2012 Annual Fall CompAcc Group Ride!

Fall has officially arrived. With cooler weather rolling in and leaves starting to change, we knew it was time once again for our Annual CompAcc Fall Group Ride. We gathered at our retail store in Rock Hill, SC early Sunday morning for what would turn out to be an absolutely beautiful day out on the bikes. We had about a 300 mile route planned, with some great roads and stops along the way.

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From left to right: Dave – Suzuki DRZ400, Reuben – Kawasaki ZRX 1100, Baron – Yamaha FZ-6, Graham – Triumph Bonneville, and Amber – Honda CBR 250A very wide mix of bikes with one thing in common – riders who love to ride, and this day would not disappoint!  The air was cool and crisp, with not a cloud in the sky.  Perfect riding weather!

Getting out of SC and up into the mountains the ride is a little flat, but the scenery is nice and we took the opportunity to snap a few pics:

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We think Dave needs more stickers!

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Amber recently bought her Honda CBR 250 and has already accessorized it with some trick bits.  She grew up on dirt bikes and has taken to street riding really well!

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Baron on his street fighter FZ-6!

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Graham was stoked to be taking his Bonneville up to the mountains!

After a little more than an hour of riding, we made a planned stop at Cowpens National Battlefield.  As luck would have it, a ranger was about to lead a walk through the battlefield to show us the key points of the battle, as well as the original monument.

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The new monument and museum is very nice, and it’s free!

The Battle of Cowpens was a significant Battle in the American Revolutionary War.  If you’d like to learn more about what happened January 17, 1781, you can read the wiki article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cowpens

From Cowpens we headed up Lake Lure, NC for some lunch.  Lake Lure was a filming location for scenes from the movies Dirty DancingThe Last of the MohicansMy Fellow AmericansA Breed Apart, and Firestarter.  It’s also said to be haunted, but we weren’t planning on sticking around to find out!  Our Parts Unlimited rep Gary met us there on his yellow Ducati Multistrada.

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We ate at La Strada, a nice Italian place right on the lake.  The above pic was taken right from their patio.

After Lake Lure is where the fun roads really begin.  We made our way past Bat Cave and up to Old Fort, miles of smiles!

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At the top of NC80, also known as the Devil’s Whip.  This road is known for its tight, technical sections – many of which have sheer drop offs on the side of the road.  We all caught back up to each other before hopping onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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One of Blind Kenny’s photos from our ride up the Devil’s Whip.  If you’ve ridden NC80 before, check out http://blindkenny.com/ – he probably got your picture!

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The Blue Ridge Parkway never disappoints!

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A group shot at one of the overlooks.  It was later in the afternoon and we had gained quite a bit of elevation – so the weather was still nice and cool.

From the Blue Ridge Parkway it was time to head back down towards the Charlotte area.  226A South of Little Switzerland is another one of the best roads in the area.  Winding down the mountain there are plenty of challenging curves, as well as beautiful scenery along the way.  At the bottom of 226A we said goodbye to Gary, and continued on a very scenic ride back to Charlotte.

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At our final gas stop for the day.  Dave was a real trooper for riding that DRZ with a stock seat all day!

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A few more fun curves to throw the bikes through.

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Check out those smiles – a day in the saddle will do that to ya.  (I’m in this picture, too – can you find me?)

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There’s Dave!

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The sun was setting as we finally got back into town.

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Final stats for the day!

All in all we had a great time.  Learned a little history, ate some great food, and best of all, hit some great roads with good people.  Our retail store in Rock Hill, SC is just South of Charlotte, and not too far from some of the best roads in the country!  If you are ever coming through the area, it will be worth the trip to come check us out!

Costa Rica Unbound! Getting Dirty in Central America!

I guess you could say my job has its perks… For those of you who don’t know, I work for Competition Accessories as their product review specialist. This involves evaluating and testing new products as they come to market, as well as developing our in house brands (such as Sliders Kevlar Gear). It helps that I love anything with two wheels. Cruisers, dirt bikes, sport bikes, scooters, and anything in between. I’d rather be riding than doing just about anything else! Working with the gear that makes riding even more enjoyable comes in at a close second.

This past week I had the privilege of being flown to Costa Rica as part of a Michelin rewards program with Western Power Sports (our Michelin distributor). The mission: ride dirt bikes through the jungles and experience another adventure! I had been looking forward to this trip for months, so you can imagine my excitement when I was finally on the plane!

Hello, beautiful!

