Friday, September 5, 2014

Hot Metal Harley Raises over $4,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities with our annual Toby Keith Ride!

Hot Metal Harley-Davidson hosted one of our most anticipated rides of the year to First Niagara Pavilion to see Toby Keith, who is one of country music’s biggest stars.  The ride benefitted the Ronald McDonald House Charities by raising over $4,100.

Almost 400 tickets were sold at our dealership in just a few short weeks and hundreds of people showed up for the pre-tailgate party at Hot Metal Harley-Davidson on Saturday, August 9th!  The party included live music, free food and refreshments, and a chance to go back stage at the venue.

During the party Hot Metal Owner, Toby O’Brien and General Manager, Lori Flanigan dished out the food while two members of Hillbilly Way played music to a packed parking lot of motorcyclists and country music fans.

At 4:30 the Allegheny Sheriff’s Department started leading nearly 250 bikes out of Hot Metal Harley-Davidson’s parking lot bringing with them a trail of motorcycles!  The bikes and their passengers wound their way through the South Hills of Pittsburgh at leisurely, yet non-stop pace. 

Sirens wailed and lights flashed while cars were halted as the riders were escorted through busy intersections.  The line of motorcycles gliding down the road two-by-two stretched for an impressive mile during the most of the ride according to the police.

Once out of Allegheny County, the Washington County Sheriff swept in front of the pack of motorcycles aided by Cecil, Smith, and Hanover Townships.

The ride lasted about an hour and ended when the parade of motorcycles were escorted into the VIP parking lots ahead of other cars waiting at the gate.  The smiles, high fives, and general feeling of excitement were apparent as the riders dismounted their bikes and headed for the gates.  They were ready for the show.

“The Ride continues to grow in popularity and this year it has expanded by nearly forty percent over last year. Our partnership with Live Nation and the continued success of all of our major fundraising events enable us to give back to the community and demonstrate our passion for turning wheels for a good cause, said Lori Flanigan.”

Even though this was a fun ride to see an amazing performer, at the end of the day this run was about the kids of the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Hot Metal Harley-Davidson would like to thank everyone who participated and donated to make this ride a huge success.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hot Metal Harley-Davidson gives away a 2014 Harley-Davidson Sportster!

By:  Rocky Marks

Hot Metal Harley-Davidson gave away a new 2014 XL1200N Sportster Iron during our Spring Opener on April 19th and it was an exciting day, especially for Kathleen Troha!  She was the winner of the Sportster as part of our Roll-to-Win contest that started more than 7 weeks before!

Throughout the months of March and April, more than 1,000 people came to the dealership to try and roll the word:  H-A-R-L-E-Y with 6 dice. If our guests hit the word, they earned a chance at the bike. If they didn’t roll “HARLEY”, they could come back every day to try their luck until they finally got the letters right.   If a bike was purchased in that time frame of the contest, the new bike owner received two chances to win.

Hot Metal Harley-Davidson kicked off another contest during the Opener where riders could register the mileage on their bikes for a chance to win one of three gift cards to the dealership.  There is still time to register.  Whoever gets the most miles will win a $750 gift card.  Second place pulls in a $500 gift card and third place wins a $250 gift card.

In May, Hot Metal Harley-Davidson hosted a functional riding gear and an L.E.D. lighting workshop, held demo rides, and free food on the grill.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My first ride of the season was very eventful thanks to some obstacles on and off the road...

I managed to grab a little time to take the bike home from work for the first time in many, many months.  Mile by mile, what happened on the way home took me right back to the basics and the things I talk about on Hot Metal’s weekly motorcycle talk show: Road Hogs with Rocky Marks on DVE.  (Insert shameless self-promotion).

I jumped on my bike and decided to head across the street to the gas station to top off the tank.  Less than .3 miles under my belt I managed to cover my tank with gas by being in such a rush to get gas in and get going.

After wiping the mess (and my pride) off the tank, I headed out onto the road.  Within the first mile, I met my first challenge, a pothole.  I failed.  I was looking right at it and you guessed it, ran right over it.  I talk about this every week, wherever you are looking that is where your bike will go.

Within three miles of the shop I had someone almost merge into my lane by texting on the phone.  Wow, I totally forgot about “those people”.  I thought to myself, “Okay, I really need to get my defenses up.”  Thinking back to all the things I’ve learned I tightened my grip and rode on.

