We were trying to figure out what to name this story and could not come up with ONE title so we named it this:

IN-Charge Communications and a day in the life of RKA,
or Typical RKA weekend,
or How we spend our free time,
or How the hell does all this stuff work?

This page is to delve into Richard & Kathy's free time and the stuff we use our communications systems for on a regular bases.

Before we start this last weekend's excursion let us explain a few things. If you think you already know all this stuff about communications please read through it as you may find something you did not know. For instance, Some folks do not understand that the Zumo 550 they already OWN has an MP3 player or that you can adjust volume in two different locations. So read on even if you think you know it all, you may just learn something.

Click on any image below for a larger photo

Everybody has different needs and wants in a communications system, read this story with YOU in mind. What do you do want? What do you want to do? How do you want to do it? Take all the following and turn it into your needs and wants.

We see so many
Sara is ready to go!!
people reluctant to spend the money on a system that works and keep purchasing devices that do not work as they expected. Then they turn around and do it again, andagain.

Kathy and I have already made the mistakes for you. The systems we build WORK and if you let us build it for you we support every aspect of it.

Now I wish we would have invited my little cousin Sara because one thing you will not see too much of on this report is "Intercom" or the ability for the driver and passenger to speak with each other.
Kathy and I ride our own motos so we have no need for this feature although we both have that capability on board with us. The feature is there and works with FULL DUPLEX with the systems we currently
Sara's First Ride
offer. Full
The First Briefing
duplex means you can talk back and forth anytime and OVER each other (Just like you were standing next to each other) and you do not have to "push" any buttons or raise your voice to "Kick" the intercom in. It just works normally.

Kathy and I have taken "Sara" our 14 year old cousin out to test these features. Does she look happy?

When Richa
rd is out visiting dealers, going to a rally or event on his motorcycle it's not too hard to understand that communications is nice to have.
Zumo 550 route screen
Zumo 550 main menu
Zumo 550 Speedo Screen
Zumo 550 food fuel screen
Zumo 550 motels screen
First off you can plan your trips with MapSource, put numerous routes into the Zumo 550
Zumo 550 XM interface
Zumo 550 Audiobooks
Zumo 550 MP3 Player screen
Zumo 550 where to screen
Zumo 550 fuel locations screen
GPS to see and locate all the stops. See photo at left. So in other words you can pre-plan your trip at home on your computer then load the file into the Zumo 550.

Nothing is perfect; some of the MapSource info may be old or changed. When I do this task I also keep my gas card stations websites up and confirm locations an even CALL the stations to make sure they are still there and open during the hours I will be coming by them. This is just one safety net I use when getting ready to travel. Road conditions, weather etc etc are very important things to check also.

I can make phone calls, or receive calls from the office, customers or dealers, or event coordinators, and LOOK at the phone directory for missed calls or redials while on the moto going down the freeway. Just the push of the screen and you make a call end a call or "Ignore" a call and call them back later. When you recieve a call the callers name appears on the screen and all you need to do is "Accept it" or "Ignore it". Kathy and I have not had very good look with "voice dialing" from the moto but some people say it works great. We have the opinion that at speed the voice dial feature does not understand the voice very well.

Richard is easily amused passing the time on the boring Interstates by his XM radio, MP3 player, Audiobooks, and with an optional 3.5mm audio cord can plug in his Iphone and listen to his ITunes or Pandora (What's Pandora ? see below) on line, or even his FM MP3 Player to listen to his local rock& roll radio station.

There a many screens you can look at for information on the Zumo 550 and since I also carry maps (can't teach an old dog new tricks) I usually put it on the "Speedo/Fuel/Compass/Mileage" screenshow at Left. Press the "Back" button and you are taken back to the map screen. Easy.

Restaurants, rooms, fuel stops if not already on the route map for that trip are easily found using the
Zumo 550's information screens shown here.

