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December 2019

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Good evening fellow Patriots and bikers! This past week, your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker went “over the hills and through the woods” to visit his family. It is a six hour drive, on a good day, and provides plenty of time to catch up on podcasts. While most of them were repeats, GBB caught up on some episodes of Mark Walter’s Armed American Radio and Bearing ArmsCam & Company. Both of these podcasts are highly recommended by Grey and cover all things Second Amendment. Listening to Cam Edward’s final episodes from before Christmas break, I was stunned at the state of affairs in the great Commonwealth of Virginia.

Based on what I have read, and what Cam has reported, the Second Amendment is under direct assault in Virginia. Virginia has continued its creep, more quickly over the past several years, to being a full fledged BLUE state. It is really quite sad. But thanks to groups like Virginia Citizens Defense League, Second Amendment supporters are coming together to try to protect their God given rights. VCDL has worked tirelessly lately and counties and cities in Virginia are passing Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinances which ban the use of municipal funds to enforce any laws passed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Black Face Promises New Gun Laws

Living in the Free State of Tennessee it is easy to forget how great we have things. The Second Amendment has not been threatened here since the state enacted concealed carry. In fact, as of January 1, 2020, the state is streamlining their permitting process for Handgun Carry Permits (HCP).

But things are not so rosy in the adjacent state of Virginia. There, Governor Ralph “Black Face” Northam was elected (primarily by the Democrats of Northern Virginia) on a far Leftist agenda which included restrictions on Virginians’ rights to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, after revealing yearbook photographs of Northam wearing a “black face” costume his liberal crony friends protected him and did not push for any punishment or sanctions. Just imagine if a Republican governor were caught doing something similar? There would inevitably be a push by the mainstream media (MSM) to recall them!

The timing of events, especially the Virginia Beach shooting on May 31, 2019, created the “Perfect Storm” for Northam to achieve his grand plan to disarm law abiding Virginians – leaving them helpless against criminals who do not give a damn about any laws Northam gets enacted. As reported by the Washington Examiner, on November 16, 2019, Northam’s legislative goals regarding the Second Amendment are: Universal Background checks on all purchases and transfers, bans on assault weapons, ammunition restrictions, bans on noise suppressors (called silencers by the Leftists) and bump stocks, limiting handgun purchases to one per month and enacting red flag laws. This is definitely the dream of every liberal politician in the United States! I am sure Black Face is quite excited!

Helping pave the way for Northam are the results of the November 2019 election in Virginia which gave the Democrats a ten seat majority in the House of Delegates and a two seat majority in the commonwealth’s senate. This may prove to be a significant challenge for Virginia gun owners.

The Climate in Virginia Today

As mentioned earlier in this blog post, the patriots of Virginia are not going to go down without a fight. According to Fox News, as of December 20, 85 of Virginia’s 95 counties, and 17 municipalities have passed sanctuary measures (and I believe Cam Edwards said more counties have adopted these laws since).

Not to be left out, Representative Donald McEachin (D-VA 4th District) stated on December 12, “I’m not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law. That’s his call, because I don’t know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that’s obviously an option he has.” What a damn assknozzle! First off, the governor cannot nationalize the National Guard. That would be the president. And while McEachin is obviously willing to fan the flames, this writer highly doubts that even “Black Face” Northam would ever agree to send the National Guard into communities to confiscate law abiding citizens’ firearms. But this demonstrates just how dangerous Leftist politicians can be when it comes to the Second Amendment.

This kind of behavior is not even remotely congruent to what the Democratic politicians in Virginia said when they were campaigning last year. What was heard most often was, “Relax. We are not coming for your guns.” What a damn can of hooey!

But today’s state of affairs in Virginia do provide a perfect example of how a purple state functions. The majority of the people of Virginia live in the areas known as Northern Virginia (Washington D.C. suburbs), Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, Chesapeake and Richmond. These voters control the legislature, with the more conservative voters (Patriots) in rural areas being held over a barrel.

What Can Virginians Do?

