Cold Weather Riding And A Dripping Nose

If you’ve ever ridden in the cold, not cool weather, but cold weather then you’ve probably encountered a dripping nose.  I don’t mean a runny nose like you get with a cold but an actually dripping nose like a dripping faucet.  Yes it sounds gross but it’s probably happened to you when riding in the winter time.  It’s really just a side effect of the cold air on your sinuses.  You might think that the only way to prevent it is to put tissues up your nose!

But there is not only relief but prevention available!  On a toy ride just before Christmas the wife of one of the riders told some of us (and one poor guy who was really suffering from the drips) to just use one of the over the counter all day allergy prevention medicines such as Zyrtec.  I thought to myself “You know, that might just work.”  During allergy season I routinely take a store brand of Claritin with great success.  In fact, the store brand is from a wholesale membership club so I got a good-sized bottle of 365 tablets!  Here in the U.S. there are three name brand medicines available of Zyrtec, Claritin and Allegra along with store brands for all three.  Claritin and Allegra both pride themselves as being “non drowsy”.  I’ve taken Zyrtec in the past but have never experienced any drowsiness.  All three boast 24 hour relief.

Well last weekend when we went for an all day ride and knew the beginning and some portions of the ride could be cold so I started the day off with my store brand of Claritin.  I’ll have to admit that the advice was right on the money and I didn’t notice a dripping nose once.  Go ahead and give it a shot.  If it doesn’t work for some reason, at least you have some allergy medicine for next spring and summer.

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Georgia’s Only Scenic Byway

The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway

The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway

Today was our first good, long ride of 2015.  It was a day that totaled 226 miles for us.  The weather was looking good to ride next week and we planned to head up to north Georgia and ride the state’s only United States Department of Transportation’s designated scenic byway, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway.  As luck would have it, a friend of mine, Buddy (yes it’s kind of ironic isn’t) brought up a few days ago that Saturday (today) was supposed to be sunny and near 60° (F) and wanted to know if we wanted to go riding.  You see, Buddy bought a Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic last summer and was out-of-town on business a lot.  He and his girlfriend Rhonda wanted to ride, even if was going to be cool.  “Cold we can deal with.” is what they’ve said in the past.  Buddy wanted me show them some nice roads and I was game to do so.  We met up in the morning and it was still 40° (F) after the sun had come up good.  It was only 24° two hours earlier in the morning.  The highest temperature we saw all day was 56° and that was while on the way home!

The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a 40 mile loop that begins on Georgia HWY 17 just north of Helen.  The Appalachian Trail crosses this scenic byway twice.  Yes the loop is only 40 miles but we got our other miles getting there and then also riding in the area.  Oh and of course we had to ride to lunch too!  But back to the byway.  GA HWY 17 is a very well maintained road heading up (or down) the mountains and has some really great curves in it.  If you open up the map image you’ll get  an idea of them.  You’ll make a left turn onto Georgia HWY 180 (which later becomes Wolf Pen Gap RD) where you’ll pass the entrance to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia.  Before getting to US HWY 129, you’ll make a left turn onto Georgia HWY 348, The Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.  Highway 348 only runs between HWY 180 and HWY 75 Alt. and doesn’t meander anywhere else.  There are some great curves and switchbacks on the Richard B. Russell too.  It’s winter so as we approached the top of the mountain the temperature quickly dropped from 55° to 40°.  Near the peak there are sheer rock walls lining the road and on a winter’s day like today they are covered in feet of ice.  I know, we should’ve taken a picture but when we stopped it was too cold and we didn’t want to get off the motorcycles but wanted to keep going (and get back to the warmer temperatures).  There’s also quite a number of pull-offs and scenic overlooks on the Richard B. Russell.  GA HWY 348 will end at Georgia 75 Alt. where you’ll turn left and head back to GA HWY 17 and the beginning.

