Is The Custom Motorcycle Industry Dead

When Jesse James and his West Coast Choppers first appeared on the Discovery channel the world got a small taste of what custom motorcycles were all about. The economy was good and many men started to dream about having their own custom motorcycle. Of course many of them being upper middle class soccer dads thought the biker lifestyle as portrayed by the great Jesse was a little too scary for them.

Then the Teutels came along. American Chopper struck a chord with men that Jesse failed to do. It made them spend money. Suddenly every man in American over thirty wanted a custom motorcycle. And those that had the money bought them up in droves. Custom bike shops sprang up in almost every small town in the country and many a custom motorcycle builder thought they had hit pay dirt.

Even people who really didn’t plan on buying a custom motorcycle ended up buying a bike because we got caught up in the phenomenon that was American Chopper. Five motorcycles later and two custom motorcycle builds under my belt, I can honestly say that if custom bikes had not been all over the TV I probably wouldn’t have a garage full of them now. The country just went nuts over custom motorcycles.

Doctors and lawyers gladly shelled out for $30,000 bikes so they could join the custom motorcycle fad. Along the way a few production custom motorcycle companies went into business and made their fortunes in a very quick time. If you had the money and wanted a cool bike without the worries about getting parts and such, the production chopper fit the bill. Many of these fad riders actually turned into true motorcyclists, myself included, but that’s where the trouble began.

If you’ve ever ridden a custom motorcycle you’re well aware that these things are great for bar hopping and to parade around at your local bike night but as a full time rides they just don’t work. Trust me I know; after a 400 mile ride to Niagara falls I quickly realized that have a low long custom bike wasn’t what I wanted to ride on long trips. And many other new riders learned the same lesson. As sales of touring models soared the custom motorcycle industry started to hear the death knell that was around the corner. Then tragedy struck the motorcycle industry in general.

As the US economy fell demand for custom bikes fell with it. Many newcomers to the bike building business whom had lucked into a full time carreer out of a hobby soon discovered that when only real bike riders wanted custom bikes built, only hardcore established custom motorcycle shops got the business. Even the well know OCC felt the pinch as their once coveted theme bikes became a low priority for corporations who were now on a budget.

Watchers of the show watched as Paul Teutel Sr had to lay off a bunch of workers and fans could only wonder if their new building was ill timed. The custom motorcycle fad was over.

So what does all this mean for the custom motocycle business in general. Is it dead? Hardly. It’s way bigger than before than fad started. A lot of upstart companies have managed to survive because they created a good product. Some production chopper companies have fallen by the wayside. But the most importan thing, to me is that motorcycling in general has finally become main stream. In spite of a tumbling economy and HD in financial trouble more people are riding motorcycles now then ever before. And that means more people will be customizing them also.

It’s a rare sight to see a motorcycle that hasn’t been customized in one form or another and I confidently predict that after this economy bounces back the custom motorcycle industry and custom motorcycle parts industries will flourish. How do I know all this? Because in spite of lagging sales and the passing of the custom motorcycle fad , websites about Custom Motorcycles are busier than ever. People may not be spending money right now but they’re doing something almost as important. They’re making their bike parts wish lists and in some case determining who they are going to get to build their custom dream bike when things turn around. Which they will.

Take heart my friends, the custom motorcycle industry is not dead, just taking a much needed siesta.

Automobile Industry Of India

India has a huge automobile industry. The country ranks 4thin Asia and 9th in the world as the world’s largest automobile Industry. India has an annual production of approximately about 2.3 million units.

Presently, India is the world’s largest manufacturer of tractors, second-largest manufacturer of two-wheelers, and fifth-largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles.

The automobile industry in India gained momentum after the liberalization in 1991. The industry has continued to grow consistently and is increasingly becoming competent in the global market. In the recent past, India has seen an upsurge in the automobile industry thanks to its relaxed restriction on the investment policies in the sector. India’s overall economic growth has also played a significant role in attracting foreign investors in India to invest in the automobile sector of the country.

The automobile sector in India has displayed great advances in relation to the utilization of new technologies and being flexible in the wake of the changing business scenario.

Both the central government of India and its state governments have taken several measures to draw investments in the sector and further accelerate the growth of the industry in the country. The government has liberalized the norms for foreign investment in the sector. Presently the government permits 100% direct foreign investment in the sector.

The government has also undertaken several policy measures and incentives to boost investment in the automobile sector of India. The most prominent policy is Auto Policy, which was drawn in 2000. This policy basically aims to establish a globally competitive automobile industry in India and contribute to the Indian economy.

The important objectives of the Auto Policy are:

1.Making India a global source for auto components
2.Aiding the development of vehicles that can be driven by alternative energy sources
3.Developing domestic safety methods that are on par with international standards
4.Steering India’s software industry into the automobile technology
5.Making India an international hub for manufacturing small and cheap passenger cars
6.Being the global center for manufacturing two-wheelers
7.Ensuring a balanced transition to open trade at a minimal risk

Thus, this ambitious Auto Policy of India aims not only to make India grow in the sector but also attract huge investment in the country.

