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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crash, Bang, Screech!!

Three words that no motorcyclist wants to hear!!

A few months ago, I was out for a mid-afternoon scoot.  I was out riding with Joe and we were headed to Devine Wines in Manitou (they make fabulous wines).  He was leading.  We were waiting to make a right turn and he saw that it was clear so he went.  I did not go, since I couldn't see and had a niggling feeling to "wait".  So I did.

As I waited, I looked down the lane.  White car, then go.  The car went by and I pulled out.  As I pulled out--out of nowhere a humongo Chevrolet pickup appeared.  I caught the bed of the truck and heard a loud "bang".  The first thing I thought was "darn (you can use a different and appropriate word), my gas tank is dented"! 

I think I was pushed over about three feet or so and managed to not go over.  Fortunately, the collision was on the left hand side.  What I think happened was that the bed of the truck pushed my clutch lever in and disengaged the engine.  Had it been the other side, it could have been a pretty nasty incident.

The driver of the truck pulled over and I pulled in behind her.  She was pretty mad and yelling "why did you pull out".  I calmly stated that I looked down the lane and it was clear so I went.  The road was a five lane road--there are two lanes in each direction and a turn lane in the middle.   I then asked if she changed lanes when I pulled out.  She yelled at me for a few more minutes and then called the police.

Aside from a bruise on my lower leg, I did not sustain any injury.  The loud bang was not a dent in my fuel tank, but rather, my floorboard cut the sidewall of her rear tire causing a blow out.  She was ranting and raving that I scared her and she just replaced that tire just moments ago.  I understand her reaction--I certainly hope I never hit a motorcyclist!

The police officer arrived and was amazed that there was no serious injury.  She was arguing with the officer that I pulled out as she was going by and I stated that I looked down the lane and it was clear, so I thought she changed lanes as I was pulling out.  The officer was amazed that I was unhurt--he asked me three times if I was okay and was I sure if my bike was okay.  I'm fine and the bike is fine.

Fortunately, there was no citation--he just stated since there was no injury, we would just exchange insurance information and be done. 

Once that was taken care of, I started my bike and went home.  My excursion to the winery was not to be since I had to get home in time for Alex to get home from school.  If that isn't a time to have a little wine!! 

Of course, now when I'm riding, I simply will not go if both lanes are not clear.  I've always known that I shouldn't pull out just in case, but now I just will not do it.  I was lucky and I'm not interested in tempting fate!

Keep the shiny side up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boys and Motorcycles

The second Saturday of the month is the Mountain Shadow Riders chapter meeting.  We get together, talk about all things motorcycles and other life stuff girls talk about.  This past year has been about change;the largest change is that my son is with me full time.  It certainly has changed my riding--but I figured out how to get some riding in....I just put him on the back.

He's ridden with me on a number of occasions.  I think it's finally dawned on him that it is something really fun and motorcycles are really cool!  It's funny, the days that I've picked him up from daycare, he runs around the facility showing everyone his helmet and proclaiming "my mom is taking me home on her motorcycle"!  Kinda like the nah-nah-nah-boo-boo I got one on you thing.

Arriving at the meeting was pretty quiet--we arrived late and I was sneaking in.  Leaving, however, was an entirely different story.  He was so funny making his production of getting his gear on.  He hopped on and off we went.  Our fearless chapter director sent me an e-mail later that day....."he had the biggest grin on his face and was soooo cute". 

Yeah, I know! About the cute part.  I'm glad he thinks it is fun--because we all know it is!

As we headed down Platte, I decided to take the Powers/Platte interchange.  It's a cloverleaf interchange and it's nicely banked.  Sitting at a red light before the interchange, I instructed Alex is sit still and hold on tight--mom was going to go fast.  It was wishful thinking because there was a car in front of us, but I did a nice turn and zipped onto Powers.

At the next red light Alex said, "Wow, mom, that was FUN"!  Heh...if he only knew.

I still have a little time yet before I want to take him on longer rides--I think he'll be ready to go next summer.   He was disappointed that we weren't going to ride up in the mountains this year. 