Making my way through immigration I wasn’t really sure how easy it would be to find my ride. Fortunately we both had the foresight to wear moto related t-shirts, and we found each other right outside the terminal. Rain was pouring down as we loaded the gear bags into the van, and the drive from San Jose to Jaco was already proving to be a good start to the adventure!

Michelin had made our arrangements through Costa Rica Unbound, a company that specializes in off-road moto tours of the country. Our accommodations were at the Marea Brava Resort, right on the Pacific Ocean. Home for the next few days:

The first day was a free day to just kick back, relax, and enjoy the slower paced life of Costa Rica. I could get used to this…

I did spend some time boogie boarding in the Pacific. Absolutely perfect waves!

As the sun set it was time to head into town for some dinner…

I selected the ahi tuna steak with crab guacamole. It was SO good!

The next day was sure to bring some serious adventure!

Being only about 10 degrees North of the equator, Costa Rica does not participate in daylight savings time. The sun rises around 5:30am every day, and they enjoy 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night (plus or minus 30 minutes) year round. Needless to say, when I woke up the next day the sun had already made its way well beyond the horizon, even though it was only 7am. Not a bad sight to wake up to:

Before tackling the trails, we were scheduled to experience one of Costa Rica’s famous canopy zip line tours. Pile in the trailer for a tractor ride up to the top of the mountain:

Now I have done zip lines back in the US, and maybe it’s something to do with stringent safety regulations, but they do not even come close to the zip lines we experienced in Costa Rica. How does 50mph through the trees sound? Where does this thing go, anyway?

Want to go upside down? No problem!

Seeing the natural beauty of Costa Rica was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. These leaf cutter ants were really neat to watch:

After our canopy tour and another good meal for lunch, it was time to finally suit up and RIDE! Fresh new gear was provided by Fly Racing, while Scott and Dragon provided the goggles and eyewear.

Costa Rica Unbound had a pretty eclectic mix of dirt bikes for us to choose from. Two stroke, four stroke, big and powerful, or small and light – take your pick!

I ended up hanging my helmet on the YZ450f, as it was most similar to my Kawasaki back home, and I wanted to spend my time enjoying the ride rather than learning a new machine.

This Polaris RZR 900 was our support vehicle for the rides, and was an amazingly capable machine!

Ready to go!

Let me see if I can describe the riding in Costa Rica… Greasy, sloppy, rocky, rutted, challenging, but most of all: FUN! We had an absolute blast out on the trails. Everything from blazing down dirt and gravel roads, to picking our line between big washouts in steep downhill sections, there was just about every type of riding you could imagine. One of the neat things about Costa Rica is you can ride your dirt bike right down the roads. So getting from trail to trail was no big deal, even on a YZ450f with no lights (although no lights did prove to be a bit of an issue later in the day).

Taking it all in after an intense uphill mud section:

Regrouping was done after each section, and “go-rounds” were available for anyone who didn’t want to tackle the really tough stuff.

We endured some pretty heavy rains, which made the trails even more slippery, and a challenge to keep the goggles clean. Tearoffs were the one thing that I didn’t expect to need on this trip, and thus they stayed at home in my garage…

Another great day on two wheels!

So after an entire afternoon of grueling off road riding, it was time to head back towards the resort. We made our way to the main paved road, and started the ride back. A few minutes into the pavement ride, my bike sputtered and died – outta gas. No worries, the group will come back for me!

Two guys were behind me when I pulled off, and I heard them speed up to let the leaders know I was out of fuel. …and then they disappeared into the sunset. They are coming back… aren’t they??

Well, I thought, maybe they know the Polaris and two more guys are still behind me somewhere… So I sat on the side of the road and waited…

I figured it would only be a few more minutes for them to show up, but it was starting to get darker…

I mean, really dark. No lights on these roads!

I made the realization that I didn’t even have my wallet on me, so even if I could find gas, I couldn’t buy any. Luckily I had set a waypoint in my GPS for the resort, so I knew I was only a couple of miles away. I could push the bike that far if need be. Just as I was contemplating that thought, two of the guides pulled up, one of them on the KTM 2 stroke, which was being towed by the XR-400. Apparently one of the last guys got stuck in the mud, then broke the kick-starter off of his bike trying to start it back up!

They asked me if I’d be comfortable riding the KTM back…. hmm… let’s see, being towed with a rope tied to the handlebar down a highway in the dark in Costa Rica…. What’s option number 2? We looked around and found an old coke bottle someone had tossed (side note: Costa Rica was surprisingly clean), disconnected the fuel line from the XR, and soon I had 20oz of wonderful gasoline back in my tank. After a few kicks the YZ fired right back up, and I found my way back to the resort in the dark. What a day!

