Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Going For a Smoking Ride

There are only a couple of thing in life that are truly satisfying, one is going for a nice leisurely ride on the motorcycle on a hot day and the other is enjoying a good smoke.
One of the problems when you combine the two is that the smoking is not as enjoyable while riding down the highway as the hot embers are being force fed back to your lips by the wind, the cigarette burns at five times normal, and you can't get the darn thing lit at speed. The only solution is to stop the bike and light up.
Not good enough, if I have a lot of miles to go a smoke at highway speed would be a time saver and satisfy my nicotine habit.
Smoking and riding are not at all naturally compatible but of course problems can be overcome with a little imagination.
First you have to get the darn thing lit, no easy feat while travelling. The Bic lighter is a good reliable igniter in a no wind situation but completely useless in wind. This is where the Zippo lighter comes in, advertised as a good reliable product even a hurricane could not blow the flame out. Well a hurricane can blow a Zippo out and to my amazement I could only get a smoke lit if I slowed down to a slower speed . Something which slows your progress immensely and irritates the heck out of your riding partners as they think you are constantly having bike problems. One asset that the Zippo possessed is that when you stopped for gas you could top up the Zippo with premium fuel that changed the taste of the cigarettes to that of raw gasoline. Another drawback to the Zippo is after lighting you held it and the smoke in front of your face ready to draw the fire to the cigarette, the wind would push the flame past the end of the cigarette right to your mouth which would result in nasty burns to you lips. I soon learned to light the cigarette by turning my head to the side and letting the wind blow the flame across the tip of the cigarette and not into my face.
But the ultimate solution to this problem is to install an auto style electrical cigarette lighter to the bike. Sure you can buy a water proof one from the biker accessory manufactures but that what be too easy and expensive. Down to the local value-mart and you can pick up the unit, some connectors, fuses and even a relay if you are so inclined. Takes a few minutes to install and you are on your way to trouble free cigarette lighting as well as having an outlet for other accessories as well. Big problem solved, with the added benefits of being able to bring along an AC/DC TV, tire inflater, cell phone and various other DC powered goodies.
It goes with out saying that smoking and riding cannot be accomplished while wearing a full face helmet, other than drilling a small round hole, in the general area of the mouth, slightly larger than the stogie you wish to puff on. And of course the cigarette would have to be extra long and you could only smoke about half before it began to scorch the front of your helmet. Open face helmet is the answer.
Now this is all still impossible if your motorcycle does not have a windscreen or a fairing with a windshield to stop or deflect the wind from your cigarette. This is where I can certainly extol the virtues of Honda's wind tunnel tested fairings and windshields. Through their exhaustive research and testing they have manufactured a product that produces a virtual dead air space behind their windscreen that is extremely smoker friendly.
While going down the road if a craving for a smoke hits, I grab a smoke from my pack, reach over push in the cigarette lighter, wait 15 seconds, bring the glowing lighter to the cigarette and puff to my hearts content. But wait, after enjoying the smoke all I have left is the burning butt and I have no where to dispose of the unwanted stub.
The last few years have been rather dry around here and if I were to callously toss the the still burning butt onto the roadside and maybe into the dry grass of the ditch and it should start a fire, I would not only be a litterer but an arsonist as well.
I need an ashtray! At first I used to ground the butts out on my floorboards but that put me in a precarious riding position and I am not a stunt rider by any means. I had to sacrifice my cup holder by putting all my butts into an empty Coke can but have since then upgraded from an unsightly pop can to a state-of-the-art ashtray complete with closing lid. Problem solved.
Maybe I should have just quit smoking

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