I feel for the Patriots of Virginia. The situation there is perilous and does go to prove that elections do have consequences. All of us, no matter where we live, have to stand up for our Second Amendment rights. One election can change the political landscape overnight and threaten our freedoms. Fortunately, with shows like Cam & Company and Armed American Radio, we do not live in a vacuum. Even though I am not in Virginia, I can keep tabs on what is going on with my neighbors.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League is working diligently for Virginians. They are having their VCDL Lobby Day on Monday, January 20, 2020. They are requesting all Virginia Second Amendment advocates show up at the capitol in Richmond to meet with state legislators. They are chartering buses from major metro areas of Virginia for transportation. The cost is $35. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure your voices are heard. They ask that participants refrain from open-carrying long arms. While legal in Virginia, it would provide the mainstream media plenty of fodder for their leftist news stories. For more information check out their website: VCDL Lobby Day Info.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ,
Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukah to all of my friends and followers! I hope you all have the merriest of holidays. I also hope some of you were good enough this past year to find a new pistol under the tree – or in your Christmas stocking! Having shot competitively, your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker knows a few things about maintaining his pistols. Today I will share some things everyone who carries a handgun should know – and do.

After years of being a range safety officer (RSO), it has always amazed me to see how little care and maintenance the average shooter puts into their pistols – a tool they may need to use to protect themselves, their family or their friends. When someone on the range was having difficulties with failures to eject – or failures to chamber – I could generally run a snake through the barrel, and lube things up a bit, and their problems would often go away. But that type of maintenance is little more than a Band-Aid. While I may be a bit obsessive about cleaning and lubricating my pistols, I know I can count on them to go “BANG!” every time I pull the trigger. I clean and lubricate my pistols after every range session. Others do it every three or four times they go to the range. There may be a happy medium somewhere in between.

Cleaning Your Pistol

A Clean Gun is a Happy Gun

Before I leave the range, I will disassemble my pistol and run a cleaning snake through the barrel. This helps remove excess carbon and powder – potentially making the gun more reliable when driving back to my shop. Once back in my shop, I remove the magazine and cycle the slide twice to verify there is not a cartridge loaded in the pipe – DO NOT FORGET TO DO THIS – not once, but twice. There have been many accidental discharges because this step was not followed – with far too many deaths and injuries to count. Next, I completely disassemble the pistol and thoroughly clean the slide, the external parts of the barrel, the frame, the recoil spring and guide rod. If I have shot the pistol a lot, I will disassemble the magazines and thoroughly clean all the parts – with special attention given to the follower – which pushes the cartridge up into the slide – which in turn chambers the cartridge in the barrel as the pistol goes into battery. Once all parts are clean, I move to the barrel. I prefer the Otis cleaning kit, as the cleaning cloths and wire brushes are pulled through in the same direction the bullet travels the barrel. I alternate between a cleaning cloth lightly dipped in Hoppe’s 9 solvent and the wire cleaning brush. I continue to alternate between the two until the cloth comes out clean.

Lubricate Your Slide

Lubricating Your Pistol With Quality Slide Grease Is Important

At this point, many shooters reassemble the pistol, load it up and are done. I do a bit more to make my pistol more reliable and protect its moving parts. I use Brian Eno’s Slide Glide Lite, in colder weather, or Shooter’s Choice slide grease, when warmer, to lubricate the parts of the frame where the slide moves during firing cycles. Without proper lubrication, your slide/frame will wear. Remember – a little grease goes a long way – applying too much will make a mess of things when the pistol cycles. Don’t forget that there are spots on the top of the frame where the slide makes contact. Apply a little slide lubricant there too. Next, I apply a very light amount of Hoppe’s gun oil to the ramp in the frame and the ramp on the bottom of the barrel. Lastly, I will run a cleaning patch through the barrel, with a very small amount of oil on it. This will protect the barrel. Reassemble your pistol, and cycle the slide several times to make sure there is no binding.

Grease All Areas Where the Slide and Frame Move
Do Not Forget To Lubricate the Friction Points on the Top of the Frame

In Closing

Taking proper care of your pistol will protect your investment and will allow it to operate trouble free when you need it most. One final thought: make sure you have shot plenty of your personal protection ammo through your pistol at the range, before you rely on that brand in the real world. Some pistols may not like certain brands of ammunition.

