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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Charity....a guest post

I enjoy writing.  I try to write something everyday even if it's just in my head.  In the past I've written articles for soccer websites and magazines.  Contributed an odd piece or two to alternative lifestyle magazines and websites; I've actually working on something now about my slow decent into the decadent life of growing my own vegetables (what did you think I meant you pervert?).

Calvin and Hobbs, all rights reserved.
Given the last month or so of personal and family issues that I've been dealing with however I've not had much time to do any sort of writing, so the good people of Motorcycle House offered to write this weeks column for me.  I've been thinking quite a bit about charity lately.  I been reading some heartbreaking story's and have dealt with some issues recently where the charity of others has been on display.

Since I am planning to ride on the Scooters for Hooters Charity ride in May, I asked the good people at Motorcycle House to jot down something about how they help charities.  After all bikers do a lot of work that is not often covered in the press...from the Patriot Guard Riders to your local Toys for Tot's run.  They were nice enough to send me the following, which I now present to you.

Here are a couple ways to raise money for Charities. No matter the charity you might have in mind, there’s several different ways to raise money and funds for them while taking part in your passion. There is no better feeling than knowing you’re making a difference while also doing something you love. Just think, there are so many different causes and problems out there that need addressing and funding. Riders from every types of background will be brought together to support a cause. For example, Sport bikes, Touring, Cruisers, and Scooters can band together to support a cause they all believe in. It’s up to you to see how you want to do it.
With so many different charities and equally important causes out there, you want to carefully pick the cause that is the most relatable to yourself. Choosing a good cause is important so you can stay passionate about the cause. That being said, choosing to help organize and raise funds for a charity requires commitment, it is time consuming and isn’t for everyone. Keep in mind that different methods will work better for different types of causes. A motorcycle fundraising event wouldn't be the best method to raise funds for PETA.  

There are several ways to help start a fundraiser for your charitable cause. Here are 3 of the most popular methods to raise funds.
1.       Organizing a charity event fundraiser. You set the date and send out the invitation for a bunch of riders to come to your chosen venue for an event fundraiser. You can raise funds this way many different ways. You can charge an entry fee, the fee will include a raffle ticket and the prizes can be donated. This is a very common and popular method of raising funds for your cause. The possibilities for your event are endless. There are many things you can do to attract attendees and people to come. You can ask for assistance from businesses and other companies to help sponsor the event in order to gain exposure. Since bikers are the once who’ll comprise the majority of the attendees, you’re going to want to contact companies that are in the motorcycle industry like, Motorcycle House. You can ask them to donate a couple of products like saddlebags, vests, or jackets. For example, you can ask companies to donate something that is relatively inexpensive, like their Angel Fire Motorcycle Jacket under Viking Cycle Brand. At only $59 dollars, this is probably one of the least expensive leather jackets you can get anywhere. The jacket’s classic styling will definitely garner a lot of attention from the bikers.  

2.       Organize a Motorcycle Run. This is a quite popular option that you’ll see all over the US. Motorcycle riders especially love to rider. It’s no surprise that the turn outs for these type of events are normally very good. You can even go as far as organizing a police escort to help participants stay together. You can do this type of event in collaboration with an event at the end, or just another destination. These types of events are done to bring exposure to a cause. The funds are raised by having riders register and pay a small fee. While the fees are usually small, you’ll be able to get a lot of money if you can get a lot of motorcycle clubs to join the event and spreading the word that way.

