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Another BMR (Big Money Rally) comes to a close

Well, I simply didn’t have the time this year to make the most of the Big Money Rally, the only motorcycle rally I have ever ridden, but still I was able to finish the rally and even get into the “BRONZE” point values! Yippie for me! 😉

I gained NO points for this shot. Shame on me for not getting up on the sidewalk and parking closer to the bonus or for getting more creative using the mirror in my tank bag. Oh well!

This one worked out a bit better as I did get the points, but you can see that not all the bonus points are as easy as they seem. This fire department was almost unreadable!

Aside from trying to purchase a part time home in New Mexico and failing and riddled, like many with some personal problems, we are plodding through the mire. I did manage to get out for a few rides since January, but nothing like the mileage I covered last year. Many of my friends, like Tyler Risk have really been dedicated to riding in general. She not only created a fun filled BMR category of movie sites, but she herself rode thousands of miles bringing in the “GOLD” catagory, which is quite a feat. In the next few days I’ll be posting all about Tyler, her CanAm Spyder and the many (S)miles she has ridden on her own amazing machine as well as some rental beasts!

Though I have missed riding the miles, I have indeed found some local color. I did a first trip to Locke, CA which is only a few miles from my home. It’s amazing what you can find when you open your eyes! 😉

Instead of riding my motorbike, this was my chariot for Locke. 😉

Hands down my favorite shot of the day!

Remember these?

This had a small sign attached saying, “Neighbor Watch”.

The studio with the paintbrushes in front also had this mailbox.

The well-known bar for bikers, that I have never visited, including today.

And finally the last of the local “color”.

I hope you that are reading this have gotten in some fine rides this season. I keep in mind that it isn’t yet over!! Cheers to you all!!

Nolan N104 Helmet Review


I’m finally getting around to a helmet review of my new Nolan N104.

First off, I have to say what a HUGE improvement this helmet is over the Nolan N103. The shape alone was enough to draw me to spend the money for a new helmet as my N103 never did fit my head quite right. So, we’ll begin with the shape.

The Nolan N104 is designed for a more OVAL head shape. What this means is, if your head is more shaped like an egg then this is the helmet for you. I think the vast majority of people have a more round shaped head so much so that most helmet makers create their designs around the “round” model. Some helmets are considered “neutral” neither round nor oblong, but a sort of generic shape. This type of shape fits many riders and most of them do not have trouble with this fit, however some will find that their helmet creates “hot spots” or areas where the helmet rubs. This is from a poorly fitted helmet. My Nolan N103 was one of those. I had a constant hot spot on the front of my forehead, so much so that I finally stopped on day and trimmed off a bit of the padding, which I do NOT endorse. Not only will you ruin your helmet warranty, but you could also compromise the protection. I only made this drastic move when I had the headache from hell from the hot spot created by my poorly fitted Nolan on a long distance tour. In other words, it was trim it or buy a new helmet. Well, I did both!! My N104 is considered between neutral and narrow so it is perfectly designed for my head shape. Fast forward…

I read lots of reviews on the Nolan N104 before jumping in, due to the fit of my 103, however after reading that the design was created for a more oval shaped head, I ran out and tried one on and then proceeded to purchase it. I’m very glad that I did.

So, it fits me better but what are the other kudos? Here’s the short answer.
1) Outstanding visibility from a huge front eyeport.
2) Decent ventilation but seems to work best in clean air. I keep threatening to remove my windscreen that I don’t love anyway.
3) Locking mechanism keeping the helmet in the open position if an open-face helmet is desired. (I NEVER use it in this position)
4) Awesome DARK pull-down interior sun visor, although there are some complaints about the larger nose hole section. I have no issues with this.
5) Though this helmet is quieter than the earlier N103, I still use ear protection
6) Reasonable weight for a flip-face helmet.

You get all those features at a reasonable price too. Most of the N104s are sold between $300 and $450 depending upon where you shop. I found mine for an awesome deal so shop around.

Here are some pix of mine with its lovely black and white design.

Nice padding…

Helmet position lock and sun visor control

Fit on me…I bought a medium. I wore it in the store for a bit of time, however after a few months wear, I probably could have gone with a small. I also went by Nolan’s size chart, but if you like to have the chipmunk sort of squishy-face fit, I’d buy one size smaller than you think you’ll need.

Is it time to replace your “old” helmet? Has the safety of your helmet been compromised by a crash no matter how minor or old age. If so, go out and try on some new helmets and see what you like. I can’t recommend this Nolan N104 highly enough. It’s a great helmet! 😉

Last journey with a friend…

Many of you already know that I lost my riding buddy and pal Syd FishWitch Sheppard on January 21. She died in her sleep at the tender age of 58. Yesterday I said an official goodbye to my pal. Though many of you didn’t know her, I thought I would share her.

If you haven’t already seen this video, it was what won her a one year lease on a Victory Cross Country, she called Skully. She has been riding her Victory Kingpin called Fishuz for the last several years and she had 155K on Syd Fishuz. :) I helped her with this video and we did a lot of laughing during the filming, done by another riding pal.

