No Colors Allowed

no colorsby.  Editor Scott Cochran

I didn’t see the notices taped on the front of the entrance doors to the Charlotte Convention Center when I arrived early Saturday morning to man our booth at the Easyriders Bike Show this past January.

Sylvia was in Atlanta working a different show, and I was working Charlotte.

It wasn’t until late that afternoon when I saw them. I made a mental note to investigate the reason for their posting before the show ended.

However, working the booth by myself, I never had that opportunity and, as far as I could tell, the dress code (no colors) had not caused a decline in attendance.

I did think it was ironic that you could get in with a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt but nothing else that appeared to be “club related.”

The following week it became apparent there was more to the story than what I’d assumed.

I reached out to a source inside Easyrider and was told, “This is not a matter that needs any input from the general public or rights groups. If someone is not involved in this it would be best to MYOB.” (mind your own business.) Easyriders Events are neutral ground, we do our best to serve the lifestyle, cultures and subcultures of the motorcycle world. Easyriders Events does not get involved with club business, our only concern is for cohesive coexistence between the general public and the subcultures during our events.”

A few days before the big Columbus Show, Easyrider Events issued a public statement that said in part, “Easyriders Attorneys have been able to provide us with the approval to ALLOW COLORS for all clubs except ONE. The Club that is not allowed knows who they are and will not be admitted into any Easyriders Events………ever. “

For the record, Easyrider Events has been an advertiser in this magazine. I’m friends with the promoter and several of the writers for the magazine. This is a small industry and everyone knows just about everyone.

But, that’s not why I’m taking Easyrider’s side on this one.

The reason is their 40 years of unwavering support for the biker lifestyle.

The motorcycle landscape has changed in the four decades since Easyriders first hit the newsstands in the 70’s. Some of the progressive changes can be credited to its founder Joe Teresi and the magazine’s staff in the early days who gave the “tattooed, long haired bikers” a magazine they could call their own. A magazine that celebrated the rebellious freedom of the two wheel lifestyle.

All that, and a fair amount of incidental nudity. But that’s what goes on in this lifestyle among consenting adults. They didn’t create it, they just reported it.

More importantly, Easyrider Magazine was one of the few, if not the only newsstand motorcycle magazine who aggressively supported motorcycle rights, and helped galvanize MRO’s into formidable opponents of overzealous McCarthyish state and Federal lawmakers.

Joe Teresi himself testified in Congress against laws that would have made it illegal to modify motorcycles.

Teresi and others worked to establish and support fledgling A.B.A.T.E. chapters across the country, often paying their expenses with profits from the magazine, out of pocket, or with donations from advertisers.

Easyriders customers are the hard-core “biker” lifestyle readers and riders. The guys and gals who attend ABATE meetings and have been discriminated against time and time again, in one form or another.

So there’s no doubt in my mind that posting a “no colors” sign was a decision that was made to protect the general public first, and the organization and brand second.

Probably the most outrageous (and stupid) accusation leveled against Easyrider Events is their decision was “profit motivated.”

Think about it for a minute. Easyrider Events took a public relations black eye to protect the moms, dads and kids who attend their events. They knew a small but vocal group intended to stir up trouble and disrupt attendance, (and possibly become violent) but they made the tough call, and I respect them for that.

I’m glad I wasn’t the one who had to make that decision.

Until next month, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled.

Justin Brings Cowboy Style To Motorcycle Riding

by: Scott Cochran, Editor

Whenever I start out to write a product review I like to do a little research on the company.  As most of you know, Justin Boots are headquartered in Fort Worth Texas.  Founded by H.J. Joe Justin in Gainsville Texas (now a suburb of Dallas/Ft. Worth) the company started to grow it’s mail order business in 1897 when Joe’s wife, Annie developed a kit that allowed customers to self-measure their own feet.  The Justins distributed the kits far and wide to the ranches and dusty cow-towns in the southwest.  In 1925 the company moved to Ft. Worth and by 1947, sales reached $1 million dollars!

