Monday, August 16, 2010

The Crowning Incentive...

The ride was nearly over with a scant five miles to go. It was 94º in the air above the pavement but the ground itself was a degree or two below the flash point and the odd droplet of sweat that found its way down to my gas tank danced like a bead of hot oil on gritty diner grill. Vintage BMW K-75s tend to run warm under the best of circumstances, with their gas tanks taking on the characteristics of miniature hot water heaters. This is a delight in the late fall but a total bitch in stagnant summer heat. On the day that these events occurred, riding “Fireballs” was very close to understatement.

If the heat was hard on me, it was worse for some of the cagers around me, even if they appeared to have air conditioning. For example, there was a nice lady in a minivan next to me, who for the sake of this column, I’ll call “Amelia Stupidbitch.” The windshield on her vehicle focused the sun on her forehead — rather like a magnifying glass strategically held over an ant — and boiled her brains. She was on the telephone, probably calling a neurologist, as her minivan swerved ever so gently from side to side. I was in the process of passing her when she came far left as if she wanted a kiss.

Now I’ll kiss most women, and be grateful for the opportunity, but I like to choose my subjects as well the circumstances. (I almost wrote the word “location” instead of “circumstances,” though one most always has to start on the lips, especially with strangers.) We live in an age of political correctness (a philosophy evident in my writing) and it pays to get clarification of intent, especially in dealing with forward women. I sought clarification by triggering the FIAMM sport screamer, a little horn which shrieks like a mother-in-law being staked into a coffin.

As it turns out, that was the right thing to do.

Amelia jumped three feet in her seat and stared at me with her mouth wide open. She was about 35-years-old, and blond with deep red Anjolina Jolie lips times three. With the right lighting (subdued), music (Blue Oyster Cult), and rum (1.5 gallons) this could have been a audition. It was apparent this response came too easily for her. (Opening her mouth is what Amelia uses as a substitute for thought.) Plus in this pose, she looked like a large mouth bass in search of a hook. It was also clear that Amelia did not expect to see a motorcycle two inches beyond her left mirror. I know she was surprised because I could hear her say as much into the phone.

“Fireballs” was clocking a modest 68mph at the time, and I opened the throttle wide. There was a second before the wind-up, and then the pitch. My line drive put a dozen cars between her and the K75. Amelia was left to her perpetual slalom in my wake.

I had been making this short summer morning run with a few of the boys, notably “Leather” Dick Bregstein and Bobby “Le Dauphin” Le Boutlier, both on imposing traditional BMW “R” bikes. They had peeled off as we hit their respective exits and I was alone with 20,000 other drivers on US-202. It was then I noticed that every second vehicle around me was a minivan. Nine times out of ten, vehicles that cut in front of me are minivans. There has to be some explanation. I have documented that virtually every minivan operator has that cross-eyed, over-hanging brow look common to people of low intellect. Now I want to know: does this affliction happen naturally as a side-effect of driving a minivan; or do dealerships just sell these cars to dopey neanderthals; or do you get a free lobotomy with every minivan purchase?

This raises the issue that if the number of stupid, vapid, and inconsiderate drivers is on the rise, should I not be more visible with regard to my riding gear?

Despite the fact a healthy percentage of BMW jockeys order their ballistic riding gear in “high-viz colors,” I still cannot reconcile myself to wearing a jacket that appears to glow like electrified piss. Not on a highly-dignified, cardinal-red motorcycle like mine. That I ride a BMW motorcycle at all already marks me as an elitist douche in the eyes of many riders consigned to lesser sophisticated, more cumbersome, louder, and slower marques. I’ll not go out of my to support their argument by wearing a neon circus sign. So my gear — mesh jacket, perforated glove, and helmet — is the traditional biker black. On a hot, clear summer day, this gear converts sunlight into sweat and steam. The mesh vents this vapor, which instantly condenses and causes lowland flooding. But the sweat shooting out my ears is contained in my helmet, much the same way that BP’s cap is finally holding the oil in that well under the Gulf of Mexico.

There are some folks who regard their riding gear as part of their persona. To me, my riding jacket is my insurance to avoid 50 square yards of plastic surgery should I pull an abrupt flying dismount. It is like a bullet-proof sack. I have mentioned the gloves before. They are the coolest (temperature-wise) I could find, with a zillion perforations, though they offer minimal protection. But I feel differently about my helmet.

