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Battling the elements

 

Seems the riding season is getting off to a slow start this year as the temps continue to take dives and snow will not go away. It’s a lovely 35 degrees as I write this and it’s May. Donning extra layers is okay, but the sun on bare skin sure feels better.

As you prepare for trips this summer, it’s wise to buy that sunscreen for the saddlebag now. I always carry some spray on waterproof sun block. If you’re applying it, make sure you’re downwind of bikes as it does leaves a nasty residue that I am sure your biker buds will not appreciate. Yep, learned that the hard way. Sun-blocks with a minimum of 15 SPF are recommended to prevent early signs of aging and skin cancer.

I added a half face shield with tint protection to my half helmet this year, after a lady rider recommended the extra wind and sun protection for our faces. You have the option of clear, smoke, or fully tinted shields that often are mirrored. I opted for a smoke shield, as I can wear the additional glasses to adjust to noonday glare or evening dusk light. Depending on what you ride and updraft, the visor is often sufficient for windbreak for your eyes. It is nice to not have to wear glasses when you are on a long trip. Eyes need protected from the sun too as the exposure can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration. Prices vary from $20 for basic shields to upwards of $120 for transition shields.

It seems our cruise-ins were a bit of a bust in April because of our unpredictable weather. Willow Springs cancelled its cruise in for May due to inclement weather. Sue Daniels was the only cruise-in coordinator who had a good evening for cruising at her Licking site. It was well attended and riders were able to connect after a long winter as well as experience new rides by the Harley Davidson folks at Lebanon who brought some demo rides to try. We are hoping for some nicer evenings. Don’t forget the Thursday night cruise-ins, April through September – first is Willow Springs, second is Salem, third is Houston and last is Licking. All are at 6:30 p.m.

If you don’t ride, come anyway and fall in love with the machines.

Let’s hope for warmer temps and brighter days, and we will see you down the road. Keep in mind: when you are riding lead, don’t spit.

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, Mo., who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall. Email kyorkrn@ymail.com.

 

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Respects and salutes; cruise-in season starts

On Saturday, April 13, 96 bikes rode through Houston for the 4th annual Mindy’s Run.

The ride began in West Plains, and riders enjoyed a 100-mile jaunt using Houston as a fuel stop along the way. Mindy Hughston was the wife of a Howell County Sheriff’s Department employee who succumbed to cancer. In her memory, riders coordinate this annual fundraiser to assist other persons with expenses who are suffering from terminal disease. This year, a youngster from West Plains with leukemia was the recipient. Riders ended back in West Plains with an auction and dinner.  Bikers have the biggest hearts. Bravo!

Did you ever wonder about the “biker salute?”  The cool stiff-armed lowering of the left arm when you meet another biker on the road that signifies respect. Its origins are from the days of the knights and horseback. When the riders would approach one another they would lower their joust or sword to the side as a sign of friendly salute and respect. I have found that as a new rider, I saluted everyone because I thought it was cool. It was 2007, and as a lady rider I found that I got about 99.9-percent of my salutes returned. After riding a few years, I have noticed some riders either won’t wave to other riders on certain brands of bikes or won’t wave or salute at all. That saddens me.

There is no correct way to wave to one another, but truly the open road mentality and the adventure seeking nature of the biker is one to salute and respect regardless of what type he rides. Often we get fisted arms out of pick up trucks with biceps flexed as a symbol of power. I personally like the two finger peace sign as I pass another biker. Butch Spacek is a local rider from the Summersville area. You may have seen him with his ZZ Topp beard riding a red Electra Glide. He looks like he’s standing up in the seat, but since he is 6-foot-6, he can’t help it.

Butch’s salute is one-finger – the first one on the left hand at the end of a four-foot long left arm as he points up to the Creator.  Butch rides across our state to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with prisoners. So, regardless of the ride, the way you salute, remember the air is all the same!

Willow Springs recently had its first cruise-in at Pizza Americana on Main Street. It was pretty cool as the restored theater shined down neon lights on the bikes parked beneath. Tom and Marsha Herndon are coordinating this event and are excited to add some prizes and games next month. Come out to support them on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.  It’s great to get to see other riders from all the areas come together for camaraderie and good eats!

The recent Salem cruise-in was a cold one!  I have to admit, Jay and I each rode two wheels of a four-wheeled Buick down to Salem to support them on their first cruise in of the year. We picked up a couple of leather-clad bikers (Eddie and Kelly Williams) along the way and we were off to Dent County for ice cream at Scoops. If you have never been there, you are missing some massive mounds of sweet frozen delight. I saw a banana split that evening that was a foot long – no kidding!  They are located at Highways 19 and 32. Salem has a cruise-in at 6:30 p.m. every second Thursday, so come out and join Annette Chervenak, as she does a grand job at her cruise-ins monthly.