The Department of Heavy Industry, which falls under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, is the leading agency responsible for promoting the growth and development of the automobile industry in India.

The department assists the industry’s growth through policy initiatives, providing technological collaboration, upgrading, and R&D facilities to the automobile manufacturers.

Also, the growth of Indian middle class and their increased purchasing power supported by strong macro-economic fundamentals have been instrumental in attracting major auto manufacturers in India. Several global players, including leading automobile manufacturers Suzuki and Honda, have invested heavily in India and have managed to tap the Indian market.

All these factors and the initiatives of the government is an indication that the Indian automobile Industry has been emerging as a new sector that has unlimited potential for growth and has promise to offer valuable returns on investments. The automobile sector has not only been meeting the requirements of the domestic market but has been penetrating deep into the international market.

History Of The Trucking Industry

The trucking industry as we know it, began at the turn of the twentieth century with the invention of the motorized truck. Motorized vehicles were competition for the railroad industry and became a major factor in the increase of land transportation of goods throughout the United States. The development of fuel also contributed to the increased use of trucks. As motor technology advanced and improved, there was a natural progression for the construction of paved roads. As a result, there were regulations set by the state and federal government that were to be adhered to when moving freight.

Prior to the use of trucks, trains were the most efficient mode of transporting goods because it had the capacity to accommodate bulk. Trucks were initially used to deliver items to remote locations that were inaccessible for the train. The first boom in the usage of trucks occurred during the 1920s. At this time, roads were improving and made delivery locations more accessible. Eventually more durable tires replaced the rubber tires and trucks were made larger in order to carry more goods while providing comfort to the driver.

The first trucks were extremely heavy and had crude mechanisms. Initially they were only providing delivery and hauling to the city. This restriction was due in large part because the trucks could not handle the pothole and unpaved roads. The Automobile Club of America put on the very first United States contest for commercial vehicles; the goal of the test was to examine the reliability, speed and capacity of the truck. Excited by the results of the contest, manufacturers were to meet the demand for trucks and the use of trucks for freight transportation flourished.

The trucking industry as we know it was still in its infancy when the Great Depression hit and a number of trucking companies were forced to close their operations. The companies who survived were able to benefit from the repeal of Prohibition, which also occurred during a time of economic recovery. In 1935, Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act; this act halted the legislative mudslinging between the rail and automotive providers and provided structure for the industry. At that time, the federal government became an investor into the railroad industry, which happened to have also from the depression, as well as from the emerging auto transport industry.

The Motor Carrier Act set regulations for freight-hauling. The act limited the hours that could be driven. It also mandated the classification of freight that could be carried. The owners of the trucking companies became concerned that the new regulations would compromise their competitive advantage over established rail companies. As infrastructures were improved, driver demand increased and opened up opportunity for new businesses to enter the market.

The trucking industry is a key player in the American economy through the transportation of raw materials, produce, and finished goods. Trucks are also vital to the construction industry when large amounts of materials are needed for a project. Currently, the American trucking industry is responsible for most of the movement of freight and will continue to be essential for US manufacturing and construction.

Under the regulation of ICC, companies who have for-hire trucks were required to apply for a license if they wanted like to enter the interstate markets. The guidelines were strict and licenses were granted only if it could be proven that there was a need for additional capacity. The rates, which used to be an agreement between the trucker and the customer, were put in the hands of bureaus. The rate bureaus are owned and administered by participating carriers. The bureaus job is to analyze costs and initiate pricing standards and competitive rates within the industry. In 1980, Congress put through a trucking deregulation bill. The goal of the bill was to increase competition and this competition resulted in reduced shipping costs for customers.

Prior to 1983, truck size and weight limitations were set by individual states. The federal government pushed for legislation that set limitations on the interstate highway system. In addition to increasing the size and weight limitations on truck, the law also resulted in an increase of the national gas tax and increased fees on the industry. Currently, the trucking industry is responsible for paying roughly half of all state and federal road user taxes.

