Iconic North American Rides

Blue Ridge Parkway- North Carolina and Virginia

This mountain route must be on every biker’s to-do list. Starting in Virginia in the north and passing by battlefields of the Civil War, it winds its way through picturesque farmlands and forests. On the way south and to higher ground, and into the Great Smoky Mountains, The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wondrous winding road with plenty of bike-loving curves and twists. With the low-speed limit, the ride allows bikers to enjoy the passing scenery to Asheville in North Carolina. For those with more time on their hands, an extension to the trip is the detour of 105 miles Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park.

Natchez Trace Parkway – Alabama and Mississippi

This route takes riders from Natchez to Nashville, from Mississippi to Tennessee. This road is safer for bikers as no commercial vehicles are permitted and traffic is light, and the lack of stoplights and signs make for smooth, comfortable rides. The surface of the road is well maintained with few “surprises” allowing for a smooth, kidney saving ride! This 444-mile trip passes by magnificent scenery, farmlands and forests.

At places of interest, there are view sites and rest spots and toilet facilities at convenient intervals. There is no shortage of filling stations, shops and eating places. Off-shoot by roads can take the interested history biker past Victorian and pre-war homes, and Civil War battle sites and for those who are seeking a leisurely ride there are many places to spend the night in comfort.

Pacific Coast Highway

This ride skirts the Pacific Coast, often along the cliff edges and fascinating scenery with magnificent beaches with basking marine mammals and forests of ancient redwood trees, with beautifully winding roads with enough s-bends and twists to please the free-spirited rider! This section of the route covers 120 miles of the Highway.

As this road is busy over weekends and holidays, riders must choose their dates wisely for the safest days. For riders wanting a longer ride, The Pacific Highway 1 is 655 miles of scenic wonders. Starting at the Golden Gate Bridge, this is also as wonderful as the shorter ride, with scenery that is out of this world! For those taking a slow trip, there are many facilities to suit everyone looking for a place to a sleepover.

The Grand Staircase

Starting in Panguitch in Utah and riding US Route 89 South, and on to Route 12, this 125-mile ride should be taken slowly and restfully. There are awe-inspiring scenes to please the discerning tourist past Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National park where one will find the fantastic Petrified Forest State Park to please those in the ancient past of North America. The arid landscape is beautiful in itself with buttes, cliffs and canyons there for the viewing.

The Hells Angels

Fingered as a criminal club, some belief The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club to be involved in drug distribution and to have connections with the Mexican drug lords. The bikers ride, mostly, Harley-Davidsons. Founded just after the second world war, returning members of the armed forces looked for a hobby to relieve the adrenaline rush they had experienced on the battlefield. They found this rush by riding free and wild on their motorcycles.

As the Hells Agents culture spread worldwide, they were linked, wrongly or rightly, to organised crime and some countries such as Germany, banned specific chapters. Holland went as far as prohibiting the club altogether.

Clubs started up all over the USA, and some members were unaware of the other clubs around the States. The Hells Angels of San Francisco were founded in 1953 is well aware of the other Hells Angels Clubs from the 1940s. Other crimes the Hells Angels are accused of include extortion, prostitution, and, of course, drug dealing. Members have always denied these accusations.

The club’s colours are red and white with the emblem being a winged skull. There are many other badgers worn by other chapters with different meanings. After being banned in Holland, the Angels closed all their affiliated clubs.

The Bandidos

Started in 1996 the Bandidos have spread to 14 countries. The government of the USA suggested that they are an organised crime gang. The home is in Texas, and they are accused of smuggling drugs into the USA. Their clubs throughout the world are similarly accused.

The Outlaws

A pre-war club, the Outlaws, are thought to be the oldest bike club in the world. They are believed to be in control of drugs, leaving the USA into Canada. Enemies of the Hells Angels, there is an on-going fight for control of their territories.

The Pagans

A smaller club which started as a law-abiding group, it was taken into criminal activities in the 1970s by the then leader. Based on the Eastern Coast of the USA, it is thought that the Pagans have connections to other shady clubs and also with the Italian Mafia. Members of the club have been accused of various crimes including murder and thought to have a considerable stash of automatic firearms.

The Hells Angels and the Pagans have crossed swords and do not see eye to eye, and the Pagans have been accused of murdering their Vice-President in 2005. Some members are affiliated to neo-Nazi clubs and sport Nazi swastikas and other emblems on their leathers.

