Sometimes you just have to figure out where to find it! We’ve spent the summer looking for hidden, and no so hidden, gems around Columbus. We know the landscape can change, so we’re always on the look out for awesome backdrops to feature our bikes! Let us know when you find out about these pockets of public art around the Central Ohio area, we’d love to put a bike in front of it! The photos below are a little tour of the murals we found this season!
Sunday was a day of firsts! For both Dylan and myself, but mostly for me. The 4th Annual Ride for the Rhinos was Dylan’s first time at The Wilds. For me, it was my first freeway group ride, first twisties, first 80+mph trip.
AND, we got to do all of those firsts while supporting the Ride for the Rhinos fundraiser supported by the Columbus Zoo,The Wilds and Iron Pony. It was great to see 600+ riders and pillions support by getting involved with the largest motorcycle rides to benefit protected animals species in the world!
With a ride route of 80 miles one-way, this was my first real “long ride.” Not only was it a 160 mile round trip, there were sections where we went 80 miles per hour. This ride was maybe the third time I had been on the freeway in the first place, and now I was going 80 miles per hour with my group of at least 100 other riders!
The Wilds is a former longtime mining operation turned one of the largest conversation areas in North America. It is home to many worldwide endangered animals, including the white rhino and the greater one-horned rhino, for which the ride proceeds are raised. During the open-air safari, you can see many of the animals throughout the 10,000 plus acres of land. Much of the land is also dedicated to increasing habitat for local species, as well.
The Wilds is home to one of the largest herds of white rhinos in the world and they have been instrumental in re-population efforts and gene-pool diversification. In 2018, three white rhinos calves were born at The Wilds! In addition to their animal efforts, The Wilds is dedicated to humans, as well. There are several programs for Veterans who suffer from PTSD, as well as educational programming for children.
I didn’t ride Bernadette and for good reason. The two or three other times I had ridden her on the freeway made me uncomfortable. She is a 360cc machine with a petite body and older tires. My weight plus her weight is not enough weight.
So, instead, I rode the 1972 Honda CB500 and felt WAY better on the freeway, let alone going actual freeway speeds! Bernadette is more of a “leisurely Sunday stroll” size motorcycle, and the CB500 can really keep up. Dylan rode the Harley Road King, so he obviously had no problems fitting in or keeping up!
Taking this ride was important to me for several reasons. One, obviously, was supporting the conservation efforts. I used to work in the industry with goals of working in conservation, education, and protection. While I no longer have a direct occupational connection to this area of expertise, I was stoked to be able to mix one of my “new” passions with one of my old, and ongoing, ones! The Columbus Zoo and The Wilds are two of my favorite places in Ohio and Columbus/Cumberland are blessed to have them right in our backyards. If you’ve never been to either, you should definitely make a trip. Both locations, convenient for bikers, have great routes out of Columbus whether you want to ride the freeway or take back roads.
Another reason I wanted to do this ride was to challenge myself. I hadn’t gone over 60-65 mph in any sustained manner on Bernadette. I don’t think I’ll be pushing her to 80 mph, but riding a larger motorcycle was definitely eye opening on the speed side. I had always had an inkling that I wasn’t afraid of “going fast.” Or even afraid of riding on the freeway…. I just needed a formidable steed. I have been riding the CB500 for a few weeks now and am quite comfortable with it. I also think Dylan feels a little less worried about my ability to “keep up” now that he’s seen me in action in the group ride!
This group ride has also made feel more comfortable riding in groups. This opens the doors for me to go on group camping trips, specifically women’s camp outs where Dylan would not be able to be my security blanket riding behind me and telling me I’m doing great (via our in-ear communication devices).
After all, after this ride, I am starting to believe my own little voice in my head that says “You can do this, you’re doing great!”
Maybe you took the Motorcycle Ohio class with the minimum long pants and long sleeves and borrowed one of their helmets, or you’re just trying to be ahead of the game gear-wise, below are some basic suggestions on beginner gear. The myth that motorcycling is an expensive habit DOES have some basis in truth, just as any good myth does! Motorcycling gear can get rather expensive rather quickly, however, a beginner rider can certainly gear up relatively inexpensively without sacrificing safety.
