10.23.2014

Beaded Motorcycle Seat Review: BeadRider - A Cooler Way to Ride

A few posts back I wrote about monkey butt and how to prevent it.  One piece of the prevention puzzle was to minimize moisture and I noted that the BeadRider beaded motorcycle seat could help in that regard.  At the time, I only had anecdotal evidence based on what other riders had reported.  I mentioned that I had ordered a BeadRider and was looking forward to trying it out for myself.  Well, after receiving my BeadRider and putting a few hundred miles in the saddle, I feel qualified to give you a first-hand report on its performance.

BeadRider "Ultimate" Beaded Seat
First, a few words about my ordering experience.  I placed my order through the BeadRider website on a Saturday. Within minutes, I received an e-mail confirmation with all the details of the order.  Two days later, on Monday, I received shipping confirmation and a tracking number and two days after that, on Wednesday, USPS delivered my package.  I was very pleased with the straightforward ordering process, no-hassle communication, and speedy delivery.

Upon returning from the mailbox, I quickly opened the package to see what my $70.95 ($58.95 + $12.00 shipping) had bought me.  Having seen several BeadRiders on friend’s motorcycles I pretty much knew what to expect, but I’m always a little apprehensive when receiving on-line orders.   Fortunately, everything was just as expected and I was impressed with the overall feel and finish of the product.  For the record, there are two versions of the BeadRider (available in several sizes).  The “Original” is made of wooden beads and the “Ultimate” is made of ceramic beads.  I chose the “Ultimate” because I felt that the ceramic beads would hold up better.

After a quick examination, I wasted no time installing the BeadRider on my Sportster.
Although there were no instructions, installation was simple.  I removed my saddle, slid the BeadRider in-place, tightened the attached shock cords, and put the saddle back on the bike.  Total installation time, less than 10 minutes.  Some might think the BeadRider looks odd on the saddle but I didn’t buy it to win a beauty contest…I bought it to make my butt happy.

The first thing I noticed when I sat on it the first time was I felt a little taller in the saddle.  The BeadRider effectively lifted me up about ½ inch.  Depending on how vertically challenged you are and your bike’s seat height, this could be a problem. Fortunately for me, the seat height was low enough originally that the extra ½ inch didn’t affect my ability to flat foot the bike.  The second thing I noticed is that I didn’t feel a bunch of beads.  The weave of the BeadRider does a nice job of spreading my weight evenly over the entire seating area.

On my first few rides I was a bit apprehensive about how sitting on the beads would feel after a few miles.  I’m happy to report sitting on the beads isn’t uncomfortable at all.  In fact, there’s not a huge amount of difference in the “feel” of riding on beads or riding without them.  So far I like it…I like it a lot.  I can definitely feel more airflow around my backside, which helps with reducing moisture.  I can also move around in the saddle easier.  Before the BeadRider, readjusting my seating position was more difficult and on a hot day, it could feel as if I had melted into the saddle.  I don’t think I’ll have that issue with the BeadRider.

I haven’t done any long distance or all day rides just yet, but based on my experience thus far I’m pretty confident the BeadRider will increase my long distance comfort.  I’ll be putting that theory to the test on two Iron Butt rides I’m planning…a 1500 mile, 24-hour BunBurner Gold into New Mexico and a 3000 mile, 72-hour Saddlesore to Hell and back (that’s Hell, MI just in case you’re wondering).  I’ll let you know if I’m still a fan of the BeadRider afterwards.

If you have a BeadRider and have used it on long distance rides, leave me a comment and let me know what you think about it.  You know what they say, “Opinions are like assholes, and everybody has one.” I want to hear yours.  Until then Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy!

10.15.2014

Fall Is In the Air - A Great Texas Ride Remembered

As we start seeing cooler temperatures and the leaves begin to fall, I'm reminded of a great ride to the Lost Maples State Natural Area (SNA).  I wrote a guest post for Motorcycle House detailing the ride last November.  You can check-out my original ride report on their blog. Here's the link - Changing Seasons A Ride To the Lost Maples State Natural Area.

