Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Bicycle Update!

Update! 4/26/2012

My Background in Personal Training
If you read my biography you would have noticed I am a Kinesiology major at San Francisco State.  Kinesiology is defined as "The study of the anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of body movement, especially in humans." in dictionary lookup.  Taking movement classes in school has taught me about the elements of training and the principal of Overload and Specifcity.  This should make sense to us because if we are to overload a specific muscle group it is going to be forced to adapt to the new load by getting stronger.  I could go into the specifics about how long, and how the muscles actually do this, but the main idea here is that local muscle adaptations are going to make the desired activity much easier.

A quick overview of how I have been training

I've been riding my bicycle to work and school both of which are in the city of San Francisco.  I live in Pacifica so the distance is about 15 miles to school and another 5 miles to work for a total of 20 miles in one direction. To get an idea of time, I average about an 1 hour and 20 min in one direction.

Almost every other day I go in both directions but needless to say I've been averaging about 100-120 miles per week.  Also there is a huge hill going out of Pacifica so I spend  a good 15 minutes dedicated to climbing up and out of that hill Pacifica.

Picture above-(Of course that's not me, I always ride with a backpack and not followed by a crowd  or policeman for that matter lol)

The Update
After riding my new bicycle for about 3-4 weeks now I've really noticed why Moto Gp riders use bicycles as training purposes.  I noticed my quadriceps, calves and hamstrings start to tighten up and get stronger.  The very last time I sat on my motorcycle I felt extremely adept to pushing down on the pegs.  For those that don't know pushing down on the pegs exerts pressure and weight onto the rear swing-arm of the bike, in Lay-mans terms, it helps the rear tire grip the ground.  By being able to push down on the pegs for a longer amount of time and fatiguing less,  these guys racing in Moto GP aren't going to wear down nearly as easily and can push through until the end of the race!

Anyways I thought this was kind of interesting and fun and wanted to share it with yall!

 Johnny 5-

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ladies that Ride

This is going to sound messed up but it seems to me that girls are not associated with "riding" but rather as an accessory to motorcycles.  Whenever I think of girls and motorcycles I think of something like the above images, where some half naked girl is stripped down posing for a picture.  And how about the one that's not even on the bike?? Just laying next to it in something that somewhat matches the bike? In fact Google it, just put in female motorcycle riders and your going to see a bunch of girls that are not dressed to ride properly.  While there is nothing wrong with this I do feel like it has brought about a large stereotype that women are supposed to be seen as feminine and bikes are supposed to be masculine. Times are changing, and with this we are seeing many more women taking the role of motorists.

Now I ask of you, which girl do you find is more attractive?  The female above because she's clearly showing off her ability to ride?(sarcasm) or the girls who actually looks like a rider?  there is no wrong answer here but i feel like as society trains us we want to say the girl in the above picture is the more attractive one, but then there's this deep dark secret about the lady beneath.  What attracts us (heterosexual males) to see that the woman in the below image is more attractive?  She is showing off more masculine qualities but men usually like this, the fact that a woman knows how to control such a machine I think is what brings our eyes to this particular woman.

I did a little research to find out how long women have been recorded riding motorcycles throughout history. Here's what I came up with- "Women who ride motorcycles may seem inherently tough, rebellious, and sexy, but "Women & Motorcycling," a traveling exhibit assembled by the American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, in Pickerington, Ohio, is out to change all that. Women have been riding motorcycles since the early 1900s..."  

Bessie Stringfield, an African-American woman who began riding in 1927, when she was 16. Stringfield completed eight solo cross-country tours during her 66-year career, jumped on and off a moving motorcycle with ease when challenged by a police captain who doubted her riding ability, and served as a dispatch rider in the U.S. Army.
Notice how even back in the early 1900's Bessie was still being objectified as a woman by the way she is posing on the motorcycle, as if she had no talent at all.  I think this may have been then starting point for trying to capture what is sexy to men.  America at the time was still dealing with equal rights and segregation so it's kind of surprising to see a woman such as Bessie become so recognized.

1st Woman/or Girl to Win an AMA race ever!
I was at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma California attending the West Coast Moto Jam in 2010, when I witnessed the first female rider to ever win a race in AMA (American Motorcycle Association) history.

