Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 2012 Newsletter

December Club Meeting

Our annual holiday club meeting will be held once again at The Harp Restaurant on Monday, December 10th, at 6:30 p.m.

A reservation has already been made for our group.  However, to ensure adequate seating for the group, please provide a RSVP (if you are planning on attending) no later than Wednesday, December 5th responding via email at

The Harp Restaurant is located at 1423 South 3rd Street, Wilmington, NC [GPS coordinates N34.21701, W77.94342].

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 2012 Newsletter

With the pleasant temperatures and beautiful fall colors, October is one of our best months of the year for motorcycle riding in this area.  I hope all of you getting a chance to enjoy some time in the saddle.  There is a lot to cover in this edition of our newsletter, so without further ado:

Winter Meeting Schedule

Starting with November, we are switching to our "Winter meeting schedule."  We make this change so everyone can enjoy riding to our club meetings during daylight hours, and hopefully when the weather is bit warmer.  We will make an exception to the winter schedule for our December club meeting, which you can read about later in this newsletter.

November Club Meeting 

The November club meeting will be held on Saturday, November 10th, 12 Noon, at Ducati's Pizzeria & Trattoria, 960 Cipriana Dr. in Myrtle Beach, SC.  GPS coordinates for Ducati's Pizzeria are N33.76089 W78.81461.

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For a long time, we have wanted to schedule a club meeting near Myrtle Beach, to accomodate our loyal members who frequently make the ride to Wilmington for our meetings.  Club member Marty Schmitz offered us the suggestion for using Ducati's Pizzeria in Myrtle Beach, and it provides a great excuse for our Wilmington members to enjoy a ride this month.

If the weather forecast is not favorable, please monitor your email, in case it becomes necessary to postpone the meeting (hopefully not!).

For those interested in riding together to Myrtle Beach, we will meet at BP/Convenience Store located at the entrance to Magnolia Greens in Leland.  We will depart at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

2012 Blue Ridge Parkway Ride

On October 10-12, 2012, I enjoyed another trip to the North Carolina mountains with my regular riding buddies, and fellow club members, Ed O'Neil and Dick Williams, to enjoy the Fall colors.  This trip came on the heels of a four-day trip to attend the Fall Appalachian Riding Tour (FART) Rally in Maggie Valley on October 4-7, 2012.

Prior to the trip, at our October club meeting, Bob Thomson mentioned that he had a back road route for riding from Wilmington to the Meadows of Dan area in Virginia, which was close to our destination for the first day of the trip.  Bob shared a GPS file with me, and it turned to be a great route for the ride.  We used U.S. 421, along with some back roads, to ride to Greensboro.  There, we stopped at Carolina BMW to say hello to the owner, Jason Emmert.

Afterwards, we headed northwestward on Highways 68, 65, 89, and 8, stopping along the way at Hanging Rock State Park to collect a photo for the club's NC State Park Challenge Ride.

As we closed in on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we passed a field that full of ripe pumpkins.  We had to stop for a couple of photos.

Our final destination for the day was Grassy Creek Cabooses.  Grassy Creek Cabooses is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway about five miles north of Fancy Gap, Virginia.  The owner has set up three railroad cabooses as cabins.  

The accommodations were cute and comfortable.  

We made a quick trip down the Parkway to eat dinner at the Lakeview Restaurant at Fancy Gap, and then headed back to the cabooses for the night.

The second day started out as brisk 34 degree morning.  We stopped for breakfast at the Lakeview Restaurant at Fancy Gap, before continuing our ride along the Parkway.

The Fall colors were amazing, especially in the area around Boone and the Lynn Cove viaduct.

We stopped for lunch at the Little Switzerland Café .

Afterwards, we took a quick detour to ride "The Diamondback," a triangle formed by Highways 226A, 226, and the Parkway.  Highway 226A, in particular, is an especially twisty series of switchbacks.  It's a road worthy of a side trip, if you are in the area.

Of course, there were more stops along the parkway, to enjoy the Fall scenery.

We continued our ride along the Parkway, stopping at BMW Asheville late in the afternoon.  This dealership opened about one and half years ago, and the showroom looks outstanding.

Afterwards, we returned to the Parkway, riding down to Highway 276 and our staying the second evening in Brevard, NC.

On the morning of the third and final day of our trip, we rode Highway 276 through Caesars Head State Park in South Carolina, on our way to visit Touring Sport BMW in Greenville, SC.  The section of Highway 276 through Caesars Head State Park is another fine series of twisting switchbacks that is worth a visit (the park is beautiful too).

Touring Sport BMW is another motorcycling enthusiast's destination that is worth stopping for a visit.

After visiting Touring Sport BMW, we made our way back to Wilmington, mainly using Highway 9 across South Carolina.  It was a great 950 mile trip with Ed O'Neil and Dick Williams.

Additional pictures from our trip, and maps showing our ride route, can be viewed in my Picasa web album.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trip Report: FART 2012

FART 2012 (the Fall Appalachian Riding Tour) was held on October 4-7, 2012, in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  FART 2012 (the first FART) is the Fall counterpart to the Spring HeleN Back event, both organized by Ken Insley, a member of the web discussion board.

I shared the ride to and from FART with fellow club members Paul Winter and Becky Hucks.  After meeting Paul and Becky at the Highway 211/74 overpass, we rode Highway 74 to Polkton and used Highway 218 to bypass the usual traffic slow-down in Monroe.  Then we used I-285 around Charlotte, I-85 and US 64 westward, and then I-26 north to Asheville.  At Hendersonville, we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway via Highway 276 and enjoyed riding the parkway to Maggie Valley.

The Fall 2012 FART was held at the Jonathan Creek Inn.  When we arrived, we were greeted with a festive, fall display.

Based on my casual count of bikes in the parking lot, I would estimate that FART was attended by sixty riders (more or less,).  A few FART attendees stayed in other nearby hotels and/or campgrounds.

During FART, I was able to share some riding time with riding companions from Florida whom I had met at past Blue Ridge Rendezvous and and El Paseo events (the predecessors to FART and HeleN Back).  This riding group included some of my riding companions from my summer ride in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

The riding during FART was spectacular, especially the leaves, which were beginning to change color.  

