Good afternoon, bikers, patriots and gun enthusiasts! It is the second Monday in April, and spring is in the air – literally (the pollen is floating everywhere)! It is also the time of the year when Racy Sicilian™, and the Grey Beard Biker™, are beginning to lock in the events that we are planning on attending over the coming months.
Tennessee Motorcycles & Music Revival
The Tennessee Motorcycles & Music Revival rally has quickly become one of the most popular, and well attended, rallies in the South. This year, with the COVID-19 mask restrictions having been lifted in Tennessee, it promises to be the biggest TMMR ever! Held at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, in Hurricane Mills, TN, it will take place from Thursday, May 20 through Sunday, May 23.
Besides having many vendors, you will get to enjoy some of the best bands you will see anywhere. Here is this year’s list of bands:
Billy F. Gibbons and the BFG’s (Billy is one of the ZZTop trio)
Sweet Tea Trio
The Loretta Lynn Ranch offers tent camping and RV hookups. Tickets are required for the Tennessee Motorcycles & Music Revival and can be purchased as daily passes or full event passes. Hotels/motels are in available in the area, with Clarksville (45 minutes) being the closest large city.
Boone Bike Rally
This will be the first year that Racy and the GBB plan on attending the Boone Bike Rally. Located in Boone, North Carolina, the rally runs from Thursday, June 3, through Saturday, June 5. There will be plenty of vendors and bands at this event. Some of the bands currently scheduled are:
The Springfield Mile
The Springfield Mile is one of the American Flat Track Racing organization’s premier events. It is held each Labor Day Weekend at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on the north side of Springfield, Illinois. This year’s races will take place Saturday, September 4 and Sunday, September 5. Tickets are required.
Bikes, Blues & BBQ
While Racy and I absolutely love riding in the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains (our home turf), there roads nearly as challenging elsewhere. One area that I have ridden often is the Ozarks, of Missouri and Arkansas. In my humble opinion, for sheer beauty and technical roads, you cannot beat the southern Ozarks of Arkansas – and it just so happens that one of the largest rallies west of the Mississippi River is held there: Bikes, Blues & BBQ. As with all rallies, there are tons of vendors, great music – and of course, in this case, fantastic BBQ! The rally is held in Fayetteville, Arkansas and will be running from Wednesday, September 22 through Saturday, September 25. While none of their bands have been announced yet, you can bet they will be worth the price of admission. And while attending Bikes, Blues & BBQ, do not miss some of the great touring roads in the area:
After the slew of canceled events in 2020, Racy and The Grey Beard Biker are looking forward to enjoying 2021! Hopefully we will see you at one of these events! Until then, ride often, shoot straight and keep the shiny side up.
Good morning, bikers, friends and Patriots! I am pleased that today is March 26th and Spring is finally here to stay! I have been doing lots of riding lately even in the inevitable spring rains. And riding this time of year means the scents of spring are in the air. Montgomery County did away with their mask mandate last week and things seem well on their way back to the “OLD NORMAL!” And best of all, my cherry tree is in full bloom! Life is good!
But I digress…. Back to the subject at hand!
New firearms, factory ammunition and reloading components are scarce! And this is an understatement of epic proportions. Over the past decade we have seen this happen several times. If you recall, after the Sandy Hook shooting, the nObama administration threatened all kinds of gun grabbing proposals. Fortunately, at that time, the National Rifle Association was still relevant, and their lobbying arm, NRA-ILA, was able to thwart their plans to take our guns. But, since the #Leftists never let a tragedy go to waste, their rhetoric inflamed Second Amendment supporters and there was a run on firearms, ammunition and even reloading components. At that time, when I could not locate anything but primers, I vowed to never be caught flatfooted again.
I slowly stockpiled reloading components: powder, primers, bullets and new brass (Hand rolled personal protection JHP ammunition is only loaded with new brass!). Over the past five years, I had built up a large supply of everything I needed to stay well supplied. And I also built up over 5,000 rounds of FMJ practice ammo.
Fast forward to March 2021. We are nearly a year into the unprecedented anarchy our country witnessed starting with the #BLM and #Antifa riots. Prompted by the death of George Floyd – and well timed to impact the General Election in November – these anarchists caused a serious run on all things firearms from guns, to ammunition and even reloading components. To exasperate matters even more, after the Atlanta and Boulder shootings, the #Leftist politicians are demanding more “commonsense” gun reforms. In my opinion things are only going to get worse with firearms and ammunition shortages.
After a year of these shortages, and normal firearm drills, I am now beginning to run low on reloading components. Living in Middle Tennessee, I am fortunate to live near one of the largest distributors of ammunition and shooting supplies in the country: Midsouth Shooters. I have been watching their inventory every morning – and for the most part they have nearly nothing in stock. The largest shortages are in primers and powder. Yesterday’s search for powder returned ZERO powders in stock. Absolutely none! Crazy, right?
