Monthly Archives: May 2012

Yes, Motorcycling is Dangerous!

From Dennis Kirk @

This is where I and most motorcyclist would say, “Yes, …” and list many everyday endeavors that are just as or more dangerous.

I have firsthand knowledge that motorcycling is dangerous. Anyone who rides and doesn’t think so is asking for trouble and not taking safety seriously. If you are hit by something or you hit something you will most likely get hurt and if either of you are moving very fast you will get hurt badly and most likely end up in a hospital. Been there done that (April 2008). I almost stopped riding after a day and a half stay in the hospital. No broken bones just internal bleeding and I hurt like heck and was sore for many weeks. Moments after crashing I was sure I had broken ribs and who knows what else and yes my life did flash before my eyes… Been there done that before too. “Can this be the way it all ends“, I ask myself.

I did think long and hard about riding again. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it anymore. My buddies encouraged me and I did miss riding but even after I healed physically I just wasn’t too sure. One of my concerns was my wife Janet. Even if I were to ride again I didn’t want her to worry when I was out riding alone and what if Janet had been on the bike when I had the accident? I don’t know what I would have done if she had been hurt or worse… So I struggled and I think Janet knew I was struggling about my decision. Then one day Janet said to me, “Ivan if you want to ride again, it’s OK with me and I will ride with you!”. Have I told y’all how wonderful a wife Janet is… Well, that should have told you right there. So having Janet’s blessing did help but I still had to work through all the issues. Time does heal physically and mentally and I cautiously resumed my riding.

After the accident I continually went over and over and over in my mind how this happened to me. There were so many “what ifs“… any one of them could have prevented my crash. I had ridden down to visit my parents and brother 200 miles from home. The night before I was to return home I did not sleep much at all, did not leave for home until later in the day, had the sun in my eyes, I was really fatigued, I panicked and hit the brake too hard and tried to steer around the car but… Anyway it happened and it hurt badly physically and mentally.

Because of all that has happened I have re-evaluated everything, I did and thought, about riding. Now I really know what can happen to you when you do crash. I am ever mindful of my physical and mental being and others riding with me. I try to stay rested and not over do it. I make a special effort to stay hydrated. Make sure I am aware of everything in my surroundings. Statically I know that the more vehicles there are around you the more likely you are to not be seen or just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When my ride requires traveling through large unfamiliar cities I try to avoid rush hour traffic or travel around it. Of course that is not always possible and I am extra careful when I do. I enjoyed riding the remote areas before my accident and I do even more now. I can handle the bike and roads but those pesky cars, trucks or whatever… that I’m not too crazy about.

Is anyone wondering what became of the bike I wrecked? My 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad was “totaled” by the insurance company and this a year (April 2007) after customizing the Nomad to my liking. Most all the damage was cosmetic but to have a bike shop replace all the parts and with the labor the total amount was greater than what the bike was worth. I put a pencil to the cost of the parts and realized I could buy the bike from the insurance company and fix it with what I got back from the insurance company. So the old Nomad was back on the road and we have taken many long trips on it afterward.

In October 2009 I bought a new 2008 Goldwing with ABS brakes. One of the big selling points of my decision to buy the Goldwing was the ABS brakes. No more braking too hard and causing a skid. After the crash, ABS brakes was ever on my mind and was the driving force behind me getting a new bike. It is amazing the difference ABS makes when stopping quickly. I can’t say enough about the control… If only I had ABS when I crashed… maybe the accident wouldn’t have happen or maybe it would have… anyway… God only knows but I’m sure it would have helped… those seconds trying to recover from an uncontrolled skid would have been used to avoid that car… Janet has even noticed and comment how much better I handle the Wing over the Nomad and that makes her even more at ease while riding… Oh, did I mention how lucky I am to have Janet as my wife!

Well, I know many other people who have been where I have been on this issue and I just thought I’d share my thoughts and hope it will help you work your way through your healing process. Ride safe…

My Favorite Links

These are some of my favorite links. I will add to them as time goes by… so check back from time to time… I hope you like them as much as I do.


People Sharing Jesus

This is the website of Crestview Baptist Church, our (Ivan & Janet’s) church home. If you do not have a church home we would like to invite you to attend with us through the internet. You can listen to each Sunday service by clicking on this link and you may listen to the sanctuary Bible study class also. The sermon and Bible study are usually posted by Sunday afternoon. Or if you are in the area you have a church home here. You may also want to checkout the sermon and Bible study archives on this page. Pastor Dan Wooldridge sermons have the Lords hand on them and Rev. Jack Phelps Bible studies are the most insightful I have ever been to and both are relative for today.