With the correct combination of products in the system these tasks can be enjoyed via wired or fully Bluetoothed systems

Let's back up just a sec here. If you have the correct phone package and phone you can access the internet with your phone, plug in to your auxiliary 3.5mm plug and do a lot of interesting things this way. One of them for me is to listen to a website called "Pandora" which plays music that I like to hear my telling it what you like. I leave it at that and you can visit www.pandora.com

Just ask us and we will tell you, there is only one model GPS for a motorcycle the ZUMO series
. Maybe summer time is ok but almost everyweek during the winter a customer comes in with a GPS that as died from the weather

Do the right thing ..... ZUMO SERIES

or What Kathy and I do on the weekends.
What is it?

Founded in 2005, Breakaway from Cancer® is a complementary component to the Amgen race "Tour of California" sponsorship.
Breakaway from Cancer is designed to increase awareness of the important resources available to cancer patients from prevention to education, and patient care to advocacy and financial support. Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer nonprofit partners play leading roles in every aspect of cancer care to help people affected by the disease.

Over 750 riders participated over 550 choosing to do the full 114 mile ride which follows "Stage Two" of the tour from Davis to Santa Rosa.

Extra water bottles
Extra tubes, CO2 etc
Inside control box dongle plug
IPhone Charger, extra 3.5mm audio plug
MP3 player with FM radio
Helmet boom mic
& speakers
Front view of the IN-Charge Series tankbag

First Aid
Control box, Dongle, Charger
Dongle removed
Helmet & Dongle Charging
Heated liner thermostat
Drugs, towels, caps etc etc
Small but useful top compartment
Dash view of the IN-Charge Series tankbag
Kathy and I worked with some of the Santa Rosa Police dept people to do traffic control, keeping riders on the right side of the road and on the shoulder when possible, also directing them at corners not marked or manned. We are not OFFICAL MOTO MARSHALS yet but do help out in many local bicycle races and events carrying photographers and such.

So lets get ready to ride. We start by checking all our gear for the ride.

There is plenty of water stops and "Sags" (four wheelers with bicycle racks to pick up riders, and medical people ready to jump) But Kathy and I always carry some water bottles, first aid, extras CO2 cartridges, tubes and tools to help riders if possible.

Now to get our personal stuff, the motos and communications set up.

Some technical facts here for you. Richard is running a FULL on Bluetooth system from J&M so I need to charge batteries. On this note I am using my least favorite helmet for this event. I not only needed a flip up helmet but I wanted to insure I had battery life for the whole event, AND the ride to Davis in the morning So I used my Nolan 102 with Bluetooth from J&M that has a custom molded battery pod on the right side of the helmet allows for a 1,750 MAH Lithium Ion battery for 31 hours of battery life and the "Dongle" that transmits from the devices to my helmet also has this battery so I am set for plenty of communication with no cables for a especially long day in the saddle.
We left the house at 4:15 AM and returned after 6:00 PM 14 hours. (Not a misprint 31 hours of battery life!)

My Vega full face MACH I helmet with J&M's full-fidelity stereo Bluetooth wireless helmet headset comes with a 650 MAH Lithium Ion battery for 9 to 13 hours of battery life (Upgradeable to a 1,050 MAH Lithium Ion battery for 13 to 18 hours of battery life). This setup would have worked but I wanted to make sure we did not have to replace the battery at some inconvenient time and place.

Yes you can purchase an extra battery for the universal headsets and replace it in about 45 seconds while out on a long ride if needed. See if the other guys can do this.

We will show you the whole drill here on how we charge batteries. If you are not using our IN-Charge tankbag the "Dongle(s)" needs to be placed so it has easy access for charging.

After opening the main compartment of our tankbag you can see the "Dongle" on the right side of the bag, it's not in the control box as you need to start it and stop it often and is easier to reach here.

Open the control box and unplug the dongle, take the dongle and helmet into the house and plug them in for over night charging which takes 6 to 8 hours for a full change (Remember these batteries are MUCH larger than any other others at this time.)

this is taking place we get the bags ready with our first aid and water and personal stuff.

