Fly Versus Ride

March 2005

When I received my first acceptance package from the IBA it included a handwritten note from President Mike Kneebone. The last line reads “… Welcome to the insanity!”

Dictionary.com gives several definitions for insanity, the most fitting being “extreme foolishness.” Iron Butt rides are unquestionably extreme LDR (long distance riding), but are they extreme foolishness? And would that mean LDR is foolishness, just not to extreme?

The answer to the first question is largely subjective: I don’t think Iron Butt riders are extremely foolish … but I think cigarette smokers are … and I bet I just lined up a bunch of you eager to assert the opposite.

The answer to the second question is a definite “NO”. As long as you have the right combination of rider, ride, route and resources, LDR is not only a great way to enhance your riding experience, but also a practical transportation alternative. Here is one example:

Option 1 (FLY): Let’s say you needed to go from Miami FL to Athens GA for business (serious … or monkey). If you fly commercial, Orbitz.com says the best deal from MIA is US Airways connecting through Charlotte NC. The flight will cost about $120 each way, and the published flight duration (air plus connection time) is about 5 hours. To these figures, let’s add $30 at each end for ground transportation, 45 minutes for getting to the airport and through security, and another 45 minutes for getting you and your bags to your destination. To fly, we now have a one-way trip cost of $180 with a total trip duration of 6.5 hours (assuming, of course, that the airline employees show up for work … and no one tries to detonate their sneakers).

Option 2 (RIDE): What if you rode instead of flying? Maps.Msn.com says Miami to I-95 to the Turnpike to I-75 to US-129 to Athens is a 685.5 mile ride that will take you 11 hours and 24 minutes. At 50 miles and $2 per gallon, you’ll need about $30 for gas. Let’s add $30 more for food and incidentals, and 1.5 hours for meals and breaks. To ride, then, we have a one-way cost of $60 with a duration of about 13.0 hours.

FLY vs. RIDE: How do these options compare? Obviously, riding from Miami to Athens costs only a third as much as flying ($60 vs. $180), but it takes twice as much time (13 vs. 6.5 hours). So, which is the best way to go? Personally, I would gladly choose the freedom of the road–and a few extra hours of rolling, scenic countryside–over the hassles of airport security and the all the rest of the headaches of post-911 air travel. But what’s right for you … is up to you.

BTW, if you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer browser (MSIE), you can type any of the partial web addresses I gave you in bold above directly into your Address Bar. Your browser will automatically resolve the complete URL (Uniform Resource Locator), and take you there.

Until Next Time … Ride Long, Ride Free!

15 Grand and 15 Miles

February 2005

According to the U.S. DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2003 the 5.37 million motorcycles registered nationwide traveled a combined distance of 9.54 billion miles. This suggests that the average American motorcyclist logs less than 1,800 miles of saddletime annually, which is less than 150 miles a month.

150 miles a month? I usually cover more than that in a day! No wonder I get those odd looks when I mention that 2,500-mile maintenance is a monthly ritual for me….

Anyway, our warm tropical climate and endless summer sunshine make South Florida a year-round biker’s paradise. Aside from occasional showers (and a hurricane or three), almost any day is a good day for cruising over to your favorite beachside bistro, and the four counties of Southeast Florida (Palm Beach/Broward/Miami-Dade/Monroe) offer what may be the most scenic assortment of biker-friendly watering holes this side of Sturgis. Yes, bar-hopping through Buffet Country can be a real blast, but there is a lot more to motorcycling than that. As the helmet sticker reads, “15 GRAND AND 15 MILES DON’T MAKE YOU A BIKER.”

Sooner or later, hopefully, you are going to want more from your biking experience than Sunday’s bucket, band and free buffet. Next will come runs across the Everglades, or down to the Upper Keys … followed by Key West Poker Runs, circling the “Big Water” of Lake Okeechobee, and of course north to Daytona or Leesburg for BikeWeek and an “I Rode Mine” pin. So much for 150 miles a month!

