Wednesday, October 26, 2016

8 Tips to Being a Great Ride Leader

A group ride should have a flow, a rhythm to it.

Words and photos by Jim Foreman
Additional thoughts by Shanghai HOG Ride Captain Jim Rice.

Taking a group of friends or riders out for a day trip or a multi-day ride is a serious responsibility. A good leader makes the difference between everyone having a great experience or not.
Several important characteristics separate a good ride leader from a poor one.
Please keep in mind that this is not about group ride etiquette or hand signals but rather how to be a good group ride leader.

1. Don’t ride in too big of a group. Break it up.

We’ve all seen it. Seemingly hundreds of noisy V-Twins going down the freeway in group formation on a Saturday or Sunday. All but the most lifestyle-centric rider typically finds this style of riding distasteful. When taking a group of riders out to your favorite roads or trails, keep the group small and manageable.
Consider no more than 6-8 riders in a group. It’s far easier to manage a smaller group and ensure everyone has a great time. 

2. Ride to your least experienced rider’s capability, not your own.

Most people willing to lead a group are good riders. Often, ride leaders are highly skilled riders. Regardless of your abilities, you must quickly and accurately evaluate each rider’s ability and riding. If you push a less-experienced rider too much, you will guarantee yourself a crash or worse. If some riders want to go fast and others feel better proceeding more deliberately, break up the group and agree to meet up at certain spots, along the way.
Make sure you express that each rider must take responsibility for their riding and actions. They must also be able to communicate any criticisms without reprisal or fear of rejection.
Remember that a ride leader’s responsibility is to lead a fun and safe ride for the entire group. It’s not to show off how amazing and awesome a rider you are in a selfish and ego-centric way.

Agustin Ceron Guedea's Hi-Viz Jacket and Helmet make him very noticeable.

3. Ask a rider with a bright helmet or unique lighting to serve as the tail or sweep rider.

This is key. Make sure you constantly check for the sweep or tail rider and that everyone is keeping up at a safe pace. If they are not, it’s important to slow down the tempo of the ride so that everyone can safely enjoy the ride.  Communicators are helpful but are not critical to a group ride’s success.

4. Arrange a stop at a next gas station if the group becomes separated.

Invariably, the group may become split, temporarily. Traffic lights, merging cars, and mechanical or operator issues may cause the group to split. As a ride leader, if you notice this, slow down the group in the lead to see if the remaining group can safely catch up. Invariably the people at the end of the group will be riding faster then the people in the front, so keep the speed down.  If, after a while you don't see the remainder of the group, stop at the first gas station or intersection and wait. Make sure everyone knows that if the group becomes separated that this is what will happen and they won't be left behind.

5. Take regular breaks every 60-75 minutes. 

Make sure everyone is doing good at breaks.
You may be an Iron Butt Association member, but the rest of the group may not be able to sit on their bike for long periods without stretching. This is especially true of sportbikes. Take regular breaks. Make sure everyone is drinking water, having a good time and not showing tell-tale signs of exhaustion or dehydration.

6. Know the roads you plan on taking. Don’t rely on a GPS or map solely.

When you lead a ride, it’s important to know the roads and conditions before leading the group there. Don’t rely on GSP or maps as they will not indicate if a road is closed, under construction, in disrepair, or has any services for a long stretch.
If you haven’t been on the road, make sure you find out, first-hand from someone who has recently been on that road what to expect. Make sure you know the elevation, road conditions, and expected weather before proceeding.

7. Listen to the other riders about what they want to see and do.

A good ride leader will ask pertinent questions of the riders in the group. Some questions that should be asked is how fast do you feel comfortable traveling? What’s the range on a full tank of gas? How do you feel about (insert the conditions one may expect). Some examples one should be asking about include rain, switchbacks, steep elevations, dirt, and temperature.

8. Keep it simple. Don’t push the group too hard or try to do too much.

Don’t try to do too much on a group ride. It’s better to leave the group wanting more rides in the future than to have them not want to ride with you again. Don’t make the ride about you, but rather about achieving a goal or purpose together.
Make sure to take photos at breaks and if a group member wants to ride up ahead to take riding-action photos, make sure they can.

keeping the ride uncomplicated will simplify every aspect of the ride.  Trying to control every aspect will create unnecessary stress and strain on you, and the group. Avoid complicated hand signals, overly technical roads or dependence on electronic rider aids. Technology is useful but not necessary.
Lastly, have fun. That’s what a group ride is supposed to be all about.

When you are in Southern California, be sure to visit Irv Seaver BMW Motorcycles in Orange County.  In addition to sponsoring these stories, Irv Seaver BMW has the best selection of new and pre-owned BMW motorcycles in the region.  Award-winning Service, fully stocked Parts, a well-stocked Apparel and Accessories department are the envy of other dealers nationwide.  Irv Seaver BMW is known for offering the most aggressive pricing on new BMW Motorcycles and will make sure you get the motorcycle you want at a price you'll love.  Come in today to see why we're the best.
©2016 Jim Foreman  All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 26, 2016

8 Cheap Motorcycle Performance Improvements

8 Cheap Motorcycle Performance Improvements

You don't have to spend thousands on Carbon Fiber and titanium to get performance improvement.

