Ulysses Taranaki

Articles of Interest

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Those sods in front are going like hell!
From time to time the committee hears that some ride participants are put off coming out a second time on a branch ride because the group was ‘going too fast’. Here is an excellent explanation as to why even when the Ride Leader sits on a legal speed throughout, this can be the perception of riders following.
We often hear the comment on a group ride, “Those sods in front are going like hell!” This is not necessarily so but it’s easy to get that impression and here’s how. A typical example may be that the leader who is riding at 100kph has caught up to a truck doing 90kph and has taken a passing opportunity as soon as one presents itself. He and possibly the next two riders get past the truck. Then the next rider (let’s call him Fred) either does not get offered a passing opportunity or does not take the first one that is on offer. By the time he does, those sods in front are now a kilometre ahead. Let’s look at the maths and work out how long it’ll take Fred to catch them.
At 100 kph the front runners will take 4.8 minutes to ride 8km – for example. But Fred has to ride 9km in the same time to catch them as he’s a km behind to start with so he will have to ride at 112kph. If there’s a bit of slow traffic about, our front runners may have already passed another slow vehicle. So even though they are still riding at 100kph (apart from whilst overtaking) they may well be another kilometre ahead. So Fred will now have to either ride at 112 kph for longer or increase his speed still further. That is assuming Fred wants to stay with the front runners. It certainly gives Fred the illusion that the front runners are going like hell.
But our front runners are still riding at 100kph. But now give some thought to the riders behind Fred. If they want to keep up with not just Fred, but the front runners and they too get baulked passing the first truck – as happens - they may have to ride 10 Kms at 125kph after getting past the truck to catch up. But our front runners are still riding at 100kph. Even after 5km at this speed they may not seem to be catching up (they are of course) and hence the illusion.
This scenario is not uncommon and nor is the next one when the group slows for a small town. The leaders slow to 50kph and the followers quickly catch up their lost ground. But following the town, the leaders accelerate to 100kph at the town boundary and take another significant lead while the others are still riding at 50kph. The larger the group the more the tail Enders will be left behind.
But the leaders are still riding at 100kph. Now consider that we often ride just 50km to our favourite coffee stop, and if we only have two trucks to pass on route and the tail Enders ride at 100kph (except during overtakes) how far Ulysses Nelson Newsletter October 2016 Page 14 behind are they likely to be? In reality the Tail End Charlie (TEC) of a group of say 20 won’t be more than one to one and a half minutes behind the leaders. The leaders will have jostled their bikes into a park and got their helmets off but won’t have finished getting the rest of their gear off before the TEC arrives.
So, do you still think those sods in front are going like hell? And more to the point, why do some followers engage in risk taking behaviour just to try to gain such a small amount of time? It makes no sense at all. And one of the riskiest behaviours is one rider following another through an overtake. You should NEVER overtake until the bike in front has completed its overtake because:
1) Where do you go if he/she aborts their overtake?
2) Where do you go if the truck you are passing is following close behind (and hiding) a slow-moving small car?
3) Where do you go if the rider in front doesn’t allow you a place to come back into the left side? Unexpected on-coming traffic can leave you highly exposed with nowhere to go.
Ring any bells?
Stay safe out there.
Ulysses Taranaki (from Ulysses Nelson)

Loose Luggage Spells Danger : It was sad to read of a rider crashing and sustaining serious injuries on their way to the Burt Munro due to a sleeping bag getting trapped in the drivetrain. Loose luggage can be a serious danger, so let’s all remember to attach and tie down securely anything we carry. Bungee straps are useful things but they have two major drawbacks: they stretch, allowing luggage to move around, and ordinary round bungees can ‘roll’ along the surface of what they’re meant to be securing. One antidote to the latter is something we recently discovered when loading up to ride to the Shiny Side Up: Fat Straps. They are bungees but they’re flat rather than round, reducing the tendency for the strap to squirm and move about. You’ll find them at places like The Warehouse and Mitre 10. Just be sure anything you carry on your bike is held down fast and check its secure at every stop. Better still, invest in some fixed luggage-it’s by far the safest option.
Saving the planet, one motorcycle at a time : We all know motorcycles have a lot of environmental advantages over bigger vehicles, from lower fuel consumption to defeating congestion. But the bigger role they can play is highlighted in a story we found about Mongolian park rangers and the difference they are now making to wildlife and environmental protection. It’s all thanks to a project called Rally For Rangers. Observing the calamitous unreliability of the rangers’ ancient Russian and Chinese machines, former US National Park Ranger Robert McIntosh determined to do something about it. Robert and fellow ex-US Ranger Wes Thornberry ended up delivering 15 trail bikes to Mongolia, and their work continues. Click on the pic for the link to their web page.