For those that know Sonoma, knows it wine country out there, and good wine usually translates to good weather.  Needless to say the race day was incredibly hot out when the riders started the race.  There was one red flag early on in the race and the riders were allowed to enter the track again.  Elena Myers only 16 years old at the time climbed her way into 1st position and held the spot for at least a lap before another racer went down raising another red flag for the race.  On the second red flag, the race is called and the leader of the race is announced the winner.  Although it was by default, Elena Meyers went down in history as the first female rider ever to win an AMA race that weekend. She quotes "I got a good restart off the front row and made some moves. I felt like I was getting a little bit closer to the leader with about eight or nine laps to go. I came around the next lap and the red flag was shown again."  People may argue that she may have not been able to keep that pace for the remaining 8 laps but the fact remains that she was in front when the race was called.-- a video clip of Elena on her kawaski-->Elena Myers Racing

I think what it all boils down to is that sex sells, no matter what ever happens sex will always be a very prominent issue in today's society.  But why would we encourage this kind of behavior?  Why make women objects? As a quick note, these girls posing for pictures with their hair and makeup all done up are getting paid to be in these pictures, and if they are willing to do so then who's to tell them they're wrong?

Dykes on Bikes
Something that I feel like I need to address is the fact that Dykes on Bikes is a huge community of lesbian women that ride motorcycles.  I think some of the issue here is that they take on the masculine role of the rider and therefore assume more of a male personality.  These women are seen to be large hairy and usually have a short haircut resembling a males.  Now I want to question, if these are women who ride motorcycles and are taking on the role of a male in the biker community then I want to say that something about society has trained us to believe that men are the people that belong in the drivers seat and their female counterparts are on the back. 

 Some interesting pics of girls on motorcycles

Youtube Vids of Female Riders (Really cool to Watch!)
Female Rider Interview

Melissa Paris Onboard Racing

Women on Wheels. (2001). American Heritage, 52(1), 20.

I would love some feedback on this because it's something I don't know too much about.  How do any girls/women feel about riding motorcycles?

Until next time, Peace out!
Johnny 5-

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Biker Gangs

What motorcycle blog would be complete without mentioning gangs? Early on motorcyclists were seen to be bad-ass and "hard" stricken men that didn't shave, had tattoos and gave their lives to the Motorcycle Club they belonged to. Doing some research I found out that this image is fairly new, arising after WW2 when all of the motorcycle gangs started to pop up (Women on Wheels).  While this is the impression many of us have, the truth is those Men riding those bikes are people like you and I. They have families to go home to and jobs to keep so the idea that all of them are out there running drugs and selling illegal weapons is only a very small percentage of what we know as "Biker Gangs." --Disclaimer-- I'm not in a gang so I can't say everything I say here is 100% accurate.

Personal Encounters

I've had a few run in's with these guys, once on a freeway and another time just at the local motorcycle shop. When I was riding home on a trip from Santa Barbara I came up on a group of bikers that were all wearing the same type of vests and patch. There were about 10 of them and as I recall, I rode along side of them for a while and gave them the friendly hello wave but not one of them would even so much as look my way. I like to travel in a group of riders because it can offer more of a safety measure then anything but something wasn't right about traveling with this group of guys. They acted as if I didn't exist, I was a little surprised at first then I got my wits about me and decided that I was better of going at my own pace which was actually a bit faster then theirs. Ergo why I caught them on the freeway on the way home. This experience left me with a feeling that even though your on a bike doesn't mean your part of the club.

I had another encounter at the local Bike Shop when I was simply trying to find a riding jacket for an old girlfriend of mine. I was leaving the shop after not having any luck with the jacket and this guy pulls up with a vest and a few patches. As he approached me I could see his vest a little more clearly, San Francisco Division underneath his name, "Loc-Ness." He said hello and before I knew it, I knew why they called him Loc-Ness, because his teeth looked like they were straight out of a horror film, or the Loc-Ness monster's dentures. Anyhow he tried recruiting me into his gang saying I'd get a hook up on track days and all kinds of cool stuff. I'll admit he made it sound very enticing but I have too much going on in my life to be part of a "Club" or "Gang." I kind of had the notion that Loc-Ness was trying to sucker me into somthing, and for those that know me, I usually like things that are different and go against the grain. Loc-Ness was making it sound like it was cool to be a part of the gang and that's not something I'm into, I usually like the solo missions, going out with one or two other people that can really ride at my pace. Getting into a whole social gathering thing seemed a little over the top for me and I just simply never called him.

Most Notorious Biker Gangs
Browsing the internet I was able to come across a website that listed 10 of the most well known "Biker Gangs." Top 10 Biker Gangs This website proved to be very useful, hitting all of the stereotypes that bikers get when getting a "Patch." Getting "Patched" in is where a young biker actually becomes part of the gang and gets to fly the logo of the desired Motorcycle Club. I don't want to copy and paste the whole website but I feel like it's definetly worth a look at.