Story by Jim Foreman

After every motorcycle purchase, invariably, the next thought that comes into one's mind is how to improve its performance.

Many companies and outfits will gladly take hundreds and even thousands of your hard earned dollars with promises and visions of becoming like Valentino Rossi.

Many motorcycle owners feel they MUST eek out every last bit of power from their bike, no matter the cost.  Common moto upgrades include carbon fiber body panels, titanium or carbon fiber exhaust, and installing an EFI reprogrammer like the DynoJet Power Commander.

Spending thousands of dollars on incremental upgrades is great if you have large amounts of disposable income.

Whether you are a new or experienced motorcycle owner, here are some inexpensive ways to significantly boost the performance of your two-wheeler.


1) Fuel

The fuel you choose has a significant impact on your bike’s performance.

Try to find a source of non-Ethanol added fuel.   Ethanol is not very good for your motorcycle.  Ethanol decreases your fuel economy, gums up your engine and causes it to run hotter.

A useful smartphone App to help in this quest is Pure Gas.  It will direct you to the closest fuel station that serves up non-Ethanol added fuel.

If you don’t have a nearby source of real or pure gas, buy premium from a busy name-brand Top-Tier station.  Shell, Unocal, Texaco, Chevron, Sinclair, Costco, Phillips 66, and other top-tier stations are your best bet.

Only higher end cars require premium and those drivers prefer name brand fuel.  The danger of an off-brand or rural outlet is that the fuel sitting in the tanks becomes stale and contaminated.  They only re-order more fuel when they are running low.  Fresh deliveries may happen once every couple months in some cases.  If the station is busy, the fuel will be replenished more frequently and not have a chance to grow stale.

If you are in a rural area and need to fuel up, it may be better to use regular unleaded or go inside and ask when was the last time they re-stocked on premium.

Using premium from a top-tier station only costs pennies more, per gallon.  Since we have relatively small tanks, this is only a negligible cost increase.

Non-Ethanol is usually more expensive than Ethanol added fuel.  It’s worth it, and you will likely feel a performance boost, and certainly a fuel economy bump.

2) Fuel and Engine Treatments

Walk into any auto parts store and you will see several shelves dedicated to fuel treatments.  BMW Dealers stock the BMW Fuel System Treatment, and it is a great product.  Sta-Bil also has many moto-healing properties.

In my experience, the single best all-around fuel and engine treatment is Seafoam.

Whether you recently purchased a pre-owned bike or feel your motorcycle is not running at 100 percent, follow these simple instructions to restore your baby to full health.

Drop 1/3 of a can of Seafoam into your tank before you fill up.  Within a few miles, you will probably notice your engine running smoother and happier.
Repeat this two more times until you empty the can of Seafoam.

Regularly using Seafoam is your best option to improve performance and remove the harming effects of age and Ethanol on your engine and fuel system. Seafoam eliminates water and moisture in your fuel and strips the power robbing buildup in your fuel system, injectors, and valves.
For motorcycles, only use 1/3 of a can per fill up.  For cars, it’s safe to dump a whole can at a time.

Seafoam is also very useful if you store your motorcycle for the winter season.  Pour a third of a can into your tank during your last ride so it has a chance to go through your entire fuel system.  Then park and cover your bike.  Then charge the battery every couple of weeks.

3) Tires and Tire Pressure

Whenever you get new tires, one instantly feels more control and confidence with their motorcycle.

Don’t wait until you see the steel cord to replace your tires.  As a motorcycle tire wears, the compound becomes harder and less able to grip the road.  Unless you only do canyon carving on the weekends or ride off-road, one should only consider Dual-Compound tires.  Current Dual-Compound tire technology is so good it makes every sense to use them.  Control and confidence make for an efficient and stable platform.

Dual-Compound tires are harder in the center, where you do most of your straight-line travel.  The sides are much softer making them grip in the corners the same way sport tires do.  Sport tires typically only last 3,000 miles.

Some great options to consider for your next tire purchase include:

Michelin Pilot Road 4, Pilot Power 3, Karoo Adventure

Dunlop RoadSmart III, Sport Max Q3

Metzler Roadtec Z8 Interact, Tourance Next

Continental ContiRoadAttack 2 EVO,  ContiSportAttack 3,  TKC 70

Bridgestone BT016 Pro,  BT021, and BT023

Pirelli Diablo Rosso III

Keep your tire pressure at factory specs.  The smart engineers at BMW or your particular brand know a lot more about your bike than most people.  It’s worth listening to them.  The exceptions are when riding on poorly surfaced roads, old roads, or aggressively riding in the canyons.  Under those conditions, it’s best to drop the PSI about 10-15% from the factory recommendations.  Lowering the tire pressure gives you a greater contact patch and more tire grip on less perfect road surfaces.