What is driving this shortage?
The first thing driving shortages, especially on new firearms and factory ammunition, are the huge increases in new gun owners. Since the BLM/Antifa riots started, new gun owners have increased at unprecedented levels. According to the FBI, a record 39.7 million NICS background checks were run in 2020. And while some of these may not have resulted in an actual purchase – many individual checks would inevitably have included the purchase of multiple firearms.
But this does not explain the drought on reloading components. Reloaders, who purchase individual components, are a very small segment of Second Amendment supporters. In my humble opinion, these shortages are being driven by opportunistic assholes trying to take advantage of the political environment to make huge profits. They are simply hoarding supplies. A quick search on GunBroker.com highlights the problem:
There are over 500 pages of reloading components on GunBroker and all the items are WAY overpriced! Unfortunately, those people who are willing to bid these items up – due inevitably to desperation – are causing this problem. It is supply and demand. These unsavory sellers are actually not the problem. Price is driven by demand. Until people stop driving these selling prices up, they will continue to stay inflated. The value of any item is directly related to what people are willing to pay for said item.
While I would like to replenish some of my supplies, I am not going to add to the problem by paying ridiculous prices for reloading components. I was fortunate enough to be able to slowly stock up on supplies over the past six years or so. I also have 5,000+ rounds loaded in my ammo safe. If you are patient, you can find the same reloading components at Midsouth Shooters or Midway USA for normal retail. The manufacturers of these components are not inflating their prices and are manufacturing them as quickly as possible. So stop paying inflated prices from unsavory sellers on Gunbroker and other sites. The prices will drop and the hoarding by people taking advantage of low supplies will evaporate.
Until next time, friends – ride often, shoot often and hug and kiss your loved ones often. You know I will be kissing my sweet, beautiful, sexy and highly intelligent Racy Sicilian all the time!
Good evening, bikers, Patriots and Second Amendment supporters! I am pleased to announce that my beautiful Tarheel, @RacySiciian, has partnered with me at The Grey Beard Biker! Soon, you will start seeing her posts on this blog.
I am very excited about this as Racy has strong opinions on nearly everything – and we always agree (ALMOST) on them! She will bring a fresh perspective to this site – and I am sure you will absolutely love her writings – most all of which will make you laugh your ass off!
You can find out more about her by clicking on the “About Us” menu – or by following this link: About Us.
Over the past 18 months, your friendly Grey Beard Biker™ has had five accounts suspended on @Twitter. The largest of those accounts had nearly 65K followers. I made the move to @Gab last month and could not be happier. This social platform was made to protect free speech and they host their platform on their own servers – so unlike Parler – you do not have to worry about big tech like Amazon Web Services shutting them down.
You can find me on Gab by searching Gab for @Biker4Life.
Happy Tuesday, bikers, friends and Patriots! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and got to do something you enjoy doing – shooting, riding or both! I have been quite busy over the past week doing what I do during the cold months of winter in Middle Tennessee – reading, shooting, reloading and when the opportunity presents itself – riding scoots. What have you been doing to stay busy in your neck-of-the-woods?
So, I admit it! While I am a YUGE supporter of the Second Amendment – and our God Given right to protect ourselves and loved ones – I have resisted owning an AR platform rifle until 2020. I know, what the hell? Having grown up deer hunting, I have owned a small armory of rifles for years. But one thing is common with the rifles I have owned: they have always been bolt-action guns. I love the feel of sliding the bolt closed – slamming a cartridge into battery – and sending lead WAY downrange. I have shot long range rifle competitively and the simplicity of a bolt action rifle makes them very reliable and accurate. But being one of my best friends is a retired Army 5th Group special forces NONCOM, I have been immersed in AR platform rifles for years – and seen them built from the ground up.
It has been a long road for me to decide on buying an AR and once I decided to do so, I determined the criteria I would use in selecting the rifle:
It would be a carbine length rifle – or perhaps an AR pistol
It would be in .300 AAC Blackout (I know, a lot of your are .556 NATO guys/gals – but I wanted a caliber I could shoot inside the house without losing what little hearing I have left! – And for those of you who are AR-10 aficionados and prefer the hard hitting 7.62X51 cartridge – please see my previous sentence – I value what little hearing I have left and I want to be able to place quick follow up shots!)
It would have to be able to handle both hyper-sonic and subsonic ammunition
It would be can ready – as I will use a suppressor to protect my hearing
So with this criteria my custom AR-15 in .300 Blackout was born. I started with a Burris 4X scope, and found the rifle was quite accurate with hand rolled hyper-sonic ammo out to 150 yards. Using a pistol-length gas tube it also digested subsonic ammo so I started looking a combat style red-dot sights. After reading dozens of reviews, I decided on the Vortex OpticsVenom Red Dot in the 3 MOA varietal.