The weather was wonderful and afforded us two days of "vigorous" riding.

The first day's ride included a stop at the General Store at Deal's Gap.

The second day's ride included a stop in Hot Springs, where we saw a group of adventure riders preparing to head out into the wilderness.

The weekend's weather was great, the Fall colors were beautiful, and the views along the Blue Ridge Parkway were spectacular.

Early Sunday morning, we had T-storms pass through Maggie Valley.  Fortunately, by the time Paul, Beck, and I departed, the rain had stopped and all we had to contend with was road spray.  We were fortunate enough to arrive home about an hour before T-storms developed in Wilmington.

FART, and it's Spring counterpart, HeleN Back, are great events and encourage you to try to attend one of these at some point.  Watch the web forum for announcements of these future events.

You can enjoy more of my photos from FART via two Google Picasa albums (my group riding album and some general FART event photos).

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 2012 Newsletter

October Club Meeting 

The October club meeting will be held on Monday, October 8th, 6:30 p.m., at PTs Olde Fashion Grille, 1437 Military Cutoff Road, in Wilmington, NC 28401.  The GPS coordinates for PTs Grille are N34.22530 W77.82960.

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Let's take advantage of the beautiful Fall weather and enjoy dinner outside on the patio at PT's Grill.  Be sure to bring your jacket or sweater!

September Meeting

We enjoyed a welcome break from the summer heat and had a great turnout for our September 10th club meeting at Fishy Fishy Cafe.  Here are a couple of photos from the meeting.

Oktoberfest Party

Speaking of October, club member Becky Hucks is inviting all club members to an Oktoberfest party at her home near Supply, NC.  The party will be on Saturday, October 20th (rain date Sunday, October 21st), from 12 Noon until approximately 4 p.m..

Becky Hucks has a beautiful back yard that overlooks the Lockwood Folly River.  She is planning a cookout, and club members Tony Barcia and Jerry Dockery have offered to be the Grillmeisters for us.  Paul Winter is planning to have bratwurst shipped in for the event, from an "undisclosed midwest location."  Iced tea will be available, and everyone is welcome to bring a supply of their own favorite "Oktoberfest beverage."

All club members are invited, and everyone will receive another invitation via email.  RSVPs are being requested, well in advance, to allow Becky and Paul to gauge how much food to prepare.  If you are planning on attending, please send your RSVP to no later than Sunday, October 7th.

Becky lives in a gated community, and everyone coming to the Oktoberfest Party will be sent another email, in advance of the party, with the gate access code.

This will be a great event, and we hope you will be able to come!

Club Member Passes

Club member George Martin passed away on September 11, 2012, in an RV accident near Sedalia, Missouri.  Britt Motorsports held a memorial service for George on Saturday, September 22nd.  Their announcement photo includes a great photo of George "Doc Wobblin" Martin with his dog.

Al Curtner, a member of the Christan Motorcyclists Association shared some great photos from George's memorial service.  You can view the pictures at Al's Flickr site.

Progressive International Motorcycle Shows 

Last month we told you about the 2012-2013 Progressive International Motorcycle Shows.  Since then, BMW is offering a discount on show tickets if you are purchasing online.  Use the promo code BMWRIDERS when you buy your ticket to receive a $3 discount on the single day price ($10 versus $13). Remember, the Atlanta show is coming on November 2-4, 2012.

2012 BMW MOA Mileage Contest 

This year's BMW MOA Mileage Contest will be coming to a close at midnight on October 14th, 2012.  The 2012 Mileage Ending Form has not yet been posted online, but will be linked to this article once it becomes available.  If you are a BMW MOA member and participating in this year's contest, bring your mileage form to the Oktoberfest Party on October 21st, or to our November club meeting for signing.  (The form must be signed by two active BMW MOA members, of by our club officer.)

BMW MOA Anonymous Book Updates 

The BMW MOA is working on their update for the 2012 BMW Owners Anonymous Book.  They are asking for all BMW MOA owners to review and provide changes to their contact information.  You can do this by sending the changes to them via email, as  Updates must be submitted by November 1st.

GPS Updates (aka Tip-of-the-Month) 

Last month, we mentioned two new firmware updates for the Garmin Montana GPS.  Unfortunately, both updates turned out to be beggy.  The good news is that Garmin has released another firmware update, and this one seems to have fixed the previous bugs while not introducing any significant new ones.  You can obtain the latest firmware by using the Garmin WebUpdater program.

Garmin has also released an update of their POI Loader program.  If you are not familiar with POIs (Points of Interest), these are collections of locations, like Waypoints, that you can store on your GPS and which do not count against the number of Waypoints that can be stored on your GPS.  POI Loader is Garmin's software for loading POIs on your GPS.  You can download the free POI Loader software from the Garmin web site.

Montana GPS Owners -- Garmin's firmware v4.60 is now available.  Unlike versions 4.20 and 4.40, this one appears to be pretty stable.  Use the WebUpdater program to install this version to your Montana GPS.

BMW Sales Figures 

According to an article on the BMW MOA web site, BMW sold more motorcycles during the month of August than ever in a month, and is on track for a record motorcycle sales year.  You may be interested in reading this short online article.

Water-Cooled Boxer 

According to the BMW MOA, BMW Motorrad is scheduled to unveil the new water-cooled R1200GS on October 2nd.  Check the BMW MOA web site after the announcement, to get the details.  The November BMW Owners News will reported provide further details, as well.

Until next month, ride safely and ride far!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 2012 Newsletter

September Club Meeting 

We will be holding our next monthly club meeting on Monday, September 10th, 6:30 p.m., at Fishy Fishy Cafe, 106 Yacht Basin Street in Southport.

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I hope everyone will take advantage of the slightly cooler weather to come join us for some good seafood, some great conversation, and a pleasant view on the Intercoastal Waterway.

CCBMW Octoberfest Event 

CCBMW member Becky Hucks is inviting our club members to her home in the Lockwood Folly area for an Octoberfest party during the afternoon on Saturday, October 20th.  Club member Jill Barcia is helping Becky co-host the event.

Lunch will include German-styled food, and a grill will be available if you wish to do your own.  Plan to bring your own German beverage, or enjoy sweet tea on the deck.  Kayaks and boat rides up the Folly will also be available.  The rain date will be Sunday, October 21st.

