LAB Podcast Appearance #2: How Can Harley Woo Me?

During my second session with Ryan Urlacher of Law Abiding Biker podcast, I discuss how Harley Davidson could better market themselves towards the millennial and younger generations.

While I could discuss Harley’s marketing shortcomings for ages, we kept it to one episode.

I love LAB’s content and I’m a Patreon subscriber myself, so please give them a follow and get access to a ton of motorcycle-related content.

Winter Riding Problems Part 1: The Gloves

Of all the issues I’ve faced while riding through winter, finding winter riding gloves has proven to be the ongoing battle.

You’d think that after investing in a set of REV’IT! Trocadero gloves in 2018, I’d have found the answer to my frozen fingers. Between their Thinsulate G (wut), tri-fleece (k), and hydratex (sounds fancy) liners and gauntlet design, anyone’s paws would be able to handle a ride around town at the very least…but no.

If you can get past how these gloves inhibit any feeling of your controls, they only remain effective for a substantial time at sub-35mph speeds. Did I mention you cant feel what’s attached to your handlebars. Why is it so hard to find a relatively affordable glove that keeps my potato fingers thawed while allowing me to feel if I’m touching my turn signals or a friendly caterpillar?

Can I spend more on the next set of winter gloves? Sure. Could I also invest in heated grips/barkbusters to help the performance for any glove I wear? Also yes, but there is an option that most touring riders are shouting about at this point. The best option left is Heated Gloves.

For the squids yeeting around in Mechanix gloves, heated gloves are wired directly to your battery and act just like the heated seat in a car. I think back to skiing and the world of difference a heating pad in your mitten makes on a windy morning. The problem with a heated gloves is mainly the cost. Looking over Revzilla’s product page will show most of these gloves averaging $150-175. Not too crazy compared to other winter gloves right? Wrong. Unless you want to have a dangly wire going to your battery or take the time to wire a new connector closer to your handlebars, it’s a pretty safe assumption that you’ll want the corresponding jacket or shirt to make the wiring easier and aid the effectiveness of the heating system. Let’s put it this way, a heated hand can only provide so much comfort when blood is being pumped through cold arms. This is why controlling the heat in your core is the most effective way to keep your extremities warm.

The last issue is really not an issue at all but more of personal choice: I love riding in the winter. Despite my frozen taquito fingers, I love the feeling of cold, crisp air running around me as I trundle down the road. Plus, I’m wearing my safest gear on these rides since they happen to be the warmest. All the armor, all the coverage, all of the Michelin-Man visuals for passerby’s. Also, if you’ve never taken a ride down a woody-backroad with snow surrounding you, it is a very special experience.

While this is more of a rant to vent some returning frustrations, I have no desire to stop my winter rides do to this discomfort. If anything, it’s another obstacle to overcome which fuels the moto-obsessed soul that I am! It’s like the person who purposely pushes their bladder for 30 more minutes because the twisties keep calling.

Will I stop riding in the cold because of this? Nope. Will I complain a bout it until I splurge on a heated system for my bike? Absolutely.

NEVER TEXT AND DRIVE…Except to Look at Doggo Memes

Trying to be a fancy photographer...

Let’s just clarify that it is not okay to text and drive no matter how sick that fire meme is, but to be honest, a lot of us do it. Yes, us crusaders of road safety, riding with our helmet-mounted GoPros capturing every mistake four-wheeled drivers make, we also text and drive.

There will inevitably be people who read this and disagree profusely, but don’t lie to you and me in the same sentence. I cannot think of a single person whom I have driven with that refuses to respond to a text while behind the wheel. The line I will draw however is the way they do it.

Before I go into detail, I AM NOT ADVOCATING TEXT WHILE DRIVING. I am simply being realistic and understanding that it does happen and that many of us can be safer while doing it.

