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I am the rocker! I am the roller! I am the out-of-controller!
–Nightrider, “Mad Max” (1979)
Ever feel this way with a stretch of road before you? Hopefully, you don’t get TOO crazy (safety first, kids), but if you’ve racked up some miles on your motorcycle this summer, you get the idea. And even though it’s not an out-and-out motorcycle flick (Nightrider drove a car, after all), “Mad Max” is worth a re-watch if you haven’t seen it in a while because there’s a ton of still-thrilling bike action in the movie that tickles a special little brain fold we all know exists in every road warrior out there.
To celebrate this road warrior mentality we love so much, Discount Ramps is throwing a little photo contest. It’s pretty straight forward, the goal being to catch a glimpse of an awesome driver (you) on an awesome machine (your motorcycle) oozing awesomeness. It extends from August 26 through September 15, so you’ve got plenty of time to capture that once-in-a-lifetime image, perhaps at the upcoming Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary, or maybe it’s a shot you already captured at Sturgis a few weeks back. But then again, your best motorcycle shot may have presented itself when it was just you tooling around on some back roads you’ve always wanted to check out… Point is, be a little creative, keep it clean and send us material that shows off your machine in its best light.
Just go to the app on our Facebook page, Like us to “get inside,” and you will see where to upload your mind-blowing picture, along with all the rules and regulations put forth by The Man. Once you have that handled, you’ll need to sing it from the mountain tops to your best pals and family that you’ve entered the Road Warrior Photo Contest because the image accumulating the most votes at the end of the contest wins. Simple as that. Oh, and you’ll need to check back on the contest page every so often to see if you are the conquering hero so that we can get a hold of you and lavish you with a fabulous prize.
And exactly what’s in store for the top vote-getter, besides the eternal love and admiration of your family, friends, acquaintances and the general public? The Winner receives a Black Widow Motorcycle Jack Lift, an über-useful addition to any garage’s arsenal. It’s a motorcycle lift that hoists up to 1500 lbs. with a hydraulic foot pedal or removable jack handle for the maintenance, repair or general admiration of your baby. This motorcycle lift has a couple of rear swivel casters to make it maneuverable, some built-in tie points to make it safe, and it’s valued at 100 clams. Believe us, you will LOVE using this lift! So enter the contest. Do it.
It is four days after the Relay for Life in West Bend, an overnight fund-raising walk for the American Cancer Society, and Cherie Christian is sick. Not sick-as-a-dog sick, and certainly not cancer sick, but a bit of a cold with lots of stuffiness kind of sick.
Even so, she is cheerful in reporting the event’s events and appears to almost have been expecting a bug to set in. You see, Cherie’s involvement with Relay was, umm, shall we say, significant and months in the making; eventually, you figure something’s gotta give. The ailment from which she suffers is Classic Overachiever Aftermath, the body’s way of requesting a little downtime and a bit of TLC after a terrific accomplishment.
Employees get involved
Now in her fourth year of volunteering with the organization, Cherie, the Accounting Manager at Discount Ramps, wears no less than three leadership “hats” for the annual fundraiser. For this year’s circus-themed “Relay Under the Big Top,” Cherie served as Tri-Chair, partnering with two others in the overall administration of other committee leaders for the event; Survivor Chair, organizing the Survivor’s Tent and its related activities; and Team Captain of the Shining Stars, one of 29 teams and 255 participants for this year’s outing.
Cherie was joined by Peggy Leasum, Discount Ramps Customer Service Manager, who figures she logged about 20 laps on the Badger Middle School track, where the 14-hour event was held. This was Peggy’s eighth year of participation in Relay for Life, having started with another group before teaming up with Cherie. For next year’s event, which will be the Relay’s 20th anniversary and celebrated with a birthday theme, Peggy plans to take over the role as Team Captain for the Shining Stars. And with her own family touched by the difficulties of cancer, it is an organization close to her own heart.
Relay is making a difference
While Cherie is fortunate enough to not have direct, close ties to anyone facing cancer, her passion for the good that results from Relay for Life is just as powerful. She points out that since the early 90’s, cancer death rates in the United States have dropped by 20 percent and reminds people that the event is for the survivors as a celebration of another year victorious, a remembrance of those who were lost and a re-dedication to continue battling. In fact, she mentions, two out of three people diagnosed with cancer today are surviving, which means that more than 400 people in the U.S. every day are celebrating yet another birthday. Not too shabby.
This year’s fund-raiser included the usual camp sites of the participating teams, an emotional, victorious survivors lap to kick things off, a brilliant luminaria ceremony after sunset and special activities like a Zumba workout and an appearance by part of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band. It is open to the community, and even if you don’t have a team to walk with, drop-ins are encouraged to stop and check out the fun.
So far, the 2013 Relay for Life of West Bend has raised close to $80k and is accepting donations through the end of August. Funds are kept local whenever possible and provide assistance to patients with needs like transportation to treatments, lodging for families while a patient receives care and, of course, research.
Congratulations, Cherie and Peggy, on a job well done. See you on the track next year!