If you are planning on attending, we need you to provide an RSVP to help Becky and Jill with their planning for this event.  Also, Becky's home is located in a gated community, so your RSVP is needed so we can send you the gate code.  Please send your RSVP to

We will probably arrange for a group meet-up and ride to Becky's house, from the Wilmington area.  Details on this will be announced later.

I hope you will will be able to join us for this Oktoberfest celebration!

2012-2013 International Motorcycle Shows 

The schedule for the Progressive 2012-2013 International Motorcycle Shows has been announced.  The first show will be coming to Atlanta, Georgia on November 2-4, 2012.  Other shows that will be "close" to our area include the Washington, DC show, scheduled for January 4-6, 2013, and the last show for the 2012-2013 calendar scheduled for February 22-24, 2013, in Charlotte.

Visit the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows web site for more information, or to purchase advance tickets.

New BMW R1200GS 

An August 30th BMW press release has announced the upcoming debut of the next BMW R 1200 GS in October:
BMW Motorrad press conference at INTERMOT 2012. Announcement of BMW R 1200 GS successor model world premiere.
30.08.2012Munich. Several new BMW Motorrad products will see their trade fair premiere at this year's INTERMOT in Cologne from October 3rd - 7th 2012, including the new BMW F 700 GS and the new BMW HP4.
BMW Motorrad will also be presenting a world premiere:
the successor model to the BMW R 1200 GS
The "BMW GS" concept has embodied riding pleasure and the desire for adventure for over 30 years. The unique integrated concept of the big travel enduro bike with boxer engine, complete with its authentic charm and a powerful, high-torque engine, is loved by legions of motorcycle fans all over the world. BMW now begins a whole new chapter in GS history: the most popular travel enduro in the world has been brought to perfection.
 We therefore cordially invite all press representatives who will be attending the INTERMOT press day to come to the BMW Motorrad press conference.
on Tuesday October 2nd 2012 from 10 am to 11 am at the BMW Motorrad stand in Hall 6

Klassik K Kampout Trip Report 

Tony and Jill Barcia attended the Klassik K Kampout rally on July 13-15 at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground in Cruso, NC. Jill provided us with this trip report.

It is a motorcycle only campground and the owners live on the campground year round. There is a separate kitchen near the camping areas and breakfast and dinner is available for campers on Friday and Saturday nights. There are cabins as well as tent camping along the Pigeon River. Parking is available for cars at the entrance to the campground.

The rally was run by Greg and Debbie Hund of Klassik K Riders #347. The rally is very casual and there is no fee for the rally, you only pay for the camping (tent or cabin) and meals. The campground is right next to the Blue Ridge and Maggie Valley is 1/2 hour away. A great place to visit in Maggie Valley is Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum. We met the owner Dale Walksler when he came back from riding one of the vintage bikes around the property. All of the motorcycles in the museum are in running condition and Dale and his staff were firing up some of the old bikes inside the museum. The bikes were mostly Harley's and Indians but he also had a lot of prototype and one-off bikes that we never heard of. We saw an all electric Harley Davidson from the 1940's. Plan to spend at least half a day and then on the way back to the motorcycle campground stop in Bethel, NC at the diner (can't miss it ... its the only one) for some great BBQ.

Saturday evening all the Klassic K's are lined up for some pictures and then there are closing ceremonies and a raffle. A major contributor was the Greenville South Carolina BMW shop who rode three Klassic K bikes to the rally. The rally ended with a bonfire and making new friends and talking about motorcycles. The ride home was about 6 hours.

GPS Updates (aka GPS Tip of the Month) 

If you are a Garmin nuMaps subscriber, we have some good news.  Garmin has just released their latest  updated City Navigator North America map set (version 2013.2).  If you are a nuMaps subscriber, visit to download your update.

If you are a Garmin Montana owner, there have been two recent firmware updates for the Montana - Versions 4.30 and 4.40.  However, be forewarned there are reports of minor issues with both versions, so proceed with updating your Montana at your own risk.

And finally, Garmin has released BaseCamp Version 4.0.1.  You can download the new BaseCamp from the Garmin website.  With each release of the BaseCamp software, Garmin has made BaseCamp create a new data library by importing your routes, tracks, and waypoints from your existing data library.  Remember to back up your existing BaseCamp Library (under the File | Backup menu) BEFORE you install the new BaseCamp version.

Until next month, ride safely and ride far!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 2012 Newsletter

August Club Meeting

Our next club meeting will be held on Monday, August 13th, 6:30 p.m., at at Two Guys Grille Waterford, 2013 Olde Regent Way , in Leland (GPS coordinates N34.21820 W 78.01964). This is the Two Guys Grill  in the Harris-Teeter shopping center located at the entrance to the Waterford subdivision.

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I hope you will brave the summer heat and come joins us!

TAT Trip-in-Progress Report

Fellow club member Elmer Hayes is currently riding westward on his BMW sidecar rig, doing the Trans America Trail (TAT).

Elmer writes terrific trip reports, and you can read about his adventures thus far (and see a lot of great photos) on the website.

Elmer has wrapped up his TAT ride now (I will not say where) and is now on his way home.

Trip Reports

Speaking of trip reports, I know a few of you attended the BMW MOA International Rally in Sedalia, or perhaps the BMW RA National Rally in Copper Canyon, Colorado.  If so, please send us a trip report and/or photo links to share with your fellow club members.

GPS Workshop

We held another GPS workshop at the Brunswick Forest Port City Java location on June 30th to help club members with their GPS hardware and software questions.  I quickly had five indicate that they wanted to participate, and had several others who had schedule conflicts say that they would like to participate in another, future session.

I am looking at potential dates for another workshop in late August or September, so if you are interested in participating, please send me an email now so I can determine when might be a a good date for the session.

2013 BMWs

BMW has announced the colors for their 2013 model line-up.  You can read all about it at

GPS Tip-of-the-Month

We have two GPS tips this month.

