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Patience is a Virtue

October 26, 2018

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July 17, 2020

I’ve not been back long from a ride on my Bonnie north from central Florida to attend and cover for Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Magazine the VJMC’s National Rally, held this year in southern Indiana. Getting on the road again was a nice break from sitting here in front of the computer after many events had been cancelled because of the pandemic. The ride also gave me a chance to test some new kit I had bought, a new set of tires, and my repaired Forma Adventure Boots, a tent, new set of tires, and new progressive fork springs.

The rally was held again at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, one of my favorite venues, as I had camped on weekends back in my youth with my family, Mitchell being just a couple hundred miles from my home in Niles, Michigan. Not only did Spring Mill o...

July 1, 2019

Climbing Mount Everest sounds like an adventure, right? And, yes, I suppose it can be. But lately photos of crowds of climbers, especially on the final section of the ascent, seem to take a lot of adventure out of the equation. Nowadays you can hire an agency to get you to the top…for a mere $11,000 up to about $45,000! I am sure, even with a guide and support, the climb is a physical challenge for anyone but much of the adventure is diminished—“the thrill is gone.”

The fact is it is hardly possible now to find a spot on this earth where no one else has not gone. As a criteria for “adventure travel,” remote and exotic destinations are no longer the sole genesis of adventure. It is a good thing however, that adventure doesn’t depend on “places”; it depends on “experiences.” Adv...

May 7, 2019

Racks mounted and loaded with gear 

Adventure travel is my favorite thing, and close second to that is vintage motorcycles. So, I figure, “What the heck! Why not combine the two.” One of my jobs is as editor for Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Magazine, the official publication of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club of North America. This club is composed of over 3,500 members spread across North America (and a few other countries as well). The “VJMC” started back in the seventies but soon grew too big for one small group to organize, so it split into three geographical groups all from the same root—VJMC NA, VJMC Australia/New Zealand, and VJMC in the UK. If you love old Japanese motorcycles, you owe to yourself to look into joining one or two or all. These clubs put on events al...

October 26, 2018

 There's a motorcycle in there…somewhere!

Part One

It was September of 2016.  I was perusing FaceBook when this jumped out at me: “1978 Suzuki GS550E. Free with clean title. Has been disassembled for over 10 years, stored, 90% complete. Hoped to restore it but no time.…Orange Park, FL…”

I watched the ad and was surprised when I saw no one take up the offer. I knew “free” is often not really free when it comes to old bikes; many times the cost of resurrecting them is more than the cost of buying a running one. But I had been riding my Triumph to most of the VJMC events I was covering and often felt out of place. I did have a1968 Honda CB350, and even had ridden it on long distance rides sometimes to events, but those rides could in no way be considered “comfortable.”

A Japanese 55...

July 21, 2018

Old set of 805/804s after 10,500 miles on left (rear tire) and new on right. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog. I apologize. It’s sometime hard to keep up with stuff when you are a one man show. I’ve been working over the last year on five books and traveling, which has left little time for other activities.

But, also, its given me time to test my tires of choice, Shinko 805 (rear) and 804 (front). These are dual sport tires intended for sixty percent off road and forty percent on road use.

Ever since I bought my Bonneville T100 back in 2012, I’ve been experimenting with tires, and as time went on I was looking for tires that would do well on the highway but also allow me to go off on gravel roads and trails whenever I found some that were interesting to me. The...

June 11, 2017

Adventure riding is a phrase that is bandied about all over social media and in magazines and blogs. It's often represented by photos of extreme riding in exotic, faraway places. But what is adventure riding? I've found it is different things to different people. No one definition will do, so all one can reliably say is what adventure riding means to them.

For me, and by extension for Road Dog Publications, adventure riding (and adventure travel, because adventure is not only experienced from the saddle of a motorcycle, although it is a wonderful way to adventure) is any kind of travel that pushes the boundaries of the rider. Because every rider has different limitations that also change over time, what makes riding an adventure is a constantly changing thing, from person to p...

May 4, 2017

Have this every happened to you? You're hanging out with other motorcycle riders, shooting the breeze, and the conversation turns to the pros and cons of overhead cams compared to push rods, or crank timing, or racing classes and their heroes, or 1950s' bikes and bike culture back in the “good old days,” or the merits of two-stroke versus four-stroke, or custom bike trends; and you're clueless on how to join in? If that's the case, get this book.

