Friday, December 28, 2007

Harley For A Soldier

I saw this film on the Glenn Beck show that is on CNN most evenings. It was about an Iraq Vet named Jake, who was a double amputee, and wanted to ride a motorcycle again. Another double amputee named Bill, who owned a bike shop called Cool City Customs,

volunteered to build a bike with hand controls so that Jake could realize his dream and ride again. I am not one to go for heartwarming stories or feel-good pieces. This story really touched me and I wanted to write about it. Instead, I found this YouTube video of the exact show I saw. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

International Female Ride Day 2008

Women riders are finally being recognized as a significant part of the motorcycling world. Female riders have become the fastest growing market in the motorcycling industry. In 2007, organized by Motoress in Canada, a National Female Ride Day was born. When word went out that the event was going to happen, women across Canada and the US started contacting each other to arrange to ride together on May 4, 2007. They made history. Slated for the first Friday in May each year, plans are to continue and grow the event.

The organizer of the campaign, Vicki Gray is a former European female motorcycle racer, instructor and coach whose been riding since 1983.

The aim of the campaign is to raise female rider awareness, promote those who already ride, while simultaneously encouraging other females to take up the activity," says Vicki Gray, campaign organizer. "The 'day' places a spotlight on female riders," she adds.

She asks women to get on their bikes and "JUST RIDE". No matter what style of motorcycle – sport, cruiser, scooter, dual purpose, street, off-road or dirt – National Female Ride Day aims to highlight the many numbers of females currently active in motorcycling and heighten awareness of female riders, inspiring those who have not yet taken it up.

Next year it will officially become an International Event which will take place on Friday, May 2, 2008. We women who ride should make sure that on that day, no matter what the weather, we should band together and be out on the roads. That is the only way younger women and others who have never considered riding will see how fun and appealing it is, and they may discover they have a passion for riding too. I was inspired by following a female on a motorcycle one day coming home from work. She handled the bike so smoothly up our curvy roads and I was pretty impressed. A couple of months later I signed up for the MSF beginners’ course.

The event will become larger each year, and is supported by nearly all of the major motorcycle manufacturers. Local small groups may organize, as they did in 2007, as well as more established women’s riding clubs. I wonder if there will be motorcycle parades anywhere that day………

Here is a nice YouTube video showing some of the ladies who rode in the First National Female Ride Day 2007.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Weather Station

I have always loved weather - I mean observing it, paying attention to it and to the way weather interacts and affects everything. As a motorcyclist, I am very attentive to the weather at all times. When I am inside at work all day, I am looking out at the weather wondering if it is going to be suitable for riding.

I have put a new feature on my sidebar that is a nice weather station that I noticed on KT DID's blog. You can do a search for your city if you live in the US or Canada. There are many others to chose from at The Weather Network. Mine shows the weather in Seattle, WA which is taken at SeaTac Airport. I live 40 miles or so north, so my weather is sometimes different than Seattle. Usually colder and more snow/rain than Seattle. But it's close enough. I like that I can see the full forecast.

I am hoping that there are others out there who love the weather as I do. I check it frequently and look at the sky often. If you're like me, and like to see what the weather is like in other places, then enjoy. Who knows - there may be a window of opportunity to ride!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Still Riding in December

As a motorcycle rider living in the Northwest, I try to keep my rides in working order all year around. The last few weeks Mother Nature has been throwing some weather challenges at us and winter has just begun.

First, we’ve had lots of rain, more than usual for the Seattle region. This makes riding a little less attractive on those days. Second, it has been cold. I mean COLD. The temps have only dipped into the 20’s at night, but the days have been barely reaching 40 degrees if we are lucky. No matter how I try to bundle up, I always get down the road and have qualms whether I should continue or go back home to get the forgotten item that would make my ride more comfortable. Third, we’ve had a few snow showers that were unexpected, with many more to come. I, for one, don’t ride in the snow. I witnessed a few people around downtown Seattle last week who ride through rain, snow, sleet, etc.

I was able to get out and ride my Vulcan on Saturday. The sun was out, and it was cold. As I started out, my chin and neck felt the cold air hitting them. It was almost painful. I had forgotten my neck gaiter. I decided my chin would go numb soon enough, and then I wouldn’t notice it. I continued on.

The roads had been littered with gravel and debris from overflowing streams and water run-off from the floods we had last week. I knew there were a lot of places where I would need to be careful. I decided just to get the bike out and run it around town awhile, to keep everything circulating and the battery charged. I did a large loop around Lynnwood, took a stretch of I-5 and came back home another way. It felt good to be out.

