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The silent motorcyclist killer

You have to be a biker to get this and I’m sure that if you read my blog you are one. Probably you are just suffering from the Parked Motorcycle Syndrome (it’s winter as I write this). You go to the garage just to clean your bike and start it “to charge the battery”. You listen to the engine sound, and feel energetic about planning trips for the next year.

If you are like me, destination is not a purpose, but direction is. You probably take “random” trips through Europe (or were you are) and think that one continent is not enough. There is nothing like going through the mountain roads with am empty mind from the mundane day by day chores. You get that life is different from anything that your parents or the society has told you. Freedom. Happiness. And if you are lucky enough you meet the “biker’s God” – that inner discovery process where you re-define yourself and what you want do you with your life.

Stop. Everything can change and it will change and you will lose everything. And no, no, I’m not talking about becoming an organ donor as everybody is keen to remind you each and every day. It’s worse. It’s about being stolen the  happiness to ride. Because of the “Silent Motorcyclist Killer”. What on Earth is that?

“Most motorcyclists understand the effects of a “silent killer” which follows them every time they enjoy riding their bikes. Based on several research studies, the major contributor to hearing loss in the motorcycle industry remains the “silent killer” known as “wind noise.” Generically termed as the amount of noise turbulence produced around the head while the rider is in motion. Its inherited consequences result in irreversible hearing loss damage over a period of time when adequate hearing protection is not worn.” – source Motorcycle Facts – freehearingtest.com

I remember the day 2 years ago when I was riding with my buddies towards the French Alps (generic destination, we also got to Italy and Croatia) and I realized I can’t hear anymore with my left ear. Permanently. Last year I rode around 400km. The entire year. No more 13 hours per day in the saddle, no more 9000km in 10 days touring the Europe. No more “let’s go to other continents.” Sure, I’ve seen the doctors. It’s permanent and they can’t guarantee that I won’t loose the hearing to my other ear as well if I continue to ride. Here it goes the joy to ride. I had everything, and now I have nothing.

Happily for you that haven’t yet been killed by the silent killer, there is an easy solution (and I pray to the motorcyclist God that you spread the word to as many bikers as possible) and that is wearing specially designed ear plugs. And I insist on “specially designed” as a matter of experience. Since being diagnosed with permanent hear loss from extended high level of sounds I’ve tried all kinds of foam or silicone ear plugs with various degrees of success but none proved good enough to regain my joy of riding. Foam is hard to use and you can only fit it correctly a few times. Silicone tends to become itchy in not time and without specific filters for the motorcycle sounds they will just mute everything.

So you might want to try some ear plugs especially designed for bikers and motorsports. I’ve tried the Auritech Hearing Protectors that you can get from http://www.allearplugs.com (being winter I tested them mostly while driving my 1970 beetle which is a noisy beast! – yeah, I have loud toys, I know). There are several things I like to these ear plugs: they got a special ceramic sound filter that attenuate the frequencies specific to motorsports but allows conversation, sirens and traffic noise to pass through enough to be safe on the road. Here is the thing that makes a difference:


They are smaller in size than other similar products (which means they stay in position while putting your helmet on – I found out that it’s a pain in the ass to keep others fit). And most importantly they really do decrease the noise to a comfortable level. On the downside I found that wearing them for more than 4-5 hours straight becomes uncomfortable, but most other are much worse in this domain.

I’ve got them from here. Hopefully for a small price I’ll get my joy back. Will get more testing done as soon as the blizzard goes away!

And remember! Please, please let all your biker buddies know that they should keep their ears safe!


Honda Shadow Bags: Cleaning self help guide for Bikers

Owning a bike is one thing, but taking care of it and its accessories are a completely different matter altogether. Most bikers, including myself, are of the opinion that a bike reflects the true personality of its owner. This makes all the more important for a biker to keep his bike and its accessories like saddlebags, jackets, chaps, and boots, all at its absolute best. Saddlebags being an indispensable part of a bike must be given special attention when it comes to maintenance. You may ask, do I really think so? Yes absolutely, I own two of the best Honda Shadow Viking Saddlebags and I can tell you from experience that though they protect your belongings from dust and dirt, they need constant care and protection from the elements of nature.


