How to throt­tle Parkin­son’s Dis­ease

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

Like, I imag­ine, a good num­ber of Old Bike Aus­trala­sia read­ers I’m get­ting on a bit, and on reach­ing the bib­li­cal ‘three score and ten years’ I dis­cov­ered that I had de­vel­oped a mild case of Parkin­son’s Dis­ease. In fact it was when rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle that I first no­ticed symp­toms, as my right arm and shoul­der would freeze-up and ache from hold­ing a steady throt­tle open which made any long dis­tance rid­ing a real pain. When, as re­quired, I re­ported my med­i­cal con­di­tion to the State li­cens­ing au­thor­ity they ap­proved that I could con­tinue to ride mo­tor­cy­cles, but cu­ri­ously they ruled that I could not drive a car fit­ted with man­ual trans­mis­sion. I ap­pealed this de­ci­sion and it was over­turned, but only af­ter I had looked up mo­tor­cy­cles with au­to­matic trans­mis­sion on the web in case the li­cens­ing au­thor­ity de­cided to ex­tend the man­ual trans­mis­sion ban to bikes. Hav­ing set­tled the le­gal­i­ties, the crit­i­cal de­ci­sion now was whether I should con­tinue own­ing and rid­ing mo­tor­cy­cles as it was no longer the en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence it once was. When check­ing the web for au­to­matic bikes I came across cruise con­trols and throt­tle locks for mo­tor­cy­cles. What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween a cruise con­trol and a throt­tle lock? Just like in a car, cruise con­trol is elec­tronic and main­tains steady road speed through the en­gine man­age­ment sys­tem, while a throt­tle lock is a purely me­chan­i­cal de­vice that sets the throt­tle grip in a fixed po­si­tion so there will be some vari­a­tion in road speed whether go­ing up or down hill, but speed is fixed when on the level. The other main dif­fer­ence is price, with an elec­tronic cruise con­trol for my tour­ing bike cost­ing in ex­cess of AUD $1,000, while the throt­tle lock that I bought cost me less than AUD $100. The rest of this story is best told by quot­ing from an ex­change of emails be­tween my­self and the man­u­fac­turer of the throt­tle lock: “I re­cently bought an Omni-Cruise throt­tle lock and used it for the first time to­day. I am 71 years old and have rid­den mo­tor­cy­cles since I was 18. I have a mild case of Parkin­son’s dis­ease which af­fects the use of my right arm and this makes hold­ing the throt­tle open for long pe­ri­ods dif­fi­cult and quite painful. In fact I was think­ing that I might have to give up mo­tor­cy­cling all to­gether be­cause of this con­di­tion. But to­day’s ride changed all that – the Omni-Cruise worked per­fectly, and I could have rid­den the bike all day. So thanks for the qual­ity prod­uct that is the throt­tle lock, I am en­joy­ing rid­ing bikes again be­cause of it.” The next morn­ing I re­ceived the fol­low­ing re­ply from the throt­tle lock man­u­fac­turer in the US: ”Hello Rob, Thank you so much for the email! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear such great feed­back and know that some­thing I did and made can help some­one keep a pas­sion they have had for over 50 years alive and part of their life.” Enough said. It did how­ever prompt me to ask if Old Bike Aus­trala­sia has ever ran an ar­ti­cle on the use of cruise-con­trols and throt­tle locks for mo­tor­cy­cles? If not, there could well be a num­ber of ma­ture-aged OBA read­ers that would be in­ter­ested in read­ing. Rob Carmichael Vic­to­ria

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