Whether you are a motocross or ATV enthusiast who’s hauling machines to the trail every weekend, the ever-vigilant adult child of an aging parent who needs a hand getting the yard mowed or snow removed from the driveway, or THE guy with the pickup truck – suddenly everyone’s best friend – that gets asked to help move refrigerators and entertainment centers, a good set of ratchet straps can be one of the handiest tools in your jack-of-all-trades arsenal. With proper care and a minimum of effort (promise!), a well-made strap tie down should provide you a lifetime of dependable use.
Here are a few tips to help you get the longest use from your tie straps:
1. Store your strap tie downs out of the sun. Over time, ultraviolet light can make nylon and polyester fibers brittle, causing them to discolor, break down and potentially lose strength.
2. If a tie down strap gets wet or damp while in use, let it dry thoroughly before storing to prevent mildewing.
3. On a ratchet strap, remove the strap itself from the ratchet hardware between uses. Not doing so can eventually cause the strap to become wrapped too thick around the ratchet spindle, causing you to be unable to use the release mechanism or, worse yet, to bunch up within the teeth of the ratchet. In either case, you’d be forced to cut the strap in order to free it. And that would be a bummer!
4. Wrap the cargo tie down webbing around the ratchet as you remove it after use to prevent it from coming in contact with the ground, then hold it together with a rubber band or, better yet, a Velcro strap. A carrying bag of some sort to keep all your ratchet straps together in one place is a good idea, too.
5. Apply lubricating oil on the moving parts of the ratchet. WD-40 works nicely, but take care to not get the lubricant on the webbing, as this will attract dirt and eventually cause the strap to bind. Otherwise, a dry silicone spray will do the trick.
6. Inspect the tie down straps after each use! Be on the lookout for frayed fibers where they secured their cargo across a sharp edge. Better yet, use some of the handy rubber corner protectors that are available to guard against these wear points; they are inexpensive and easy to use by simply threading through the webbing.
Taking a few extra seconds to make sure your tie down straps are clean, dry and wearing normally with each use will improve a strap’s longevity. What steps do you take to ensure your ratchet tie down straps last their longest?
An unexpected meeting
I only met Brad once, but the meeting, and he, left a lasting impression. I was at the gym in the middle of my workout, minding my own business. I saw him coming toward me down the hallway, accompanied by one of the personal trainers, along with a third person, a young woman in street clothes. He was in a wheelchair being pushed by his aid, the blond lady, and had significant trembling in his head and limbs. I watched without staring as he was assisted from the chair to a mat on the floor and was curious to see what rigors the trainer would put him through.
It became immediately apparent that Brad was not all that interested in his physical therapy. Almost upon contact with the mat, he asked my name, introduced himself and soon shared what certainly was one of the most significant and painful events of his life. He told me he had always been a bit of a hothead, was prone to acting on it and one night about five years earlier when he was in his early 20’s, after a few drinks, got into a bar fight with some random dude. He was caught off balance, and his head struck the ground.
Brad continued to chat happily about wanting to share his story so others wouldn’t act similarly, moved on to make a few jokes about this, that and the other thing, and—dare I say—even rolled out some pretty shameless flirting. The trainer and aid eventually coaxed Brad through all of his exercises then packed up and retreated back down the hallway. I had to laugh as I saw this young man stop along the way to chat up each and every female he encountered. As I said, shameless.
I couldn’t even tell you what my response was in hearing about Brad’s tragedy, but I do remember so clearly that he was absolutely matter-of-fact, almost upbeat in a way, if you can fathom it; I know I was floored. And humbled beyond words.
I realized in an instant I had made a ton of assumptions about Brad when I first laid eyes on him, jittering his way toward me. Yet I was presented with this bright, articulate, funny, thoroughly charming young man who kind of made my day and a lifetime impression in a few short minutes. It was an Aha moment, and I’m so happy we spoke.
The passing of ADA
I haven’t seen Brad since but found myself wondering about him this week as I read of the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) by President Bush in 1990. It has been called by some the single-most important piece of legislation protecting people with disabilities in this country and is meant to support their opportunity to participate in “major life activities,” such as going shopping at the mall, eating dinner out at a local restaurant or dropping some items off at the dry cleaners. Some of the law addresses anti-discrimination practices for employment, while a large portion provides the guidelines for improving physical barriers at a facility for accessibility.
The general consensus is that the passing of ADA has been monumental in improving the situations for many with disabilities. Sadly, there is also agreement that much more work is yet to be done. All these years later, for example, and many public or commercial buildings are still not compliant with even the basic requirements to ensure access. And that, to me, seems like the easier aspect to address—things like installing a ramp or widening an aisle—than getting knuckleheads like me to not make unfounded assumptions about someone’s abilities, physical or cognitive. Here is a guide for small businesses on ADA, one that I found to be more understandable and less legal mumbo-jumbo, in addition to our own guide to ADA specifications for wheelchair threshold ramps.
Becoming ADA compliant
I know I risk going a bit “commercial” at the expense of this exceptional person I met, Brad, and I don’t wish to cheapen the experience in any way. But if your facility has a need for ADA compliance, there are many simple, affordable options available for threshold ramps, landing ramps and modular wheelchair access ramp systems. So many years since the passing of ADA, it is truly time to take the those first few, simple steps to coming ADA compliance.