Ralph Couey

Ralph Couey
Photo by Darryl Cannon, Powerhead Productions

About Me

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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Throttle Back and Live

Copyright© 2011 by Ralph Couey
For the last year or so on one of my websites, “Soul of a Motorcyclist,” I’ve been tracking motorcycle accidents.  I started this as a way of educating myself on common factors involved in accidents and applying that knowledge to practical self-defense on the road.
Motorcycling, for all of its joys is an inherently dangerous activity.  The multitude of hazards are too numerous to list in the space allotted here.  However, the most common are well-known to riders: 
·         Failure to yield:  When another vehicle turns left across a rider’s path, pulling out from a side street or driveway, or changing lanes.
·         Sudden Stops:  A vehicle slows or stops suddenly in the traffic lane in response to a traffic jam or to execute a left turn.  The rider is unable to react in time.
·         Single-bike accidents: Usually a catastrophic loss of control for a variety of reasons, such as road conditions, debris, animals, or a medical incident with the rider or a mechanical problem with the bike.
·         Excessive speed, carelessness, distracted or impaired riding.
Adding to these hazards, many riders are woefully ill-informed with regards to proper braking technique.  Experts now say 90% of a bike’s stopping power is in the front brake.  In an emergency stop, the bike’s weight shifts forward, taking weight and therefore frictional coefficient from the back tire.  Riders who primarily use the rear brake will find their stopping distances increased significantly. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thunder in the Valley 2011: The Dream that Roared

Copyright© 2011 by Ralph Couey

Summer is rally season for the motorcycle community. Every weekend throughout these hazy crazy days somewhere motorcyclists are gathering.

Every June since 1998, this valley has resonated with the thunder of motorcycles. In the years since, Thunder in the Valley© has become one of the premier events of motorcycling. From across the country, riders stream into the Johnstown area for four days of fun, food, and fellowship. Scheduled the week after Laconia, New Hampshire’s Bike Week, it provides a nice segue for east coast riders and a great way to polish off a two-week two-wheeled vacation.

Every rally has its separate attractions and charms. But this one, “The Little Rally That Could…And Did” has become something special.

Thunder in the Valley© combines the best elements of a motorcycle rally. In the fellowship of 200,000 riders are people who instinctively know why we own these machines. Vendors provide a plethora of items to shower upon our bikes and ourselves. Music is always present in several venues, so that you’re never out of earshot of entertainment from the toe-tappin’ to the foot stompin’. Food is present in abundance, from traditional rally fare to regular restaurant cuisine. Manufacturers provide the opportunity to take their bikes for test rides, and offer good deals should your heart be captured. And outside of town lie dozens of roads that twist and turn through the heart-melting beauty of the Laurel Highlands, providing many hours of what could only be termed perfect rides.