Thursday, September 11, 2014

Don't Let A Disability Keep You From Riding A Motorcycle

Don't Let A Disability Keep You From Riding A Motorcycle

I didn't let my disability keep me from riding a motorcycle and you shouldn't either. Today there are many ways to modify motorcycles for disabled bikers. Don't let your disability keep you from doing something you love to do.

I've wanted a motorcycle of my own since I was 16 years old. I am now 50. I have had health issues since I was 5 years old. I had extremely high arches in my feet. I was always falling, turning over my ankles, and tripping over my own two feet for years. My parents knew something was wrong with my feet but I was not diagnosed until the age of 15.

At the age of 15 my parents took me to see a neurologist who ordered nerve conduction studies. I was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth disease.  A hereditary neuromuscular disease that deforms the feet. And causes muscle loss throughout the body. There is no cure and the older I get the more the disease progresses.

At the age of 32, I was to the point I could barely walk any more. I had excruciating pain whenever I walked more than a few feet. I went to an amusement park and had to rent a wheelchair, I couldn't walk around the park. 

I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to see if there was anything he could do for me. He told me he could reconstruct my feet and get me walking again without all of the pain. I opted for the surgeries. They cut a wedge out of my heel bone to flatten my high arches, They put a screw in my big toes to help with my poor balance, and they moved a tendon to pull my ankles inward.

They did surgery on one foot at a time. The total surgery and recovery time was approximately 3 years. To this day I am still walking but not without problems. I don't have the pain in my feet like I used too. But now I cope with other problems from the disease. I have scoliosis, severe arthritis in my feet, back, neck, and shoulders, and my hands. I have chronic nerve pain throughout my body, and severe muscle spasms 24/7. I am disabled and not ashamed of it. Things happen in life.

I am on narcotics to help with the pain, if it were not for them I wouldn't be here any more. I couldn't take the pain from the nerves and muscle spasms.

BUT two years ago I finally had the opportunity to purchase my own motorcycle. There was no way I was going to let my disability stop me from doing what I've wanted to do for so many years, ride a motorcycle.

I had to try riding two wheels to see if I could do it. I knew in my mind I was probably going to need a trike but I wanted to try two wheels first to see if I could ride.

Just as I suspected I couldn't hold the bike up when I came to a stop. I did not have enough strength. And my balance was too poor. And did I mention I have poor coordination too? Yep...

So I traded my two wheels in for a small 250cc with a trike kit on it. Perfect!!! I learned to ride it and within a year I was ready to upgrade to a larger bike with a trike kit on it. So I bought a Yamaha V-Star 650. I love it. 

Of course my back kills me when I ride, but I just take breaks when out riding. We stop for a drink or something to eat when we go riding. And since I'm a smoker, I also stop for cigarette breaks.

Sometimes I have a little trouble shifting the bike cause my foot doesn't want to cooperate correctly, but I manage. 

Let me tell you if you want to ride don't let your disability stop you from getting wind therapy! It's the best thing in this world. 

I've heard hardcore bikers say "When I can no longer hold up a bike I'll just have to quit riding because I'm not riding a trike".

WHY NOT? Living here in Florida there are many, many trikes on the road. Why give up something you love when you can buy a trike, or have a trike kit put on your bike?

I am so glad I did not let my disability stop me from riding a motorcycle. Even though I need what I call "training wheels" on my bike, I am so glad I did it. It is my stress reliever and I need my wind therapy. It's the only thing that keeps me sane these days.

There is not a thing wrong with riding a motorcycle with three or four wheels if it keeps you in the wind. It doesn't matter if you are disabled. Don't let your disability keep you from riding a motorcycle.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Motorcycle Accessories by Bikers Buzz of Florida

Motorcycle Accessories by Bikers Buzz of Florida

Keith and Diane Gracely of Ocala, Florida founded Bikers Buzz in 2012. Bikers Buzz began as a web site to raise motorcycle awareness for bikers around the world.

Keith and Diane ride and after losing friends that ride through motorcycle accidents they were determined to do something about it, that's when Bikers Buzz was born.

Diane designed a web site to support motorcycle awareness and a Facebook page.

