Saturday, February 23, 2008

Is It Just Me?

I am a worrier. Ever since I began riding motorcycles I have been very concerned with cornering. Usually a turn to the right is not much problem. It feels natural, as I am right handed, so my brain seems to go toward the right easier. When a sharp turn to the left comes in view, I usually panic for a split second and then maneuver through the turn. I have swung too wide on a few occasions turning left and have come a hairline away from going off the road. I corrected, in any event, and never went down.

I don’t know why it still alarms me when I approach an upcoming turn. The adrenaline pumps instantly and I instinctively guide the motorcycle safely through the corner. I am usually riding where there are a lot of cars and traffic to maneuver as well. The rules start going through my head all at once. “Look toward the direction you want to go”, “Shift down before you take the turn”, “Lean”, “Push on the left handgrip to go left, the right handgrip to go right”.

I am always more relaxed when I ride out in the rural areas, unless it gets very hilly. All you have to think about might be an animal jumping out in front of you along the way, and you can always slow down as you need to take a sharp corner in either direction.

I’ve decided that maybe everyone has a slight dread of one type of road condition, or type of route, or kind of weather to ride in. Practice is the answer so I’ve been trying to take routes that require me to corner and turn a lot.

I also have a tiny dread of riding on steep mountain roads, downhill. It’s the feeling of being out of control and can’t slow down enough. I have nightmares about it from time to time. I’ve avoided the mountains until now but will challenge myself this summer with those things I am most unsure of. That is the only way to grow as a motorcyclist, and I think you never stop learning. There are new challenges on your ride every day. That’s also what makes it fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Took a Nice Sunday Ride

This past Sunday was the first sunny day we’ve had since I can remember. It’s funny how the memory goes when the sun never shines. I knew it was going to be a great day to ride, but when we woke up it was freezing outside. We had a waffle breakfast, and then waited until noon until it looked like the temps were going to reach the mid-40s.

View Larger Map

We got ready and decided to ride north to Marysville, take a left and follow Marine Drive north to Stanwood. Then we would go over to Camano Island and stop for lunch. That is exactly what we did. It required some freeway riding up through Everett and once we got off in Marysville, it became scenic vistas of green, grassy fields and farms, and above them in the far distance were the rugged, snow-capped Cascade Mountains. The sky was azure blue which brightened up everything below it.

Although the sun was out, and by then the temps had reached around 50 degrees, it was chilly while riding. My guess is about 40 degrees with the wind chill. So we stopped and had lunch at a little place on Camano Island. It turned out to have good Mexican food, but we felt like we had been their only customer that day. I think it was a new place. I had a hot bowl of pozolé soup, and coffee to warm up. That did the trick.

We headed back the same way we had come, and this time saw fields of snow geese that were solid white from a distance. Their long necks were sticking up and it was a sea of white. It was awesome, but I couldn’t stop to take a photo! We went through Lakewood and passed the top of Lake Goodwin on the way back to the freeway. The area was very rural, green and scenic with great riding roads. By the time we got back on the freeway it was crowded with Sunday evening traffic. There is always a rush of traffic heading south from Canada and northern ski areas on Sunday night. We had a good ride home and were glad to get home because the sun was heading down and it was getting colder fast. We logged 100 miles round trip for the day.

It was a great Sunday ride. Monday was also a warm day but I didn’t ride because of other commitments. I plan to ride to work Thursday morning and play it by ear after that. Looks like rain is coming back, but we might have a chance to ride this coming weekend. I can sure taste the oncoming of riding season, and am planning accordingly.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Excellent Blog Award

I've been honored by Linda over at Raven's Roads with the Excellent Blog Award. This means alot to me. Thank you very much.

Now I am to pass it on to 10 other excellent bloggers. These are some of my favorites: Biker Ted Diaries, written by a bear touring on a motorcycle in U.K., Europe, and Scandinavia; Dante's Dame which is a fascinating pictoral blog of a Northwest female motorcyclist; Glider Rider a fairly new blog by a female rider with great articles; The Great Motorcyle Pizza Tour. Who couldn't love a blog about riding, pizza, and beer! Moto Adrenaline is about a couple in Texas who ride together; Musings of an Intepid Commuter is written by a fellow Northwestern rider who also causes you to think; Slablog written by a teacher in North Georgia who talks about motorcycles and various other things; Riders on Adventure is a great travelogue of riding trips; Rides Roads and Ronman an interesting blog with ride reports; and last but not least, Vicki's Blog written by Vicki Gray the motorcyclist and promoter of International Female Ride Day.

I hope I've given you some food for thought or mentioned a blog you may not have seen. I think they are all EXCELLENT!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It’s Time to Vote Now!

