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Sturgis City Council Release

The Sturgis City Council voted 8-1 last night to host the rally and announced today that the 80th Annual City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will move forward.

However, there will be significant changes designed to reduce the large crowd gatherings in the downtown core with the intent to “safeguard the community and residents.”

That there is a true definition of dichotomy.

The City Council decision, given most all other large outdoor events and indoor concerts around the U.S. have been canceled or rescheduled, is an interesting one. The annual rally will generate millions in revenues for the host city, but no mention of that trivia in the press release.

Buffalo Chip Email Blast

According to Sturgis Rally stats, in 2019 there were 490,000 rally visitors — at least 70 times the estimated 2019 population of Sturgis (6,500), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  In other words, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attendees in 2019 were the equivalent to half of the state of South Dakota’s estimated 2019 population of 884,659.

Read the full City Council release HERE.

A few items known as of today that will be implemented at the event:

  • Attendees will be asked to practice social distancing and follow CDC guidelines.
  • Enhanced safety/sanitization protocols will be carried out in the downtown area.
  • City sponsored events including opening ceremonies, parades, B1 Flyover, and live music at Harley-Davidson Rally Point are cancelled.
  • Photo towers will NOT be installed.
  • Temporary vendors will be required to abide by state and federal protocols and guidelines related to COVID-19.

I’m not trying to “COVID Shame” anyone thinking about or planning to attend the motorcycle rally.  But, remember a long, long time ago when the freedom of riding across the U.S. and attending a rally didn’t bring this type of risk?

Images courtesy of City Council and Buffalo Chip.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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I truly hope you all are healthy while staying safe.

To state the obvious: we are all drowning under a steady drip of negative and sometimes outright terrifying news.

With social media and cable television, we can get this drip, drip, drip of dangerous news 24/7. And given the intense competition between the different “news” sources, it has created an environment of doing whatever it takes to increase clicks and views in support of more ad revenue.  Adding to this are the bad actors out there.  They have goals to take advantage of the current structure of social media to excite, energize or anger audiences making it very difficult to stem the tide of disinformation.  In fact, according to some news reports, Russian trolls are already engaged in disinformation campaigns around COVID-19.

There are three factors that seem to encourage the pessimism spiral. The first is a belief that the events that have occurred are permanent. In other words, if things are bad, things will stay bad. The second is a belief that what has happened will have a pervasive and apocalyptic effect on our lives. And the third is the issue of blame, finding someone, not just someone who is accountable, but someone who can be blamed with all the emotion that goes along with that process.

I want to avoid the temptation to play armchair psychologist, but recognizing that inside voice that is making those negative remarks and arguing against yourself, while putting things in true perspective can help to be more optimistic.

There is relief and why, perhaps now more than ever, motorcycle blogs are essential. I hope you agree.

Blog dispatches from across the country about motorcycle wanderings—this can provide a welcome diversion, a brief reprieve from the current restrictions we’re all living under, and a reminder of the thirst for motorcycle adventures we’ll all need to sate when this pandemic has finally passed.

One day soon, this crazy time of social distancing and sheltering at home will be behind us and we’ll be immersed riding with the sun on our backs and the wind in our face!

Photo taken by author — “The Valley Isle” Sunset, Hawaii (March 2020).

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them or their systems.

I’m talking about building a digital defense and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Heads up Harley-Davidson!  The more connected motorcycles become, the more likely they are to get hacked.  Each new “connected” motorcycle feature introduces greater complexity, and with complexity inevitably comes vulnerability.

Motorcycle enthusiasts have spoken and Harley-Davidson listened.  Riders want increased connectivity not simply for productivity’s sake, but also for convenience.  It’s easier to, for example,  interact through the head unit and display an interactive map as the motorcyclist drives towards their destination, versus putting the address into the user’s cell phone’s app and trying to watch the map on the phone and drive.  So, riders use apps for Android and iPhone (Apple CarPlay), that leverage the smartphone for the head unit (HU) display.

At what point does the motorcycle become a data center on two-wheels?  Any part of the motorcycle that talks to the outside world is a potential inroad for attackers. And malicious actors have been incredibly productive, creating immense numbers of threats world-wide.

Do you think I’m ‘inflating’ this out of proportion?

Car versus motorcycle hacking makes great headlines and let’s take a look at a few recent vehicle examples: a moving Tesla Model S is hacked and the hacker remotely controls the brakes (Tesla was forced to develop and distribute a software update to resolve); a Jeep Cherokee was remotely accessed via the UConnect entertainment center from a laptop miles away and disabled it’s transmission (Fiat Chrysler, was forced to recall 1.4M vehicles); a 100M Volkswagen vehicles can be unlocked by hacking the signals from their keyless entry fobs; and then there was Hyundai’s Blue Link, a cell phone application for users to interact with their vehicle.  Users are able to lock, unlock, start and stop the air conditioning or heat, and start the vehicle from a remote location. In addition, the app allows for stolen vehicle recovery and vehicle health reports to be emailed to the user and other parties for scheduling service etc.

SOUND FAMILIAR?