I’d like to think that most of us are willing if not eager to extend and enhance our riding experiences at least this far … and then some! In future columns, I will provide you with ample reasons to consider long distance riding, and plenty of resources to help you reap the rewards of LDR. Many of those will be Internet resources, which can be accessed from your browser by means of their Uniform Resource Locator, or “URL”. A URL contains the name of the protocol used to access a resource, a domain name that identifies a specific computer on the Internet hosting the resource, and a pathname to the resource itself. On the Web (which uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP), an example of a URL is …

http://www.PervasivePersuasion.com/index.php

… which specifies HTTP protocol, a computer named “www.PervasivePersuasion.com”, and a web page whose pathname is “/index.php”. Another URL (or “web address” in common parlance) is that of the source for the statistics used above:

http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/2004/html/table_01_11.html

Want to see more? Put these URLs into your browser address bar and click “Go”.

Until Next Time … Ride Long, Ride Free!

Long Distance Riding

January 2005

Welcome to the first installment of Bikin’ and Bytin’ with Bruce™, a new monthly column for Wheels on the Road. Miami Mike has graciously provided this platform to let me preach about my passion–long distance riding–so long as I also pass on pearls from my profession–web design. Thank you, Mike! Now, let’s get started:

First, let’s establish what we mean by “long distance riding”. Michael Kneebone put 107,501 miles on his Yamaha Venture Royale in 1984. That certainly involved some long distance riding. Phil Mattson added 30,603 miles to the odometer of his Harley-Davidson FLHTCI in July of 2001. That’s LDR for sure! And last November, yours truly clocked 1,132 miles in 18 hours and 25 minutes on my H-D Dyna Convertible. I believe the Iron Butt Association will say that qualifies as well.

Staying in the saddle for a thousand miles or more is unquestionably LDR, but I can tell you first-hand it’s LDR to the extreme. We will have more to say about that in future columns, but we’ll also discuss distance riding in a more mainstream context. Although some enthusiasts will argue the point, for most of us “long distance riding” is a relative concept anyway, and that’s the way we will deal it: If your idea of LDR is crossing the country from coast to coast, I’ll share news you can use. And even if your riding range extends no further than a Key West Poker Run, I’ll have plenty for you, too.

Some of what I write will come from experience–my own, plus what I hope you will share with me. The rest will come from research–much of which is done on the World Wide Web (“the Web”) via the Internet (“the Net”). If you want to send me an email or check out my web references, you are going to need four things: (1) a computer; (2) Internet access; (3) a Web browser (preferably Microsoft Internet Explorer); and (4) an email account with either client software or a webmail interface. If you do not have these four things, I suggest you contact your nearest computer consultant–or teenager–to help you get them. If you do have them, I will do my best to help you get more out of them.

Until Next Time … Ride Long, Ride Free!

The Afghan Rag a.k.a. The Magnificent Afghanistan

Recorded by Johnny Punish.
Original lyrics from “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag”
a.k.a. “Vietnam Rag” by Country Joe McDonald,
revised and updated by IronBoltBruce.

Yo, wake up texters, listen in,
Uncle Sam’s after more boogeymen;
Dubya left Barack in a terrible jam
Way over in Afghanistan.
So put down your iPhone and pick up a gun,
We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Not freedom or our fellow man,
Next stop’s Afghanistan;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no need to wonder why,
For peak oil, we’re all gonna die.

Well come on, McChrystal, let’s move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Gotta kill all those towel heads –
Though Muslims ain’t who we should dread.
Our robber barons, they’re the ones
Who blew the Towers to kingdom come.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Not freedom or our fellow man,
Next stop’s Afghanistan;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no need to wonder why,
For peak oil, we’re all gonna die.

Huh!

Well, come on Wall Street, don’t move slow,
Since 9-1-1, it’s go-go-go.
There’s plenty good money to be made
Supplying both sides with the tools of the trade.
Just hope if they grab a Pakistani bomb,
They drop it on Dick Cheney’s lawn.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Not freedom or our fellow man,
Next stop’s Afghanistan.
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no need to wonder why,
For peak oil, we’re all gonna die.

Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
Send your child to Afghanistan.
Come on fathers, don’t hesitate,
Send ’em off before it’s too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your kid come home in a box.

And it’s one, two, three
What are we fighting for?
Not freedom or our fellow man,
Next stop’s Afghanistan.
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no need to wonder why,
For peak oil, we’re all gonna die.

–with apologies to Country Joe MacDonald
( http://www.countryjoe.com/feelmus.htm )