The roads were remarkably clean. I had seen a few street-sweepers near my business park, and apparently they were working all over town to get the debris cleaned up. It was actually great for the motorcyclists, except for the potholes here and there where the road had given way.

I came back home and felt that I hadn’t ridden nearly enough. I worked my older bike, the Suzuki S-40, out of the garage from behind the other bikes. It hadn’t been ridden in a few weeks, so I started it up. She took a few tries, and then I had to let it warm up quite a while. Since I have the Vulcan, I am spoiled with no warm up time or choke to deal with. I finally was able to take off without the darn thing dying. I took a short ride around some hilly areas nearby, enough to get it warmed up and running smoothly. I had a happy Suzuki by the time I got back home.

It is a conscious chore to keep both of my bikes running smoothly over the winter, since I don’t use a trickle charger either. If I get them out at least every two weeks, and more often than that if the weather cooperates, they seem to run great. I usually try to do a Christmas Day ride and a New Year’s Day ride, however short. I’m looking forward to that this year too. Hope Santa brings more warm riding gear……..

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The 2007 Seattle Cycle World International Motorcycle Show

What a wild weekend! The Motorcycle Show started Friday and I had planned to go on Saturday. We intended to leave by 10:30am to get downtown and back, since we were supposed to have our first snow flurries of the year in the afternoon.

My son came over and the 3 of us left. It seemed warm out…..high 40’s maybe. We had a nice ride into Seattle. The show was at Qwest Field Events Center which is part of structure where the Seahawks play football, and adjacent to Safeco Field where the Mariners play baseball. If you ride a motorcycle to the show there is free parking, so lots of people do, otherwise it’s $10.00. This particular day with the forecast of snow, there were still an amazing amount of motorcycles in the lot.

This year seemed a little disappointing to me. In years past, the show had included more local and independent bike builders, and just lots of stuff. The event mainly showcases the 19 major manufacturers of motorcycles, ATVs and watercraft from around the world. The large names in gear and accessories were all there. It is awesome to look across the room and see all the shiny motorcycles, some on pedestals. There were smiles on every face. This year the number of females who were obviously interested in a bike for themselves was just awesome. Everywhere you looked there were females who had caught the bug and were sizing up a bike of their own. Over half of the people sitting on bikes were women, with big grins on their faces. I could imagine they could see themselves whizzing down the road with the wind in their hair.

One of the fun things I did was walk through an RV, my very first! It was quite large, and had an actual fold-down ramp in the rear. The ramp led up to a garage that you could tie down 3 large motorcycles. It was so awesome that I could see myself at least traveling in an RV sometime. There is always a wonderful collection of antique motorcycles and this year was no exception. There also seemed to be a lot of sidecar models and manufacturers. It is fun to look, dream, watch the people and just spend hours absorbed in the world of motorcycles. I was almost overwhelmed by it all.

It was quite a large event, so after walking around for a couple of hours we decided to walk down the block to the Pyramid Brewery for a bite of lunch. As we neared the exit we looked out the window and stopped abruptly.

During the couple of hours we had been inside, it had begun to snow. It was snowing heavily. The flakes were huge, and it was already sticking on the ground. We continued to walk to the Brewery. We had a fine lunch, all the while looking out the window scanning the traffic, amount of snow on the parked cars, etc. By the time we left to walk back to our vehicle the city was a winter wonderland, and a parking lot. I was amazed at a few motorcyclists, still out riding around in the snow. It was kind of slippery.

We slowly made our way back to the freeway and headed north outside of the city towards home. By the time we reached my home, we had 2 inches of snow blanketing everything. It snowed all night and was beautiful. The next day we had torrential rains for 48 hours; actually very uncommon in the Seattle area. With the snowmelt and rains there were life-threatening floods and my particular business park was evacuated yesterday. There are creeks and rivers everywhere that have washed out roads and access for thousands of people. A stretch of I-5 is flooded and closed between Seattle and Portland for several days. No motorcycling for a while here….

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Community Blogger Award

I was recently honored by one of my fellow bloggers, Liz from The award is given to those bloggers who contribute to the community by making it a better place for all to enjoy. Thanks much to Liz, who herself adds immensely to the female biker community and the award is well deserved.

I would like to pass this award along to a few blogs I've been enjoying alot:

Recognition from fellow bloggers is what makes it all worthwhile....