Tip #1:  Garmin has released a Beta version of their BaseCamp mapping software.  If you are a BaseCamp user, this is a good way to evaluate some of the features being added to the next version of BaseCamp.  You can download the BaseCamp v4 Beta from the following web address:

You can install version 4 and run it in parallel with your existing BaseCamp installation.  During installation, the v4 Beta will convert and duplicate your existing BaseCamp data library.  One word of caution – the v4 data library is NOT backwards compatible with the v3.x BaseCamp software, so if you do any trip planning in Version 4, just be aware that you cannot directly access that information using Version 3 (although you can always export to a GPX file and import the data back into Version 3).

Tip #2:  Garmin Maps 101 -- In honor of our recent GPS workshop, I thought it might be helpful to share some information about mapping for Garmin's GPS units.  This Wikispaces page provides a great summary of the Garmin's mapping software, maps types, map names (on many, but not all, of their units), map storage capacity.  The page is part of a web site that focuses on the Garmin Montana GPS, but most of this information on maps is generic and can be really useful when you are trying to understand and decipher some of the jargon.


This month's video-of-the-month features a complete lap at the 2012 Isle of Mann TT from the cockpit of a BMW S1000RR.  This footage is amazing!  It really gives you a sense of the challenges (and dangers) of the world's most famous race on public roads.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 2012 Newletter

Apologies to everyone for not getting a June newsletter published for you. As many of you know, I left on May 20th for a multi-week trip to Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and simply ran out of time to get everything done before the trip. I wish to extend a big "thank you" to Jill and Tony Barcia for hosting the June club meeting in my absence.

July Club Meeting

Yes, it's time to mark your calendar with our next club meeting date. The next club meeting will be on Monday, July 9th, 6:30 p.m., at the Moe's Southwest Grill located at 4401 Oleander Drive in Wilmington.  

This is a great opportunity to talk with your fellow club members, some of whom may be heading to the BMW MOA International Rally in Sedalia, Missouri the following week.

New Garmin GPS

Garmin has introduced a new GPS model for motorcyclists – the Garmin 350LM.  

The unit comes preloaded with the City Navigator NT North America maps, Lifetime maps, and a motorcycle mount.  The Zumo 350LM lacks XM radio and music (MP3) support found on some other Garmin units such as the Zumo 550, 600, and 665 models.

Based on initial user reactions in some of the motorcycling online forums, the suggested retail price of $699 seems a bit excessive when the unit is compared to comparable Garmin automotive GPS units.  However, if you are in the market for a new motorcycle-specific GPS, at least you now have another option.

2013 BMW RA Rally

The BMW Riders Association has announced that the RA National Rally will be returning to the Biltmore Estates in 2013.  The rally is scheduled for June 20-23, 2013, and the admission will include self-guided tours of the Biltmore house and gardens, and the Antler Village including the winery.

This will be a great opportunity for those of us living in the Carolinas, so mark your calendars and start making your travel plans for next year's BMW RA Rally.

Trip Reports

Are you attending any rallies or taking any motorcycle trips this summer?  Did you attend the BMW RA National Rally in Copper Canyon, Colorado?  Are you planning to attend the BMW MOA International Rally in Sedalia, MO?  If so, please think about sharing a brief report or a few photos about your adventures.

As many of you know, I recently finished a three-week trip to Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, and am working on posting a trip report along with some of my better photos from the ride.

Speaking of trips, CCBMW club member Bill Hummel just attended the Vespa Club of America's 2012 National Rally in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  Bill sent some photos from his trip to the Vespa rally, and you can see these in an album on our club's online Picasaweb page.

GPS Tip-of-the-Month

We have another GPS tip-of-the-month.  This one is for those of you who are using a GPS receiver that can display tracks for your planned rides. This idea came from a forum post on

Have you thought about the colors you use for displaying the tracks on your GPS screen?  Try using green for displaying the tracks you create where you plan to ride.  Set your GPS receiver to display a red track where you have just ridden (i.e., your current track).  This way, if you stop, the red/green color scheme will help you think about where you just came from and where you are riding to.  You can continue to use the default Magenta color for routes that are being displayed on the GPS screen.

A simple tip!


And we conclude with the usual video-of-the-month link (YouTube).  For this month, we have a BMW Motorrad video showing the Berlin assembly line for the new BMW C 600 Sport and C 650 GT maxi-scooters.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 2012 Newsletter

It's a short newsletter this month -- it must be riding season again.  So without further ado.

May Club Meeting

Our next club meeting will be held on Monday, May 14th, 6:30 p.m., at Jackson's Big Oak Barbecue, 920 South Kerr Avenue, in Wilmington (GPS coordinates N34.21795 W77.88682).

View Meeting Locations in a larger map

We have plenty of space reserved, so come out for some great barbecue and conversation.  If you missed our April club meeting, here are a few photos from that get-together.

BMW MOA Mileage Contest

The 2011 BMW MOA Mileage Contest is underway!  If you are a member of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, I encourage you to participate in the mileage contest.  It does matter you ride only 500 miles, 5,000 miles, or more -- what maters is that you participate.

The mileage contest started April 14th.  You can download the Starting Mileage Form (PDF) from the BMW MOA web site.  Your mileage form must be signed by two BMWMOA members, or by a BMW MOA club office.  If you need your mileage form signed, send an email to, and you will be sent a snail mail address to mail your form to me for signing.

GPS Tip-of-the-Month

This month's GPS-Tip-of-the-Month is a simple one.  Those of you who have tried to use touch screen GPS while motorcycling gloves know how difficult it can be to precisely select something on the GPS screen.  One ADVRider member recently made a great suggestion.  You can read about it in this post, but I think this picture says it all.


This month' video link shows the 2011 Cookstown 100 Superbike Race.  As you watch the video, many of the racer's names may be familiar to you if you are also a fan of the Isle of Mann TT events.  It's amazing to see these kinds of organized racing -- actual road racing, on streets instead of tracks.  Needless to say, it's incredibly dangerous.

2011 Cookstown 100 Superbike Race on YouTube

June Club Meeting

I am going to be on an extended road trip for few weeks.  Since I will not be back in town for our regular second-Monday-of-the-month club meeting, I am one of you would be willing to host of June club meeting at a location of your choosing.  If someone is willing to help with this, please send me an email

That's all for the month of May.  Ride safe and ride far!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 2012 Newsletter

Spring is here!  (Okay, maybe Spring arrived here a month and half ago and the calendar is just now catching up.)