Recently I was driving home from the gym to Pancheros to obtain a delicious burrito bowl. While in-route, a Honda Accord Coupe came next to me and as I look into the vehicle, I notice the woman texting/ using her phone. Now, something you must understand is that I always look at the cars around me to judge the driver. It allows me to determine if they are paying attention or hopefully an attractive woman that I will immediately rev-bomb, judge me all you want. I am observant, not mature people. ANYWAY, I see her texting but the phone it essentially in front of her face, while traveling at roughly 45mph. Not only that, but it is night-time so the light from that massive iPhone effectively blinds your from the darkness outside. Tis was a dangerous situation, coupled with the fact that I could not get around her due to the car in front.

SO, I honked my horn a couple times to get her attention, no response. I honk a few more times, no response except the phone get lowered a little, then I unleash an unholy rev bomb. The Cobra pipes on my bike are quite loud and yet she still does nothing and at this point I am very much annoyed. The reason why myself and other bikers will do this is to try and knock some sense into the dangerous drivers. This girl just didn’t care. The reason I got mad and was inspired to write this is that it wasn’t the fact she had used her phone that was stupid, it was the way she went about it.

I will be the first to admit that I check my phone while I’m driving and respond to texts mostly while stopped. I will also admit that if I am stuck in traffic I will send out short responses if needed. What I don’t do is hold the phone up to my face and type the sequal  to Hamlet to my boys while at a high rate of speed.

I know some bikers will rage at the sight of a phone near a drivers hand, but we need to look in the mirror sometimes and realize that we can contradict ourselves a lot. For instance, do we always check our mirrors intensely while driving our cars? I try to all the time, but sometimes I know I slip up and only take a quick glance. Do we always follow people at the appropriate distance while in our cars? Honestly, I probably follow closer than I should because I drive quickly. This is why I don’t really freak out at people for doing that, unless you are a car-length behind me while doing 50mph Mr.  late-model black Dodge Charger last night. In that case, you will hear my rage.

I wrote this not to give drivers an excuse for being idiots sometimes, but rather to point out to my fellow biker bros broettes that maybe we should collectively calm our temper. Unless you are the world’s safest driver and lock your phone away for an entire car journey, yelling at teenager for glancing at their phone isn’t the best idea. If anything, it can further the assumption that bikers are just a**holes who like to hooligan around and cause trouble.

So on behalf of me, slow your roll, unless you see that Accord or Charger, then go crazy. Cheers!



Motorcycles & Music; the Perfect Match

IMG_1959If you think about it, there are certain things that will forever go hand-and-hand. Chicken noodle soup and being sick, a margarita and being on the beach, or giving a dog a bath and ending up wetter than the dog. You get the point. For me, listening to music and riding is high on the list.

Yesterday, the world learned that Tom Petty had passed away. While some may not have been a fan of his style of classic rock, Petty was always a favorite of mine. This especially rang true while going on any sort of drive. After I got my motorcycle license, I bought a SENA 10s for my helmet and that completely changed my riding experience. I could now take my music on the rode with me and truely dive into the emotion that a good ride brings out. While I can name a wide range of artists that I turn to, Petty’s range of amazing tracks always came back.

While this year saw the loss of other artists that I held in high regard, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington mainly, losing Petty hit me differently. I remember seeing him in concert in 2010 at the Wachovia Center with Buddy Guy as his opener. That show may still be the best concert experience of my life. Listening to his discography also was one of my first steps into the world of classic rock. From there, I learned about other greats like The Eagles, Skynyrd, and even Fleetwood Mac to a certain extent. If it were not for listening to his music, I don’t know if I would have found the rest of these artists as quickly. His impact on my music taste is greater than I ever realized.

So as I left work at 5:30PM, the sky was clear and the sun was at a perfect height in the sky to bathe my entire ride home. The temperature was around 70 degrees and there was a slight breeze rumbling over my helmet. I dive into hyperbole because the weather was both perfect, and yet somehow sorrowful. The emotions around me were even greater due to the shooting in Las Vegas still on the forefront on my mind. As I went to put Petty’s music on in memory of his loss, I originally wanted to select “Last Dance With Mary Jane” since it’s in my top-three favorites of his. However, I paused before selecting it.