If a motorcycle is considered to be the signature of a rider’s character, than his (or her) helmet is that signature’s flourish. (If you were born after 1954 or are a product of the current US education system, you are probably unaware that early 18th and 19th century signatures were often accompanied by a little embellishment, known as a “flourish.” One of the best examples of this can be found under the signature of John Hancock, on the Declaration of Independence.)

Above — John Hancock, a Founding Father of the United States, knew how to sign a document with style. Portrait from the internet.

My Nolan N-102e helmet is the best motorcycle riding headgear I have ever worn. It is my flourish. I would no more ride out of this driveway without my Nolan helmet than I would ride balls-ass naked. Prior to 2006, I have always worn traditional, open-faced motorcycle helmets, with cheap, shitty plastic face shields that snapped onto the front, or equally shitty goggles. Full-face helmets struck me as claustrophobic, sweat traps that impeded your peripheral vision. And in truth, I wore the cheapest helmet I could find, solely to satisfy local law — despite having had three accidents which entailed hitting the ground. (As stupid kid who routinely kept his head in his ass, I longed to ride helmet-free, on a Kawasaki 900, with the wind blowing through my long hair, and through the halter top of the tanned babe behind me.)

Above — John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence, large enough so "Fat George" could read it without his glasses. Signature from the internet.

Then came the day I took the Harley-Davidson “Riders Edge” Course. The temperature peaked at 38º, and the pouring rain was an added bonus. Cold rainwater was blowing in around my goggles and aggravating the shit out of me. I walked into the dealer’s showroom and bought a Harley-badged flip-face helmet. The fit was a little off, but I was amazed at the comfort and the quiet of the helmet. It did tend to fog up, but otherwise did nothing to limit my vision or what I could hear. I wore that helmet a month, discovering it was for a round, Charlie Brown-type head and that it did nothing to help me with the sun in my eyes. (I cannot wear sunglasses when I ride, as my eyes take too long to adjust to a shady stretch, or to tunnels.)

The Nolan N-102e was the first brand I tried (and I tried a dozen of them) that fit my lupine shaped-head. The internal padding, the collar in the back, and the gasket seal around the clear, optically correct face shield were all pluses, as was the solid steel to steel locking mechanism, that requires two fingers to hit opposing tabs to open the chin bar. (This eliminates accidently opening the helmet by randomly touching the chin bar.) The foam liner was also alleged to be easy to remove for cleaning. The helmet comes with a trap door to easily install the Nolan brand communications package as well. One of the best aspects of this lid was an external, deep green-tinted sun visor, which flipped down in an instant, to shield your eyes from glare of from the sun, and then popped up just as quickly. It was as if this helmet had been hand-made for me.

Now there are those who do not think this is a beautiful helmet because of the external visor. And there are others who think the external visor makes the helmet noisy. Then again, there are those who fail to see the beauty of a BMW K75. In this rare instance, I did not let the cool element overwhelm practicality. And so began my love affair with Nolan helmets.

On this particular day, I pulled into the driveway and parked the bike. I pulled an ice cold sugar-free Snapple lemonade out of the garage ‘fridge, took a huge gulp, and topped off the void in the bottle with two or more ounces of nice fresh gin. I headed out to the patio to light up a vitamin C-loaded cigar and reflect on the wonders of life. I piled my mesh jacket on an empty chair, and nestled my treasured Nolan helmet securely in the jacket, with the opening facing upward. I was barely ensconced in reverie when Leslie/Stiffie (my red hot squeeze) summoned me inside to the phone. (Brian Curry, a world famous K-75 guru, was on the line and wanted my advice about switching out a clutch plate.) I was in the midst of telling him how to go about this, when I heard Leslie screaming her heart out in horror.

The yard was filled with dead birds.

At least 50 cardinals, gold finches, blue jays, silver-throated sparrows, a flock of Canada geese and a neighbor’s prize-winning emu were dead on the ground. Not only that, but the leaves on our beautiful shade maple were turning brown, curling, and falling off the tree. It was then we noticed a mysterious green vapor emanating from the foam liner of my Nolan helmet.

“The sweat stink from your helmet is killing all forms of life,” said Stiffie/Leslie in a muffled tone, as she was now wearing a WWII gas mask. “Do something before the yard is declared a superfund site. And don’t even think about bringing that foul-smelling helmet back into the house.”