Mile five was interrupted by a fancy BMW with tinted windows weaving in and out of traffic without it’s turn signals on.  I knew I had to give myself distance from that person as they were an accident ready to happen.  A little further down the road closer to the seven or eight mile mark, a sport bike passed me on the berm. 

By this point I’m just shaking my head.  I discuss these situations every week on the show, and now I feel like I’m caught up in the madness of the beginning of motorcycle season and I’ve only been on the road for 15 minutes!  So what do I do next?  I decided the best thing for me to do was simply relax.

Yes, even after all of those situations, I decided that it was time to go back to the basics:  put 4 seconds between me and the car in front of me, look 12-14 seconds down the road and play the “what if” game.  It’s the one where you think about what if “this” happens or “that” happens, how am I going to take evasive action and get to safety.

I think it’s a pretty good game, especially for this time of year where most of us have been sidelined due to what seemed like a never-ending winter.  My final ten miles home were very relaxing once I went back to “the basics” and enjoyed the therapy that the motorcycle was originally intended to give me in the first place.

As we get into “Motorcycle Awareness Month,” let’s all get back to the basics. Maybe think about a free refresher course from the state before they get booked up or simply pick up a copy of the PAMSP manual at a local dealership or DMV.

I can tell you firsthand, once I went back to the basics around mile ten the second half of my ride home was very refreshing as was every trip out of the garage I’ve taken this year.

Monday, April 7, 2014

My thoughts on how to do a charity run.

Few things are as enjoyable as a ride on your bike with a group of fellow enthusiasts, knowing that your donation went to a good cause! This is the time of year when we start seeing the posters for charity rides pile up on the bulletin boards of dealerships all over the Western Pennsylvania Area.  

Over the winter and into early spring, I've had many people come to me to inquire about what it takes to start a charity bike run. My first answer would be "time."  These rides don't come together overnight, and the more successful rides are those that have been doing them annually for several years.

There has to be a lot of planning well in advance to make a successful charity ride. People often think that you can start one month out when in fact you should truly be starting more than a year ahead of time to make a successful charity run.

Another thing to consider is "manpower."  How much help do you truly have?  Help will be needed far in advance of the ride day.  Many things to consider including start and location destination the timing the route the distance you want to travel not to mention the price what you want to include T-shirts dinner giveaways and prizes go as well as other factors when planning a ride.

Often people see rides with large numbers of motorcycles. But these rides have been around for quite some time and have been well planned in thought out over the years.

Another question that often comes up Is police escorts. Do police escort motorcycle runs? The answer is sometimes. Often we see many motorcycle rides taking the law into their own hands and blocking for other riders. This is illegal.

Getting a police escort also requires planning in advance, The cause of the ride, and the location of the ride. Please departments often do not like to travel into other jurisdictions. Frankly many police departments are often understaffed as it is and to take a car away from a shift would interfere with the operations of the police department. So it's not that the police do not want to escort, it's that the manpower isn't there to provide an escort for every single ride that happens.

There is a lot to consider when planning a ride.  For more info, email

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Work, Life, Balance

The words WORK and LIFE combined with BALANCE are critical to living a fulfilling life of peace and happiness.  If work and life fall out of balance there is a pretty good chance that you will burn out faster than you would like to.  You won't be productive at work and you won't do very well at home either.

I'm fortunate in the fact that I have an employer who understands the work/life balance.  I feel like I give 110% when I'm there and I'm a very loyal employee. But when I'm not there I need to focus on my family and give them 110% as well too which can often be a challenge.

I have this habit (and I'm not sure if it's a bad habit or a good habit) where I get very close to a job and it becomes part of the very fabric that I'm made of and becomes and operates very much like a family unit. I need to separate that family from my home family.  There was a time when radio was my "family" now the dealership is my "family." 

I do miss my radio "family", but many of them have all moved on to new endeavors outside of the industry.  I won't use the term "bigger and better" because we lived large and it was a good time. There are 20 years of memories that I'm still legally not allowed to mention, even on a private blog.

Going back to my employer... The owner & general manager work with me in terms of my schedule so that I am able to maintain a sane safe balanced lifestyle because of my condition with bipolar disorder. For anyone who doesn't know what it's like, try to remember your mother going through 'the change' where one minute she is laughing, the next she is crying and there is no reason why.