The Mongols

The Mongols are one of the smaller biker clubs in the USA, but their members have instilled fear in anyone who opposes them. Their territory is Southern California which they took from the Hells Angels in the 1980s. Known for their quick retaliation and harshness, they tolerate no opposition and deal with their enemies without fear. The Hells Angels have never been able to take the area back. The club is in an alliance with Hispanic gangs, and the target of their anger is African Americans.

Black Bike Clubs of the USA

In 1959 Tobie Gene Livingston started a Harley-Davidson Club, the East Bay Dragons, in his hometown of Oakland. Soldiers returning from service in the Second World War needed something to get the adrenaline flowing and the Bike Club, with the rush of speed and the feel of the wind in their hair, gave them that. Obtaining bikes was not comfortable as some dealers refused to sell bikes to African Americans. The Harleys they could get their hands on were not the expensive bikes fitted with windscreens and saddlebags, but essential down to earth American bikes.

The Dragons made the unpretentious, standard Harley their bike. The club was founded for African Americans, and no other races could join them. They could not stay away from trouble brought to them by other clubs, who were trying to claim territory for themselves and not tolerating other clubs in their areas. After bloody brawls clubs like the Black Crows, a whites-only club, who were on the receiving end of these fights, realised that they could not win and had to tolerate the Dragons. Livingston and his club members could invade and scare the other towns and their police departments, but they were helpful and friendly to the public in their areas.

The Oakland area was, surprisingly, shared with another notorious gang the Hells Angels. A friendship had developed between Livingston and the Angels president, Sonny Barger. The two clubs joined forces to repel the familiar foe – the police! The media are cashing in on the controversy between the club and the cops and, with negative news and articles the bikers got a terrible name with the public.

Rules of the Club

Livingston set criteria for membership to the club, his colleagues and potential members had to, amongst other regulations, treat their families with respect, hold down jobs and stay drug-free. The club could not always stay out of trouble, but in general, they did a lot of community and charitable work and were recognised by the Oaklands Council who acknowledged Livingston and his club for the good they had done over the years. Livingston, well into his eighties, is still, today, the president of the club.

Colours

The club has its “colours”, black, greasy denim and vests with a green dragon on a gold background with the club name “East Bay Dragons, Oaklands California”.

Meeting Place

The members had a meeting place, an eating house, owned by a member where they met regularly. Other patrons of the restaurant were members of the Black Panthers and the two clubs supported and helped each other. After the Black Panthers disbanded, some of their members joined the Dragons.

Charities

The Dragon’s charitable services included breast cancer, AIDS and violence awareness. Any money raised at the clubs functions would go to school supplies and children’s school clothes, and at Thanksgiving turkeys and other food, amounts are distributed to needy families. At Christmas, toys are collected and delivered on toy rides to needy children with riders dressed in Father Christmas outfits.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The first Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held was staged by the Jackpine Motorcycle Club and was attended by Indian motorcycle owners. The Rally has been held every year since except the Second World War years. The club still owns the track and the fields around the town and including the Hillclimb. The first event had only one race which was contested by nine riders who also performed stunts, and in 1961 Hillclimb and motocross events were staged.

The 79th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is scheduled for 2019 from August 2nd to 11th. The venue is the town of Sturgis at the foot of the famous Mount Rushmore mountains and the mountain walks, and rides will be available to visitors to the Rally. A camping ground was opened in 1961 and concerts were held which included many famous bands such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Def Leppard, Cher, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson and Ozzy Osborne and many more.

Attendance has risen over the years from a handful in 1938 to over 500 000 in 2018! The Rally has had an enormous impact on the community of Sturgis, and the Rally brings in 800 000 USD to Dakota per annum. The Rally brings in 95% of Sturgis’s annual budget. There have been complaints from the local Indian tribe, the Lakotas, but these have been withdrawn when the income and spinoff were explained to those who objected to the amount of alcohol sold and consumed close to their sacred areas.

Unfortunately, with all the celebrations and entertainment and the sheer number of participants, crime also rides in! In one year alone, 405 people were arrested and jailed for various crimes and misdemeanours, and 250 000 USD worth of bikes were stolen!

The Daytona Bike Week

Daytona Bike Week has been held since 1937 and the 2020 event will be its 76th anniversary and should attract over 500 000 bikers and biking fans. Spectators can enjoy the spectacle of racing, street food and festivals and, of course, concerts! Unfortunately, with the celebrations, the shows, the partying, and all the excitement, there have been deaths due to accidents. In 2006 there were 20 deaths-the worst recorded – and only one in 2003, but sadly a there have been a total of 98 deaths between 2000 and 2014.