The name Justin became synonymous with quality boots and in 1968. merged with Acme Brick Company to diversify into the building supply market changing it’s name to Justin Industries.   In 1990, Justin Industries bought out Tony Lama Boots.  With the housing boom in the US, profits in the brick division soared and attracted attention from Warren Buffett.  In 2000, Buffett wrote a check for $600 million dollars and Justin Industries joined GEICO, DAiry Queen and See’s Candy as a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

The popularity of Western boots has faded some in recent years, but within the motorcycle culture there remains a core group of riders who love the look and feel of these boots, but honestly, I’m not one of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I like “cowboy” boots, and own a few pairs, but I don’t ride with them.

When PR group from Justin Boots invited me to try a pair for free I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.  I’d owned a pair a few years ago, but since those were not waterproof, I’d never used them for riding.

To make my choice, I surfed over to justinboots.com.  Before checking the style of boots I would get, I read up a bit on boot making and learned that it takes more than 100 steps and 16 square feet of leather to produce a pair of Justin boots. If you’re interested, visit the site and watch the short video on boot construction.  You’ll be amazed at how much “hand craftsmanship” remains in a Justin boot.

I was disappointed the site doesn’t have a “motorcycle” specific  link, (an obvious oversight and one I hope is corrected soon) so I headed into the work boot section, and clicked the “steel toe” subcategory. (I figured having a little extra protection for my piggies is a good thing.)

With 80 different boots in this section alone, choosing a style is a little overwhelming.  Undaunted, I settled on a boot from the Stampede collection,  Style # WK4692, black oiled steel toe, pull on boot.

Part of what sold me on this model was Justin’s new J-Flex Flexible Comfort System built into the sole of the boots. We’ve all had the experience of buying a new pair of boots and suffering through the first few weeks or even months of stiffness while “breaking” in the boots.

With the J-Flex system, of leather-covered cushioned insole and the triple density insole board, I’d been promised the boots would be as comfortable as a well-worn pair right out of the box.  And the uppers on the WK4692 are guaranteed  waterproof.  It was a claim I’d wind up validating several times during the month-long test.

With my style selected, I sent the PR group my size and sat back and waited.  As it worked out, I had scheduled a long weekend ride on a test bike and the boots arrived just in time to combine the two tests.   I was hoping the new J-Flex comfort system was more than just hype because I’d be spending 12 hours a day in these boots and having sore feet is unwelcome distraction during a new motorcycle test.

On the day of departure, I broke out the new Justin boots, slipped them on and proceeded to load the bike for the long weekend test.  My plan was to evaluate the boots while packing the bike.  If they were the least bit uncomfortable, I’d switch out to one of my other riding boots and postpone the test.

In 15 minutes I completely forgot about the boots until I made my first fuel stop.  I was so impressed with the comfort, I took a few minutes to jot down my thoughts.

The most comfortable boot out of the box I’ve ever worn. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear someone else had worn these boots for a couple of months before me, but there’s no mistaking that new boot smell. No noticeable heel slippage, but should have gotten a half-size smaller for summer wear, but will work great with thick winter socks.  Rounded toe looks more like a motorcycle boot than “cowboy boot.”  Biggest negative is the weight, as these boots are heavier than what I normally like to wear. (probably thanks to the steel toe)

The biggest plus for the boots is how it sheds water, on and off the bike.  During heavy rain and 70 mph riding, I didn’t detect any seepage.  Just to be sure I stood in ankle deep puddle for over a minute and my socks stayed completely dry.  The biggest complaint I have (other than the weight) is the lack of insulation in the boot.  These are definitely warm weather only boots.  When the temperature falls below 50, these boots seem to conduct the cold a little too much for comfort.  At $119.00 (on Amazon) these boots are not cheap, but should give you several years of riding comfort.