Tom West Zuckerburg of the Entertainment Industry

I’m sure everyone is familiar with Facebook and its origins. Mark Zuckerburg, owner of Facebook, was able to build a successful business online because he was able to pinpoint what the people wanted from a social networking website. Tom West, on the other hand, was able to determine what employers and service providers of the entertainment industry need to make it easier for both parties to find each other, negotiate pricing and get payed securely. That being said, Tom West will certainly become Zuckerburgh of social and career interaction in the entertainment industry. Tom West is the creator and founder of Modelfuse.com, Musicianfuse.com, and Moviesfuse.com. These are highly addictive social networking/Job Hiring sites which cater to the needs of entertainment freelancers and employers. You canfind models, musicians, actors and everyone between by posting a job in these websites. On the other hand, these websites become the stage for entertainment freelancers to showcase and network their talents. You might be wondering who Tom West is after learning how he bridged the gap between employers and service providers of the entertainment industry. To know him better, I spent my Saturday morning on the phone with him and I would like to share my conversation with Tom here. Lynette:I’ve noticed that your websites are focused on helping the entertainment industry. Why is that? Tom: When I was a child, I formed a band together with my childhood friends. We were able to secure a contract with Island/Universal Records and Maverick Records. Because of my band, I’ve met cool people across the world and got to release an album. Although our popularity didn’t last long, I learned so much and the experience was unbelievable. Lynette: You’re pretty amazing for a kid. What was the best moment that you can remember during your time with the band? Tom: Well, we were able to tour with major acts such as Duran Duran. An experience of a lifetime! Lynette: When your band broke up, you started dabbling in Entertainment Business right? Tom: Ha ha yea I had to figure out how to put bread on the table! That’s kinda how I learned to make a website for my recording studio business. Tom and his best friend partner had many business ideas that were almost successful but nothing really stood out until Tom’s recent realization of the entertainment industry’s need for service providers. When I asked Tom how he figured it all out, his answer was funny and so true in the entertainment industry. Lynette: How did you come up with the idea of making a website for both employers and freelancers? Tom: Well,for a few years, I’ve been trying to hustle new clients and find people who need music related work done. And man it was a struggle, plus chasing money down to! So when I was sitting replying to an advertisement on craigslist, I thought why isn’t there a site for this? I mean most people these days are freelancers anyway. So, I scheduled a meetingwith GarrettO’Neill, my business partner, for a coffee. He loved the idea and we started planning the business. That’s pretty much the story on how the three websites are born. Musicianfuse.com is the first website that was planned by Tom but Modelfuse.com was created and released first. Wondering why, I asked Tom the reason behind his actions. Lynette I know you started with Musicianfuse.com but Modelfuse.com was out first, I wonder why. Tom Well, when we were developing Musicians Fuse, my girlfriend was a pretty successful model at a large international modelling agency at that time. I mean everyone has heard horror stories about agencies but I saw it firsthand. Mine and my partner’s plan was always Musician Fuse first but because of the situation, I thought of creating a website that caters to the needs ofthe models, hairstylists,photographers, and the clients. Ironically, my girlfriend left me for a photographer shortly after I started developing Model Fuse. Anyway, I decided to hurry and release Modelfuse.com as soon as possible . I decided not to delve deeper into that topic because it’s personal and might make Tom feel uncomfortable. Tom suggested that I try one of Modelfuse.com apps called paparazzi which I did and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with it. I created an account on Modelfuse.com to use this app which will come out this month. Out of curiosity, I asked Tom if he is dating anyone and his response is understandable. Tom : Not as of yet, I just got out of a 5 year relationship so I’m a bit jaded at the moment. Also, I work 24 hours a day so I’m not sure if anyone would be in to sitting next to me and our teams on the computer (laughs). Having met Tom personally, I think he is such a nice guy with lots of brilliant ideas. With his company’s vision, he’ll surely help a lot of people in the entertainment industry. I wish Mfuse LLC. success which they so much deserve for helping both employers and service providers. You can visit http://www.mfusellc.com/ to learn more about Tom and his websites. By, Lenette Rice

Augmented Reality And The Tourism Industry

Augmented Reality (AR) allows recorded and animated images to blend and be viewed in real time. Most of the past augmented reality apps mainly focused on entertainment, such as the Lego Kiosks, futuristic baseball cards and even a virtual tour of the starship Enterprise. More recent apps however, have shifted their focus: providing travelers with useful information and answers to their possible questions.

What does augmented reality mean for tourism?
Augmented reality apps comprise different layers, such as museums, historic sites, dining and real estate to name but a few. The tourism layer, however, is the one most commonly used. This makes sense since tourists need information which will make their travelling experience easier, more informed and more secure, allowing travelers to experience the destination before they arrive.

A few examples of how augmented reality was used in tourism
TripAdvisor launched their Augmented Reality Tours app for iPad this month, using images from Google Street View to create a virtual walk through various destinations. This app might not be as advanced as apps by Layar, Lonely Planet or mTrip, but is still more useful and fun to use than 2D maps.

The Beijing Institute of Technology created a virtual reconstruction of Yuanmingyuan, a local historic site destroyed in 1860 during the Opium War, by using various paintings and sketches. They built a coin-operated viewing platform which tourists can use to see what Yuanmingyuan used to look like.

The Cluny Abbey Museum in France has a giant augmented reality screen, a window to the past if you will, allowing users to travel back in time and view a pre-destruction example of the Abbey. GraffitiGeo launched the first ever augmented reality restaurant recommendations app. Just point your phone towards a restaurant and see immediate reviews.

There are a lot of augmented reality apps, too many to mention in only one blog. Did I miss your favourite? Please share it with us in the comments.