For some reason, I just hit shuffle. Normally this is a risky proposition since if the wrong song was selected, the mood would not feel right. Luckily, the perfect song I didn’t even think of came on. The track is called “Saving Grace” and I honestly cannot remember the last time I listened to it. It was off one of his solo albums Highway Companion  and while his classic hits are what we all think of, his solo work is still fantastic. Any who, as the track starts, I knew I had to leave it on and began my 10 minute ride home. It is an odd feeling when your eye’s begin to water and you cannot figure out why. It is not like I personally knew him, or was clinically obsessed with Petty, I just had a connection to his music. The entire feeling of that song lends itself to this type of slow cruise through the sunset that I was currently on. I felt like I was in a scene from a music video where the song trails off as my exhaust note rumbles down the sun-painted backroad home. It struck me all at once, and a tear almost trickled behind my visor.

I don’t know if the weight of that moment would have struck me if I was listening to that track in the office or driving my car. I remember a similar feeling when I was riding after getting my current job. I was riding around, happy as a clam, listening to Marshmello. I know I just went from a classic rock great to an EDM artist but roll with me. Marsh’s tracks always make me feel happy and get me pumped up, hence why he always pops up on my workout playlist. Well I was riding around Tabernacle, in the farmland, elated to finally have a good job, listening to my happy music. That experience is still clearly visible in my memory. So here I am, on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, feeling that same connection riding into the great wide open. Motorcycles and music, they really are a perfect match.

RIP Tom Petty, you will be greatly missed.



My Bike Didn’t Belong, I Didn’t Care.


To be fair, I should have expected this before pulling up at the start point. The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride as been around since 2012 and was founded in Sydney, Australia. The idea behind it was to challenge the stereotype that motorcycle riders are either hooligans on supersport bikes or Hell’s Angels on Harley’s. So every year, men around the world don their dapper attire, saddle up, and raise money for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and suicide awareness. Okay, background over.

I wasn’t actually sure if I was going to participate in this ride until the night before. My uncle was at a wedding with our two other friends who wanted to go, and let’s just say they were not sure if waking up at 6:00AM would be possible. Well it was and at 7:30AM we lifted our kickstands to head to the meet and as always, the excitement for going on a big ride had completely taken over. 

As we pulled up to Gorshin Trading Post & Supplies in Haddonfield, I realized that this ride is going to be different then most. The street in front of the shop was full of classic and European bikes. This was especially challenging for me to not have a trouser accident considering I just revisited in my love for Ducati’s in a previous post…here

As I park Selene (my 2005 Suzuki M50 Black) besides a mid-70’s Honda 750 and a tasty modified Ducati 821, I get the feeling I brought her to the wrong ball. My uncle and his friend are feeling even more sheepish with their near-matching V-Star 1100’s. Also, I felt bad for drooling over so many bikes with poor Selene sitting right right there. It was just like the meme with the guy walking down the street with his girl while looking at someone else. Every Thruxton I walked by resulted in a ever-longing glance back towards my beauty in black. I swear I said sorry a few times. 

Realistically it didn’t matter, we were all out to support a great cause and what bike you rode in on isn’t as important. 

The ride itself was pretty great. The weather was beautiful, the planned route kept us on b-roads, and we had an awesome mid-way stop at Nixon’s General Store in Tabernacle for one of the better breakfast sandwiches I’ve had in a long time. Now since I wasn’t vlogging the ride, I enjoyed being at the front of the pack. I was leading this convoy unique bikes and somehow it was even better that I was on a more normal ride. A little over an hour later, we reached what would be the chocolate covered cherry on my amazing cake; New Jersey Motorsports Park

We were allowed to do five parade laps around the circuit and I could not be more excited. Even though my 805cc cruiser was not meant for this, I was going to get a taste of sporty riding on two-wheels. As my group lined up, I made sure I got in front of the elderly gentleman on a Honda 360T and right behind a newer Yamaha R1 and Triumph Speed Triple so I could have my fun. 