The aroma arising from my helmet, now in its 3rd season of use, was as deadly as mustard gas. But like the most powerful fart ever released at a chili festival, it is common man-lore that the source of the vapor is immune to its effects. I picked up the helmet and tried to look at it objectively (without the tint of affection). The external green visor was covered with a fresh layer of dead bugs... But underneath that, it bore the scratches and scars of 30,000 miles. The clear plastic face shield was in worse shape, and the helmet’s fine finish was well-marred in a dozen places where stones and huge dead bugs had left their marks. (Every flying insect, from the tiny Amish horse-shit midge to the huge, dreaded Fried Rice Beetle — named for the stringy smear of guts they leave behind — leaves a dot of digestive acid where it expired. This can play hell with the exquisite finish of a helmet, or a fairing for that matter.)

The experts (who are probably hired by helmet companies) recommend retiring a helmet after 4 or 5 seasons, as the effects of ultraviolet light can weaken the molecular structure of the plastic. (It’s odd that this takes 50,000 years to accomplish with discarded plastic soft-drink bottles in garbage dumps.) Naturally, you are well advised to replace any helmet that has been through a crash or even dropped hard. The stink coming off my helmet was so bad, my first thought was to go online to see what Nolan was offering, and to determine how much washing Leslie/Stiffie would have to take in to buy me a new one.

Above — the red and black N-103 n-com I initially fell in love with. Then I discovered the red didn't match the red of my bike. Fate never misses a chance to spit in my eye. Helmet picture from the internet.

The N-102e is still available, but there is a much snappier N-103 n-com with better venting and an internal sunscreen. My computer opened to one that was red and black, and I got an instant, raging hard-on. My bike is red and black, and for once, I thought it would be cool to have a helmet that perfectly matched the paint on my bike. I damn near ordered this helmet with money that was reserved for my first former mother-in-law’s burial plot. (She is still alive and shows no signs of gasping, but I thought I would surprise her with a nice hole in the ground and let her take a two-week test drive.) Then I did the smart thing and carried my laptop into the garage. My bike is a deeper red than that of the helmet, and the match is not quite perfect.

I started to cry.

I decided that a new Nolan helmet, in simple flat graphite, would be my incentive gear... That I would buy one, and keep it in the box until I broke 300 pounds. (I am in a desperate lifestyle change to lose weight.) I have 46 and a half pounds before I hit the 300 pound mark. That’s when I got the great idea. Nolan does not appear to have a custom painting option. But I thought I would don sackcloth and ashes, and kneel in front of their facility, wherever the hell it is, and beg them to sell me a blank unassembled helmet shell that could be painted with my BMW bike’s official paint. (BMW touch-up paint for my bike is available in a one ounce container for about $30. To buy enough paint to do a helmet should cost about $1800. I would ask an air brush artist to put some unique graphics on the painted shell, for another $300.) Then I was thinking I could send the blank back and have the chin-bar attached to it. This is solid black and will look utterly balls-ass. I figure the cost of the helmet, plus the paint, plus the graphics will come in around $3,450.00.

It will be so fucking worth it.

On the day that I officially weigh 299 pounds, I will stand on a huge scale (in the foyer of Michael’s Diner on Rt. 422), and be crowned by a hottie, wearing a shamelessly tight Twisted Roads Tee Shirt. Camera flashes will fire as the sacred Nolan is placed upon my head. (It will probably be stolen 20 minutes later.)

In the meantime, I ordered a new face shield, a new tinted visor, and a anti-fog shield for my existing Nolan-102e. A friend of mine is a member of the local bomb squad, and he came over with one of those little robots designed to handle strange packages. It removed the liner from my helmet and placed it in the washer. The water turned to foam the instant it came into contact with the fouled material. Set to “handwash,” 80 percent of the stench was gone two hours later. I do not believe that these helmet liners are intended to go through the dryer, but this one was getting a bit stretched out. So I ran it through “damp dry” and it tightened up nicely.

Does the gentle reader think that removal of 80 percent of the stench would pass muster around here? Not a shot. I was awakened by what sounded like a dog fight in the kitchen yesterday. “What the hell is going on,” I asked Leslie/Stiffie, in the romantic way we we address each other in the morning.

“The dogs are attempting to roll in your Nolan helmet,” she replied.

