Writer's Ramblings

Writer's Ramblings

Meditations from the Passenger Seat

May 29, 2015
I close my eyes. The hum of the engine soothes me like a song. The energy and power become part of me, relaxing my body and calming my mind as I breathe in.

When Does a Pile of Parts Become a Motorcycle?

December 1, 2013
On April 10, 2010 a car crossed the centerline and hit him nearly head on. It destroyed the 1953 Panhead chopper he was riding and broke his legs into so many pieces he now walks with a cane. The lost wages and the medical bills began to pile up and the driver who hit him only had $25,000.00 in liability coverage, not even a good start on replacing what he had lost. He had another policy on a 1961 Panhead that he owned and he thought maybe that would provide some coverage that would help him and his family. Indeed…

Trike on Ice

March 31, 2012
It’s winter in the Midwest. You’re sitting and looking over a large expanse of gleaming ice. Suddenly you hear the roar of a v-twin engine, and there is a three-wheeler on the ice. Oddly, the passenger seat is occupied by a horse, and he’s carrying a big gun! Is this a weird hallucination or wacky nightmare? Nope. You’re attending a Missouri Mavericks hockey game. It’s intermission, and Mac, the team’s mascot, is ready to use his air cannon to launch souvenir T-shirts into the audience.The Mavericks are in their third season in the Central Hockey League and play their home…

Behind the Scenes at a Cycle Connections Cover Shoot

December 31, 2011
Bikers: You’ve put in a lot of work, and spent a lot of money and time to make your bike stand out from the crowd. The perfect paint job…just enough chrome…but not too much. You’ve replaced the factory cables and lines….great pipes…a custom saddle. Major and minor details too numerous to recall. She rocks! But what does everyone else really think, and how does she compare to other bikes? Could she win a contest? I mean, you ALWAYS get compliments, and you could spend hours talking about every last detail. Then you find out that Cycle Connections is holding a…

1923 Iron Horsemen's Scrambles - Sedalia, Missouri

March 31, 2011
Front row left to right: Jim Barnes, Ervin Boorn (Cycle World Kawasaki), Unknown, Dewey McCreary (St. Joe Harley-Davidson), Ricky Yeager (Yeager Harley-Davidson)Back row left to right: Joe Yeager (Yeager Harley-Davidson), Leonard Nixon, Buck Galiup, Donnell Shiflett (Donnell's Suzuki Honda), John Witte, Vance Kuhns, Unknown, D. L. Brown, Jack Whalen (Photo by Tux Helms)This photo was scanned from a black and white copy of the September 21, 1962 edition of Missouri Motorcycliing, which shows the Sedalia Scrambles Race trophy winners from the September 16, 1962 races.Although the image is of poor quality, I thought those of you in the Kansas City…

Flash from the Past - Engle Motors Christmas Party 1967

January 31, 2011
Back Row Left to Right: Warren Buell, Norman Jones (owner of Engle Motors), Cowboy, Eddie Russell, Fred Holter, Frenchie, Richard Green, Roger Armfield. Front Row Left to Right: Fred L Lackenberry, Jody Clark, Bob Ebert, Raymond Clark.I love looking through old photos; especially those in which you know the people. A few weeks ago, Wally, one of my fellow Cycle Connections team members stopped by and showed me this photo, which is from Engle Motors' 1967 Christmas Party. After looking at this photo, we decided to publish it in this month's issue, and I challenged wally to come up with…

The Emotional Rollercoaster Ride of Buying a New Motorcycle

December 31, 2010
This is a brief summary of the emotional roller coaster ride that I and others often experience when trying to negotiate a new motorcycle purchase from a dealer. It started out of boredom getting the itch to upgrade my current 2003 FXST Softail Standard to something bigger that will assist in the wife enjoying riding as much as myself. Again out of boredom because I still owe on my Softail, I started searching the local Harley dealerships’ online inventories. And as the old saying goes, “If you hang out at a barbershop long enough, you will get a haircut.” Well,…

Defining Moments of a Motorcycle Trip

September 30, 2010
Nowadays, by definition, a motorcycle trip is typically not something done simply for the utilitarian transportation reason of getting from point A to point B because you have to get there. Yes, there are plenty of folks who ride to work during the week, ride to a union meeting on a Saturday morning, and Hell I’ve even made my sales calls to certain customers on Daisy Mae (laptop and a portfolio in the tour pack and away we go)! Largely though, real motorcycle trips include some kind of recreational purpose, whether it be a big national bike event, scenic gawking,…

Sturgis on a Rented Trike

August 31, 2010
Why would I rent a trike for my annual Sturgis tip? It’s a long story. Please feel free to skip the first couple of paragraphs if you would prefer not to know the details of the crash that caused me to include a trike rental in my Sturgis plans. On April 11, my life changed and that of a deer ended, results of a devastating Sunday morning motorcycle crash. I was headed for church and was running late. I would be there in about 15 minutes, or so I thought. Dressed in jeans, a dress shirt, a light jacket, and…

Dry Riders Saloon Owners Jim and Valarie Get Remarried - Birmingham, Alabama

June 30, 2010
We rode out to Dry Riders Saloon on Saturday, May 22 to share in the joy of owners Jim and Valarie getting remarried. The bar was all decorated up inside and out. Outside is a really nice large patio area with a fire pit, stage for a band, and seating all around. Several of Valarie’s girlfriends and the girls that worked there did all of the decorating as well as the spread of food laid out for all of us to feast on and a beautiful cake. They did a wonderful job on both. One of our better bike night…