Steel Horse Law Best of the Beach Bike Show Winners

The Best of the Beach Custom Bike Show,  by USRiderNews , in  Panama City Beach Florida was held April 30th in beautiful Pier Park shopping complex.  This is the official bike show of the Thunder Beach Rally is the most prestigious show on the Emerald Coast and has the largest prize purse of any show in Florida.   Leading motorcycle industry companies Kuryakyn, RC Components, Mustang Seats, HHI, Renegade Wheels, Wimmer Performance, Jireh Cycles,  Custom Dynamics, Wizards Products and R &  R Trikes provide cash and prizes worth over $15,000 to the class winners.  Additionally, the Best of the Beach  is the only show during the Thunder Beach rally which is sanctioned by the International Master Bike Builders Association.

Scott Cochran, show coordinator and Editor of USRiderNews said the magazine uses only IMBBA judges for the Best of the Beach shows.  “There is $15,000 in prize money and gift certificates on the line for this show and it’s critical that we use individuals who are qualified to judge the technical correctness of the entries.  This year we had some wild entries in several categories which would have stumped amateur judges.”

more after the photo gallery

Dave Enting was one of the “wild” entries with his homemade trike.  After the show, Dave praised the judging methodology used by the IMBBA.     “I wanted to  explain that “technical correctness” was the primary driving force for the design of my trike because this is what raises safety to its highest level…(Isee) what IMBBA is all about is technical correctness. I support the IMBBA 100%.

The next Steel Horse Law Best of the Beach bike show is scheduled for Saturday October 1st.  Pre-registration is $35 and may be purchased online here.

Congratulations to the Spring 2011 Winners;

American Mild WINNER-  Pam Miller
2nd – Wayne Gregory
3rd – Christopher Knowles
American Wild by Kuryakyn WINNER- Tom Godwin
2nd – Matt Gibby
Metric Mild WINNER – Ray Boyd
2nd  - Barry Parrott
 
Sport Bike Mild by RC Components WINNER – Joshua Blackburn
 
Mfg Custom by Wimmer Machine WINNER- David Guth
2nd – William Shanahan
Radical by HHI WINNER –  Steven Deal
2nd – James Martin
3rd – Shane Martin
Bobber/Chop by Renegade Wheels WINNER- Jim Labar
2nd – Dennis Theut
3rd – Monty Martin
Bagger Mild WINNER-  Greg Bauer
2nd – Thomas Barker3rd – John Gallagher
Bagger Wild by Custom Dynamics WINNER-  Jim Labar
2nd – Josh Hubbard
Trike Mild by R & R Trikes WINNER –  Ronald Castner
2nd -Jim Harvey
3rd – Kathy Collins-Lantz
Trike Wild by R & R Trikes WINNER –  Dave Enting
2nd – Richard Cramer3rd – David Rice
Antique Stock WINNER –  Ronal Dunagan
2nd -David Clegg3rd – Larry Proctor
Antique Custom by Mustang Seats WINNER –  Jeff Lane
2nd – Jim Griffin (Bud Light paint)
3rd – Jim Griffin (Budweiser paint)
BEST RAT- Sam Green
CHARITY’S CHOICE – Pam Miller
EDITOR’S CHOICE-Matt Gibby
BEST PAINT by WIZARDS – Josh Hubbard
JIREH CYCLES – PEOPLE’S CHOICE – Thomas Barker
BEST OF SHOW – Steven Deal
 

A Trip Through Georgia’s History

What You Will See On This Trip:  Civil War Prisoner of War site, Railroad museums, authentic 1850’s village, canyon views, hometown of a former President and the airport where Lindbergh made his first solo flight.

Excerpted from the book, Motorcycle Journey’s Through The American South by Scott Cochran


We’ll start this journey in the town of Montezuma.   Just off I-75, this vibrant middle Georgia town was named by veterans returning from the Spanish American War.  In fact the names of several towns on this journey were influenced by that war.  Located at the confluence of Beaver Creek and the Flint River, downtown Montezuma was inundated with over 6 feet of brown muddy water during the devastating floods of 1994.  Right after the flood, the town started the Beaver Creek Festival to mark the recovery and recognize those who worked so hard and to mark the anniversary of the event.     In the surrounding county are is a large and thriving Mennonite community.  Tourists come to Yoder’s Deutsch Haus, Ga Hwy 26 East, 478-472-2024 for one of the best lunches anywhere around. Open from 11:30 to 2:30 Tuesday – Saturday.  There is a bakery next door to where you can fill your saddlebags with snacks for the days’ journey.

