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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes and LOTSA Stuff

My friends (Jeanne, Mickey, and Jim) went to the 28th Colorado Show and Swap Meet in Denver this afternoon. I can pick my tongue off the floor now…the motorcycles were fabulous!!

This was my first visit to this show and I had a really great time! What I liked about this show was all the custom bikes and the custom bike dealers. Some of these machines were incredible. I had a serious drool affair with Wild West Custom Cycles’ metallic chartreuse colored bike with the purple and blue flames. All their bikes were really great to look at! I’m not sure I’d want to ride one for a long distance (but can’t make that claim since I have no clue as to the ride), but it was a beauty to eyeball!

I was also making eyes at this really great Harley. It was purple of all things. Of course it was purple! Jeanne was poking fun at me by telling me that if I got this bike, I wouldn’t have matching chaps any more. Oh rats….killed the deal so I had to turn it down. Sorry fella….

Speaking of chaps, I am now the proud owner of a new pair of chaps. All the gang had great fun trying on fun colored chaps. Well, except Jim…..he he he. Jeanne was really eyeing the pink chaps…I think she’d have done the deal but they were too short. I liked them too……until I put on these really cool red leather-fringed chaps on. Sweet…………..One of my HOG friends happened to be walking by and gave me a shout out while we were in the booth. His greeting was something like…(and this is the PG-13 version)….”Christine, I thought I recognized your booty in those red chaps!” Then he went on to tell me that he liked them as much as my hot pink vinyl pants that I wore for the Breast Cancer Awareness ride. Shhh, we won’t tell him I’m working on topping last year’s ride!!

Now, if I can find a vest to match………..

Actually, I went down to the show to see if I could pick up a pair of frames for my saddlebags. Well, I’m still on the hunt for those frames (and if you read between the lines you can see how ‘hard’ I looked for them)! Besides, how important are frames in comparison to scarlet chaps? If you can make a better argument I’ll put them on and we’ll go toe-to-toe. I will remind you of the futility of arguing with a woman—especially one that is wearing red leather. Or any leather come to think of it.

Poking around the other booths was fun too. We all had a great time!

On the ride home we talked about riding and specifically, women riding. Jim rides a Heritage Softail, Jeanne rides a Dyna Super Glide Custom and Mickey at the moment is a rider without a bike. She’ll get there—she’s been riding since she was thirteen. It’s just a matter of getting her to find the one she can’t live without!

Somewhere along the mix the Catholic School Girl’s Ride was thrown in the mix. Yeah, that sounds right up my alley…………………….I can see it now…me, a short skirt and a shiny motorcycle…yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Keep the shiny side up!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Brand and The Nationality

When I purchased my Harley back in September, I had an interesting conversation with the seller. Judy and I had ridden down to look at the bike (okay, I was supposed to just look) and ended up working a deal. We had worked out the details of the transaction and were sitting and shooting the breeze talking about (of course) motorcycles.

I was on my V-Star and he looked at my bike and made a comment. “Once you ride a Harley, you’ll never get back on a metric bike”. I looked at him and starting laughing. Puzzled, he didn’t understand what I was laughing about. I looked at him and replied, “of course, I will, hon! I am Japanese after all and I think I should be able to ride a metric bike if I want to.”

He pretty much didn’t know what to say after that and apologized for his political incorrectness. No worries, it’s not a big deal since I’ve pretty much heard it all. I just thought it was funny that he spoke without thinking and even funnier that I had the opportunity to turn the comment back on him.

Especially since I hadn’t given him his check!!

No worries, it wouldn’t have undone the deal; I’m not that thin-skinned!!

I still am questioned if I’m going to sell one of my bikes. Honestly, I don’t want to. In reality, I probably will since I really don’t need to have two motorcycles. Well, I don’t *need* one motorcycle if we get down to brass tacks! However, both being cruisers doesn’t help the debate, either. So in my own time, I’ll make the decision. Until then, I’ll just have two bikes.

Don’t ask which one I’ll keep, either. I think we all know the answer that that question!!

Besides, I already have a "Japanese" vehicle (I think was made in Ohio)…I drive an Odyssey. What that has to do with anything, I have no clue!

And forgive me, I'm being terribly un-PC....oh well, at my own expense...get over it *smile*.

Keep the shiny side up, everyone!!

The Love Affair That Will Never Happen

Ulysses XB12X

I had the opportunity to sit on this motorcycle back in November when I worked the International Motorcycle Show. I worked the AMA booth as a volunteer rep of the Women on Wheels. This is a really good looking piece of machinery! Not to mention the design is really cool with all the neat innovations.

I learned to ride a motorcycle on a dirt bike…a Honda CR250. That was a tall bike too. Fortunately, I could touch the ground when I stopped. That’s a necessary and good thing!! The only thing I couldn’t touch was the kick start lever and the ground at the same time, so I’d kick start it with the kickstand down. Looking, back, that’s not to smart. Oh well, when you are 17, not too many things are stupid, except thinking that mom and dad don’t have a clue *smile*.

I wish I could ride the Ulysses. Sitting on it was really neat. Unfortunately, on the stand, my right foot was about six or seven inches from the ground. Hmmmm…I’m thinking…let’s see if getting the bike level will help. Unfortunately, it did not. Upright, my feet are a good four inches from the ground. And the bike can only be lowered an inch and a half.