Today was Donna’s second ride with the new floorboards and actually her first ride of any length on them.  The jury is in and she gives them 2 thumbs up.  She says they’re much more comfortable than the stock foot pegs they replaced.  It was good to get out and put the R1200RT to work.  Wow this engine wants to run!  Our old K1200LT was an inline four-cylinder engine and was actually pretty quiet.  But the boxer style twin on the R1200RT hums loudly beneath you, producing an audible and muscular exhaust note.  Plus the R1200RT averaged over 50 MPG today, since its fill-up when we started this morning!  It was really good to get out in the sun and ride after a week of cold, overcast and fog.  It did all six of us good!  And by six I mean the four humans and the two motorcycles.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Options

Okay we’ve owned the new BMW R1200RT for a couple of months now.  It’s still an awesome motorcycle.  It also came with the whole list of options.  I had always looked at and priced motorcycles of interest.  I mean who among us hasn’t done that?  The R1200RT has quite a list of options and like buying a car, buying a package of options is often the best way to go, price-wise.  The motorcycle has a few options that I always figured that if I were to purchase the motorcycle that I’d “opt out” of a few of the options.  But now that I’ve been riding it a while some of them are really nice, a few are even things that I’d probably get again.  So this post is about some of the more major and innovative options.

Selecting the Dynamic ESA.

Selecting the Dynamic ESA.

  • Dynamic ESA electronic suspension adjustment:  This is one that I had always figured that I could do without.  Boy was I wrong!  I figured that I would just continue to adjust the suspension just like I had been doing (and the way the R1200RT does without this option) and just turn the shock pre-load adjuster.  With ESA I just scroll through the menu and select the suspension setting for that ride.  It’s simple to do.  I select one helmet if it’s just me, two helmets if we’re riding 2 up or one helmet with luggage if riding one or 2 up with the side cases loaded.  While the suspension adjusts you can actually feel the motorcycle move slightly underneath you.  Then additionally you get to pick one of 3 setting of soft (comfortable damping), normal (normal damping) and hard (sporty performance-oriented damping).  It’s so easy to do and no more cranking an adjuster in or out.  And it really does make a difference in the ride and performance of the motorcycle.
  • Ride Mode Pro:  This sets the Automatic Stability Control and throttle to one of 3 modes; Rain, Road or Dynamic (with the Pro option).  The easiest way to describe it is from the throttle response section on the modes in the Rider’s Manual.
    • In rain the throttle response is restrained and ASC intervenes early to prevent rear wheel slipping on wet roads.
    • In road the throttle response in and stability is what you would normally expect.
    • All I can say about Dynamic is WOW!  It’s a sports performance mode.  The throttle response is in no way restrained and is even quicker than normal mode.  The ASC would intervene at the latest time and power transfer to the rear wheel is QUICK.  The motorcycle was in dynamic mode when I picked it up and it flat-out took off.  I pulled to the side of the road and figured out how to put it in normal mode.
  • Gearshift Assistant Pro:  This is nice to have but I’m not so sure I’d pay to get it added.  What Gearshift Assistant Pro does is allow you to shift gears both up and down without using the clutch.  That’s right, just shift.  It’s made for performance oriented riding.  I’ve used it when pulling out onto a highway from a stop.  It works and it does shift quick.  To shift gears up, just keep the throttle constant and shift.  The trick is to relieve any pressure on the shifter between gear changes.  To shift down, just be below the maximum RPM for that gear or let the throttle close a bit and shift down, again taking any pressure off the shifter between changes.  It’s fun to play with but definitely not a “must have”
  • Hill Start Control is another that is not a “must have” to me.  I’ve used it to see how it works.  It’s designed to do just what it says, to start on a hill.  Or more precisely to start a fully loaded motorcycle from a stop on a hill.  While stopped you shift to neutral, squeeze the front brake lever quickly and firmly and it will set the rear brake.  The motorcycle will not roll.  To release it, just squeezed the front brake lever again or when driving off, just use a little more throttle than normal.  It does work.  I’ve found that I’ll use it when Donna is getting on or off the motorcycle or when fumbling for the garage door opener in the left glove compartment.  While it’s convenient to have I wouldn’t miss it.

The list goes on but those are some of the major options or the newer ones available.  I’ll go over some of the others in future posts.  Now I just wish it would warm up a bit for a pleasurable ride.  Here in the south we can often ride year round but you don’t really want to do that when you wake up and it’s 7º F.

