Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Black Friday. Where did it come from?

We know what Black Friday is today. It's a mad dash for savings. A night camped out in front of our favorite store to be the first to get those savings. When those doors open, it can be a stampede of savings crazed madness. What has become of us?

Every year, there are fights and there are serious injuries. Some see this day as a holiday in itself and go out right after their Thanksgiving feast to wait in line for the big opening. Others bring camping equipment and stay days ahead to ensure they are getting the best deals. To each their own I say. 

But, how did this all get started? When did this start? I remember as a kid their being Black Friday Sales too, so it's been around awhile. We asked ourselves this question and started digging. We wanted to know the history of Black Friday and the crazed madness that ensues. Let's see what we cam up with. 

The term "Black Friday" could refer to retail companies going "into the black" on the year. A lot of stores may be "in the red" up until this big holiday sale, where they make up a lot of their profits at this time. But, the truth may be a bit darker than this. 

The first time the term "Black Friday" recorded its use had nothing to do with shopping at all. It was a financial crisis, specifically the crash of the US gold market back in 1869. Two Wall Street financiers worked together to buy up as much gold as they could in hopes to drive the price up and sell it for profit. On Friday, September 24, 1869, they were found out, which sent the stock market into a free fall and bankrupted everyone. 

The most popular theory related to Black Friday tradition is to retailers. Story is, after the whole year of operating at a loss ("in the red"), stores would earn a profit ("in the black") on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers spent a great deal of money on discounted merchandise. Retailers did in fact use to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday is the officially sanctioned, but inaccurate one behind the tradition. 

The real story behind Black Friday is not quite as sunny as retailers might have you believe. Back in the 1950's, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in the advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would the Philadelphia police not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding the law enforcement headache. 

By 1961, Black Friday had caught on in the city of brotherly love, to the extent that the city's merchants and boosters tried unsuccessfully to change it to "Big Friday" in order to remove the negative connection. The term didn't spread to the rest of the country until much later, even as recently as 1985 in some parts of the country. Sometime in the late 80's, retailers were finally able to shake the negative meaning with the term, and turn it into something very positive for them and their customers. It was turned into the "red to black" concept which was mentioned earlier, and the notion that the day after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when America's stores finally turned a profit. 

Then people. Now animals.

Their Black Friday story stuck. Soon after, the darker, Philadelphia meaning of the term was all but forgotten. Since, the one day sales craze has turned into a four day event and spawned other "holidays" like Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday. Stores started to open earlier and earlier on that Friday after Thanksgiving, and now the most dedicated shoppers can head out right after their feast. An estimated 135.8 million of us plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend. (not me)  

Pretty crazy what it has become. These last couple of years have also started plenty of controversy with some stores opening on Thanksgiving. It's nice to see this year I have heard a couple stores announce they will not be open, allowing their employees to enjoy their time off with their family. I hope that trend sticks. Happy Holidays everyone. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween History, Legends, and Tales

Halloween is a tradition of celebration, superstition, and most importantly CANDY! Long Ride Shields delved deep into the tradition to find out some little-known facts about this 'spooky' holiday.

Halloween is thought to have made its origins over 2,000 years ago with an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in). During this festival, people would divine futures, light bonfires, and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. The Celts would celebrate their new year on November 1st. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the cold and dark winter. The Celts also believed that on the night before the new year, the veil between the world of the living and dead would be lifted and ghosts would return to earth. Druids and priests would use this time to divine futures for the next year and children would dress up and go to their neighbors and ask for food, wine, and money in exchange for a song, poetry, or even a joke.

Toward the end of the Roman empire, two roman festivals were combined with the now conquered, Celt's festival, the first being Feralia. This day was marked to commemorate the passing of the dead. Second, the festival of Pomona, which was to celebrate the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona is symbolized with an apple, which many believe is the origins of bobbing for apples.

Later, during the height of the Holy Roman Empire, Pope Gregory III moved a feast for martyrs from May 13 to November 1 and included a celebration for all saints, not just martyrs. This feast was known as 'All-Hallows Day and has since been known as 'All Saints Day'. All Saints Day was celebrated very similarly to Samhain, where people would light big bonfires, have parades and dress up as saints, angels, and devils. The night before this day was called 'All-Hallows Eve' and eventually shortened to Halloween as we know it today.