As we entered the track and preformed the sighting lap, I was an odd mix of nervous and comfortable. While I was using the wrong bike and had never been on a track before, all of the tips and lessons I had learned from riding, and other Motovloggers, were starting to build together and it was not long before I was tipping my 500lb sweetie deep into the corners. I was finding the brake balance, proper lean angles, and fastest gears through turns. While the sport bikes in front of me were barely goosing it, I was able to ring out the potential of my baby muscle cruiser. It was like a perfect date.

Our front group was actually going so…briskly, that we caught up to the rear safety car guarding a vintage trike pootling around the bends. As we exited the track, every rider was acting like a child who had just met Spongebob for the first time. We were giddy, sweaty, and in pure bliss. What did stink a bit was I had to leave the track right after the laps and drive back to my neck of the woods for the Eagles game. However, I did have a long ride to really think about the experience I just had. 

First, I had come to the determination that at some point I want to try track riding again, on an appropriate bike of course. The sensation of being able to fully use every aspect of your machine is unlike any other. Second, while Selene certainly wasn’t as vintage or “cool” as some of the other bikes on the ride, she still had me grinning ear to ear the entire time. Not only that, a few guys had even said that they were impressed that she was my first. A little ego boost never hurt. The last point was rather a surprise though. I truly have no intention of “upgrading” Selene. While she doesn’t have the biggest engine or the best performance, I am going to get a second bike of a different variety rather then just get another cruiser. 

For the everyday riding mixed with longish hauls, Selene is fantastic. Light, good on gas ,very reliable, sounds fantastic, oh and she looks mean as hell. I realized just how much I have fallen in love with my cheap first bike and I really can’t imagine her leaving me any time soon. I am not going to be foolish and say I will keep her until my last breath, but I really hope I do somehow. Even if the frame rots away and I cannot afford to keep the motor running, I almost want to take her fuel tank and mount it somewhere as dedication to long long life (I hope) she has had. 

The point of that misty-eyed rant was to show just how much my bike has become a part of me. I know that most other riders, besides Vespa people maybe, can relate.

To wrap this up, I will be putting a short video of the ride up eventually but I need to get my editing down a little more before it goes public. Hopefully that doesn’t take too long!

So I Wet My Pants on Monday

I swear I was having this much fun.

To be fair, I didn’t lose control of my bladder, but I did have to ride home in the rain for the first time.

When it comes to my love of being on two wheels, there are few things that will make me question taking a ride. One is the constant fear of someone Snapchatting their latest in-car concert and running into me, and the other, until Monday, was getting caught in the rain.

I knew from the moment I started riding that it would eventually happen. While my M50 is not the only form of transportation I have, I still ride as much as possible no matter what the reason. I accepted that getting rained on will happen, and I just needed to not make a big deal about it.

Weeks ago, I had rode to the gym at night since my LOVELY weather app was positive it would not rain until my bedtime…adults have bedtime too. Well the app was wrong and I received a very frantic phone call from my uncle while working out saying he was ready to arrange a convoy of trailers to drive my bike ten minutes home in the shower. I, however, was not ready to call the National Guard and waited for the rain to stop before driving home.

I did not die and had learned a great deal about wet-weather riding from that quick jaunt home. I felt comfortable, the fear was gone, and also had a sense of truly joining the club from that. Little did I know I was wrong, so wrong.

This past Monday, I checked the same app while eating breakfast and noticed that while it was going to be a cloudy day, I should still be able to ride to work. Luckily for me, my commute is ten minutes from home which made it an even easier decision. Later that day I was at my desk, and I noticed that darker clouds are starting to form. It wasn’t too long before the drizzle started, which then turned to a light shower, which then turned to full on rain.

