WTAM 1100 – Two-Wheel Technology for Motorcyclists

Play Audio – WTAM 1100 Newsradio – Tech Tuesday June 24th, 2014

WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland OhioThis morning’s Tech Tuesday segment on WTAM 1100 Newsradio in Cleveland was about making the most of your motorcycle trips with technology. As an avid motorcyclist and fan of technology, I was glad to bring these two topics together.

During the segment on the Wills & Snyder Show in the Morning, Bill Wills and I discussed Bluetooth wireless headsets like those from Sena. Great for music and calls on the go.

We also talked about specialized standalone GPS units for motorcycle from Garmin and TomTom vs smartphone apps like Google Maps or Waze

For those looking to add safety to their ride, the CrashLight feature of the EatSleepRIDE app can alert friends and family if there’s been a crash. The app also ties into the motorcyclist social network provided at EatSleepRIDE.com where riders can post photos, favorite routes and write reviews of motorcycle products. I’m a member as, of course, Agent3012.

It’s always fun when work and play come together!

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

If you ever want to ride through history, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has several ways for you to do it. My trip today was via motorcycle, travelling along both sides of the canal. It’s a relaxing ride, perfect for a Sunday. Along the way, there plenty of interesting places to stop, like Brandywine Falls, Hale Farm and Village and a number of national park educational sites.

For those who prefer self-powered transportation, there are a number of Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath that follows the canal’s scenic route. If you didn’t bring your own bicycle, there are places to rent them along the route as well.

Or if a classic train is more your style, check out the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

First Flight Lunar Lander Park

Did you know that Warren, Ohio is home to a half-scale replica of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module? One thing I love about a ride through the countryside are the small attractions you pass along the side of the road.

This Warren, Ohio park marks the area where six-year-old Neil Armstrong took his first airplane flight. In July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module landed on the moon with Astronaut Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon.

For more information, visit First Flight Warren.

Ohio State Route 164 – A Motorcycle Roadtrip

If you live in Northeast Ohio, you have to ride a bit to get to the more interesting roads. One of these would be Ohio State Route 164, which winds its way through 45 miles of twists, turns, hilltops and valleys.

The route starts in Leesville, Ohio, passing through the tiny countryside towns of Amsterdam, Bergholz, Salineville and finally ending in Lisbon, Ohio.

The road surface along the way varies from areas that were freshly paved a year or two ago, to areas that are still decent, but have some patching along the edges. Gravel isn’t a concern through most of the route, except for a few tricky curves where a gravel road empties onto the road near an apex.

The route has examples of every type of riding challenge you could want, from long sweepers to extremely tight corners with rapid camber changes. What really increases those challenges is the number of hilltops and blind curves that hide what’s coming next until you’re nearly on top of it.

For much of the ride, it almost becomes a repetitive game, where the smart rider rolls off the throttle near the top of the many hills, allowing them a small bit of time to see the next quarter-mile ahead and plan their lines accordingly. Then it’s down the hill like a roller-coaster, dodging and twisting until the peak of that next hill and a new layout.

Speeds vary from 25mph in the few small towns you’ll pass through to 45 and 55 mph areas. The surprises this road throws at you make it very important not to outrun your sight lines, and the yellow speed warning signs ahead of curves are actually good recommendations to follow for many. If you see a 25 or 15mph yellow sign ahead, SLOW DOWN! The curve is more likely to be a 90 degree corner.

However, don’t be surprised to see one of every type of bike on the road during peak time, including cruisers, sports bikes, tourers and adventure kits.

For riders looking to keep things safe, I would recommend starting from the Leesville side and going north to Lisbon, versus the other way around. Most of the more technical challenges tend to be close to Leesville, and the curve warning signs are often missing for the first 10 miles. Best to take that challenge while you’re fresh on the rider and save the mellower (and far better marked) part for later.

Along both sides of the road, you’ll encounter a number of family farms, complete with cows, horses and other livestock lazily watching the light road traffic pass by.

The many changes in elevation along the route will take you from being surrounded by trees on either side, to winding ridge tops that allow you to see the rolling countryside for miles.

While the countryside makes for a great view, it does mean there are few accommodations along the way. If you think you might need to stop for some water, food or just to use the restroom, do it as soon as you get the chance, don’t wait and hope for another change later in the route.

Also keep in mind that mobile phone coverage is spotty at best, and often completely non-existent. Pre-download map data if your smartphone GPS app of choice allows it. 45 miles may not seem like a lot, but there is a fair amount of time between those very (very) tiny little towns and traffic can be light along the route.

For those in the northeast Ohio area, Route 164 presents a great opportunity to get some twists, turns, swoops and dips into their lives within a (mostly) reasonable driving distance!?

My Hi-Viz Safety Duck

I have a mascot for my motorcycle.

Hi-Viz Safety Duck

I call him my “Hi-Viz Safety Duck” because drivers and passengers of cars coming up besides me on the highway all seem to notice and stare at him.

When it looked like my trip to Canada would be non-stop rain, he was bought for a dollar from the local Wal-Mart and added to my motorcycle top case with some cheap double-sided poster tape as a joke about the weather.

Hi-Viz Safety Duck

Somehow he’s managed to stay attached to my top case after 2,000 miles of bad weather, through highway speeds and twisty back country roads. He’s a well-traveled motorcycle mascot.