All The Best This Holiday Season!

Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter

Good afternoon fellow riders and Second Amendment aficionados. As I write this article, it is nearing the winter solstice. The days are very short, the mornings are cold, and your ever-lovable Grey Beard Biker is a bit grumpier. I really am not a fan of it being dark at 16:45 in the afternoon. I prefer the warm sun at my back in the evening, while blasting along a backroad. But I guess we should look at things from a positive standpoint. After December 21, the days will start getting longer and it will be a downhill slide to spring. Right?

This is the second installment on the basics of reloading. The first article dealt mainly with the costs of the basic equipment you will need to reload your own ammunition. Summarizing my first article, unless you only planning to reload rifle ammunition, you will need to purchase the following items to reload: progressive reloading press, shell plates, reloading dies, powder scale (recommended even if you are using a shell activated powder drop), brass sonic cleaner (or tumbler), reloading manual and a dial caliper. This is in addition to your powder and primers.

This is a three part series:
Part 1: Reloading Basics – Part 1
Part 2: Reloading Basics – Part 2 – Brass, Primers & Powder
Part 3: Reloading Basics – Part 3 – Loading Ammunition

Brass

If you brass doesn’t look new – it’s not good enough!

Most people that have considered reloading their own ammunition have been a bit of a junkyard dog at the range, picking up as much spent brass as they can find. I did this before I started reloading, nearly a decade ago. I would gladly go around and sweep up everyone’s spent brass, knowing at some point I would resurrect this byproduct of shooting and make superb ammunition from it. But this is the easiest part.

If you are serious about the quality of your reloads, you have to sort it by caliber, de-cap it (run it through your press to remove the spent primers) and properly clean it. This is a rather tedious process. After I have sorted and de-capped the spent brass, I run it through a tumbler with cleaning solution and stainless-steel media. My tumbler is made by Frankford Arsenal. It is essential that you clean your brass with calibers of the same size projectiles. For example, I tumble .357 SIG and 9 mm brass at the same time. They take the same diameter bullet. If you tumble 9 mm with .40 auto or .45 ACP brass, the smaller brass will end up inside the the larger brass and none will be properly cleaned. I am a stickler for perfection, so after I have cleaned the brass, and used my magnet to remove the stainless-steel media, I stand up all the brass on a cookie sheet and dry it in the oven, at 275 degrees, for about 45 minutes. If you do not do this, your brass will be quite spotted – and the old Grey Beard Biker doesn’t like water spots!

Powder

The Grey Beard Biker uses lots of different powders!

Powder is the building block for your ammunition. I have several dozen different powders which I use for reloading. They are all unique and have very different burn characteristics. For example, if I am reloading .357 SIG, I may use Alliant Power Pistol, Accurate No. 9 or Hodgden CFE Pistol. Each of these powders have different burn rates. I reload my .357 SIG target ammo with CFE Pistol. It’s a great powder, but the velocities are a bit slower than the other two powders. For my personal protection ammunition I use 125-grain Speer Gold Dot bullets over 8.1 grains of Power Pistol. This provides velocities north of 1,400 FPS with the only downside being a fairly significant muzzle blast – but I will accept this trade off because the stopping power is superior. For .45 ACP I use any number of powders including IMR 800X, Hodgden Longshot, Alliant BE-86 or Power Pistol. These, along with many others, work great for plinking at the range. But for my personal defense ammunition, I use 6.8 grains of Longshot powder with a 230-grain Gold Dot bullet. This produces a velocity of 900 FPS, which is plenty sufficient with a .45-inch bullet weighing 230 grains.

Your most important consideration when loading handgun ammunition is the burn-rate of the powder. It is especially critical when reloading smaller calibers, such as .380 auto or 9 mm. I use a lot of Accurate No. 2 powder for these smaller calibers. But because No. 2 is a very fast burning powder, the case pressures ramp up extremely quickly. For example, with a 124-grain bullet, the recipe for No. 2 is 3.6 – 4.2 grains of powder. Because this powder burns so rapidly, if you exceed the 4.2 grains your case pressures increase exponentially. At just a few tenths of a grain over the maximum charge you risk a catastrophic case failure which can self-destruct your gun, in the best case, or seriously injure you. This is why it is very important to follow your reloading manual. When I am loading these smaller caliber cartridges, I use a digital powder scale so I can load them hot – but safely.