I just wonder when the day comes that he wants to learn to ride.  It will probably be sooner rather than later.  Still, at eight, he's does well as a passenger and I'm happy to have him along. 

Sigh, they just grow up too fast.

Keep the Shiny Side Up

~The Rainbow Wahine

Sunday, July 18, 2010

But...It's...STICKY

This one out of the hysterical archives of not being too bright.

The time frame of this story is during the Rolling Axe Murders Tour.  It is one for the record books simply because it's absolutely stupid!  And my ego is ready to admit that it's all me...me....me.......

And still dumb.

When I have the opportunity to ride long distances, I'll park many items in between the space of my windshield and handlebars.   Usually it's a bottle or two of water crammed in the space so I don't have to stop every 6.2 miles for a drink. 

I had pulled out of the group to ride to Four Corners for a picture for the Mountain Shadow Rider's Scavenger Hunt.  I was bound and determined to get this photo since it was one that I think was absolutely neat.  I remember pulling out at oh-dark-thirty to head out and was enjoying the solitude of a sole jaunt down the highway.  The temps weren't overly warm and there was little traffic on the highway, so it was The Phantom of the Opera, the background of putt-putt-putt of Harley exhaust and beautiful scenery.

Sometime late morning I got hungry and decided to stop for breakfast.  As a former full-time road warrior, my favorite spot to eat is at the grocery store.  It's relatively inexpensive (versus a restaurant) and I can have all the fruits and veggies without paying restaurant prices.  As I wander around, I spot the fruit of the season all stacked up and calling my name.....

Of course they are cherries.

Cherries are my all-time favorite and I've paid a king's ransom for them out of season.  Fortunately, they are in season and and reasonable, so I snag a bag and decide that is breakfast and a riding snack.  I also figure out that I can tie the grocery bag to my handlebars and eat them while out on the road.

This continues throughout the trip.

Cherries.....good......

I get home from the trip...six days of absolute fun...and manage to get all my gear off the bike.  I discover the bag and find way over ripened fruit.  Out in the trash it goes.

Somehow said cherries seem to be forgotten.   I don't really think much about it, until three weeks later.  One of my friends calls and wants to get out for a scoot and I happily oblige.  As I run around like a mad woman getting dressed, my friend pulls in and decided to take a look at Mr. Chubbs. 

She notices a puddle about six inches around beside my bike and wonders what I'm leaking.  I walk into the garage and look and declare that I have no idea.

So a trip to the dealership is in order to fix this problem.  I pull in and I explain that there is an unknown leak of unknown fluid and I need it fixed.  The tech tells me he'll be out to look at it in a moment.

While I'm waiting, I'm going over what could possibly be wrong.....really, there aren't that many fluids on the front of the bike.  The service writer comes out and asks me a few questions then does the thing that anyone should....he touches the fluid.  He looks at me and says "but it's STICKY".

I immediately started laughing because I knew what it was.  You know, when you leave any fruit in warm weather......so the culprit was the cherries I left on my handlebars for too long.  And the owner/operator of one red Harley Davidson Fatboy gets the idiot award of the day.  That would be me.

It still gets a pretty good chuckle and at on a good note, at least it wasn't an expensive repair.  Hey, it was something a bike wash took care of.

I wish they were all like that!!!

Keep the Shiny Side Up

~The Rainbow Wahine

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Helmet or Not To Helmet

Sigh,  this is one of those things that seems to bring a humongo debate and raise a great deal of ire when someone comments.  I am not going into the debate of whether someone should or should not wear a helmet or if it should or shouldn't be a law.  This is just simply an observation on my part and well, my choice.

The past few months it seems that there has been quite a few motorcycle fatalaties here in the Colorado Springs area.  Death is always tragic no matter how it occurs.  One incident that stuck in my mind was a few weeks ago when a woman, riding her Harley, was killed on Interstate 25.  She was not wearing her helmet.  Honestly, had she been wearing a helmet, she would not have survived.  It was my understanding that she was cut off in traffic and tried to avoid a collision.  In doing so, she hit the guardrail and was more or less decapitated. 