Carnege LIbrary in Montezuma Georgia

When you leave Yoder’s head west to reach the city limits of Montezuma, and turn right at mile 17 on Spaulding St. You’ll soon cross Beaver Creek.  Remember that this seemingly harmless waterway flooded downtown with 6 feet of brown muddy water which remained for six days.    In less than 1 mile you’ll reach E Railroad St.  Directly in front of you is the Montezuma Depot  S. Dooley @ E. Railroad St. built in 1890 and donated to the city in 1980, the depot was completely renovated in 2001-2002 and houses a railroad museum along with other shops.

Across the street from the depot is the Carnegie Library, built in 1908 with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.  Carnegie was a wealthy industrialist who believed it was a disgrace to die wealthy.  So he started giving away his money to build libraries.  From 1881 to 1917 the man whose legacy was to become the free library gave grants in excess of $56 million dollars to build over 1,900 libraries in the United States and several hundred overseas.

You might mistakenly believe that he really wanted his name immortalized in stone all over the country but he did not stipulate that any library be named for him.  Instead his preference was to place a representation of the rays of the rising sun, and above it the words ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT.’”

From this intersection pickup SR 49 towards Oglethorpe and continue on towards Andersonville.  At mile 27 turn left into Andersonville National Historic Site.  Here you have a choice. You can continue straight on to the National Prisoner of War Museum and save the tour of the prison site and cemetery for later or ride around the perimeter of the camp and take in the monuments and read the historical markers and then visit the active military graveyard and then visit the museum.

Either way, give yourself an hour or two to explore here.  The Civil War buff will be familier with Andersonville and the story of the camp.  Known officially as Camp Sumter, it was built to house 10,000 captured Union prisoners but due to numerous factors came to house over 45,000 and of that number, 13,000 died due to unsanitary living conditions, poor medical care and too little to eat.  The commandant, Captain Henry Wirz was made the scapegoat for conditions he was powerless to influence or change.

Even though there were camps in the north, such as Elmira, New York, which were as bad as Sumter, Wirz was the only person tried for war crimes and he was eventually hanged for mistreating his prisoners.

As you exit the park you can continue straight across Hwy 49 into the old village.  There is a seven acre pioneer farm complex, a restored turn of the century train depot and stores with Civil War memorabilia. Dominating downtown is a monument to Captain Wirz.  It was erected by the local community to honor the memory of a man who refused a pardon because the conditions were for him to sign a statement implicating others such as General Robert E. Lee or the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.    This is an example of the character of the men who fought with honor and died with dignity in that great struggle, and the memory of their sacrifice still resonates through the small towns of the South.

When you’re ready to leave, continue on Church St. past the Wirz monument to Hwy 228.  At mile 30 turn left onto 228 and head west.  This is my second favorite stretch of highway on this journey.  The road bends and twists just enough to keep you from being bored.  Too soon you’ll arrive in Ellaville.  At mile 41 turn right onto US 19 and in .2 mile (about 1 block) turn back left on SR 26.  The next 13 miles are similar to the previous 11.  Remain on SR 26 through Buena Vista.  This is one of those towns that have has a Spanish influence.  It was originally named Taylor, and then called Pea Ridge, and in 1847 word of a major victory in the Spanish American War near the village of Buena Vista reached the townsfolk so they choose to adopt this name for the town..  Viva Le Motorcycle!

