Atlanta Motorcycle & Handgun Schools

Ken and JoAnna Murray
April 26, 2010

Greetings Fellow Motorcyclists!

Spring has finally sprung and we are finding so many motorcycling opportunities to take advantage of!!!! Isn't it wonderful!


JoAnna and I were participating in the MSTA SE-STAR annual get together in Helen this past weekend. A record turnout of about 65, in spite of the rain forecaste for Saturday. In addition to rider/members from the Southeastern US, we also had riders from Pennsylvania, New York, and Toronto. At least five (5) of those attending learned to ride with Atlanta Motorcycle Schools. And there were an additional 3-4 members who had taken advanced AMS classes.

Let JoAnna and I know if you are looking for compatible riding groups. This particular group is very focused on improving skill and wearing good protective gear. In fact, they have an annual raffle where members can get partial reimbursement of the purchase price or MSTA endorsed riding schools.

Spring Training Tune-ups

We still have vacancies in May for advanced street training courses, but dates are filling quickly. Check out our advanced courses. Are you ready for your spring tune-up ride?

Also, we have one more opening for the dual sport course later in May. Check out our Dual Sport courses for more information for this fun learning experience!! We provide the dual sport for you to ride. It is not an "extreme" route, but you will learn to handle the motorcycle correctly on loose-traction surfaces.

In early May, we have an opportunity for you to take the NRA Basic Handgun course. Check out our Handgun Classes to learn more about this opportunity.

Call Ken or JoAnna (770 573 9902) for additional information.

Conspicuity and Riding Gear

If you are about to purchase riding gear, consider these ideas first.

One factor that can have positive bearing is conspicuity. Riding gear that contrasts with the background "noise" offers you the best chance of being noticed by other road users. Hi Vis (for daylight) vests or jackets with retroreflective material (for night) should do the job. Retroreflective decals on saddlebags, fork legs, rear fender, even your helmet will also improve your conspicuity to others at night. We would also suggest that you consider installing modulated (blinking) headlights. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and take it from me (I've been using them for over ten years), oncoming vehicles ARE much more likely to see you… For the rear of the motorcycle, you can find tail light devices that will flash along with your brake lights when you apply the brakes. As many of you are aware, I usually wear either a white or yellow helmet and jacket…

BE MORE VISIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! And still assume no one sees you…

Little Things

Occasionally we will insert a previous paragraph or two that appeared in an earlier update. This is one of them. We hope it can serve as a reminder for you.

Recently, there was a question on a ListServe about "itchy scalp" which got us to thinking there are a lot of "little things" we do that are often not included in the normal scope of motorcycle training/education. I'm sure many of you have already figured these out, but in the hopes it will help a few of you, we thought it worth discussing. What do you think? Send us other "little things" you do as well. We'd like to hear from you!

Head Skins

Ken and I always wear head skins when we ride. I will be the first to say, it does not help at all with "Hair Do by Helmet" (a.k.a. "Hair Don't"), but they do have many benefits. There are several styles of head skins. I prefer the sateen ones by Tour King ( as they are not bulky and the helmet slides on very easily. Ken prefers the all cotton variety as he shaves his head and the sateen is not as comfortable to him.

Many places carry SLIKS - I didn't like the lined effect. Recently, a Cool Max version has been introduced - I tried these but they are a bit more bulky and the helmet did not slide on as well. And of course, there is always your AH-HUM classic "do rag".

Benefits of head skin:
. Keeps your ears "in place" when you slide the helmet on or take it off
. Is much easier to clean the head skin after each ride than the helmet liner
. Reduces the "itchy scalp" feeling
. Can be wet in the summer to aid in evaporative cooling
. Keeps the head warmer in the winter

When purchasing a head skin, keep in mind that it should not interfere with the helmet fit and should not make it more difficult to put the helmet on. I tend to stay away from head skins that have a band or ones that are lined as they are generally more bulky and/or tend to cause an uneven fit in the helmet. Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, but we think it is worth it!

Ear Plugs

When we ride, we always wear ear plugs. When/if we mention this in class, new riders normally ask, "Doesn't that affect your ability to hear?" I ask them to imagine riding down the road in their car at 60 MPH - now roll down the windows. I only get about half way through the second part when I see a big smile - they get it.

Dr. Flash Gordon recently did an article on hearing and ear protection in Motorcycle Consumer News. This was a full page article which I won't repeat here, but the "bottom line" - wind noise if definitely loud enough to cause hearing loss and hearing loss cannot be reversed. In his book "Blood, Sweat & Gears", he says, "What they [ear plugs] do is cut the sound level down to where your ears can deal with it without distortion. It's like wearing sunglasses in bright light."

There are many kinds of ear plugs available and the prices range from about $1.00 to over $100 and can be purchased at sporting goods shops, drug stores, motorcycle shops, and motorcycle vendors at rallies. Ken prefers the Hearos brand that has a little plunger to help insert. I like the custom-made ear plugs. Actually, I really like the custom ear plugs with the stereo speakers so I can listen to my iPod :-).

Which brings up another "little thing" - what about listening to music when you ride? My advice - know yourself and make it a personal decision! I have found I rider better with music - at least with an iPod. It only contains music I like (nothing I find annoying), no commercials or news (causing me to lose focus), and it has a mixture of genre (mixing things up keeps me more alert - I like a little Christmas in July!). I am a multi-tasker, and I find without music, I tend to have "deep conversations" with myself (don't go there!). Listening to music allows me to focus on riding and situational awareness while satisfy the "multi-tasking need". It is "just enough" going on without allowing me to get into those deeper thoughts/discussions. As they say, YMMV.

JoAnna's Mary Kay Special of the Month:

May 9th is Mother's Day. Don't forget your Mother (or your wife)! Order now to arrive by May 9th.

And, with summer fast approaching, don't forget to protect your skin from the sun as well as the asphalt!

Take 10% (or more) off these products—May only:

Mother's Day Fragrance Sets for $50.00 (retail $55.00)
Mary Kay SPF 30 Sunscreen for $12.50 (retail $14.00)
Mary Kay After-Sun Replenishing Gel for $10.50 (retail $12.00)

Visit my website and enter "AMS May Special" in the comments, call (770.573.9902) or email me!

Ride Smart, Ride Safe, Ride Home!

Ken and JoAnna

As always, we encourage you to submit observations, evaluations, and experiences relating to the benefits of appropriate rider gear, good street education, and skill enhancement opportunities. Email your thoughts, comments, questions, and ideas to Ride smart, ride safe, ride home! As always, feel free to call us at (770) 573-9902.

Visit Atlanta Motorcycle & Handgun Schools and Mary Kay websites:

Atlanta Motorcycle Schools (
Atlanta Motorcycle Schools Handgun Classes (
Shop with JoAnna ANYTIME at