3.       Everyone loves a contest. Raising funds by holding a contest or raffle is a great way to gain exposure. With so much technology available nowadays, you can reach many more people. Attract all types of different motorcycle riders by partnering with big brands to offer things or gift cards that they would want. This is similar to a raffle because you’ll have to ask companies to sponsor the event but the slightly different because you’ll have to earn your way into winning the prize etc.
There are just the 3 most popular methods of raising funds for your cause. To stay creative, combine and mix multiple ways of raising funds for the best effect. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Art and Design

As a blogger, I hate to jump on the bandwagon of something.  As of late everywhere I turn I've been hearing about or seeing the photographs of Hassan Hajjaj, particularly because of a serious of photo's he has taken showing the - to quote the Guardian - "The motorbike girl gangs of Morocco"

Hassan Hajjaj photography
I don't know what's more interesting to me. The photo's themselves or the interest they have generated.  Perhaps because we here in the west don't really think of woman belonging to "motorbike gangs" or even riding at all.  If they do, the popular image is that of being on the back, a passive passenger.   In a country where bikes are towed to events like Sturgis or Daytona Bike week, the idea that woman are using them every day in their day to day lives seems foreign, alien to us.

Perhaps what makes the photos so good, so interesting is that these woman are not only riding but are in the "middle east" (actually Morocco is  a Northern Africa country that shares a long and varied history with Europe).  We Americans tend to paint the world with a single brush and seeing something that doesn't fit that world view can, at times, be shocking.

To the best of my knowledge all the woman in the series are veiled and modestly dressed.  Yet their is a shocking amount of color, Nike and Gucci branded djellabah (which covers the face) are everywhere, and sensible shoes rule the day.  In nearly all the photo's the woman are relaxed.  Again, I would not call any of the photo's "sexy" but the woman are confident...and that makes them sexy.

Hassan Hjjaj photography
Good art should challenge our perceptions.  Make us question are beliefs and understanding of the world.  In the case, Hassan Hajjaj has done that in spades.  My only wish is that we could see the woman actually working on the bikes, getting their hands dirty and actually riding about town in their colorful polka dotted outfits.  Seeing them carrying their crates filled with goods and children would have made these images all that more powerful to me.  That I suppose is a minor issue.  Supposedly they are not models but actual working woman of Marrakech...I have been to countries where scooters and motorcycles outnumber cars and seeing bikes being ridden as part truck/part family car/part bus is not that uncommon.  But I suppose that is part of the charm of these photo's.   Most of us already have are preconceived notions, and I for one are happy to see those notions tilted a bit.

The second thing that really struck me this week was from the files of the the Scooterfile website.  They raved about Hero's new RNT design, which is not only lovely but shows the diversity of scooters...and what happens when a company actually knows it's market.   Hero is an Indian company and the RNT is a bike developed almost exclusively for the developing world.   The RNT was designed with help from the Eric Buell Racing, who also has exclusive dealership rights in the US.  I cannot see much of a market in the developed world for this thing...but the design is brilliant. 

Long story short its designed to be a workhorse.  You can see it can already carry two or more people easily.  Packages and crates can be lashed down easily in the front and back.  It has a 150cc diesel engine which provides 14 horsepower , a removable front LED headlight that then can be used as a flashlight. This is where the brilliance kicks in.  There is a socket to plug electric items it's a generator too.  The front wheel is also powered by a 1.3 HP motor, so it is a two wheel drive.  Always helpful in those parts of the world where the pavement ends.  Diesel also tends to be less expensive in the long run while providing better fuel economy (one of the reasons you see fleets of trucks running diesel).  

The RNT is often compared to the Jeep of the 1940's.  A "Do anything, go anywhere" vehicle and from what I read, it is.  What it's designed for is the back roads of India, Nigeria, Afghanistan.  It's designed to bring your family into town to shop, for slogging through unpaved roads and taking a farmer's goods to market.  It's designed for work.   

Yet it's also beautiful.   

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Scooters for Hooters - Breat Cancer Charity Ride.

**UPDATE**  So far only a couple of people are interested in helping me earn money for this fine cause.  Please either sign up to give directly at their site or contact me here and I'll be happy to ride for you.  

I'm going to do this!   How many of my (2 or 3) readers would be interested in sponsoring me?

Be sure to check out the webpage Scooters4Hooters as well!  Details to follow.  :)

Of course, when ever I make any scooter related always rears it's ugly head.  All jokes aside, if your interested in sponsoring me, please contact me here.