Reverendbiker’s Home Page

This is Reverend Jack Phelps’ (see above) website. To say he is an interesting guy would be an understatement. He a guy’s guy (taboos to prove it) and he’s not afraid to show it. If you haven’t checked out his website what are you waiting for. You won’t be sorry. And don’t forget to checkout the Bible Study he teaches here.


Blogs I Follow

Observations of a perpetual motorcyclist  is, as the name suggests, the observations of  David Cooper. David  has been a motorcyclist since age 3, and have been “on-road” since 17. David is in his 42nd year. David rides for pleasure as well as for transport, and teaches other people to ride as part of the NSW Roads and Traffic Authorities Compulsory Motorcycle Rider Training and Testing Scheme.



Ride Texas Magazine

This is a great magazine for information about riding in Texas and the surrounding area… and that is a big area. If you wonder, “What’s down that road?” RIDE TEXAS® is for you. Ride Texas has been exploring the back roads, byways and small towns of Texas and the neighboring states since 1998. It’s a quarterly travel journal for the type of travel you love, exploring on two wheels.

Road Runner Magazine

RoadRunner magazine is dedicated to serving active motorcycle enthusiasts by providing them with a comprehensive resource of national and international tours, exciting and picturesque new places to ride, and valuable information on new motorcycles and products that enhance their riding experience.

Rider Magazine

I like this magazine for a number of reasons, namely motorcycle reviews, gear reviews, touring stories, the photos, its blog and forum. Plus they send free stuff to review from time to time.


Motorcycle Gear

Since I got my Goldwing nearly everything I’ve added to the wing I have bought from Wing Stuff. I became a VIP member to get even better deals on their merchandise. I also like the reviews on the products as well a helpful information on installing the products.


Daughters’ Blog & Website

Coconut Mama

This is my oldest daughter’s blog. She like me suffered for years from really bad migraine headaches. She found that she could control hers by eating a gluten and dairy free diet. She has been collecting recipes that are gluten and dairy free and wants to share them with whomever would like to try them. Have a look and tell her I sent you.

Trifit XT

This is my other daughters (Youngest) website. She and her husband offer a coaching service specializing in endurance sports. They create custom plans to fit your personal needs and schedule.

Some of the sports they specialize in:

  • Triathlons- Sprint to Ironman distance
  • Duathlons- All Distances
  • Adventure Races- sprint to 24 hour races
  • Running events-any distance including adventure/mud runs
  • Cycling- Road racing, Time Trials, Mountain biking, and Bike Rides (MS 150)

They cater to all ability levels. From those aspiring to do their first race and finish to others looking to win their age group, category or accomplish elite status.


Graydon’s Critters

Artwork & Note cards for Nature Lovers… as seen through the eyes of a child. Graydon McKoy is 9 years old and is the owner, artist & reptile hunter. All proceeds go to sponsor a child in Niger, Africa and pay for a mission trip to Costa Rica, buy playground equipment for his church.

I was impressed and that is why his link is here. Have a look.

Customizing my 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

The hows and whys of customizing my 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

When I bought my 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad it had everything I wanted and thought I would ever need as a touring bike. It was a perfect fit for me. The Nomad had two large hard saddle bags, 1500 cc water-cooled V-twin engine that averaged 42 mpg giving it a 150 mile range. I added a sissy bar for my wife’s comfort and luggage rack to carry more. After riding a while I realized some of the things I thought “Nice but not necessary” soon became necessary. One thing lacking was a trunk and comfy back-rest for my wife. When traveling long distances of 1500+ miles and over several days you need more storage. We had learned a lot about packing for those trips but more storage would be nice. The sissy bar was lacking when staying in the saddle for hours and I wanted my wife to enjoy our trips as much as I do. My two riding buddies’ bikes had CB radios as well as AM/FM radios. They could talk about sights, the ride as well as communicate their needs when they needed to stop or whatever. I on the other hand was left to hand signals… It didn’t take long to see the need for a CB. The AM/FM radios were useful for getting local news and weather and just listening to tunes. I had thought about getting a Yamaha Venture, like my two buddies, but the Venture was just too top-heavy and the seat height was just too high for me. Pushing that beast back from a sloping parking spot would have been impossible for me. Because of the seat height and being top-heavy made it hard to get the bike off the side stand and almost impossible if the bike is parked on a slope to the left. I really liked my Nomad so I decided to customize the Nomad adding all “nice but not necessary” things. I searched the internet for after-market products. Eventually, I came up with some good solutions that worked well. Customizing the Nomad ended up being quite a project. But it was very satisfying to do because I ended up having to design a lot of mechanical and electrical parts. What I ended up adding to the Nomad was the following…