I somehow think that wearing spiked heels won’t work!!!

I’ve heard rumor that you have to be at least 5’9” to ride this bike. What a shame. I’m 5’5”, but I have a 32” inseam so I’m longer legged than average. Still, not long enough. Oh well.

You folks at Buell paying attention?? While I do have some tall enough girlfriends that doesn't help me! I’d love to have the opportunity to ride this baby.

Well, at least in my dreams anyway. Like my one of friends always tells me…”in my dreams I can fly and the kegs are huge!!” Well, at least I understand where he’s coming from.

Keep the shiny side up!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm Going to be in a Biker Magazine

Who’d have ever guessed, but I’m going to be the feature pic of an online motorcycle magazine.  The Editor-in-Chief contacted me and wanted the pic of me on my Fatboy….and sent me the details of when it’ll be on.

Thanks to Judy for taking such a great spur of the moment picture.  Of course it was a happy day….isn’t that conveyed in the photo???  I think that was the best part of the picture…not my bike and certainly not me…but what the day was all about.  

It was the day I got my Harley, though.  Could it be better than that, surprisingly, yes it was!  Gets better every day too!!!  Now, if I could just get some decent weather….

I won’t put the details on until it’s out there for sure….there’s always the chance he’ll change his mind!!

If it posts, then I’ll send the link.  Should be in about two weeks or so.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I Want Bluetooth!!!

The folks at BMW have their new helmets available for sale…..over there.  No, we can’t get them here in the good ol’ USA.

Like most people, I own more than one helmet.  I think I have four.  One is full-faced helmet and I will pack it if I think the weather is going to be disagreeable.  I don’t like riding in the hail!!   If it gets too windy I’ll put the darn thing on too.  With the sand on the roads this time of year, I am particular about getting my face sandblasted!  Ugh!  The cold winter wind in my ear isn’t pleasant either.

I won’t go into specs, but at 86db(A) at approximately 60 MPH...that is quiet.  For comparison, 60db is about normal conversation levels.    This helmet is also constructed of light-weight cutting edge composites that allow for strength but less weight.   That is good in my book!

The thing that turned my head is the Bluetooth.  Wow!  Gee, now we can be like the rest of society…talk on our cell phones while riding down the street.

But hey, it’s a trade off…we might get more folks to wear helmets, LOL!!!

Yes, I own four helmets, none are Bluetooth, but I do go without headgear on occasion as well.  That’s all the preaching I’m going to do!!!

Bluetooth??   YEAH BABY!!

Keep the shiny side up!!

Snow and More Snow

Well, there’s snow on the ground so no way am I getting out.  

I’m working on trying to do a segment of The Run for The Wall.  I’d like nothing more to do the whole thing, but my timing just won’t allow it.  Even better, I’d love to bring my son along and let him experience the journey and see this beautiful country.

One thing at a time, I just have to have patience!

I’m feeling the itch, however.  Getting out last weekend was great; I wish I had more agreeable weather.  It’s coming, I know *smile*.  And I take it with a grain of salt as well.  You riders that have a shorter riding season are rolling your eyes, I know!

I have to be extra careful if I’m out riding this time of year.  Seems that the cage drivers don’t expect to see a motorcyclist on the roads right now.    So this is just a reminder if you do have to opportunity to get out and it’s not motorcycle ‘season’ to exercise extra caution.   They aren’t looking for us.

In the meantime, I somehow got invited at Open Mike Night at my Community Center.  Gee, I get to do some caterwauling…ha ha ha………and an opportunity to ski!  I haven’t that in a long time so that ought to be an interesting undertaking.

Get snow…might as well make snow men!

Keep the shiny side up!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'm Not Going Deaf I'm Shure

Anytime I’m away from my desktop you can rest assured that my iPod is connected to me.   I never thought I would get as attached to this piece of hardware as I have.  I’m obsessed!  In the gym, running outside, cutting my grass, in my cage and yes, on my motorcycle.  

The whole iPod revolution started (with me, at least) out when Apple released the Mini.  It was a cool gadget and while the nay-sayers cried that no one would pay $249 for a four-gigabyte mp3 player especially when you could get the 20Gb version for fifty bucks more….well, “they” were wrong.   I managed to get my hands on quite a few Minis and turned them for a fair profit on E-Bay.  On a spur of the moment decision, I decided that I should keep the last one as a reward.  

At first I really didn’t get much use out of it and seriously debated on selling it.  Then I got hooked.  I could have my favorite tunes with me all the time and no commercials either!!  It turned into a full-blown addiction.  I had the FM transmitter so I could even listen to my tunes in my car and I wasn’t satisfied--I had to have a cleaner signal.  So I installed a dock and wired it directly to my head unit so now I have some great sound….in my cage.

Of course, I wanted the same tunes while on my bike.  Installing the iPod on me wasn’t a problem; I have a carrying case for it.   Hearing the music, however, was a totally different problem.  I wear a shorty helmet or sometimes none at all and the wind noise drowns out any bit of music that I could hear.   I do wear hearing protection when I ride so cranking up the volume defeats the purpose of hearing protection!!