In June of 2008 Diane and Keith founded "Ashes2Urns" by making custom personalized cremation urns after Diane lost her father. Keith and Diane have a talent for woodturning on a wood lathe and began designing wooden cremation urns for people and pets and personalizing them with an inlaid photo of the person or pet that passed away.

As time went on due to their involvement locally in the biker community they began receiving requests from biker families for cremation urns.

Keith and Diane have a knack for crafts and hobbies and they came up with the idea to begin making custom motorcycle accessories with 550 paracord and wood. They designed motorcycle tassels, get back whips with 1 inch steel balls, monkey fists with 1 and a half inch steel balls, blackjack key rings with 1 inch steel balls, and survival bracelets with 550 paracord. They also began making wood products for bikers, they designed a wooden kickstand pad and began personalizing them by woodburning names and wording on them. They design refillable lighters and matching ashtrays from logs of wood and other wood products.

As the word spread about their motorcycle accessories and cremation urns, the local biker community requested Keith and Diane to set up a booth at local biker fundraisers for downed and sick bikers. They offered to donate a percentage of their sales to each cause. And in some cases donated a custom cremation urn to the families of a few downed bikers.

Diane decided to combine the two businesses and rename Bikers Buzz, "Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane". 

Today, "Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane" is about raising motorcycle awareness, making custom motorcycle accessories, and personalized cremation urns for bikers and their pets. 

Keith and Diane have become volunteers for a local organization "Florida Bikers Helping Florida Bikers". They help downed and sick bikers and their families by hosting fundraisers to raise money to help the families with medical expenses and household bills.

Diane says, "Our business Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane" is not just about earning a living from making and selling motorcycle accessories and cremation urns, it's about giving back and helping our local biker community here in Central Florida. We enjoy what we do."

Due to Diane growing up and coping with a neuromuscular disease, "Charcot Marie Tooth", Diane has always had a passion to help others, she says this has given her a way to offer compassion and help others while they build a business to earn a living designing motorcycle accessories and cremation urns for bikers.

Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane can be found online at
They sell their products through their web site and on eBay and Amazon.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane Gracely

Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane Gracely of Ocala, Florida was founded in June of 2008. We began making personalized cremation urns for bikers and their pets after Diane's father passed away. 

We had to choose a cremation urn for my father at the funeral home and although we did choose one I know my father would have loved it was quite costly and there is nothing personal about it other than the color, dad loved his black pickup trucks, so we chose a black metal urn.

I would have much rather had my father in a custom urn like this...

A few years later Keith's dad passed away and this is the cremation urn we made for him with his photo inlaid on the front of it. And two metal crosses from Keith's sister inlaid on the urn. It makes it so much more personal.

Keith and I moved to Florida 4 years ago and bought motorcycles, a dream we've had since we were teens, we've wanted to ride our own since an early age, due to finances and life's ups and downs we were not able to do it until 2 years ago. After buying motorcycles and meeting some other riders locally we got involved in events, poker runs and fundraisers for downed bikers and bikers with health problems whom local's raise money for the families to help them out.

We decided to design motorcycle accessories and add them to our business. I designed a wooden motorcycle kickstand pad on my wood lathe and Keith began tweeking them to perfection. I also designed wooden refillable lighter and ashtray sets on my wood lathe and began selling them. Keith and I created other wooden products for customers too.

Keith then began designing motorcycle accessories with 550 paracord. He makes get back whips with 1 inch steel balls on the end, monkey fists with a 1 and a half inch steel ball on the end, motorcycle tassels for the brake and clutch levers, and blackjack keyrings with a 1 inch steel ball, and Diane began making survival bracelets.

Our business Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane has continued to grow over the years and with our love of riding and making products for bikers we are working to grow our business to create an extra income.

We set up a booth at local biker events, fundraisers, etc... to sell our motorcycle accessories and donate a percentage of our sales to the cause.

We have also donated several custom made cremation urns to biker families in need. We enjoy our local biker community and have made lots of friends within the community.

Our mission is to help families in need while also creating an income for ourselves with the business we started and enjoy very much. Bikers Buzz

Our goal is to grow our business worldwide online through our web site and selling our products on eBay and through our Facebook page BikersBuzz

We are always using our creative minds to design new products to add to our Bikers Buzz business. I am in the process of designing embellished denim handbags for the ladies and knit fingerless gloves. They will be available soon on the web site.