Hells Angels

Probably the most well known American biker gang, The Hell’s Angels have a long and thorough history on American highways. Much information concerning their origins is hazy due to their long-standing code of secrecy. Sometime within the 1940’s or 1950’s in California Hell’s Angels MC was formed. Their insignia is the “death’s head” logo which is copied from the insignia of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron. Red lettering over white backgrounds stands for the club’s colors. With so much popularity, Hell’s Angels chapters have sprung up across the Untied States as well as Russia and New Zealand and the continents of North America, South America, Europe and Australia.

The Hell’s Angels MC have gained mass notoriety in the U.S. due to their involvement in many highly publicized run-ins with the law and rival biker gangs. The most note-worthy of publicized events happened during the Altamont Free Concert at Altamont Speedway in December of 1969 where it is alleged that The Rolling Stones hired members of The Hell’s Angels to stand-in as bodyguards for the band. Violence erupted in the crowd and also onto the performance stage and as a result one male was stabbed to death after brandishing a pistol.

Another website agrees with this other that I've found.

New Zealand was the first country outside the United States to get an official Hells Angels chapter, in 1961. London became the first European beachhead for the Hells Angels in 1969 when George Harrison, of the rock group The Beatles, invited a couple of San Francisco club members to London. In fact, many musicians have held an affinity for the Hells Angels, and they're often hired as security at concerts.

I think that history has shown that biker gangs have been proven to be linked to some kind of power and/or run-ins with the law.  In becoming a part of a bicker gang you will most likely be percieved in this way. That is unless your gang is called the Kittys and drive a bunch of mopeds and scooters.


I've seen two documentaries, one on the Mongols and another on the Hell's Angels about undercover policeman that spent years trying to infiltrate these gangs.  In the documentary about the Mongols, there were two cops that were assigned the task of infiltrating the gang and one got so caught up in the actual gang life that he lost his job and life outside of the club.  
  The cop describes his partner as being sucked into the life of the gang, where all they would do is drink, do drugs and basically all of those bad stereotypes they are known for.  If a cop is to do drugs on the scene with the gang their investigation has been compromised and this officer found it incredibly difficult to try and hide that from the rest of the gang.  
After a long story the Mongols start to move some guns and this was the opportunity that the police were waiting for to arrest the Mongols.  After 2 years of infiltration and so many years on the force this cop had to change his locations as to not be tracked down by these Mongols.  He flies from location to location because he's afraid of running into them somewhere along the road.  Now I ask myself is it worth it?  Was it worth the years of losing your own life to simply try and take down a small number of bikers?  I personally don't think so.

Wild Hogs
Times are changing, and with this change comes a movie called "Wild Hogs." The movie stars, Tim Allen  Martin Lawrence, and Jon Travolta as trying to take on this "bad boy" biker image when really they are simply suburban men that live average lives. During the course of the movie they have a run-in with a local biker group the Del Fuegos that scare the life out of the four suburban men but by the end of the movie there is an underlining message that "Anybody that rides is part of the gang."  While this is far from the truth, we are seeing many more weekend riders come out because this biker image isn't so closely tied with the fugitive biker look any longer.

No matter what, I believe there always will be this group of bikers that are only dedicated to being the most bad-ass people on the road, and then there is going to be the weekend joy riders that like to ride together.  There is a whole spectrum and by stereotyping motorcyclists as only one type of person is ignorant to all of the other people that are out there riding.

Women on Wheels. (2001). American Heritage, 52(1), 20.
Hope you enjoyed the read-

Johnny 5-

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Adrenaline Junkies

Hey there again,
I had some questions about what makes people ride motorcycles?  I thought I had it covered in my post  Titled "Why Ride?" but it seems like I just didn't fill my reader's appetite.  I felt like this was an easy task at first and then as soon as I tried to answer the question exactly I found I didn't know how to respond to it.  So this time I will again attempt to answer the elusive question "Why people ride Motorcycles"

I can speak from personal experience that thoroughly enjoy every aspect of riding and part of these motivations are intrinsic and some are extrinsic motivators.  I would like to point out that most of the reasoning in my post "Why Ride?" were extrinsic motivators including. I would like to start with the extrinsic motivators because I feel these are the smaller part of actually mounting up on a motorcycle.