I can’t tell you how many pairs of headphones I tried (all the various electronic stores around town, however, can tell you) and each time met with failure.  I did get good response with the Sony MDR-EX71SL headset and could hear the music without volume issues.   However, after three months of daily use, I just wore the wiring out.  There is a one year warranty, but Sony didn’t want to deal with me every quarter, so my search continued.

I had been eyeing the Shure's E2c headphones for a couple of months and the $99 price tag just put me off time and time again.  I finally decided that I’d bite the bullet and try them.  If they didn’t work, they’d just be another casualty in my search.

I’m happy to say that my search is over!  Putting them in is a bit strange because of the design.  However, once they are in, the sound is unbelievable!!  Of course getting on the bike was the test.   These headphones passed with flying colors!  At normal volume, I can hear the music on my iPod.  My both my motorcycles have stock pipes so I’m not rumbling too much, but I’ve also had the opportunity to ride on the back of several modified bikes (ahem…LOUD) and I still have tunage!!!   The best part is hearing the music and at normal volume levels, but I also get hearing protection when my iPod is off (and I can chat at the red light with that cute guy………).  

The wiring is heavy duty, there’s great sound and Shure stands behind their two-year warranty.  They are a great bunch of folks!!  I won’t use anything else, that’s for sure!

I added a remote transmitter so I can control my iPod from my handlebars.  So I’m geared up.  Just remember your local regulations regarding headset wearing and operating any motor vehicle.  I won’t debate that issue with you; that’s between you and your local law enforcement agency.  

As always, safety is priority one…then fun!!!

Keep the shiny side up!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

He Rides the Same as Me...COOL!

Well, no riding today, but I’ll pull a story out of my bag.  I had posted it on another board, so it was a reminder.  It’s funny (at least to me anyways)….

I am wired for sound on my bike.  Actually, I’m wired for sound anywhere I go and if you ever meet me, chances are I’ll have my iPod on me.  I play it in my van, on my bike (both the Fatboy and the V-Star are wired for iPod power), at the gym, even in the shower!  Okay, too much information….

You can imagine my pissed off state when my mini died.  NO TUNES!  What am I going to do?  Well, I was on my Harley when it died so I make an immediate bee-line to the nearest Best Buy and just buy another.  This time I did get the replacement warranty, though.

When I’m on my motorcycle, I normally pull up on the sidewalk and park.  Yes, it is annoying, yes, it’s probably illegal, but I do it anyways.  So I pull up and my best friend from Hawaii calls me and I’m sitting on my bike with my back to the parking lot chatting up a storm.  I hear two other bikes pull in and park behind me on the sidewalk.  I turn around to notice there were two bikes, but didn’t pay attention to the make/model.  I just waved to the guys, turned back around and kept talking.

I hear one of the guys proclaim “well, I’ve never ))^^%#*&% seen THAT before”.  I didn’t pay them any attention and kept focus on my phone conversation.  After I hung up, I turned around and looked at the bikes (of course, I look at all bikes…aren’t they cool??) and busted out laughing.  

Poor fella as one of the bikes was identical to mine …a red and silver 15th Anniversary Fatboy……We won’t tell him that mines an ’04 with the ’05 tank set on it.  They look the same so no one really knows the difference!!  That’s another story, though.  

What?  I dented his ego??  Now this guy has to know that there’s another bike, just like his in our bitty town THAT A GIRL RIDES…………..I think it’s cool…he’s just like me *smile*!!!!   I can’t wait until we have a ride in and I get to meet him again, LOL!!!!  I don’t think it’s a big deal since I put my pants on the same as any one—the only difference is that he can write his name in the snow when he pees and I can’t.  Well, I might be able to pull it off, but I think it would be more messy!!!

I did get my new iPod and am back in business.  When I went back outside, they were gone.  Gee, I was looking forward to chatting with them.  

That’s my story for the day and I’m sticking to it.

Aloha and keep the shiny side UP!!

A Story from the Lost Girl and How I Got Found

We all have a ride to climb on. So where do we go and how do we get there?

Since I’m snowbound (well, there’s not much on the ground but it’s way too cold), I’m inside just cruzing the ‘net thinking about how cool it would be to add a mount for my portable GPS to my handlebars. I have 12 volt, and to run the power from the plug to the bars is a simple task, but realized a better solution—batteries!!! The mounts are inexpensive too!!

This article started out as a reminder to always take a map when you hit the road. I’m one for not taking my own advice and I do pay for it on occasion. I’m out longer than I plan or get lost. Once, I was riding and saw a road that looked interesting. Down the road I go……A couple of miles I ran out of pavement. Okay, I’m on my cruiser and don’t mind some dirt road. How long can this possibly go on?? How about some twenty plus miles?? It was slow going until it started raining which is typical of summers in Colorado. That made it for slower going. Then I got the ‘opportunity’ to bury my rear wheel to the axle in soft wet sand. Thank goodness the road was fairly well-traveled and some nice gentleman stopped and pulled me out.

I have experience riding off-road; I rode a dirt bike when I was in high school. It’s just that Harleys, V-Stars and the other cruiser bikes aren't typically used for that type of riding. Not that it can’t be done, of course; I would rather be on pavement. I can just see myself going off the edge of the road on a mountain pass. First of all, no one knew where I was and second there’s typically no guardrails on mountain pass roads!!!! YIKES!!!!