The liner is going through a second pass in the washer today. I wonder why the helmet liners are not as readily available as replacement gear as are the face shields. Somebody should put a bug in Nolan’s ear. In fact, I think the folks at Nolan could make a good buck selling complete revitalization kits each spring. These would include the face shield, the anti-fog insert, the tinted visor, and the liner insert. I’d have paid $130 to get all this as one kit. You don’t realize how the scratches and the scuffs, tiny as they may be, pile up on a face shield. But I tried the helmet on with all the new stuff and it was like getting a new pair of eyes. The new face shield, the visor, and the anti-fog shield ran me around $90 at Genuine Accessories. It was money well spent.

Two words on the Nolan anti-fog shield... It works. I breathe through a facial blow-hole, at a rate that rivals a squirrel in coitus, and the shield on a previous “Brand X” flip-face helmet would have the clarity of a bowl of milk in 20 seconds. Not so with the Nolan. I have only experienced fogging about the size of a thumbnail, directly under my nose, under the most taxing circumstances. Cracking the shield a half-notch clears it instantly. There is never any fog to speak of on the Nolan anti-fog shield.

Author’s note:
I have been advised to add a little vinegar (in the bleach port) to the wash cycle the next time I launder this helmet liner. I’m curious to see how this pans out.

I refuse to debate whether it is better to wear a helmet or to ride free in the breeze. I would never tell an established rider that he or she would be smarter to wear a helmet. (For one thing, you cannot tell an established rider anything. It is easier to change someone’s sexual orientation than it is to influence an opinion when it comes to helmets.) But I would tell any newcomers to the riding lifestyle to try this simple experiment. From a car moving at 45 miles per hour, drop a watermelon onto the road. Now repeat the experiment, using your head. (Please don’t really drop your head onto the road from a moving car! My legal department tells me that a certain percentage of Twisted Roads readers are fully capable of dropping their heads on the road. If you can function without your head, then I suggest you put it up your ass for safekeeping and move to Washington, D.C. You have a career in Congress.) To those of my readers who like to ride helmet-free, I say, “Ride on, and ride like hell.” Give me a Nolan flip-face helmet every time.

I received no funding nor promotional consideration from Nolan regarding this column. Not because I am above it, but because no one offered. No amount of money would induce me to endorse a product that I myself wouldn’t and didn’t use. For a person with my head size and requirements, I ranked the “Nolan” helmet as a great helmet. I’d feel confident comparing this helmet against any other brand that fit.


And now the moment you have all been waiting for... Contest Winners!

The winner of the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge is:

The winner of the Progressive Suspension & Tire Plugging Kit is:
Tom McLarney

Each winner has 15 minutes to contact me at, or else I’m selling their prize to piss away the cash on cheap whiskey and tough whores. (Just kidding... The whores are rather sweet.)

The new Twisted Roads monthly contest for September officially starts today. The prize for leaving a comment will be an EZ Tire Pressure Gauge.

The Grand Monthly Prize will be awarded to the most interesting letter written to “Twisted Roads, Dispatches From The Front Department." For examples of sample letters, please click here. The Grand Monthly Prize for September will be a genuine Cycle Pump compressor. Two second prizes will also be awarded. They are copies of my self-improvement book, "Politicaly Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists." Two third prizes will be coveted "Twisted Roads" tee shirts.

To enter, simply write a "Dispatch," and send it to Mark it "Dispatches From The Front" in the subject line. If you are sending a picture (preferably topless) please indicate that you have the sole rights to the picture and are giving me the right to publish it.

• Winners for both contests will be announced on the “Twisted Roads Blog,” on Monday, Seotember 20, 2010.
• Winners will be chosen at random.
• Relatives and former wives of the editorial staff of Twisted Roads are not eligible for prizes.
• No substitutions
• Void where prohibited
• Prizes are awarded new as they are shipped in their original packaging from the manufacturer. Twisted Roads is not responsible for any defects in awarded prizes, nor for any incidents, accidents, injuries, damages or death perceived to be caused by defective prizes. Riding a motorcycle is a dangerous activity with special risks. We all ride at our own pleasure and peril.
• Unclaimed prizes will be held a year. It is up to all contestants to read the Twisted Roads Blog dated August 16th, 2010 to see if they are winners.
• Any additional taxes or fees due on prizes are the responsibility of the winners. Twisted Roads is happy to pay for shipping and handling.
• Topless contestants who send pictures of themselves usually do a lot better at winning prizes. My email address is posted on my blog. (I dare you.)