Extrensic Motivators

From my post titled "Why Ride?"
 I love the sounds motorcycles make, every time I hear one I have to see what kind of bike is responsible for that type of noise.  Most sport bikes are inline 4 cylinders with the exception of Ducati's and Harley Davidson's which have two very large pistons that form a V hence the name, V-Twin.  The Ducati's are always very distinct with their V-twin engines and dry clutch,  I can hear the Ducati's clutch above the other bikes "Clack Clack Clack Clack Clack Clack" is the sound the dry clutch makes free spinning at a stoplight.  Here's a video to show the sound of a "dry clutch" free-spinning and engaged.  It's invigorating to hear these sounds, something about them gets my heart to go pitter-patter.

Below are a few videos that I comprised that show differences between different types of engines.
Inline 4 cylinder exhaust 05 Yamaha R1- stock inline 4 cylinder

Yamaha recently took their technology from the track and brought it to the street.  All inline 4 cylinder engines fire two at a time, but with Yamaha's "Cross-plane technology" each piston fires in sequential order giving the power band a much more linear curve when plotted on a graph.  The following link is a video to show an example of Yamaha's Cross-plane technology  09 R1 crossplane.

Everyone know's when a Harley is coming down the street, their extremely loud with their V-Twin engines and straight pipes.  The following link is a Harley with a screaming eagle exhaust.  Loud Pipes Save Lives

Some people like the smell of gasoline, but I personally love the smell of racing gasoline.  Walking up to the track you can smell the difference in exhaust.  The high octane that they use gives off a very distinct smell when flying by on the track, and to people like me, this is like the cologne of motorcycles.  The higher the  octane rating the more compression the gas can withstand before combustion.  Ergo the piston inside the engine receives more of a push rather then an explosion blowing the piston backwards.

Bikes all have their own Genre, sport bikes look sleek while Harleys take on the rugged look.   Bikes in general all have their own personality's, whether it's a bad-ass blacked out Harley or a sleek looking Ducati they each have their own characteristics that are appealing to different kinds of riders.

Whether it's the danger, speed, sounds, smells or looks we all ride for a reason these are just a few of my own personal interests.
Some people use motorcycles as an ends to a need, in this case the need is commuting.

Another blog from a classmate of mine states how she doesn't like motorcycles but somthing was appealing about this particular green Kawasaki Ninja. She says, " It was not until I walked out for my mid morning class that I saw it. She was so beautiful. Her exterior color was so beautiful. Later I found out her name was Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.It was so beautiful and perfect and as I saw the guy drive off with her, the scene was just as beautiful even if the sun was just rising. Now I am not a stalker or anything I just know he parks there as I walk out of class."

There has to be something in the design of these motorcycles that encourages people of all kinds to want them. I'm sure that manufactures are dumping millions of dollars into the design of these mechanical beasts so it would only make sense for them to be appealing to the eye.

Just to quickly reiterate, some people like to ride motorcycles just for all of the extras that come along with it, whether it's that Harley bad-ass look or the decked out racer in leathers we all have some kind of status or desired look to what we find is attractive about motorcycles.  It's simply appealing to many people and this is why there are so many different makes and models, to suit everyone's different needs.  What I would like to get into is the actual intrinsic motivators that push these separate genres of people to ride the way they do.

Intrinsic Motivators

I feel like this is the hardest part of answering the question "Why ride?" I had just briefly touched upon it my post where I labeled it Danger and Thrill.  What drives people to seek out Danger and Thrill?  What drives humans to do dangerous activities?

Do you remember the last time you went on a Roller-Coaster that you were unfamiliar with?  You knew that everything should be okay as long as you didn't freak out right?  This is very much like the first time riding a motorcycle, as long as you follow the rules and don't freak out everything should be okay.  Breaking that first time experience can be very difficult for many people and this can be connected to risk assessment and willingness to encounter danger.

What do we seek about danger? Why are people constantly doing death defying sports and stunts? To please other people and make money or fill that empty hole of adrenaline?

Risk vs. Reward

"Individual Risk Preferences and education are the additional two factors that are of potential
relevance to risk behavior." -Effects of demographics on Risky Decision Making

"Risk perception basically means, as how an investor perceives about a risky situation and how
that situation is controllable (Baird and Thomas, 1985). Whereas, risk propensity is investor’s present
bent to obtain or evade risk. It actually considered as an individuals’ characteristic that can change

I think this boils down to a person's individual perception of how much they think the risk vs. reward is.  To some people this risk is too much and this is why they never set foot near a bike and others that are willing to make this leap.

As my class mate put it in her blog "As a child I thought they looked amazing and so liberating, I had one time thought of riding one when I grew up. Then reality started settling in as I grew up. I am too much of a chicken to ride one " The thought sat in her as a child, when she was young and didn't know the consequences of what might happen on a bike and as she so eloquently puts it reality started setting in and realizes she wasn't the type of person to ride. I feel this is the case for many people, and that the reward of riding a motorcycle is diminished by the fear of physical harm. This can put a huge psychological block in front of a person not to ride.