All of this would have been avoided had I had a map. Well, maybe not, but I would have at least been aware of what was ahead of me. I’ve heard stories of the road narrowing so much that a motorcycle couldn’t be turned around so forward progress was the only choice! Yikes! That’s a challenge and one I would not want!

I’m not called the lost girl for no reason, you know!!!

However, I did find a better workaround. Seems that the folks at Google have a map program that can be sent to your cell phone!! Called Google SMS Messaging or Google Local 4 Mobile, you can have your mapping system on your phone. Data charges do apply so please check with your cell provider!!

If you have ever checked out Google Earth Earth, you’ll see how neat the program is! I can zoom down and see my home…I’m just glad it’s not real time (although the folks who listen in on my cell conversations can see me waving at them too, eh??)! Now you can get the same thing on your cell. Now, I think that’s really cool!!!

Doesn’t require me carrying any additional “stuff” either which is great news in my book. I may be a typical girl, but I know I carry less gear than my girlfriends do. I had less than one bag compared to what my friend Deb carried—she had two bags plus her saddle bags were crammed full. Heck, I carry less than some guys I know………….

Check out the Google mapping. I’ll definitely use it!

I’m thinking I could somehow wire my laptop….

Keep the shiny side up, yous people!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friends, Roads, Motorcycles and A SCOOTER?!?!?!

I was lucky enough to get a late-morning ride today. Our riding group had our monthly meeting (one monthly thing I look forward to, LOL) and a group of us normally stick around for an after-meeting ride. Today that magic number was seven. A few in the group are fairly new and inexperienced riders so it was a chance to group ride, practice skills, and just get out on the road a bit. It was a lot of fun!

I finally get to ride with Kelly. She rides a Bergman! She’s been after me about putting her scoot on my blog, so here you are dearie….your moment in the sun! I had been wanting to ride with her (missed her at the BCA ride since she volunteered her ride time to work behind the scenes) so I’m glad the opportunity finally opened up! Her Berg is a scooter on steroids and really cool!! It’s fast, too. She kept up with all of us, no problemo!!

I’m sure we garnered a good bit of attention when we rolled down the street. I mean, Karla’s on her Volusia; Betty, Cyndi and Paul all ride V-Stars, Jeanne and I are on our Harleys……..and then there’s Kelly. She’s in the middle of the pack and tearing it up!!! We go by it’s motorcycle, motorcycle, HEY THAT’S A……SCOOTER?!?!?!?!?! Then no one pays attention to the rest of the bikes….

No wonder why she lets us ride with her!!!!

That’s why I love motorcycling. It’s all about the great and crappy roads we ride, the friends we make (and lose) over time and most importantly, the memories. It's never about what anyone rides and always about who we ride with! If you disagree I’ll send that red-headed Bergman-riding woman over and you can debate the issue with her. Trust me, she’ll win. She’s just that kinda gal!!! Either that or she’ll kill ya and hide your body in the humongous storage space she has on that Berg.

So that’s how she always manages to win (I won’t mention the ‘small’ fact that she’s got bigger kahunas than a lot of men I know)!!!

When rode that final leg of Powers Blvd, we lost a rider as their turn off came up. Cyndi first, then me, and I knew Karla would be next… struck me as I turned off--how the journey today is typical of life. We all came together for our reason, shared our time together and then when it was over, everyone went their separate ways when it was their time to go.

Thank you Karla, Betty, Jeanne, Cyndi, Kelly, and Paul for the great ride! Seems like there were more of us (I HOPE I didn’t forget anyone)!

We didn’t get asked the lesbian question. Must have been Paul………….ha ha ha!!!

Keep the shiny side up!!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Feels Like The First Time...Like the Very First Time

I would climb any mountain......Sail across a stormy sea....If that’s what it takes me baby.....To show you how much you mean to me……..(Foreigner…Feels Like the First Time…)

Hear the song by Foreigner playing in the back of my mind….


It never got up to 50. Or at least it didn’t feel like it did. Not too much wind so I didn’t have gusts to deal with.

Ride was typical. I got to play musical motorcycles to get the Yamaha out of the garage. Almost dropped the buggar turning it around…gee has it been that long since I straddled it for more than two seconds?? Riding the star was easy…too easy. It’s just a breeze to operate and nicely balanced. It just felt, well, weird. Not a bad weird, mind you. It was just so different that what I remembered. It was awkward too. I dunno, like kissing a new boy for the first time. You know what to expect, but it’s never quite the same as all the others. For lack of a better explanation I guess this will have to do.

The motorcycle mishap was running out of gas as I headed south. I figured it was warmer going south. Nope, still froze. Three words: heated hand grips!! Flipped on reserve, stopped, gassed up, and rode out. Rode for about an hour then headed home. Raced a fellow in a pickup truck. Okay, I couldn’t resist. He was making his truck talk trash…OH your pickup truck can beat me on the line?? LOL….

Maybe he read my blog and was trying to avoid cheesy pickup lines!!!

Of course, I *had* to get home and ride the Harley. I still had it in the back of my mind that I needed to ride it because it was the one I got hit on.

