Tag Archive: loud


Yesterday, I did something I have never done before.  I participated in a “peaceful rally”.  This rally was put on by the members of ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) of New York.  The purpose for this rally is to fight the profiling of motorcycles and illegal roadblocks that target only motorcycles.  We rode downtown to the the Capitol building to make our voices heard.

The New York State Capitol

The bikers came out in large numbers.  I would guess that there were four or five hundred motorcycles that met in Schodack and rode into downtown Albany.  The line of motorcycles for a mile or so in front of you and behind you is quite impressive.

Halfway up the street

A little farther up the street. The bikes went on forever.

One of the main issues that were discussed today were the roadblocks that target only motorcycles on the way to Americade and the Harley Rendevous.  The police pull over motorcycles and issue ridiculous tickets for exhaust, helmet and license violations.  It’s not right.  I understand the helmet and license issue.  I wear a full face helmet all year round and would never ride with a brain bucket or no helmet at all.  That is my choice.  If people want to ride without a helmet, that is their choice.

What bothers me is these roadblocks are basically entrapment.  They only pull motorcycles over.  While you are there, they look at your pipes.  If they are not stock pipes, you get a ticket.  That is total crap.  My bike is obnoxiously loud (quote from my friends) and I wont change it.  I changed my pipes once.  I was going for my road test at the DMV and figured I would get flack for the pipes, so I had them swapped for the day.  On my way to the DMV, a car came over in my lane and I had nowhere to go but into the guard rail  I made my peace, confident I wasn’t walking away from this one.  Quick thinking on my part and a fast bike got me out of it.  I punched it and leaned it hard and was able to swerve clear of the guard rail.

That day, I swore to never change those pipes.  Most people think it’s just to be annoying, but people just don’t see you when you’re on the bike.  They are too busy eating or texting while driving and swerving all over the road.  I saw a t-shirt today that was dead on, but I didn’t get a picture of it.  It said “I’m sorry my loud pipes disturbed your phone call”.  Funny, but sad.  It amazes me how little people pay attention when they drive while talking on the phone.

Most people don’t understand or just don’t care that loud pipes do save lives.  I’m not saying I’ve never made unnecessary noise.  But for the most part, they are there for safety.  With my bike being as loud as it is, if you hit me and say you didn’t hear me (or feel the vibrations from the exhaust) there’s a problem.  You know when I am in your blind spot.  You know when I am next to you.

I can rant and rave here all day, but if I can reach a few people at a time and make them aware of motorcycles, it will make me very happy.  The best thing I have seen so far is a slogan that reads “Look Twice.  Save a Life.  Motorcycles are everywhere.”  There are a few variations of this saying.  Take the two seconds to turn your head and see if we are next to you.  Put down the phone and turn your head to see who’s there.  And this doesn’t just go for bikes.  We wouldn’t have all the accidents we do if people would just pay more attention.  It could save your life.  See ya soon!

Most people don’t know this about me, but another of my passions in life are motorcycles.  I like all different kinds – choppers, rockets, cruisers, Harleys, BMWs, Hondas.  I have been riding for almost 10 years now thanks to my best friend Jay.  He threw me on a Honda CBR600F3 about ten years ago and said “take it for a spin.”  I had never been on a motorcycle before.  So, here I am, in the middle of Stockbridge, MA on this bike scared to death that I am gonna kill myself my first time out.  He had told me to take it for a quick spin.  Ok, I can do this.  Waiting for traffic to clear, (which could take forever in Stockbridge during tourist season) then I let out the clutch and give it a little gas.  Ok, that wasn’t so bad.  I didn’t die.  Traffic is moving incredibly slowly and I want to go.  Finally, traffic moves out of the way and I crack the throttle.  Seconds later, I look down and I am over 70 mph.  WOW!  What a rush.

If you’ve never been on a sportbike before, imagine Ferrari type power in a 350+/- pounds bike.  Zero to sixty in seconds.  That was it.  I was hooked.  About four hours later, I brought the bike back to Jay with the biggest smile on my face.  It had begun.  Over the next few years, I rode a few other bikes owned by Jay and my brother Mark.  All of them rockets.  I was definitely a sportbike guy.

A few years later, I decided I was going to buy a bike for myself.  I went to the dealer and was all set to buy a brand new Yamaha R6 in Raven.  I was offered a job instead, and they put me in the Harley building selling Harley-Davidsons©.  Yuck.  I was a sportbike guy.  I didn’t like those biker types.  Their motorcycles were way to loud, and oh so slow.  Not my thing.  Fast forward a few months – I am selling Harleys and they keep hounding me to buy one.  I want to go fast, I say.  These things only have 68 hp.  It can’t get out of it’s own way.  “Try this out” the say as they point to a Harley-Davidson V-Rod©.

Interesting.  Great style, 120hp motor made in conjunction with Porsche.  Ok.  I will give it a shot.  So, off we go on a 30ish degree day with a few flurries in the air to test this bike out.  I have to admit, I came back with a smile on my face.  The bike was brand new and had a custom Harley-Davidson© paint kit on it.  I liked it more than I cared to admit at the time.  As I was considering it, they mentioned that someone had a V-Rod© there on consignment with only 1800 miles on it, lots of chrome and lowered two inches front and rear.  I checked it out.  It was gorgeous.  I was in love.  The battery was a little low from sitting around for a bit, so we charged it up and hit the ignition.  Holy Shit!  What a bark from that exhaust.  This thing was obnoxiously loud.  It had to be mine.

Looking back, I met some amazing people over the course of my time at the dealership.  Since then I have met a ton of bikers and let me tell you that while there some bad eggs out there, there are some pretty damn good people out there on motorcycles.  During the summer, we ride every Wednesday night with an awesome group called No Destination run by an amazing woman named Patti.  I have made so many friends there and over the last five years or so in the motorcycle community.  I have been to many, many poker runs to raise money for people who lost family members, or have an illness racking up thousands of dollars in bills.  The Toys for Tots run in the late fall, where you will find 300 to 400 bikes no matter how cold the weather is, bringing toys for needy children and raising money to make sure these kids have a good Christmas.  Here is a pic I took at this year’s run at Brunswick Harley.

Toys For Tots

Toys For Tots

I have also been lucky enough to be a part of a few Patriot Guard Missions.  These bikers go to the funerals of soldiers that have served our country and died, or are killed in the line of duty.  It is an honor to be part of these rides, but heartbreaking to see these young men and women die so young fighting for our freedom.

Another group I am very proud to be a part of is a forum composed of some of my friends that were in a V-Rod© forum and it spun off a photography forum called Movie Photo Forums – a great forum if you are into photography and motorcycles.  Most of the active participants ride, and a bunch actually ride V-Rods©.  There are some incredibly talented members there and I am proud to be a part of it.  They have become like family to me.  I get a lot of inspiration for my photography from the members there.  A bunch of us met in Canandaigua last summer on the bikes and rode together.  We even spent some time shooting in the area while we were there.

I guess what I am getting at is looking back to when I was a sportbike guy and I stereotyped “bikers” I had no idea what I was talking about.  There truly are some amazing people out there.  Don’t judge.  I could write about this all day, but you’d probably get tired of reading and head out.  So I will end this with a pic of my bike and my girlfriend Rose’s bike -or the Cadillac- as i like to call it.  We take my Harley for local rides, and her “Cadillac” for trips to Canandaigua or Montreal.

Our bikes

Our bikes

A few pics I have taken of bikes over the last few years…

FJR in the Catskills

FJR in the Catskills

Chad's Victory

Chad's Victory

Custom Rocker

Custom Rocker

Geico bike

Geico bike