Harlan Ullman states that " In assessing future danger... Known threats arise from troubles that can arise from trouble spots already known to people. Unknown threats are threats that are completely unknown to people and what they can predict" (Known and Unknown Dangers). While it may seem silly I feel this is another reason why many people never get on a bike. There are simply too many unknowns for them to actually enjoy the ride. if a person is well equipped with knowledge (mabey by reading my blog) then the dangers may seem like less and they would be more willing to get on and ride.

Attraction To Danger or (Bad Boys or Girls for the matter)
People like danger but why?  After long searching on the internet I could only find a bunch of peoples ideas about their addiction to adrenaline hardly any of which seemed credible.  However I did find an article about why girls are attracted to "bad boys" another thing that might get some of our adrenaline going.

So what is it about "bad boys" that makes them so irresistible to some women? "A bad boy offers something that's different," says 31-year-old accounting manager Anese Collins, who recently became involved with a man she considers a "bad boy. There's more excitement associated with somebody who's very different from you," she adds. "Bad boys don't subscribe to societal rules, and they are willing to challenge the norm. They are assertive in their behavior and are very take-charge. They don't take no for an answer" (Why some Women like Bad Boys).

So the attraction may be the fact that riding a motorcycle is different and this can be very appealing to some people.  A lot of people like to go against the grain and hopefully this helps understand why we have this attraction to such a dangerous machine.  


If you ever come across a motorcyclist whats the one thing they usually know how to do?  Assert themselves, this has to do with gaining the right of way in traffic.  I may be wrong here but I do feel that riders know when to take the right of way and this can transfer over into people's personal lives.  It can make a person that was never sure of themselves and give them the confidence they need to make themselves known, in life and on the road.

I've always found with myself that confidence is a huge factor.  If I'm confident that I can make that turn or make it between those cars in time I'm going to take that chance.  Problems arise when a person hesitates and they lose that window of opportunity.

You have to know if your going to get a bike your going to go down sooner or later.  And it takes a confident person to know that this is the truth, or completely naive in that they are never going to fall.  

I'd like to share a small portion of what motorcycles can do for people, this comes from Time Magazine and also a portion from Harvard Medical School.

" All the patients saw their cycles as extensions of their masculine selves. Said one: 'The noise is all you hear. It's masculine and makes me feel strong. I approach a girl on a cycle and I feel confident.' Without their bikes, the students also lacked confidence socially and academically. Passive, apathetic and inactive, the afflicted students spent their non-cycling hours sleeping, talking aimlessly, drinking beer, or escaping reality in TV and drugs. When anxiety threatened to overwhelm them—often in the middle of the night—they took to their cycles for the illusion of "doing something and getting somewhere." (Motorcycle Syndrome)

Bikes have a magical power locked deep down inside them and it takes a person to overcome their own fear to open Pandora's box and let this magic out.  Some people make this leap of faith while others prefer to only look at the box and wonder, or just be plain ignorant and pretend that the box doesn't exist.


The more an individual can be prepared for the ride the safer they can feel.  Whether this is mental preparation to get on the bike or physical training to learn how to balance better.  Any kind of preparation is better then none.  You know how the saying goes, "Practice makes Perfect!" and the only way to get ready to ride is by practicing through mental rehearsals and putting yourself in the shoes of a rider.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse but being prepared also means wearing the safety equipment.  Check my post on Speed and Safety to find the best possible gear for the ride.

I hope this helps with the "Why" in "Why Ride?"

Johnny 5-


Ullman, H. (2006, Spring2006). Known and Unknown Dangers. National Interest. pp. 69-74.

The Motorcycle Syndrome. (1970). Time, 96(23), 75.

Why (Some) Women Like 'BAD BOYS'. (2003). Ebony, 58(6), 73.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Moto Gp Race 1 in Qatar

For those that don't follow Moto Gp, the start of the season was today April 8, 2012.  Big things were in store for this year and for those that havn't been following my blog the biggest difference was the change from 800cc engines to 1000cc engines.  Thats a 200cc (cubic centimeter) difference in engine size, allowing for more power to weight ratio.

I assumed my favorite rider (Ben Spies) was going to do extremely well but he crashed his bike twice during practice and ended up in 11th place for the final standing in the race.  He knew something was wrong with his bike and continued to try and earn some points anyway.