I met Papa-Ken, one of my oldest rider pals from pashnit. yesterday in Roseville to pay a last tribute to our riding pal, Sydney. The service though not well attended was heartfelt by the words shared between friends and PK did her proud with some beautiful thoughts and well spoken poem. I didn’t realized Ken and Syd had never met, but it seems Syd, with all her friends, found her ties mostly online never meeting many of her cyber riding buddies in person.

For those of us that did know her, we were treated to a person, full of life, brimming with a sharp wit and keen sense of humor. Syd had no delusions about who she was, and she totally accepted herself and her strengths and weakness. She was a fully autonomous female who found joy in her own convictions and surrounded herself with her online pals whether cruising forums or playing her online word games. And when she did meet others, she was the sort of person never to be forgotten. One loved Syd immediately with her endearing smile and larger than life persona. I know that I will miss her and our lively late night telephone conversations.

This is a shot taken of Syd on one of our rides. I rarely rode with Syd because she usually had an entourage of cruiser riders in accompaniment and I had my staunch “no group rides” belief and a more brisk pace, but I cherished the rides where it was just me and Syd.

I rode to Roseville, because it seem appropriate and met with her cousins before the ceremony so I could pick up Syd, though her ashes were divided three ways, the best part will be hanging with me until I am able to get out and place her on some of her favorite roads.

Here are her cousins
L To R
Patrick from Bakersfield who rides a HD.
Linda, wife of Darryl who wants a CanAm
Darryl, who took the time out of his busy life to take care of all of Sydney’s loose ends, and believe me there were several. He last rode a BMW RT and is considering the purchase of one.

Darryl sent me this fun photo taken about 5 years ago. Prior to that he hadn’t seen Syd in 30 years!

Right now, Syd’s beautiful and beloved KP is in storage. Somehow that seems a crime.

I came across this photo that Syd sent to me in 2007. I don’t even remember what this was about exactly, but I can rather imagine knowing her wicked sense of humor.

There was about a 10 minute tribute to Syd which was just lovely. It included the two big tribute rides honoring her, her winning American Road Trip video and some beautiful stills of Syd. It was quite moving.

Gorgeous flowers from Victory friends with loving sentiment.

Papa-Ken and me.

I had to chuckle at where PK parked here…note the sign, and then I realized I too could probably park there! :bigwow

I felt some closure finally, to this seemingly endless situation surrounding her death. Syd…you left us with a mystery, just like a classic film star. I love you, girl. 😉

Now let’s ride together one final time.

Syd was a frequent contributor to my blog and one such post can be found here offering advice to new riders…it’s priceless!

A local shake out the cobwebs ride…

I don’t know if you have noticed, but the last few weeks I have been off the radar. My youngest grandson has been diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia a condition where the bone marrow does not replace the necessary platelets or blood cells. This is a very rare disease and not easily treated. He’s 6 and a half and has spent the last several weeks getting transfused in an Alaska hospital, where they went for summer vacation. *sigh*…it’s a serious and very real event. The solution may be a bone marrow transplant, if his brother is a matching donor. There is alot riding on this very fact. Anyway, if treatment is successful, he will likely be cured, or at least leading a more normal life. All of this has me worried sick. So yesterday, even though my head was swimming in recent diagnosis, I felt a little local ride might blow out the cobwebs by demanding I concentrate on something else.

My grandboys, earlier this year.

Ok, where to go, that will make me do some “real” riding yet get me home after a few hours? The answer, up into the foothills, away from traffic to some pretty darned good riding.

Getting out of the Sacramento basin is always jammed with traffic so I opted for the side streets which takes a bit longer, but after so much time off the bike, it in the end gets my skill level back up where it needs to be before taking on the twisties. It was a bit boring, but with my ipod playing my favorite songs, I managed to key into a rhythm with the flow of traffic. Once past Auburn, I was in the zone and a very favorite little jaunt heading to Georgetown, CA.

Thanks to google, I was able to get a couple of road shots. I didn’t bring my old point and shoot intentionally, so I was more likely to simply ride!!

As you can see the road is covered in tar snakes, which on this hot afternoon, makes for some “ah ha” moments.

A quick stop in Stumpy Meadows for water and a stretch before continuing on my all time favorite road, Wentworth Springs.

It wouldn’t be a ride unless I took at least one self-portrait to show I was really there! 😉

Yep, a well shot sign is a sign of the times…

Wentworth Springs road which has wonderful pavement, and for all practical purposes, is like my own private racetrack on this day! Oh, I LOVE this road!!
Sorry, there was no way I was stopping for photos!!

Icehouse Road had lots of traffic getting ready for a holiday weekend and it was similar by the time I reached Pollock Pines on Hwy 50. I decided I’d go down Starks Grade off Sly Park Rd, for an escape from humanity. It was perfect.

The apocalypse…

Onward to Plymouth where the temperatures were rising to invite one into the very pits of hell or so it seemed.

The reward when arriving home, was worth every moment of riding in the hot afternoon sun.

Today’s 175 mile ride has succeeded in providing me with some stress relief and it reminded me why I love riding. I needed this to make me rekindle the passion I have deeply felt about motorcycling.


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A clear your mind, sort of ride…


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