Big Tooth Maple in Lost Maples SNA
If you live in or around the Texas Hill Country, I'd highly recommend visiting the Lost Maples SNA this Fall.  It's one of the few places in South/Central Texas where you can actually see a magnificent show of Fall colors.  The Big Tooth Maples in the SNA are absolutely stunning and if you plan your trip right, you'll have a chance to ride some of the best motorcycle roads in Texas.  The famed Twisted Sisters are just a short ride away.

Before saddling-up and pointing your bike towards Lost Maples, check-out their Fall Foliage Report to get an idea of the of how the color changes are progressing. You can use the report to help time your visit to experience the peak color change (generally occurring sometime in late October or November depending on the weather).

Fall is probably the best time of year to ride in Texas and I know you'll enjoy riding to Lost Maples SNA.  You'll be on some great riding roads, with lots of interesting places to see along the way.  Here are a few of my favorites:


  • Ever tried fresh apple ice cream? No? You don't know what you're missing.  Visit the Apple Store in Medina, TX.
  • Interested in motorcycle history? Stop by the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum in Vanderpool, TX.  The museum is only a couple of miles from Lost Maples.
  • Need an interesting place to take a break and fill your belly?  Try the Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop in Leakey, TX.  You can get some great Twisted Sister merchandise to commemorate your ride too...and don't forget to check-out the view from the patio.

I hope my walk down memory lane gives you some great ideas for a Fall ride.  No matter where you ride, always remember to Live Free, Ride Hard, and Be Happy!



Photos from my Ride to Lost Maples SNA in November 2013



On Our Way to Lost Maples




Walking Down the Riverbed in Lost Maples

Painting the Colors of Fall in Texas




Now There's Some Color



A Peek of Orange and Red



 

10.10.2014

A Ride to the Power Plant Texas Grill...Life is Full of Surprises

Have you ever been somewhere that completely surprised you?  Last Saturday I experienced just that. While riding with a few members of the Gruene HOG Chapter I not only discovered a great route from New Braunfels to Seguin but a nice place to eat as well. The beautiful fall day with clear skies and temperatures in the upper 70’s made the entire experience all the more memorable.

The Power Plant Texas Grill
Although the ride was short by most standards (42 miles one-way), it was just plain fun.  We rode through some nice farm/ranch land on roads with minor elevation changes and a few sweeping curves.  The air was crisp and fresh…maybe too fresh in a few spots (did I mention we rode past some livestock).  It was one of those rides where you could let the worries of the world slip away, where you could clear your mind and just be at one with the universe.  It was peaceful and very therapeutic.

We arrived at the Seguin VFW Post after a short hour’s ride.  We dropped off several donations to support a local police officer who had been injured during a traffic stop and then made our way to the Power Plant Texas Grill.  I was impressed as soon as we pulled into the parking lot.  What a picturesque setting!

The Power Plant Texas Grill sits on the Guadalupe River and is rich in history.  The building started its life in the late 1890’s as a gristmill and in 1907 was sold to the City of Seguin as a hydroelectric generation facility. Over the years the building saw numerous upgrades and continued to provide electricity to the citizens of Seguin until the mid-90s.  The facility sat idle for many years before being renovated and opening as the Power Plant Texas Grill in May of this year. Walking inside the building reveals an open bay with two seating levels. An old generator and an antique electrical panel add to the ambiance and provide historical perspective.  There’s also a covered seating area and bar outside that overlooks the river and the Saffold Dam.
 
Our party was quickly greeted and seated.  The waitress was friendly and attentive and made quick work of getting our drinks and taking our food orders.  The menu isn’t extensive but does have a nice variety.  I ordered a pulled-pork sandwich and fries.  We didn’t wait long for our food and everyone seemed pleased with their choices.  My pulled-pork sandwich and fries were excellent.  I’d definitely recommend the Power Plant Texas Grill.