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2010
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)


jay said...

Jacka$$, I have the same model helmet as your's. Bought it in '07 right before we met Nightowl in Maryland. I rode the Moonbeam and you drove the Monster Suburban. Send your itinerary for the Labor Day weekend ride. I might be able to catch somewhere along the route.

Vulcan AL

walrus said...

Get a white helmet

BMW-Dick said...

I suspect that riding without a helmet is similar to attempting to have sex with a feral hog. I've never thought about doing either. Having head-butted a house at flying speed, I'm here to agree that even a stinky helmet is a good choice. You may want to ask the Spider Whisperer about feral hogs; his response has to be more interesting than the video of the front wheel of his K75.

Woody said...

I've heard that wiping you ass with your helmet liner will remove the sweat smell. Give it a try and let me know how you make out.

Regarding your dislike of hi-viz. I got over this using one simple observation. When riding, I can not see what gear I have on. Give it a try sometime, it's really difficult. You may get a peak of your sleeve in your mirror, but not much else.

The important thing is whether the stupid bitch-fuck in the minivan with 12 screaming kids yaking on her cell phone sees me.

I never leave home withing my hi-viz vest.

Conchscooter said...

Why limit your helmet to motorcycle riding? Wear it in the car. 50,000 Americans die in their cars every year, only 4,000 motorcyclists go the same way so it stands to reason you should drive the rust bucket while wearing a helmet.
Oh and paint the suburban with high visibility paint. You can never be too safe.

Steve Williams said...

Dear Mr. Riepe: Your post needs more cowbell.

In spite of that I am glad to see that you have remained politically correct in your writing and have refrained from any references to jackhammer sex in your descriptive illumination of Amelia Stupidbitch.

I look forward to seeing pictures from your helmet coronation and will pray you never give in to an electrified piss riding jacket.

As always I will review and deconstruct your post to help improve my own writing.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

PS: The word for the word verification to post is "unchest". Seems somehow appropriate to Twisted Roads.

redlegsrides said...

Jack, if you're not on Nolan's pay, you should be....made me go look at Nolan's website.

I like my Caberg Trip but it vents like crap and high winds tend to make the visor flutter in the right conditions.

Good on you for waking that stupid idiot in the minivan....its also good for your "inner demon" to be let out briefly once in a while.

Re your thoughts on HI-Viz, I used to be one of the guys in the "bright colors" camp but experience has shown that I am invisible when astride a motorcycle and I ride accordingly: Good Commentary re Hi-Viz

Good posting as usual....a great way to start a work week.

Stacy said...

How fantastic, an EZ Tire Pressure Gauge. I will put it to good use on the motorcycles, the car, and the spare Hummer that I like to drive when I'm feeling frisky. It will also be used to let out 5% of the pressure in the tires of any of the 100,000 Priuses I should encounter in Corvallis (pop: 50,000).

Thanks, Jack!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jay/Vulcan Al (Tony Luna);

What the hell is this "Jay" bullshit? I initialy thought you were my friend Jay Scales. I am going to replace my Nolam 102e with the newer model... And I am going to see what I can do about a custom paint job.

Labor Day is in three weeks. Ride over here, nd we'll do a shore run in a "goodby" to the summer crab ritual. I'll see if Pete, Dick, and Clyude are up to something. Did I hear you got married?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Walrus:

I hate white gear. You're entered into next months EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Contest.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

I was talking to Pete tonight, and he swears you have had sex with a ferel pig. I'm still fooling around with that helmet tonight (Monday). Now that I have got it figured out, I am going to return it to a near pristine state.

I haven't ridden in two weeks and I can't believe I blew the coolest weekend of the summer. Such is life. September is coming soon. And I hope t make up for lost time.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

I read the first line of your comment and laughed my ass off... God was that funny. But it wasn't very factual. And two of my readers, one in Lionville and another in Key West followed your directions to the letter. The guy in Key West didn't even take the liner out of the helmet.

I tried using a high-viz condom the other night. Leslie thought I was threatening her with a Jedi light saber and hit me with a chair.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter (Michael Beattie):

How do you think it looks with you telling me to wear my helmet in the truck, while you ride that Triumph around wearing a pink party dress and Crocs to match? Of course, there is less danger when you seldom exceed the 26 mph senior citizen speed limit during the local Key West Stewed Prune Festival.