Black Bike Week

The Black Bike Week was started in 1980 at Myrtle Beach and today is attracting crowds of over 400 000. Events, like most other bike rallies, it includes racing, partying, festivals and concerts. The event, which is predominantly frequented by African Americans, has brought many racial disputes, accusations and discrimination to Myrtle Beach with the city having to expel all biking events, African American and White American alike from their boundaries, much to the delight of neighbouring towns who have welcomed the bonus spinoff to their coffers. Unfortunately, Bike Rallies have been divided by ethnic discrimination.

Moto GP: Marquez strongly fancied to continue his dominance

Marc Marquez will head into the second half of the 2019 Moto GP as an overwhelming favourite to win his sixth world title in the last seven years.

The Honda rider has a 58 point lead over Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and it’s difficult to imagine him blowing that advantage over the coming months.

Numerous Moto GP experts have backed Marquez to win another title and their websites are a great place to get Motorcycles betting websites during the rest of the year.

Marquez’s exploits over the past few seasons have put him on course to join riders like John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi as a Moto GP legend.

After crashing out in the United States back in April, the 26-year-old has won four of the last six races and finished second in the other two.

Marquez bounced back from his US mishap to win the next race in Spain and he believes that result changed the course of the current campaign.

“Until Montmelo (Barcelona) it was one championship, now from Montmelo to here it’s another championship,” Marquez told Autosport. “We have two (wins worth of points) between me and Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso).

“Of course, Ducati will come back stronger and they will be very fast, but at the moment the riders to beat are both Yamahas – (Maverick) Vinales and (Fabio) Quartararo.

“I think they will be the fastest in the second part of the championship.”

With Vinales 100 points behind and Quartararo even further adrift in the title race, Marquez’s comments have a touch of ‘mind games’ about them.

The next two races in the Czech Republic and Austria should favour the Ducatis, meaning Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci could be much closer to Marquez in the championship going into the British GP at the end of August.

However, the technical nature of Silverstone should play to Marquez’s strengths and a strong performance there would set him up nicely for the rest of the season.

Having won four of the final six races during the 2018 campaign, it would be a major shock if the Spaniard didn’t produce something similar this term.

He claimed last season’s title by 76 points from Dovizioso and he could easily secure this year’s crown with a bigger winning margin.

Motorbike Clubs of The World

Since the Second World War motorbiking has become a popular sport as the War introduced many men to biking. Returning soldiers found it difficult to settle down to a healthy life, having spent the last few years in combat. The motorbike gave them back a sense of freedom and excitement. Army surplus put the bikes at a reasonable price so that many men could enjoy the comradery. Amongst the most popular bikes in the USA were the Harley Davidsons and the Indians. In the rest of the world, the bikes of choice were the Triumphs, the BSAs and the Norton’s amongst others.

Movies featuring a host of names like Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin in the Great Escape, The Wild One and Easy Rider also popularised the biking lifestyle. Unfortunately, the image created by the biking fraternity and the high unemployment post-war lead to the formation of biker gangs and these gangs soon started criminal activities such as drug running and dealing. This then led to gang fights, which very often led to unfortunate injuries and even death.

Some of these gangs still exist today and are the bane of law enforcement lives. Groups were at their most active in the USA, while, although the rest of the world did experience some unlawfulness amongst bikers, most clubs that were formed enjoyed peaceful and harmless existences. Today clubs are helping the communities by reporting crimes, undertaking charitable rides (toys for underprivileged kids) and generally quiet occupations.

The Harley-Davidson Group

The Harley-Davidson Group (the HOGs) was established in 1983 by the Harley-Davidson Company to promote their products and their merchandise. The club has exclusive access to some of the Companies apparel. There are over 1 million members worldwide.

The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club

The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club which was formed for African Americans who ride bikes bigger than 750cc’s. There are 97 chapters of over 2000 members who participate in charitable activities such as providing food and necessities to needy families.

The Motor Maids

As the name implies, the club was started for members of the fairer sex! The club was established in 1940 and promoted safe riding amongst females who also enjoy trips around the country.

The Darwin Rebels

This club is for riders needing more than “legal” excitement in Australia. Police have, on numerous occasions, had to step in to calm things down. Prospective members should check the club’s activities before becoming members.

Other clubs

Night Wolves; started in Russia, the club has spread worldwide and has a membership of 11000. Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association; founded for American ex-servicemen for the support of less fortunate colleagues including shelter, and meals.

Boozefighters; one of the oldest clubs, it was started in 1946 and has spread from the USA to the Far East and Europe. Classic Motorcycle Club; this club is for vintage and older bikes whose owners need technical advice and provides an extensive library of books, magazines and manuals.