Consider that earlier this year the Harley‑Davidson™ App and the H-D™ Connect service launched which allows owners to connect remotely to select 2020 Touring and LiveWire motorcycles.  The H-D Connect service provides cellular connectivity that can link a Touring and LiveWire owners with their motorcycle through their smartphone using the Harley-Davidson App. H-D Connect allows owners to connect remotely to their motorcycles and allows for viewing of key vehicle health information as well as stolen vehicle recovery and other parties for scheduling service etc.

A computerized motorcycle’s main defense against hacking used to be the fact that all of its systems were separated from any network. But with the rise of telematics systems, connected apps, and onboard WiFi, that’s no longer the case. Harley-Davidson owners now face similar security issues to computers or smartphones and, like those devices, “ironclad” software is the main line of defense and will be as susceptible to attack, just as the user’s home and office PC are.

I’ve previously posted about the larger Internet of Things (IoT). Basically, this means everything in your home that connects to the world wide web. Smart TVs, digital assistants, smart watches, fitness trackers, home security devices, thermostats, refrigerators, and even light bulbs are all on the connected list. Add to that all of the fun stuff: remote-controlled robots; games and gaming systems; interactive dolls; and talking stuffed animals … the list is endless.

And now we have connected Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  What do all of these have in common?   They send and receive data.  The essence of the Harley-Davidson digital transformation is interconnectivity. Interconnectivity is about more than the connections between devices — it is about the connections between customers, partners, and suppliers.  But, do you know how that data is collected, where it is stored, for how long and where it is going?

It’s not clear how serious Harley-Davidson takes the threat of potential cyberattacks on their motorcycles. Given the concerns of hackers doing a “drive-by” on your digital life and the number of malicious actors I’d like to see more transparency from them in regards to motorcycle digital defense — or we risk ending a road trip before it really begins.

Harley-Davidson Privacy Policy – HERE
Harley-Davidson Information Sharing Policy – HERE
FBI 2018 Internet Crime Report (PDF) – HERE

Photo courtesy of Cyber Defense Magazine and FBI

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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UBCO 2×2 Electric Utility Motorcycle

I like watching the proverbial fire and brimstone post-apocalyptic movies as much as the next person (think: Mad Max, Twelve Monkeys, The Book of Eli, I Am Legend etc.,), but the Hollywood creations often incorrectly portray motorcycle transportation with flashy visuals and entertainment over realism.

Speaking about realism, September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) which highlights a time to focus attention on the importance of preparing families and homes for disasters that might threaten our lives and property.  It’s spearheaded by the U.S. government and this year’s overarching theme is “Prepared, Not Scared.”

I’m not sitting here eating peaches from a can and going all Eagle Scout on you, but being prepared when potential disasters occur by developing and practicing a family emergency response plan, assembling a disaster supply kit, signing up for alerts on mobile devices, setting aside emergency savings, and maintaining adequate insurance policies for our homes are important steps for disaster preparedness and valuable for everyone.

National Preparedness Month (NPM)

You’re likely thinking, hey Mac, the Harley is full of fuel, it get’s nearly 50mpg and I’ll just grab my “Bug Out Bag” and hit the road when the time comes.  But, what happens in a major crisis when the fuel production and distribution stalls or ceases?  Meaning Bob,  the local tanker truck driver is going to stop making his rounds to the gas stations and go find his family so no new fuel is distributed.

For that type of scenario a small, efficient electric motorcycle might be a great option — yes, you guessed it — I’m suggesting that you purchase a new $30K LiveWire Motorcycle that Harley-Davidson introduced last month.  Let’s call it the masterfully disguised “Prepper Bike” vs. an urban ride.  I can even envision a Harley-Davidson  marketing campaign to include a free survival knife and bandana when you purchase the motorcycle!

I’m being sarcastic, and was thinking about the UBCO 2×2 electric utility motorcycle.  It can be charged from solar panels in an off-grid location, which offers good range and maneuverability.  It has a lot of interest with those who need to bug out and want to keep a low profile.  Any motorcycle enthusiast who grew up riding the Honda Trail 90, will instantly relate to the 2×2.  The UBCO bike will only do 30mph, but it can carry up to 400 pounds (including rider) and cover 50 to 75 miles per charge. It’s nearly silent, and uses a 2-wheel-drive system for improved off-road performance — a feature that’s reminiscent of the classic ROKON gas-powered utility bikes. The battery packs are removable and interchangeable, so you can carry a spare to double the range. There are even USB ports and a 12V outlet for charging other devices such as your phone, GPS, lights, or tools.  The UBCO 2×2 starts around $7K and a spare 48Ah battery pack is $2K.

A sidebar:  The concept or story behind UBCO started in New Zealand.  UBCO had been actively visiting and investigating the U.S. market when it was contacted by Technology Entrepreneur Bob Ralston.  An investment opportunity was consolidated with Spring Capital in Eugene, Oregon and a dedicated distribution company was established in Eugene.  The idea of a Utility Electric Vehicle (UEV) that would transform the way people ride, work and play rolled out.

Even if uninterested in the EUM (electric utility motorcycle), discover your inner Scout and learn about the 130 Survival uses for a Bandanna that you are likely already wearing!

I’ve said it often, and will say it again: emergency preparedness is valuable for everyone!

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov and UBCO

Preparedness Resources:
Off Grid:  NPM 2019
Ready Gov:  September 2019
Preppers Bandanna: 130 Uses
Financial Preparedness: Finances
Community Preparedness: Neighborhood Prep

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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