4) Chain and Sprockets

While many motorcycles feature a shaft or belt drive, a significant number still feature the chain and sprockets.

Making small changes when replacing your front sprocket can produce some pleasing effects.  If you want more low and mid range power, replace the front sprocket with one that has one or possible two fewer teeth from the factory size.  You will lose some top end speed, but you will get to your desired speed much quicker.

If you desire lower RPMs at higher speeds, consider a front sprocket with one or two more teeth than factory.  Check your clearances at the front sprocket so see if going bigger will work.

Be small with the changes.  The differences will be subtle but noticeable.  Unless you wish to dedicate a bike to stunting, the rear should be left alone.

One should lubricate and check the tension of their chain every 300-500 miles.

5) Airbox Filter

Engines need to breathe.  Just like your car, home air-conditioning unit, or vacuum cleaner.  If your filter is clogged, less air moves through causing the system to struggle to get air.

Changing the air filter on most motorcycles is quite easy.  It usually involves removing your tank.  Check your owners manual to learn how where and how to replace your air filter.  YouTube videos can be a great help.

Even if the air filter doesn’t look too dirty, replace it.  When you do, if you can, use your vacuum or a wet cloth to clean out any debris in the airbox.

Some filters don’t need to be replaced, but rather recharged such as K&N Filters.

Follow your users manual to change out your air filter.  Usually replace or recharge it, every other oil change.  More if you live in a dusty region.

6) Drop Some Weight 

Many motorcycle owners will spend thousands of dollars to reduce the weight of their bike a few ounces or pounds.  Carbon fiber and titanium exhausts are not cheap.  The sad truth is that many motorcyclists, this author included, are carrying a few (or more than a few) extra pounds.

Losing the extra weight will bring numerous advantages to your riding starting with the obvious.  You and your bike weigh less without changing anything else.  Less weight equals more power to move you forward.  Additionally, being lighter makes it easier to brake and shift your weight in corners without getting fatigued. Less weight also saves stress on your back and knees.

Coincidentally, dropping a few sizes will make you much more attractive and amorous to your partner.  If one is currently single, expect to attract and entertain a broader scope of quality people with a slimmer figure.

Rocky Miller of StreetMasters offering Dale some advice

7)Training and Practice

The single best upgrade one can do to their motorcycle sits between the handlebars and the seat.

Good training doesn’t have to be expensive.  Simply having some qualified feedback about your riding can mean a world of difference.  One doesn’t need Keith Code or Jason Pridmore personally teaching you to gain outstanding benefits.  Even an intermediate riders course offered by MSF or CMSP trainers can produce significantly positive results.

Consider training sources such as StreetMasters, PRTA, California Superbike School, Star Motorcycle School, RawHyde, BMW Off-Road Riders Academy, or your local track day organizer.  They all offer riding instruction that will make a world of difference in your riding performance.

Once you get some quality training, practice what you’ve learned in a parking lot.  Practice
emergency braking and then evading without putting your feet down.  Practice quick obstacle evasion.

Come to an emergency stop, then immediately accelerate in a safe direction to avoid being hit from behind.  You don’t put your feet down for this.  It’s a little tricky to brake hard, downshift, and then turn and accelerate.  With practice, it can be mastered and will present a whole new set of options in a potential panic situation.

Learning how to manipulate your motorcycle at slow speeds will also help you increase confidence for faster speeds.


8) Be Smooth

When you watch professional racers on the track, one instantly notices how smooth they are.

If you are struggling with certain corners or situations, the answer isn’t to go faster.  Instead, slow it down and do it smoother.

Make your throttle, clutch, and braking smooth.  There is a poignant saying that may have originated with Col. Jeff Cooper but is used extensively in U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. training.  It goes “Slow is Smooth.  Smooth is Fast!”   In every case witnessed, this has borne out to be true.

Practice being smooth and you will become much faster than you previously thought possible.
Stay loose on the handlebars.  When you tighten up, your control input is muted and less effective.  If you feel yourself being tense, flap your arms like a chicken to loosen them up and stay nimble.


Whether it’s faster lap times, a speedier pace, or simply more confidence and options when things go sideways, there are numerous ways to upgrade your motorcycling performance without spending a lot of money.

While others spend thousands trying to make their bike faster through performance tuning and upgrades, you will be looking fitter, riding faster and displaying more confidence on a more responsive motorcycle.  Isn’t that what truly matters?