Tell your friends about us, SHARE our Facebook page with your biker brothers and sisters.

Follow Diane's blog for updates on products and stop back to see our VIDEO page. We will be adding lots of videos from biker events we attend throughout Florida.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Create a Niche Product or Products

How to I create a niche product?

I've been asked this question many times over the years. My family and friends didn't believe I could create a successful home business out of knit golf club covers. They all laughed at me when I told them I was starting a home business designing knit golf club covers for golfers with pom pom tops back in 2006. 

I knew what I was doing, I had faith in myself, I had done my research and knew there was a market for my knit golf club covers with pom pom tops. 

When I started my home business in February 2006, I knew I was going to succeed. I had done my research and did not have much competition at the time. I found one major competitor and I knew I could beat their quality and prices. So I started "Kewl Tubes" and it took off. By my second year in business I had sales exceeding $50,000. I was taking custom orders online for different designs and colors through my web site and on eBay. by 2011 I was overwhelmed with orders, I couldn't keep up, I was working 7 days a week 12 - 16 hours a day to get orders fulfilled in a timely manner. In February 2011 I decided to sell my business and move on to creating another home business. I sold "Kewl Tubes" for a $50,000 profit to a family who was looking for an established family business.

My husband and I started Ashes2Urns in June 2008. I had lost my father and he was cremated, after looking for a cremation urn for my father we discovered there was a need for affordable cremation urns because the urns available for purchase through funeral homes were outrageously priced. My husband enjoyed woodturning on a wood lathe as a hobby. So we began experimenting with making cremation urns on the wood lathe.

We designed a few and designed a web site to sell them and also listed them on eBay. We began selling them almost immediately.  We came up with the idea to inlay a photo of the deceased on the front of the wooden urns and also woodburn wording on the front of the urns. This gave them a real personal touch. People loved our creative designs.

We decided to start making personalized urns for pets too. 

In 2012 my husband and I bought motorcycles because we have wanted to ride for years. We then came up with the idea to design motorcycle accessories for bikers. We turned Ashes2Urns into "Biker Stuff by Keith and Diane". I created a new web site to sell our motorcycle accessories and make cremation urns specifically for bikers and their pets. 

We make wooden motorcycle accessories such as personalized wooden kickstand pads

and motorcycle tassels

and other motorcycle accessories made out of 550 paracord.

By reading this article you should get some ideas as to how to create a niche product or products. I just explained to you how we did it, how we came up with the ideas to create products. Everything I have done over the past 17 years was created through our love for crafts and hobbies. We just used our imagination to create products that people want or need. 

My first business in 1997 was a laminated bookmarks business called "Diane's Creative Bookmarks" I loved using graphic software on my computer to design custom personalized bookmarks. I began designing them for weddings, funerals, schools, and so many other occasions, and businesses and even book authors.

I grew the bookmarks business for 8 years until I came up with the idea to make knit golf club covers, once I started "Kewl Tubes" I put Diane's Creative Bookmarks business on the market for sale and sold it within a month to someone in North Carolina for a profit.

It's not hard to create a niche product. Use your imagination and your crafts or a hobby and do your research. Think of a product you can make and sell. Do your research, search out your competition and consider if you can make a better product than they do? Can you beat their prices? etc... 

I am currently in the process of designing some new products to add to our motorcycle accessories. I am designing unique denim handbags and knit fingerless gloves for the biker ladies. They will be added to our "Biker Stuff by Keith and Diane" web site in the very near future.

I have a friend who crochets, she just started her own business making some very unique products and it's going very well for her. 

The internet gives us the opportunity to sell products worldwide. It's so much better than a brick and mortar store where you have high overhead. Making and selling products online does not have to cost you a fortune to start a home business. I designed my own web sites, that alone saved me a lot of money. I do NOT pay for advertising either. I do all of my advertising online through free social media, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. 

I know you can do it, you can figure out how to create a niche product. Have faith in yourself and don't let anyone stand in your way. GO FOR IT!

Do you want help? Do you need ideas? Feel free to leave a comment on this article and I will offer you some advice.