Now that Spring is here and we have switched to Daylight Saving Time, we are resuming our monthly club meetings on the second Monday evening of the month.

April  Club Meeting

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, April 9th, 6:30 p.m., at P.T.s Olde Fashion Grill in Leland.  P.T.'s Olde Fashion Grill is located at 1035 Grandiflora Drive, Leland.  The GPS coordinates are N34.21187 W78.02910.

View Meeting Locations in a larger map

In case you missed our March club meeting at The Front Porch Restaurant in Elizabethtown, here are some photos.

The New BMW Scooters

BMW has decided to enter the high-end mega-scooter market with their new C650GT and C650 Sport.  Of course, BMW does not refer to to these as scooters, but rather as Urban Mobility Vehicles.

The folks at Cycle World magazine recently had the opportunity to test drive these new machines in Spain.  You can read the full review at Cycle World's web site.

Ohlins Open House

Did you know that the shock maker Ohlins has their US headquarters in Hendersonville, NC?  If not, here is a great chance to visit them.  Ohlins will be hosting an open house at their offices on Saturday, May 12th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Ohlins is located at 703C South Grove Street, Hendersonville, NC [GPS coordinates N35308795 W82.451035].

GPS Tip-of-the-Month

This month's GPS Tip-of-the-Month is mapping and mobile phone tip for those of you who use an Android-based phone and Google Maps. If you are an iOS phone user, and you the Google Maps app installed, this tip should also work for you.

Then you take a trip, motorcycling or otherwise, it's always a good idea to have a list of the hotels where you are planning to stay, along with their phone numbers. This tip makes it easy to take this information with you on your mobile phone.

Before you take your trip, use your desktop computer's web browser to visit Google Maps ( and log into your Google account (you do have a free Google account, right?). This tip only works if you are logged into your Google account.

Next, use Google Maps to look up your hotels, restaurants, and other points of interest that you might be planning to visit and for which you would like to have contact information readily accessible during your trip. Many of these hotels, restaurants, businesses, and places of interest will probably have a "Google Places" page that looks something like this:

As you locate each one, mark the hotel/restaurant/etc. by clicking the star symbol next to the place's name  (it will initially look like the outline of a star). After you click the star, it will fill in like this:

This means you have marked that location. Marking a location adds the location to your list of "Starred Items" in your Google Maps account.

When you are finished marking places, click on the My Places button on your Google Maps page.

You should now see each of your starred items in your "My Places" listing.

Now, get your Android phone and open the Google Maps app. From the menu in the Google Maps app, select "My Places." Two "tabs" should be shown – one labeled "Starred Places" and the other labeled "Recent."

Selecting the "Starred Places" tab will now display for you a list of all those locations that you marked from your desktop computer. If you decide that you need to call one of your starred places, like a hotel or restaurant, the Places page should list the location's address and phone number, and if you look closely, their phone number should be displayed as a link that you can select to immediately dial with your mobile phone. Pretty handy, right!

Special thanks to Daniel Zimbrich for sharing this helpful tip!

2012 World SBK, MotoGP Calendar

In case you missed the Phillip Island World Superbike races, BMW posted a second-place finish in one of the two races -- BMW's best finish thus far!

Here are some of the upcoming World Superbike, MotoGP, and AMA Pro Racing events that are currently scheduled to be shown on SpeedTV):

April 1, 2012 - WorldSBK - Italy (broadcast 4/1@2PM and 3PM, 4/3@1PM and 2PM)
April 1, 2012 - WorldSupersport - Italy (broadcast 4/3@12PM and 4/9@2PM)
April 8, 2012 - MotoGP Moto2 - Qatar Grand Prix (broadcast 4/8@2PM and 4/10@1PM)
April 8, 2012 - MotoGP - Qatar Frand Prix (broadcast 4/8@3PM and 4/10@3PM)
April 10, 2012 - Moto125 - Qatar (broadcast 4/10@12PM)
April 21, 2012 - AMA ProRacing - Atlanta (broadcast 4/21@8:30PM and 9:30PM, 4/22@11PM, 4/23@12AM)
April 22, 2012 - WorldSBK - Netherlands (broadcast 4/22@5PM and 6PM, 4/24@1PM and 2PM)
April 29, 2012 - MotoGP - Spanish Grand Prix (broadcast 4/29@8AM and 5/1@2PM)
April 29, 2012 - MotoGP Moto2 - Spanish Grand Prix (broadcast 4/29@12PM and 5/1@1PM)
May 6, 2012 - MotoGP - Portugal Grand Prix (broadcast 5/6@8AM and 6PM)
May 6, 2012 - MotoGP Moto2 - Portugal Grand Prix (broadcast 5/6@1PM)
May 6, 2012 - WorldSBK - Italy (broadcast 5/6@2PM and 3PM)

Newsletter Contributions 

With the riding season finally beginning again, many of you will be taking trips in the coming months. When you return home, please take a few minutes to write a short trip report to share with your other club members. Trip reports (or any other kinds of articles) are welcome!

Your trip report or article can be one paragraph, or it can be a page, or it can simply be a few photos. It's a great way to share your motorcycling experience with everyone, and perhaps inspire some us to take the same trip sometime. Send any contributions to


This month's video is an interesting "confrontation" involving two racing bikes.  You may enjoy watching their very unique "dance."

Video-of-the-Month Link

That's all for this month. Ride safe and Ride far!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

April Fool's Day Ride

This is not an April Fool's joke! Really!

Weather permitting, we will hold an April Fool's Day Ride to Southern Exposure Restaurant in Faison, NC on -- you guessed it --- April 1st.  April Fool's Day falls on a Sunday this year, so this will be a great opportunity to enjoy a morning ride and a delicious brunch at Southern Exposure.

View Larger Map

The ride will depart from the Buy & Go Exxon, 808 North College Road in Wilmington, at 10:15 a.m. This should allow us to arrive between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m., just before the after-church crowd.

View Group Ride Rendezvous Locations in a larger map

The route for the ride, which is one some of you have enjoyed before, can be viewed on this Google Map.

A GPS file for the routes to-and-from and the waypoints for Buy & Go Exxon and Southern Exposure will be loaded on the club's Dropbox account a few days prior to the ride.  (Availability of the club's Dropbox account was announced in the February newsletter -- contact us at if you would like access.)