I do wear a helmet during sex however, especially since the trapeze broke that time.

I'm sorry you didn't wi a prize this time. Perhaps, if you tried being nice. Maybe your next comment should say something like, "That is one cool K-75. I bet that one never leaks oil."

Try that approach.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Scooter In The Sticks:

I got a call from "The Bruce Dickinson" the other night who said exactly the same thing. "Fear The Reaper" is one of the great inspiration rock numbers of he day. It is one of the reasons why I do not listen to music when I ride, especially Blue Oyster Cult. They'ds be scraping my fat ass off the embankment someplace.

I intend to celebrate breaking 200 pounds by buying a CyclePort riding outfit (mesh jacket and pants) for about $1200. I am going to get thin and ride to the Pacific in the fall of 2011.

If my writing style intrigues you, you might sample my perspective of life by taking three pain-killers with a glass of gin, and sitting down at the keyboard. In a rare delagation of blame, your blog inspired this one.

What do you think of them apples?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I should be a professional moto-journalist. I have a great deal of enthusim for riding, and love it when great products come together. The real trick is not to write about the shit you hate. Because there are plenty of crappy products out there too.

Then again, I would really have to clean up my act — maybe. Thanks for reading my tripe and for commenting. Like everyone else who responded, you're now entered into the new EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Comment Contest.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Stacy:

Way to go! Your EZ Tire Pressure Gauge is in tomorrow's mail.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

John said...

Jack, I have an HJC flip up with a real gaudy pattern. My bike is the same "Mystic Red" color as Fireballs (The best color for a motorcycle, period). I do not worry about matching, just living. My next helmet will either be a Nolan, or a Scorpion flip top.

Grandad 43 said...

Jack, another entertaining offering from your viewpoint.
Nolan should be sending the check very soon. I wonder if they are aware of the free, positive publicity you have provided ?
Keep up the good work.

Grandad 43
PS 14

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John Claus:

In a poll of customers conducted by a major supplier who maintains an online catalogue, Nolan ranked third in popularity, when survey participants were asked what kind of helmet they used. There were no other qualifiers, but I suspect cost may have been a factor. It has been my experience thast with a Nolan helmet, you get what you pay for.

Incidently, before I set out to buy a helmet, my first choice was not Nolan but Schuberth. Two things changed my mind: I spoke with several Beemer riders who were unhappy, and the fit in their largest sizewas too small.

I've heard a lot of good things about Scorpian helmets too. I will make a comparison for fun when it comes time to buy my incentive helmet.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear GrandDd43:

Thank you for reading my blog, and for commenting. This autmaticaly places you in the next EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Commentary give-away.

Nolan is welcome to the free ride on my blog for two reasons:
a) The helmet works for me.
b) I was wearing it when I got slammed into a minivan and then into the ground. I hit my head against shit twice, and the helmet never cracked.

That's worth mentioning. Another cheaper helmet may have done the same thing... I'd rather forego the experiment though. I have also praised the Kermit Chair, the MiniMag Light, MotoLights, and PIAA's HID lights too. Why? Because each delivered. There's a lot of shit out there, and I am thrilled whenever a product comes through.

Have you ever heard of the BMW K-75? I recommend that one too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Jack • reep • Toad

RichardM said...

I tried the same model Nolan on last month at a rally and I was amazed at how much more comfortable it was than my current HJC. I must have a "non-round" shaped head as well.

As usual, a great story from a seemingly routine event!

Richard my blog

irondad said...

This is certainly an entertaining post but I had to dismiss any factual content. In the first paragraph you wrote about "the odd droplet of sweat that found its way down to my gas tank". After reading that I knew the rest to be total fabrication. You. An odd droplet of sweat? Dear sir!

After reading farther, though, I had to reconsider. The mini-van part is clearly accurate truth.

Not knowing what to do or believe, my only option is to go wave my helmet around in a park and see what dies.

jay said...

Me? Got married? No way Joesay. Am not wife is.

Young Dai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Young Dai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Young Dai said...


Like many UK riders I wear maximum Hi Viz, I took the decision to 'yellow up' even before I could ride , after I found that when driving I could see the Hi-Viz-ed rider two or three times further in the distance than someone simple black.

