Wednesday, April 29, 2009

KTM/FMF Kick Off May as "Protect Your Right To Ride Month"

Something very cool and exciting is starting May 1, 2009. KTM and FMF have joined together to promote May as “Protect Your Right to Ride Month.” KTM is doing a giveaway of a brand new 250 XC-FW equipped with a Q4 muffler.

If you are a rider, all you have to do is go into your local KTM shop and sign up for a membership with BRC or AMA (businesses can sign up with ORBA) or show your BRC or AMA membership card and get an entry into the drawing to win the new bike.

When you go into the shop, The General is asking that you also buy some KTM products or other aftermarket accessories to help support the dealership. That is what I will be doing! Don’t just sign up for a membership for yourself… sign up each member of your family as an individual member.

I expect some news releases on this promo in the next day or two, but here is some initial info on this project at FMF’s new land-use site:

Here also is a link to KTM’s dealer network to find your local shop

Please fwd this note to your email networks and get folks to sign up and also buy some products at the dealer.

Thanks for your service!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 24 - Update on Smokey Bear ATV Ad

The General thanks all of you who recently sent in feedback and complaints about the continued airing of the now infamous 2008 Smokey Bear ATV ad. As you know, the BRC, AMA and other OHV groups requested that the ad be pulled.

In response to our collective request, the Ad Council did send out a request to media outlets to pull the ad in 2008. However, it appears that some TV or radio departments did not get the message.

Based on BRC’s April 13, 2009 letter requesting The Ad Council review of our continued concerns, they responded today with a letter basically asking for our/your help in tracking the unapproved airing of these ads.

April 13, 2009 BRC Letter to Ad Council

April 24, 2009 Ad Council Response and Request for Help


On Monday, the BRC will be sending out an alert to its members (sign up on the BRC Alert System if you want to get such alerts)

BRC Alert System


That alert will be asking you and your friends to monitor TV and radio shows for the airing of the ad and then contact Helen Cleveland with the details so that Ad Council can do the appropriate follow-up.


Helene Cleveland
Fire Prevention Program Manager
USDA Forest Service

Thanks to all of you who made The General aware of this issue.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thank God for Good Samaritans

A lot of us talk about how great it is to be part of the “off-road” family. Sure we have good times riding or driving on trails or sitting around the campfire telling stories, but
a trait that may not get enough attention is the willingness to help a fellow off-roader in distress.

While on my way home on April 19 from the Billy Ray Memorial Trail Ride at Stonyford, I had a blow out on my rear truck tire which sent my official F250 BRC land use battle wagon and my 23 ft Weekend Warrior trailer into a series of ugly fishtails and jackknives on Interstate 5.

After coming to a stop with the truck now separated from my trailer (the ball bolt snapped) and pointed north on southbound I5, the trailer was sitting across both lanes
of the freeway with no way for me to get the trailer off the road.

Fortunately two families of dirt-bikers stopped almost immediately to help. Being in a state of shock myself, I was not thinking clearly. Thank God for these Good Samaritans who were quick witted and backed one of their trucks (with a trailer hitch) up
to the trailer and towed it to the side of the road.

To make a long story short the truck and trailer are in the body shop. It was a miracle that nobody got hurt and that nobody hit my truck or trailer.

The General just wants to give a very well deserved and sincere THANK YOU to those
off-roaders who took the time to help a fellow rider in distress. God Bless you for that.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

EARTH DAY ALERT - EPA Starts Public Comment Period on CO2

Since this is Earth Day, The General has decided to share his views on this subject.

As some of you know, The General as been watching the debate on “Global Warming” for some time now. He is also old enough to remember the “Ice Age is Coming” craze in the late 1960s/70s.

What has been confusing to The General is that carbon dioxide (humans breathe in oxygen and exhale CO2 as part of our living process and plants absorb CO2 and produce oxygen as part of their life process) has been more or less named as a “pollutant” by our government with a claimed considerable adverse effect on the climate.

On April 17, the EPA ruled that certain Greenhouse gases (specifically CO2) endanger public health. The agency started a 60 day public comment period for people (including OHVers) to give opinions on the subject and how said ruling could or will impact their families.