Early American Halloween was very limited due to rigid religious beliefs, but as different European customs as well as Native American beliefs combined, a distinctly American Halloween began to develop. Colonial Halloween features the telling of ghost stories and mischief of all kinds.

The flood of immigrants to America during the mid 1800's helped to popularize the Halloween tradition. Americans began to dress up and go house-to-house to ask for food or money. In the late 1800's, Americans tried to move the holiday to a more community-based event rather than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. Parents were encouraged to remove anything 'frightening' or 'grotesque' from the celebration. Due to this move, many superstitions and traditions were lost.

Halloween had always been a holiday filled with magic, mystery, and superstition. For instance, we avoid crossing paths with black cats as it may bring us bad luck. Many people, during the Middle Ages, believed that witches would disguise themselves as black cats to avoid detection. Some traditions even had to do with love. In particular, helping young women to find their future husbands. In Ireland, a matchmaking chef would bury a ring in mashed potatoes on Halloween night in the hopes it would bring her future husband to dinner.

In Scotland, girls would name hazelnuts and burn them to decern which would be their true love. Another legend was that a young lady would drink a concoction made of walnuts, nutmeg, hazelnuts, and other things (Spiced Latte anyone?) Halloween night and would dream of her future husband. Regardless of whether we were trying to get love advice to avoid bad luck, all these Halloween superstitions relied on the good will of spirits that came out on this day.
Trick or Treaters in 1950's
By the 1950's, town leaders successfully limited vandalism and Halloween was directed to the young. With the high number of young children due to the baby boomers, Halloween parties were moved from civic center to the classroom and at home. Trick-or-Treating was an inexpensive way for the community to celebrate this holiday together. In theory, families would prevent tricks from being played on them and their homes by providing the neighbor children with candy and other small treats.
1950's Candy

So whether you are in it for romantic aspirations, to know what the future holds, or just holding back on toilet paper in exchange for something sweet, we here at Long Ride Shields hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween . . . Enjoy The Ride!
Today, one-quarter of all candy sold annually
in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.

Composed by Long Ride Shields. Information cited below. Staff. "History of Halloween." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Check YOU out!

We wouldn't be here without you, our customers. We wanted to show our appreciation by sharing your shared images and testimonials. There are some great pictures here. Hope you enjoy.

  "James, thought you might like to see a few pics with my LRS installed. It fit perfectly and looks and performs great! Thanks, .C.B"

"Just installed my new Javelin on my 2016 Street Glide Special. I think you guys might have hit a home run with this one. Went for a ride yesterday and I swear I could probably hold a match in front of my face and it would not get blown out. Absolutely love it!"

"I received my Javelin 7" etched, medium tint windshield for my 2016 Tri Glide Ultra. 
I can't be more pleased with the product, communication, service, and fast shipment. I am a fan for life."

"Here is a phot you can use in your collection. Thanks. We ride no matter what the conditions and LRS are the best."

"Glad you guys decided to make the trip. I really enjoyed my 24" light tint and vented on the way home. It even rained a while to let me see how well it did in the rain. Love it and I passed along a number of my friends from Chapter Y in Birmingham that purchased one also. Great product."

"Finally caught a break in the weather and ran my bike down the road to try out the new 8" Ultra Shield. I don't feel like a 'bobblehead' anymore.....Thanks James for a great deal and super fast shipping. You guys are #1 in my book!!!"

"Thank you James. Awesome shield!"

"Ordered/installed my 18" LRS re-curve...finally got to try it out last Friday. This windshield simply rocks!!! No buffeting and I can see over it much easier than my previous aftermarket shield of similar size. Thanks...great product!!"

"Took a little ride from Indiana to Key West last week, 5 days 2957 miles of bugs and rain, with my 8" medium tint recurve Long Ride Shield. It has been on this bike for 3 years now and well over 45k miles. Still works and looks as good as the day it was installed. My FLHT and friend's Road King with Long Ride Shields in the Smoky Mountains on our return trip. Great product! Thanks guys."

"Second purchase from LRS. Thanks James for helping me with my order. Got the new shield today and put it on. Looks Great! Semper Fi LRS!"