Ben Spies (Rider #11)--->

Jorge Lorenzo #99---->

1st- #99 Jorge Lorenzo (Ben Spies teammate) took 1st place on the same bike provided by the Yamaha Factory Racing Team.  (Above is a picture of Lorenzo winning the first race.)

2nd- #26 Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda)

3rd- #1 Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda)-Casey was the former world champion and currently carries the #1 on his motorcycle.(The #1 is reserved for the champion of the previous season)  Casey complained of a lot of chattering and not having the bike work to his specifics.  This was apparent through the race when he almost slid out a few times but managed to hold on to his bike and position.

Casey Stoner (#1) ---->

Below is a short interview that both the 2nd and 3rd place riders took place in after the race.

Dani Pedrosa:
"I'm very happy with this result because we have been able to turn around all the problems we had during the weekend. After a good pre-season we got here and everything went wrong: I had flu and a fever, I crashed on Friday, then the qualifying practice was a disaster… So, it's very good to leave here with this podium, even if I feel little bit sad because I thought I could win this race, I had it in my hands for a while. The team did a fantastic job and we saw things very differently after warm up; then I managed a perfect start which was a key moment in the race, and I was able to stay with Casey and Jorge. In the end, with four laps to go I tried to take the lead, but Lorenzo was cleverer than me this time and chose a better strategy. I passed him but he overtook me immediately and also Casey, then I was behind Casey for one lap and lost contact with Jorge. Anyway, it's a good start to the season and we will try to do better in Jerez."
Casey Stoner:
"It wasn't really the way we wanted to finish the race weekend here, after FP3 and Qualifying it was always going to be a tough race for us but in the end it came in the wrong areas. The bike was working well for us, I definitely had the package and the pace to lead the field which was really positive. However, I suffered from really bad arm pump. After three or four laps I felt it but it gradually got worse, I tried to pull a little gap from Jorge and Dani and put in the minimal effort possible to retain the gap and try and win, but as the race continued it got worse and worse and eventually the muscles had nothing more to give. I couldn't hold onto the handle bars properly and it made things really difficult so it was a disappointing race for this reason, but for many other technical reasons it was very promising."

We'll see how these gentleman shape up for the next race in Jerez at the end of the month.on April 29th.  Jerez was the testing grounds for the preseason of Moto Gp and should make for an interesting race.

Till next time,
Johnny 5 out-

Traffic is like bloodflow

Ok I'm not sure how everyone's going to feel about this but I feel like it makes sense to me so hear me out.

Imagine the world was our body, and the roadways were like arteries and veins.  Cars, trucks and motorcycles are like blood platelets moving down the roadways of our bodies.  Now let me ask you which kind of platelet would you want to be? A big heavy platelet that's going to get stuck around every artery or a slippery little platelet that slides through any opening it can find?

This is kind of the way traffic works just about anywhere you go.  Say some kind of accident happens --represented by the thrombus in the lower picture--  then traffic starts to back up and all of the large platelets start to get caught by the traffic.  Soon before you know it, the only things that are making it through the traffic are extremely small platelets.

 These small platelets "motorcycles" can move through traffic with ease and allow riders to get to their destination on time.  Just like platelets, or red blood cells, also have a destination. As an example, to help with gas exchange so red blood cells have to make it to the lungs to release Co2 and get re-oxygenated with fresh 02.

If we as people had nothing but blocked arteries and veins, simple things like gas exchange and other functions of daily living would be greatly effected so this is why many of us pay attention to our health.  We exercise to help clear any roadways of traffic and allow these platelets (cars and motorcycles etc.)

One way of reducing traffic and increasing flow is by having more motorcycles, giving the roadways more room for travel.  By exchanging large cars for motorcycles we are thinning the blood allowing for better traffic flow.

I don't know about you but I'd sure like to be the slippery little platelet that gets to his/her destination with relative ease.

Johnny 5 -

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Got a new Bike-cicle!

Bikes Bikes more Bikes!

Did something important today.. I got a new bike.  Not a motorcycle but more specifically a road bicycle.  I like to stay in shape and I do a lot of physical activity, but I want to start training like the Moto Gp riders.

(<----- My new bicycle!)

The a lot of similarities between sport bikes and road bikes.  The main difference is weight distribution, on both bikes wight is moved over the front wheel and traction comes from the front.  Another similarity is bike weight, lighter bikes are easier to travel with because of their overall weight.

 I've watched plenty of videos interviewing riders and what they think about training in the off season, and almost all of them have some kind of regiment in place so when they do go back to the track they are in as good of condition as can be.

