Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tip In, Turn In

Do you ever feel anxious entering a turn? I sure do. Until only a few years ago, it used to be much worse. When I got good and tired of that, I decided to learn more about riding. So, I studied a famous book on cornering, and the racing-based instructor said I should always get my turning down all at once, and to always turn as quickly as possible! Of course, I am naturally suspicious of anything always being the correct technique, but I tried it. And you know what?

My anxiety got worse!

What? How could that be? This guy was famous. He was a winning racer. A big shot author. So, I figured I was doing it wrong, and went and practiced some more. But when you want to turn as quickly as possible, you have to run into the corner deeper and deeper. That created even more fear. And my problems got worse instead of better.

"No. No," I told myself. "This must be the way. Go watch some real motorcycle racers ride, and you'll see they all do it this way." Well, that's what the author of that book said anyway.

He was wrong.

What I saw, over and over and over again when I watched videos of the top riders In The World, was that NONE of them rode that way. Not one. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch. What were they doing differently than me? What did they do differently than that book author recommended? The fastest motorcycle racers in the world would blast down the straight, slow down, tip in a little, get started into the curve, then finally actually turn in and scrape their knees on the ground.

Watch it for yourself below. You'll see it in the very first corner of this American Superbike race. The riders tip in, and turn in.

When I tried riding that same way, I found it worked great! Way better than it had any right to. By initiating my turn slowly and gently, instead of trying my darndest to slam the bike down to full lean angle, I was much more relaxed. The bike behaved better. My hands, arms, face and eyes were all much more relaxed. It felt like the bike was coasting effortlessly down and back up. I found I was often using more lean angle with less effort. Best of all, my rides become longer and more enjoyable.

So, go for a ride! Hey, any excuse for a ride, right? Keep your eyes up, watching the vanishing point and checking for road hazards well ahead of the bike. Setup early for the corners by moving to the outside lane position. Then when you are close to the entrance of the corner, somewhere before the place where you would usually start to feel apprehensive, and just tip in slightly.

Going left? Push gently forward on that left hand grip. Don't push hard enough to make the bike dart across the lane or cut in too early. Just break the bike off that 90-degree angle. Get the bike leaned, just a little, Get the  bike just a smidgen off of perpendicular. Then, add more lean angle as necessary to safely make your corner.

  • You may find that your initial lean is about all the lean angle you need for certain corners.
  • You may find that once the bike is leaned a little, it is much easier to lean it a little more.
  • You may find that your fear of sliding out is not attached to how far you lean over, but the very act of leaning at all. Once you get the bike leaned, even a little, without falling down, you may suddenly feel like everything is going to be okay.
  • You might also find that once the bike is leaned over, even a little bit, you can relax and get your eyes up. Even that tiny change in your vision can make you suddenly feel much more comfortable on the bike.

Spring is here. Get out there and ride. Carefully and gently try new things. Report back here with your results.

If you find this tip useful, you can subscribe to this blog by finding the "Follow by Email" box and entering your email address. That way, never miss a post.

Look in. Set up. Ride on.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gold Wing for One?

No, these are not Gold Wings. The Honda Gold Wing is, in my humble opinion, the best two up touring bike in the world. However, what about riding solo? If passenger comfort isn't a priority, there are other bikes worth considering. Here are a few that are worth a look.

Me? I'd be very tempted to just keep the Wing, even for solo riding. I commute on my Wing most days and love the comfort, the radio, the cruise control and the storage. Personally, I find city riding a snap on the Wing.

On the other hand, even the heaviest bike in the above video is more than 300 pounds lighter that my GL1800! My pick, having not riden any of them, would be the Kawasaki Versys 1000LT. I like the comments in the video about the Versys having the most power (always good), stable steering geometry (for confident cornering) and arguably the best seat (a touring bike MUST have a good seat).

My only question is, can I get a UniGo trailer hitch for the Versys?

Cursive Writing is the Bomb

My son graduated from high school just a few short years ago. He got his diploma without ever learning cursive writing. This is a huge mistake for all the students. Here is why ...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gold Wings are Murder Cover Mockup

This is a low resolution mock-up of the cover for "Gold Wings are Murder." I used gold for the title on purpose because, you know, GOLD Wings? The spooky woman is supposed to be the Ghost Bride that drives the story. I wonder if the cover needs a little graphic of a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. That way, there will be no doubt that we're talking about THOSE Gold Wings. I'm just not sue where I'll put it ... Let me know what you think. You can even email me here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Gold Wing Riding Tip

The Vanishing Point is way done there!
Would you like to have your very own super power? I can give you a super power that very few Gold Wing riders possess, but everyone needs. I can teach you how to foresee the future. Ayup. It's easy, when you know how. Here's the secret:

Look Up. Look In.That's it.

Stop gazing mindlessly at the road 20 feet in front of your front tire. Get your vision up and ahead of the bike where it will do you the most good. Look up and find the place where the road disappears from view. That's called the Vanishing Point. That's the limit of your vision. Just by tilting your head back a notch and pulling your eyeballs up, you can see waaaay down the road.

Would you be safer if you could see 15 seconds, maybe even a minute further up the road? That's 5-10-30-60 extra seconds for you to see danger and react. That's plenty of time to slow down, move over or stop. Heck, when you look far enough ahead, you might have time to see trouble, pull over, turn around, ride down the road, pull into a restaurant and order a piece of lemon pie!