The cleaning process

It’s quite easy to clean Honda Shadow bags, and with periodic care your bags too, like mine, would remain as good as new. One way of maintaining them is to use a quality leather cleaning agent. Remember, some of the chemicals used as cleaning agents may damage your precious bag, so it’s best to test before using them on your bags. The testing process is very simple; apply the cleaning agent on a small piece of leather, leave it to dry in a clean place. If the agent does not damage the leather, apply the same on your saddlebags. After sometime use a conditioner such as linseed oil on the bags. Do not forget, when applying the cleaning agent or the linseed oil, you need to apply it evenly. The best recourse is to use a clean sponge to apply these substances.

After treating the leather with cleaning agent and oil, taper off the cleaning process by polishing the leather saddlebag. It is best to use high quality polish. Your precious bag deserves the best, don’t you think so? Use the polish only on the leather, and keep it off the metal parts. Forces of nature like wind and dust can easily damage the polish, which you so fervently applied. This can be easily prevented by using moisture barrier. Lastly, don’t forget the golden rule, saddlebag cleaning is not a one time process, it’s something which must be done on a periodic basis.

The above given cleaning process is for bikers who want to take care of their bike accessories themselves. It is more of a Saddlebag cleaning self help guide for dummies. So, bikers who want perfection should seek help from experienced professionals.

About the author: Kevin Parker enjoys reading and writing about motorcycles, safety, motorcycle tours along with many other interesting daily topics at Viking bags. Furthermore Kevin Parker has been riding for over 8 years.

Educate Yourself: The Different Types of Motorcycle Insurance

There’s a really good reason why motorcycle insurance is required by the government: it can be a godsend. After all, you can never know when motorcycle insurance can swoop in and save the day.

If you find yourself involved in an accident, your motorcycle insurance should somewhat soften the blow, as it can protect you from considerable loss of cash or other assets. The question, though, is: how much can you rely on motorcycle insurance? The answer to that lies in the types of coverage that are included in your policy. This article will tackle the various types, which should tremendously help if you’re still deciding on the extent of your motorcycle insurance.


Liability Coverage

Let’s begin with liability coverage. This is the most basic kind since liability coverage is mandatory.

You accidentally slammed onto an object or property? Your insurance will pay for the property damage that you’ve incurred. You were at fault in a vehicular collision? Your insurance will pay for the damage that you’ve caused to the other party (both injury and property damage). The thing with liability coverage, though, is that it won’t cover you or your motorcycle.

Collision Coverage

As mentioned above, you’d still have to shell out money straight out of your own pockets for your hospital or motorcycle expenses should your insurance be limited to liability coverage. With collision insurance, that’ll only be partly true now. Collision insurance will pay for the damage sustained by your motorcycle (less your deductible) in the event of an accident. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re to blame for the accident or not—collision insurance applies regardless of the circumstances. This is perhaps the most recommended type of optional coverage since your motorcycle will almost always suffer damage when disaster strikes.

Comprehensive Coverage

Collision coverage is good and all, but it won’t shield you from theft, vandalism, or fire. Should you want protection against non-road hazards, go for a policy that features comprehensive coverage. With this, you wouldn’t have to worry about your beloved Harley or Ducati (or whatever your ride is) that much anymore. A policy with comprehensive coverage should help you sleep more soundly at night.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

You know what’s worse than getting hit by a car or another motorcycle? It’s getting hit by one that doesn’t have insurance (or one that’s underinsured, at least). While it’s true that you practically cannot drive a car or a motorcycle without an insurance policy in your back pocket, there is still a rather sizeable segment of the population that doesn’t mind breaking the law (head over to Famous Insurance and change that if you’re in the same boat). And you’re really down on your luck if you happen to get into an accident with such individuals involved. The situation wouldn’t be so bad, though, if your policy includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This should aid in paying for medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages to you and your passengers. The damage to your motorcycle isn’t covered, though.


Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage

This is quite similar to uninsured motorist coverage. The only difference is that uninsured motorist property damage coverage deals with your bike, not you and your passengers.

The decision of which kinds of coverage to go for is entirely up to you. Heck, you can opt to avail of each and every one if that’s what’s going to drown your worries. But regardless of the coverage types that are included in your policy, what’s really important is to always prioritize safety on the road. After all, it’s better to not be able to maximize your insurance rather than to exercise it due to physical injuries and whatnot.