The major difference between the two is that what ever the Yamaha is the Harley is the exact opposite. Clutch, throttle, shifting, ride on the Star is all soft and easy. Shift point on the Star is short in the lever. As soon as I let out the clutch lever, it engages. With the Harley everything is hard and harder. It’s work. Clutch, throttle, shifting, the ride is stiffer; it takes more muscle work to ride. Shift point on the Fatboy is almost to the end. The clutch engages at when the lever is just about let out.

Which is my second motorcycle mishap. Pulling out of my drive, I almost drop the bike making a left hand turn because I was expecting the shifting of the other bike. Thank goodness I was exercising caution!! I would have been mortified to add that little bit of information to today’s story!

I rode another hour and heated handgrips or not, I froze. It was just too cold. However, I did get over two hours of riding in. Not too much traffic in town or on the back roads! I got to chat at a stop sign with a man who was on a gorgeous Intruder. We rode shared the road a bit then our paths went our separate ways. No racing on the Harley. It just wasn’t ‘proper’ Harley behavior, I guess *smile*.

Then again, what *is* proper Harley behavior? Or any ‘brand motorcycle’ behavior?? It’s about having fun, continuing to grow my riding experience, and remembering why I do this! Challenging my fears. All that was experienced today and done while listening to London Theatre Version of The Phantom of the Opera, so it was a good day indeed!

Keep the shiny side up!!

Like My First Time Again...It's Time and I'm Afraid

It’s time to get back in the saddle. On Friday the 13th no less. I haven’t been back on my bike since my bump a couple of weeks ago. I’m excited that I have the opportunity to ride but with it comes the dreaded anticipation of ‘what if’. I didn’t think my apprehension would be so strong, but evidently it has been hanging out in the back of my mind since I spent last night thinking about it. To the tune of 5:00 this morning. I got an e-mail from a fellow rider on the east coast and I responded. He must think I’m some kind of nutcase answering back at that time of the morning!!

I dealt with the ‘what ifs’ like I do with everything else. I weighed the pros and cons.

What if I crash?
What if I don’t crash?
What if I get hit again?
What if I get hit again and get lucky again and don’t fall?
What if I don’t get hit again?
What if I drop my motorcycle?
What if I don’t drop my motorcycle?

This debate goes on and on. Gee, I’m having this no-win argument with myself! This exercise does me good because with every negative point I bring up, I have at least one (and most of the time two, three, or four) positive ones to counter!

When I am talking with my girlfriends and encouraging them to have dreams and then live them, I find myself countering their negativity in the same manner as I’m doing now. Instead of focusing on the why nots and why I can’t, shouldn’t or won’t….I ask why I should, how I could and what’s the worst that can happen. I think I’d rather risk the opportunity of failure rather by trying than guaranteeing that same failure by not trying at all. I also believe that this rule should apply to all aspects of my life.

So if something bad should happen, I’m prepared. I have motorcycle insurance to cover the bike. I have my insurance to cover me. I have the Harley dealership down the street that would love to sell me replacement parts and more accessories that I *think* I need!! Well, since I plan on taking the Star out for the first time in three months (yikes!)… won’t be Harley parts but Yamaha parts *smile*.

If nothing should happen, then I’ll get the opportunity to once again experience the reason WHY I ride….the thrill of the being outside, the feeling of sunshine on my face, the freedom of seeing the world with a 360° view. The challenge of navigating a beautiful piece of machinery down a twisty road. The roar of my somewhat quiet pipes!
The opportunity to create a new story to share with my friends.

I can’t be much of an advocate of women in motorcycling if I don’t ride either. Especially when I have two beautiful reasons sitting right there in my garage.

On that note I am going to wrap this up, tie up a few loose ends that I need to get done, do my safety check, gear up, and crank up my Cranky. It’s a beautiful day today—the weather is clear and the temps should be in the upper 50’s.

For the record, I’m still afraid. In my heart, I know it’s going to be alright.

I’ll let you know how it goes!!

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Keep the Shiny Side UP!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

What I Lust After

As any motorcycle owner knows, the first thing you do when you get your motorcycle is change it!! Windshield, saddlebags, sissy bar, risers, luggage racks, specialty lighting, floor boards, grips, chrome and oh….did I say lots of bright, shiny chrome? Of course we have to have a theme so we can make our statement of individuality while within the confines of the clique to which we belong.

My V-Star was my first motorcycle and I knew I wanted a windshield. As far as I’m concerned, the ‘wind blowing in your hair’ mantra is the last thing I desire. Besides, if you have ever gotten caught in a hailstorm in the middle of nowhere with a half-helmet or no headgear, you’ll be thankful for any protection you can get! Stopping, of course, would be the sensible thing. However, in Colorado, if we did that, we may never get home (like that’s necessarily a bad thing??). My quest for saddle bags is never ending. The girl in me still can’t find a set I like at a price I’m willing to pay. I’m still looking.

I don't ride two-up so my pillion seat came off. In its place the fender luggage rack went on. It was an E-Bay thing and I got it for a song! Yes, there IS a way to bargain shop even on E-Bay. Since the pillion came off, the passenger pegs came off too. Lastly, I installed a 12-volt plug on the bike. Monster has this really cool cable with switchable ends so I can charge the various electronic gadgets I can’t live without: my cell phone and my iPod. Not to mention that if I should ever desire to put my GPS on the bike, I can (!