Track from day 1 is in yellow:

You can see that we went from sea level up to about 2300 feet, but what really tells the story is how steep the ascents and descents were!

In total we did about 51 miles (I ran out of gas at 49). That may not sound like much, but out on these trails, in these conditions, it’s a lot! …or maybe the miles are longer here…. My rear tire probably did more like 200 miles, anyway.

One of the best things about Costa Rica Unbound, was when you get back to the resort you simply drop off the bike, they spray you down, then you drop off your riding gear and they deliver it back up to your room fresh and clean! I didn’t know what to do with myself, as usually I spend just as long cleaning everything up as I do riding the bike!

Still had to try to get our helmets and boots to dry out though…

After getting back after dark I was ready for some dinner and bed – I was on the schedule to ride again the next morning at 8am!

Ride video from day 1!


It’s funny how our bodies and brains work. Normally I’d be groaning and dragging my butt out of bed at 7am, but not here in Costa Rica. My head popped off the pillow before the alarm at 6am, and I was ready to go! I went downstairs and grabbed some breakfast – they had an awesome dish ready with potatoes and eggs, good fuel for the day. The local parrot squawked at me as I walked back to my room to get suited up.

I had all my gear on and headed down to wait by the pool and was the first one out there. Guess I was eager to go! Soon everyone was congregating and getting ready to head out for another adventure.

Getting the guys psyched up for another race! Err… I mean, ride!

Go go go!

Soon we were back up on top of the world, enjoying each others company and a common bond of being two wheeled fanatics. What a view from up here!

I was feeling great on the second day. More in tune with the bike, I was having a blast hopping logs, jumping across washouts, and sliding around corners. I’ve gotta say, the Michelin S12 XC tires REALLY impressed me. With how slick some of the clay sections were, I know I would have been all over the place on my KX back home. The S12 XC tires were also very predictable at higher speeds. Cornering on these gravel roads was super fun, sliding the rear out and just getting on the throttle. What really impressed me the most though, was after these bikes had been hammered for days, over rocks, down the asphalt, and through the mud, the S12 XC tires had held up great! No knobs torn off and nice square edges continued to dig in and bite even after days of abuse.

Stats for day 2:

Day 2 Ride video!

After riding all morning, it was time to head back to get lunch and let the second group go for their last ride. After riding in the humidity and being covered in mud, the pool was calling my name.

The aqua-lounger 3000 felt GREAT:

The GoPro makes for some pretty entertaining underwater shots:

After hanging out in the pool and cooling off, the ocean was looking inviting…

Out for a final swim in the Pacific:

The trees are so varied and interesting here. Everything is GREEN.

Soon after my swim a massive thunderstorm rolled in, and the sun peeked out one final time from behind the rain before setting on the trip.

After the second group got back from their VERY wet ride, we headed in to Jaco for dinner and to pick up some souvenirs for family back home. I was starving after all of my swimming and obliterated El Pastor:

One thing I will say about Jaco is you are offered sex and drugs about every block. They aren’t too in your face, but you definitely know why they are there. That’s too bad because otherwise it would be a great place to bring my wife and kids. Oh well, there are other towns and cities in Costa Rica that I can bring them back for!

The next morning started way too early. Had to be on the 4am shuttle for the drive back to San Jose, to catch my 8am flight. When we got to the airport the sun was just thinking about coming up:

The adventure continued in Houston where my flight back to Charlotte had mechanical issues. Then the plane they moved us to was overbooked and delayed about an hour. After waiting and actually getting on the plane, I discovered that they had actually given my seat to another girl (they somehow double booked our seat). So I decided to be the good guy and take the credit to let her get home. Once I got back off the plane and to the service desk, the seat they had offered me had been taken! So I got bumped AGAIN (4th times a charm?). They upped my voucher and bought me dinner though, so I’m not complaining.

I really think I might use that voucher to buy some tickets back to Costa Rica. This time with my wife (…maybe one way tickets). Absolutely loved this trip – what a blast!

So the next time you guys need some tires for your bikes, buy some Michelin’s so that I can go on another epic adventure! Look ’em up on Competition Accessories!

