What if he was going just a little bit faster?  Would he have made it past her?

But, all the what-ifs in the world wont change what has happened.  The only good thing I can say is that he is still alive.  And for that, we are very grateful.  Please, please, please – Look twice and save a life.  Motorcycles are everywhere.  This didn’t have to happen.

See ya soon.

As I was mowing the lawn yesterday, something hit me and made me think.  I know, it doesn’t happen very often.  Anyway, I was thinking about growing up as a kid on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  I thought back to mowing the lawn since I was old enough to safely push or ride the mower.  My  grandfather worked on mowers in his spare time and we were always testing them out when he was done to make sure they worked properly.  The best part was when he would fix go-karts and we could test them out.

I can remember one day he fixed a go-kart and I was testing it around the yard.  I was ripping along at a good pace for the first lap or two, slowing down for the corners and accelerating in the straights.  By the second or third lap, I was all out coming through the corners and sliding the back end around, steering through the corners.  Well, I made it maybe two more laps around the yard before I heard “the whistle”.  When he put two fingers in his mouth and made that whistle, you knew you were in trouble.  Without hesitation, my foot came off the gas pedal and I slowly crept back to the garage.  I was scolded a little for tearing up the lawn when I slid the back end around the corners, but it was more like a life lesson.

We also had a mini-bike back then.  I can remember riding it around the yard and the neighborhood when I was young.  I even remember one time when my brother was riding around the yard and the throttle got stuck.  I can see the grown ups like it was yesterday, chasing hims as fast as they could run.  They caught him eventually and all was well, but it was a little scary and quite humorous.

I remember my Aunt and Uncle coming down from Massachusetts on their motorcycles and my uncle taking us for rides.  It was the best.  When I was 16, my grandfather had an old Suzuki automatic (650 LA perhaps?) that he let me take down the road one day.  That was all she wrote.  Since those days of go-karts, mini-bikes and motorcycles, I have been a motorcycle lover.  I love the freedom and the instant speed.  A lot of sport bikes I have ridden will do 0-60 in under 3 seconds.  That’s faster than a Ferrari.  Now you see why I love riding.  And it’s not just the speed.  It’s the fresh air in your face, the smells, the freedom.  I love it.

So, a big thank you goes out to my grandfather.  He was like a father to me and taught me great things I will never forget.  He also taught how to treat and respect a woman.  He and my grandmother were married for 54 years before he passed away.  They just don’t make them like him any more.  I miss him very much.

See ya soon!