Rifle powder is even more temperamental. When you shoot long range, like I do, it is even more tricky to work with. This will be covered in a separate article.

Primers

Primers are definitely not all the same. They do act differently, based on what you are rolling. I like Winchester primers in my larger caliber pistols, Federal in my .380, 9 mm and .40 pistol and Remington in my magnum rifles. The most important thing to remember, when it comes to primers, is to follow the recipes in your reloading manuals. Magnum primers burn much hotter and faster than a standard primer. Incorrectly using these over a very fast burning powder, you will definitely risk exceeding the recommended maximum case pressures on your brass.

If you follow your manuals, use the correct primers and load towards the middle range of the powder recipes – you will have consistent usable ammunition.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ,
Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter

The Grey Beard Biker is pissed off. Yes, I said it. I am pissed the hell off. Today, Representative Jerry Nadler announced two articles of impeachment against our president, Donald J. Trump: 1) abuse of power by pressuring Ukraine 2) obstruction of Congress by refusing to allow his closest advisors to testify at his impeachment hearings. While I wasn’t surprised about the abuse of power article – I was very surprised about the second – obstruction of congress. The whole impeachment process has been a ridiculous circus show, so I certainly do not blame him for preventing his advisors from being questioned. Obviously, the Democrats are in a lifeboat which is rapidly sinking. And they know it.

But I am getting ahead of myself here. The title of this post is “Democrats Just Don’t Get It.” They truly do not.

Democrats Are Out of Touch

After eight years of living with Barack Hussein Obama in the White House, the American people were tired of the same old, same old. We were sick and tired of his apology tours. We were sick and tired of everyone being politically correct. We were sick and tired of an intrusive Federal government. We were sick and tired of his war on the Second Amendment. We were sick and tired of hearing “Black Lives Matter” when we all knew that “All Lives Matter.” We were sick and tired of attacks on our police. We were sick and tired of being called racists.

Plus, during eight years of Obama living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there were plenty of nasty scandals:

  • Fast & Furious
  • Benghazi
  • IRS targeting of conservative groups
  • Solyndra
  • Attorney General Eric Holder ignoring congressional subpoenas
  • Attorney General Loretta Lynch meeting with Slick Willy
  • Payments to Iran for hostages

But in all eight years, there was never a formal call from Republicans to impeach him. Although there was plenty of things he did which were impeachable.

Because we were so sick and tired of everything Obama represented, we voted. In November 2016 we went to the polls and fairly elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

The Democrats, and Socialists, just cannot deal with the fact that Donald Trump won fair and square. While it is said that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, that is still being debated.

To say the Left is out of touch is an understatement. The remaining contenders for the Democrat presidential nomination are all promoting ideas and plans which very few Americans find important. They are willing to bankrupt the country to provide free healthcare. They threaten to confiscate guns from law abiding citizens. They yell, at the top of their lungs, that climate change is going to end the world. They embrace open borders and providing sanctuary for people who’s first action is breaking the immigration laws of our country.

Tonight I am watching Donald Trump’s rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The place is packed. There were thousands of people standing in the cold damp December air waiting to get in. Will the eventual nominee of the DNC be able to compete with this? It is highly unlikely. Their message is lost to the masses – except those on the very far left who hate America – and all we have stood for for generations.

Your Ever Lovable,
Grey Beard Biker
gbb@thegreybeardbiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter

Your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker seldom acknowledges the successes of the Democrats and socialist leftists. Watching One America News Network’s coverage of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s presser, announcing the House of Representatives will proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, I found myself pondering what, if anything, the left has been successful at. God knows they have done absolutely nothing for the American people they represent since taking the majority in January. Absolutely nothing! Unless you count this impeachment inquiry as an accomplishment – which would be, at best, an albatross.

But I must give them credit for playing the long game. They have showed patience at fulfilling their long-term goal of slowly eroding the ground conservatives stand on. One need look no further than their successes turning once red states purple – and often solid blue. Over the years, California went from electing conservative governors like Ronald Reagan to a socialist libtard like Gavin Newsom – a true dunce that could not find his way out of a wet paper sack.