And I have held onto that belief, that it kept me safe ever since unquestioning. In much the same way as a C14th pilgrim would clutch onto his piece of the 'True Cross' while crossing into the Saracen lands, or a teenager will believe he will never get passed 2nd base unless he is wearing his lucky jockey shorts.

But to be visible first of all someone has to be looking out to see you. As you found if the other driver has their head up their ass they won't see much. It doesn't replace defensive riding.

My bike has emergency service rear chevrons on panniers and mud guards, I am 6ft 6', have a solid white helmet and wear a full size hi-viz jacket. I do not know what I can do to be more visible to other road users, yet over the past 18 months I have still been run into twice (luckily at slow speed) while stationary under red traffic lights.

I think the best you can hope for is it will make it simpler for your children's lawyer to sue the person who knocked you down, by proving that you had taken all reasonable steps to be seen.

As for your helmet situation, you are the snake oil merchant, apply your talents and follow the same successful strategy as others have used recently. Remind the world clearly, regularly and loudly that BMW in fact stands for the British Motorcycle Works.

Envoke the spirit of the founding fathers, of Mel Gibson and Kevin Costner in Robin Hood. It's not your fault that you 'glow' when riding, it's all the fault of the British for creating this toxic dump, (though if you are worried about the demographic go heavy on the English and soft peddle the Scots and Irish bits).

You will at least get a Congressional hearing, and if you are really lucky an escrow fund as well.

(PS if I am picked for the Pressure Gauge, to save the postage, just send me the air-fare instead.)

BeemerGirl said...

Glad you were able to get her heart pumping in such an easy and non-reproachable manner. I enjoyed the same moment last month when the lady didn't even bother looking over her shoulder. Sixth sense is a wonderful thing sometimes.

I just worry about the people that don't even respond. Sure, they move back to their own lane, sometimes. But they don't even acknowledge the potential transgression! Wish I had the fortitude to ride up next to them and either put my boot print in their door or knock the mirror off. They weren't using it anyway. -Lori

cpa3485 said...

I tried on a Nolan helmet awhile back and it didn't seem real comfortable to me, but I assume the shape of my head is different than yours. It could be that the shape of our respective heads is different because of a varying level of intelligence contained therein. Not saying which one of us might have more. My Scorpion has served me very well with no complaints. I did pick the color to match my steed.
Right now I am serving on a jury and I feel my level of personal intelligence wasting away with each and every day I serve.
PS: Can't wait to see that new "lid" of yours!

Unknown said...

Jackie "r"IEPE:

recent statistics confirm that British Columbia is one of the areas where internet shopping is rampant, thus so that many of our dealers do not carry high end m/c accessories anymore. It is very difficult to find anything in stock anywhere and you certainly don't want to order a helmet without trying it on. same for jackets and other riding attire.

The accepted practice was to go to a dealer to try on the helmet, leave, go home and order it on-line for hundreds cheaper. Same for jackets and everything else.

Even motorcycle dealers south of the border down to Seattle cater to BC buyers. There is no duty on motorcyles, only the C$290. import fee, plus some paperwork.

Why pay $25K for a HD when an hour south you could get one in Burlington HD dealer for $15K. Due to depressed bike sales 3 long time dealers are closing at the end of this month, so after September there are NO Suzuki Dealers in Vancouver. I will have to find another dealer in the suburbs. Also no one carries parts anymore, you have to order and wait for them to come in, so might as well just order on-line again as it will be faster.

I have never seen a Nolan so cannot comment on its construction or funny shape. Perhaps those of us with smaller brains can substitute for another brand

PS: as for your R1200gt or whatever you mentioned last week for US$7K, that same bike up here would go for around C$15K. Used bikes are much cheaper south of the 49th parallel and more selection too. I am getting somewhat enamoured with obtaining an R80G/S with factory hard cases. Thanks to you it all started with looking at a picture, then I touched one . . . Oh, and it comes with a tach as standard BMW factory supplied equipment, after all, what good bike doesn't ?

Wet Coast Scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Derar Bobskoot:

It is very refreshing to read that there are sme drawbacks to living in Paradise. But the depressed market is not confined to the land of the Maple Leaf. A number of dealerships have closed in the US, particular BMW dealers, as consumer confidence is the lowest it has been since 1929.

I am lucky in that I have two dealers close by, with an ace mechanic less than an hour away. Yet I feel for those who do not have these options. Nevertheless, an attempt to buy gear and parts south of the US/CA border is what contributes to dealer closure. It ios a tough call to save money, or short your local marque merchant.