"Hi I just got my RK Elite shield in the mail - I am so pleased, I had to report back! Feel free to use it: I have two HD shields for my 96 cuin Evo Road King - one started life as the original size (20"?), and I have systematically cut it down about 1" at a time, in an attempt to get rid of buffeting while maintaining a free view over the shield (tall torso, 5'10"). No success. Then I came across LRS thru a forum, and thought I would give it a try; ordered a 18" clear polycarbonate shield - RK Elite. On the first ride (yesterday) I started noticing the lack of buffeting as I was passing 45 mph. Hittin 70+, still no buffeting; only a slight feel of the wind on top of my helmet - great! It does not look like a big design improvement, but that forward curve on top of the shield really works! Now, if you can experiment with a mini-shield that does (almost) the same, I will be the first in line...A great product, and I can now ride much more relaxed - thanks! All the best, K, Norway."

"10" rambler on the 8-ball! Absolutely love it! I'm 5'8" and this is perfect size."

We want to thank everyone of our customers and tell you how much we appreciate your pictures and your feedback. It's so great to see so many of you out there loving our shields. We are proud of what we do. We make these shields right here in our facility every day! It's great to see them start out as a piece of plastic, and end up to you, on your ride, giving you miles and miles of a much more comfortable ride. Thank you again, and keep 'em coming!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My Goldwing Experience

     We have been making re-curve windshields for Harley's for years now. I have a lot of miles on our Road King and am very comfortable on it. Last year, we designed and began manufacturing a re-curve shield for the Honda Goldwing. This is a venture I think none of us had any idea of what to expect. Well, it has been overwhelming! "Wingers" have been loving our shield. We named it the Taka. Taka is Japanese for Falcon, or Hawk which is the emblem on the Honda Goldwing.
     We had such a great reaction to our new Taka, but no real experience. Sure, we were allowed to test ride a local's bike with our shield on it but really had no baseline comparison to the stock. We had a sudden opportunity to buy a pristine low mileage 2001 Goldwing and jumped at the opportunity. I'll admit, it was hard to pry me away from our Road King. I love our Road King. My wife and I have put thousands of miles on that bike. I test rode the Goldwing. It had pep. I was surprised at how quick it was for a 950 - pound Tourer. But, hey I am still a Harley guy. I didn't ride the Goldwing much.

     Over time, that poor Goldwing sat in our shop, collecting dust and just looking sad. The Wingding in Billings, MT was coming up quick and I wanted to have the bike there as a demo for our booth. So, I started taking her home. I cleaned her up real well and rode her daily for several weeks. The more comfortable I was on her, the better she felt and the more I liked her. That Goldwing can do the twisties with no problem. You can really move her around pretty easily and she corners beautifully. And truly, our shield does wonders! I had ridden her before with the stock shield. I know our re-curve works from riding the Harley, but this bike has almost no wind at all! I'm not saying I am liking the Wing more than the Road King, I'm just saying it has grown on me since we bought her last year. I'm really enjoying riding her as a daily driver.
     Show time is here. We have decided to drive ourselves and our product all the way from Reno to Billings in one day. The guys here at the office thought that to be no big deal. I, on the other hand was a bit concerned doing 1000 miles in one day. We're talking 14 1/2 hour drive if you don't stop at all. You can guess you'd be taking at least 16 hours, right? It's going to be one long day for all of us.
     I had decided earlier I am riding the Goldwing, not towing it. We took off from our shop right around 7:00 am on August 29th and hit the open road.
     Not even an hour into the ride, my butt was hurting. This seat is horrible! I can't really describe what it's doing to me, but man is it becoming painful. It's kind of a "saddle" type seat and it feels like it's splitting me in two! I'm thinking I don't think I can take this for too much longer. You don't have too many positions you can sit in. You're forced to keep your feet planted in the same position. The fairing is pretty wide and this bike has tall wind deflectors on the side of the fairing as well, keeping me from sticking my legs out to stretch. So, I just deal with it. Hour after hour, I'm scooting back as much as I can, I'm leaning forward, I'm stretching my feet/ankles, doing anything I can to stay comfortable. After awhile, I've gone numb to it. It's not bothering me quite as much. Gas stops are great. Stretch those legs, walk a bit and I'm a new person. Ready to go again.