Today, the streets of San Francisco are awash in feces, urine and used syringes. There are tent cities in all of the major metropolitan areas and they allow illegal aliens sanctuary. Reagan must be astonished looking down from heaven. And probably ashamed of his adopted home state.

But they obviously did not stop at California. With states like New York, Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Minnesota and New Jersey hemorrhaging their population to tax and business friendly states like Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas the liberals are flooding into these great places. (Hell, the liberals can’t even stand what the far leftists are doing.) All this migration has caused dramatic changes in states which have been traditionally conservative like North Carolina, Florida and Texas. If you recall, Florida almost elected a far leftist governor in 2018 and Beto O’Rourke, right up until election day, gave Senator Ted Cruz a serious run in Texas.

Indoctrination of our Schools

If you look at everything else the Democrat Party has done, which is not much, their single biggest success has been indoctrinating our young people. This started in the early 1970s, a period of time I remember well, with the publication of Saul Alinksky’s Rules For Radicals. The despicable Hillary Clinton actually wrote her college thesis on Alinsky, heaping praise on him.

Rule #13 of Rules for Radicals is: “Pick the target, freeze it, and polarize it.” This is exactly what the left has done with their takeover of higher education. Other baby boomers, like Hillary, grasped onto Alinsky’s rules and flooded college campuses as professors, deans and department heads. Their offspring (students), in turn, propagated throughout other educational institutions.

Ultimately, their plan was to brainwash the young people. It was something they realized would take several generations. But over the years, they have successfully transformed our youth. During the time I was in school, from the late 1960s, to the early 1980s, their efforts to take over were not visible. Schools then were grappling with desegregation, Vietnam protesters and drugs.

Today, the far Leftists are doing everything they can to turn our youth into socialist automatons which do and say as they’re told. The results of their long game are beginning to pay off. Not only do you see the results of their actions in colleges/universities, you are seeing it in high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. Our children are becoming less tolerant and are demanding their safe spaces.

Key Wins For the Left

So let’s look at some of the major initiatives the left has been successful in implementing – whether through regulation, legislation or court victories.

  • Removing the daily Pledge of Allegiance from our classrooms
  • Removing all reference to religion across the entire public educational system
  • Adoption of Common Core
  • Changes to sex education – even for 2nd and 3rd graders – to include teaching them about gay, bi-sexual, lesbian and transgender lifestyles
  • Rewriting school textbooks to promote liberal/socialist ideals and removing those which offer balanced lessons
  • Rewriting our country’s history in order to make children loathe great historic figures, important events and the capitalism which allowed generations of Americans to prosper
  • Encouraged our students to demand conservative speech and rallies be silenced
  • Removing conservative educators from of schools
  • Repeated claims that conservative people are racist, sexist homophobes – or worse – Communists

What Can Be Done?

It is never too late to push for change. But the proverbial train has left the station with regards to adults younger than 35. This indoctrination movement started in earnest in the early 1980s and has been running along at top speed since. School boards, school administrators, teachers and principals are liberal and unbending. Many of these people were students during the early period of liberal indoctrination. But, regardless of their previous successes, we must act. Here are some things we can do:

  1. Attend your school district’s board meetings – demand that they put balanced text books back in the classrooms
  2. Demand traditional sex education be returned to the curriculum – and only when children are old enough to understand
  3. Ask for the Pledge Allegiance be returned to the classroom
  4. Parent your children by becoming involved with their education – learn what they are being taught each day and teach them the values you expect them to grow up with
  5. Get involved with conservative speech and rallies in your area – the larger the crowd, the harder it is to silence them
  6. Home school your children if you have the means

We must get involved in teaching our youth the values we want them to grow up with. Where the educational system fails them, we need to step in and offer balance, wisdom and acceptance of those they do not agree with.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ,
Grey Beard Biker
gbb@thegreybeardbiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter

As you are well aware, your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker respects all of those who serve our great country. It takes a very special patriot to sign their name, in blood, with the U.S. military. This contract can become “due and payable,” with that soldier’s life, at any time or place. A soldier’s loyalty to our great country is one of tradition, passed on from generation to generation, since we fought the British Crown in the Revolutionary War. And while this hard-charging biker respects all soldiers, active and retired, he has a very special place in his heart for those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor – the highest military award our country bestows on its heroes.

