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General

History of Motorcycle Jackets

Motorcycle JacketsBack in the 1920’s jackets used for motorcycle riding were the aviator, military style jackets. These were very popular to use from the World War II supply. They were constructed out of goatskin and horsehide. The hides were readily available prior to World War II because the army Calvary and most farmers used horses and provided hides from their stock to the clothing industry.

The first manufactured motorcycle jackets came from the Schott Company which opened in 1913 and started producing jackets for motorcycles in the 1920’s. Later in 1933, a company in Detroit called The Joseph Buegeleisen Company, who was producing accessories for motorcycles, got into the business of making leather jackets for motorcyclists. That officially started in the 1940’s. They later went bankrupt in 1953.

Harley Davidson, who started business in 1910, has supplied quality leather jackets for the motorcycle industry. In the 1940’s they branded two versions, the “Cycle Champ” for men and the “Cycle Queen” for women. It was a popular style and fit.

Over the years motorcycle jackets have taken on a lot of pockets. That seemed to be what the market wanted. The “pistol pocket” holster shaped on the Harley jackets was a popular one, along with a backside pocket.

The Marlon Brando movie “The Wild Ones” popularized motorcycle jackets. Manufacturers couldn’t produce them fast enough.

Aside from the look and style that people like, leather jackets have provide protection from the elements, as well as the pavement, in the event of laying your bike down.

Posted by Brad Stone - November 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

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A Rocky Mountain High Motorcycle Trip

Colorado Motorcycle TripIt’s less than three weeks before I embark on a trip with the guys up through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

We’ll start in Salt Lake City, hook up on Hwy 40 toward Rangely, Colorado, then head south on Hwy 139 towards Grand Junction. CJ will be our first stop for the night.

The next day we’ll continue heading south and hook up on Hwy 550 (Million Dollar Hwy), down through The San Juan National Forest, mining towns and the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Our 2nd stop for the night will be Durango.

We’ll then head east on Hwy 160, up through the Rio Grande National Forest, then north on Hwy 149 towards Blue Mesa Reservoir. We’ll spend the night in Gunnision.

After Gunnison, we’ll head west again, on Hwy 50, then north on 133 toward Glenwood Springs, taking I-70 West to Grand Junction for our last night.

The next day we’ll head home to Salt Lake City, like a horse heading to the barn.

We are looking forward to a real relaxing ride, with beautiful vistas and challenging roads.

Come follow along. I’ll be taking my laptop and will post pics and some narratives each night.

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Posted by Brad Stone - June 28, 2012 at 6:50 PM

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Awe, The Riding Days of Spring!

My most favorite time of the year to ride is the spring time. It is the perfect temps for motorcycle riding, enough of a cool breeze to leather up and not sweat profusely.

Motorcycle ride across the desertSpeaking of sweating profusely, reminds me of the trip my brother and I took in the middle of the July heat, across the Nevada desert. Temperatures were around 110 degrees, adding another 5 to 10 degrees for the radiant heat of the pavement. We both sported camelbaks filled with ice water.

At each gas stop, after riding about 120 to 130 miles, our camelbaks would be bone dry, and we would refill them again with convenience store’s complimentary ice and water. At least I think it was complimentary. The store clerks never challenged us, or at least confronted us, with filling the packs with their ice and water. After all, we were bikers, and bikers were not to be messed with. I did, on occasion, ask permission before using their water and ice.

Motorcycle Splitting Lanes

After riding through Reno and over the Donner Pass, we dropped into the scorching heat of the Sacramento Valley. We were stuck in stop and go traffic for the longest time. The temperatures were almost unbearable. After putting up with the stop and go traffic, for what seemed an eternity, my brother said, “Hey, doesn’t California lawallow for motorcycles to split lanes?” Before I could get a reply out, he was off riding between cars, so I followed. About every 10th car, seeing us coming through their side view mirror, would move over and block the lane split. So we would stop until traffic started again, and continue our shooting through cars.

Motorcycle Tent

That night, as I prepared my air mattress, sleeping bag and tent for a tired biker’s body, I then realized just how hot it was that day. When I pulled out my mattress blower to inflate my mattress, it had gotten so hot that day that my batteries had exploded. Now that is hot.