While learning in a parking lot after taking my test, I still didn’t have a “real” riding jacket. I don’t recommend waiting to get one. I also wore a 3/4 helmet for a long time. I HIGHLY suggest getting a full face. Better protection, better wind reduction, and you get used to the slightly less peripheral vision thing pretty quickly. On short or lower speed rides, I may not wear my heavy duty riding boots, but I do still cover my ankles and wear sturdy shoes.
The general idea for motorcycling stems from “Dress for the slide, not the ride.”
Meaning, the gear that you wear should protect a ride in the event of a crash, not just be fashionable or comfortable during riding. This can become a toss up when its 90 degrees outside and you’re stopped at a long stop light in the sun. However, it is proven time and time again that wearing AGATT (All Gear All The Time) has saved many a rider when they go down, be in their brain case or their skin, etc.
There are some pieces of equipment that you can go cheap right out of the gate and there are some things that you should invest in right away.
HELMET: A helmet should be your first priority. A DOT (or better yet ECE)-approved helmet should be on your rider gear list. We suggest getting a full face helmet with a shield (or goggles) for a multitude of reasons, however, DOT-approved helmets do come in 3/4 face as well. Helmets can cost anywhere from $80-600 for various features, innovations, and styles. No matter your financial situation related to buying gear, you should NEVER buy a used helmet. Helmets are designed for one thing, taking a SINGLE impact and dispersing it. Once. You oftentimes cannot tell a helmet has been in a crash if there are no exterior signs of impact. Don’t buy a used helmet.
RIDING JACKET: The second gearing on your list should be a quality, and purpose built, riding jacket. Unless it’s real leather, fashion motorcycle jackets are not built to withstand the abrasions a sliding rider will endure in a crash. However, leather jackets are highly recommended if that’s your thing and in your budget. Textile jackets with protective inserts can be had for around $110 and the inserts can often be changed between jackets when you ride a different style or change sizes.
BOOTS/GLOVES: Unlike in a car, your feet and hands are doing a lot more “stuff” when riding on a motorcycle. So, they need more protection, coupled with functionality. With that said, buying motorcycle riding specific boots or shoes is important to ensure proper grip on the ground when you mean to put your foot down and protection in the event you didn’t. Decent boots start around $80. At the very least, you should be looking for footwear with a sturdy rubber sole and over-the-ankle protection. Your hands also need good grip during the operation of the bike and in the unfortunate event of a crash. Don’t skimp on gloves. Textile riding gloves that feature protection for your knuckles and palms can start less than $25.
EYE PROTECTION: Lastly, but not least importantly, one of the things you shouldn’t just use your “regular” version of is glasses/eye protection. Regular sunglasses might work to keep the sun and some wind out of your eyes, but the faster you go, the more wind your glasses are going to be trying to hold back, especially if you don’t have a full face helmet. And regular sunglasses don’t wrap, so wind can just find its way into your eyeballs. If you wear contacts, they will dry out fast. Buy shatter-resistant (again, for the slide) moto-specific eye protection in the form of glasses or goggles to protect your eyes. You can get decent fog-proof protection for around $20-80. If you wear prescription glasses, you should try to find a full-face helmet with a tinted visor/shield.
Going beyond “basic” is where you can really find yourself spending more than the minimum $250-400 on beginner gear.
BEYOND: Chaps, full body textile riding suits, rain suits, communication devices, riding specific jeans/pants, an upgraded gear are all things you might find yourself interested in after you do a deep dive into motorcycling!
Whether you’ve been riding pillion (as a passenger for those who are 100% new to the ever increasing list of new terminology you will learn along the way!) for 20 years and wanting to finally get your own machine, you’ve been riding dirt bikes off the beaten trail since you were a kid, or you’re 100% new to the riding world, there is a place for you.
For some, it can seem like a lot of maneuvering to become a legally legit motorcycle rider. You have to get a temp permit, take the class (or go straight to the test), get the right gear, get a bike, practice, find riding buddies, learn how to service your bike, and the list goes on. However, we’re going to try to break it down, step by step. Keep in mind, the legalese presented here is based off of the procedure and requirements in Columbus, Ohio and your state or local government may have different requirements. Past getting your license, though, the helpful hints should be universal.
The first step in this process is really to commit to it. A special note for women: commit to letting yourself go through this process. The feeling of accomplishment doesn’t end with “getting your license.” It can be difficult to find the right gear or people to ride with (we’ll have future write ups on those issues in the future!), but it is so worth it. If you’re serious about becoming a motorcycle rider, commit to doing it.
