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Can you do me a favor? I need your help to win a contest. A custom suit company called Indochino is giving away a year of free suits to the person who posts the best pic of themselves in a suit. The contest is at www.SuitYourSelfie.com. I’m midway down the second page of the leader board. I posted this epic picture:

suityourselfie

It should be a hands down winner, right? But I have to finish in the top 10 in order to be considered for the victory. I’m behind the leader by several hundred votes but I’m only out of the top 10 by 24 votes. So if I can get more than 24 votes by midnight tonight I will at least be in the hunt.

If you need extra motivation, I’m currently trailing douchecanoes like this guy:

Screenshot 2015-09-07 08.42.48

I can smell the whiskey breath and hear the arrogant boozy British accent all the way to Oklahoma.

And this hipster loser. The weirdbeard is bad enough. But he’s also wearing a bowtie. And he’s a ginger. And his girlfriend posted the picture FOR him. Gaagh.

Screenshot 2015-09-07 08.42.39

And this guy, who’s been leading the entire time.

Screenshot 2015-09-07 08.42.25

It’s not a terrible wedding photo – at least he’s the one leading the bride, which is kind of alpha compared to the beta-ass wedding photos I usually see – but still, the idea of a guy who has just basically signed his life away winning this contest makes me sad.

So please, go to http://www.SuitYourSelfie.com and vote for me! Thanks!

Bring me that horizon!

This past Memorial Day weekend I had nothing to do, no plans, didn’t have my kids. I decided to take an impromptu trip out West and do some riding and camping. I’m not one to do things spur of the moment but something gripped me and told me it was right. So I told my co-workers I was taking Friday off, hopped online, booked a cheap flight to Denver ($300 roundtrip on Southwest), found a motorcycle rental place and reserved the cheapest bike they had (BMW F650GS at $135 a day) and decided to do something I’ve never done before. Just take off.

Canyonlands National Park

I’m so freaking glad I did it. Colorado and Utah are stunningly gorgeous. There is no such thing as a bad motorcycle road out there. The people are just fantastic. Even though it was just four days, it was the experience of a lifetime. I love being on a motorcycle.

The low points (there were a few):

  • Work. My plan was to get the bike early in the AM and get started early-early Friday morning, but I had a client crisis blow up and had to work for a good chunk of  the morning from my hotel room at the Denver Airport. I didn’t get on the bike until later than I wanted.
  • I got a speeding ticket. There was exactly one rural stretch of Route 50 where the speed limit dropped to 55. The rest of it is 65. Guess where there were about 5 cops all up and down the road? What really galls me – I was doing 70 in a 55. Anywhere else on the planet, the cop wouldn’t look up from his donuts. Not this two-bit backwater deputy sheriff, no sireee. So there was a tax of $169.50 on my trip. Officer Turner of the Montrose County Sheriff’s Department: you should be ashamed of yourself for your part in this fraud perpetrated against unsuspecting Colorado tourists.
  • Windstorms cut my day short on Saturday. My plan was to make it to Moab by Saturday but the wind as I got closer to Grand Junction was ridiculous. When I stopped for gas someone told me that this was due to a big windstorm and there would be 75-90 mph gusts. I decided against traveling any further that day, as I was having a hard enough time keeping my light 650 upright on certain stretches of open highway. I checked into a hotel and chillaxed.

The high points (too many to list but here are a few):

  • Shortly after this picture was taken (on top of Pike’s Peak), I fell flat on my face because of disorientation from the change in altitude.

    Pike’s Peak. Climbing Pike’s Peak on the 650 was a major accomplishment. At the top I met a fellow inmate from the Advrider forum who chatted me up for a bit and gave me some great tips for future trips.

  • Gunnison, CO. What a cool town. An oasis in the middle of nowhere. Some of the nicest and friendliest girls on the planet, too. 🙂
  • Arches National Park. Every American should see this in their lifetime. Jaw dropping.
  • Moab, Utah. Sedona, but on a much grander scale. I told my daughter (who loves Sedona) to imagine Sedona, but 100 times larger.
  • Reddit. I met up with a friend from the Reddit motorcycle forum in Grand Junction. He spent an hour with me giving me lots of helpful tips. The cameraderie of motorcyclists is pervasive!

Things I learned:

  • Roads like this look inviting, especially on a GS, but it takes a very different skill set to navigate them.

    Offroading is way harder than it looks. Sand is evil.

  • Acclimatize. Don’t go from sea level to 14,000 feet in the span of 24 hours. I was really struggling at the top of Pike’s Peak.
  • The Lost Cajun. What a great little restaurant in Frisco, CO. Only 5 minutes off interstate 70. By all means, stop there and enjoy the company of the owner, Raymond Griffin. The food is wonderful but Raymond’s life wisdom and company was worth the trip all by itself.

I’ll be doing more impromtu ( and promptu ) trips like this. I’m already scheming about when I can do something like this in Ireland. Stay tuned.

Arches National Park is a must-see.

I’ll post more pictures and video in the coming days.

My friend Scott is a fan of classic bikes. He has two right now – an early 80’s BMW K100 and this – his prized Honda CB450. He had the Honda out yesterday and I snapped a couple of pictures. He bought the bike a couple of years ago for $500 and says it had makeshift plumbing pipes for exhaust. It was a near-basket case. I’d say he did a pretty nice job with the restoration, eh?

I used my iPhone and uploaded a few pics with Instagram too. Still trying to figure out what makes this app worth a billion to Mark Zuckerberg….