I'll spend the better part of a Sunday trying to please everyone and trying to make family time with each individual child.  If I veer off my plans for that day, I spend the rest of the night beating myself up for what I didn't get to do, and for the fact that it will be another 7 days before I have this chance again.  (I also often worry that something bad may happen due to an accident or something where I won't be able to make up for that lost time.

So why am I writing this? Well for one I'm making the long drive from work to home so why not be productive and dictate a blog. Number two, I left a little early today with my manager's permission so that I can attend my children's scout awards ceremony.

When I leave "on time" or even early, I often feel bad because I feel like sometimes I'm not giving my 110% because I'm not staying after hours. In the same token I should really be feeling guilty on nights where I close and stay late because I'm not making it home as fast as I should and giving them 100%.

That's where the work/life balance comes into play.  I have a career, I don't have a "job"... and I hope to God that I never have a "job."  I've been very lucky in my life to have 2 careers, one of which has followed me into this career and allows me to still practice radio for 20 years now!

I just don't want to be one of the people who sit in the parking lot waiting for 10:00 to punch in.  And I don't want to be one of those people who punch out at exactly 7PM as they go flying out the door. THOSE are the people with a "job" and that's so NOT me.  

So here is my question to YOU.... how do you have a successful career and maintain a healthy fulfilling home life?  Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated.  I would love to see how you do it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Watch Your Back!

By Jerry Smith

Baseball great Satchel Paige once said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." Good advice, maybe, for a seemingly ageless pitcher, but not so good for motorcyclists, especially when they're stopped at an intersection and don't see the distracted driver bearing down on them from behind. It takes more than a working brake light to prevent being bunted into a busy intersection or squashed like a bug between two bumpers. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting caught in a squeeze play.

As you decelerate for a stoplight, check your mirrors to see if the traffic behind you is slowing down, too. Touch the brakes several times to flash your brake lights. Be extra vigilant if you decide to stop for a fresh yellow light in case the guy behind you decides to run it. And while we don't generally advocate running a yellow, that's your best course of action if it's clear that the car behind you is planning to.

Now that you've stopped, be ready to go again in a heartbeat in case the space you're in seems in imminent danger of being occupied by a speeding car. Position your bike on either side of the greasy center of the lane. Leave the transmission in gear and hold the clutch in. If that's not practical, put your right foot down, leave your left foot on the peg ready to engage first gear, and cover the clutch lever.

Always have an out in case the car in your mirror is becoming alarmingly large, alarmingly quick. If you're turning left and there's a curb or a median to your left and a car in front of you, position your bike on the right side of the lane so you can slip around the car if necessary. But be aware of through traffic coming up behind you that's not slowing down to turn. Stop far enough back from the car ahead to give yourself room to maneuver. If your front tire is inches from a bumper, you won't be able to turn without backing up first. That's a bad place to be.

In addition to bike placement, bike equipment can help tip the odds in your favor. Keep your mirrors clean and adjusted properly, and if all you can see in them is your elbows, swap them out for ones that do what mirrors are supposed to do. Check your brake light and taillights often, invest in some auxiliary brake lights, and add some reflective tape to the back of your bike for night riding. Every little bit helps.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Where are you riding to?" vs "What do you do?"

by:  Rocky Marks

Back in 1998 I remember taking a sociology class. One of the things we talked about or statuses, hierarchies if you will.

Today status is common forms of jobs where you are in management where you aren't in management and many people judge you based on what it is you do or do not do for a living.

For motorcyclists that's different though, the traditional what do you do for living turns into where are you going or perhaps what do you ride? The what do you ride doesn't necessarily indicate a status is simply a question to get the conversation started between two people that have a common bond on the road.

It's been my experience that most of the time people learn what other people do once they are gathered around a dinner table and start talking about work family and children. After that is still does not change the makeup of the crowd

I shouldn't say I should say does not take up the dynamic makeup of I should say that it does not change the dynamic makeup of the group

I've been on rides with the unemployed disabled the hourly workers the minimum-wage workers salaried employees middle-management upper management CEOs CFOs and Supreme Court justices. And you know what they are all the same.

They are riders. Whether it is you're around seasonal or just a few times a month they are riders and they enjoy the fellowship on the road the investment they have between their legs and the camaraderie that they share with other riders

I'd rather not get into the question of what is a real rider.  Usually those debates are started by those that are insecure about their own status as a rider.