I wish everyday could be like last Saturday…beautiful weather, nice company, a sweet ride, and a good meal in a scenic location.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Sometimes the simple things in life offer the most joy.  Days like last Saturday are really what living free, riding hard, and being happy are all about.  :-)

A Great Route from New Braunfels to Segin
View from the Power Plant
The Generator and Electric Panel add to the Atmosphere


9.30.2014

Just a Nice Sunday Ride to The Airport Diner

On Sunday, I rode to the Airport Diner in Fredericksburg, Texas with a few Gruene HOG chapter members. We didn’t start out thinking we’d be going to the Diner but it’s where we ended up. Our original destination was the Alamo Springs Café for what is claimed to be one of the best burgers in Texas.  I say claimed because when we got there it was closed.  Apparently, the owners were leaving for vacation on Monday and had been trying to conserve meat…they ran out on Saturday.  This was my second foiled attempt to try their burgers.  On my first visit, they were closed because of a blown transformer and no electricity.
The great thing about riding is many times the destination is secondary to the ride itself.  It took about an hour and a half to ride the 70 miles from Gruene Harley-Davidson to the Alamo Springs Café.  Clear skies and cooler temperatures (mid-80s) made for a great Fall ride in the Texas Hill Country.  FM473 and Old #9 Highway Road were particularly fun with some nice curves and beautiful views. 

There were a lot of motorcyclists out taking advantage of the weather.  I saw an equal number of sport bikes and cruisers sharing the road.  Some shared better than others.  Sadly, stereotypes were likely reinforced based on our encounter with a couple riding sport bikes.  While cruising along on Old #9 Highway at or slightly above the posted speed limit, two sport bikes blew past our Sweep and cut into our formation right behind our Lead, then laid back on the throttle and blew past him on a tight curve. 

Not more than three minutes later we pulled into the parking lot at the Alamo Café.  Guess  who was there? The sport bike riders that had just past us.  Our Sweep wasted no time telling them what he thought about their riding and called them a few choice names.  I’m sure they walked away thinking Harley riders are assholes…while several in our group walked away thinking sport bike riders are reckless speed freaks.  Talk about awkward.

After everyone regained their composure, we decided to try the Airport Diner and off we rode.  Old #9 Highway was closed a mile or so north of the Alamo Café but the detour was clearly marked so we had no
The Airport Diner...Friendly Staff, Great Food
trouble making our way to US 290 and into Fredericksburg.  We cut across Friendship Lane to SH16 and rode southwest for a half-mile before turning towards the Gillespie County Airport.   As we pulled into the parking lot, I was impressed.  On the right was the Hanger Hotel and on the left another hanger that housed the Conference Center and Diner.  It was like walking back in time.  The Hanger Hotel resembled an old World War II hanger complete with large billboard graced by pretty pin-up girl worthy of being nose art on any WWII bomber.  The inside of the Diner was just as period authentic as the hotel with airplane art adorning the walls and models of WWII fighter aircraft hanging from the ceiling.

We sat down and were quickly waited on.  The menu was chock full of items with names like Bomber Burger, P-40 Warhawk,  Officer’s Club, and Flying Tiger.  I ordered the Officer’s  Club and boy was it tasty.  Everyone in our group was happy with their food, except one…and he ordered the Huevos Rancheros.  It doesn’t get much better than a great ride followed by great food.  I’ll definitely go back again.

Just Outside the Hanger Hotel
After a leisurely lunch punctuated by great food and service, I split from the group to head home by the most expeditious route available.  I picked-up US 87 and made a beeline for the super slab.  It’s amazing how fast you can get somewhere when you’re going 80 miles an hour.  I made it home in just over an hour and a half and that included a gas stop and a stop at Wal-Mart to pick-up some medicine for my granddaughter.  I may be strange, but I enjoy riding the Interstate almost as much as I like riding the back roads.  What a great day!

Where did you ride last weekend?  Wherever it was I hope you remembered to:  Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.