Included in the box:
Venom Red Dot sight
T-15 Torx wrench
Screwdriver (for windage/elevation adjustment and battery access cover)
Besides purchasing the Vortex sight, I also purchased their AR-15 Riser Mount which properly positions the red dot on an AR-15 – the added benefit of which is the quick release lever – making removal of the sight very quick.
One of the best selling features of this sight, over competitive red dot sights, is battery access – you do not need to remove the sight, from its base, to install a new battery. Based on the specifications Vortex Optics provides, battery replacement will not be a common chore as the CR1632 battery is claimed to last 150 hours on its brightest setting and up to 30,000 hours on its lowest setting!
Setting up the Venom Red Dot was quick and easy. I installed the battery, mounted the sight on the riser, disassembled the rifle and bore sighted the sight at 25 yards. The entire assembly and bore sighting took less than 30 minutes – including setting up my bore sight target.
Three days later I was out at the range and found my first shot on the paper, at 25 yards, after bore sighting. In fact, I was one inch high and one inch to the right. Using my sled, I quickly zeroed the sight in and moved the target out to 50 yards. This sight is very accurate for a combat style red dot as proven by my target:
Long Battery Life
No auto power up
Light weight (1.1 oz – sight only)
No “clicks” on windage and elevation adjustment
ArmorTek lens coating
Near ZERO parallax
High strength aluminum housing
Automatic red dot brightness (10 manual brightness levels)
Automatic shut down after 14 hours
There are way more “pros” to the Vortex Venom 3 MOA Red Dot sight than “cons”
If you are like me, and take your home defense seriously, get rid of the scope on your AR-15 and go to a red dot combat sight. Target acquisition is quick and a 3 MOA sight will still drive shots through a bullseye at 100 yards. The Vortex Optics Venom 3 MOA Red Dot sight is a Grey Beard Biker™️ top buy – as it is both a high quality optic and very reasonably priced.
Happy Thursday, bikers, friends and Patriots! The week is finally winding down and Friday is in clear view. Hopefully, those of you that ride are getting a chance to do so. For those of you that don’t – won’t – or can’t ride, I hope you are able to enjoy whatever it is you enjoy doing this weekend! This Grey Beard Biker is looking forward to a weekend which promises sunshine and temps in the 50s – something we have not have experienced in Middle Tennessee for quite some time.
In case you were wondering what I have been up to lately – and I am sure there are lots of you who do 🤣 – I have been reloading lots of ammunition, talking a great deal to my North Carolina Tarheel beauty, reading news, following back Patriots on Gab and smoking some awesome cigars! Unfortunately, I haven’t enjoyed a top-shelf bourbon for over a week, as I am out and seem more inclined to sit around the house in my pajamas than go out in the nasty ass weather we’ve been having. I know, I need to get my priorities in order! 😳
So the title I chose for this blog post may seem way the fuck out there… I get it. I actually found it hard to think of a title for this post because nothing I thought of could adequately describe the Orwellian ideas that the rapidly melting #Snowflake, Mr. Roose, is. His idea of having #CreepyUncle Joe Biden appoint a “Reality Czar” is because he is terrified of the dystopia conservatives inhabit here in the United States. And just in case some other citizens of Dumbassville read this post, and are of the same low IQ of Mr. Roose, here is the definition of dystopia:
I know all of y’all residents of Dumassville know what kryptonite is, because the assnozzle residents of the aforementioned village would never be able to understand anything more complicated than a superhero cartoon.
So, let me put this all together for you Dumbassvillians:
In other words, you are paralyzed in fear of conservative patriots who reside in dystopia. Mr. Roose’s “Reality Czar” will eradicate patriot free speech with his kryptonite so you do not have to quiver in fear any longer on a couch in your mama’s basement, while playing PacMan. Yeah, that’s about the jest of it. So, all of you residents of Dumbassville need to get a damn life, and let the old whiskery Grey Beard Biker provide you a damn lesson in commonsense: While heavy field artillery can hurt you – written words cannot. Just don’t read them. Ignore what we say and you won’t be frightened any longer. 😳
So let’s look at a few of Mr. Roose’s less than enlightened ideas – based on his discussions with some “terrorism experts” who also reside in Dumbassville:
So obviously this assnozzle thinks all of us Patriots subscribe to the conspiracy theories of QAnon and believe Donald Trump would declare martial law. I am not a member of QAnon groups and I do not believe you can be a member of QAnon. But I do believe there is a huge #DeepState which QAnon believers preached of early on. Next:
So we Patriots have decided to create our own version of reality. Really? We know that certain facts are true. While COVID-19 is real, its mortality rate is no worse than that of the seasonal flu. We also know that states which opened as quickly as possible suffered no higher mortality rates than others. In fact, Mr. Roose, the governor we all know you worship, #DeathCamp Cuomo, murdered thousands of seniors by not utilizing the floating military hospital President Trump provided New York. You should be ashamed. But alas, we all know you are not. By the way, you and your minions live in the alternate universe – not us law abiding citizens. We are not part of the group of anarchists which burned down cities for the better part of year now. The violence mongers reside in your alternate reality.