I think you would find a BMW an annoying machine to own. They generally do only one or two things really well (felony speeding for hours on end, or endless tours at high speed), are limited in aftermarket parts, and are generally expensive to acquire. If I had any confidence in the job market, I'd buy another K-75 I saw on the market last week.

But it's like being a member of a secret society like the Masons. (You can see this in Sonja's eyes.) Its like being in on a very private joke. And when Beemer riders get together, there is telepathy between souls. I recently read, in a BMW magazine, that a rider was so aggravated with his machine that he gave it up and quite the association.

That is so rare. And when Beemer riders bitch about something, they do it to each other, and generally shut up in mixed company. Even if I had to give up riding, I would keep this machone insured and running in the garage, just so I could be a member of the club.

Regarding the Nolan Helmet... It does have a funny shape. But then again, so does my head. And the Nolan helmet greatly contributes to my ride quality. Now I would be delighted to find a Nolan competitor that offered something similar at half price, but the folks who made the original need something more than lip service for their effort. It is why my next helmet search will start off with another Nolan... And probably end with one.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

I have discovered that there is wide variance in the sizing of helmets from different manufacturers. And I have also heard great things about Scorpion helmets.

I came across a custom helmet painter, and it will add $350-$600 to the price of a new helmet. I still want to do it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Beemer Girl:

I am still laughing over the picture of you giving the finger to your boyfriend on your blog.

That said, see if the greatest number of offending cagers in your locale aren't piloting minivans. They are all so fucking stupid.

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Young Dai:

How I enjoyed your comment! It was like taking a mini-vacation. I enjoyed your preerspective om high-viz, including the reference to a religious pilgrim. I have about 4,000 watts of light on the front of my bike, and it doesn't stop the shitheads from turning in front of me.

My father was a Batallion Chief on the Jersey City Fire Department, and he was amazed at how many wrecks there were with stupid car drivers turning into a fire engine, covered with flashing red lights -- and blasting a siren.

But when the time comes, I will probably go high-viz.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jay (Vulcan Al):

Let's ride someplace over Labor Day.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. As you are aware, I make no guarantees as to the technical value of my data. But I do promise it will elicit some sort of half-assed emotion.

You want to be careful waving your helmet around in the event it does have the same effect as mine. Would you should do is cut eye-holes in a brown paper supermarket bag, and wear it over your head. Draw a face on it if you like.

This way when you get arrested, the headline will read, "Former Cop Picked Up With A Bag On"

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Fondest regards

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rich:

If you have the head for it, nothing beats a Nolan.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

redlegsrides said...

Bobskoot, the R80 G/S is a coverted model and really hard to find.....been looking for one myself!

Off topic, sorry, Ihor said...

Is Mike Cantwell relalated to a Thomas G. who was a lawyer? Could you ask Mike? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

From Nikos:

Dear Jack
I heard that a major helmet manufacturer was making a mysterious special black helmet with mesh visor for the Middle Eastern market, known as the Burhka GTI, you can specify bluetooth GPS Mecca meter/prayer time annunciator interface too.

Rather clever these engineers. 
I can't see you going for this tho', not enough "flourish"??
Best wishes from an undisclosed location...


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

I love you dearly... Did I ever tell you I specialize in Public Relations for a living? I'm sure there is a market for the very helmet you have described, but it wouldn't fit me well.

I am still getting used to the cell-phone option in my communications package, which allows the woman in my life to summon me to atone in person.

It is always great to hear from you.

Drop me a line on my e-mail anytime, unless you are assinated on the street.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I'll ask.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Bobskoot would hate an "R" bike. He needs a "K" bike. Like a good used K-1200 GT. A good size for the garage, and not too fast. (Insert insane laugh here.)

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

redlegsrides said...

Jack, Jack, Jack....

lead not Bobskoot astray....he's on the path to airhead enlightenment....

BeemerGirl said...

As I am sure you know, flipping ones spouse off is acceptable at any point in time, warranted or not. And isn't it usually warranted? :)

Down here we have most of the soccer moms in gas guzzling SUV's. The minivans are definitely here, but the "Super Mom's" usually want more style than one of those can afford. And to make sure that Michael, son of Stupidbitch, is protected.

Ride well.

Nikos said...

Dear Jack

One is amused!

Best wishes, N from ?