May 5, 2011
All the News that Didn't Fit
June 20 is, officially, Ride to Work Day. So, put away the video game controller, leave the SUV in the garage, and ride that piece of garage candy to work. As the RidetoWork.org press release puts it, "The date marks the twentieth annual worldwide ‘Ride to Work Day’ event. An estimated one million riders become two-wheeled commuters on that day to help demonstrate that riding is an efficient, economical form of personal transportation. Participant-riders are of all ages, occupations and from all walks of life." Even you.
85-90% of the Race
Nothing in motorsports is more exciting than the gate dropping at a motocross. Honda Powersport's YouTube site has a new video called "The Art of the Holeshot." Honda riders Trey Canard, Josh Grant and Ashley Fiolek tell you how to get moving "when it's go time" and how to look cool while spraying champagne on the trophy boys and girls afterwards. In fact, the whole Honda Powersports YouTube page is worth checking out: http://www.youtube.com/user/HondaPowersportsUS.
In the "Coincidental? I don't think so" category, on March 3rd Zero Motorcycles received a $25 million cash infusion from it's principal investor, Invus, LP. Invus has been Zero's cash daddy since 2008. On April 5, Zero Motorcycles announced that its "long-time CEO," Gene Banman, was "retiring from the operational management of the company." I supposed 4 years is a "long-time" for an electric motorcycle company. Banman said, "I plan to get some R&R and travel, and then do some part time work with non-profits." He will continue to be a board member. I smell the acrid resin odor (similar to cooked brakes) of a golden parachute.
On the non-financial side, Zero announced it will have an entry in the 2011 AMA MiniMoto SX on May 6 in Las Vegas, advertised as "the world’s biggest mini bike event." Zero's electric motorcycles will be taking on the world's fastest 150cc gas-powered motorcycles.
Had to Lay 'er Down
Eight riders (reportedly all were on Harley-Davidson motorcycles) were traveling in a group on Kentucky's Interstate 65 when they approached a road construction area and the scene of an earlier crash. The police reports stated that "the ones in the back didn't recognized that traffic had slowed. They had to lay down their bikes to avoid a rear-end collision." One rider, Jeremy D. Byrd, 33, of Dayton, Ohio, was airlifted suffering from life-threatening injuries. Two others, Peter A. Sendlbeck and Christopher Kauffman were taken to a hospital where Sendlbeck was treated and Kauffman refused treatment.
While the Kentucky police appear to believe that falling down is a valid emergency tactic, most of us suspect that tires and properly applied brakes will stop a moving vehicle faster than sliding metal bits. A more accurate crash description would have been "they panicked, grabbed their brakes, and fell down."
Even LEGO Hates Us!
LEGO Creator has included a motorcycling bad guy in the "Prisoner Transport" toy set. The set includes a "police officer and robber . . . [a] motorcycle, road block, money sack and money brick. I'd be ok with the concept, except the robber is riding a dirt bike. Whoever heard of a dirtbag dirt biker? Come on LEGO, get your stereotypes right.
The wizards from Parker Brothers Choppers have assembled the nuttiest bit of garage candy yet. It's based on the Huffy Green Machine but it's a lot sillier. This goofy Big Wheel has a 45-inch front wheel and an 80hp Harley Evo power plant. Jeff Halverson, Parker Bro's nuttiest employee, took the thing up to 50mph and survived. The company is looking to get into Guinness Book of World Records with the world’s largest wheel on a trike.
The French Take A Crashing Course
France, a country already losing its patience with motorcyclists, saw a 49% jump in motorcycle deaths in March 2011 (compared to March of last year). 2.7% of all vehicle deaths were motorcyclists. Keep that up and French motorcyclists will have to do their riding in Quebec.
Jesse James Quits
Back in 2009, bad boy Jesse James saw the coming of the Honda Fury and sensed the beginning of the end. His exact words were, "I think it signifies the end of the whole chopper craze.” After having his day in the media sun, West Coast Choppers closed its doors and James is down to his eco-burger joint, Cisco Burgers. James said, “I guess I’m better at making burgers than I was at making motorcycles” and we can't disagree with that. Supposedly, he has 25 burger franchises in the works.