Mr. Roose did not just bloviate his own thoughts or offer his own solutions. He actually spoke to Dr. Joan Donovan, a professor at Harvard. Need I say more? Harvard? Laugh my big fat biker ass off. The idiot professors at America’s ivy league schools need a YUGE dose of commonsense. They have commiserated far too long with other #Leftist #Socialists while drinking their lattes. In the real world we go to work. Raise our families. And solve problems. We do not create isolated caste systems like the one you live in.
Here it is! The Kryptonite armed Reality Czar! And then there is this:
When it comes to being ahead of the curve on burning our First Amendment right to freedom of speech, the fucking tech giants are way ahead of what any bureaucracy run by a reality czar could ever hope to accomplish. While these tech platforms stifle our free speech, they let leftists dox conservatives, gun owners and politicians who believe in the experiment our Founding Fathers launched in 1776. You see, Mr, Roose, the social media and tech companies do not care one damn bit about privacy laws if it silences conservative voices.
I have absolutely no idea what the Free Radicals Project is, but it must also be headquartered in Dumbassville. The problem with these groups, and liberal think tanks, in general, is that they all suffer from delusional fears of the truth. Yes, we all want jobs. But the very person you are calling on to create jobs is the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the senile old man, who with the stroke of a pen, eradicated 100s of thousands of good paying jobs – all on his first day at work. And lastly, Mr. Piccolini, there is no systemic racism in the “parallel universe” Mr. Roose says we reside in. We, unlike you and your associates, believe that all lives matter.
Patriots, like those who you wish to unleash your ideological reality czar on, are a moral God Fearing demographic who stand for the flag and kneel only to our God. We want to protect this experiment in a Democratic Republic which our Founding Fathers thankfully gave us over 240 years ago. We largely do not advocate violence, rather we embrace the free exchange of ideas – even yours. You will not hear us ask for a reality czar to relegate your ideas to the dustbin of stupid ideas – hiding it from people we should trust to use commonsense – which certainly is not so fucking common in the parallel universe of Dumbassville – where you reside.
The Grey Beard Biker™️ gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com @Biker4Life on Gab
Happy Tuesday, bikers, friends and Patriots! I hope all y’all are having a great start to the new week. Here in Middle Tennessee it was a dreary, gray, drizzly and cold weekend. I did ride a bit recently – a whopping 22 miles! And believe me, when I say, it was too cold to do much more!
The picture above was from a NRA-ILA article on March 30, 2018. This was before any of the wrangling for the Democrat nomination for president of mid-2019 when we saw on full display that any of the potential nominees were, in fact, going to “come for our guns!”
On December 30, 2019 I wrote a blog post sarcastically titled, “We are not coming for your guns!” It was not written to highlight a national push for new gun grabbing legislation, but rather for the assault on the Second Amendment in Virginia. But I have also written about the Democrat’s obsession with taking our guns in a blog post on July 3, 2019, “Commonsense Gun Reforms.” Both of these articles are worth a read, if you haven’t done so already.
They Are Coming For Your Guns!
With the knowledge that there would be a Democrat in the White House (because the election was stolen) and a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate (because the election was stolen), the assault on our Second Amendment rights began quietly on January 4, 2021. We can all thank the YUGE assnozzle, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), for proving what I have been saying all along – “They are coming for your guns!” Ms. Jackson Lee introduced HR 127 on that day, a bill named, Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act.
This bill will inevitably go down as one of the most dangerous assaults to the Second Amendment since the founding of our country. Named for Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Pakistan, who was killed on May 18, 2018 at Santa Fe (TX) High School, this bill is nothing less than a full frontal assault on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It is interesting to note, that Sheikh was one of ten people killed in the shooting, so one wonders why Jackson Lee named the bill in her honor? My guess is that it is a move to pander to Muslims, and other foreign minorities, which is a typical tactic of #Leftists. This easily allows them to call those who oppose the bill xenophobes or racists!
So What Is In The Bill?
Simply put, this bill aims to license all firearms and ammunition a person owns. As you will see, there is no grandfathering of previously owned guns and ammunition.
Here are some key provisions of this bill:
Firearm owners have to transfer the make, model and serial number of all firearms they owned previous to the bill’s passage, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – who will maintain a database
Firearms owned before the bill was passed must be transmitted to BATFE within three months
New purchases will be transmitted on the purchase date
The database will be accessible by all members of the public, Federal, state and local law enforcement, all branches of the military and state and local governments (not only do they want to know where all the guns are, they want your crazy neighbors to know as well – and let’s not forget all of the criminals who would like to steal those legally licensed firearms! WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!)