Noted scientist, Roy Spencer, has written lot about the subject and his views can be
seen at:

US Chamber of Commerce Letter on Subject

For a link to submit comments to the EPA go to:

The General believes in good stewardship of our natural resources and of our family budgets as well. What concerns him is that it appears we have our public land and environmental policies being driven by folks with a political agenda grounded more
in myth than in science and common sense…. the impacts of which are not good for the environment, recreational access, or our economy.

Several years ago, noted author and eco-critic, Michael Crichton, wrote a book exposing many green-myths including Global Warming. Even if you don’t agree with that premise, I would encourage you to read his book. Heck, I read Al Gore’s book – Earth in the Balance… so what is good for the goosed is good for the gander.

Book Review of State of Fear


The General will be submitting comments and hopes you will as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update on Youth OHV Lead Issue

Hey guys… good to be back. One of the questions that I fielded during my leave was for an update on the OHV lead issue. As most of you know, there are two remedies underway.

One – The second CPSC commissioner cast his vote on April 17 in favor of a stay of enforcement of the ban. The General agrees with MIC Counsel

MIC News Release

that at best this would be only an interim solution which still may not “fix” the problem. There is a school of thought in the OHV community that a stay of enforcement would not prevent a lawsuit brought by an overzealous anti-OHV group, a state attorney general, or some other interest that has a political agenda guised as concern for public health.

I believe just such an example exists at Clear Creek where you have an agency that initially stated to OHV groups that the reason they were closing Clear Creek was because they “had been threatened” with a “health-related” lawsuit. Since there is not one documented case of mesothelioma from naturally occurring asbestos (the kind that is at Clear Creek) one might draw the conclusion that because there are cases of lead poisoning (i.e. eating old lead paint chips, etc -- and not from eating dirt bike parts!) that we could see a flood of public-interest lawsuits filed if the “Youth OHV” tenets of CPSIA are not enforced.

Two – For some time, The General has been asking his troops to support a legislative fix to this crisis. In the Senate there is S. 608 and in the House of Representatives there is H.R. 1587. Continue to ask your Member of Congress to support those efforts to find a permanent fix to this grossly unfortunate situation.

The saga continues…

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The General is in the Field - April 17-19

Will return to my post at HQ on April 20.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bruce Ogilvie - We Lost Another Great Champion

The General is deeply saddened by the passing of Bruce Ogilvie. The loss of this great person with his impressive OHV resume comes at a time when I just got back from a memorial for AMA Dist. 36 legend, Eddie Diaz. On top of that, I am preparing to leave for the Billy Ray Memorial Trail Ride this weekend at Stonyford.

I did not know Bruce very well, but I always admired his racing prowess and development of various Honda off-road dirt-bikes such as the XR400. He was approachable and took phone calls from enthusiasts with questions about bike set-up, such as when my friend (a Forest Service OHV Master performer and fmr. Dist. 36 champion) had questions about the suspension on the early model XR400.
Honda News Release

The General is sincerely moved by Bruce’s battle with cancer and the family’s request that riders donate blood in his honor. I lost my dad to cancer about 10 years ago and both my sister and I donated both blood and platelets to help with his 2 year battle and appreciate just how important those donations are to patients who are fighting for their lives.

Folks, we are losing too many good people. Somebody from the East Oakland Moto Bros came up with an idea that we have occasional “Celebration of Life” parties where we honor people who are still with us. I think that is a great idea!

In Bruce’s honor, I ask that riders make an appointment to donate blood or -even better- ask if you are a good candidate to donate platelets. The General will make his blood/platelet donation next week.

Godspeed Bruce, Eddie, and Billy Ray.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BRC Obtains Status for CFC Donations

For a number of years, pro-access government employees have strongly urged the BlueRibbon Coalition to obtain official status in the Combined Federal Campaign Charity List.

Today that vision was realized when the BRC announced that the United States Office Of Personnel Management has granted the aforementioned status. BRC will be listed under the National/International Independent Organizations list for charitable donations.

BRC News Release on CFC Status

I know that BRC has many supporters in the federal land agencies and our military who want to donate to its effort to champion good stewardship of public lands. According to
the BRC news release--the organization will be listed as: 11402 BlueRibbon Coalition.

I think a special note of thanks should go to BRC executive director, Greg Mumm, and his staff for a mission accomplished.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not Preaching to the Choir - New Age Meets Off-Road

One of the side benefits of BRC attending
the 24 Hours of Electricross was the opportunity to have a discourse with new age or eco-groups
that had an interest in quiet OHV recreation.