Oh, and the el cheapo looking stick-on V-Star logos came off. I prefer the clean look.

That’s it.

BUT (and that’s a big BUT)……I had to go in a totally different direction. All the money I saved in upgrades went out the window. Well, went out in my garage since I *had* (yes, I was forced) to purchase another motorcycle. Sigh, I went over to ‘that’ side and got the Harley. It was a private sale, a good deal and if I passed it up, I’d be kicking myself today. It came with bags, windshield and sissy bar. The sissy bar is off since I don’t ride two-up. The only other changes were the addition of the ‘necessary’ 12-volt plug and my heated hand grips.

Yes, I’m a wimp, I have heated grips. I like them too. They wouldn’t be a welcome addition if I lived in Hawaii, but I live in Colorado and have had the opportunity to experience snow in July!! Yikes!! Don’t get me wrong, chrome is cool. It just doesn’t do much to keep me warm. And yes, I *did* install them myself!

My derby has a metal leafing job—my answer to the road rash I christened the bike with when I dropped it. I may leaf the front bar guards too, I just haven’t decided to tackle that project—yet. Oh, and the bike has vanity plates.

So what do I lust after? Where the bikes are concerned, I really don’t want anything else. If I could have *anything* then I suppose I would want a sidecar so I could bring my son along. Then again, it won’t be much longer before he’s old enough and he can ride on the back with me. Yea, for him, I’d ride two up!

Keep the shiny side up, ya’ll!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Motorcycle or Doctor? For Better Odds, I’d Pick….


I came across this article in a newsletter from the Spokes-Women Motorcycle Riding Club of New Jersey. You can see the whole newsletter here. Found it to be rather fascinating………

I suppose I should ask why is it that everyone that I’ve ever talked to knows someone that has died in a motorcycle-related accident? I know my response will be “then I suppose you know someone that has been killed by a doctor too?” Then I'll quote statistics.

Add to this tidbit of information from Walter Kern from his site at, “women comprise about 9% of motorcycle riders” I’m not sure which page I pulled this information from, but you can check his site here: With this in mind, the numbers get even lower <smile>……

DOCTORS: (A) There are 700,000 physicians in the U.S. (B) Accidental deaths caused by physicians total 120,000 per year. (C) Accidental death percentage per physician is 0.171.

MOTORCYCLES: (A) There are over 6 million motorcycles registered in the U.S. (B) There were 4,008 motorcyclist fatalities in 2004. (C) The percentage of accidental deaths per motorcycle is 0.000668.

Statistically, then, doctors are 256 times more dangerous to the public health than motorcycles.


‘Nuff said…..

Keep the shiny side up all!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hey Baby, Can I Ride You??

One thing I like about motorcycling is that it seems to break down the communication “barrier”. I know a lot of people don’t like to ride in town (and while I’m not crazy about riding Academy), I actually do! I really like the smaller towns where it seems people are much more open to a short chit-chat. It's a great opportunity to have a one-minute snippet of a conversation with a fellow motorcycle rider or a driver of a car.

On occasion I do get the drive by pick-up line. It is usually along the lines of “hey baby, can you give me a ride….and then “hey, can I ride you?” While not very original, I always get a kick out of it! I think it’s particularly funny when I ride my Star simply because it has a solo seat…”yeah, hun, get on the luggage rack…..”

Or better yet, when my female friends and I ride out, we have been known to get asked if we are lesbians. Errr…whatever gives them THAT idea??? With that in mind, I guess a group of guys riding out are…well, you see where I’m going with that train of thought!

With any other walks of life there are schmucks to deal with. Overall, the majority of people I meet are interesting and genuine. Of course, it is still about the sport of riding and I do love it so!! The people I meet are a big bonus!! I’ve yet to meet a group of people more fun, genuine and generous!!

For those of you who don’t ride, the next time you see a motorcycle leather clad man or woman, talk to them!! More often than not, you’ll discover that we are pretty much the same as most normal folks (he he he)….we just love riding our bikes!!! Better yet, come join us!!

It would be refreshing to have a man come up with a more original pick up line too *smiles*………………………..

That’s my blithering for the day. Here’s to looking at a weekend of riding—and filling the space until then!

Keep the Shiny Side up!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Car vs. Motorcycle and it was a draw

I get to give the safety tip for our monthly Mountain Shadow Riders meeting on Saturday. It’s been my assignment for the last two months, but between the holidays and election of our officers, it just got pushed to the wayside. Living in Colorado, I was planning on talking about cold weather riding and recognizing the symptoms of hypothermia.

After last week, the subject matter has changed. I got hit on my bike last Monday. I normally don’t take Academy due to the number of cars on the road, but I was headed out that way and didn’t feel like cutting across to Powers. I’ll do it next time, for sure.