Getting Started: GET LEGAL.
1.) LEARNER’S PERMIT: Get your TIPIC (Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card) through our local BMV. You take a written test, after studying the handbook. Once you have passed the written test, you go to the Registrar’s Office to get the actual temporary ID to be able to ride around. This will be valid for ONE YEAR, with restrictions (no passengers, must wear a helmet, and no nighttime riding).
You also need this ID card to enroll in a class (more on that later) or take the test to get your license.
1B.) Before you start riding, you should consider getting the minimum gear required for taking an ODOT-approved class. This includes: A DOT-approved helmet, “over-the-ankle” protective footwear, long pants, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full fingered gloves, and eye protection. Motorcycle Ohio (linked below) will provide a helmet for use during class, if you don’t have one.
2)TAKE THE CLASS ( OR TAKE THE TEST DIRECTLY): You can either take a class with your TIPIC (recommended), or take the skills test “when the rider is ready.” After you take the skills test, or complete the class, you get your license.
**At the end of taking a class (that uses the Motorcycle Ohio Curriculum), you take the actual test and get a little card that you take to the Registrar’s Office to get your license.
There are several places (in Ohio) to take a class and the costs vary, as does the quality of instruction. However, all Ohio DOT sanctioned classes use the same basic curriculum/require the same standard level of instruction and provide passing students with the waiver card for the state test upon successful completion.
The Motorcycle Ohio course is 16 hours long. The majority of that time is spent outside, on the bike. On pavement. In long pants, long sleeves, potentially in the sun. We strongly suggest that you bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen.
Special Note: In Ohio DOT Motorcycle Ohio classes, the class bikes are provided and are maintenanced regularly. However, if you find yourself struggling mechanically with your bike, be sure to SPEAK UP to let the instructor(s) know. Dropping a bike or losing control of a bike due to an unbeknownst-to-you mechanical error would be an unfortunate way to get booted from the class!
Speaking of, ALWAYS speak up when you feel you don’t understand something or don’t know if you’re doing something right. It’s better to put yourself out there to ask a question than to incorrectly learn , not learn, or get hurt! (Believe me, I KNOW that can be hard!)
3)PRACTICE: Once you have taken the class, or have gone straight to taking the test through the BMV, you should practice if you’re totally new to riding! Passing the licensing test is just a snapshot of what it will be like to ride on the open road. Practicing in an empty parking lot can be difficult if it’s private property, etc, but it’s worth it to have a relatively distraction free area to practice stopping and starting, turns, and your clutch, especially if you’re going to be riding a vastly different bike than you used in the class.
Next steps: While you’ve probably worn some minimum required gear in the permit class, or to take your test, have you really invested in the protective gear you need to ride on the road? Check out the next blog post, “Gearing Up,” to learn about the stuff you really need to ride for the slide on the real roads!
This bike was kind of a curve ball for us at Mecum. We typically search for Hondas and Triumphs, but this bike had some serious potential!
In 1968, Kawasaki was in a race with Honda for a four-stroke machine to supply the eager market with larger capacity motorcycles. The Honda CB750 made it to market first, pushing the in-production Kawasaki 750 to be delayed until they could produce a 900+cc machine which resulted in the K1. In 1976, the K1 was replaced with the KZ900 in the United States.
The 1976 KZ900 came in both Diamond Green and Candy Brown. However, the brown wasn’t painted as a mixed lacquer. A purple base was laid, covered in a clear coat with metallic flake, then a translucent yellow, followed by the gold pinstripe. A final clear coat sealed it all in.
The KZ900 became known as the “best roadster in it’s class” for this production year, and for good reason. The power of this bike was monumental, now and for its time. It’s a fun bike to ride and always turns heads when out. While considered “big” for it’s day, it isn’t an unwieldy ride especially when compared to larger models being produced today. And, despite its size, it handles much better than you would expect.
The KZ is definitely a great bike to bring you back to the 70s without much compromise on power and handling.
Being an air-cooled, single cylinder race bike, it always garners a second look when you see it. This bike is a world-wide favorite and it’s easy to see why. While firmly a late-80s, early 90s bike, the retro styling hearkens back to earlier British 500cc singles.