The General has often been encouraged by riders to engage those non-motorized stakeholder groups that do not understand the OHV community or traditional motor sports.

Just such an opportunity presented itself at the 24 Hours of Electricross where Don Amador was interviewed by David Herron, an internet journalist for a new age website. I think the interview/video was a good chance to share
our commitment to the resource via OHV sound education with folks who are not familiar with the BlueRibbon Coalition or the OHV community.

Photo to right is of the famous KAZBUS. The General was raised in
Humboldt County in Northern California in the late 1960s/early 1970s
and seeing this bus was fun, since the concept for such “modified vehicles”
was actually created or born in Humboldt County

In the following video, David Herron shares his perspective (about 8:16) of the video
and then switches over to Don Amador for his views on the electric motorcycle, potential for creation of new urban OHV parks, sound being a public lands issue, etc.

Link to Herron’s Video Interview with Don Amador

In Herron’s narrative, you see him talk about (w)ilderness or is it (W)ilderness?
Although BRC has advocated for continued use of existing routes via cherry-stems in Wilderness designations, its main purpose is to champion responsible use of non-Wilderness public lands where OHV recreation is an allowed or prescribed use. I think that distinction may have
gotten lost in the translation. However, that may be a difference without a distinction since in modern day Wilderness bills you have lands next to county garbage dumps
being proposed for Wilderness.

While preaching to the choir may be something we do a lot of…The General feels that
getting out to new venues and sharing our land use views with non-traditional news sources is a good thing.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eddie Diaz Memorial Celebration - Eddie Was a Good Man

A good name is better than a precious ointment…” (Ecclesiastics 7:1)

Judging by the size of the crowd (450-500 people) and the content of the various testimonies, Eddie had a very good name!

They say it’s not the start of the race or life that is important but how you finish. Sure there were a lot of inside bench racing stories that brought some humor to the memorial celebration, but it was the testimony
from those who Eddie had helped along life’s journey that were the most
touching and important.

Many racing and industry leaders spoke or were in attendance at the celebration.
Those names include, but are not limited to, Dave Bertram, Dick Mann,
Rodney Smith, Richard Christian, Brad Lackey, Heather Wilson, Phil Ray, Nick Haris, Taz Harvey, and Duffy Collin. Dave Pickett spoke and also permanently retired Eddie’s number – 31z

Based on testimonies, it was Eddie’s caring for his family and others, work ethic, passion for the sport, and vision for protecting our right to ride that were his hallmarks.

I remember Eddie for his strong support for trail access and making sure
AMA Dist. 36 continued its Legislative Action Office. That office position will
be one of his many legacies.

At the end of the service, Fred Sumrall (AMA Dist. 36 Chaplin) gave the crowd
his spiritual perspective on Eddie’s life. Fred believes (and so do I) that people like Eddie are called by God to serve in leadership positions and are made effective by His
guidance. Fred prayed that other leaders would come forth to help carry on Eddie’s vision for this country and our sport. May that prayer be answered.
Since a tribute to our military was mentioned at the service and since there was a spiritual context to the memorial... some of you who may want to hear/see one of my favorite patriotic/religious videos:

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The Diaz Family has set up the Eddie Diaz Memorial Legal Fund at BRC

Friday, April 10, 2009

Memorial to Eddie Diaz - A Trail Champion

It’s hard to think of words to describe
the loss to the motorcycle community
of a great friend and champion. Eddie
Diaz recently passed away at the
much-to-young age of 51. I knew
“Fast Eddie” from his service at
AMA Dist. 36 and the Richmond
Ramblers Motorcycle Club. Eddie
was also a passionate supporter
of trail access and the
BlueRibbon Coalition.

He fought for what he believed in
and was instrumental in the continuing functionality of the Dist. 36 Legislative
Action Office.
Photo to right is of Eddie (2nd rider from right)helping BRC do test runs
for the OHV Spotted Owl Study in 2002 on the Mendocino National Forest.

In honor of that fighting spirit, the Eddie Diaz Family has set up the Eddie
Diaz Memorial Legal Fund at the BlueRibbon Coalition. Funds donated
will go directly to Legal efforts within the boundaries of AMA Dist. 36.

