Tag Archives: motorcycle tips

“That’s For People Who Can’t Read Maps!”

On the Texas Independence Trail

On the Texas Independence Trail

Map of Day 2 Ride Route

On our “National Park Motorcycle Ride” in July we stopped for gas in Gardiner, Montana.  When I started my bike the GPS announced “Turn right in fifty feet”. The woman filling up her car on the other side of the pump I was at exclaimed… “What was that!” The guy filling his truck behind her exclaimed…  “That’s for people who can’t read maps!”

To be honest I was a little annoyed… and I wanted to say something back. Fortunately, I couldn’t think of a good come back. It was probably a good thing I had left well enough alone. Thinking back I know there was a time I might have said the same thing. I didn’t have a GPS and I couldn’t figure out why I needed one. I probably would have never bought one for myself… What changed that you ask? My lovely wife bought me one for Christmas! When I got it I smiled and said thank you… thinking I would probably never use it… Besides it was just some fancy electronic gadget that I would have to learn to use. Yeah, it had only a few buttons… buttons that did many things and to know what those things are require reading the user’s manual…  I know some people consider me a bit of a geek but I, like most men, don’t like reading user’s manuals… and besides reading a map was much easier… right.

How did I end up learning to use it? To make a long story short, shortly after I got my GPS, I was put in a situation where I had to use it… In a city I did not know and I needed to get to many places. The GPS got me to those places without a hitch. Now the GPS is an invaluable tool of my travels.

Now back to the guy who said… “That’s for people who can’t read maps!” This is how I might have responded to him and other people like my former self.

Can you get this from a map?

  1. Find motels near you.
  2. Location of the nearest gas station.
  3. Restaurants nearby.
  4. Hospitals
  5. Shopping
  6. Parks, museums etc.

Can a map give you real-time information as you drive? Like…

  1. How far it is to your next turn.
  2. How far it is to your destination.
  3. Whether you will be exiting right or left from a freeway
  4. Does it give lane assignments for proper exiting?
  5. If you miss a turn can a map get you back on course (without stopping)?

Actually, to use a GPS effectively you need to know how to read a map. You must be able to read a map to plan routes… to add via points and add roads of your choosing and not just go from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. A GPS is just a tool just as maps are tools. A GPS is just a better tool…

The other advantage of using a GPS is you don’t have to read it as you are driving or riding. Reading a map while riding is hard… Unless you know the route by heart you will need to refer to the map. Reading those little road names are not easy and distracting…

Now I’ve got that off my chest… What can you add to this?

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

What Is Going On With My Motorcycle’s Front Tire?

Front tire wear

Front tire wear

What is going on with my front tire (tyre)? I checked my tires (tyres) a few weeks ago and found my front tire was wearing just on the left side. The right side had a lot of tread but the left side tread was gone! What could cause that? It looked like a major problem to me. I have never had a tire wear that way before. My first thought was to take my bike to the dealer to have them check it out but I didn’t have time. A week or so went by and it was still bugging me. I thought I would google it and see what would come up. WOW, a lot came up. There are a lot of riders out there with the same problem asking the same question. I found a lot of answers but some of them were pretty crazy… Below are some of the answers…

  • Something else that affects left side tire wear is a lot or riders cruise with only their right hand on the bars. The left hand sitting in your lap or resting on the tank. This causes you to subconsciously shift your body weight slightly to the left to compensate for holding onto the right side of the bike.
  • Were you ONLY turning left? Not a good thing at all.  Left fork and left rear shock on different settings/ fluid levels than the right?
  • You may want to watch how you load the saddle bags, if your heavy on the right side you will tend to lean left to keep going straight….
  • Actually, how badly crowned are the roads where you live? Here in Maine, we have some roads at, if they got more crowned, you could confuse them for the roofs of houses. That can (and does) cause uneven wear on tires. (will cause a little less than normal wear on the right, a LOT more wear on the left)

This is what I believe to be the correct answer or reason for the left side tire wear. Last September we did a ride with thousands of curves. Lately, we have done a lot of rides with a lot of curves… more curves than normal… That’s normal for around where I live. You folks who live in countries that ride on the wrong (left 😉 ) side of the road may notice the same tyre (tire) wear but on the right side. The short answer… Each left hand turn is longer than a right hand turn because we ride on the right side of the road and most people are more comfortable taking left hand turns and will ride more aggressively. In other words you are riding longer distances making left turns and you are riding harder… I did find several posts stating this same reason. This post goes into great detail about all types of tire wear. If you have a tire wear question, this post probably answers it. Here is another post worth looking at… Problem solved… answered… Ride safe…

Stuck At A Light On your Motorcycle?

Have you ever been stuck at a light on your motorcycle? You are the only one there at the light. There are no cars just you. The light doesn’t change and you wait and wait. So you have a choice: You can sit, potentially for hours, waiting until a “real” motorist pulls up behind you to trigger it, or you can just throw caution to the wind and run the light. You’ll wait the first few times it happens… and it will happen… even though you have the patience of a saint, you’re eventually going to run a lot of lights.

Most red lights work one of two ways: They’re timed or they’re triggered. The triggered lights usually work on an induction loop. Inductive loops work by detecting a change of inductance. A traffic light sensor uses the loop in that same way. It constantly tests the inductance of the loop in the road, and when the inductance rises, it knows there is a car waiting! If you look you can see these inductive loops in the pavement. They are usually rectangular and sometimes circular but they are there and can be seen.

There are products sold for motorcycles that claim they will trigger inductive loop sensor traffic lights. They may work… I don’t really know. I haven’t tried any of them but here is a trick I’ve learned that seems to work just fine. When I have done this, I have never got stuck at a traffic light triggered by an induction loop sensor.

The trick is to stop over one of the edges of the inductive loop. I always look for the loop when stopping and do this. So far it has never failed. Give it a try…

For other Tips check these out…

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…