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Filling the Empty Nest with Motorcycles -Sparking a new passion, this motorcyclist is hooked!
:I’m 56 years old and just started riding a motorcycle last July. I had been a passenger on several different bikes while growing up. In fact, I only started dating my husband 22 years ago because he rode a motorcycle.  When my husband and I married and had our son, we quit riding for 21 years. But the minute our son left for college, I suggested to my husband that it was time to get back on a motorcycle. So, we bought a BMW F800 GT that he still rides today. While I love my little Miata, it just didn’t quite satisfy my wanderlust. With our only child off to college, the empty nest and thoughts about getting old got me thinking that I really needed something new, exciting, and challenging in my life.
 On a whim, I asked my husband if he thought

it was a crazy idea for me to learn how to ride
a motorcycle. To my surprise, he thought it was
a great idea and supported me completely.
I signed up and took the MSF Basic RiderCourse
 in early July. I did not pass though; I quit
during the next to last exercise. I was simply
overwhelmed and overstimulated with this
particular exercise, an intersection with sharp
right turns and U-turns with eight bikes coming
and going at the same time! Yikes! Anyway, I
stayed for the end of the class to watch my classmates take their test, then I departed.  I spent the rest of the summer riding with my husband. We also spent time practicing the exercises I learned in my class. My husband has been a rider since he was young, so he enjoyed practicing the exercises on his bike along with me.
My permit is good for a year, so I felt that I could wait until next spring/summer to get my license, but not having my license was like a black cloud over my head. I wanted it, and I wanted it now! So I scheduled my license test at the DMV for mid-October.  I was so nervous I barely slept for the two weeks leading up to my scheduled test. I had a wonderful lady instructor and she helped me to relax. I did great and passed! I was so excited!
 The little Honda Rebel was an awesome learner bike for me and I feel 100% that it was the right decision to start on. I’m 5 feet 3 inches and weigh 125 pounds. I wanted a bike that I could easily flat foot, and maneuver around the garage. The Rebel provided that for me, and was easy enough to ride that I gained confidence quickly.
 When I bought my Rebel from a woman who had also used it as her first bike, I was thinking that she moved up to another bike rather quickly. After one summer with the Rebel, I was also ready to get something bigger.
 With our future riding plans and travel in mind, I started researching my next bike. I selected a Triumph Street Twin. It is a 900cc bike, and I was a little afraid that it would be too much for me.  Sadly, I live in Ohio, so my beautiful bike is now all “settled in for a long winters nap”. Spring/Summer cannot come quick enough for me!
As other women have stated this in their stories, I too wish I had learned sooner! My husband and I are talking about getting a trailer so that in the near future we can plan trips and take our bikes with us to explore and ride. I was devastated when my son left for college, wondering what I would do with myself. Well, now I know!

Winter Riding

Riding during autumn always has me in a quandary for gloves. Too heavy—you sweat. Too thin—you freeze. The temperature starts warmer then drops during the day, so you go from “comfortable” to “I can’t feel my fingers.” My simple solution is a pair of latex gloves. They provide a quick layer of warmth, wind protection, and they keep wet weather away from your hands. I never leave home without them on the bike and take them with me on every trip. I’ve even been known to hand out a pair or two!

Gear is a must for cold-weather riding. On a budget? Layers and leathers. From undergarments to leathers and shells, this allows you to stay comfortable while being versatile enough to shed layers when things warm up. If affordable, some of the latest technology like seat, leg, and handgrip warmers or plug-in heat liners or shells are available.
Hydration is also a necessity when riding in colder weather. You may not feel very thirsty, but dehydration can lead to fatigue or dizziness (alcohol and caffeine can make this worse). It is recommended to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water.
Metabolism also decreases during colder temperatures. The best way to stimulate your metabolism is to eat small balanced meals throughout the day. Your furnace will continue burning while keeping your mind and body awake and a bit warmer.
Need a pit-stop? Whether you’re feeling a bit tired or just too darn cold to continue riding, pull over, gather your faculties, and warm up a bit. Run some warm water on your hands or warm them up under a hand dryer. Otherwise take a brisk walk or perform repetitive movements to get the circulation going again.

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Stayin’ Safe: Straighten Up and Ride Right

I don’t care for people who do a lot of posturing; but I do have admiration for riders with good posture. After all, riding posture is one of the most overlooked aspects of road riding. For most of us, the topic was last mentioned in a beginning rider course (you took one of those, right?). Yet, proper riding posture can do wonders to improve control and provide all-day comfort.

Even on a straight road, it’s important to place ourselves in a central position that allows the bike to move freely beneath us as we stay mostly still. For that to happen, we must sit upright and relaxed. The back should be straight, but not stiff (and never slouched). Arms should be loose and elbows relaxed, never locked. Hands rest lightly on the bars—not gripping them—to improve feel through the bars and enable lighter steering input. Knees are bent slightly and lightly press against the tank. Having your feet on the footpegs ready to bear your weight creates a more athletic position (I place the balls of my feet on the pegs when not shifting or braking).
Riders often complain of aching shoulders, sore wrists and stiff backs after even a few miles of riding. The culprit is often poor posture. Improve comfort by rolling your hips forward, which straightens the spine and absorbs shocks more efficiently. Rotate shoulders back instead of allowing them to roll forward; this one adjustment will greatly reduce shoulder stress and arm fatigue. Hinge forward at the waist to reach the handlebars without straightening your arms. Be sure not to place weight on your hands and wrists. It may feel awkward at first, but will soon become second nature.
So, straighten up and ride right…and see what a little posturing work can do to give you more control and less pain.