I think the saddest thing was the reaction from the readership from the on-line newspaper article.  There were quite a few heartless comments left regarding this woman not wearing her helmet.  Things like "she got what she deserved" and "I don't feel bad since she chose not to wear a helmet".  With no information available to the readers about how she was killed.  Harumph.

Again, death is tragic no matter how it happens, especially when it is unexpected.  My heart goes out to the family for their loss.

As a rider, I am guilty of not wearing my headgear.  Most times that I do decide to put it on, I normally wear my half-helmet--which doesn't really offer a great deal of protection to my face.  Ask my friend Lucy in Florida--she can tell you about her crash that required reconstructive face surgery.  I do have a full-faced helmet and wear it occasionally.

It is my choice--unless the law tells me otherwise.  Of course, I say this from the side of never having a serious accident, and I hope that I or any other motorcyclist never has one.

My point is that when tragedy strikes, we should all be compassionate.  Death is never easy and losing a wife, mother, husband, father, sister, brother or child is traumatic.  My heart goes out to the family for their loss. I know that the rider, on that day, did not intend on this accident--but died doing something she loved--riding. 

That's all I've got to say about that.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Friday, June 25, 2010

How to Crash...or So I Think!

Looking at my archive history, I had over 200 posts in my first year.  2010 has exactly six posts.  I need to get crackin'.  With less than 200 days left in the year, I doubt I'll get any where close to that number but we shall see.

As everyone knows, the best way to gain experience in riding is to ride.  And practice.  And ride.  Slow skills.  Picking up a dropped motorcycle.  Practice practice practice.  P.S....riding fast in a straight line is not practice.  Unless you want to work on your braking skills.

Unfortunately, an important skill to have is also crashing.  However, this is one area that is rather difficult to practice.  At least I hope for the average bear.....

When I was growing up and lived life on 8 wheels (yeah, I skated on 'quads'), I got several lessons on crashing and learned how to fall down.  It's saved my bacon a time or few.  I also had the luck of having a terrific boyfriend at the time that believed in teaching reactionary skills so not only did I learn how to fall down on skates, I learned how to countersteer on ice (a feat accomplished in north Louisiana, no less) and how to handle skids, dirt, gravel, and other hazards in a car and on a motorcycle.

Interestingly enough, I've found that mountain biking has been a great contributor to my education of controlled riding and well, crashing.  Riding trails that are quite technical will certainly take one though a OJT course of how to and how not to ride.  I think it's pretty amazing to watch those mountain bikers that are leap years beyond my skill level and how they manage to get over rocks, rivers, skid, corner and everything else they do.

At this part, I'm far away from being 'expert' in mountain biking--as a matter of fact, I can state that every ride I've done has had my bicycle has had at least one crash resulting in something being bent.  I've gotten good at getting off and watching my bike crash...which I'm not sure if a good thing, but hey, it's easier to repair (and less expensive) the bicycle than to repair Christine--especially if something gets "bent" so I let go of the bike and watch it crash without me.  I don't know what I will do if it goes over a cliff.  Buy another bicycle, I suppose.

Granted, translating the laws of physical science from a bicycle to a 700 pound motorcycle is different, however, the skidding is pretty much the same.  Rather do it on a bike since the speeds are slower (although while it's all unfolding on the bicycle it does not appear to be so) than Mr. Chubbs.

I think I would get some odd looks riding Rampart Reservoir on the Harley.  Not to mention the impossibility of getting it over some of the really technical parts.  Although there is something to be said about twisting the throttle while climbing up a hill which is when I'm usually muttering under my breath for it to somehow magically appear.

It has never happened.  However, I notice an improvement of reactions when I do get on the motorcycle, so I've learned something.  Riding with control.  Braking with control....and crashing with control.  I hope I never have to test the last theory, but hopefully the muscle memory will stick with me if I ever need to call it home.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who's Still Out In Blogosphere?