Anyway, I welcome the spring temperatures and am saddened when they give way to the punishing summer temps.

Happy riding!

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Posted by Brad Stone - May 22, 2012 at 11:36 PM

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Spring Motorcycle Riding

Well, spring has sprung, and I’m riding my motorcycle almost everyday. It’s good to be back riding regularly again.

After winter, when you start riding on a regular basis, it is always important to check everything real well to make sure that your bike is ready for regular riding.

 

Here’s my quick check list to ensure the motorcycle is ready:

  • Check air pressure.
  • Check oil level. It is usually good to replace the oil if the bike has sat for a long period of time.
  • Check real drive fluid.
  • Check radiator fluid level.
  • Sight inspect the whole bike for any lose nuts and bolts.
  • Take some light-weight oil and oil all the exterior moving parts, like clutch lever, front and rear brake levers, etc.
  • Then give it a good cleaning.

Now you’re ready to ride!

 

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Posted by Brad Stone - March 30, 2012 at 10:48 PM

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Next Motorcycle Trip

Million Dollar Hwy

The Twisties of the Million $ Hwy

Even though it is still Jan and winter, I’ve been have that etching feeling for the next motorcycle trip. I’ve been considering riding on the million dollar highway in Colorado, from Durango up through Ouray. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this ride. I’ll have to do some studying up on the route and places to see. But I think that is on my list for this year.

So to get some opinions from those that have been on the million dollar highway, I went to trip adviser to read a few reviews.

“This is a gorgeous drive overlooking many spectacular views! We have driven this highway several times, and I never tire of it’s beauty. If you are planning a vacation to Colorado, add this to your list of scenic drives.”

“An awesome ride up thru the clouds and back down into Silverton, CO.”

“Twisties to die for, scenery at every turn, sheer drops from the roadway and places to stop like Ouray to delight the rider. Bring your camera and watch the road. – Rider from Golden, CO “

Looks like I’ll start planning the details and alert my riding buddies, and have something to look forward to as the snow falls outside my window.

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Posted by Brad Stone - January 23, 2012 at 10:00 PM

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Tending your Motorcycle During the Winter Months

On a warm Florida Beach

Well, winter is officially upon us here in Utah. The temps have been down in the low teens. Since 2004, when I purchased my VTX 1300, a month has not gone by that I have not ridden the girl.

During the winter months, I feel it is important to start the bike up every few weeks, and let it warm up to running temperature. I’ll usually hop on it and run down to the store, or even just around the block. It helps to get the warm oil worked into all internal areas of the engine and crankcase, lubricating the bearings and other moving parts, keeping a film of oil on the internal metal.

I also make sure that the battery tender is still functioning properly. I’ve had a feel tenders stay on and not automatically turn off, drying up the battery.

And, if I don’t go out regularly to check on the ole girl, I start to hear whimperings coming from the garage. So, check your bike regularly during the cold winter months. Even sitting on the seat, closing your eyes, you can imagine a warm spring just around the corner.

Happy riding!

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Posted by Brad Stone - December 5, 2011 at 11:21 PM

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Fall is in the Air

winterizing your bike

Fall is in the Air

Winterizing your Motorcycle

With the changing of the temps, and Fall in the air, it is time to start thinking about getting your bike ready for a long winter’s nap – That is of course, if you are blessed, gifted, and down right lucky to live in a warm climate like Florida. However, even if you live in Florida, it is a good idea to do some annualized maintenance on your motorcycle.

Motorcycle Oil

If you are getting your motorcycle ready for a cold winter, then it is a good idea to change your oil, as well as your rear drive lube.

Gas Treatment for your Motorcycle

Put some gas treatment in like sta-bil or seafoam. I usually like seafoam, because it not only treats the gas, but it also helps in cleaning the deposits off in your input areas of your engine.

Motorcycle Inspection

You should inspect your bike completely for any loose nuts or bolts, take a lightweight oil and lubricate all your moving parts, and do a good cleaning to remove any contaminants that may have splashed up on your motorcycle.

Motorcycle Tires

Check the air pressure in your motorcycle tires.