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A Ride On The First Day Of The Year

Yesterday I wrote the last post of 2014 and today is the first post of 2015.  We started the year off with a ride.  It was a long ride but it was still a ride.  It was a cool overcast day with temperatures just above 50° F but it was supposed to be sunny.  My Blue Knights Chapter holds and annual meeting on New Years Day and that was our destination.  It was also Donna’s first ride with Ilium Works passenger floorboards on the R1200RT.  Before we were even out of the neighborhood she was saying how much more she liked them over the foot pegs.  As we rode I could tell she was moving her feet more.  It’s funny but on Christmas morning I took her into the garage to show her “one more present Santa left” and it was the floorboards already on the motorcycle.  She actually jumped up a little saying “Oh boy, I love them!”  How many wives get excited over a motorcycle accessory even when it is for them?

IMG_20150101_131026

Out for a ride on the first day of 2015.

The meeting we were headed to was a lunch meeting at an Irish Pub.  I had the lunch portion of the “Bangers and Mash”.  A surprise was when I was presented a plaque for being the most active member in 2014.  It wasn’t something I was expecting at all!  This was my first meeting as a returning Vice President of the Chapter after taking a term off.  I won’t be eligible for the plaque in 2015 because I’ll be a club officer.  It was my task to record the ending  odometer readings of our participants in the 2014 Mileage Contest.  I can say this even thought the results haven’t been officially announced but I didn’t win.  But for 2015 I’ll be eligible to participate in the mileage contest even as a club officer.

Until next time ride safe!

Categories: Accessories, Rides | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Our Last Post Of The Year

Well here it is the evening of the last night of the year.  Tomorrow starts a whole new year.  We rode over 8,000 miles last year on two different motorcycles.  We started 2014 riding our 2002 BMW K1200LT and then in October we bought a 2014 BMW R1200RT.  I put together a little video of our year in motorcycling.  Maybe next year we’ll remember to take more pictures but maybe we were having too much fun!  “At least I’m enjoying the ride!”

We hope you enjoy riding in 2015!

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It’s Not Really A Farkle, But….

This isn’t really an end of year farkle but it is an end of year safety item.  The new style BMW 49 liter top case has a spot at the top that you can install the optional LED brake light and then have the dealer program the motorcycle’s CAN bus electrical system to recognize the light.  Let’s just say that with the price of this option that BMW is quite proud of it.  To make the option work you need to have the top case that’s pre-wired for the light and the central locking system.  My case isn’t.  But I got to looking at where the light goes and the nearly flat black piece of plastic and thought I could do something to make the motorcycle more visible from the rear.  I came up with the idea of red reflective tape.  So today I took the plastic part off the top case (there are only 4 torx screws involved) and found that to get the flat part out you had to break the mounting rivets that were plastic.  So what I did instead is made a template of the opening with masking tape and then trimmed it up and carefully removed my template.  I then pinned a length of red reflective tape to a board and put the masking tape template right on the tape.  Then with a hobby knife, slowly and carefully cut around the template.  Since the template is made out of tape, it doesn’t move around on the reflective tape.  Then I carefully applied the red reflective tape on the flat part.  But while applying it I found that it’s not as flat as it appears and you can get bubbles along the edge at the slight curve.  Patience in smoothing them out helps but I imagine heating the tap with a hair dryer would help even more.  I didn’t think of the hairdryer trick until I was through.  So now I have red tape up high in the top case and when headlights hit the tap it “lights up” red.  Without the red tape there would just be black plastic there.

 

The red reflective tape up high in daylight.

The red reflective tape up high in daylight.

The back end of the motorcycle and high, red reflector with flash.

The back end of the motorcycle and high, red reflector with flash.

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Merry Christmas!

2014 card scan

Here it is a week before Christmas and Donna and I would like to wish our readers a Merry Christmas!  This year we are continuing a tradition we started a few years ago with a personal motorcycle related Christmas card.  Welcome to our 2014 edition.  Whichever holiday you celebrate this season we hope that you find yourself surrounded by family and friends while good memories are created.  We hope Santa stops by to see you too.  For some of us he came a little early this year!