I blinked three times and three years have somehow passed.  That's it--I'm keeping my eyes open!

Seriously, at one point I was involved with the huge online biker community and then made a left turn called life.  I see my fellow compadres do a drive by and visit--and see them out doing their thing and writing about their passions.

Hmmmm...just a thought.

How To Take A Bath on a Harley...

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago I'm riding around in a small group of two.  Typical for Colorado weather--afternoon thundershowers to cool the day down.  In my area of town, there was the 20 minutes torrential downpour resulting in flash flooding and big pools of standing water.

Note 'big pools of standing water'.  On northbound Austin Bluffs, before Rangewood, the left lane typically gathers water.  Lots of water.  As I'm riding wing, I realize that the water is probably there and I should be proactive to 1). not ride in said pool of water since I need new tires, and 2). I do not want the water to be thrown at me resulting in the inevitable drenching that renders my vision absolutely useless.  Check traffic for a clear lane--I signal and move over.

Unfortunately, the leader isn't paying much attention nor realizes that the hazard is ahead.  No problem, I'm out of the way and I know that said leader is fully capable of handing said pool 'o water. 

Or so I think.

Said Harley Davidson Road King hits water about 45 miles per hour.  The arc of water it creates is of absolute beauty!  The fearless leader said he glanced in his rearview mirror to see if I was okay, only to find that I was not there.  No, I'm in the right hand side of the next lane watching a beautiful arc of water racing towards me. 

There's not much I can do except do a distance check to make sure there is no one too close, take a deep breath and shut my mouth. 

There was so much water that I was momentarily unable to see through my windshield.  Needless to say, I was soaked through and through--and in places that normally do not get wet while riding in a rainstorm.

Well, next time I will just have to be in the very far right lane. 

Either that or lead!

I think that bath earned me a dinner and a bike wash. Okay, fair enough.

Until the next time~

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's A Time Warp...Sneaking in a Ride

Its pretty amazing how quickly time flies.  A few weekends ago found me at the 20th Annual United Run...the first ride I've done in a very long time.  Glad to see a good many of my friends...and most were surprised to see me.  Happy, but surprised.  Sigh.  Work, graduate school and just a whole boatload of other excuses :).

The ride was a mystery ride--only the stops are known.  The order of the stops and the time are the categories.  Each motorcyclist guesses at the route and then rides it.  It is fun and of course, getting out for wind therapy is always great!  I should do it more often!

I invited myself to ride along with a few wonderful friends and we had a great time.  Well, except the fact that I do need new tires.  It's been something that I've been ignoring for much too long.  Of course, I'm trying to beat my good friend Dozer's record of getting down to cords, but I'm finding that I'm unsuccessful.  Actually, I could probably get down to that, but from a safe and sensible perspective, I think that I will blink in this unscheduled game of chicken and get 'er done.

Until then, the bike is parked in the garage and will sit.  I have "fond" memories of riding in the rain on slick tires.  Even cautiously riding and braking resulted in a sideways drift on wet pavement.  Riding with control has never been a problem and countersteering is a great skill to have.  I've forgotten all the bumps and bruises that earned that skill--mostly on dirt and never on pavement.  Keeping it that way is the smart thing to do to honor these old bones!

Sunday found me in a sideways skid because of stopping too fast.  On dry pavement, nonetheless.  I want a new motorcycle--just not like this!

Note to riders...the contact area of a motorcycle tire on the ground is about the size of an average person's palm.  It is critical to have proper tire inflation and tread!  With other hazards such as chemicals on pavement, gravel, dirt, water, animals (okay I will stop there)...tires are important.

Bike should be in the shop in the next week or two, so I'm heeding my own advice!

It was good to get out and ride...and my fellow Mountain Shadow Riders took first and second in the United Run.  Kudos for them!!!

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Friday, June 04, 2010

It's Time

Life....yikes!

I have managed to get a bit o' riding in here and there.  My kiddo is visiting his dad for the summer, so I get the daily fix of riding to and from the office.