Irv Seaver Motorcycles

Whether you live in Southern California or are visiting the area, do make Irv Seaver BMW one of your destinations.  Irv Seaver BMW carries the full line of new BMW Motorcycles at very aggressive prices.  You will also find a large and discount priced selection of Pre-Owned Motorcycles from all brands.

Irv Seaver BMW also has the largest stocking parts department in SoCal as well as moto apparel and accessories.

World Class Service is consistently available at Irv Seaver BMW.  Consistently ranked in the top 5% in the nation, Irv Seaver BMW will make sure your bike is well cared for and maintained.

©2016 Jim Foreman  All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 27, 2016

More Riding Secrets From The Experts

More Riding Secrets From The Experts

Story by Jim Foreman

One thing that has proven evident beyond one's wildest imagination is that Motorcyclists are always looking for ways to be better, and more proficient riders.  The previous story, Five Riding Secrets From The Experts, set records for the number of views it received, from all over the world.  While it is humbling for me, the greatest satisfaction is that there are better riders out there because of this effort.

Initially, this topic was only going to be a single story.   As the excellent responses kept coming in from such notable people, it became apparent that there were too many for one post. 

Again, each expert was asked to submit five riding secrets to share with others.  The phenomenal respondents for this outing include Bert Quechenberger.  Bert was Los Angeles Police Department's Senior Motorcycle Instructor.  He has recently retired from the LAPD but not from teaching.  

Shawn Thomas is a name known to many.  He's a colorful former instructor at RawHyde Off-Road and currently part of the duo, Adventure Brothers, with his real brother, Lance.  
Walt Fulton is a racer and the program director of StreetMasters Motorcycle Workshops.  
Chris 'Teach' McNeil is a professional stunt performer.  Officially sponsored by BMW Motorcycles, Teach, as he is known, performs gravity-defying stunts on the BMW S 1000 RR, The S 1000 XR, and an F 800 GS.  
Mellisa Holbrook Pierson is an author and motorcyclist.  Her insights into motorcycling are both unique and profound.  Riders and non-riders alike respond very positively to her books.  She remains an inspiration to female riders everywhere.

These riders cover a broad range of disciplines.  Each one has unique experiences and perspectives. A huge debt of gratitude is owed for the time and effort taken in each of these responses. 

Bert Quechenberger

Bert 'Q', as he is known, has trained more motorcycle officers than nearly any other single person.  Unless a motor officer in the Los Angeles region is less than two years old, Bert and his team probably trained them.  Most police departments, in the area and around the country, send their motor officer candidates to LAPD for their training.  In his 30+ years riding career, Bert has trained over 8,000 motor cops including trainers from England, Spain, France, and Germany.  Bert and his work partner, Sunti Singhanate co-own Police Riding Technique Academy, which is open to police officers and civilians, alike.  Bert has logged well over one million (1,000,000) miles, covering 50 years, accident-free.

Bert 'Q' 1989
When I went to LAPD Motor School in 1988, I had 21 years of accident free riding under my belt, with many many miles, on just as many motorcycles.  To say I entered the motor school program with a bit of salt on my shoulders, was an understatement.  I remember thinking to myself, what could they teach me?

Well, it only took about 5 minutes of practical application exercises, for me to realize, I really didn't know how to properly ride a motorcycle.

From that point forward, I practiced exactly the way I was instructed.

I'm now going on my 49th year of accident free riding, with well over a million miles ridden. 25 of my 30 years on the job was spent throwing a leg over a police motor.

Eventually, I became the lead riding instructor for all those years, continuing the instruction for officers while still on the job, and civilians through PRTA.

I use my personal experience mentioned above, coupled with my experience of training non law enforcement riders for almost two decades to form my opinion of what riders need most to succeed.

There are so many things that we could discuss regarding safe riding, I'll begin with the points that I believe are fundamental.

1: Participate in training from professional instructors.  Current or former Law enforcement riding instructors usually make excellent riding instructors.

2:  Plan your calendar where you get professional training multiple times a year.

3: Focus on numerous braking drills.  Pushing the envelope in a pristine training environment essential for every rider. 

4: The skills required to ride a motorcycle are perishable.  Depending on how often you ride, should be a gauge for your practice between revisiting professional training.  LAPD Motor Cops ride a lot of miles annually.  They participate in 2 days (10 hours each day) of in service training.  Riding mazes, braking drills.  It's something any rider should think about.

5:  A rider must be on top of his or her riding, physically & mentally.  Think about what you're going to do before it happens.  Plan escape routes while riding.  Trying to decide what to do as one is rapidly approaching a solid object at speed is tough.  Have a game plan before you roll.

Shawn Thomas

Shawn is a riot-in-progress.  Known for his infectious and sometimes whimsical personality, Shawn earns respect throughout the ADV (Adventure Riding) community.  Mastering off-road riding with big bikes takes skill.  As a former lead instructor at RawHyde, Shawn has worked with hundreds of riders to teach them proper off-road technique and motorcycle operation.  Currently, Shawn and his brother Lance, are the Adventure Brothers.  They go around the country offering instruction, seminars, tours and great times, all around.  Follow Shawn and Lance on Facebook.