Motorcycle Battery

Lastly, plug in a battery tender. I have an attached plug to my battery so that all I have to do is plug in the tender. Some of you may need to remove your motorcycle seat to gain access to your battery. Might even be a good idea to just remove the battery completely and hook up your battery tender.

 

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Posted by Brad Stone - September 15, 2011 at 2:22 PM

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Bikers Have Rolled Into Sturgis

Sturgis Bikers roll into Town

Downtown Sturgis

 

Alas, bikers started pouring into Sturgis on Friday. The place is filling up fast, and as usual, it is slow getting around from one end of town to the next. It’s hot, but that’s nothing new to the rally.

One thing that is new this year… Rumor has it, that the mayor of Sturgis, who has watch from a non-rider perspective all these years, finally bit the dust and purchased a motorcycle license this year.

Vendors are all set up to sell you just about anything that has to do with motorcycles. There’s even things that don’t relate to motorcycles, but are there for you to buy.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 6, 2011 at 2:33 PM

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Sturgis is Heating Up

Courtesy of Rapid City Journal

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 3, 2011 at 10:35 PM

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Downtown Sturgis is Quiet

Sturgis Bike rally

Downtown Sturgis

As the Sturgis bike rally approaches, the week preceding the rally is relatively quiet. The crowds should start filtering in this weekend. A lot will be happening this year. Paul Sr. of American Chopper will be making an appearance at Buffalo Chip to help raise funds for “The Kids & Chrome foundation through BIC 4 Good.

As in years previous, the men in blue will be out in force, so keep your peace. Just if you are interested, here are some of the city and state ordinances and the attached fines:

Indecent Exposure – $111.00
Open container in Public – $61.00
Deposit of Filth – $86.00
Disorderly Conduct – $111.00
Careless Driving – $91.00
Eye protection required – $20.00
Helmet required under 18 – $94.00

Have fun, and be safe!

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 2, 2011 at 9:01 PM

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Motorcycle Rides in the Heat

Your's truly

 

Summer is finally here is full swing, and it is hot!

With hot summer riding comes risks, especially if you are riding cross country. With the wind blowing in your face, the thought of getting dehydrated never passes your mind. But it is a real threat.

On my cross country motorcycle trips during the hot summer months, I alway pack with me a camel pack full of cold ice water. Why ice water? Because it is the best thing for re-hydration.

So, enjoy summer riding, and stay hydrated!

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Posted by Brad Stone - July 3, 2011 at 1:33 PM

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Planning a Spring Motorcycle Ride

As the weather starts to warm up, so does the urge to start planning the first spring motorcycle ride. For early spring, it is always safe to plan a ride headed south into warmer climates. So, my group is planning a ride from Salt Lake City, heading south to the Four Corners area of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. Then crossing over the north end of Arizona to the Grand Canyon and Lake Havasu, down to San Diego, up the Southern California coast to LA, east to Death Valley, further east to Zions National Park and Bryce Canyon, then back home to Salt Lake City, on the scenic Hwy 12.

Should be a great motorcycle ride, lasting about a week and 2,700 miles.

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Posted by Brad Stone - February 16, 2011 at 11:15 PM

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Last Years Motorcycle Rides

Last year I had a couple of memorable motorcycle rides. In June I spent 3 weeks, by myself, riding up into Canada, over to the east coast, down through Maine and back home, putting a little over 6,000 miles on my motorcycle. My wife did fly out and meet me part way on the trip. It was a fun trip and the weather was pretty good. In three weeks I only once got rained on, and it was a light drizzle at that. If you are interested you can follow the daily posts of my ride here: Canada/Maine Trip

Then in August, I spent a week with my regular group of 8 riders, and we attended the Sturgis Rally in North Dakota. We had a great time riding our motorcycles through the Black Hills, visiting all the historical sites, as well as downtown Sturgis. I also kept a daily blog of the motorcycle ride here: Sturgis Trip 2010

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Posted by Brad Stone - January 26, 2011 at 6:09 PM

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Can’t wait for the Next Motorcycle Ride

I don’t know about you when it comes to wintertime. For me it is way too long. My motorcycle sits in the garage with it’s battery tender tickling a charge every once in a while, and I eagerly keep tabs on the changing weather and temps. I did take my motorcycle out for a ride two weeks ago, when the temperature got into the 40’s. For me it is always good to at least start up the motorcycle once a month and let it warm up enough to move the oil around in the engine to get into all parts of the engine compartments and lubricate them.