Continue west to mile 67.4 and turn left on SR 26 towards the town of Cusseta.  In approx seven miles you’ll cross a bridge over railroad tracks and at mile 66.9 turn left onto Liberty Hill Rd.  Soon you’ll understand why I took you on this little two lane odyssey.  The only negative about this road is the choice of paving material.  I would prefer asphalt but this road is constructed longer lasting composite material which is gravel overlaid with asphalt and packed solid.  It’s no problem to ride, but not as smooth as solid blacktop.  In a few miles you’ll make a sharp right, to remain on the pavement but otherwise you’ll continue straight as you notice the road name changes to Seminole Rd. and in a few miles (mile 85.5) you’ll dead end at US280/SR 27. Turn right and head into the town of Richland.  Stay on SR 27 through town towards the town of Lumpkin.

In Lumpkin visit Westville, an old town that is, but never actually was.  1850 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.  www.westville.org  Westville is a working 1850’s town created entirely to preserve the traditions of antebellum west Georgia in the period immediately preceding the Civil War. John Word West was a history teacher who had a passion to preserve this history for posterity and in 1928 began to collect nineteenth century buildings and artifacts.  West corresponded with oil tycoon and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., who had begun Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia about that time, and also with automotive pioneer Henry Ford, who founded Greenfield Village in Michigan.  West died in 1961 and did not live to see his village come to life. However the work he started culminated when Governor Lester Maddox presided over the village’s formal founding on August 31, 1968.  In Westville you’ll find over 30 authentically furnished Pre-Civil war buildings.

For the best experience, visit either during the Spring Festival in mid-April or the Harvest Festival in late October and early November.  During the times Westville comes alive with community volunteers in period garb in traditional community activities such as candle and shoe making, blacksmithing and, my favorite the cotton ginning.  You will come away with a better understanding of the South after this visit, I can guarantee it!    Open Tuesday through Saturday except New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Step back in time at Hatchett's Drug Store in Lumpkin Georgia

After leaving Westville, return to Main St. and turn left at the Singer Co, established in 1838 it lays claim as being Georgia’s oldest working hardware store, and well, it showing it’s years. But if you remember old rolling ladders, wood floors and buck knives you’ll look browsing.    A few stores further up is Dr. Hatchett’s Drug Store Museum & Soda Fountain.  This authentic soda fountain drug store combo is a time capsule just waiting to be opened..  Dr. J. Marion Hatchett, a surgeon during the Civil War,  opened the store in nearby Ft. Gaines in the 1870’s and ran it until his death in 1894.  Then his son, Samuel “Pope” Hatchett took it over and ran it 63 years until his death in 1957.  His widow locked the store and the entire collection and kept it exactly as it was at his death.   When the town of Lumpkin restored this building to an approximate facsimile of the Ft. Gaines store the family moved the entire collection here.  The collection houses a wonderful display of pre-FDA medicines and remedies commonly referred to as snake-oils.   Inside you’ll find products with names such as “666 Malarial Preparation.” and “Pigeon’s Milk” which was an entire kit for the treatment of gonorrhea.  If you’re waiting for the punch line, I’m not going there.    If you’re interested you can contact Allen Vegotsky who has inventoried the entire collection.  (770) 270-1034.

When you’re ready to continue, head west on SR 27 to US 1.  Turn right for a couple hundred yards and turn left on SR 39C towards Providence Canyon State Park.  Providence Canyon is also known as Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon.  Called one of Georgia’s Seven Wonders, Providence Canyon is a direct result of poor farming practices of the 1800’s.  The settlers in the area had no understanding of soil conservation and simply plowed the land in the easiest manner, straight up and down the

Georgia's Providence Canyon, continually growing.

hills.  Once the crops were harvested, the winter rains soon turned plow rows into ditches which evolved into gullies and in the blink of a geological eye have become massive ravines; the largest of which are over 150 feet deep!  The result is a natural and unpolished tourist attraction. At one time enterprising locals tried to slow the pace of erosion by introducing non-native species such as kudzu and other ground covers but it has only been marginally successful.

Even the steep ¼ trail from the interpretive center to the floor of the canyon is under constant threat of erosion. This trail isn’t for the person with a heart condition but I walked it in Sidi riding boots carrying a heavy camera bag and I’ve sat behind a computer screen long enough to be out of shape and it didn’t kill me, but I’m not making any promises.