Licenses to individuals will require:
The individual to be at least 21 years old
They must pass another national instant criminal background check
They must undergo a psychological evaluation to prove they are not unsuited to possess a firearm
Complete a minimum of 24 hours of firearms training which is approved by the United States Attorney General
Have purchased a liability insurance policy through the Attorney General (the ultimate red herring!)
For those that own a scary black military assault rifle 😳 there are additional requirements to obtain a license:
Undergo specific training for this type of firearm of at least 24 hours
Undergo a psychological examination by a licensed psychologist approved by the Attorney General
Any family members who MAY have access to the scary assault rifle will also have to undergo the same psychological examination
The licensed psychologist will also conduct background interviews of current and former spouses, and at least two other family members or associates of the individual to determine said individual’s state of emotional, mental and relational stability (WHAT THE FUCK??? 😳)
This bill puts the United States Attorney General – and Department of Justice – in the insurance business! In order to be licensed the licensee will pay an annual insurance premium of $800! The bill is somewhat vague as it doesn’t specify if an individual licensee has to purchase this for each firearm or if the one fee covers the person and all of their gun collection.
What will happen if you are in violation of any of the provisions of this bill?
If you possess a firearm without a license you face a fine of between $75,000-$150,000 and/or imprisonment for not less than 15 years or more than 25 years
If you transfer a firearm to an unlicensed individual, or loan them a firearm or ammunition, you may be fined between $50,000-$75,000 and/or imprisonment for not less than 10 years or more than 15 years
If you do not have valid insurance, issued by the Attorney General, you may be fined between $50,000-$100,000 and/or imprisonment for not less than 10 year or more than 20 years
In order for any of this to be possible, Ms. Jackson Lee’s bill would strike the previous Federal provision which prohibited the establishment of a Centralized Firearms Registration System. I have written about this before, with regards to the Leftists’ desire to enact Universal Background Checks, in my blog post, “Eliminating Mass Shootings.”
Buried in Ms. Jackson Lee’s bill, under Section 3, Prohibition on Possession of Certain Ammunition, is a provision to outlaw ammunition over .50 caliber – which applies to very few individuals. But most disturbing in this section is the prohibition of magazines, or other feeding devices, which either allow for a capacity of over 10 rounds of ammunition, or can be modified to accept more than 10 rounds – except for a carve out for .22 caliber firearms.
If you possess any prohibited ammunition, that which is over .50 caliber, you may be fined between $50,000-$100,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than 10 years or more than 20 years. If you possess any large capacity magazines, or other feeding devices, you may be fined between $10,000-$25,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than one year or more than five years.
Ms. Jackson Lee’s proposed bill, Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act, is the largest assault on our constitution freedoms since The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (which was signed into law by our second president, John Adams). While the proposed bill is not law, having recently been introduced, and referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, it clearly demonstrates how out of control the next two years will be for freedom loving Patriots! The Democrat Party knows no bounds with regards to enacting their utopian Socialist ideologies on Americans! I believe that the bill, as written, has little chance of becoming law because there are many moderate #DemonRats, who live in very pro #2A states, who do not want to be defeated in the 2022 election cycle.
One glaring omission of this law, which I find oddly missing, is the confiscation, or buy-back, of their most hated firearms – those scary ass Black Assault Rifles. Other than requiring additional licensing requirements, and limiting magazine capacities, these firearms will remain legal to own. But the question remains, why doesn’t this bill prohibit them altogether? If you read deeper in the bill, it does:
First, there are plenty of reasons, all ambiguous at this time, that the Attorney General could deny you a license to own such firearms (AR-15s, AR-10s, AKs, etc.) through the more stringent psychological examinations. First, the psychologists have to be approved by the Attorney General. If the AG is extremely anti-Second Amendment, they could only approve gun-grabbing psychologists through a stringent litmus test. Second, those psychologists can search for family members, and known associates of yours, who do not like you or believe the Second Amendment only implies to the Militia, as stated in the Second Amendment, and which has been perverted in modern times to mean the National Guard of the states. For more information on the difference between the Militia of the 18th century and the Left’s obsession that the Founders really meant what is now our National Guard, read my blog post, The Second Amendment.
The one paragraph in this bill, which should scare the hell out of freedom loving Patriots is entitled “Revocation of License:”
“A license issued under this subsection to an individual who becomes prohibited by Federal or State law from possessing a firearm is hereby revoked. Such an individual shall immediately return the license, and surrender all firearms and ammunition owned or possessed by the individual, to the Attorney General.” – There it is! Confiscation!!