Over the weekend I was in Cape May with a bunch of friends for an annual gathering. On the way back I rode up the coast from Cape May to Somers Point, NJ; trying to stay as close to the beach as possible the whole way up. I was trying to find New Jersey’s version of the Pacific Coast Highway (hint: it doesn’t exist.)

In each town I visited, I tried to get a pic of my bike with water in the background – either the beach or the bay. I missed a few but here are the high points.

In Villas, NJ (near Cape May), with the Delaware Bay in the background. It was pretty early in the morning and I hadn't woken up yet. I look dog tired.

Wildwood Crest, NJ, just on the other side of the causeway from Cape May.

Wildwood, NJ. There was a cheerleader convention going on at the Wildwood Convention Center. Interesting...

Stone Harbor, NJ. Just over the bridge from Wildwood. I really like this pic.

Stone Harbor or Avalon; I can't remember which.

I thought this sign, just before Strathmere, NJ, was pretty funny. Damn those random pedestrians!

The Ferris wheel in Ocean City, NJ. The 'Strom is on the third car from the top, left side of the wheel 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My original plan was to continue up the coast to Atlantic City and head back from there, but by the time I got to Somers Point I was tired and ready to head home. Even after stopping in Ocean City for a pork roll and cheese sammich on the boardwalk…

 

 

This was posted by a fellow motorcyclist on Reddit, so I can’t take credit for finding it. Just wanted to share and share it some more.

I hope like these Taiwanese gentlemen, I’m still riding well into my 80s. Enjoy!

I recently read this awful article on Brit’s top 10 motorcycle dream passengers. Pamela Anderson as #1? Really? Can we BE more cliche? Sorry but I like ’em real and spectacular. Prince William? I mean, I realize your British and everything, but aren’t you a bit miffed that the Royals’ extravagant lifestyle is sustained on your backs? And Tom Cruise? TOM CRUISE???

I expected more from the land that brought us the Speed Triple and the Rocket III.

So I’m going to do my own lists, with one modification. The women are dream passengers. I don’t want any guy riding on the back of my bike, ever, so later in the week I’ll do a separate list of men I’d like to have riding in my group.

Here’s who’s riding pillion on my Rocket in some parallel universe where I get to chose:

#10: Mary-Louise Parker. The incredibly hot Mary-Louise plays the enterprising Nancy Botwin on the hysterically-funny Showtime series Weeds. And, she’s the star of the Most Intense Sex Scene in a TV Series, Ever. Here’s the prelude – use your imagination (and rent the DVD) if you want to see the rest, which is well worth it:

 

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Love/Hate. Currently Love.

I’ve written a bit about my love/hate relationship with my current ride, the Triumph Rocket III Touring. On a positive note, it’s a fantastic long-distance cruiser that eats up long mileage days with nary a complaint from my posterior. I love the cool factor of the bike and the fact that it can kick in the teeth of any old Harley on the road. And as my friend Art says, “You get the classic American bagger look, but with that 2300 CC engine…”

 

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It was a difficult conversation with my boss that started the ball rolling on NoBaffles.com: “Joe, you can’t ignore social media any more. You’re going to get left behind in your career,” he said over lunch about a month ago.

Many of the new social media and social networking tools befuddled this blogger for years.

My writing abilities and business experience have been my calling card in my public relations career. I was one of the few PR professionals who had been a corporate executive, come from a finance background, and found my way into PR through investor relations and corporate finance. My ability to understand the businesses we worked with and quickly digest their value propositions, to digest financial statements, and communicate with the C-suite had differentiated me from my peers. But recently, the worm had turned. The rise of social media tools like Twitter, blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others like them had given companies the opportunity to be the media, to be a source of information. My peers who knew how to use these tools to build audiences, identify and connect with influencers, had become more and more sought after – and more and more valuable within my firm. I was facing a world where my skills would be marginalized and secondary afterthoughts.

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Just saw an article out on the AP today headlined Gov’t study: More drivers texting at the wheel. The article provides a number of really alarming statistics: texting while driving increased 50 percent last year..two out of 10 drivers say they’ve sent messages from behind the wheel…etc. etc.

But the article closes with this little ditty: “there were 4,502 motorcycle deaths in 2010, a 0.7 percent increase. That may mean the sudden 16 percent decline in motorcycle deaths seen in 2009 is beginning to reverse.”

I’ve often said that if I get killed out there on the road, it will be for one of two reasons: either a soccer mom (soccer dad) texting while driving or a deer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked over at a veering driver and seen the ubiquitous iPhone in their hand as they update their Facebook status. It’s downright scary. So it strikes me that the two statistics, which aren’t connected within the AP article, are actually interrelated. That the increase in texting is causing the increase in motorcycle related deaths, or is at least a major contributing factor.

A few months ago I found this really cool montage video of a RAT pack (Riders Association of Triumph) ride on the Greek island of Thessalonica. I really enjoyed watching the video and it looks like everyone in the pack had a great day of riding. I don’t know that I will ever stand up on pegs and bow while riding a motorcycle, but I was definitely impressed that there were at least two guys in this group that can confidently do that move.

But what really jumped out at me in the video is the fact that in the shots of the pack riding by, the riders with white helmets are quite a bit more visible than those in dark helmets.

I watched the video a couple of times, including a few where I tried not to focus on the riders but rather on the scenery behind them or some other part of the computer screen. Every time a rider in a white helmet passed the camera, my eye was drawn to the screen, much moreso than when a rider in a dark helmet or even a silver helmet passed the screen.

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