The Sound of Silence in Bike Racing

MotoGP is known for adrenaline-pumping rhythm accompanied by the mighty roars of the engine. MotoE is replacing this roar with a silent whizz as bikes glade by. The dream of EBike was nearly destroyed in a devastating fire in March, but in early July it became a reality at Sachsenring, Germany. This was a landmark event in the history of motorbike racing. It was however received with a mixture of emotions. One part of the crowd is loving the cleaner and greener solutions against those loyal to the gas-guzzling roars that we have been used to for so long.

A New Era in Racing

MotoE is the motorbike representation for the bike racing industry equivalent to what Formula E is to Formula 1. With no gearbox or engine, these bikes are running on batteries in silence. Something that bike racing fans and drivers alike might have to get used to. For racers, it is about getting used to all the different sounds now audible during the silence of your race. As Bradley Smith, MotoGP rider, states that he can now hear his knee sliders touching the ground.

A Fire Nearly Devastating a Dream

Earlier this year in March, a devastating fire ripped through the E-paddock. Every single bike was destroyed. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it left the industry with significant concern whether the event scheduled for later the year will always be able to happen. From the shock and disappointment of seeing their dreams go up in flames, rose the determination of all involved to keep the show going ahead. Nicholas Goubert, the executive director of MotoE, relied on Energica to supply new bikes as well as needed parts and tires within a short period and they delivered. Due to the commitment of all involved as well as much hard work and perseverance, it was made possible again. None of the six scheduled races had to be cancelled.

The Line-Up

The main challenge which the riders had to face was probably the fact that the bikes which they are riding sounds nothing like what they are used to. With the silence being your co-rider, you need to be focusing on other elements than what you usually did, said Sete Gibernau, runner-up of two MotoGP’s. On the tracks, viewers were also entertained by Alex de Angelis and Randy de Puniet as well as Maria Herrera, the only female rider. These riders were all racing in precisely the same electrical motorcycles as supplied by Energica.

The Future Is E

Research and development to find cleaner solutions for vehicles and motorbikes alike has already long been on the table. Now we are at a point where progress is speeding up to where it will undeniably become part of our future. With the main focus in future development being improving battery performance and making these bikes run longer per charge. The future of motorbike racing is both electric as well as silent.

The Most Expensive Motorbikes That Money Can Buy

The love for the sport, the fun and the adrenaline are often exceeding budgetary allowances when it comes to buying a bike. Even though the motorbikes on this list is not fit for the majority of biking budgets out there, dreaming is still open for everyone.

Neiman Marcus Limited Edition Fighter

On the top of the list with an $11 million price tag, this steampunk monster is undoubtedly not only outside of the budget of many, but probably also not the desired taste of quite a bit of biker all over the globe. With a chassis carved from a single piece of metal, this is an object of desire for many and lightyears away from the days when Neiman Marcus entered the market on $110 000. Truly a piece of art combined with brilliant machinery and considered to be an evolution in the biking industry.

1949 E90 AJS Porcupine

The second object of desire claims a slightly smaller stake at $7 million. Although known for a history of racetrack victories, financial strains resulted in only 4 of these being built. One of them belonging to 1949 World Champion Les Graham. An aluminium alloy open frame combined with horizontally placed cylinders provides a low gravity centre on this historical masterpiece.

Ecosse ES1 Spirit

This bike is not for everyone. When Ecosse delivered this $3.6 million bike, they requested that a two-week training session had to be completed by a professional driver before taking on the road on this monster. The rear suspension and swing-arm are attached in the back to the gearbox and front, the front suspension is holding onto the engine. Hence there is no real framework or chassis to mention. This bike performs like an F1 car, and when being the owner of this beauty, it means you are one of only ten lucky ones entering through the gates of biking heaven.

Hildebrand & Wolfmuller

With this brilliant piece of historical art, you will surely not be paying for modern technology or advanced features, but the price tag is associated with the age of this collector’s item. $3.5 million for a bike built roughly 125 years ago when this production motorcycle first appeared on the scene in 1894. Moving from the steam-engine industry to creating the first internal combustion Motorrad.

BMS Nemesis

Confusing to the eye is this motorbike without any side stand while being overwhelmingly glittery with a yellow glow. The belly is flat on the ground, and it resembles a dying whale on a deserted beach. The complex air-ride system, in combination with a single-sided swing-arm suspension in the rear, lift the body roughly 10 inches from the ground, so no need for a stand then. Before dismissing the yellow glow as too dainty for a motorbike, take note that the yellow light is from 24-karat gold. Thus making this beauty the crown jewel in your showroom of magnificent masterpieces. Considering that at a price tag of $3 million, it is probably the safest place for it to be.