But, until the weather warms enough, I’ll still just dream of the motorcycle rides I’ll take this year. I’m planning on taking some motorcycle rides into the South-western States, as well as Alaska.

Stay Safe!

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Posted by Brad Stone - January 25, 2011 at 3:52 PM

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Welcome to USA Motorcycle Rides

Welcome to USA Motorcycle Rides. On this website you’ll find everything you’ll need to plan your next ride. I will be adding all the information, products and items you will need to have a fun and safe trip. I’ll also be sharing trips from across this great USA.

I’ve traveled through 49 states so far and have had many great stories to tell.

So please bookmark this site and come back often.

–Safe Riding

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Posted by Brad Stone - January 19, 2011 at 10:10 PM

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Getting ready for a Long Winter’s Nap

So winter is here, and it is time to put your motorcycle to bed for the winter, unless you are like me, who has ridden my bike every single month since the day it was purchased.

There are some maintenance procedures you should perform to prepare your bike for a long winter’s nap.

First, you’ll want to add a fuel stabilizer that will prevent the fuel residue from oxidizing and turning to varnish. (Not a good thing if the varnish gets into the carb or injectors.) After putting in the stabilizer, run the bike for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the chemical to work its way into the carburetor system.


Next, make sure you change out your oil, even if it appears to not be too dirty. Residual fuel and contaminants in the oil can oxidize during the prolonged storage or inactivity. Changing your oil now removes all the sludge and dirt that would otherwise start to deteriorate. Also, by having fresh clean oil in your bike will ensure a clean fresh start up in the spring when you crank it over for the first time.

Hook up a battery charger or tender to keep a full charge on the battery all winter long.

Then clean your bike. There may be road salts that could begin to corrode and damage metal surfaces.

Check your tires for proper inflation.

Cover your bike, and tuck her down for her long winter’s nap.

Then dream all winter long for an early spring, when you can ride again.

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Posted by Brad Stone - November 12, 2010 at 8:32 AM

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Last Good Ride of the Year – Lake Powell

Mike Jarvis and I loaded our bikes down with RV antifreeze and headed down last Friday to Bullfrog Marina at Lake Powell to winterize our houseboat. Believe it or not, I had 12 gallons strapped to my bike, and Mike had 6 gallons. I felt like I had a really fat person riding on back.

The weather going down was pretty good, with some light drizzles going down, enough that we needed to take it slow in the turns. Temps were in the 40’s and 50’s most of the way down. Once at Powell, it was in the 60’s. We did have a few downpours that night.

We got everything winterized. (Two inboard engines, a generator, the lake water lines, the fresh water lines and the toilets)

The next day we headed for home. The ride was quite nice most of the way, until we were west of Price, coming through Spanish Fork Canyon. It poured on us the whole way. We kept our speeds in the 50’s most of the way, ensuring that we didn’t hydroplane. Temps dipped into the 30’s going through the canyon.

We both had headed gear, so we stayed toasty warm. Even though heated gear is pricey, it is the only way to go in cold weather riding.

A couple of tips for riding in the rain:

  • Plan ahead, trying to avoid rainy areas or times for your trip. But if you can’t, then the following items will help.
  • Don’t ride in the rain if you have worn tires. They should have good tread on the tires to bite the road. On my cross-country trip to Florida last year, my back tire was getting pretty worn, and I actually hydroplaned in the rain on my back tire going through Tennessee. Lucky for me, when I released the throttle, the back tire bit the road again, and then wobbled for about 30 yards before I gained control of the bike. Needless to say, that scared the begeebees out of me.
  • Slow down. Keep your speed slow. Highway speeds should be about 5 to 10 miles slower than the speed limit, depending on weather conditions. Higher speeds creates a higher risk of hydroplaning.
  • Keep your turning and moves slow and deliberate. Don’t make any quick turns or moves.
  • Wear bright clothing. When it is raining, other drivers will have a more difficult time seeing you if your clothing blends in with the landscape. Having bright-colored rain gear helps you to be seen.
  • Turn up the lights. Keep your highway bar lights on or your high beam light on. Again, you want people to see you.
  • Have a good rain suit and rain-proof clothing. There is nothing more miserable than riding wet on your motorcycle. It can get pretty bone-chilling when you get wet. Make sure your gloves and boots are water proof. Routinely I spray my riding boots and gloves with a waterproof spray. I also have waterproof boot covers that keep my boots dry, as well as keeping the water out of my ankle areas.