Shawn and Lance Thomas - The Adventure Brothers
Adventure Riding is an endeavor without equal. With minimal training a rider can jump from road to dirt and back again, encountering just about any twisty, vista, basin and landmark in existence. Doing it right means having the right equipment, the right skills, and a proper mindset. With these in mind, and by practicing the right techniques, little is beyond reach.

Here are a few tips to consider when choosing off-road riding, courtesy of the Adventure Brothers:

1. Dirt is not Asphalt. This may seem an obvious declaration, but in application it is not. Anyone who has ridden an Adventure Bike on the street will tell you how impressive it is. They are agile, powerful, and comfortable. They can easily tackle curves, city streets, and interstates, making the rider feel like their skills have increased simply with purchase of the machine. But when the bike touches dirt, everything changes. Suddenly the machine feels heavy and unstable, and turning is a nightmare. This is not the bike's fault; it's yours. You are riding it like a street bike, using those on-asphalt techniques you are so accustomed to. This will not do, as street techniques count on an abundance of traction, which you no longer have. Best to shift into an off-road stance, and the techniques that go with it, on the double.

2. Stand up. One of the most stabilizing effects you can have on the machine is standing up. When you stand, your point of influence shifts from the seat to the pegs. Because your feet know far more about balance than your derriere, your ability to feel and react to movement of the machine is greatly enhanced. It will feel weird at first, but trust us: you will come to love it.

3. Adjust your controls. Your machine is set to accommodate a sitting rider. Handlebars, levers, and foot controls all take in to account your street riding stance. Most adventure bikes offer a multitude of simple adjustments that will allow you to adjust for a standing position. Handlebars can be raised, foot controls can be tweaked, and different foot pegs and bar risers can be installed to make you more comfortable on your machine. Get the adjustments right, and most riders will see no need in changing them when they return to asphalt.

4. Slow Down. People like to ride fast on the dirt. This has the benefit of making the machine feel more surefooted, as the high rate of wheel-spin stabilizes the bike. When the times comes to slow down or turn, speed becomes a hazard. Learn to ride as slow as possible, at no more than a walking pace. This will force you to feather the controls and develop acute balance, both of which are essential in Adventure Riding

5. Front Brake is King. You may have been told that using the front binder is a death sentence on dirt. Not true. The front brake gives you the best stopping power you've got, both on road and off. You just have to be easy it. A hark jerk of the brake lever is survivable on asphalt, but will cause the front end to wash on the dirt. Learn to feather the brake. Ease it in and feel the dive of the front end. If you lock it up, no problem; just release and reapply.

Truly there is a lot more to know about the art of Adventure Riding. But these tips--along with practice, practice, practice--will help you on your way!

Walt Fulton

Walt Fulton Is a three-time Daytona winner and features in the movie "On Any Sunday."  His career spans five decades and has still never had a street collision.  Fulton is the Director or training for StreetMasters Precision Cornering Workshops.  For over 30 years, Walt leads the Crash Investigation and Reconstruction team for Kawasaki in their legal division.  Walt and the StreetMasters team are hosting training classes at the MOA Rally.  Follow StreetMasters on Facebook. -Jim

Walt Fulton (L) and Fred Rau (R)
1. RESPONSIBILITY: It’s not a coincidence that RESPONSIBILITY heads up my Five Secrets from the Experts for Motorcyclists. Growing up, my parents taught me a lot about responsibility and the consequences associated with ignoring it. Responsibility is like the laws of physics – ignore them and you’ll pay the price. We now live in a “me first” world and responsibility has been relegated to the backseat, but the penalties are still there. In my opinion, accepting responsibility is more important than using the correct technique. In the real world we all have a responsibility to ourselves, family, friends and coworkers to arrive safely at our destination. There are a lot of people out there that are counting on us to be around tomorrow and the next day so don’t let them down. Keep in mind your speed and surroundings and ride accordingly so you will arrive at your destination.

2. DON’T BE IN A BIG HURRY: Statistics indicate that speed is often a causal factor of crashes. This is an extremely important factor directly related to how you operate your motorcycle. Keep in mind that every time you double your speed you quadruple your kinetic energy. Simply stated this means that at 30 mph you should be able to stop in 30 feet (1 G) and at 60 mph that distance is increased by a factor of 4, or 120 feet. At 120 mph (which is not legal anywhere except the track) your stopping distance is increased to almost 500 feet. All of these distances are based on a rider that has excellent control of the brakes, good tires and on a good roadway surface and don’t include perception and reaction time. Your best bet is to not be the fastest vehicle on the highway. I like to ride with approximately 80% of the roadway users. Keep in mind that there is always someone faster than you; don’t get caught up with trying to be the fastest.

