5 Essential Tips For A Motorcycle Road Trip

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There is no better feeling than the freedom of the open road. Most of the time it is fun to just hop on your motorcycle with no real destination in mind. But if you are planning on taking a road trip, there are a few things that you may want to keep in mind. I recently found this article, which discusses some important tips you should consider when taking a motorcycle road trip. These tips below will help make your road trip as fun and enjoyable as possible.

1) The Road Is Longer Than You Think

If you are not accustomed to riding your bike for more than just a few hours then you should think twice about jumping right into a road trip. Take some practice rides that help you get ready for longer periods of time on your motorcycle. The more prepared you are for a six or seven hours on a motorcycle, the better the trip will be.

2) The Weather Constantly Changes

At some point on a motorcycle road trip you will most likely end up hot, cold and wet. Make sure you are prepared for any type of weather conditions, even if it supposed to be perfect. I highly recommend well-ventilated, waterproof equipment that will help you keep cool when you are hot, dry when it rains, and warm when you need it. If you are going on a motorcycle road trip then you need to be mentally prepared for a little discomfort. But preparing for the worst conditions will help make a world of difference.

3) Take Time To Rest

It is important to break up the long drive with a few breaks to keep you well rested and energized. You may think that stopping whenever you need to fill up is the way to go, but in reality you will want to take a break much more often. Pull over at a rest area to drink some water, have a snack, stretch your legs and relax your back. You do not want to stay on the road for too long and lose your concentration. Taking breaks will keep you awake, alert and focused on your ride.

4) It Can Get Dirty

The road can be a disgusting place, especially when you are spending 5+ hours on the road a day. After an extended period time, a lot of the dirt and disgusting things on the road will likely end up on you. You will want to plan your trip accordingly and have places to shower or find less fancy places that are popular with local riders.

5) Embrace Technology

While it is nice to be alone in your own thoughts while out on the open road, at some point you may want to change it up. A helmet that is equipped with Bluetooth can allow you to listen to music on the road, receive phone calls, follow GPS directions and communicate with other riders. This technology can provide you with a little entertainment in addition to the handy features that will keep you on the road instead as opposed to pulling over to get directions or take a call.

Great Motorcycle Rides

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There is no better feeling than experiencing the freedom of the open road, which is best felt on the seat of a motorcycle. A motorcycle puts you right within the elements of the environment you are traveling through making it a unparalleled feel. It is great (and fairly common) to hop on a motorcycle and ride wherever the road takes you with no destination in mind. But that should not stop you from planning a trip to some of the great roads within throughout the world. There are some amazing rides out there that feel as though they were built solely for a motorcycle and you should make it a point to check them out for yourselves.

Check out the collection of great motorcycle rides below for some ideas of where you and your bike should travel next. Each ride offers a unique experience that you will be sure to remember for years to come.

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Great North America Motorcycle Rides

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This is the perfect time of the year to hit the open road and experience the outdoors. We are in the thick of summer, with amazing weather, allowing for us to soak in the sun. Not to mention, autumn is fast approaching, when the colors begin to change and literally transform the nature that surrounds us.

Taking a roadtrip in a car is fun, but nothing can compare to the feeling of flying down the road on a motorcycle. A bike ride provides a great sense of freedom and places you within the surrounding landscape with no obstructions. If you are looking to plan your next ride, here are three awesome locations to consider in North America.

 

3) Needles Highway, Black Hills, South Dakota

Needles Highway leads to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which takes place every August. This ride was basically made for motorcycles. The landscape is amazing, providing for views difficult to find on any other road. The highway actually passes through two sheer granite wall tunnels (Iron Creek Tunnel and Needles Eye Tunnel). In addition to the landscape, you may even find yourself up close to some wildlife as well, including bison, deer, and antelope.

 

 

2) Route 50, The George Washington Highway, West Virginia

Motorcycles are made for twits and turns; they make for a truly exhilarating ride. On the George Washington Highway in West Virginia you will find just that. Not to mention the breathtaking mountains, rivers, and scenery. This ride is just north of the Monongahela National Forest and travels right past Cathedral State Park along the way.

 

 

 

 

1) Tail of the Dragon, Deal’s Gap, North Carolina

Similar to Route 50, Tail of the Dragon has an enormous number of turns providing for a fun bike ride as well. In fact, this route has 318 curves in 11 miles! The road borders the southeastern portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park providing spectacular views. The views have made it a fan favorite for featured films and television shows, with appearances in The Fugitive and Top Gear. If you are able to make it on this ride, make sure you check out the “Tree of Shame,” a monument to those who have crashed their bikes on the Trail of the Dragon. The unfortunate riders who have let this ride get the best of them have nailed bike parts to the tree and dangle them from the branches.

 

So get out there and experience the world around you… on a bike. Stay tuned for some more great locations to ride and let me know if you have any suggestions for great rides in your area!

The Heart of Harley-Davidson: Matt Levatich

What images conjure when thinking of Harley-Davidson? The open road, a roaring engine, and the iconic logo in all its glory come to mind immediately. But who is behind the throttle of this company? Matt Levatich, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, has earned his stripes as both a seasoned rider, and driving forced behind one of the most recognizable companies on the globe.

From the tender age of eight, Matt loved to ride. On his 125 CC dirt bike, he tooled around his home of Ellis Hollow in Ithaca until he was old enough to get his driver’s license. Riding through fields and forests with the neighborhood kids, Matt became comfortable on two wheels long before he had four.

