Learning Curves The Gas We Pass
The riding season is here and our team (the Hammond Family) is ready to ride. We are all set and are so looking forward to our first ride in a few weeks out of Lake Las Vegas.
The team bikes have all had their spring service and Angel’s new 2010 Deluxe has its 500 miles of break-in completed. Watch her smile for 960 miles on this month’s ride!
I was remembering back when all our bikes were carborated and ethanol was mandated in our Utah gas supply during winter months. This was done in an effort to reduce emissions and improve air quality in Utah. We all harbored the fear that this practice would prove harmful to our older Harley-Davidson engines. In fact, I remember purchasing a supply of gas in the fall without the ethanol additive to fuel my bikes with during the winter months.
Currently, almost all gasoline (year round) has an ethanol content of up to 10% or E10. There is also an E85 fuel, which consists of 85% ethanol. E85 is for flex fuel cars that are designed to run on 85% ethanol or for vehicles featuring an E85 conversion kit.
What is the bottom line of all this discussion about gasoline? Ethanol increases octane and adds oxygen to fuel resulting in lower emissions. E10 gas will become even more common in the near future. As we do our Canadian Rockies ride in June, our riders will notice that all gasoline in Canada has the ethanol additive.
Ethanol is a green energy source. This means it can be produced from corn, potatoes or sugar cane—a crop commonly grown in the Dominican Republic, where I work and spend time. Those of you who ride or live in the US know that fields of corn in some parts of the country commonly stretch for miles and miles. Much of this corn is now used in the production of ethanol. The rub is that if all that corn is used to produce ethanol, the use of corn for food production may decrease, resulting in price increases and even shortages.
The reality today is that unless you are riding a vintage bike (from before the mid 1980’s) there is no worry about compromising your engine by using gasoline with an ethanol additive. Harley Davidson represents that it currently designs all engines to be able to run effectively powered by gasoline with E10. The engine’s EFI system self-calibrate to accommodate the type of fuel that is pumped into it. They say there could be a slight decrease in performance and economy when E10 is used but most riders won’t even notice the difference.
High Risk, High Return
Safety is our most important agenda item for all of us here at Learning Curves. Motorcyclists know instinctively that the risks of riding are higher than those associated with operating any other vehicle. The problem is, there seems to be a general consensus among motorcyclists that ignoring these risks will make them go away.
In my opinion, it is possible to reduce the risks of riding to our individually determined acceptable levels. To me, this is a much better effort than trying to convince your mother (this means you Steve Anderson!) or your family or your neighbor who works in the emergency room that riding a two-wheeler is an acceptable mode of transportation.
I have been riding now since I was 14 years old and the legal age to ride was 16. At the time, I believed rules were for those who could not make their own. I have no idea how many miles I have under my belt. At one point in my life I attempted to keep track and have been averaging 15,000 miles per year.
What really matters to me now is the joy that comes from being a part of nature immersed in the environment and not closed out of the environment in a closed vehicle.
With that said, I never ever ignore the risks associated with riding a motorcycle. I don’t count miles but I keep track of and remember the lessons I learn around every curve. One thing I know is that over the horizon there are many more lessons waiting to be learned.
As I write this newsletter each month and as I have the blessing of riding with many of you each month from May to October, I will strive to share with you not only the rewards of riding but also the associated risks. I will make every effort to explain to you how you can reduce those risks to a level that is acceptable to you and your riding style.
As we say at Learning Curves, “Keep the rubber side down!”
Ready to ride,
A Final Thought
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog’s face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a ride in the car, he sticks his head out the window?
If you want to discover this for yourself, join us on a ride this season! Please visit www.learningcurves.net to view all our upcoming rides an determine which ride will be best for you.
And don’t forget:
Register Now for Our 2010 Rides