3. VISUAL CONTROL: Somewhere between 80% to 90% or more of the decisions we make on the road are based on what we see. This points out that if we fail to see a developing situation it’s unlikely that we‘ll be able to react to it and therefore we may very well be a part of it. Head and eyes up and continue to scan 360 degrees around our path of travel at all times. As riders we are responsible for what’s behind us, beside us and in front of us.

4. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: Road and traffic conditions constantly change and we must too to avoid conflicts. As riders we can’t afford to live in the present. Where we are now quickly becomes the past in less time than it takes to blink an eye and thus irrelevant. It’s important that we get the “big picture” by aggressively looking as far ahead as practical and be able to predict the flow of traffic. Any rider that experiences multiple dramas on a ride should reevaluate why this is happening. Look ahead, plan ahead and ride ahead.

5. LANE SHARING: Currently, California is the only state that allows lane sharing and this offers motorcyclists an advantage during high traffic hours and from my personal observation makes riding in heavy traffic safer . . . provided it is done properly. Remember the first Tip, Responsibility? Lane sharing is one of those activities that requires a double dose of Responsibility. Lane sharing means that you are using someone else’s lane, so be a good neighbor and extend them the same courtesy that you expect. If you’re someone that kicks doors, knocks off mirrors, opens the throttle until the engine is bouncing off the rev limiter, honks your horn and speed between traffic like you’re racing on the Isle of Man then you are totally irresponsible. You can bet that you have made an impression on the driver you’re just assaulted – a very negative one.

Here are some guidelines that I usually follow: 1) Travel no more than 10 mph faster than traffic. 2) It’s better to pass two cars that are side by side. 3) If you’re passing traffic and a space to one side or the other opens up move into that space and away from the cars you are passing. 4) Don’t push the envelope and be very selective on who and where you pass. 5) At 35 to 40 mph it’s probably time to get back in the lane.

Chris 'Teach' McNeil

Champion Freestyle Motorcycle Stunter and Performer Chris 'Teach' McNeil has spent over ten years competing and performing all over the world.  Chris earns his nickname 'Teach' during the week because he teaches Latin in his home state of Maine.  Officially, BMW Motorrad's only official stunt performer, you can catch Chris at one of his many shows throughout the United States.  McNeil also competes professionally with the XDL National Championship Circuit.  Chris is also an incredibly great guy who always takes the time to talk with people at every outing. Follow Teach on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  See some of Teach's awesome videos on his YouTube Channel.

1. Practice Practice Practice. Practice evasive maneuvers. Practice specific skills, particularly low speed control skills. Practice braking Do it all in a controlled environment so that when you are faced with a situation requiring your skills, it is second nature and not something you have to think about. If you're left thinking about it, then it is probably too late.

2. Ride everything you can get your hands on. Riding different disciplines and even different models, brands, and styles will increase your skills, making you a safer rider in the end.

3. Getting comfortable with your bike starts with the controls. So it's important to set the up according to your body and preference. Don't automatically assume that the dealer or factory's setup or the prior owner's setup is going to ergonomically fit you. This will help the bike feel more natural to you and allow you to focus on what's truly important. Riding, of course.

4. I almost didn't mention it because for me it goes without saying, but wearing the proper gear is paramount to surviving life as a motorcyclist. Most importantly is a helmet, you get what you pay for. Remember what it's protecting. Being comfortable while protected from simple things like bugs or excessive noise will go a long way towards decreasing your distractions and improving your ride.

5. I talked about practice earlier but more specifically, learn how to use your clutch and rear brake. Most useful in slow speed situations, this skill will do wonders for your bike control at higher speeds, too. More importantly, your confidence in your ability to handle your motorcycle will skyrocket. Confidence is a big part of motorcycling. You want to feel good and look good when you pull into a bike night or meetup with friends. This is important in both your gear and how you ride. It's best with no squid tentacles dangling on the ground!

Melissa Holbrook Pierson

Melissa HolbrookPierson is a motorcyclist and notable author of several highly acclaimed books. Among most popular are ‘The Perfect Vehicle’ and ‘The Man Who Would Stop At Nothing.’ Both are phenomenal reading that gives a unique perspective to the sport. 'The Man Who Would Stop At Nothing' is also available as an Audio Book.

1. Never rush departure. Stop and look at your bike: What do I need to check? What do I need to bring? What buckle might I have forgotten to fasten?

2. Practice some physical calisthenics when it's safe to do so. Turn your body all the way to look behind you on the right; ditto the left. Experience the fact that you're not cast in stone.

3. Get rid of anyone who's following too close behind. They're a danger. If they're in such a hurry, help them get there quicker by letting them go ahead.