Discovering the Motorcycle covers all these things and the history, culture, and technical advances and failures of motorcycling, beginning at…well…the beginning, back in 1867. Let's just say, it's comprehensive.

Armand Ensanian, a fellow Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club member, has covered virtually every topic concerning our beloved...

September 8, 2016

It's really a simple idea. Imagine a quality bungee cord that adjusts to virtually any length and which can be adjusted for whatever tension desired. That's exactly what Rok Straps deliver. OK, Rok Straps will not adjust to any length but are available in 12” to 42” (5/8” wide, rated to 55 pounds) and 18” to 60” (1” wide, rated to 100 pounds)—enough range for pretty much any motorcycling needs.

Rok Straps on my Bonneville fully laden for touring with Rok Straps securing my dry bag, containing my sleeping bag and mat, and my tail bag.

 A Rok Strap, adjustable from 18” to 60”

Before I discovered Rok Straps, I used regular bungee cords for strapping down the loads on my motorcycles. I would carefully select lengths of cords suitable for each piece of luggage that had to be str...

June 28, 2016

I got up early and had coffee and more conversation with Julie, then loaded the couple bags I had removed from the Bonnie the afternoon before and headed back on to the road, but securing a promise from Julie that she'd come down sometime soon to visit us in Florida.

I hated riding on Interstates and especially I-75, the big highway that cut down the middle fo the Florida peninsula, so I headed east into Valdosta and caught US 41 instead, which ran through the countryside toward Jasper in the extreme northern part of Florida. There 41 intersected US 129, the same road that eventually climbed its way up to the Smokies and would become the Tail of the Dragon as it twisted and turned its way into Tennessee miles north of where I was. In north Florida the highway rolled south, cro...

June 27, 2016

I got up at seven and leisurely got the camp picked up and the bike loaded. Got on the road about 8:30 and found my way back to US 27. I thought about stopping to get a coffee but didn't see anything other than gas stop/convenience stores. I was hoping to find a little country diner somewhere, where I could sit inside in comfort and enjoy some coffee and maybe a light bite, so I kept heading south with my eyes open for the first opportunity.

US 27 continued south and passed I-20, the main east-west corridor out of Atlanta on its west side. Not long after I turned off 27 and tried to get on US 27Alt which headed more southeasterly toward Newnan south toward Greenville. Instead, at Newnan I got confused and ended up taking a bypass and the wrong way out of town on GA 34, which i...

June 26, 2016

I woke at 7 am and started gathering all my bags, which I had repacked the night before and brought them down to the bike. Many passing by commented on the load as I was re-securing all the RokStraps. I had brought the Bonnie to the now mostly empty circle in front of the inn to make loading easier, but it also put the whole operation in front of an audience.

I was about to leave, about 8:30, when my hotel room mate, Rob, told me Peter, the Events Coordinator and Vice-President of the club, had said to come back in and have breakfast with him and some others. I wasn't in a big rush, so I had more oatmeal and a couple more coffees, in addition to the two I had outside while packing the bike. Peter grabbed the bill before I could and told me it was the least he could do for the...

June 25, 2016

In the morning I repeated my breakfast of oatmeal and coffee and then walked outside to take a look at the many bikes gathered in the circle in front of the inn as they bike show registration got underway. There was a wide variety of vintage Japanese motorcycles arrayed around the circular driveway, from daily runners to showroom condition pristine examples of rare models. People lined up at the registration tent or rolled their beauties into place among the other entrants, while I snapped photos for use in the magazine.

More group rides departed early for the rolling Indiana countryside so they could return in time to get their bikes registered for the show before voting began at noon. I didn't join in, thinking the less miles I put on my ailing chain the better my chances wo...

June 24, 2016

 A bunch of vintage Hondas gathered on the circle for the upcoming bike show at the VJMC National Rally

Group bike rides came and went again while more and more bikes gathered in the circle for the next day's bike show. It was a relaxing day with not a lot to do between shooting different sub-events. 

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October 26, 2018

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