Our first cruise-in of the year here in Houston was Thursday, April 18. This season, we will gather for cruise-ins on Steffens Street in front of the Side Street Bar and Grill. Consistency is key to these events, and we will have them rain or shine.

Kicking off our cruise-ins this year, we had guests from the Christian Motorcycle Association. Our 50/50 raffle this month was given to the Pulaski County family of Suzie Ham, who was a treadle machine operator who set up her sewing machine at rallies and biker gatherings. She had sewn on thousands of patches over the years. Her family mourns her loss and is burdened with large medical and funeral expenses. Local Pulaski County Veterans MC had a benefit ride to help with expenses on April 14. Each month, we will choose a cause to donate the 50/50 raffle to, so please be on the look out for ways to help others. This year we will also be adding awards for each month to the farthest traveled and biker spirit award.  It is a fun way to blow off steam and be a kid again.

Sue Daniels has invited Lebanon Harley to demo at her cruise-in in Licking tonight (April 25). The Licking cruise-ins are always the last Thursday of every month. Come out to the Sonic and enjoy the music, prizes, and rides on the Harleys.

Friends, we hope to see all of you on the road. Be safe, and remember, God did not create metal so man could make paperclips. Get on that iron steed and ride!

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall.  Email kyorkrn@ymail.com.

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Bikers – get ready to roll

 

Have you heard the rev of the engines?  Motorcycles are awakening from a winter slumber.

Parked Motorcycle Syndrome (PMS) is about to come to an end as the daylight hours increase along with our temperatures. No one hates winter like a biker, but eBay sure helps. Shopping for the right bling and ways to improve your ride are great activities for this time of year – that is if you have the money!

Motorcycling generates money – big money.  I researched the financial impact that the Sturgis rally in Sturgis, S.D., had last year.  “Total tax revenue so far during the rally period is $1,183,042,” according to the South Dakota Department of Revenue in a press release dated Aug. 24, 2012.  The same press release noted that combined gross vendor sales at the North and South Hills totaled $16,241,074. This was the reported take from 1,000 vendor’s sales; cash only sales are likely not included.  Amazing that there is that much money to be circulated! And that is not including the motels and gas stations, and restaurants that also benefited.  Granted, the Sturgis rally has been in place for more than 70 years. Support your local rallies and cruise ins as they truly do add to the local economy and all have to start somewhere!

Kick off the riding season by attending a local cruise in! Cruise Ins are not just for riders, but anyone who has an interest in motorcycles, fun, and food.  We like to say “we ride to eat and eat to ride.” Cruise Ins start in April with the first being on Thursday April 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Willow Springs at Pizza Americana on Main Street. Salem will be the site of the second Thursday of the month cruise in, at the Scoops Ice Cream shop on April 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Our own Houston’s Downtown Motorcycle Cruise In will be 6:30 p.m. April 18.

We will be on Steffens Street in front of Side Street Grill as Twist and Shake ice cream shop is closed until May. The folks at Side Street were gracious to provide food and beverage specials for the evening, as well as their great hospitality. After the cruise in, check out their grade-A dance floor, pool tables and shuffleboard.

Licking’s cruise in is always the last Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Sonic.

These local events annually run from April to September, and we would love to see you there. It has been a long winter, and we sure miss our friends and family in the bike community.

As we hit the roads, remember to realize that the drivers do not always see bikers.  As it has been a couple months since we were on the road, they are even more unaccustomed to seeing us out there.

Follow these tips to stay visible on the roads:

––Buffer a safety zone around your bike. Leave space for maneuvering when a driver doesn’t see you. Try to stay out of  drivers’ blind spots.

––Although we are all fans of black apparel, brighter colors are the more visible. There’s nothing like bright yellow, white or red – or anything but black – to keep you seen by traffic and drivers of cars in their peripheral vision. Add reflective strips to garments and use your brake lights to catch a driver’s eyes approaching from behind you.

––Try using your hands when possible to signal to drivers when you’re turning – don’t laugh, and don’t use your hands for any obscene gestures! Sometimes they don’t notice turn signals and it’s better to add the lifting your arm up and do the traditional hand signal for turning.

––Use your headlight high beam when it’s safe. A lot of people install running lamps on their motorcycles to stay visible. The lamps that come on your motorcycle out of the box are not necessarily the brightest or the most comprehensive, so adding extra lights to your bike will make you more visible.

––Use your horn. Often drivers may not see you, but they will hear you.

Be safe my friends. Winter is nature’s way of telling you to polish. Keep the shiny side up and we will see you down the road.

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall.  Email kyorkrn@ymail.com.