4. Unless you're relying on it, turn off the GPS. Screen fixation is just as dangerous as object fixation.

5. Think: "Graceful." Keep this in the forefront of the mind, and make it your style.


When you are in Southern California, Please visit Irv Seaver BMW. Located in Orange County, CA, Irv Seaver Motorcycles is one of the largest and best motorcycle dealers in the nation.  Since 1911, Irv Seaver Motorcycles has sold dreams and happiness to Southern Californians.  Irv Seaver BMW continues to host events, sponsor trips and provide guests with an outstanding two-wheeled experience. Irv Seaver offers top rated Service as well as Parts, and Apparel.  Irv Seaver BMW is located 10 minutes east of Disneyland on Katella Avenue in the City of Orange.

©2016 Jim Foreman All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Five Riding Secrets From The Experts

Five Riding Secrets From the Experts.  Part One

Story by Jim Foreman

With summertime in full swing, it’s hard not to be inundated with motorcycle articles written by non-riders masquerading as something noteworthy and exciting.  Too often, I regret the obvious click-bait intention of the story, immediately after I click on the link.  

With all the nonsense out there, the time was right for a useful motorcyclist story and to share some secrets from accomplished and professional riders. 

One by one, messages were sent asking friends and acquaintances to share their top five motorcycling secrets.  The requests were intentionally vague to give each person the freedom to write what they cared about most.

The respondents come from all walks of life and all disciplines of riding.  A California Highway Patrol Motorcycle Officer, a Round the World-er, a Latin American Adventurer, and a female, crash free, million-mile rider all gave their thoughts and experiences.

The number and diversity of the responses would have made this into one huge story, so it’s being broken up into two parts. 

The only edits were for grammar and spelling in the following responses.

Please include some of your secrets to motorcycle safety in the comments.

Paul Fox - California Highway Patrol Motor Unit  Santa Ana, CA

Officer Fox is a rider through and through.  Like most officers, he too got a few speeding tickets during his younger days.  Paul regularly meets at community events to talk about motorcycling and motorcycle safety.  With the highly advanced training CHP Motorcycle Officers receive, and having a full-time motorcycle riding career, one is wise to consider his adviceTake a moment to read some information about the CHP Motorcyclist Safety Program.
Point 1: Share the Road
I think this is a common phrase associated with motorcyclists but thought mostly of cars getting out of motorcyclists way.  As riders, we need to not have a sense of entitlement and remember that the road belongs to all motorists.  Yes we can safely split lanes and yes we appreciate the motorist that kindly moves over in his lane to let us by, but if they don’t, do we have the right to get upset?  I have had to respond to too many incidents where motorcyclists are punching mirrors and windows because cars aren’t getting out of their way.  Instead of being upset when they don’t move, we need to appreciate those courteous drivers when they do share their lane with us.  Always remember motorcycles are fun.  When the only reason you ride is to get somewhere faster than other traffic, you lost sight of the experience.

Point 2: Experience Takes Time
Not everyone has the opportunity to ride every day, every week or even every month.  There are a lot of motorcycles collecting dust in peoples garages.  When the day finally comes to knock the dust off and take the bike out for a spin, their skills may have gotten a little rusty.  I would encourage every rider to ride a lot.  Put in the time to gain the experience to make you a safe rider.  Just because you bought a motorcycle 10 years ago doesn’t mean you have 10 years of riding experience.  Ride and ride and ride and ride… As you gain experience, then, you will be able to perform flawlessly.  Don’t fall into the trap of following what you have seen other riders do.  Every rider’s experience and ability is different.  Ride at your ability and comfort level.  Don’t follow the herd because you think that is what motorcyclists are supposed to do.

Point 3: Obey the Law
Simple.  The speed limit is the speed limit.  Double yellow lines are double yellow lines.  Unsafe lanes changes are unsafe lane changes.  The right shoulder is the right shoulder.  Red lights are red lights.  None of this changes because you ride a motorcycle.

Point 4: Look Up
As we dodge mirrors, pot holes, debris, distracted drivers and everything else, it is very easy to have your eyes focused on the road and cars directly in front of you.  We need to keep our eyes up, way up.  Look as far ahead as you can.  Give yourself as much time as you can to react to a hazard by seeing it way ahead of you rather than as you run over it.  Riding a motorcycle is an active job, not a leisure cruse.  Be hyper vigilant and never let your guard down. 

Point 5: Take Responsibility
Law Enforcement is not your enemy, especially those on motorcycles.  We hurt when there is a motorcycle related tragedy.  We love most of the same things you do.  Motorcycle racing, organized stunt performances, and riding with our friends, all over the country, are just some of the activities we enjoy.  If you are pulled over, be cool and human.  Level with us and yourself.  Realize you were doing something that caused the stop.  Your best chances of not receiving a citation are to be honest and professional with us.

