Links to the Right

Well, there isn’t much justice done to my fellow bloggers if all they get is a three or four word link in the right hand column. So let me tell you why those links show up here at 4Fraziers:

The Press Box Grill

Tom Melesky was an early boss and mentor to me when I was a fledgling manager in the information technology outsourcing business. He also became one of my best friends and quite the entrepreneur in the last few years. A while back he purchased The Press Box Grill, a downtown Dallas sports bar and grill, and with the help of his amazing wife and family turned it around.

He did such a stellar job of reviving the place that he recently bought another restaurant, this one in Grapevine, and made it into a second successful Press Box Grill location.

In the interest of full disclosure, I continue to work for Tom once in awhile when he needs a bit of network cabling or point-of-sale system troubleshooting done, but I’m not being biased at all when I say the Jalapeno Pork Chops and Shiner Bock Chili dog at the Press Box are simply outstanding.

Not to mention the great selection of draft and bottled beers (even great tasting oddities like “Dogfish Head IPA”). The Press Box Grill’s opening in Grapevine, Texas was recently announced in Indulge magazine.

UPDATE: For an unbiased review see this article at DFW.com released today: Review: Press Box Grill in Grapevine

40 Years on Two Wheels
There are lots of us who have a desire to become Peter Egans. When I run across a motorcycle blog writer who can make me chuckle and also provide interesting history as well as current news about two wheelers, I spread the word.

Doug at 40 Years on Two Wheels is one of those guys who probably could rival Mr. Egan if he took up writing full time. His site is a treasure trove of humorous gleanings from his own mind and the web, as well as some outstanding photography.

As the Dude Abides…

Danilo Gurovich chronicles his thoughts on motorcycles and occasional funny rants about daily adventures. His blog is an eclectic collection of whatever he feels like spouting off about, and that pretty much makes him a kindred spirit. I try to keep it mainly about motorcycles, and so does he, but sometime we just have to tell everyone what ticks us off or makes us laugh.

It’s a ludicrous world, someone needs to document it.

Bill Muneio

Bill is a motorcycle lover, artist, and t-shirt designer. Something of a renaissance man.

He shares great rides, including the maps so you can duplicate his experience. He also turns up great tidbits from around the world wide web, as any responsible blogger should.

Dale’s Motorcycle Blog

Dale Franks presents reviews, news, and opinions. Sometimes a minor rant. He doesn’t care much for squids…and neither do I.

In his last post, he let slip that he sometimes drives a Ram 2500 Long Bed. It completely ruined my imaginary picture of him as a long haired biker who owned nothing more than an antique Indian Scout for transportation.

Hey Dale, it’s been too long! Post something new!

By the way, Dale has some great WordPress motorcycle themes he’ll let you download free of charge. I’ve used one of them in the past on this site.

We’re only about a quarter through the list. My next post will cover some more of them.

Android App Calls Cavalry If You Crash

Thanks to Doug at Forty Years on Two Wheels for this tidbit on an automatic crash reporting app for our Android phones.

RING…RING…

“Hello?”

“Help, I’ve fallen because my owner bi-sected a deer with his motorcycle at 90 miles per hour! He’s currently lying unconscious and bleeding in the bar ditch at latitude 32.212801, longitude -98.10791. Send an ambulance and a Gorilla Glass repair kit with a capacitive touch screen stylus, STAT!”

Imagine your phone automatically dialing up your spouse or buddies and saying that.

Well, it won’t actually describe the conditions or speak over the phone, but the CRADAR (for CRAsh Detection And Response) application will send a message to a mobile phone you specify stating that you may be in trouble along with your exact coordinates and a link to your location on Google maps.

Using the gyroscopic sensor in your Android smartphone, the app determines that a crash or fall may have occurred and immediately displays a prompt on it’s screen asking if you are okay.

If you don’t tap the “I’m Okay” button to abort the message, it sends the mayday call out automatically after a pre-configured number of seconds specified by you to a pre-configured mobile number specified by you.

Best of all, the app is free from the good folks at Actionxl.com.

While I have Google Latitude configured on my HTC Thunderbolt as a result of Robin having a difficult time tracking down which trauma center I was taken to after my November 2009 motorcycle crash, I now have the additional peace of mind that she’ll know even sooner if I come to a sudden stop. I can rest assured help is much more likely to be en route if I have hit that pesky deer on a dark and lonely road along the ridges of the Ozarks with nary another soul in sight.

This is one of those apps that will literally become a lifesaver for multiple people.

Want it?

Aim your Android phone’s bar code reader at the handy universal code image to the left or search for CRADAR in Android Marketplace.

The End Of Ridley Motorcycles

On December 29, 2009 Ridley Motorcycles filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11.

The web site states “With Ridley’s production at idle waiting for the economic conditions to improve…” and goes on to tell you how to buy a certified pre-owned Ridley or get parts for one you already have.