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Schedule of National Bike Runs & Rallies

March 7 - 16: Bike Week 2014,Daytona Beach, FL
The kickoff event of the motorcycling year. Thaw out your bike and ride on down!

March 15: The Daytona 200, Daytona, FL
You don't have to be a racing fan to appreciate the skill on display at the Daytona 200, America's most historic motorcycle race. The kick-off to the 2014 motorcycle road season.

April 2 - 6: Arizona Bike Week, Mesa, AZ
This one gets bigger every year. If the April dates aren't enough for you, there are even Pre-Rally Days from March 28 to April 1.

April 23 - 27: Laughlin River Run, Laughlin, NV
Laughlin is billed as "the largest motorcycle event on the west coast." Help make it even bigger by attending this year.

May 25: Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom, Washington, DC
This annual ride through our nation's capital is designed to bring attention to POW/MIA issues. 2014 marks the 27th year for the charity event, which raises awareness, funds and pulse rates.

June 2 - 7: Americade, Lake George, NY
The world's biggest all-brand touring rally gathers on the shores of beautiful Lake George.

June 14 - 22: Laconia Motorcycle Week, Laconia, NH
America's oldest motorcycle rally returns for its 91st edition this year, and it promises to be a blowout.

June 14 -22: Mother Road Ride Rally , Willowbrook, IL
Riders from around the world fantasize about riding Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. Here's a chance to join the 20th annual Rally along the 2,448-mile route.

July 11 - 13: AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, Lexington, OH
Real vintage bikes from all eras racing around Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, many piloted by vintage motorcycle racers.

August 4 - 10: Sturgis Rally and Races, Sturgis, SD
This year marks the 74th rally.

October 16 - 19: Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach, FL
Close out the riding season with one last warm weather rally. Heading into its 22nd year, Biketoberfest has grown to be a more manageable version of Bike Week, but still plenty fun and exciting.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Things to do During the Off-Season

Written by Attorney Edgar Snyder of Edgar Snyder & Associates

Even though the weather is cooler, there are many things you can do as a biker to continue your way of life all year long. We've compiled our top 10 biker projects for the off-season.
  1. Take a Motorcycle Safety Course – Search your area or local DMV for a motorcycle safety course schedule. It's important to have a refresher on motorcycle safety, and you can hone your bike handling skills. Even if there isn't one until the spring, many places will allow you to register months ahead of time. Upgrade yourself first!
  2. Look for New Riding Gear – If yours is getting a bit old, or no longer doing what it's supposed to do, it may be time to upgrade. Many times motorcycle attire is on sale during the off-season.
  3. Tune up Your Bike – Check and test all parts of your motorcycle to be sure it's running as safely and efficiently as possible.
  4. Change the Seat – It's a great way to make your ride more comfortable, especially if you go on a lot of group rides or cross-country tours.
  5. Review Your Insurance Policy – Now is the time to review your insurance policy and decide whether you should upgrade your coverage. Remember, accidents can happen any place, anytime, and anywhere. It's best to be prepared and protect your financial security – before it's too late.
  6. Customize Your Motorcycle Helmet – Having a one-of-a-kind helmet is one of the best ways to distinguish yourself as a biker. There are many things you can do, while still making sure it falls within the Department of Transportation standards.
  7. Winterize Your Motorcycle – There are dozens of articles out there that tell you step-by-step how to prepare your bike for the winter, how to protect it from snow and ice, and how to store it – if you choose to do so.
  8. Join a Local Motorcycle Group – Being a biker is a way of life, and there's no better way to share it than to spend time in the motorcycle culture. Look up local groups and see what they have to offer – group rides, rallies, resources, training courses, apparel discounts, tutorials on customizing your bike, and more.
  9. Look into Purchasing a New Bike – If you're thinking you want to get a new motorcycle, the off-season is a great time to do your research and find the one that's right for you. It also gives you plenty of time to review the safety features of each model and see what options are available for customizing it.
  10. Install a Camera – It's a way to relive your biking experiences, but it also can capture live footage if you're ever in an accident, and can provide valuable evidence.

Attorney Edgar Snyder has over 45 years of experience helping injury victims. He founded Edgar Snyder & Associates, a Pennsylvania law firm that has represented hundreds of motorcyclists. Learn more at