It was a lane change collision—the driver simply didn’t see me. I saw him coming over and braked and swerved to get around him, but I couldn’t get over far enough. I was in the far left lane of a 3 lane road, there was a turn lane to my left, but there were cars in the lane. He had to have seen me when he hit me because his driver’s side rear mirror hit my right grip. Hello, I was right there!! Had it been a few seconds/inches more or less, he’d either have hooked my brake lever or my grip. Both would have resulted in a pretty bad crash for me. I was very fortunate that I did not fall!!!

He did not stop either. For the record, neither did I. There was simply too much traffic. I was momentarily stunned and all I was concentrating on was to get away from the traffic.

Even if he didn’t stop, I hope he did see me and scared the beegeebers out of him. He did for me. I'd like to beat the living daylights out of him for scaring me. If I do see him, he'll get an earful for sure.

I have yet to ride and I’ll get back on since I do want to ride the Star, but that incident still sits in the back of my mind.

Keep the shiny side up!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

As the Wrench Turns..Part II

I felt like Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral this afternoon as I stared at my Star half assembled. Do I *really* want to do this?? Uhh......Too late!

So the tear down continued and more parts come off. I did have the sense to look at my spark plugs to see if my problem was to rich or too lean. I know spark plugs "talk" and can tell you a lot about the machine you ride. I had carbon build-up on my plugs so it was running way too rich. They got a good cleaning and re-installed.

The carb was not a big issue. I just took my time and followed the directions. My carb just got a good cleaning. No re-jetting, since I’m not putting new pipes on or doing any exhaust mods. As much as the motorcycle enthusiasts complain about OEM parts, I don’t have issue with it. I figure the manufacturers spend millions of dollars on research and development and I’m satisfied with that.

Put everything back together in reverse order, put fuel in the tank and crossed my fingers. With everything ready, my heart was pounding when I got down to the FINE (that’s Fuel, Ignition, Neutral, and Engine if you didn't know--one of the things they teach in motorcycle safety school)….then I pressed the start button. It didn’t fire up.

Oooops, let me flip on the choke. Pressed the start button again. No go. My heart is sinking.

Wait! Unlike my Harley, when you crank the Star, you twist the throttle once before start and then stay off. My baby cranked right up!!!

I’m in my garage doing the happy dance!!! Success!!! Let it warm up and then turned off the choke then called one of my riding buddies who knew about my weekend project.

Did I ride? Sadly, no. Cranky did warm up and as much as I wanted to ride in my little neighborhood, I resisted. Garage clean up, put the tools away. Start dinner.

It is a good day indeed in motorcycle land in the Fox household.

I will say that it’s a darn good feeling to have a problem and solve it on my own. Learning this stuff was a little scary but it was fun. I learned a lot and at least now I won’t feel too out of sorts if it’s a minor repair job.

I do have a three day weekend so I’ve actually got Friday free…so guess what!!! I’m going on a hot date…me and my Star are going for a ride. Anyone out the want to go for a ride with me??

Keep the shiny side up!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

As the Wrench Turns--A Motorcycle Maintenance Story

Today's motorcycle adventure is dedicated to maintenance, not riding.

I have been ignoring my Yamaha V-Star for too long. It needs carburetor work. It has a full tank of gas and that's been my excuse for putting it off. I have been wanting to ride it, but with the fuel problems it was easier to crank the Harley Davidson and take it out for a spin.

Today was the perfect riding day, except I had my son, so working on the Star was the next best thing (well, maybe not, but I'm trying to convince myself). So far so good--seat is pulled, tank is drained and pulled, stuff and all the parts I have no idea what they are officially called are off so here I am looking at carburetor.

Seems dinner calls and I have done plenty enough at this point so this is where I stopped for the day.

With the official Yamaha Service Manual as my navigator, I am going to see what's wrong. I suspect my jets are fouled so a good cleaning is in order. I'm nervous to do it since the patient in question is my 2005 V-Star 1100cc motorcycle. It has 2,400 miles on it. I've never done this type of work on it (or any motorcycle for the record).

I'm sure you are wondering why I just don't take it down to my Yamaha dealer and have them fix it. Isn't it under warranty? Yes, it is. However, this is entirely my fault. I left the petcock on after riding it and then went on an extended vacation. I know that my particular model is notorious for this problem. So while I could probably claim ignorance and get it repaired under warranty, I am rising to the challenge!

Way I look at it is that I will either fix it or end up taking it to the shop and have them fix it..only it will cost me more!!! I know I can fix it, I am mechanically inclined and while I do mind getting my hands dirty, I actually like to tinker around.

I don't know if I will make a habit out of taking my bike apart but this is a learning experience for me. I might have made a better decision to work on something less new or expensive, but this is what I have. Besides, I think the shop guys down at the Yamaha are a "little" bit less expensive As we all know that HD stands for Hundred Dollars, not Harley Davidson!!! Of course after my Yamaha friends read this they may decide to charge me otherwise *smile*.

I would like to learn a bit more of the mechanical workings of my iron pony. I have already gained knowledge since I now know how to take the fuel line off to get the gas out of my tank without siphoning. Maybe not so handy for me but will be helpful if a group of us are out riding in the middle of nowhere and someone runs out of gas......

Honestly, I would also be able to say that I can work on my bike. Go girl power!!!! There aren't that many women least compared to the number of male riders. Even fewer are the ones that work on their own. So yeah, I'm doing this for bragging rights too!!