     Aside from the "butt" challenge I was having, the ride was great. This bike is so smooth. It has cruise control. I'm not use to that. It was a pretty boring drive through Northern Nevada, but not bad. I really appreciate the desert. I love living in this climate. A lot of people see boring brown flat land or hills, but there's definitely some beauty there. Mountains in the background, dark brown colored rock and cliffs, sand colored landscapes. I really like it. But, do the whole width of the state, and you'll be ready for something new.
     Something new finally came when we hit Idaho. Started seeing some green, hills and water. Very pretty! I may be a bit stiff on the bike, mostly because of the forced position and the seat, but I am so thankful I'm not sitting in a car. I've always hated road trips. They make me so tired and the drive seems to always take an eternity. Not on the bike, though. I'm enjoying every bit of this trip so far.
     As we approach 9:00 pm, I'm thinking we must be getting close. This is the time they were expecting to arrive. Not even close. We still have a good  4 or 5 hours to go. That is going to be tough.
     Now we are riding through the mountains on the border of Yellowstone park. Sure wish I could see the beauty. I see silhouettes of the trees and am catching glimpses of the stars but it's pitch black. I'm having some difficulty keeping my focus. We stop to stretch. We hear this mass amount of rushing water near us, but we can't see anything! All of sudden, one of the guys says, "Look up." Wow. I've not seen the stars like this in so long. Maybe only camping in the Sierra Mountains home. They were breathtaking. You can see everything! It was amazing. This gave us the revitalization we needed to press on. Sounds silly, I know but it was pretty exciting to see those stars.

     The last hour was tough, if not dangerous. I was having a real hard time seeing clearly. I was fighting keeping my eyes focused, but we pressed on. We finally made it around 1:45 am. It was really 12:45 to us as we had lost an hour entering mountain time zone. I can not tell you how exhausted I was. I showered and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
     The first thing I notice the next morning is the bike is covered, and I mean covered in bugs. From the fairing all the way up to the shield, bugs everywhere. More than I've ever seen. But, not a single bug was on my helmet and not a single bug was on my glasses. I'm telling you, this shield works! I rode a thousand miles in one day looking over a shield and wearing an open face helmet.
     Today is set up day. We made our way to the event building and started unloading. The rest of the day, we relaxed.

     Event day: I'd experienced this event last year in Huntsville, Alabama. I flew there and had our supplies shipped. When those doors opened last year, we were hit pretty hard with people almost instantly. This year was a bit different. A half hour or more goes by, and there's no one at our booth. I told Michal (company controller) how odd this was and how I'm getting a bit worried. Well, it wasn't five minutes after I said that to him that we had a crowd of 20 or more people surrounding our booth. This never stopped. The entire day was a nonstop marathon to try and keep up. Last year, I manned the customers. This year, Michal had that role as I jumped in to help installing shields.
     We had 3 of us installing shields. There were 3 bikes, or more in our bay at all times throughout the entire 4 day event. We had countless people coming up telling us how they heard about us. How, their buddy has one of our shields and swears by them. We had wive's coming up to thank us for a much better riding experience. No buffeting and now they can hear each other talk on the intercom. Michal was bombarded by people constantly with stories like this. We booked up the entire event for installing shields on the first day. We did what we could working others in that really wanted a shield but couldn't stop by the first day of the event.
     Last year, I brought plenty of shields. We did run out of the larger 24" size shield last year, but again this year was different. We ran out of 20" shields on the second day. I was mortified. It was my responsibility to determine what to bring and to make that happen. I even brought extras of the 20". So I thought. It seemed every single rider we did a shield for needed the 20" size as a proper size for them. We ran out of the 18" size shields by the third day. We had our shop over night us the 20" sizes on the first day and received them the second day. Great news on the clear 20" size shields, but they sent the wrong tinted shields. Ones we already had. Somehow they miscommunicated our request. You could imagine, it was pretty stressful.
     The event finally came to an end. During the off hours of the event, we put on a new seat. Our seat was junk. Surprisingly junk. It was a big name, very expensive seat that the previous owner had put on, but it was the worse seat I've ever sat on. I needed a new one for the ride back. We struck up a deal with Mark at the HartCo booth. What a seat it is. I sat on it and my coworkers could see the reaction in my face how "aaaaaaaahhhhh" it was to sit on it. I was excited to ride back with this baby. Highway pegs. I need those too! Got those put on and now I can stretch out my leg just under those wind deflectors. On the way out on the last day, I grabbed myself a new helmet as well. The one I was using was the previous owners. I used it because it plugs into the bike and we were able to maintain contact through the bikes CB, which was nice. The helmet seemed to fit fine on short rides, but over time really pressed against my forehead giving me an awful headache. Got myself a new modular and they installed the com in the helmet right then and there for me. Now, I'm all set.