Keeping Your Motorbike Running for Longer

A little bit of maintenance can go along way. Nothing helps as much in extending your bike’s good health as a little bit of regular maintenance to keep it running at optimal performance. Besides that, the feeling of empowerment and complete satisfaction of getting down and dirty next to your bike is priceless. Keep your owner’s manual nearby as it comes in handy in finding the parts that you can’t see. It will also provide you with the necessary specs for tightening bolts and nuts.

Keeping the Engine Running Smoothly

After every couple of thousand miles, it is always a great idea to change the oil in your bike to ensure that it runs smoothly. Once again, your owner’s manual is handy guidance on changing the oil, but a nice off the records trick of the trade is to ride your bike a good five minutes before changing the oil. The heat of the engine will warm up the oil and bring down the viscosity of the oil to ensure easy drainage. While the engine is off, ensure an oil pan is in place and then remove the oil cap allowing the old oil to drain into the oil pan. Before you will be able to remove the cap though, you will probably have to remove a fairing to be able to get to it. When the oil is drained you need to go through the messy task of removing the oil filter. Another tip is to cover the parts of the bike which you don’t want any oil spilled or splatted on with aluminum foil. When all the oil is drained and the oil filter is removed then you can replace the old oil plug with a new oil filter. Put all the parts that you have removed back in place and refill your bike with new oil according to the specifications provided in your owner’s manual. Always remember old oil needs to be recycled and you can probably take it to your local bike shop.

Preventing Overheating

By regularly changing the coolant in your bike you will lessen the chances of corrosion and overheating or freezing greatly. Same as with an oil replacement, you will probably need to remove some bike parts before reaching the drain bolt. Ensure a plan is in place and let the old coolant drain out. You also need to remove the radiator cap to be sure that it all has drained out. Afterward, you can simply replace the drain cap again and refill with new coolant. Be sure to add the correct amount. After replacing the radiator cap, let your bike run for a little while to check that the engine remains cool. You have to check the coolant levels again afterward when the engine has cooled down again. If needed you can add more to get the coolant to the appropriate levels. Your owner’s manual will specify exactly how much coolant is needed.

Harley-Davidson Entering the Chinese Market

Harley-Davidson has just signed a deal with Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co. Ltd. They are planning to co-develop a small motorcycle to be launched by 2020 into the Chinese market.

Initially Only for the Chinese Market

During May, it became evident that Harley-Davidson is developing an inexpensive, small bike specially designed for the Asian market. This is new territory for the company since it is not where their stronghold in the marketplace is based. These plans were confirmed with making the deal public between the two companies. This contract is the beginning of a partnership between the two companies to develop a 338cc displacement bike for the Chinese marketplace. It will, later on, be expanded to other Asian markets as well, including India. For now, there is no indication that it will be sold in the United States as well. The motorcycle will be Chinese built with both the engine and the bike being manufactured by Qianjiang at their factory in Wenling.

Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co. Ltd

The company which has been founded in 1985 is a subsidiary of the Geely Technology Group. The company has always been involved in motorcycles and motorcycle engines from research and development to manufacturing and sales. Their focus increased when they acquired the Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Benelli in 2005. Benelli came with more than 100-years of motorcycle manufacturing experience.

Harley-Davidson Expanding

In 2018 Harley-Davidson made it public that they want to build more riders internationally. In line with this intention, they have expanded their networks in China through dealerships. This also meant product supply, marketing and e-commerce into the Chinese market. This resulted in them improving their retail sales in China, with 27% from 2017 to 2018. Their plans to take more production outside of the United States were cause for some critique from the presidential side, which is continuously aiming at keeping production based on local US soil. They also had to deal with a hike in European import tax, which has risen from 6% to 31%. This meant that Harley-Davidson had to take a knock on the chin of roughly $2 000 per bike. Their solution to this was to increase manufacturing at overseas facilities.

The Bike

The question that most avid Harley fans have is what would this bike look like? It is expected to be much different than the globally recognized image of the brand. The bike hasn’t been named yet, but it will for sure stand out. The look, the feel and the sound will be very distinctive yet suitable for the Chinese market. This is a massive market in the motorcycle industry and a market which can’t be ignored by a manufacturer like Harley-Davidson.

CEO of Harley-Davidson, Matt Levatich, stated that the idea behind their More Roads plan is to provide more people access to freedom. They want to do this by bringing the brand to more people living in more places, while they remain inspirational to all riders globally.

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