As 5:30 inched closer and closer, I started to realize that I was going to have to actually ride in the rain. A little fear came back, and all my confidence I gained just weeks before was slowly fading away. It was time to leave work and since I didn’t have Jeremy Clarkson’s brave pills, I took a deep breath and geared up. This is how the ride home went:

  1. (Sitting on the bike before leaving work)
    1. Sweet baby Jesus I don’t want to low-side Selene (my bikes name, sue me). If it is going to happen to me, it is bound to happen today.
    2. What if some dingleberry rear ends me while checking the weather?
    3. Just go low and slow Mike.
  2. (Leaving the office parking lot)
    1. Okay, we can do this, just ride that clutch and rear brake.
    2. Wow, that car behind me is actually keeping their distance, cheers to you buddy.
    3. Actually this is kinda fun, why am I laughing?
  3. (At the light before entering my neighborhood)
    1. I still can’t stop laughing, am I going crazy or was this fun?
    2. So glad there wasn’t a cop around to see me lane split around that Prius, nobody can crash into my poo-shute!
    3. Pause internal thoughts since the guy next to me rides and is talking to me about his experience getting caught in the rain. Bikelife frieeeeeeeends!
    4. It’s official, my lower body could only be more wet if was standing in a pool.
    5. I’M BIKER RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK….why’d I shout that into my helmet.
  4. (Pulling into garage)
    1. I’m not dead!
    2. Nobody (except that Prius) drove like a wienie near me!
    3. Somehow that was fun!
    4. I feel like an actual biker now.

I wish I could say this was exaggerated but I actually talk like this, especially when nobody is listening. The moral of the story is that even though I am still a new rider with only a few thousand miles under my gloves, I managed to get through one of the most challenging things we face as riders. It was the most nerve-racking and satisfying moment I have yet to have as a rider, followed by my first large group riding experience, dear lord side-by-side riding.

If you are a newer rider, don’t think you are unable to ride through certain situations simply because you are new. Obviously know your limits and don’t go riding into a thunderstorm because you want to challenge yourself. What I mean is don’t let something like a surprise rain shower or crappy road surface freak you out! It’s not like these type of riding techniques can be taught in the classroom, you have to experience them first-hand in order to learn. So get a little wet, phrasing, and ride on. It might be the most satisfying experience you have yet to have on two wheels.

Four Perils of Riding in South Jersey

I want to start this first post by stating that I love living in South Jersey. Being just 20 minutes from Philadelphia, 45 minutes to an hour from Atlantic City, and being surounded by a million awesome restaurants, southern New Jersey is pretty fantastic. Oh, and one more thing, we have Wawa’s everywhere.

However, riding a motorcycle in this area does present a few unique challenges that make staying on two wheels a bit difficult. This list is in no particular order, but you may be able to tell what sets me off the most.

1. Senior Citizen’s

If you have ever been to Florida and wonder where all those old people come from, they most likely hail from Jersey and other sections of the tri-state area. While we all love our grandmothers cooking, having to ride through a sea of people who can’t see and whose feet hurt is just plain scary.

Since the driver of the Buick in front of you cannot see or hear properly, there is a good chance they have no clue you are near them. I have startled many elders be simply being near them which results in an unexpected brake-check or lane-swerve. This can be mildly bottom-clenching.

What really causes problems though is when your grandmother drives too slow. Bottling up traffic and causing other motorists to rage is what old drivers do best. While riding through Medford the other day, I was stuck behind a line of cars traveling at a solid 35-37 mph in a 50mph zone. Looking through the cue, I could see the beige Honda CRV causing the delay. Every driver in front of me was tailgating the person in front of them and swerving into the far left edge of the lane to see around jam. This was a very dangerous situation and I quickly bailed onto a back road.

I know the driver of that Honda was just a sweet old lady heading to CVS to grab her month supply of pills, but she was the cause of multiple drivers shaking fists, honking, swerving, and all types of other aggression. Each one of these can be an issue to the poor biker who just wants to find some twisty’s to carve through and suddenly is being tailgated out of aggression.