Curing the Winter Blues

January 31, 2010
Man, it's winter in Missouri, and it is the pits. The past few winters in the Kansas City Metro have been mild enough to ride all winter long, but this one has turned out to be less than favorable so far. Looks like Mother is going to mellow a tad for a bit and maybe we can get the scooters out of the garage. But until then, what do we do about it? After scouring the planet (OK, my garage, to be totally honest) and combined with thousands of hours of diligent research (all right, a couple of hours in…

Harley-Davidson Recalls 111,600 Touring Bikes

December 31, 2009
Nearly 111,600 2009 and 2010 Harley-Davidson touring models are being recalled because tests show the fuel tank could leak at a weld on a bracket following a frontal collision. The leak could potentially cause a fire that may injure the rider, reported the NHTSA.The bikes that are being recalled were manufactured between June 6, 2008 and November 19, 2009. Affected are the 2009-2010 models of the FLHP, FLHPE, FLHR, FLHTP, FLHR SHRINE, FLHRC, FLHT, FLHTC, FLHTCU, FLHTCU SHRINE, FLHTCU W/SC, and the 2009 models of the FLTR, FLTR3-CVO, FLTRSE3, FLHTCU4-CVO, FLHTCUSE4, FLHTCUSE5, FLHTCUTG and FLHTK. Also recalled are the 2009-2011…

Cycle Connections 2010 Poster Calendar

December 31, 2009
You can now print your very own CYCLE CONNECTIONS 2010 POSTER CALENDAR featuring several of your favorite cover bikes & cover models!The image at the bottom of this page is designed to be printed on 11x17 glossy poster pager, so you can simply open the image, right-click and save it to your computer. You can then e-mail it to your local print shop or copy it to a jump drive or CD and take it in to be printed.If you live in the KC area, you can also purchase a poster calendar for only $2 at any of the following…

Buy A New Motorcycle in 2009 and Write Off the Sales Tax!

October 31, 2009
Have you been thinking about buying a new bike but still putting it off? If so, you'd better get off your butt and get to the dealership now!A provision in the economic stimulus package provides a tax credit for purchasers of new motorcycles, which in turn should help reduce layoffs and increase revenue for motorcycle manufacturers and dealerships. During Senate consideration of the stimulus package, an amendment was approved which enables consumers to deduct the sales tax they pay for motorcycles purchased by the end of the 2009 year. This effort should encourage consumers to purchase new motorcycles, which in…

Good Vibrations – Ducati Multistrada or Yamaha FZ1?

March 31, 2009
“Dude, why would you keep the Duc?” asked my friend Jon a few days ago. “You’re gonna have so many problems with it, not to mention it is so much slower than the Fazer.” He was referring to my new, used ’04 Ducati Multistrada, which does fade in comparison to my ’01 Yamaha FZ1, at least in horsepower, that is. But what do the numbers really tell us? Does the 40 pony deficit mean the difference between life and death, or is it just an ego deflator? And if so, why would my ego be interested in anything less than…

Strap Fruits and Pots on Your Head to Beat the Helmet Law?

January 31, 2009
If you've read any of my previous articles regarding my personal take on helmet laws, you probably know I'm a big proponent of having the right to choose. Although it's obviously much safer to wear a helmet than not, I normally chose to not wear a helmet when riding in helmet-free states. With that being said, I thought you might find it interesting to see what motorcyclists in other parts of the world are doing in an attempt to 'comply' with their own helmet laws. In Kano, Nigeria, motorcyclists; including motorcycle taxi riders are apparently strapping calabashes — dried shells…

Diana & Robert’s Biker Wedding – Birmingham, Alabama

December 31, 2008
Well, it was time to put our wedding planner hat back on. Diana Doss has been part the Bike Nights that we sponsor for the past several years, so I couldn’t say no when asked to help with the planning of her wedding to Robert Burchfield. We were doing another 13th date, but this one at least wasn’t on a Friday; it was Saturday, December 13, 2008. We were also working with a very short plan-and-execute timeframe. I think it was maybe three weeks, but I think, and I think most everyone agreed, that it turned out beautiful. It was…

October 2008

September 30, 2008
How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Bonneville Salt Flats, UtahBy Wally LaFondI spent my summer vacation doing something I have always wanted to do—I went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The first thing you have to do is pre-register by May 15, 2008. This means a medical report, a membership fee and an entry fee all must be submitted to the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) by May 15. After that, the bike had to be readied to pass their tech inspection, and my leathers, boots and helmet also needed to pass the SCTA rules. I was…

How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

September 30, 2008
I spent my summer vacation doing something I have always wanted to do—I went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The first thing you have to do is pre-register by May 15, 2008. This means a medical report, a membership fee and an entry fee all must be submitted to the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) by May 15. After that, the bike had to be readied to pass their tech inspection, and my leathers, boots and helmet also needed to pass the SCTA rules. I was very fortunate to have Engle Motors, Ralph Blackmore, Slim's Cycle Seats, and…

Steve Bucaro - Getting Back on the Horse

September 30, 2008
Anyone who has ever met Steve 'Wheels' Bucaro will tell you he’s an outgoing, friendly kind of guy, whose energy fills the room. His story of hard work and determination is truly amazing. In 1998, at the age of 20, Steve was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered a thoracic vertebral incomplete spinal injury leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. His dreams of joining the service and entering law enforcement were quickly shattered, but at the same time he was given a new outlook on life. After a seven-month hospital stay, including rehabilitation, Steve learned to overcome his…
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