While I have been an advocate of hunting for many years, I believe the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to protect the citizens of this great country from the tyranny of an overarching, despotic government – not to protect our ability to possess firearms for hunting. What this bill really will do is make owning firearms punitively difficult due to licensing requirements and hefty insurance premiums – which would be paid to the Federal government. Firearms ownership will be reserved for wealthier individuals and those people who are willing to devote a huge amount of time – and effort – to going through the process of becoming “Licensed.” If you believe, like I do, that the Second Amendment is a gift from our Founding Fathers, who believed we have a God-Given right to protect ourselves, this bill, through its punitively expensive insurance requirement, would deny an entire class of law abiding individuals who are more likely to need to protect themselves: the poor. This demographic often lives in dangerous areas where thieves and thugs use illegal guns to commit their brazen crimes. In my view this is the saddest potential outcome: the disarming of people, who are law abiding, and face dangers more often than other demographics of United States citizens. People like myself, have the means to pay the premium for the Federal insurance. We will take the time to jump through all of the licensing hoops to get our licenses. Isn’t this racist on its very face? Doesn’t Ms. Jackson Lee care about the poor people in her district? I think not. She is more interested in pushing an ideological dogma with its roots tied to a socialist utopia.
Today, even in the event this abomination were to become law, it would face a huge uphill fight in the judiciary system. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), since their decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller, has supported the Second Amendment. The SCOTUS is more conservative today, because of Donald J. Trump. We have no reason to believe they wouldn’t strike down this law. So for this reason, I believe Ms. Jackson Lee’s proposed legislation is premature. The biggest #DemonRat wet dream, one which the legislature will inevitably take up, is packing the SCOTUS with more associate justices, all of course liberal gun-hating jurists. If, by the Grace of God, we can prevent this from happening, we will secure the Second Amendment for future generations. God help us if we can’t.
Over the past forty years I have ridden all sorts of motorcycles from a little Kawasaki 90cc Enduro to motor cross bikes to large Harley-Davidson touring motorcycles (baggers) – and most recently adventure bikes. I cannot count the miles I have put on big cruisers and other scoots. It is definitely upwards of 1 million. I have more gear in my gear cabinets than I can possibly inventory. Some gear is immediately relegated to the “unused gear” box at the bottom of one of my gear cabinets. They become the misfits of bike gear. For this reason I have always been hesitant to review gear (not that I do not get approached regularly to do reviews!)- because I am actually very picky about gear that will take up precious space when I am riding. So I was very skeptical when Bryan Lee, from Viking Bags sent me an email to review one of their pieces of motorcycle luggage.
Viking Black Backpack
After agreeing to review Viking Cycle’s backpack, the first thing I must say is that their customer service is amazing. The day after I made the commitment for a review, I received a notification that it had been shipped to me via FedEx. The package was supposed to be delivered in two days, but it arrived at my doorstep the next day. This is the type of service one usually expects – but in today’s crazy environment – it seldom happens. Even though the package’s contents were not fragile is was very well packaged, which speaks volumes for Viking Cycle US.
When I inspected this backpack I was immediately impressed about how well it was constructed using 600D Cordura fabric.
While their website lists the Viking Black Backpackas water resistant, they do include a very well made rain flap to keep your belongings dry when you are blasting around the Smoky Mountains in the inevitable rain squalls. Since I carry a lot of electronics with me when I am on my adventures, I appreciate having things like my MacBook Pro, external hard drives, GoPro video cameras, and such, well protected. This bag will do just this with the rain flap.
I chose to review a backpack because I have gotten into adventure bikes lately. The Triumph Tiger 800 has plenty of room for the gear I carry with me in my aftermarket SW-MOTECH TRAX ADV hard cases (watch for an upcoming review). But packing things like my valuable electronics and several days of clothes has been difficult for me. This backpack has plenty of room for two to three days of clothing and the electronics I will use during the trip.
I traveled to the mountains on my Triumph Tiger 800 in November. And based on the way this awesome piece of luggage is designed, I wish Bryan had approached me sooner to review it! This bag features everything you need to comfortably carry it loaded with clothing, electronics and other items you’d carry on an adventure bike trip. To help comfortably support the weight I will inevitably pack in it, it features heavy shoulder straps, a large belt strap with heavy D buckles and lastly a chest strap to keep it from shifting while I am leaning into the mountain switchbacks.
It is just past the mid-point of a Middle Tennessee winter – UGH! But I am already planning a late March or early April trip to the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains – and It will inevitably be on the Triumph Tiger 800 so I can ride some of the logging roads – which I missed this past November. I highly recommend you consider buying the Viking Black Backpack if you are the type who likes to pack up in a hurry and hit the road – like you know I do. But do not forget the other great gear from Viking Cylcle US:
Happy Friday, bikers, patriots and friends. It has been nine days since #SleepUncle Joe Biden was inaugurated 46th president of the United States. So many patriots looked on ruefully as he took the oath of office and gave his inauguration speech – the whole event being a charade with nary a Biden supporter present – which has been par for the course since he won the Democratic presidential nomination. And we all know that there was no way this senile old man was able to get 80+ million votes – but this is old news and it is too late to do anything about the election.