  1. A Radio Caddy batwing style fairing: This was a fairing from It looked similar in style to the Harley batwing fairing and it has a compartment which accepts a standard DIN-size radio and two 4″ speakers. That was fine for the marine Clarion AM/FM with a CD player but I needed to add the CB/Intercom combination (see below). My solution was to build another compartment from an electronic project box that screwed to the bottom AM/FM radio compartment.
  2. A CB/Intercom (rider/passenger) combination: I looked at several CB/Intercom solutions but I chose the one from The Air Rider CB has connections so the AM/FM/CD could be integrated through the CB so you could listen to AM/FM/CD through the helmet headsets. The CB mutes the AM/FM/CD or GPS when a CB transmission is sent or received.
  3. A trunk: I purchased the trunk from It to looks very much like the Harley Tour Pack trunk. I added a luggage rack to the top of the trunk for even more carrying capacity. I originally mounted the trunk on top of my existing luggage rack after removing the sissy bar. The problem with that was the trunk sat too high and looked homemade. While the trunk was being painted, I removed the original luggage rack and made my own mounting from 3/8” billet aluminum and polished it to a chrome like finish. This lowered the trunk and made it look more finished. I also moved the helmet hooks from the rear crash bars to the bottom of the trunk mount. Moving the helmet hooks made them more accessible and easier to attach the helmets.
  4. A Garmin GPS: I bought part of a motorcycle mount for the GPS and made the rest. The part of the mount I didn’t buy looked rather kludgy. What I made looks better. The voice commands of the GPS were integrated into the audio system.
  5. Driving lights: Driving/fog lights were mounted to the front crash bar. I bought the lights without the  mounting and I made my own mounts.
  6. CB  antennas: I made mounts  for the 2 CB antennas from billet aluminum and polished it to a chrome like finish.
  7. A fairing dash: There was a significant amount of exposed wiring from all the extra added electronics plus I need places to add switches. The solution was a dash. The dash  would allow me to mount switches for the driving lights, and a switch for switching from the external speakers to the helmet headset. I added an  extra switch, to fill in a empty space, to integrate the garage door opener. Because I will eventually add a trailer hitch I added a switch for the future trailer running lights, which also integrates the driving lights switch. I added an indicator LED for the driving lights. I moved the turn signal, neutral, and high beams indicators from the gas tank to up on the dash. To fill in space and kind of finish out the dash I added an analog  clock and thermometer.
  8. Cruise control: I found plans to add a cruise control on the internet and planned to add this later.

Customizing my 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

Testing wiring harness and components

Customizing my 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

Installing components and wiring harness into the fairing.

Customizing my 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

Fairing mounted

Customizing my 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad

Customized and on the road to Big Bend

There were a number of electrical issues that came up but I was able to find solutions on the internet in a timely manner to resolve them. Most of them had to do with noise in the audio. I was to have all the above finished sometime in January and ready for our ride to Big Bend in April but because of problems with the painter (fairing and trunk) I did not get the fairing and trunk back until a couple of days before our trip in April. I got my bike together but I had planned on taking all these additions out on a shakedown run long before the trip. I was very uneasy about taking all the additions on this long ride. I got everything back from the painter late Wednesday. I spent a few hours Wednesday night getting a few things done in preparation for mounting everything and all day Thursday getting everything put together. I did run into several problems while assembling it all but I figured out some workarounds. I ended up mounting the GPS in a different place than I had planned but I think where I mounted it is better than the original place. I had a wire to the driving lights come off a terminal so the driving lights didn’t come on once I got everything together. That would not have been a big deal except the fairing was a real pain to mount with the dash I had made. There were 2 bolts  that were very difficult to reach because the dash made it hard to get my hand into position. The 2nd time I tried the driving lights still didn’t work because I put the wire on the wrong terminal. Fortunately that terminal wasn’t connected to anything. Third time was a charm. Friday my brother Gary got here before lunch so he helped me set the SWR on the CB. The rest of the crew didn’t get here until about 8:00 PM and by then a thunderstorm was blowing in. They managed to stay just ahead of the storm until they got here. They had trailered their bikes from Alabama (950 miles). When we were unloading the bikes from the trailer it started to pour down and we got soaked. Everyone pulled their bikes into the garage. The four bikes barely fit. The next morning it was windy and cold when we left on our trip to Big Bend. Amazingly everything worked very well. Janet liked the Mustang back-rest with arm rest and we both liked being able to communicate with the other three bikes. It was a great ride without these additions but an even better ride with them. All in all, I think I hit a home run.