If you have the time, I recommend hiking to the bottom.  At the bottom, turn left and head north into the canyon for the best views. This park isn’t as busy as State Parks go and during certain times of the year you may find it all to yourself. I don’t recommend walking to the bottom after a rain shower or anytime the ground is damp because of the sticky and slick red Georgia clay.

To view the canyon from the rim, park in one of the spaces before you reach the interpretive center and walk to the wooden fence.  There are sections where you can stand within 5 feet of the edge.  Remember however that the canyon is, in many places, still eroding and some of the ground will be unstable after a heavy rain.  In places you can see where the Parks Service has closed off sections due to collapse that a few years ago were open to the public.  This is a changing landmark and the view you see today won’t be the same one you will see if you return in a few years.    Whichever you choose, treat our natural treasures with respect and take only photos and memories, and leave only footprints.

When you’ve had your fill of Little Grand Canyon, retrace your route to Lumpkin on SR 39C at mile 127 turn right on US 1 and immediately turn left again on SR 27.  Stay on SR 27 through the town of Preston and on to Plains.  www.plainsgeorgia.com

Billy was almost as famous as his presidential brother Jimmy

At mile 138 as you enter the town of Plains you’ll pass a wooden guard house at Woodland Drive.  This is the current home of the 39th President, James “Jimmy” Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter.  There is a viewing area but nowhere to park, so pull off on the other side of the road in a driveway and walk across the highway.  Luckily there isn’t much traffic in this town of less than 1000 residents.  You’ll notice a high black fence that surrounds the home and grounds and access to Woodland Drive is restricted by Secret Service. It’s easy to see that the former President is the

Downtown Plains Georgia

favorite son of Plains and downtown are several memorials to his accomplishments.

During his Presidency the media often enjoyed casting him as a rural hick and often attempted to use his siblings as proof.  His brother Billy enjoyed the spotlight and often held court at his service station.  The original station still stands next to the police station and you can pull in and have you photo made next to the sign.  Carter also had two sisters.  Both are deceased.  One was an evangelist, Ruth Carter Stapleton and the other was Gloria Carter Spann, who well known as an avid motorcycle enthusiast.   Spann is buried in the Lebanon Church Cemetery near Plains and on her tombstone is the inscription “She rides in Harley Heaven.”   If you visit, leave a penny on the grave.   There are several shops downtown that cater to the tourists traveling through and if you have a few minutes to spare you might want to stop in and purchase a souvenir or two.

Railroad buffs will want to time their schedule to coincide with the arrival of the SAM’s  Shortline. SAM stands for Savannah, Atlanta and Montgomery railroad company which operated this line during the 1800’s.  Today it’s operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the route runs between Cordele and Archery Georgia, a distance of approx 34 miles one way.  Day trips usually depart Cordele at 9:30 and return by 5 pm.  For more info visit www.samshortline.com  or call 877-GA-RAILS.

As you leave Plains on 27/280, you’ll pass the Plains Welcome Center.  You can stop in for more information on the area and the SAMS Shortline and the special Amtrak train called the “Peanut Special” that departed from Plains after Carter won the election which carried friends and supporters to his inauguration in Washington, D.C.

At mile 146 you’ll enter the town of Americus.  This is the end of our journey but there is still one more sight to see.  At mile 150 turn left onto SR 49 and head north for 4 miles to Souther Field.  Turn left into the driveway and there at the terminal stands a monument to Charles Lindbergh who took his first solo flight over the cotton fields of South Georgia.

Lindbergh had come to Americus because there was an abundance of affordable surplus WWI planes. He chose a Curtiss JN4 “Jenny.” He got the plane with a brand-new engine, a fresh coat of paint, and an extra 20 gallon fuel tank for $500.  Although he only had 20 hours of instruction in flight and had never flown solo, in May 1923, Lindbergh set off on a course that would forever change aviation history and it started right here!

