8.21.2014

Don't Let Fear Be A Factor For You

http://54ka.deviantart.com/art/Fear-8094691
“Fear (noun) - a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” 1

Watching my granddaughters play in the pool recently, made me think about fear and how it affects us.  My oldest granddaughter, Addison, will play all day on a shallow tanning shelf but ask her to get in the deeper water, even while wearing a life jacket, and she freaks out.  She’ll eventually get in but only after a lot of coaxing and even then, she wants someone to hold her the entire time.  On the other hand, my youngest granddaughter, Mia, will jump right in.  Mia is content to splash around on her own while wearing a life jacket.  Both girls enjoy the water but have vastly different comfort levels.

I think for many, riding a motorcycle is similar to my granddaughters’ experience in the pool.  Some jump right on and ride like a bat out of hell while others are so timid their motorcycles become glorified garage queens.  While fear can help keep us safe and out of trouble, if not checked, it can become debilitating.  Fear can keep us from trying new things and enjoying life to its fullest.  Fear is the antithesis of adventure.  How many times in your life has it played a part in the decisions you’ve made?  Be honest with yourself. 

As motorcyclists, it’s important for us to be aware of our fears and balance them with an honest assessment of our riding skills.   We can’t afford to be overcome by fear while riding through a curve…the result could be deadly.  We must work on improving our riding skills and addressing our fears head-on through thoughtful practice.  If you’re fearful of riding the Interstate, riding at night, riding in the rain, or riding the twisties, work on your basic skills, then go out, and make yourself ride in those situations and conditions.  The only way to conquer our fears is to face them.
 
Friend and fellow moto-blogger, Trobairitz, did just that.  Two-weeks ago, she visited Huckleberry Flats Off-Highway Vehicle Area for the first time on her Yamaha TW-200.  While climbing a steep and rutted hill she was almost thrown off her bike, but despite being injured and afraid she hung on and made it to the top.  Traobaititz faced her fear and will forever be a better rider because of it. I admire riders like that and hope if I were in a similar situation, I’d have the intestinal fortitude to do the same.

Looking at my own life, I know that fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of injury have influenced several of my decisions over the years.  I regret that.  I realize I can’t do anything about those things now, but I can work to do a better job of acknowledging and recognizing when fear is present and make a concerted effort to face it head on.  Life is too short to hold back out of fear.  

Don't let fear be a factor in your riding or your daily life. Live with no regrets...Live Free. Ride Hard.  Be Happy!

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8.08.2014

Life Lesson...Don't Become Your Own Worst Enemy

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t been posting much lately…the reality is I’ve been busier than normal at work and at home I’ve been focused on building my grandson a motorcycle rocker. The time I’ve spent in my shop has been enjoyable, but it’s left little time to write, ride, or take photographs. I miss those things. Unfortunately, it’ll be a while longer before I can fully get back to them. When I started working on the rocker seven weeks ago, I had hoped to finish it as a present for my grandson’s first birthday. That didn’t happen.

Last Friday at midnight, after making a 17-hour push to finish, I realized   there was still too much to do to have it ready for his birthday party that   Sunday. The realization was devastating. I was so disappointed with myself for not having started sooner or working harder. I felt as though I was letting him down. I felt guilty…I had completed special gifts for his sisters for their first birthdays, but he’d have nothing from me on his special day. I was a bad grandpa and not in a funny, Johnny Knoxville, kind of way.

Core of the Motorcycle Rocker
Sherry and I left for San Angelo on Saturday morning with the motorcycle rocker laying in pieces all around my shop. It was a sad sight and I still felt bad for not finishing, but in the light of a new day, I knew everything would be okay. When we opened the door at my daughter and son-in-law’s house, we were greeted by our three smiling grandchildren. Not one of them seemed concerned with the absence of a shiny new motorcycle rocker. They just seemed happy that we were there. That made me feel good.

One Happy 1 Year Old
On Sunday at the party, my grandson received so many gifts that he didn’t know what to look at or play with first. He was happier than a pig in slop. At that moment, I knew he wasn’t missing anything by not having a motorcycle rocker built by his “Pop-Pop”. His feelings weren’t hurt. He didn’t care about what he didn’t have because he was focused on what was right in front of him. All my worrying and beating myself up had been pointless. At the end of the day, the only person who had been concerned about finishing by a certain calendar date was me (okay, and maybe my wife).

Part of the Front Wheel Assembly
Later that day on the drive back to San Antonio, I felt a sense of relief. Gone was the self-imposed pressure to hurry-up and finish…and the guilt for not finishing in time for the birthday party. After some much needed reflection, I realized over the past several weeks I’d become my own worst enemy. I grossly underestimated the time, complexity, and effort involved in building the rocker and ignored my wife’s early reminders to get started. Once started, I didn’t realistically evaluate my progress and pushed myself until I could no longer deny that it wasn’t going to be ready. I focused so much on finishing that I lost sight of what it really means to Live Free, Ride Hard, and Be Happy.