A nice side benefit of looking up and looking in, is that you have plenty of time to put your bike in the correct position for the next corner. That makes you a smoother rider. When you get your eyes up, you will also have time to scan every corner for rocks, logs, dead skunks or whatever. Knowing the road ahead is free of sand or oil can be a wonderful confidence booster.

Try it. You might like it.

How do you know you are using your vision incorrectly? 

Well, if you CAN look up, and you CAN look in, THAT's where you should be looking.

Am I saying you should stare mindlessly at the Vanishing Point? No. If you see danger, that's where you should look, at least long enough to make a judgement about what to do next. Then put your vision where it needs to be a make it happen.

It you enjoyed this tip, you might want to scoot over the my Amazon Author page for more. My author page has my Moxie Nixx Twitter feed and I frequently put short tips and fun stuff there. Here is the link: Click Here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Moxie Nixx Short Story

I Just Published My First Short Story

The "Soul Sketcher" is a young artist named Angelica Carbajal. When she draws people, she hears their thoughts. But it isn't always complaining about the boss or planning to go out for drinks. One morning, over coffee with her mother in a crowded bistro, Angelica hears something disturbing. 
  • How will she handle it? 
  • What will she do? 
  • What can she do? 

Find out more for just a buck. That's way less than a Iced Caramel Macchiato--and more chilling.

 "Soul Sketcher" is about 8 pages long. It will take you about about 15 minutes to read it, so it's perfect for lunch or a little light reading before bed--if you dare!

Click here to order from

Want to be among the first to know when I release a new short story? Just enter your name in the "Follow by Email" box near the upper right corner of this blog. I'll be writing more short supernatural suspense stories soon. I'm working on them as little refreshers while I slave away on "Gold Wings are Murder--The Crying Stone." (I'm going to need a vacation after all this writing--maybe I'll go to Lake Lure and stay at the Blue Stone Inn.)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Author Interview with James Lough

James Lough is the author of book This Ain't No Holiday Inn. It's sort of an oral history of the famous Chelsea Hotel in NYC. The Chelsea was renowned as an residence hotel that intentionally sought out and welcomed writers, singers, actors and other Bohemian types into a melting pot of crazy ideas and interesting companion.

Since every book in the Gold Wings are Murder series will be set at a hotel, inn or resort, I thought it would be a good idea to ask Lough about one of the most famous hotels in American history. Here is what he had to say.

Question: In my mystery novel Gold Wings are Murder, the heroes are bikers who ride around the country and every place they stay seems to be haunted. What famous resident would be loath to leave the Chelsea Hotel, even in death?

Answer: Many famous residents were loath to leave the Chelsea, living or dead. It was cheap and artist-friendly! But I would say Nancy Spungeon, ex-girlfriend of Sid Vicious, has probably stuck around. She was murdered there and probably has some scores to settle. Resident Paul Volmer said his girlfriend took some LSD and he found her chatting away, alone, in the hallway to some unknown presence.

"Who are you talking to," Paul said, as he gingerly took her by the elbow.

"Oh, Nancy," she said.

Q. Bohemian means someone from Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), but it also means gypsy, Romani or socially unconventional artist, actor or anarchist. Where do all the Bohemian's live today?

A. Bohemians aren't gone, but, sadly, they're an endangered species. Especially in big vibrant US cities like New York and San Francisco, which both have rich Bohemian histories, but are far too expensive for real Bohemians to live in cold water flats, enjoy the street life, the multiple cultures, and the camaraderie and mentorship of other artists. Some say we can get that on the web, but it's only a pale imitation of the real thing.

Q. If the ghosts of novelist Thomas Wolfe, humorist Mark Twain, actress Sarah Bernhard and musician Dee Dee Ramone (all one time residents of the Chelsea Hotel) sat down for spectral dinner, what would they talk about?

A. If Mark Twain, Sarah Bernhard, Thomas Wolfe, and Dee Dee Ramone sat down for a spectral dinner, they'd probably first talk about how much--or how little--rent they paid! Then they'd go on to the ghastly gap between rich and poor in the nation. They'd ask Sarah how it was to sleep in her casket under that glass pyramid built above her penthouse suite. Dee Dee would probably ask if he could lie in there with her. Wolfe would scold Dee Dee for making such a rude request, and then Wolfe would ask her for the same favor. Twain would sit back, light his cigar, his eyes gleaming with wicked mirth. Then they'd have dessert.

Q. You are designing your very own residential hotel. What does it look like, where would you put it, and who would you let live there for free--if they only would?

A. My utopian residential hotel would be in Las Truchas, New Mexico, where the spirits are thick. I would reserve permanent rooms for David Bowie and the ghosts of Emily Dickinson, Rembrandt, and Dave Chapelle. The rest of the artists would be fledglings, young artists who were not born wealthy and did not grow up with the advantages that many successful artists did. It would be a multi-storied adobe affair kind of like Mesa Verde with log ladders between the apartments and kivas in the basement for sacred ceremonies. A deadwood sign hangs over the gate: "The Last Resort."

Q. Do you have another oral history book in the works? Or ... What's next for James Lough?

A. I don't have an oral history in the works now, but we're working on getting This Ain't No Holiday Inn made into a TV series. My next book is a collection of insightful, inspirational, and wickedly witty aphorisms called Short Flights. It will be published in November 2015 by Schaffner Press. 


It was a pleasure to talk with James Lough. His book This Aint' No Holiday Inn earned 4.5 stars with 23 reviews at Click here to check it out.