2. Foreign Drivers

Now I understand that I might catch flack for picking on foreign drivers, but the truth is the truth. The area I live in has a high population of Asian and Indian people. While having an abundance of epic food and other cultures around me is great, riding around people who do not understand our driving laws can lead to truly terrifying situations.

A great example of this was last weekend when I was coming home from visiting my friend Jamie and her boyfriend Pete. I was in the far-right lane of a major road (Route 73 for my fellow Jersey folk) and a driver cut across four lanes of traffic to try to make the turn I was in position to make. This resulted in the two cars in front of me slamming on their brakes and me having to jam on mine as well. My rear locked up and I managed to hold the slide until righting myself. Since I was making the turn this driver was making as well, I kept extra distance behind them since I could tell something was off. The driver then proceeded to come to a sudden stop in the middle of the road, leaving me to pat myself on the back for staying back so far. I decide to go around the vehicle and get away from this driver. As I pass, I look into the car to see what the problem was, and all I saw was four elder Indian people looking very confused. They were most likely lost and in need of directions, but instead of safely pulling over, the driver was just putting other motorists lives in jeopardy.

I understand that by stating a group of people are bad at something seems brash, but incidents like this happen all the time where I live. I thoroughly believe that people coming from countries with less developed motor vehicle training simply get confused when on our major roads with Jersey drivers that are always in a rush to hit up Pancheros. It is nothing against their culture or anything like that, it is simply an observation of driving abilities.

3. Road Conditions

While many suburbs in South Jersey are known for their affluent nature, there is clearly not enough money being collected in taxes to keep our roads maintained. Add that to winters which hit us hard enough for snowplows to cut potholes into the road, and it can be tricky to navigate even major road networks.

Unless a road has been re-paved within three-to-six months, you must constantly scan for cracks, creases, weird paving lines, holes, horrific cross-lane speed bump things (drive down route 70 in Cherry Hill near the Triplex and you know exactly what I mean), and debris. What is surprising is just how quickly the roads deteriorate. The state does not seem to pour the asphalt thick enough, so after one winter, new roads are already damaged.

Now on my bike, I have mini floor boards that allow me to easily stand up and get over large bumps very comfortably. Sport-bike riders might have a less enjoyable experience trying to hang on.

4. Allergies

This particular peril does not affect all riders, but if you are plagued with pollen problem like myself than South Jersey can certainly be unpleasant. Following our winters, Jersey goes through an explosion of pollen around April which paints all vehicles green and turns thousands of eyes red. In a car you can have your box of tissues and eyes drops easily handy nobody can see you suffering. Wearing a full-face helmet and protective gear means you are layers away from a tissue which means you will sneeze inside your helmet and you will be thoroughly disgusted with yourself. Then because you have a full-face, you will be riding around, still probably sneezing, looking for a place to pull over and remove your helmet to fix yourself. Once you finally pull over and take off your gross helmet, you then discover that you did not restock your tissue pocket and only have your sleeve to clean your face with. While this has NEVER happened to me, at all, what so ever, I wouldn’t know just how embarrassing and disgusting that scenario is.

SJ Rider Haeder


SJ RIDER Begins Image
Enjoying some Starbucks in Cherry Hill. You can actually see the pollen all over the place!

Hello motorcycling family! This is SJ RIDER and welcome to your new home for motorcycling tips, tricks, and general fun around South Jersey. You will read stories, watch motovlogs, and view photos that take place around my area, and provide a fun look at my journey into the motorcycling world.

A unique aspect for this blog and motovlog series will be the focus on discovering awesome food and drink in The Garden State. My love of eating combined with my obsession will all things motoring related will provide an entertaining backdrop for all my more useful information.

You will get to meet my friends, family, and awesome dog Tucker, and see all my favorite places to waste time at. Stay tuned for upcoming content and hang on for this mouth-watering journey!