A regular feature of The Grey Beard Biker is the Profile of Courage. This is dedicated to a soldier who has shown bravery above the call and duty. Today’s Profile of Courage post is about Marine Corps Corporal, Anthony Casamento. He was awarded his Medal of Honor some forty years after his actions on the island of Guadalcanal.

Corporal, Anthony Casamento – Profile of Courage

Casamento awarded the MoH

Unit: Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Date of Birth: November 16, 1920
Date of Death: July 18, 1987
Place of Death: Northport, New York
Final Resting Place: Long Island National Cemetery

Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company “D” First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division on Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands in action against the enemy Japanese forces on 1 November 1942. Serving as leader of a machine gun section, Corporal Casamento directed his unit to advance along a ridge near the Mantanikau River where they engaged the enemy. He positioned his section to provide covering fire for two flanking units and to provide direct support for the main force of his company which was behind him. During the course of this engagement, all members of his section were either killed or severely wounded and he himself suffered multiple, grievous wounds. Nonetheless, Corporal Casamento continued to provide critical supporting fire for the attack and in defense of his position. Following the loss of all effective personnel, he set up, loaded, and manned his unit’s machine gun, tenaciously holding the enemy forces at bay. Corporal Casamento single-handedly engaged and destroyed one machine gun emplacement on the flank. Despite the heat of ferocity of the engagement, he continued to man his weapon and repeatedly repulsed multiple assaults by the enemy forces, thereby protecting the flanks of the adjoining companies and holding his position until the arrival of the main attacking force. Corporal Casamento’s courageous fighting spirit, heroic conduct, and unwavering dedication to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps of the United States Naval Service.

The United States Marine Corps Medal of Honor

Thank you Corporal Casamento! Your bravery, intrepidity and devotion to country are an inspiration to the people of this great country. May you rest forever more along peaceful shores with the a warm sun at your back. You have done your duty, to the highest level, and this Grey Beard Biker salutes you, sir!

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ,
The Grey Beard Biker
@gbb@thegreybeardbiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter

After riding all summer, this time of year provides a great respite from the Southern heat of Tennessee. It can get so hot here that the asphalt turns gooey and the heat goes right through your boots. Additionally, sitting in traffic with a Big-Twin engine between your legs can give you a bad case of money-butt – which your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker can assure you does not feel good!

The Foothills Parkway may be beautiful – but leaves on the road are dangerous!

While riding is more comfortable this time of year, there are certain intrinsic dangers which go along with cooler weather – namely deer and wet leaves. The danger of large wildlife is easily understood, but those of you who don’t ride probably have never thought of wet leaves as being dangerous. Let me tell you, when you are hammering through a big sweeping curve and hit a patch of wet leaves, it feels like you are riding over a plank suspended by marbles. Most of the time you will not lose traction, but other times you will feel the rear wheel start to slide or spin. Trust me, it is not fun.

Deer Are Everywhere!

I have been very fortunate to have ridden several 100 thousand miles, through all seasons, never colliding with a deer. That does not mean there have not been some very close calls. While deer will damage a cager’s car, they can easily kill you if you are on two wheels with your knees in the breeze. If you see a big doe crossing the road this time of year, there is a very good chance it is being followed closely by a buck – one who is feeling quite amorous about the deer of the fairer sex you just saw crossing your path.

Bucks are in search of does this time of year!

When you encounter deer on the road while riding, you must avoid taking evasive action while at speed – which for most people is an instinctive reflex when a dangerous situation arises and they are behind the wheel. Steady braking is the key – even if you are in a sweeping curve. If you can slow your scooter down, you can then take more evasive action to either swerve around the deer – or just stop. To do so at full speed you will either end up in the ditch or the other lane – neither of which will be a pleasant experience!