During his early years, Matt found joy in the little things. Enrolling in mechanical drawing and engineering classes sparked his love of machines, shifting his attention away from fixing and toward design. Drawn by the allure of mechanical engineering, Matt was intrigued by how things worked, what prevented them from working, and how to improve what was pre-existing. Coupled with an aptitude for math and physics, Matt had all the tools necessary to become an excellent engineer.

Starting his career at Harley as a manufacture project engineer, Matt found himself doing what he’d always loved to do as a boy. Change would come quickly, however, and soon Matt was working with Harley’s legal team while they navigated a particularly tricky situation in the European markets during the restructuring of their overseas business. Over the years, Matt had his hand in several of Harley’s projects. Assisting in the construction of the early Harley-Davidson museum, working in the product development center on new bikes for the company, and finally vice president of materials management in charge of running all of Harley-Davidson’s supply chains.

Four-and-a-half years in that position found Matt climbing higher in the company as VP of parts and accessories. In 2008, he was given the opportunity to run Harley’s Italian branch, and accepted it gladly. This would have been a long term position had a global financial crisis not affected the market so adversely. Choosing to bring a new CEO in 2009, the board of directors asked Matt to become the president of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, placing him in charge of everything Harley from manufacturing to marketing.

Matt would put in six years at this position, longer than any other he’d held with the company, ensuring that Harley kept moving with the strength of its world-renowned brand. This hard work would pay off May 1st, however, as Matt was named CEO of the company. After developing plans and strategizing with the former CEO, Matt’s hard work and determination awarded him the top position in the company. His mission moving forward is to make the brand more accessible to wider audiences while protecting the image Harley developed over its many years. Matt Levatich, avid Harley enthusiast and experienced rider, looks to lead the company down roads less traveled, and into a bright future.

Harley-Davidson looks to target young riders

Harley-Davidson.svgThe average of a Harley-Davidson rider is 48 years old. The company, which is associated with the counterculture movement, is aggressively looking to inspire this revolution again within the younger generation.

Matt Levatich, the new chief executive of Harley-Davidson, is spending much of his time looking for ways to get young people onto the seat of a bike. His focus is to expand their offerings to include more lower-priced bike designs for urban riding. three-wheeled models, lower-slung two-wheelers that are easier to mount, and eventually a battery-powered alternative to the classic Harley.

While Levatich appreciates and understands the importance of the virtual world that many young people are living in, his mission is to inspire young adults to live for real. And the open road is certainly an amazing place to experience the world. Levatich is confident that another counterculture will take place, similar to the one in the 1960s. Harley-Davidson wants to be prepared to provide the younger generation with a product that will help fuel and serve as an outlet for this movement.

Moving forward, Harley-Davidson will be more discriminating when deciding which of its models to favor with investments, whether it’s in new engines or other updates. Levatich is placing priority on appealing to younger adults, women and minorities. While Harley-Davidson will continue to target their core audience – older white men – we will likely see bikes that exclusively appeal to this audience slowly fade away.

Mr. Levatich, is a seasoned veteran with Harley-Davidson with 21 years experience with the company. He took over on May 1, after a dismal first quarter performance. He contends that the baby boomer generation will remain the big customers for many years to come, however, long term company success will depend on bringing in new blood.

As Levatich puts it, “the most important segment is young adults – the incoming. Are teenagers choosing to join the sport?”

Spring Rallies

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This weekend marks the beginning of the 2015 Texas State Harley Owners Group Rally, which is being held this year in Tyler, TX. It’s one of the biggest HOG rallies in the country, with thousands of riders (more than 3,000 are expected this year) congregating and participating in the parade. Generally speaking, East Texas is one of the best places for an event like this to take place because of its scenic beauty and relatively open roads.

Events like this aren’t just a lot of fun for people who own Harleys and motorcycle enthusiasts in general, they are great boons for the economies of the cities in which they take place. For example, many in Tyler hope and predict that about $2.5 million could be pumped into their economy from the influx of cash that is expected to be spent at local restaurants, hotels, and businesses.

At this time of year when the weather starts to get exceptionally nice, rallies begin to be held all around the country. The Harley Davidson Cruising the Coast spring rally is one such event which takes place in the Myrtle beach area, and there are countless others. There are similar economic expectations wherever they take place, generally with restaurants and hotels as the biggest beneficiaries.

Harley-Davidson and the USO

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Motorcycle enthusiasm and philanthropy are more related than most people probably realize. An excellent event that combines these, the 9/11 Ride, is mentioned on the front page of this website. There was another story this week that further showcases this relationship.

Gateway Harley-Davidson in St. Louis, Missouri has been part of an 11 year campaign to raise money for the USO of Missouri, and this year raised $20,000. They hope to more than double that amount this year with a goal of $50,000. Over the 11 year period, they have helped raise over $125,000.

Having participated in giving back to active military personnel and veterans for over a decade, Gateway Harley-Davidson is not only committed to the longevity of such a campaign, but also to the constant work and support. Their commitment isn’t shown at just one or two events each year, but regularly. In 2014, for example, events were held monthly at the Gateway dealership, and included a bike show, bike wash, and a memorial ride, among others.

The above article summarizes the mission of Gateway Harley-Davidson, and what they invite those in the surrounding community to join them in, as follows: “Be a part of giving back to those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We believe your support is the catalyst for the inspiration of others to give back and to teach future generations that with freedom there comes sacrifice and with sacrifice there must always be the contributors of gratitude and respect.”