     The ride back we had already decided to do in two days, rather than one. One was just too much and too dangerous. Great decision. It was nice to be able to see what we missed in the dark on the way in, on our way out now. Beautiful country up there. The ride back was blissful on the new seat. This seat is so comfortable, that I didn't need to move or shift once. It was great the entire time. What a difference.
     It was quite the exhausting trip to say the least. But, I already look forward to next years Wingding event, which will be in Texas. Not sure if I'll make the ride, but it is a fun event and great people. Sure hope to see some of you there next year.
     I am still a Harley lover. I am now also a Goldwing lover.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Alright its time for an epic battle.... at Long Ride Shields we spend most of our day dealing with Honda, and Harley fans.... and there seems to be no end of opinions about which is better and best.

Lets end all the talk and get down to what really matters.... we could argue to the end of times about which is faster, more comfortable, less expensive, more practical, but in the end none of that matters. That's why we have designed the ultimate survey to determine which is truly the best. Honda or Harley... If you ride an indian or victory... maybe we will do that survey next time!




Friday, July 22, 2016

10 Uses For Polycarbonate

We've talked about how great polycarbonate it, but just how versatile is it? Well, let's take a look at some of the things we use polycarbonate for in our daily lives. You might be surprised.

1.     Bullet Proof Glass.

Bullet Proof Glass has saved countless lives, including our soldiers. The glass is made by layering polycarbonate and glass. It's a bit thick in the end, but clear as glass and it will stop some serious fire power.

2. Safety Glasses.

Nowadays, safety glasses must be worn at all times in a work place. We are no different. Here in the office, we're okay. As soon as we step foot out in the shop, we must be wearing eye protection. Safety glasses are made form polycarbonate and can withstands a pretty good hit, saving you from losing your site. 

3. Police Protection.

When there's a riot happening, the Police need some protection. People will attack the Police, throw rocks, bricks, etc. at them, and even toss Molotov Cocktails. When you have a large group of people aimed to do destruction, they won't stop at property damage. Polycarbonate shielding is the only way to go. The Police can still see through it and have a very good safety barrier between them and the angry mob.

4. Structure Glass. 

Polycarbonate is a great material to use for something like a Greenhouse. Something like shown what is shown below has cells that work both for structural integrity and insulation keeping even more heat. 

5. Face Protection in Sports.

Similar to the safety glasses, eye, or face shields are used in a variety of sports, like Football and Hockey. Back in the day, hockey players didn't wear any head or face protection. Now, helmets are mandatory and face shielding is optional. I'd want to wear one as that hard, frozen puck can travel over 100 mph! There have been players in the past who have broken teeth, jaws and even their orbital bone. 

6. Headlights

Modern vehicle headlights use a polycarbonate clear cover, sealing in the headlamp itself. Once again, polycarbonate is the clear choice for its durability and clarity for vehicle headlights. It also has a hard coating for scratch resistance and UV protection as raw polycarbonate is susceptible to UV damage. 

7. DVD's

DVD's and Blue Ray's are probably the most common use for Polycarbonate. It's a great material to use for these as it has a high heat resistance, it's flame retardant, and a good electrical insulator. 

8. Aircraft Industry

What is that protecting the pilots and the passengers? You guessed it. Polycarbonate. No explanation needed for this one I don't think. 

9. Glasses

Most of our eye wear are now made form Polycarbonate. I wear glasses myself as of recently. They are glasses and they are safety glasses at the same time. I don't need to put on a separate pair of safety glasses when I go out into our shop. I'm covered! Here are mine.

10. Bottles

Most of the bottles are made form Polycarbonate. Most Polycarbonate items are made from vacuum forming or drape forming. Polycarbonate can also be injection molded. Makes for a very strong bottle and uses much less material.