I don’t know how much longer it’ll take to complete the rocker but I do know I won’t be so laser focused as to neglect other things that bring me joy and happiness. I’ll stop being my own worst enemy and enjoy taking the time needed to build a custom “bike” my grandson can proudly hand down to his children one day. After all, a well-built motorcycle (rocker) should last for several generations, right?

I hope you never become your own worse enemy and lose sight of what it means to Live Free, Ride Hard, and Be Happy!

7.18.2014

The Real Story Behind Harley-Davidson’s Electric Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire
Four-weeks ago the Motor Company shocked the world (no pun intended) by announcing its exploratory foray into electrics.  Headlines like “Hell Freezes Over Harley-Davidson Shows New Electric Motorcycle” captured the sentiment of the day.  No one could have imagined the 111-year old Motor Company, creator and champion of arguably the most beloved internal combustion powered motorcycles in history, would ever build anything else.  For a few Harley riders, the news was downright sacrilege.  After all, an electric motorcycle could never look, feel, or sound like a “real” Harley-Davidson…right? Unfortunately, in the midst of the buzz surrounding the announcement, the real story behind Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle was lost.

The world we live in today is vastly different from the world we lived in 10 years ago… or even five years ago.  Social norms are not the same.  Right, wrong, or indifferent, even the things people deeply value have changed.  To remain successful, companies and individuals must adapt.  If they don’t, they face extinction.  The Motor Company’s history, rich in tradition, makes their announcement even more heartening because it shows a true willingness to adapt.  At the end of the day, Harley-Davidson’s continued success relies on its ability to stay true to its heritage while building a bridge to the future.  Project LiveWire does just that…and therein lies the real story.

Manufacturer
Status
Prototype
Production
Production
Production
Production
Range (miles)
~60
158-171
50-128
105-140
62-118
Top Speed (mph)
~92
~100
~110
~150
~150
Price $
???
9.5K-21.9K
11K-19K
32.5K-42.5K
25K-28K
 Quick Comparison of Current e-Motorcycle Specifications

No doubt, the Motor Company has a few hurdles to jump in terms of user acceptance and overall range but their efforts to build customer interest and acceptance with the Project LiveWire ExperienceTour and their collaboration with Mission Motors are steps in the right direction. As a bona-fide Harley-Davidson enthusiast and rider, I’m hopeful that other Harley riders will recognize this as a giant leap towards the future and support the Motor Company’s efforts to bring this electric motorcycle to market. Although it might not be feasible to ride 1000-miles in 24 hours on a LiveWire (or any other electric motorcycle) today, urban-suburban commuting is entirely within reason.  Given the current specs for existing production electric motorcycles, one can almost bet that the Motor Company has some surprises up their sleeve when it comes time for production.


Navigant Research - Top 10 e-Motorcycle/e-Scooter Players Today
(Photo from zeromotorcyles.com)
Fellow moto-blogger, Chris Cope, wrote that Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle represents a seismic shift in motorcycling.  I couldn’t agree more.  According to Navigant Research, the market is in the early stages of development and its key players are relatively new manufacturers with limited distribution channels.  Harley-Davidson has the name recognition, capital, and worldwide distribution channels needed to electrify a market projected to grow by 30% a year (in North America and Europe) for the next decade. With LiveWire, Harley-Davidson is poised to become THE dominant player in the electric motorcycle market.  Seismic shift, indeed!

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References:
  1. http://www.npr.org/2014/06/28/326434594/harley-hopes-an-electric-hog-will-appeal-to-young-urban-riders
  2. http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/cars/2014/06/29/harley-davidson-considers-electric-motorcycle/11730139/
  3. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2014/06/19/hell-freezes-over-harley-davidson-shows-new-electric-motorcycle/
  4. http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/24/5837642/riding-project-livewire-harley-davidson-first-electric-motorcycle
  5. http://www.jsonline.com/business/harley-davidson-electric-motorcycle-prototype-to-be-launched-b99294676z1-263792061.html
  6. http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/06/19/harley-davidson-unveils-first-electric-motorcycle/
  7. http://www.wired.com/2014/06/harley-davidson-livewire/ 
  8. http://mashable.com/2014/06/19/harley-davidson-electric-motorcycle/
  9. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/06/19/an-electric-motorcycle-for-harley-davidson-new-model-sounds-like-a-jet-on-an-aircraft-carrier/ 
  10. http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/what-harley-davidsons-first-electric-motorcycle-means-1592983608
  11. http://green.autoblog.com/2014/05/22/annual-e-motorcycle-e-scooter-sales-will-reach-6-million-by-202/#continued
  12. http://www.navigantresearch.com/research/electric-motorcycles-and-scooters
  13. http://www.navigantresearch.com/research/pike-pulse-report-electric-motorcycles-and-scooters
  14. http://www.afr.com/p/technology/harley_davidson_project_livewire_K2g1sKZlMs0VrxvT1bM3pM