We both also have our electric liners running through the tankbag one of these photos above shows the thermostat attached to the handle.

Then I attached my MP3 Player with FM radio so if I want to us it it's there.

There is a photo above of the extra pigtails I have outside the control box, the dongle, my Iphone charger and an auxiliary 3.5mm stereo plug for an extra device like my FM MP3 Player etc.

Of course I need my drugs, cap and screen washer, paper towels, the top section of the bag
is small but you will be surprised as to how much you can get in it.

I also want to show you the interior of the helmet so you can see how the mic and speakers are installed on this open face modular flip up helmet on the left.

Here are some photos of what our IN-Charge tankbags look like front and rear. And what we see when setting on the motos.

My FRS radio is attached to a Rammount cradle on the handlebars so I have broken a rule that I harp on all the time. NO cables or cords exiting the front of the bag to the motorcycle!! This is like an umbilical cord and makes fueling and removing the bag a hassle.

So WHY? Because I use my CB 99% of the time but when doing this type of work we need everything, and my J&M configuration allows CB AND FRS radios to work at the same time! So I sacrifice unplugging the radio cable so I can remove the bag and refuel for this event only. BUT I wanted you to know this is possible if you want FRS AND CB. Also fueling is very easy, unclick the two front buckles, set the bag on the seat and fuel, replace the bag click the buckles, snug down and GO! Easy as pie!

About the DASH VIEW photo, every moto is different and every person is different seat height, dash icons are located differently etc. The RKA tracking plate allows you to move devices left & right forward and back, also at angles so you can adjust them to your needs. The photo you see of my setup allows me to see everything except my gear indicator which is easy to see my moving my head slightly. And has you can see from the photos of Kathy's hot rod there is NO issues at all. It's all good!

Kathy's IN-Charge system is a Starcom Digital wired unit. She uses FRS radio only but we can add CB. very easily.
Pictured below the motos are fueled loaded and ready to "Rock & Roll" !

Well h
ere we go, it's 4:55 AM at the Starbucks in Petaluma. We leave at 5:15 AM and head out to Davis 90 miles away. We refuel at Davis and then park our motos at the control area.

The starting line is empty but everybody is signing in and getting ready to ride. The TV stations are there, cameramen and reporters. Extra police escorts and other traffic control people.

Team radio Shack provided the lead-out car. You
can see us lined up waiting for them to release the riders.

After the start the seven motorcycles rubber banded back and forth to each other keeping the riders safe and on the right side of the road.

During the climbs we protected them from cars on blind curves and gave any assistance we could with flats, broken spokes and water.

Kathy and I passed each other many times going back and forth on the course. At one point she radioed me via FRS that a bicyclist had broken a spoke, so I returned to the previous rest stop to get a “sag” to pick him up. The rider informed Kathy that he thought he could limp the bike back to the rest stop about three miles back. Kathy then tried to let me know via FRS radio that the “sag” was not needed, but we were to far apart and to many hills. So what do you do ??? Easy … she CALLED me via cell phone through our Zumo 550’s interface and I picked up the call as I was talking to the driver and everything was taken care of.

I was able to take a few shots of the bicycles; the one at bottom right is of the bottom of the climb to Lake Berryessa Damn. This w
as the first of several big climbs that left a lot of mortals walking their bicycles to the top.

Where there were unmanned intersections we stopped and directed them in the right direction. Lower left here is Pope Vally Cross over.

When we arrived at the finish line the very happy coordinators greeted us, which told us many of the bicyclists were very impressed with the motos and their assistance. Making this a very rewarding day for us.

Remember bicycles have two wheels also, so always try to be polite and share the road with the as we have much of the same issues with four wheelers except the bicycles are even smaller than us.

This story is one of our monthy news letters and also placed on our website here.

Kathy and I hope you enjoyed this story showing a real life experience using our IN-Charge Communications systems and also seeing what we do with our free time.

There's much more that Kathy and I do in our spare time, so stay tuned, and tell your friends.

Ride Safe, Have Fun

Richard & Kathy

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