Ridley Motorcycles were (are?) something different. With no clutch and no shifting, the constantly variable transmission design of the Ridley was unique among powerful “full size” motorcycles. There are plenty of devices of similar design in the scooter and automobile world, but nothing looked or sounded as much like a real motorcycle as the full size Ridley released in 2009.

But there are no new models.

The door of the future may still be slightly ajar, but after a law suit from Harley Davidson over the use of the term “Auto-Glide” was lost in what was rumored to be a half million worth of legal defense expenditures and the economic downturn, Ridley appears to be one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

We think it’s too bad.

Ridley looked like a very cool bike, perfect for new riders and especially for the ladies who could care less about shifting gears and blipping the hell out of the throttle at every red light. Unfortunately Harley Davidson saw the little startup father and son enterprise as some sort of threat and sent the corporate sharks after them with every row of teeth sharpened over the Auto-Glide term.


Not that we’re blaming Harley Davidson for the failure of Ridley to compete, but HD certainly didn’t appear to welcome a brand to the marketplace that was delivering something that likely would never have offered any real competition to the Harley Davidson legacy (read 50’s technology) motor bikes.

After all, the average Harley Davidson customer wants something that looks and sounds big, not an easy to ride, shiftless motorcycle that almost anyone can ride comfortably.

So maybe Harley Davidson is just a wee bit responsible for contributing to the demise of Ridley.

And it’s just another wee bit to add to the pile of reasons we don’t really care for the corporate leadership at The Motor Company.

They’re free to file suits and protect their “intellectual property” all they want. But it would be nice if they did more competing by building performance into their machines than bleeding new innovators to death in court.

Hopefully Ridley will get back on its feet by the time we’re ready to put the little lady on her first cruiser and we can go to Oklahoma for a test ride.

Meanwhile if you have some extra bucks and want to invest in a vintage bike, you might take a shot at a used Ridley. If it turns out that they never produce another new machine their short run of products from the past will certainly appreciate in value exponentially over the next couple of decades.

Another Ride Opportunity Lost

Well, the Eurosport cruiser ride that spawned the previous post went on without me.

The prior night saw me on conference bridges working through system outages and restoring service so the world economy could continue grinding away on waves of cash being printed by the feds. By the time it was all over the sun was up and I was too sleep-deprived to be piloting a motorcycle for more than a fifteen minute trip home.

What really grinds my gears about it is I missed an opportunity to ride at least part of the day on my buddy Tom’s Ducati Multistrada while he gave my big Triumph a run for the money. That would have been a nice change of perspective for both of us.

With nearly half a century under my belt those missed opportunities are starting to become more and more regretful. I’m pretty sure that on my deathbed (if I end up on a bed and not a highway) I’ll be wishing I’d gotten out to ride more.

I keep asking myself:

Are all these evenings and weekends solving problems caused by others really worth it? Is the pay, the nice house, the kick-ass car, and the gadgetry really enough compensation for the lost adventures?

The answer is always “No”.

But I never take that answer seriously.

Eventually I’m sure to regret that.

EuroSport Cycle Cruiser Ride This Sunday January 15

The initial events of the new year have finally subsided, and now that the dust has settled I find myself with a bit of time for some leisure riding. With the awesome weather this weekend, it was fortuitous that EuroSport Cycle owner Tony Lewis sent an open invitation out Thursday for a group cruiser ride this Sunday.
It has been too long, so instead of asking Robin if she’d mind me going, I just asked, “Do you want to come with me on a 200 mile ride this Sunday?”

She said no, but she didn’t have any issues with me going, either. She can tell I’m getting desperate for some riding, and despite all the stuff that still requires my strong back and weak mind around the house she is happy to have a bit of time to herself as well.

We went to dinner at the Grapevine Press Box Grill last night and chatted with owner Tom Melesky who is also a EuroSport Cycle customer and good friend. He will be joining me tomorrow for the ride and we quickly worked out a trade for at least part of the run. I will be riding a Ducati Multistrada for the first time and Tom will be riding my Rocket III for the first time. I’m guessing it will be a bigger transition for him, since I have the added complexity of a car tire on the rear of my bike, which no doubt will feel extremely strange to an experienced track racer like Tom.

I’m pretty sure he’ll have strong opinions about it, but I’m also sure he’ll enjoy and cope well with the challenge of a variable contact patch as he hits the curves. He will likely ride more expertly with the novelty better than I do with six months of experience on it. But that’s the difference between someone with a couple more decades riding and racing experience vs a guy like me who started off as a total squid and didn’t bother to engage in formal traing until ten years of bad habits and misconceptions had formed.

Thanks to “Ride Like a Pro” for straightening me out on the majority of those bad habits.

Another first for the year will be video and stills coming from my new GoPro Hero2 sports cam. I promise to post a fun article about the trip, even if I have to make some of it up.

That’s doubtful, though. Motorcycle culture pretty much ensures that group rides with at least ten people and for at least 100 miles will always produce amazing true stories.