The new “savior of the people,” Joe Biden, is in a position now that he could work with congress to get his agenda put in place the way our Founding Fathers envisioned – through legislation passed by the representatives of the people and signed into law by him – as the chief executive officer of the United States. Both houses of congress are controlled by a Democrat majority – albeit by very slim margins – so getting his pet projects completed should be a simple matter of working with the legislative branch of the Federal government. But instead of going this route, King Joe has decided to do everything by executive fiat – or should I say executive orders (EOs).
Here is a list of some of Biden’s EOs:
Directed Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop recommendations to modernize regulatory review process
Extended deferrals of deportations of illegal aliens
Halted construction of southern border wall
Ended Trump’s alleged “Muslim” immigration ban
Protect Dreamers by fortifying DACA
Requirement to include non-citizens in the Federal census
Rescinded Trump’s epic 1776 Commission
Canceled the Keystone XL pipeline
Rejoined the Paris Climate Accord
Rejoined the World Health Organization
Launched 100 Days Masking Challenge to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Requirement to wear masks at airports and on planes, trains and ships
Directed FEMA to create federally funded vaccination centers
Establishment of a Pandemic Testing Board
Restored collective bargaining power and set the groundwork for $15/hour minimum wage
Establishment of a presidential envoy for climate at the National Security Council
Eliminate Federal prison private contracts
Provide Federal funds for abortions in other countries
All told, Emperor Biden has signed 42 executive orders in the nine days since his inauguration. And these have all been signed while the legislative branch has a Democrat majority. But I guess that makes sense since the current congress has had a singular focus since, inauguration day, which has been impeaching Donald Trump and getting a conviction in the senate: something which according to constitutional expert, Alan Dershowitz, is unconstitutional.
I find it very sad that the president, who has called for unity and claimed he would work to benefit all American people, has relied so heavily on the “Power of the Pen.” In my opinion, he has failed all Americans and is not acting presidential in even the slightest way. Unfortunately, I am certain there will be many more examples in the coming weeks of Biden operating via fiat rather than through the legislature which directly represents the people of the United States.
Happy Monday, friends, patriots and my brothers and sisters who prefer to be on two wheels! While your ever whiskery Grey Beard Biker rides 50+ weeks a year, many of you are not able to do that because of where you live. But even here in Middle Tennessee, I am one of a select few bikers who will actually gear up enough to ride when it is in the upper 30s or low 40s. In fact, myself, Rob, Poj, Jay and Hank are the only people in my group that never park their machines for a little winter slumber. I ride often enough on my bikes that I do not even use a battery tender this time of year. I count myself very blessed to say the least.
Over then next couple of weeks, we will inevitably have some spring like days with temperatures in the low 70s and bright sunny skies. This will inevitably cause some stirring in the biker community and the bikes will be unplugged from their battery tenders and awakened from their winter hibernation – at least until the next time the temps drop back into the 40s for two or three days. 😳
Eyes on the Road – We’re back!
I use this heading every year around this time. I almost always write this specific post – although I did not write one last year. Actually, I probably am a bit premature this year in writing this public service announcement (PSA), because even with the upcoming warm weekends – most bikers will still be inside or driving their cage to their favorite watering hole. But inevitably, a larger than normal amount of bikers will be venturing out over the coming weekends. And simply put, cagers are not used to seeing motorcycles. I see it every time I ride this time of year. People are shocked to see me geared up and riding. There just aren’t that many bikes out right now. But what I also see are the people who look right through me preparing to make a left turn across my lane. They literally seem to stare right through you and then pull right in front of you.
Tennessee passed a state law several years ago – I believe in 2017 – which made it illegal to use your phone while you are in your car unless you are hands free – even if you are at a stoplight. But it amazes me when I ride along divided four lane highways in this state. As you are approaching a car, from behind, you can always tell the person who is either reading their phone or texting. The law seemed great, and a step in the right direction, but people don’t really care and will text and drive – or, worse yet, they have a soccer mom’s van full of screaming youngsters. Talk about a damn distraction! I pity that person which is in that vehicle and might prefer to put a bullet in my cranium than trade places with them – but they are out there.
And while signs like the one shown above are all over the roads in Tennessee – and the message is great – one has to wonder if they make any difference whatsoever. Maybe. But not likely. Quite simply put, your safety when motoring around on your scoot is pretty much 💯% on you. Period. I do like seeing people’s bumper stickers, or window stickers, which say “Look Twice, Save a Life – Motorcycles are Everywhere.” Every time I see one, I know that it is a biker or his/her significant other driving. And I will bet a $100 bill that more often than not – you will not see the person sporting that sticker driving around with their eyes on their smartphone.
Now, as we move more into the late spring and early summer months, drivers will see bikers better. But probably just barely.
I came along this video today on one of the YouTube channels I follow: DanDanTheFireman – a big time biker. Note, that it is very graphic – but you do need to watch it because this is literally what we deal with year round on two wheels.