If you are planning to join us (either riding with us, or riding separately and meeting us at Southern Exposure), please let us know by sending an email to, so we know to expect you.

We'll see you on April 1st for our first-ever April Fool's Day Ride.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 2012 Newsletter

March Club Meeting

The weather looks uncertain for the previously announced March meeting, so our plans are changing!

Our next meeting will now be held on Saturday, March 10th, 12 Noon, at The Front Porch Restuarant in Elizabethtown.  Please note this is a change to both the meeting date and the location.  The Front Porch Restaurant is located at 1100 West Broad Street in Elizabethtown, NC.  The GPS coordinates are N34.63212 W78.61679.

View Ride-to-Eat Locations in a larger map

RSVPs are not required, but would be helpful.  Please respond to ccbmwridersclub@gmail, if you believe that you may attend.

Rain Date:  The rain date for the March 10th meeting will be Sunday, March 11th at 12:30 p.m.  An email postponement will be sent to club members, if needed.

This March meeting will be the last of our "winter meeting schedule."  We will resume our second Monday evening of the month meeting schedule in April.  Mark your calendars now for the April 9th meeting date.

Anyone who is interested in joining a back road ride to the March 10th meeting is invited to meet us at the Buy & Go Exxon located at 808 North College Road, Wilmington [N34.26022 W77.87006].  A ride back to Wilmington, via roads other than I-40 is also planned, for anyone who wants to join in.  Check the Announcements page on the club web site for further details on the ride.

Chartered Club Status

Thank you to everyone who responded by providing your BMW Motorcycle Owners Association and/or BMW Riders Association membership numbers.  We are now officially re-chartered with the BMW-MOA as Chartered Club #306 and with the BMW-RA as Chartered Club #346.  You can view our chartered club certificates online in our club's Picasa web albums.


I recently discovered a really interesting smartphone app for those of you who are Android phone users (sorry, iPhone users).  The app is called CRADAR, for CRash Detection And Response).  You can find CRADAR in the Android Marketplace.

CRADAR is a man-down app that senses when you fall (using the phone's built-in accelerometer), waits between 30 and 120 seconds (whatever you set it for), and if it does not see you move at least 8 feet, the app sends a text message to one of your contacts telling them you might be hurt.  This gives your contact a chance to call you to see whether you are okay.  The text message includes a link to Google Maps with your GPS coordinates, so if your contact cannot reach you, they have your GPS coordinates so other people can find you.

A more detailed description of the CRADAR app, which includes a couple of screenshots of the app in use, can be found at the developer's web site (ActionXL).  This app may not be a perfect replacement for having a SPOT personal tracker unit, but the CRADAR app is free!

GPS Workshop

Our first of (hopefully) a series of GPS workshops was held on Sunday, February 11th. The four  participants (Jerry Dockery, Jody Hudson,  Bob Thomson, and me) each came with a different GPS units (Jerry with a Garmin 276c, Jody with a Zumo 550,  Bob with a Garmin 60csx, and me with a Montana 650) and unique sets of questions. During the approximately two-hour workshop, we spent time discussing how to load map sets when the GPS no longer has sufficient space to hold the entire map set, how to download new map updates to your PC and transferring them at a later time to your GPS, the new Garmin BaseCamp software (see below) and how it differs from Garmin's venerable Mapsource software, and briefly talking about Point of Interest (POI) files.

We will be holding another GPS workshop sometime in the Spring, probably after mid-April.  If you have a question you want to cover in a future workshop, we can still add your question(s) to our GPS Workshop Questions document, hosted on Google Docs.  (Note:  A free Google account is required to access the document, and editing access is currently limited to those who have expressed interest in the workshops).

BMW Final Drive Investigation by NHTSA

For those of you who do not closely follow the BMW motorcycling email lists or web forums, here is some important news.  Apparently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has finally opened an investigation into reports of BMW final drive failures.  It is currently limited to K1200LT drive failures. However, it will be interesting to see where this leads.  Here is the post that is appearing in various web forums:

After over 145 individual complaints filed between April 2001 and August 2011, the NHSTA has finally opened its first official investigation into the failure of crown gear bearings on BMW models equipped with the Paralever style final drive. NHSTA investigation DP12001 opened 1/20/12 is centered on 1999-2005 K1200LTs for now. But, if the findings are what we all believe they will be, the scope of the investigation should be expanded. I found the only way to get NHSTA to listen and focus was to pepper its director, David Strickland, with repeat letters as well as inquiries from WA Senator Patty Murray who chairs the subcommittee over funding for the NHSTA. If you have had a final drive failure on your Paralever equipped BMW, and have NOT already reported it to the NHSTA, I urge you do it now.

You will need your VIN, (est.) date of failure and mileage. State your model as well. While they should be able to identify from VIN, their data was wrong 50% of the time. Specify if gear oil leaked.
or call (888) 327-4236.

or mail to:
Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)
West Building
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington DC 20590

In your complaint, select "Power Train" as the component and reference that you have had the same failure as described in ODI No. 10439549, and currently being investigated under Campaign DP12001.

If you have experienced a final drive failure, you want to consider filing a report with NHTSA.

Send an email to your Congressman and US Senator to follow up on your behalf as well.

No Ethanol Gas

Club members Bob Thomson and Bill Traina has provided a really useful tip for everyone. Are you are one of those riders who prefers to use no-ethanol gas, if it is available?  If so, you may want to visit the Scotchman Store located at 7111 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington.

View Larger Map

According to Bob and Bill, this location carries both regular and premium grades no-ethanol gas!  If you want to see this no-ethanol source remain available, try to support this vendor by purchasing some of your motorcycle fuel from them.

Do you know of another gas station in our area that sells non-ethanol fuel?  If so, pass along information on that business (GPS coordinates would especially be appreciated) and we will share this will the rest of the club.  A Google Map has also been set up to show these non-ethanol gas stations in our area.

Thanks, Bob Thomson and Bill Traina!

GPS Tip of the Month

This month, we have two related tips.

First, if you are a Garmin GPS user with a Lifetime nuMaps subscription, Garmin has another update for the City Navigator North America (CNNA) map set. The latest edition CNNA map set is now 2012.40.