Moto Gp Training
Following twitter a lot, I've noticed that a lot of the Moto Gp riders I follow train in the off-season with road bikes.  I've always liked spinning and this just seemed to fit right into my life.  I've been traveling around the city of San Francisco quite often to go between jobs and school and I've noticed that I could make the distance if I had a well equipped bicycle.

Randy De Puniet- another Moto Gp rider-- puts it best "The harder I work off the track the easier it is when I get back on."  Mental and physical limits have been amped up and makes exhaustion a little more difficult to reach.

Body Weight
Not only this but it's important for a rider to keep their weight in a specific zone.  Remember my few posts on riders wight and bike weight? Well here it comes in again, the bike's weight isn't going to change but certainly if my favorite rider chooses to eat nothing but McDonalds and not work out he's sure to put on a few pounds.  This is going to slow the bike because of the extra weight and also hinder the rider because he's now going to be pulling and moving all this extra weight around.

Cycling Teams as a form of Motivation
Do you remember my favorite rider from Moto Gp? If you guessed Ben Spies you just won a cookie!  Ben has actually taken upon himself to create a road racing team, ElbowzRacing where he cycles with a team competitively.  The picture above is of Ben and his team training earlier this year (2012).  Ben has created a team to help himself  stay in shape and also get his leg muscles to use for all that racing he's going to be doing in the upcoming season.  By having a team to cycle with this can serve as a form of motivation to keep his weight in the correct zone

Below is a short video of Ben talking about some of his training in Italy. Ben Spies thoughts on road biking in Italy.  He has a lot of sponsors he has to please but I think he's still using his own motivations to achieve his goals.  When I say his own motivations I mean, to achieve the rank of Moto GP Champion, a person is going to have to be extremely adept at racing and this means a lot of pushing down on the pegs and swinging the bike over side to side at speeds up to 200mph.  To achieve this Ben is using his cycling team as a means of achieving that goal

We'll just have to see how the season plays out, but my hopes are high for Ben and his team. That goes for both Elbowzracing and Ben's Moto Gp team! 

Hopefully after a few weeks of riding my bicycle I will feel more conditioned and riding my motorcycle will be an easier task.  

I'll fill you all in as I can,
Johnny 5-

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gas prices are Going up so... Get a Bike!

Take a look at that gas nozzle up there, dripping fuel.. That could be going in somebody's gas tank! Motorcycles are extremely efficient at what they do.  So that same drop in a motorcycle is going to take you further then you would in a car or truck. 

Weight Differences
  Because I'm not hauling around a ton of steel covered with sheet metal and plastic the weight difference is gigantic.  The 2012 Toyota Carolla as listed by Toyota Carolla Specs weighs in at a whopping 2800 lbs while the average weight of a motorcycle is around 300 lbs .  This is almost 10x the difference in weight.

We all know that gas prices are going up in fact they're getting close to 5 dollars a gallon right now.  We see a lot of talk about gas prices and so forth but here is a website that helps to explain the rise of gas prices in today's world market Gas prices.

Aerodynamics of Motorcycles

Most of us know that better gas mileage is going to come from vehicles with less drag and less wind resistance, therefore a motorcycle should be better right? I hate to say it but this may not be the case, especially when considering a really high end performance car that has very low wind resistance because of how low they sit to the ground, creating little to no lift forces.

the Picture to the left is taken from a good website Tony Foale Designs on an article about Motorcycle drag.  Tony Foale Designs
"Aerodynamic design of motorcycles is more than just a matter of producing a low drag, low lift body with a C of P. behind the C of G. Stability is harder to achieve with well streamlined low drag bodies, this is due both to the greater side area present with such fairings and to more efficient production of "sideways lift" due to the angle between the airflow direction and the direction of travel. So ideally we want a combination of sometimes conflicting requirements:------ Minimal drag for performance and fuel economy. Low frontal C of P. to reduce drag induced weight transfer. Low and rearward side C of P. to reduce the unbalancing moments, and give directional stability. A shape and value of side area that minimises the side force produced. A high and forward C of G. combined with a large weight to minimise the effect of whatever side forces are generated."

Aerodynamics of Cars
Cars can spread their weight across the front two wheels allowing for a much lower drag coefficient then the motorcycle so in this category the cars win, but not by much.
If you notice the fastest cars there are in the world the lower they are to the ground.  Hmmm, I wonder why, drag coefficient possibly? I think so, and that's where thousands of dollars that we spend for a nice car is going,  research and development into aerodynamics.

The Steady Rise of Gas Prices
President Barack Obama wants to end foreign supply of oil and here's an article I pulled off of yahoo news explaining how America is dependent on foreign oil supply.