After watching the video, several times, I could not tell if the young man – who died at the scene – was riding unsafely. Honestly, he appeared to be traveling at an appropriate speed for conditions. But the person driving the 18-wheeler either didn’t see him – or just believed the rider would/could slow down. As the deceased rider sees the semi commit to the turn, he starts to take evasive action. But there was literally no where for the rider to escape. Unfortunately, some accidents – including highway deaths – are unavoidable no matter how prepared you are.
Take Your Safety Into Your Own Hands
Those snazzy little PSAs and road signs are great. But at the end of the day – your safety while riding – depends on you – and how you ride. There are things you can do to help ensure you arrive safe at your destination – to ride another day.
Know your bike: Make sure your bike is in good mechanical order – especially brakes and tires. Do your pre-ride checklist paying special attention to tire pressure and all of your safety lights: headlamps, brake lights, turn signals and side running lights.
Gear up. While I am guilty of riding in jeans and a tank top during the summer months – I do accept the risks of road rash which comes with the decision. But you will always find me wearing riding boots, riding gloves and a quality DOT certified helmet. When it’s cold – like now – I usually wear much heavier gear which includes body armor. Don’t be that guy or gal – and I am personal friends with many of you – who go out in their shorts and flip-flops for their afternoon ride. You look really damn silly – and even a minor accident is going to hurt significantly! Remember – Dress for the Slide – Not the Ride!
Be seen! Wear clothing that stands out. If it is dark – make sure your riding gear is reflective. This is obvious, but make your location visible when you are riding. If you are scooting along on your scoot and tailgating a car immediate ahead of you – or worse yet a large truck – drivers on side roads cannot see you. You may well not be seen until the car drives right into you. Always look well ahead,. If you are approaching a green light plan on it being red when you get there. Slow down. Down shift. Go into “RED” mode as these type of intersections are where most bike accidents happen. As you are approaching the intersection take a second and look both ways. Idiots are out there who still run red lights.
Ride Defensively: Look well up the road/highway. You are eating up pavement very quickly. This makes things happen quickly too. If there is any traffic around you – you need to be scanning the road for potential hazards – including road debris. And speaking of road debris, the most dangerous road debris you will ever find is common to see on the interstate – the thrown retread tires from heavy trucks. They weigh upwards of 100 pounds and riding over one is a very dangerous proposition. Even worse is having to dodge one coming off a big truck. They will bounce unpredictably and if one hits you at highway speeds, it will hurt you – and potentially kill you. For this reason, I never follow a large truck closely and when I have an opportunity to pass them – I waste absolutely no time. I will downshift and hammer it because they have very large blind spots and can make very unpredictable moves depending on what is going on ahead of them.
Escape Paths: Always be cognizant of escape paths. When you are riding in traffic – or even out in the country with little traffic – try to always have an escape path. This includes when you are sitting at a stoplight. I have had several friends who have been rear ended by a car while sitting at a stoplight. Monitor your mirrors while you are there. If someone is barreling up to you – you having identified an escape path may well save your life.
Speeds kills: Motorcycles are fast. Faster than most any car. It is very easy to twist the throttle hard to get that big smile on your face. If you are going much faster than the traffic around you, you are not riding defensively. You are putting yourself at serious risk. There is a time and place to go fast. It is not in traffic.
Look through curve: Experienced riders already do this if they are like me and enjoy dragging their floorboards. If you are not looking through the curve/turn you go off the road. But by looking through curves, I am speaking of looking all the way through them. Is there a side road in the curve, is there a slow moving vehicle on the other end? Or perhaps a very large truck coming through the curve at you? These are all things which make it critical to have a proper entry speed into the curve. You can always roll the throttle once you are in the curve to drag boards.
Lane usage: A motorcycle only takes up a portion of the lane. Do not ride in the middle. Riding in the middle of a lane in traffic can put you in a serious blind spot for cars which may pull out of side streets. Choose the side of the lane which provides you the most visibility in potential danger zones like intersections. And do not tailgate the car ahead of you.
Ride within your limits: This seems like a real no-brainer, but I see a lot of young – or inexperienced riders – who think they were blessed with God’s gift of being the best motorcycle rider ever. Some of the most egregious examples – often ending in death – is when a biker is not riding within his/her limits often happens in group rides. This is especially true in the mountains. You will see groups of riders try to navigate a twisty mountain road and keep up with more experienced riders. This can cause them to cross the center line into oncoming traffic – or ride off the road. If you are new to riding – or if you are on road types you are not used to riding – take it easy and ride your own ride.
We all love to ride. Hell, I ride between 15-20K miles per year. We all want to live to ride again. Take your safety seriously – and if you ride with your gal – like I do my Racy – ride defensively so you do not hurt your loved one. Appreciate the cute little “Look Twice – Save a Life” signs – but realize that those PSAs are rarely seen and so many cagers still have their eyes glued to their smartphones. Until next time, keep the shiny side up – and the rubber on the road.