Second, Garmin has finally released the latest the BaseCamp v3.3.1 mapping software update. Garmin has made a number of significant improvements in this version of BaseCamp. Among these are:
  • Added collapsible list folders and sub-lists for improved organization.
  • Added shaping point support for Zumo devices like done in MapSource.
  • Added explicit support for shaping points. These will be transferred to supporting devices.
  • Added support for transfer of waypoint categories on supporting devices. These are displayed in BaseCamp as lists.
  • Added more activity profiles, with improved activity routing on supported maps.
  • Added custom activity profiles.
  • Changed to make GPX files on a memory card directly editable.
  • Changed to read all GPX files on a memory card, similar to how devices behave.
  • Added display of lists that contain this data item to properties.
  • Added support for importing waypoints and tracks from KML/KMZ files.
  • Added more map details for higher detail setting.
  • Added data filters to map view.

The complete list of the improvements in the latest version of BaseCamp can be seen on Garmin's web site.  The BaseCamp v3.3.1 update is available from the Garmin web site as a free download. If you were using their beta version of this software update (i.e., Version, you will need to uninstall the beta software from your computer.  The new update will not remover the beta version.

IMS Trip Report

The International Motorcycle Show was held February 24-26, 2012 at the Charlotte Convention Center.  A couple of club members (Tony and Jill Barcia, Ed O'Neil, Bob Thomson, Bill Traina, Dick Williams) rode together to Charlotte to enjoy the IMS.  While there, we also saw fellow club member Jerry Dockery.    A few photos from the show are now available online for anyone who did not have an opportunity to attend.

The 2013 show will supposedly be held again in Charlotte, so start making your plans to attend next year.

Events and Rallies Updates

Spring is coming. On some days, Spring feels like it is already here. With the weather improving soon, it's time to start planning some of your weekend rides and rally trips. A number of Spring upcoming rallies are listed on the club's Google Calendar and you can also see when and where these events are scheduled to be held on our 2012 Rallies and Event Google Map.

And if you attend any of these events, send us a brief report summarizing your trip (including any photos you would like to share) so your fellow club members can vicariously enjoy the experience and hopefully be inspired to attend some of the other scheduled events. Send your trip reports to us at

As always, if you know about an event that is not on our calendar, send us whatever information you have and we will add to the club calendar.

2012 SBK, MotoGP, and AMA Sportbike Events

The 2012 MotoGP season starts this month, with the first GP in Qatar on March 9th. The 2012 World Superbike season began on February 26 with the first race in Philip Island, Australia, and AMA Superbike racing events are scheduled to begin with the upcoming Daytona 200.

Here are the major WSBK, MotoGP, Moto2, and AMA Superbike race events scheduled for March and April 2012:

Mach 15-17 -- AMA Superbike Daytona 200
April 1 -- World Superbike and Supersport Round 2 at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari
April 8 -- Qater MotoGP and Motot2 Grand Prix
April 20-22 -- AMA Superbike at Road Atlanta
April 22 -- World Superbike and Supersport Round 3 at TT Circuit Assen
April 29 -- Spanish MotoGP and Moto2 Grand Prix

The latest race schedules are available online.  Many of these races will be shown on SpeedTV, so check the web site for the latest programming schedule updates.

Be sure to watch the World Superbike events and cheer for the BMW racing teams that are participating this year.

To get your enthusiasm started for the upcoming season of MotoGP racing, check out this sequence of photos showing Valentino Rossi (aka "The Doctor") sliding his MotoGP bike during recent testing at the Sepang Circuit.  Don't try this yourselves!

Video of the Month

As BMW riders, I hope many of you will enjoy this month's Video-of-the-Month – Hitler Wants a Harley for Sturgis.  Be forewarned -- there is some vulgar language in the video.  I hope you will laugh at this one as much as I did.  And thanks to fellow club member Ed O'Neil for passing along this video suggestion.

Hitler Wants a Harley for Sturgis Video

That's all for this month.  Ride safe and Ride far!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 2012 Newsletter

With the mild winter weather, thus far, I hope everyone has been able to enjoy some riding.  I have encountered a number of interesting items to share with everyone this month, so I apologize in advance for the longer than usual newsletter this month.  Here we go!

February Meeting

Our next club meeting is scheduled for February 4, 2012, 12 Noon, at the Boundary House Restaurant in Calabash, NC.  Many of you will remember that we have enjoyed some great seafood at The Boundary House.  If you plan to join us, please send an RSVP by February 2nd to help us ensure we have sufficient seating for everyone.

View Ride-to-Eat Locations in a larger map

Be sure to check weather reports and monitor your email for a rescheduling notice if rain is forecast for our meeting date.  The "rain date" is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, February 5th, 12 Noon.

January Club Meeting Photos

A few photos from our January club meeting at the Front Porch Restaurant in Elizabethtown, NC are available in our Picasa web albums.

Club Charter Renewals

For those of you who are BMW MOA and/or BMW RA members, I need your help.

This is the time of the year when our club charters with the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (BMW MOA) and BMW Riders Association (BMW RA) must be renewed.  By being a chartered club, our club is listed on the BMW MOA's and BMW RA's web sites, thus helping new potential members find us.  This really works – several of you have contacted us after finding our club listed on one of these two web sites.  I am taking care of the fees for renewing these club charters.

For our BMW MOA renewal application, we are required to list at least five individuals who are current BMW MOA members (i.e., names and MOA membership numbers).  For our BMW RA renewal application, we are only required to list one individual who is a current BMW RA member.

I have already sent an email to those of you that have previously indicated you are BMW MOA and/or BMW RA members and asking you to confirm your membership number(s) and membership status.  If you have not yet responded to the email, please take the time to do so.  If you did not receive the email and are a member of either the BMW MOA and/or the BMW RA, please send me an email at and provide your name and membership number(s).

Thanks for your help!

2012 International Motorcycle Show

Here is another reminder that the International Motorcycle Show, sponsored by Progressive Insurance, is being held at the Charlotte Convention Center on February 24-26, 2012.  These shows are a great way to see all sorts of motorcycle from all the major manufacturers, and all in one place.  The shows also host a number of major accessory exhibitors.  Need a new helmet?  Their will be helmet vendors (like for example my favorite Arai dealer, The Service Pavilion).  Need a new jacket?  There will be vendors selling those too.    Be sure to attend this show and get equipped for the next riding season.