Sam Manicom in the Slovenian Mountains

Sam Manicom – Author, World Traveler, Presenter

Sam is a true Round-The Worlder.  Still astride his amazing R 80 G/S named Libby (for Liberty), Sam continues to ride with his partner Birgit throughout the world.  Sam has written four excellent books about his motorcycle travels.  Do yourself a great favor and pick up one of them for some amazing and enjoyable reading.  Additionally, they have been recorded into audio books by Sam, himself.  Find out more about Sam Manicom including where he will be making a presentation at his website,

1. Take the time to stop and see the world along the way. It's too easy to ride past the good stuff.

2. Always wear the gear. There are idiots out there, and your guardian angel may be distracted at the wrong moment.

3. Some of the best adventures begin when something isn't working out as planned. Expect the unexpected and you'll be prepared for anything.

4. Plan time for side turnings. They usually hide gems.

5. You'll need far less 'stuff' on a trip than you think you'll need. Less is more = your bike will be far more fun to ride!

Voni Glaves in Red with the late Ardys Kellerman

Voni Glaves - Iron Butt Association Member, Writer and Presenter

Voni has been certified by BMW as having completed over 1,000,000 (One Million) miles on BMW Motorcycles. She's along with her husband Paul are regular contributors to BMW ON magazine. Voni’s Million Mile feat is even more impressive as those have all been crash-free.

1. Be seen. Red has worked for me for over a million sMiles. But, don't depend on being seen.

2. Make sure you have the largest envelope of space around you that you can possibly maintain.

3. Wave at everyone. It keeps your focus in the moment.

4. Goes without saying for me, but not for everyone - All the Gear All the Time. I've never needed the gear but who knows what the next mile holds.

5. Practice. If your learning curve isn't going up, it's declining. Read. Take Classes. Talk to other Riders. And sMile!

Ben Slavin

Ben Slavin – Latin America Riding Presenter, Filmmaker, Adventurer

Ben has ridden extensively through North, Central and South America.  Ben produced a film available from Amazon titled, “Motorcycle Mexico.”  Recently married, Ben continues to talk and meet people at meetups including Horizons Unlimited and Overland Expo.  Ben has a great blog with some excellent insight into traveling in Mexico and also hosts an active Facebook group called Motorcycle Mexico.

1. Take care not to hug the white line on twisty mountain roads. Bicyclists are often slowly slogging up the hill with little to no shoulder.

2. The best investment I ever made for my bike was a little $5 inline fuel filter. After that, I never again had to clean out my carburetor jets.

3. Despite your buddy's advice, "Lean back and twist the throttle" is usually not the best practice for completing difficult sections. Practice slow steep maneuvers with balance and clutch control.

4. Learn how to bump start your bike near your home before you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and need to bump start your bike.

5. Small bursts of throttle will give you stability and help you straighten out the bike when riding through loose gravel or soft sand.

Jim Foreman – Writer, Presenter and World Traveler 

Jim is an avid motorcyclist with over 180,000 miles on two wheels both domestically and internationally since 2010.  That may not seem like a lot of years, compared to those who've been riding 30+ years.  Jim insists that it's not the years, it's the mileage and advanced training that counts. Jim has seen too many accidents involving motorcyclists that were easily preventable.  In nearly every case, Jim says, “Ego of the motorcyclist plays a central role, regardless of who is technically, ‘At Fault.’” 

1.   Be Patient.  Just because you can blast at 160+MPH doesn’t mean that you should.  I’ve avoided countless potential collisions by giving a little extra space and maneuvering distance.  Save the breath-taking speed for places like the track or a desolate highway with tons of visibility. 

2.   Be kind and don’t be a jerk.  Make room for drivers who want to come into your lane.  It's super easy to get past them on a bike, and you will earn a driver's gratitude and respect.  I’ll often make room for a truck to merge into my lane.  They look extra hard for motorcyclists and could use a kind gesture, in return.

3.   Don’t be the fastest one on the road.  If someone wants to blaze at 90+ MPH on the freeway, let them.  They will happily gain the attention of any Highway Patrol or Police vehicle waiting beyond the next bend or crest.  This, in turn, clears the highway for you.

4.   If safe, stop and check if a rider at the side of the road is OK, or needs help.

5.   Wave to cops on the road, preferably with more than one finger! They are human too.  You stand a much greater chance of being ignored or forgiven if you wave and acknowledge them.


Lastly, as a further discussion, when talking about motorcycles to others, listen twice as much as you speak.  You don’t know everything.  People will be more inclined to be your friend if you show an interest in their perspectives.

When you're in Southern California, do make sure to visit Irv Seaver BMW in Orange County, CA.  Irv Seaver Motorcycles is one of the largest and best motorcycle dealers in the nationFor over 100 years, they've been getting riders into the bikes they want.  In addition to new and pre-owned motorcycles, Irv Seaver provides top rated service as well as parts, and apparel.  They're located just 10 minutes from Disneyland on Katella Avenue.

©2016 Jim Foreman  All Rights Reserved.