If you talk to a grizzled old biker like me, over an ice cold beer, you may well hear them tell you to nail the throttle and hit the deer head on. While in theory, this might make sense, lowering your closing speed is the better choice. The reason these old grizzled bikers say this is because hitting the deer head on provides you a much better likelihood of staying upright. A glancing blow inevitably will cause you to go down – and most likely not in your lane. The additional danger this poses is getting hit by oncoming traffic or going off the road into trees, a field (if you’re lucky) or possibly a guardrail.

Unfortunately, you may have little opportunity to do anything. It may well happen so quickly that there is no chance for you to avoid the critter. Many people I have talked to never saw the deer and woke up flat on their back in the road!

Riding Through the Deer Gauntlet

So you may wonder why I titled this post “Lost Mojo or Due Caution?” It is because I ride every season. Living in this part of Tennessee a biker who is not bothered by the cold can ride literally year round. I say that I ride 50+ weeks per year, and unless the winter is especially bad, that is a true statement.

Over the past four years, I have had a very close friend go down in the mountains of northern Georgia when a deer jumped from an elevated grape vineyard and ran right between him and his windshield. If it had not been for the deer’s fur on his bike, no one would have known it was a deer that caused him to go down. He was quite bruised and had several broken ribs – and a beautiful Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail totaled. Last year, I had another friend total a brand new BMW when he hit a deer. He was only a few miles from home and had less than 200 miles on his bike. He ended up with a bruised spleen, major contusions and a concussion. One month later, he hit another deer on his Indian Scout. Both bikes ended up being totaled. About three weeks ago, another close biker brother, and blogger, hit a 12 point buck while running about 60 MPH down a two lane highway. The bikes behind him saw the big boy jump the fence right in front of him, and the instantaneous crash. Hank was downshifting and braking, but he was unable to avoid the deer. As Hank told it, “As I tried to avoid him, the last thing I remember was that ‘crunch’ of the front of my bike making contact. It’s a sound I will NEVER forget….I don’t remember much of anything after that.” Hank’s bike slid approximately 200 feet without him on it. While he had several broken ribs and a severe laceration on his head, we are fortunate that Hank is okay and lived to ride another day. And did I say his one year Harley-Davidson Ultra was totaled? It seems to be a common theme.

This leads me to the subject of this post. Us die hard bikers mean it when we say, “Live to ride, ride to live.” But this time of year, I sometimes feel like I have lost my touch – or mojo. I slow my entry speed into those tight sweeping corners – in case those wet leaves are just beyond my field of vision – or those three doe are crossing the road trailed by that big monster buck. However, slowing my entry speed does not mean I’m not seriously rolling into the throttle once I am in the curve and have a clear view through the sweeper. Just saying!

Today, I rode approximately 100 miles with my buddies, Jay and Craig. The route was through some serious boonies. While on this ride, we only saw one small deer in a field adjacent to our path of travel – most likely because of the 35 MPH wind gusts. Because I do some of my best thinking while riding, I pondered whether my slower entry speeds into these tight curves was because I was losing my “mojo.” It is not. It is because I am more cautious. I am constantly scanning the fields, woodlots and tree lines for moving deer.

Dress for the Slide – Not the Ride

Even on warmer days, during the fall and early winter, I always wear leather chaps, my heavy Fox Creek Leather jacket and gauntlet style gloves. If it is warm, I wear my unlined leather gloves. If it is cold, I wear my lined leather gauntlets. This is due to an abundance of caution. While I will wear a tank top and jeans during the summer, I always dress for the slide when the rut is on and the big bucks are looking for their next “hookup” with that cute doe. This gear will protect you from the nearly inevitable slide if you cannot avoid that starry eyed suitor chasing after his lady!

So if you are like Grey Beard, and out riding during this special time of year, it is okay to be cautious. In fact it is prudent. Scan the sides of the road for movement – especially where tree lines intersect your line of travel or woodlots are alongside harvested fields. Most importantly, slow your entry speeds into those ever enjoyable sweeping curves. You never know what may be lurking just out of your sight until you hear what Hank calls that “CRUNCH!”

Keep the shiny side up, brothers and sisters!

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ,
Grey Beard Biker
gbb@thegreybeardbiker.com
@GreyBeard_Biker on the Twitter