Charles Lindburg started his historic solo flying career in a small airport in South Georgia

Return to Americus and journey’s end.  If you’re hungry, be sure to visit The Station 222 W. Lamar Street, 229-931-5398.. Open Tues-Fri for lunch 11:30am-2pm.  If you’re adventurous try the fried cheese grits as an appetizer or with your meal, for dessert the crème’ brule is scrumptious.  Across the street is the Windsor Hotel Grand Dining Room W. Lamar Street, 229-924-1555. They serve a buffet lunch and dinner Mon-Sat.  It’s a tad sophisticated for the average motorcycle traveler so wear the good leather.  Scrape the bugs off your teeth before you sit down.

If you’re still in town for breakfast or lunch try Granny’s Kitchen at Hwy 19 and 280 (heading towards Plains) Prices are per entrée or side dish.  Try the banana pudding, it’s authentically delicious.  Open Mon-Sat 6am – 2pm


When NOBLE Takes Over Your Life

By Scott Cochran, Editor
I was tempted to dig through the morgue where we keep our back issues to see how many times I’ve written an editorial on helmets.

But then I realized this rant isn’t about helmets, it’s more about  pushing back against the “nanny state” that is attacking our personal liberties with legislation designed “for our own good.”

At least that’s the position of the National Transportation Safety Board is taking.

Calling for all 50 states to enact mandatory helmet requirements for motorcycles, Christopher Hart, Vice Chairman of the NTSB (A Federal agency with little or no Congressional oversight) said that motorcycle fatalities have doubled, while total traffic deaths have declined, and that riding a motorcycle without a helmet is a “public health issue.”

I’m throwing a BS flag on that one Mr. Hart.

There’s nothing inherently dangerous to the non-riding public if a motorcyclist opts not to wear protective gear.   It’s not contagious or likely to cause innocent bystanders harm.

However, let me state unequivocally that if you choose to ride without a helmet or protective gear, you are not exercising good common sense.

But, for full disclosure, there have been times when yours truly has ridden without a helmet. I don’t make it a habit, but it happens.

So, it’s not the wearing of the helmet that I oppose, it’s our Federal government (which represents us) using its power to force individual states to usurp personal freedoms, and use taxpayer (our money) funds to accomplish the agenda.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims the public pays when motorcyclists go down without helmets. “Only slightly more than half of motorcycle crash victims have private health insurance coverage. For patients without private insurance, a majority of medical costs are paid by the government.”

With the passage of Obama Care, everyone will be covered, but premiums of non-riders will increase to cover motorcycle accident victims.

Can you see the logical conclusion to this agenda?

If your activity causes my health insurance premiums to increase, and the government subsidizes health insurance, then it becomes a “public health issue” and government has an obligation to regulate it, or ban it outright.

What disturbs me the most is not what the NTSB is doing, but the absence of any outrage among civil libertarians over this.

Society, (aka The Government) does not own my body. It does not own my thoughts nor what I generate from my thoughts and actions.

As an adult I am (and rightly so) free to engage in various forms of self-destructive behavior.

I can smoke or drink alcohol to excess. I can eat whatever I want as much as I can afford and refuse to exercise. I do not have to visit a doctor or a dentist. My teeth can rot out and my body fall apart if I so choose.

I can ride horses and climb mountains without the first piece of safety gear. I can operate a chain saw without a minute of safety instruction. I can go for a swim in any river or ocean without having to wear a flotation device, and I don’t have to know how to swim.

I can have casual sex with as many strangers as I like (and risk contracting AIDS) without having to wear protection.

All of these activities are inherently dangerous to my personal health, so what’s different about riding a motorcycle without a helmet?

Not much, if you think about it.

The sad fact is that If we remain complacent, and do not defend personal liberty, no matter if it affects us or not, most of what active, fun loving adults enjoy will be banned as “too dangerous” by some new alphabet nanny agency. Most likely the National Organization for Boosting Life Expectancy or NOBLE in gov speak.

One day future generations will look back and wonder how the world survived with idiots smoking in public, sweet tea, fried food and motorcycle riders who rode without ballistic armor, airbags and full face helmets.

Sadly, they’ll never know what they missed.

Ride safe and always take the road less traveled.