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Two Wheeled Santas

This morning was the annual BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia and BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta toy run for the Towns County Sheriff’s Office’s Empty Stocking Fund.  The dealership acts as a drop off point for toys from customers and people who have heard about the ride through word of mouth.  This year there were two large, motorcycle sized boxes full of toys.  I wonder where they got those big motorcycle sized boxes?  The toys are then usually loaded up in the dealership’s van and taken to the sheriff’s office by a caravan of motorcycles.  The ride is open to all motorcycles and all they ask is that you bring one unwrapped toy the day of the ride or drop one off in the toy box before the ride.  Of course the largest percentage of motorcycles are BMW but there were Ducatis, Hondas, Kawasakis, Triumph, Can Am Spyder and more.  There were 46 motorcycles this year.  There was even a family of four on a BMW with a side car!  It’s a fun day.  The owner’s of the dealership provide coffee and a light breakfast for the riders before the toys get loaded up.  The sheriff is there at the justice center waiting for us to arrive.  There are offices packed with donated toys at the justice center.  The sheriff goes out of his way to thank the riders, often thanking as many as he can individually.  The numerous ways the toys get distributed is really interesting too.  Families can come pick up the toys and even have them wrapped if they are unable to it themselves.  Deputies can meet parents to deliver toys, deputies can and do drop off toys on Christmas Eve, leaving them at a spot designated by the parents so they can retrieve them to be put under the tree and some toys are even delivered on Christmas by the deputies in person.  It’s all based on what the family wants to do.

Since it’s December the weather here can be frigid or warm.  In the past we’ve been rained on, snowed on, iced on and had freezing fog.  This was the first ride I’ve been on where it was sunny!  On my way to the dealership this morning it was a crisp 32° (F).  When we departed Marietta for Young Harris it had already warmed to 41° but when we got to Jasper the sun suddenly disappeared, it got overcast and the temperature rapidly dropped to 30°!  As we got to Ellijay, the sun came out again and it warmed into the low 40’s but when we reached our pit stop in Blue Ridge it was 32° and freezing fog again.  By the time we reached the justice center in Young Harris it was sunny again and 46°.  Talk about roller coaster weather!  But I think the cold weather and the frozen fog in the tree tops helps put you in the Christmas spirit and really does make us feel like two-wheeled Santas.  After the toys are delivered we usually break up into smaller groups and head for lunch or to go do some riding in the area.

As Sheriff Clinton told us, “It warms your heart to know that you helped make sure a child had a Christmas present under the tree.”

Categories: General, Rides | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Yes That’s Snow

Well it’s that time of year again.  WordPress has turned on the Christmas decorations.  So depending on your browser, you’re seeing snow flakes floating across the screen.

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The 49 Liter Top Case

Ever since Donna has been riding with me she has had a back rest or a top case to lean against for back support.  For those who don’t know what a “top case” is, it’s what BMW calls a trunk.  Harley Davidson calls their version a King Tour Pack or a Tour Pack (depending on the model).  On our 2006 Suzuki C50T she had a nice big, swiveled back rest that she liked.  On the Magic Carpet, our K1200LTE, she had that big top case with a nice, heated back rest.  You know I don’t really blame her.  I’d want the security of a back rest too.  The R1200RT has nothing back there except a small luggage rack.  BMW will sell you your choice of a few top cases that mount quite effortlessly on that luggage rack.  We opted for the new style 49 liter top case that BMW began using for the 2013 model year.  It took the purchasing dealer 4 weeks and a day to get it delivered and they didn’t even key it right to match the motorcycle (even though they were paid to do so).  It took a trip to a second and local dealer to get the lock re-keyed in a matter of minutes.

Since the top case got here a week and half ago and a week since its properly being keyed it’s been much colder than normal here, raining here or Donna had to work.  Donna really wanted the top case and its back rest to ride back there.  She did ride up from Daytona Beach, FL and went on an afternoon ride without the top case but really wasn’t comfortable.  Yesterday it was forecast to be about 65° (F) and sunny so we went for a ride to try out the new top case.  Well the temperature even got up to 70° which made for an even better day of riding.  Donna enjoyed having the back rest on the top case to lean back into.  She wasn’t grabbing my belt anymore.  I could see in the mirrors that she was back to resting her hands on her thighs as she rode back there.  To say she was much more comfortable and at ease is an understatement.  But now she says the foot-pegs feel “squishy”.  But then again she did have those nice big floorboards on the Magic Carpet.  Even the foot-pegs on the Magic Carpet were wide and flat.

topcase

The BMW 49 liter top case.

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