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So far topcats has created 91 blog entries.
21 06, 2018

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28 12, 2014

Kaution Korner – January 2015

One Simple Safety Gear That Can Save Your Life   By Michael Motorcycle  This article will broach a subject which sometimes can be a contentious one in the motorcycle community.  Included in this article will be conclusions from national studies and data used for major claims from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which has some alarming facts they support from these studies.  All leading to the merits, benefits and safety results from wearing one piece of motorcycle gear specifically designed for your safety while riding.  Riders believe in the freedom to choose this gear and I support that right.  But there is overwhelming evidence that indicates you are safer riding your motorcycle when wearing this gear. What would you say if I told you that this one piece of safety gear could reduce your risk of dying in a motorcycle accident by 29 percent?  Riders who don’t wear this gear are 40% more likely to sustain a fatal head injury than those that do.  Food for thought when you consider that per mile driven, a motorcyclist is 16 times more likely than an automobile driver to die in an accident.

2 12, 2014

Kaution Korner – December 2014

  Riding Imperfections   By Traveler The old adage that there are old riders and there are aggressive riders but, there are no old aggressive riders has been proven many times over by those who rode before us. One of the major reasons is that old riders take every opportunity to learn from every incident they encounter. Here’s what I mean….. INCIDENT: Throttle cable failure. I have had throttle cables break and jam wide open. I have also had cables freeze open from water collected in the cable combined with below – zero wind chill temps. In both cases, the first reaction is a surge of adrenalin. The second reaction is uttering the famous old words “Oh S%#@! The third reaction is to immediately decide what to do and…do it. In this case, I fumbled with the kill switch the first time, then turned off the engine and coasted to the side of the road. The second time, it was simply a case of turning the kill switch off to slow down and turning it on speed up until the cables thawed out. LESSON LEARNED: Take every opportunity to mentally rehearse anything that you can imagine that could go wrong and what immediate action you would take. That will save you incredible and valuable micro seconds in an emergency.

4 11, 2014

Kaution Korner – November 2014

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28 09, 2014

Kaution Korner – October 2014

To ABS or not to ABS? One of the latest safety innovations for motorcycles in the last few years is ABS brakes. ABS stands for Antilock Braking System. What it does is electronically monitor the wheel speed of both wheels and when it detects a deceleration rate that is too fast (such as when the wheel is about to lock from too much brake being applied) it automatically pulses the brake pressure about 10 times per second to maintain optimal braking traction at that wheel. What this essentially does is take out the human error factor of braking too hard and locking up the wheel which can cause loss of control or not braking hard enough and not stopping in a short enough distance to avoid a crash. With ABS, the rider can apply full force to the brake pedal/lever without fear of going in to a skid, but they still need to practice safe braking techniques and get the bike straightened up before starting the braking process. It would be very difficult for the average rider to match the stopping power of a bike equipped with ABS, especially in a panic situation when adrenalin comes into play and the rider inadvertently applies too much brake and causes a skid. Some professional riders may be able to beat the stopping distance of ABS in good conditions, but if you throw in less than perfect conditions such as a wet road surface or sand or gravel on the road, this is where ABS really shines and most riders could not stop a bike in a shorter distance without it.   Studies have shown that ABS decreases the chance of a fatal crash by about 1/3. An antilock braking system works by constantly measuring wheel speed. One common way to do this is with a small grooved ring near the brake disc often called a tone wheel. The wheel speed sensor sends the tone wheel readings to the ABS unit, which can determine whether the wheel is about to stop rotating. If it is, wheel speed information is used to adjust the pressure from the brake cylinder on the brake caliper multiple times per second.

3 09, 2014

Kaution Korner – September 2014

Look and then Look Again! By: Larry Scalzitti   “Situational Awareness” is never more important than in motorcycling. It’s up to each of to be forever vigilant – always on guard – always scanning ahead – ready to react to what ever may come our way. So we must train ourselves to Look and then Look Again. In my mind there are three big things that every rider should be well versed in. The first item is awareness and visibility. A rider needs to be visible to others and be able to see and be aware of everything around them. Next, the rider needs to understand how their bike turns, both at slow speeds and higher speeds. And finally all riders must master the two main collision avoidance techniques: Swerving and quick stops. This article addresses the first item. Too many times you hear about a rider who has had a crash or a near miss. Generally the focus of their anger is on the other person or thing that put them in a place outside their comfort zone. We’ve all heard these comments before. “That idiot pulled out in front of me . . .” “I couldn’t believe they stopped in the middle of the intersection . . .” “The turn didn’t look that sharp . . .” “Where did that car come from . . .”