Until the next ride…

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Posted by Brad Stone - October 30, 2010 at 8:57 AM

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Headed for Lake Powell Next Week

I going to be heading south to Lake Powell next week with a riding buddy of mine, Mike Jarvis. We are partners on a houseboat and are going to be going down to winterize the boat before the snow flies. We are hoping that the weather will at least be dry for our trip down. The temperatures in Salt Lake are starting to get cold. Last night the temperatures dropped into the 30’s.

It is about 300 miles to Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell. We’ll probably head down on Friday and come home Saturday, the next day. I’m always excited to be able to ride.

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Posted by Brad Stone - October 12, 2010 at 4:49 PM

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What’s coming up?

Some of the guys I ride with have been talking about doing an “Iron Butt Ride.” This is riding 1,000 miles in 24 hours. There is an association called the “Iron Butt Association” that certifies these types of rides. I did an Iron Butt ride a couple of years ago. To me, it didn’t seem that difficult. We started at 4:00 AM in the morning and finished just after midnight that day.

Anyway, we may be planning an iron butt ride in September.

For next year I’m planning on a trip to Alaska, the only state I have not ridden my bike in. Once done, I can check that one off my list. I’ll probably do this one in July, as I understand the weather and temperatures are best in July for the northern areas.

My VTX now has over 74,000 miles on it and seems to run better than when I bought it new. I have replaced both front and rear bearings, and of course have kept clean fluids in it. I did learn a valuable lesson last year when it comes to maintenance and up keep of my motorcycle. I had the dealer do a full service on it in the spring of last year. When I got my bike back, the mechanic had forget to screw in the rear caliper bolt (It was just hanging there), the axle bolt was finger tight, as well as the final drive bolt. On top of that, I discovered that when they replaced my flange bearings, they forgot to install a critical sleeve inside the flange bearings. So when I swapped out my rear tire this year, I discovered that my flange bearings were in pieces. I replaced those bearings, along with buying a new sleeve, myself.

So my valuable lesson learned is this: “Never trust anyone else to care for your bike, except yourself.” I purchased a service manual years ago and have taken care of all my own fluid changes, tire changes and now bearing changes. I don’t think that all dealers are bad, but you just don’t know which ones, and when they will hire some high school drop out to work on your bike. I put a new air filter and spark plugs in it every year, whether it’s needed or not. Just seems to run better in doing so.

You don’t get many chances for mistakes on a motorcycle and live through them, so I would rather trust myself with my life and bike than someone else. In addition, I’ve learned a lot about my bike and how to maintain it. I’ve gotten to where I know the sounds of my bike, and when it doesn’t sound right, and what to do to fix or adjust it.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 22, 2010 at 10:05 AM

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Day Five

Today we left South Dakota and crossed into Wyoming, then up into Montana. The day was hot, dry and sticky. It was pretty much a day of just going from one location to another.

Mike

David

Jared

Quin

Jeff

Brad

We did very well today in avoiding the rain, except for our last 10 miles into Red Lodge, Montana.

We sought shelter under a Sinclar awning.

Our camp for the night at the Red Lodge KOA. Tomorrow we will be traveling over the Beartooth Hwy, one of the premier motorcycle routes.

Today was a bitter/sweet day. When we arrived at camp I had received a message from Penny that her mother had passed away. She was a very classy woman, who will be greatly missed.

Thank you Olive Mae Crowton for leaving a wonderful legacy. May God take you into His loving arms.

Until we meet again.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 9, 2010 at 10:11 PM

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