US President Barack Obama called on Saturday for an end to America's dependence on foreign energy sources -- and to the multi-billion-dollar subsidies given each year to oil companies.

"What we can't do is keep being dependent on other countries for our energy needs," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"In America we control our own destiny," he added. "So that's the choice we face - the past, or the future."

The comments came as the president faces mounting criticism from Republicans, who have blamed his energy policy for spiking gas prices.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts gasoline prices across the United States could average $4.25 a gallon by May, up from $3.83 today.

Between 1998 and 2004, prices ranged from $1 to $2.

Prices vary wildly between regions, however, and last week,, a website that tracks prices in all 50 states, reported $5.09 a gallon at one Mobil and two Chevron stations in greater Los Angeles.

Given that 76 percent of Americans drive themselves to work, and a trip to the store can often mean a long drive to the mall, higher gas prices are a critical issue -- especially in a presidential election year.

The president noted that the price of gasoline depended on a lot of factors that are beyond US control.

"Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply," he said. "Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand."

But he pointed out that his administration had already put in place new standards that will make sure that American cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon (88.5 kilometers per 3.8 liters) by the middle of the next decade - nearly double what they get today.

The president also called for ending the $4 billion a year in tax breaks that US oil companies receive each year.

"In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies," he said. "And when they do, we're going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people."

I've done a lot of reading and everything suggests along with my knowledge that smaller cc engines along with better shaped bikes give the best gas mileage. So if you want to save some gas get a small cc motorcycle and commute a little to work or school.  Who knows you might just enjoy the fresh wind in your face, or the fact that you don't have to wait for traffic, or the fact that you can park anywhere ;) There's too many benefits to riding, and gas mileage is simply one of them.

-Johnny 5

It has Begun!!!

Start of the Moto GP Season!
With only 2 days left until the start of Qatar, the buzz around Moto Gp is starting to become very prominant.  Riders have started tweeting pictures of the new paint they are going to be representing for the season and talking about how they are getting ready for the upcoming season.

Personal favorite Ben Spies has been tweeting and on Facebook quite regularly, I like being able to follow him and his thoughts as the season fast approaches.  He like many other people, listens to music right before the race and he has made it a point to share those songs before he heads out to the track.

Below is an interesting view to the upcoming season, quickly highlighting its main changes.  These changes have to do with  riders new, or same teams and motorcycle differences that have been set in place for the 2012 season.

After months of anticipation MotoGP™ riders, teams, fans and spectators around the world will finally have their appetites for action satisfied, when the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar gets the 2012 MotoGP™ World Championship off to a start on Thursday. The first practice sessions of the opening round of the new campaign will bring to an end a lengthy 152-day wait since the final race of the 2011 season in Valencia last November, after an intriguing pre-season which has added to the impatience for the racing to begin.
Two major developments in the premier class which have added to the excitement at the dawn of a new era in MotoGP™ are the introduction of a new 1000cc engine capacity limit, up from the previous 800cc cap, and the debut of the new Claiming Rule Teams, for whom nine of the 21 riders will compete.
Adding to the spectacle of the curtain raiser in Qatar will be the floodlit nature of the first race, and the standout rider in recent years at the Losail circuit has been Casey Stoner. The 2011 World Champion, who was fastest in the final Test at Jerez less than two weeks ago, has won the night-time GP for four of the past five seasons, including last year. His Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa has also been in impressive form in pre-season, and between the pair they took the final four race victories of last season. A win for either, or any Honda rider for that matter, in Qatar would give the manufacturer its longest winning streak since 2003.
A large part of the buzz created in pre-season was due to the performance of the M1, and Yamaha Factory Racing duo Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were both highly impressed with the progress of their prototype. 2010 Champion Lorenzo came second in last year's race in Qatar whilst Spies will be seeking his first podium at the track, as they look to turn a promising testing display into hard results.
The third factory set-up on the grid this season will be the Ducati Team, another which has worked tirelessly in the intervening five months to improve its package. Riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will both be hopeful of vastly improved results in their respective 2012 campaigns, as they remain focused on the Italian manufacturer's project and challenging the other two factories.
With the six factory riders remaining with the teams they rode for last season, there have been changes elsewhere. Into the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team comes Andrea Dovizioso, as the Italian begins a new chapter in his career, joining Brit Cal Crutchlow who embarks on his second season in the satellite structure. Crutchlow's pre-season showings in particular have laid the foundations for what promises to be a strong sophomore season.

I will try and update any standings as the season progresses.

Johnny 5