31 07, 2014

Kaution Korner – August 2014

SEASONED RIDERS By Dennis P. (Wombat) Dougherty I was sitting at the back of the room during one of our recent club meetings and I noticed how much our club membership has ‘matured’ over the years since I joined. More and more of us probably have more riding days behind us than we do in front of us. Like it or not, we’re all getting older. Those of us 45 or older have crossed over into the category of ‘Seasoned Rider’. We’re talking age, not skills. Many younger  than 45 have lots of miles and are road tested veterans with lots of riding experience. On the other hand, there are others in the club  that are older than 45 with little riding experience. This discussion  is simply about ‘seasoning’ due to age and the impact it has on our skills and judgment whether you’ve been riding for 40 years or 40 days. What I’m about to write about won’t be the most fun thing to think about. But getting old is a  fact of life. Understanding the impacts of aging on our riding skills is key to a long life of safe riding. I read once that a lot of people get old and quit riding. I believe the opposite is true; you get old when you quit riding. Hopefully some of what is covered here will help us all ride happily and safely far into the halcyon years of our life. There are five primary areas that are impacted most as one gets older: Strength and Stamina

29 06, 2014

Kaution Korner – July 2014

  Let’s Get Physical By: Gene Rigsby, Road Captain   Get out and hike, I mean bike. No, I really mean bike, then hike, then bike… Contemplating a subject for this month’s Kaution Kroner, I considered the sort of “usual” topics for this time of year like TCLOCKS, severe weather riding, etc… which are very important subjects, no doubt. It is difficult to come up with a subject for the article that will be of interest to the club – and to me as I research the topic. So… I reviewed the past topics. In this year alone, there have been articles published in the ROAR outlining taking care of YOU when riding; Tips like, keeping hydrated, having the proper riding equipment to match the environmental conditions, no matter what it may be and to be prepared as it changes throughout the day with sun protection, clothes, etc…, We all have been fully informed about taking care of yourself AND your rider at an event. No possibilities found here… It was becoming more and more difficult to identify subject matter as I reviewed some past rides with combined events;   I reviewed the club ride suggestions that I have heard and considered for this year. I have been a member of the Top Cats for a few years now, and during that time we have ridden to some great events. For instance, Cantigny, for a civil war reenactment and to tour the grounds and museums, the fly in breakfast in East Troy to check out some cool planes and cars and even some motorcycles and Argon laboratory to tour the facility and see a Higgs Boson, to a name a few.  Rides with an educational component too!

1 06, 2014

Kaution Korner – June 2014

Trailering your bike (s)…..by Bard Boand Ya ya ya, I know, we are a “RIDING” club, and we all ‘Ride ours”…..ok.   However, if you have a second home, or take family vacations with the kids and can never be without your bike (s), or your bike breaks down, a trailer may be a useful tool to have around, and knowing how to trailer safely is also useful information. First of all, READ all the info in your tow vehicles Owner’s Manual as well as all info supplied with your trailer. Here are few useful and very general tips, that I have found helpful in towing my 2 place Kendon Strand-Up Trailer back and forth between Barrington and Arizona every year. Some of what I’m about to say may vary with trailer type and weight, and your own personal experience. * LOADING the trailer should always involve a minimum of two people walking the motorcycle up and down the loading ramps. Loading is usually an exercise of one person standing on the left side of the bike, with engine running and bike in gear and both hands on the handle bars and clutch and brake lever. Gradually slip the clutch and walk the bike up the ramp with the second person on the right side of the bike steadying as she goes and or pushing gently up the ramp. Unloading is similar but in reverse with the following two exceptions. The bike is TURNED OFF but still in first gear. Pull the clutch lever in, start pulling the bike rearwards, and as you pull back down the ramp, your braking is accomplish by slowly releasing the clutch. With the bike in gear, the engaged transmission and release of the clutch acts as a rear wheel brake.

30 04, 2014

Kaution Korner – May 2014

Spring Back on the Bike By Richard Flynn, Road Captain    Spring is in the air. The birds are chirping and the roars of motorcycles make the noises of the new season. But don’t forget that there are dangers with the approach of motorcycle season. Proper preparedness for the bike and gear, your skills may be a little rusty even if you have been riding forever, four wheeled motorists forget to look for their two wheeled counter parts, snow may be still melting; or falling and re-melting as weather is forever changing, animals awaken from their winter slumbers, and the start of the dreaded road construction season. Just as you have had a winter vacation from all things warmer (unless you took a trip somewhere other than Illinois), your motorcycle has also taken a vacation from being used. A safety checklist will help you get your bike back into riding condition. All about Bikes recommends checking tire tread and pressure, all fluid levels, all lights for function and illumination, controls to ensure no leaks or rusts, the throttle and clutch, brakes, horn, mirrors, and your personal gear. Just because the weather is nice, it does not mean you yourself should ride unprotected. Inspect your helmet, jackets, gloves, and chaps for any damage and for all proper safety features.