‘Till next time!
-Reuben-

Gear Used:

Michelin S12 XC Tires
Fly Kinetic Pants/Jersey/Gloves

Rex’s Favorite Ride

I purchased a ‘99 Yamaha Venture from my brother-in-law, who lives in California, and I live in eastern Kansas. Two of my riding buddies agreed to ride out to Claremont, and meet up with me to ride it back to Kansas. We decided to make a trip out of it, so after leaving Claremont, we rode up through Death Valley, not much there,  then on to Las Vegas. From there, it was on to Zion National Park in Utah. What a wonder! then on to Bryce. Would the wonders ever cease? The eyes of a Kansan had never beheld such natural beauty! From Bryce, on to Canyon-de-chelly  where we met up the the local medicine man to give us a tour of the canyon. We drove in his Jeep to his private property, where we entered a cave of his ancestors. There we saw many paintings, and historic artifacts, while listening to him tell us stories of the history of the area. We spent a day with him touring the canyon, then on to New Mexico. There , we ran into a huge gathering of Indian Bikers all headed for the big Pow-wow in Albuquerque. We felt as Custer must have at the Little Big Horn! These guy’s were all friendly, and being bikers, we all had a lot of stories to share. On to Tucumcari on route 66, then across “No Mans Land” and on home. What an Adventure for a Flatlander! Rex Murphy, Wellsville, Kansas

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Written by Rex Murphy

Micahs’ Favorite Ride

One of the best rides that I’ve ever done:

We left Toledo around 1030am for our first day’s destination of Frankfort, Michigan.

It looked like we were in for light rain between Grand Rapids and Muskegon. Unfortunately, the weather built; and we ran into a downpour just outside of Muskegon.

We geared up and continued to Manistee.

The rain that we had outrun was catching back up with us, so we pushed the rest of the way to Frankfort.

We checked into the Harbor Lights Resort and grabbed Perch Sandwiches from the Villa Marine Bar for dinner.

We left Frankfort for Charlevoix in the morning.

Along the way, we rode to the Pt. Betsie Lighthouse and through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Pt. Betsie Lighthouse was hidden about 3/4 of a mile west of the main road just a few miles North of Frankfort.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes took all of us by surprise.

We took the scenic route through the park. It was $10 for Jeff in the car and $5 each for for the motorcycles. The speed limit was 25 miles per hour and there were several scenic stops along the way.

The surprise was how much that area of Lake Michigan looks like the Caribbean. There was a steep 450 foot bluff that descended all of the way down to the lake.

We left the dunes and rode into the town of Glen Arbor to visit Cherry Republic.Cherry Republic is a winery, gift shop, and cafe. As the name implies, everything has cherries in it. The bread, the soda, the wine, the chicken salad, the BBQ sauce, everything.

We had lunch in the cafe (with real cherry cola) and bought some snacks in the gift shop.
We visited the wine tasting room to try cherry wine. Brian and I tried theCherry Starboard Dessert Wine, and Jeff tried the Cherry Red. We all then tried the Hard Cherry Cider and finished with their Sparkling Cherry Juice.

After riding out of Glen Arbor, we rode through the Leelanau Peninsula, through Traverse City, and arrived in Charlevoix. The roads along the way were fun and a little bit challenging from time to time before we got back onto Rt. 31.

We got rooms at the Edgewater Inn, had Whitefish Sandwiches at Villager Pub, and walked out to the breakwater light before heading back to the hotel.

After getting ready this morning, we tried to figure out what our goals were for the day.

We decided to make good time to Mackinaw City for lunch. As we merged onto I-75 from Rt. 31, the Mackinac Bridge came into view. We exited before reaching it and stopped at the Visitor’s Bureau to re-group.

We decided on lunch at O’Reilly’s Irish Pub before riding to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse to take pictures of the bridge.
After 3 days of riding, it was finally time to reach our destination. The last obstacle was crossing the 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge.

Crossing the bridge on a motorcycle is something that everyone should do at some point in their life. Being out in the open air over the straits with the towers above you, the cables beside you, and water underneath you is quite an experience. You’re really out in the open, and it’s a great feeling.

We paid our bridge tolls, and arrived at our destination of St. Ignace.

Brian and I walked over to Bessie’s Original Homemade Pasties and bought a couple of pasties for later because we were trying to save room for one of the highlights of our trip.

After getting settled, we went back downtown to American Iron Motorcycle to look around. The owner was happy to show us what he was working on and came outside to talk about our bikes.

We then rode North of town and past the airport to Castle Rock. The stairs to the top reminded all of us exactly how out of shape we all are.

As the sun went down, we rode to St. Ignace’s Bridge View Park to take some more pictures of the Mackinac Bridge.