My son is with me full time now since his father has moved away.  Not a bad thing, but it certainly changes my weekends chock full of riding.

The weather hasn't been too agreeable; it seems like the awful weather was always coming in for the weekend--so it cut into 'prime' riding time.  However, summer is right around the corner and the weather is finally turning.

In April, I had Alex (he's my son, btw) climb on the back of the Fatboy to see if he was finally tall enough to ride on the back.  Lo and behold, he was!

Down to Apex to buy safety gear.  Geez, I had forgotten how much gear is needed!

Nonetheless, gloves, helmet, leather jacket are the priority.  I still need to get boots.

I got to give him props, we have had quite a few turns around the neighborhood and he's adjusting very well.

The time came to get out on the city streets and again, kudos to Alex!  He's an excellent student as far as being a passenger.  Of course, he may be scared out of his mind for falling off!!

The biggest test was on the Interstate.  Now, going down I-25 at 70 MPH on a motorcycle isn't necessarily scary.  However, this is the first jaunt down the highway and *I'm* concerned!  All the crazy "what ifs" are going through my mind.

No worries, Alex was terrific.  I normally don't make a habit of interstate riding, but it was necessary for that day.  He did great! 

Problem solved.  At least a bit of it.  I don't think we'll be putting 500 miles for a day's ride anytime soon.  However, we can get out for a little putt on occasion.  It's a start.

I guess it's time to seriously start thinking of that new big ol' cruiser bike, huh??

Already promised.....I have to finish grad school.

Summer, 2011 is the target!!

Whoooohoooooooooooooooooo!!

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Save the Twins--2009 BCA Ride--How to Lose 25 Motorcycles

Pulling out, I am thinking that I can NOT do this!!



I didn't miss the first turn. Just the second. No worries, I just do a quick turn on the next block and get back on track.



Pulling every bit of experience out of my ear is what I'm doing. Start slow. Last bike in the group needs to get up to speed, weave in traffic like a snake.



I'm gritting my teeth.



Not only that, my first worry is the "tricky" turn in Garden of the Gods. I know it's tricky. We (the Route Group) made it tricky. Sigh. Fortunately, I do catch the trick and manage to lead everyone through Garden of the Gods. As we are waiting to pull out, I know there is no way that I'll be able to get all the bikes out between the cars--so we will be split up.



I take a deep breath and pull out. I figure 12 motorcycles might get out before "that" car gets too close. As I slowly speed up, I watch my rearview mirror. Of course, I about have a heart attack when I see a darn rider pull out in front of the car....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!



I don't want to lose anyone on my watch.



We weave through town and finally get to the first stop. I get off my bike, wait for everyone to park and then start yelling for the person that pulled out.



Well, it seems that his idea was to try and hold traffic. Good idea. Too bad it didn't work.



I calm down and then proceed to introduce myself. I then follow on with the "I'm known as the lost girl" story.



Heh.



I lose half my group!



Gee, I should have told them that up front!!



We didn't have any incidents during the entire ride, and those that were left were really great.



The third stop was lunch--I gave the group an hour and a half to eat.



Funny, when the 1.5 hours passed, I found that the remainder of the group decided to leave me behind.



Hmmmm....so I lost my entire group.



I ended up pulling in with the sweep team--they picked me up and allowed me to ride in with them.



It was a full day of riding--no incidents, no crashes and I didn't even get lost.



Quite a feat, indeed!!! I also got to ride over 100 miles too!!



We pulled into Cowboy's East and brought the ride to a close.



For the next hour and a half, it was prizes, auctions, and lots of fun.



When it was all said and done, the Mountain Shadow Riders raised $12,000 for the Komen Foundation and the Breast Cancer Network of Strength.



Eight months of hard work by 70 members and support members.



My hat's off to them, that's for sure!!!



Now it's about time to start thinking of the 2010 ride.



You really ought to come out. You know you want to!!



Until next time~~



~Keep the Shiny Side Up!!



The Rainbow Wahine