Club-Related Maps

Last year, for our club members who use Google Earth, I provided a link for displaying the locations and information about many of the year's BMW-related rallies and events.  This was done by creating a network link in your computer's Google Earth program.

For 2012, I am trying something that will be easier for everyone to use.  (I still plan to update the Google Earth link soon.)

I have created several Google Maps that anyone can access.

One map shows you the locations of the Wilmington-area restaurants where we usually meet.  If you know someone who wants to attend one of our meetings, but is new to the area and does not know some of the restaurant locations, this map will be one you can refer them to.

A second map shows you the locations of some of the restaurants that we have visited as part of our ride-to-eat events.  This map will help you find these restaurants, if you want to try them during one of your own rides.  Our usual rendezvous locations for these rides are also available on a different map.

The third map shows you the locations of a number of events and rallies of interest to BMW motorcyclists.  Many of these events are also listed in our club Google calendar.  If anyone has information about an upcoming rally or event that is not shown on our map, please send a short summary and location information to

If you find these maps useful, or have ideas for additional maps, please let me know (at

The Water Cooled Boxer

There has been much recent discussion on BMW motorcycling forums and mail lists about the water-cooled BMW boxer engine rumored to be slated for release in 2013.  Some good "spy photos" have also been posted online.  If you have not seen the development bike (which BMW will neither confirm nor deny exists), this article may be of interest.

Motion Induced Blindness (Safety Tip)

The title of a  forum post on the web site recently caught my attention.  It was called "Motion Induced Blindness."  The discussion was very interesting and included a link to a demonstration of motion-induced blindness on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation web site.

Most motorcycling safety books and classes teach you  to scan the road ahead and to keep your eyes constantly looking for new hazards.  This MSF demonstration shows what happens when you fix your attention on something and do not keep your eyes scanning,  This is an amazing effect to see.  Once you try the test as directed, try it again while keeping your eyes and/or head in motion.  You will immediately understand motion-induced blindness.

I urge you to take the time to view this demonstration.  It will clearly show you the value of keeping your eyes constantly in motion, scanning the road in front of you, while you are riding.  Practicing this technique  may help you avoid a future accident!

Racing News

Former Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager Andrea Dosoli has been named the head of race operations for BMW Motorrad Motorsport.

Leon Haslam will be back with the BMW Motorrad racing team for the 2012 WSBK season, while Marco Melandri has replaced Troy Corser, who retired after the 2011 season.

2012 BMW MOA International Rally

It's not too early to begin making your plans to attend this year's BMW MOA International Rally in Sedalia, Missouri.  The rally will be held July 19-22, 2012.  The BMW MOA Rally web page ( has some initial information about the rally.  Be sure to also monitor the BMW MOA Forums ( as additional information about the rally is announced.

Another Bites the Dust

Eurotech Motorsports ( has closed as of December 28, 2011.  They are still selling closeouts of their inventory.  If you are in need of any of their specialty parts and accessories, act quickly.

GPS Tip-of-the-Month

This month, we have a really handy utility program for anyone who uses maps.  How many times have you been given GPS coordinates and they are not in the right format for what you are trying to do?  Here is an example.  If you look at Capitol BMW's home page, their masthead includes their GPS coordinates in the format N35 50.437 W078 36.116.  Those coordinates will work in Google Maps or Bing Maps (and Bing Maps will even show you the coordinates converted to a pure decimal values), but what if you need them in HH MM SS (Hours-Minutes-Seconds) format?

This is where GPS Sway comes in handy.  GPS Sway is a free utility for Windows PCs that can be downloaded from  You can place the executable file wherever you like (no installation program to run!).  This program keeps it simple -- it only does GPS coordinate conversions.

Check out GPS Sway -- I think you will find this to be a handy utility.

Club Dropbox Account

If you are not familiar with Dropbox, it is a really good way to share files on your computer with others.  Any files you save to Dropbox are also instantly save to your other computers, mobile phone, and the Dropbox website.  Accounts for up to 2 Gb of storage are free.  Dropbox works with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPad, iPhone, and Blackberry.

A club account has now been set up with Dropbox.  This will provide a way to publicly post and share files like GPS routes, etc.  The idea of setting up a club Dropbox account came to me after seeing this being used by some folks on the website.

The club can obtain more free storage for the club's Dropbox, if anyone wants to setup a Dropbox through a referral from the club.  The club will receive an additional 250 Mb of storage for each peroson who signs up through the referral!  If anyone is interested in setting up a free Dropbox account, send an email to and put "Dropbox Request" in the subject line of your email.  Be sure to specify your email address that you want to use for your Dropbox account.

I think that you will find Dropbox to be a great way to share photos, files, and such with your family and friends.  Give it a try.

Myrtle Beach Marathon

Club member Jeff Mense has reminded me that the Myrtle Beach Marathon will be held the weekend of February 17, 18, and 19, and we have been asked to again provide escort and support on our motorcycles.  As usual, the Fun Run and 5K will be Friday evening with the full and half marathon on Saturday. The bicycle ride will be Sunday morning in Conway.

The marathon route and the bicycle routes have changed. The marathon route is posted on line at; Jeff Mense is working on getting us the bicycle route.

Please respond to Jeff Mense by email if you are interested in participating this year.

Road Rage - The Rest of the Story

Back in the August 2011 newsletter, you may remember an article about Road Rage which included this YouTube video link showing how pickup truck tried to run a motorcyclist off the road in rural Kentucky.  The truck driver was arrested and has now been convicted of  two counts of wanton endangerment, one count of menacing, and reckless driving, according to a story published in The Ledger Independent of Maysville, KY.

Video of the Month

You REALLY need to watch this month's Video-of-the-Month.  This video features a demonstration of a very helpful, hidden K1600GT feature for dealing with problematic drivers. And you were wondering why you you should upgrade from your K1200LT to the K1600.

The next time you are the recipient of another driver's road rage, you will wish your motorcycle was equipped with this K1600GT accessory.  Thanks to club member Ron Manley for passing along this video.

That's the news for February.  Ride safe and ride far!