When doing research for this trip, we were told that we had to get a Big-”C”burger from Clyde’s Drive-in. We were not disappointed. The Big-”C” is a 3/4 pound double cheeseburger. It was the absolute, hands-down, best burger that I’ve ever had in my entire life.

After dark, we went back to Bridge View Park to take night shots of the bridge.

Here are some videos from the trip:

Day 1: Toledo to Frankfort
Day 2: Frankfort to Charlevoix
Day 3: Mackinaw City & St. Ignace
Day 4: The Long Ride Home

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Written By Micah Maziar

Johns’ Favorite Ride

In the summer of 1980, I took a 22 day trip from Stuttgart, Germany, to Munich, Salzburg, Austria, then to Split, Yugoslavia, ferry to Pescaro, Italy, rode north to Florence, then to Venice.  From Venice, I rode west for awhile and then up through Switzerland for a couple of days, then back to Stuttgart.   I was riding my 1975 Honda Gold Wing, which was outfitted with Vetter Fairing and Bates bags, all painted with the stock Honda red color.  I also had a combination AM/FM radio with CB Radio.  CB radios were illegal in Yugoslavia so I removed the antenna so it would not get me thrown into a dungeon.  The most memorable moment was when I arrived at the Yugoslavian border from Austria.  There was a rise in elevation up to the border crossing and on this particular day, there were low hanging clouds with a spooky mist hanging in the air.  When I arrived at the border gate, a very pudgy Yugoslavian border guard came over to me with a most unfriendly look on his face, and a most noticeable red star on the front of his cap.  I thought, …Oh crap, the commies are going to kill me and confiscate my bike!!  He was fascinated with the bike and especially the fact that it had a radio.  He abruptly reached over and turned on the radio without asking, and tuned in radio Zagreb.  Then, he called out his compatriots to see this motorcycle spectacle.  I thought for sure then that I was going to mysteriously disappear from  this earth!!  Finally, I got released with my passport stamped and on my way down the coastal road to Split.  I enjoyed this leisurely ride since it had low speed limits and it was very scenic with little traffic.  Towards the end of this first day down the Yugo coast, I had to stop and seek a place to stay for the night.  I was also thirsty for a cold beer, so I stopped on the outskirts of a small fishing village and went into what looked like a bar.  Luckily it was cool inside and had an atmosphere of something you would see in a movie, especially with the language sounding very Russian.  A very healthy corn fed waitress came over and took my order for a beer.  While I was enjoying the beer and trying to speak with her about a place to stay, a large strapping guy came over from the bar and started speaking to me in English.  His name, ironically, was Boris.  Boris began to tell me about his life as a stowaway to the USA on several occasions, being caught and sent back to Yugoslavia every time.  He asked me if I wanted to go fishing with them in the morning and I politely declined due to my schedule and a slight fear of being dropped to the bottom with a cinderblock on my ankle.  My 22 day trip took me on down to Split, stopping a few nights along the way, then overnight on a ferry to Italy.  On this overnight trip, I met an elderly gentleman that had loaded the only other bike onto the ferry.  I sat up most of the night drinking beer with him and listening to his “around the world” venture on his Beemer R69S.  This guy was truly a worldly motorcycle adventurer.  Upon departing the ferry the next morning, I quickly learned that the Italians like to put the road’s center stripe down the middle of the car for navigation, causing me to do a lot of defensive driving.  On to Florence, then north to Venice.  While on this part of the trip, I decided to take a very small country back road and kept noticing some signs along the way.  At first, I didn’t realize what the signs were saying but then it dawned on me that they were warning of “banditos” along the route.  Oh, crap, better speed up and not stop for anything.  After visiting Venice for a few days, I rode westward further in Italy, then north into Switzerland.  Best secret wine ever and they don’t export it!!  Bought some cheese on my last night at a Swiss cheese factory, which left a nice aroma in my saddlebag for quite some time.   This ride was my most memorable one ever in over 50 years of riding motorcycles.  The people everywhere were friendly and most interested in talking to an American.  I heard the story of Tito and the Russian influence, Boris’s adventures, a tour guide admitted communist, and many other stories of interest.  I took other trips in Europe (one of 21 days in opposite direction), but this one was the most interesting and the most fun of all my trips.  Washing clothes was a problem so it was on this trip that I invented the EUT“Emergency Underwear Technique”, which is flipping them inside out and wearing them for a couple of extra days.   The Gold Wing drew a crowd in every town I stopped in or rode through.  I really wish I had taken that fishing trip with Boris and his pals.

Written By John Glidewell