I ride my own, but I also wrench my own.

Check back with me in the next day or two and see how it ends. I am rather curious to see how it ends too....

Keep the Shiny Side Up!!!

It's a motorcycle, it's a Super Street Bike and it's AUTOMATIC!!!

I spent the Christmas holidays with friends in Hawaii. I also had the opportunity to make quite a few new friends. Stuart and his wife Lydia being two of them. Stuart and his wife both ride…she rides a little Honda Hundred. It’s a teeny tiny bike that gets her around the island as needed. Stuart rides too and his is a vintage bike as well.

We talked shop for quite a while and one of the topics of discussion were modifications to motorcycles. He’s evidently involved on the front edge of new technology development. The stuff he’s working on is really extraordinary. He is an interesting, passionate, intelligent, engaging man and we had great dialogue talking about all the things he is involved with. Our discussion lasted well into the night!

So, when I read the article about the new Yamaha FJR1300AE, I immediately thought of my conversation with Stuart, Lydia and Ken. One of the things we talked about was a motorcycle with an automatic transmission. Lo and behold…here we are!! I’m excited about the evolution of motorcycles—as the improvements come down the pike it means more riders. More riders mean more bikes on the road and hopefully more awareness that we are out there amongst the cages. Making the ride simpler also gives me more leverage to convince my non-riding friends (male and female) to ride!!!

Here are the specs:

  • Type: 1,298cc, liquid-cooled, 16 valve, DOHC, in-line four-cylinder

  • Bore X Stroke: 79 x 66.2mm

  • Compression Ratio: 10.8:1

  • Carburetion: Fuel Injection

  • Ignition: Digital TCI

  • Transmission: 5-Speed with Yamaha chip-controlled shift

  • Final Drive: Shaft

  • Suspension/Front: 48mm Sogi telescopic fork w/adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.4” travel\

  • Suspension/Rear: Single Shock, link-type, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 4.8” travel

  • Brakes/Front: Dual 320mm discs with four piston calipers

  • Brakes/Rear: 282mm disc, CBS ABS standard

  • Tire/Front: 120/70-ZR17 Radial

  • Tire/Back: 180/55-ZR Radial

  • Length: 88.2”

  • Width: 29.3”

  • Wheelbase: 60.6”

  • Fuel Capacity: 6.6 Gallons

  • Ground Clearance: 5.3”

  • Seat Height: Not Available

So, it’s an automatic transmission motorcycle. It also has rear anti-locking brakes and heated handgrips. The windshield is pushbutton adjustable. There are also adjustable ergonomics: The seat can be adjusted up and down almost an inch, and the handlebar pullback angle is three-position adjustable over a half-inch range.

This isn’t a little bike either, folks! My friend Kelly rides a Bergman and loves it since one of the key features is the automatic (not to mention the humongous storage capacity she has)……..hmmm…think she’ll convert to a “real” set of wheels (smile)????

Retail is $15,299 (does not include TT&L fees) and will be available May, 2006. Be ready to beat your feet down to your local Yamaha dealer and check it out!! I know I will be!

Keep the shiny side up!!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Supporting Women in Motorcycling

I've become the e-board moderator of our riding organization. I belong to the local chapter of the Women On Wheels--which is a women's motorcycle riding organization. We accept all types of vehicles! It doesn't matter what kind of motorcycle you ride or even if you have a bike--one of our members doesn't have a bike; she rides along with us in her really cool Mustang.

Our age range and lifestyles all differ--we are younger, older, middle of the road, married, single, professional, non-professional. Some of us wear head gear and some don't. We all just share a love of motorcycling and support one another as a group.

I also am a HOG member (FYI: Harley Owner's Group). They are a good bunch of folks Fatboy qualifies me for that membership. They are pretty cool since I don't get too much grief if I ride up on my Star.

Yes, I own a metric bike too...I ride a Yamaha V-Star 1100 as well. The photograph on this page...Here I yam on my my friend Doug calls my Yamaha......Or better yet, my son calls my Star "Cranky" isn't that funny!!!

As women, we face different challenges. Motorcycling is no different. I can say we all look great out together (well, we look that way without the bikes too), but I find that we are still such a novelty. While I do find that it's fun to ride with the "boys", I have also discovered that we have a different type of pack riding and have different style and requirements (like stops every 50 miles to potty)!

I've been riding since I was 16 and only because my boyfriend at the time was riding and I *had* to learn!!!! I'm glad I did!!

The foundation has been laid, so this blog has now evolved into one of my motorcycling adventures!!! Please read along and live vicariously with me!! If you are ever in my neck of the woods and ride, drop me a line and we can ride a twisty or two!!!

Keep the shiny side up!!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Wow, can you believe that I actually ride this thing??

Signed the title paperwork the day my divorce was final. So, in a nutshell, I "traded" my husband for a Harley Davidson. I think it was a damn fine trade!!

It was a long time to get to this point. Once I turned the corner and the reality of seeing he didn't want to be married any longer, I got to start stretching my boundaries and living life!

Like anything in life, I have found that being single has challenges just like being married. Some days are fabulous and some are just plain crappy. At least now I own my own life again.

Happy New Year everyone!! This year is going to be another full of changes and I look forward to seeing what it holds.