BRC Eddie Diaz Memorial Legal Fund

There will be a memorial service today to celebrate and remember his life. It will
be @ 1:00pm today at the Richmond Rambler Club House, 818 Dornan Dr, Point Richmond, CA. For further information, go to

I hope to see many of you there.

Godspeed Eddie – you are missed!

The General

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Member of OHV Family

Op-Ed by Don Amador

It’s not often that a trail rider or land-use organization is witness to a watershed moment in motorcycle history. Such events for me include the rollout of the 1969 Honda CB750 inline four-cylinder street bike, introduction ...

For Complete Op-Ed go to:

Video/Audio of Starting Line

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saved By Zero - 24 Hours of Electricross

When you take the OHV sound testing program often taught by Dr. Rob Harrison (the godfather of the SAE J1287 “20-inch” sound test for OHVs) he asks the class this question, “If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound or a noise?” If you have taken the class you know the answer-- which is -- yes, it makes a sound since sound is a scientific measurement, but not a noise since noise is based on human values or interpretation.
Photo to right is of Team HotChalk - hey, is that WPS's Rex Halepeska in the picture?

Now the question can be asked another way…”If there is an all electric dirt bike race, does it make a sound or a noise?” After attending the 2009 24 Hours of Electricross and
taking some sound measurements at the starting line and at various turns, the “tree falling” could now be replaced with “electric OHVs” in that famous question.

I was proud to have attended the event on behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition and intend to write a longer article for the coalition. However, The General wanted to post the audio/visual clip from the starting line where the crowd noise was actually louder than
the bikes. Another cool thing is that a number of teams were either BRC members or had BRC members as part of the team. How cool is that? (also, note BRC decal on front fender of winning bike)
Official Sound Readings
Loudest dBA Reading at Start Line (crowd cheering/bikes) 79.6 dBA
Typical Single Bike Passing by Sound Meter Next to Track (tire/chain sound) - 74.0 dBA or less
See clip below:
Helmet Cam Video from Starting Line
Congrats to Team HotChalk for placing 1st in the event

Also kudos to Marin County Motorcycle Association for placing 2nd

And helmets off to Fox Racing Shox for placing 3rd
April 6 San Jose Merc. News Article on Event

Last but not least – major congrats to Zero Motorcycles for having the guts to hang their product out on the line for the entire world to see. They have a lot to be proud of. Kudos to OHMVR Deputy Director, Daphne Greene, for attending the event and dropping the green flag at this historic race.

I believe folks will look back to this event as when the electric dirt-bike came of age.

If we can get some new all-electric OHV parks sited near large cities and/or open up some green belts for electric OHV use or site some indoor "year-round" tracks in empty industrial buildings … maybe we can say that urban OHV use has indeed been “Saved by Zero Motorcycles”

Saved by Zero Sound Track

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

The General Was Green Before Al Gore Was!

With all the talk about using “green technology” to produce electric cars and other devices, I thought my readers might enjoy seeing The General (Circa 1956) driving his electric Pontiac Junior Star Chief.

Photo on Right is of The General at 1.5 years of age
Info on Pontiac Junior Star Chief

The General does not think a person should buy an electric car or motorcycle just because they “want to appear green.” Rather, they should buy and use the vehicle because it is fun, practical, and makes sense.

Such is the case with the Junior Star Chief. The General drove it because it WAS fun
and made sense for him at the time. People should purchase green vehicles because they want to and not because the government is forcing it down their throats. The General believes people today love freedom just as much as they did in the 1950s. I know I do.

The General believes he beat Al Gore to the punch regarding “green technology” by actually using an electric automobile before Al Gore even knew how to spell electricity. Maybe it is The General who should be awarded a Nobel Prize for being one of the youngest and earliest Americans - who as an infant - enjoyed green automotive technology before it was politically correct.

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Billy Ray Memorial Trail Ride - April 17-19, 2009

FYI for those of you who have not signed up and/or are still planning to come.

Please RSVP - So we can plan # of folks for Sat. Night BBQ - Tri Tip/Chicken, etc
A raffle for those entered and live auction is planned as well

Here is link to updated event flyer with sponsors listed as of March 31

Here is link to BRC/Billy Ray Memorial Webpage with Pay Pal link to donate/pay for event

Hope to see you there.

-- The General