Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter won't stop me!!

It happens to a lot of us year after year. Wintertime. We ride as long as possible. Heck, I rode in 14 degree weather before the first snow of the season. But now, we have the snow to go along with our low temperatures. I've no choice but to park the bike and take the cage. It's just not fair.
When your bike is sitting in the snow like this one, it's pretty much "lights out".

Or is it? I did a little research as to what others do during these down times to keep riding, and here is what I found.

Hey, cars use chains to get around. Why not bikes? Well, they use them too. Some are home made, like these.

And others are actually made for the motorcycle tire. Very cool.

If you had no "grip" on the road, another issue I would think is keeping the bike upright. I can only imagine how much I'd be sliding around a corner. Maybe a set of these could help? Might get made fun of but hey, at least I'm getting where I'm going, right?

Another thing cars do to help get around is stud the tires. This adds some pretty good grip. Better grip than chains, and maybe you won't need the training skis.

Some studs can get a little crazy. These are meant for ice. Yes, they race these things on a sheet of ice sitting atop a large body of water. Might be a little nerve racking.

These are just crazy! These are some long bolts being used for studs. Hate to feel the ride going from deep snow to a plowed road!

These are all interesting ideas, but some of us live in areas that are just not feasible for a motorcycle most of the year. We're talking deep snow where the only way to get around is the old dog and sled mode, or the snowmobile. What can they do? Here's a fun option making your existing tires work as a track. That should get you through.

If that doesn't do it, maybe this one will. This one seems to somehow track all the way from the rear to the front tire. I would actually love to try this one out. Pretty cool concept.

Still having issues getting around? Well, if this won't do it I don't think anything will. For a mere 4 grand, you can add this contraption to your bike. Replace your rear drive wheel with a track and the front wheel with a sled. I don't see anything stopping this bad boy.

Seems for a lot of people, wintertime isn't a time to be depressed and "stuck" driving the cage. It's an opportunity for the same freedoms and thrills a motorcycle brings you in the summer, in the winter! It may be much colder out, but who says we have to stay off of two wheels, er tracks or whatever? So, if you get caught in something like this....

Maybe you should tweak it a bit, and look more like this....

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.
History.com Staff. "History of Halloween." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.