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Showing posts from December, 2015

What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

Ride Review: Victory Vision

Parts of this review were originally published on RideApart.
I put more than 2,500 miles on a Victory Vision recently –– primarily on my trip to EICMA, but also on the familiar roads of Wales, where I live. I rode it in good weather and bad, at high speed, through cities, and down winding country roads.
Despite its contemporary looks, Victory's Vision motorcycle is hardly new, having first been introduced to the world in 2005 as a concept bike. 
Back then, it was presented as an 800-cc liquid-cooled parallel twin with automatic transmission. Its bulbous front end offered storage where the fuel tank would normally be. In other words, Victory invented the Honda NM-4
The mind spins at what might have been had Victory chosen to pursue such a direction. Instead, the Vision became a top-of-the-line tourer, powered by an air- and oil-cooled 1731cc V-twin. Brought into production in 2008, it remains relatively unchanged today, which seems to be the formula for tourers: Find something t…

Models are hot, but let's drop sexism from motorcycling

Here's the thing: I'm a fan of the ladies. I'm a fan of looking at the ladies. And, when there is mutual agreement to do so, I'm a fan of touching the ladies.
That's just the way I am. Some deep something within drives me to think this way — to look at certain females and think: "Oh, golly, I think I'll keep looking."
The Methodist and Baptist churches that my parents and grandparents dragged me to until I was in my late-teens would describe my behavior as normal, red-blooded and American. I personally wonder if there really is such a thing as "normal" when it comes to sexuality, but I will say that I have no problem with how I think. I'm a man and I like women, and I'm OK with that.
So I will admit that when I go to a motorcycle show, such as last month's EICMA, and I see that every manufacturer — and, in some cases, accessories provider — has festooned its product with extraordinarily gorgeous women, there is a part of my brai…

Wind, rain, and terrorism on a Victory Vision

The original plan was to ride to EICMA on a Victory Gunner. I had come up with the idea in summer, imagining French back roads and Alpine passes.
When I get in touch with Victory's PR team in the UK, however, they gently point out the flaws in my thinking: EICMA takes place in mid November and I've given myself very little time to get there. Which means spending time on the motorway (aka freeway/interstate).
"You can do what you want, mate," says Victory UK's PR man, Steve. "I can get you a Gunner, no problem. But, well, have you ridden here in November?"
I have. Britain is terrible this time of year. Incessant rain and gale-force winds. The sun disappears until March. When Steve offers a Victory Vision as an alternative, I say yes before he finishes the suggestion.
The Vision is Victory's top-of-the-line tourer, happy to be brought up against the likes of the Indian Roadmaster, or Harley-Davidson Electra Glide. Relatively unchanged since being int…