Though a Japanese designed and produced motorcycle, the “GB” stands for Great Britain and it boasted a top speed of 108 mph.
The “Tourist Trophy,” or TT, designation found on the side cover is a nod to the iconic Isle of Mann race, which says something about the sporty design of this machine and lends style points to the stripes and solo seat. Considering its sporty design, no aesthetic detail was missed, either. The pin-striping on the body and clip on handlebars add to the vintage look, while adding to the impression of speed. The clip on handlebars also lend more comfort for the rider, given the more compact fit on the bike. You can see the resemblance to the iconic “Boy Racer” first introduced in 1948 and competed successfully throughout the 50s and 60s. The AJS 7R, was a 348cc single cylinder and its “brother” The Matchless G50 was 500cc a theme clearly carried on in the design of the GB500.
When people first see the GB500 a common (and understandable) mistake is to assume the 2 exhaust pipes means the bike is a 2 cylinder, but this is because the single cylinder has 4 valves (2 intake and 2 exhaust). The basic engine architecture comes from the Honda XR600 off-road motorcycle. The GB500 is a sleeved down version reducing displacement from 600cc to 500cc, and some non-US variants use the same basic engine with a 400cc displacement
While this bike was only produced from 1985 to 1990 (with US imports only 1989-90), it still acquired worldwide acclaim. Unfortunately, like most works of art, it was not exactly appreciated at the time. As the motorcycle audience becomes more accustomed to seeing vintage style bikes, the appreciation for the GB500 grows. It was a factory “cafe racer” way before its time.
One can’t help but wonder how things would be different if Honda had introduced the GB500 in today’s motorcycle market. With many major manufacturers producing very popular cafe models notably the Ducati Scrambler Cafe, Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe, and the BMW R9T Cafe Racer
If you’re thinking that it could be overwhelming, you’d be right. But it’s certainly the adrenaline inducing kind of experience. There are rows upon rows of motorcycles and you can see common Hondas next to motorcycles from the wild beginning of motorcycling when they looked more like bicycles with engines attached.
There are a few basic types of people you will see at an auction like this. From vintage showroom collectors to those looking for their next project bike. We are “riders” somewhere in the middle. We want a motorcycle that looks like it’s roadworthy or close to it, but still with that vintage flair! For us, this is the biggest motorcycle show, plus everything is for sale and you can touch and sit on the bikes!
We’re excited about the three bikes that we got from the auction! We got a Kawasaki, and two Hondas.
Throttle T-Shirts are available in our store. You should get one. When you do, be sure to hashtag #TeamThrottleCo to be featured on our story to show your support! Follow @throttlecompany on Instagram and Facebook.
Dylan spends most of his days in the garage working on motorcycles. He loves riding and tries to ride as often and as late into the season as possible.
He is what the kids call a “maker” and has spent most of his life making and fixing things. He used to run a fabrication company, ReFab Studio, where he made a staggering range of things from technology heavy interactive museum exhibits to high end custom signage.
He loves all types of motorcycles and motorcycle related events especially Fuel Cleveland, Ama Vintage Days, and attends the Mecum Motorcycle Auction in Las Vegas every year with his father.
Attending these and other events has ignited a passion in Dylan to strengthen the local community in Columbus, Ohio for vintage motorcycle enthusiasts.
Nicole likes long sunset rides in the country and planning routes that end with pizza. Seriously, that’s pretty much it!
Oh, and maybe photography and reading motorcycle manuals from cover to cover.
She is also interested in helping other like minded vintage enthusiasts find properly fitting and stylish classic apparel and gear while joining a community of motorcyclists who share an interest in vintage and restored motors.
Having bought her first bike, a 1975 Honda CB360T, in July 2018 she has officially rounded out her first full riding season this year by attending as many motorcycle events as possible!
The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride is a world-wide motorcycle fundraiser to raise awareness for prostate cancer and male suicide prevention. However, this dapper ride isn’t just for the guys! Founded in 2012, drawing inspiration from a Mad Men character, the ride was established as a unique motorcycle fundraiser. Riders are encouraged to dress in jacket and vest and ride classic (or classically styled) motorcycles while raising money for The Movember Foundation through their website platform.
The ridership has gone from 2,500 riders across 64 cities in 2012 growing to 115,000 in 648 cities (in 101 countries) this year! Riders across the world raised $6.3M this year alone.