The MBI Riders Choice Awards for 2008 are upon us. As my readers I encourage you to go on over to: and cast your vote. You are choosing the best for noteworthy achievement of 2007. You have the choice to select these categories:

The Best Concept Motorcycle or Scooter
The Best Manufacturer’s Website
The Best New Motorcycle
Most Environmentally Friendly Motorcycle
Object of Lust
Thumbs Up
Wish We’d Thought of That
Women Riders Booster of the Year

Then there are the worst, or a serious lapse in judgement in 2007.
Chose from these:

Most Disappointing New Motorcycle
Thumbs Down
What Were They Thinking?
Worst Manufacturers Website

Head on over to: and cast your vote. It is important to vote and help give credibility to the industry. Motorcycle bloggers are beginning to be taken seriously so lets make it happen!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to Me

I knew the sun was going to come out today and I would be able to ride my favorite motorcycle to work. I went to sleep thinking about it last night. Since I hadn’t ridden to work lately, I had to plan what layers of warmth I would need, especially since it would be warmer coming home in the afternoon.

It was slightly above freezing when I backed my bike out of the garage and started her up. She smoked and coughed, but then began purring smoothly.

The ride was great, the sun was coming out, but it was pretty chilly. By the time my 20 minutes of riding was almost over, my fingers started feeling the cold. I had a few vents open in my helmet, but my face-shield kept getting fogged up on the inside. I ended up opening it slightly so it would stay clear, and soon found I actually liked the feeling of the cold air in my face.

My co-worker also rode in today, and his commute is about 35 miles each way. He has heated grips so has a small advantage against the cold. We made our own ‘motorcycle parking’ area today.

I passed many bikes out this morning doing exactly what I was. Each bike I passed waved because we were all so happy to be out again, even in the cold. The pavement was completely dry and I didn’t run into many gravelly spots. I was on well travelled roads most of the way.

The ride home was comfortable but the air was still frigid. I wanted to keep riding somewhere besides home, but it is Valentine’s Day and I wanted to be home to await my surprise (I’m dreaming) It was so refreshing to be out in the fresh air, and I had missed the rumble of my Vulcan. I’m very comfortable with the size of the bike now, but I still have to wear my highest biker boots to be able to push off the ground.

This coming weekend looks a little warmer than today (maybe will reach 50!) and partly sunny. Guess what I will be doing? I also have Presidents Day Monday off work, and it is likely to be a riding kind of day. Things are looking up!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hit By The Winter BLAHS

I know I’ve been slacking on the blog. I've finally been hit like a brick with the winter slump. The whole trip to the Bay Area was great, but rainy and stormy the whole time. I saw exactly 2 motorcyclists the whole 3 days I was there, riding in the rain, of course. By the time we got back to Seattle, the sun decided it wouldn’t come back for a few weeks. Now I am in such a funky state that I’m talking myself out of riding even between storms.

Sometimes I do that to myself. I sink so low that I don’t want to do anything, all I can think of is riding, although when it warms up and the roads are dry for a bit I still somehow miss the window of opportunity. Then I kick myself for not riding and the cycle begins again.

It’s only a matter of time and the world will look rosy again. This week the Bay Area is having lovely temps in the 60’s and sunny. Go figure.

I still hold out hope of riding again someday and taking off on an all day trip to nowhere!

Book Review – A Little Twist of Texas by Linda R. Moore

Shortly after I began my Biker Chickz Blog, I started looking for other female motorcycle related websites. There weren’t many, but one that I found right away was Raven’s Roads. The website is authored by Linda R. Moore, a British lady who writes books, articles, and who now has several blogs. She also uses her motorcycle as her main transportation.

As I became familiar with the Raven’s Roads website, I kept coming back to see what was new. I soon noticed that Linda had written a book about traveling from the Silicon Valley in California to a writers convention in Texas, on a motorcycle and by herself. It was called, “A Little Twist of Texas”. I ordered the book through Raven’s Roads right away, and received a personally autographed copy from Linda.

I began to read the book last fall, when I had only been riding my little Suzuki Boulevard S-40 for a couple of years. The concept of riding alone through the desert and facing the challenges of mechanical problems, weather, and other hazards was something that had never occurred to me. I began reading the book and was glued to it from the beginning. Linda described herself as an introvert, who is not really mechanically inclined. How could she put herself in such a scary and uncomfortable situation? The unknown lay ahead. She writes the book in a way that it seems you are right there with her. I felt that our personalities were similar as she describes her thoughts along the way.

Through many trials and detours from the original plans, Linda makes her way to the convention and back to the Silicon Valley. The book, ‘A Little Twist of Texas’ is an adventure waiting to happen, and opened my eyes to what I might be capable of doing. I developed a new attitude after reading Linda’s book, and have learned about other women who’ve traveled far away on motorcycles. I soon went out and bought a larger motorcycle, so that I wouldn’t be limited for any ride I planned. Now I believe anything I can dream of is possible, and I don’t have to analyze it and plan it to death. On my next trip I will go with the flow, see what comes along, and enjoy every day! Thanks Linda.

You can purchase Linda’s book through any of the Raven’s websites. It is also available from other book purchasing resources. The book is an inspiring read.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Going to Sunny California

On Monday this week we woke up to snow. There will be no riding of motorcycles for a while.

On Tuesday we got an invitation to a Superbowl Party in the Bay Area. Well, it didn't take us long to check flights, get airline reservations, and make arrangements for a long weekend trip. We were ready to get out of Dodge.

We moved to Seattle from the Silicon Valley in 1993. We miss all of the friends we had there and my parents still live in Milpitas, where I grew up. They are in their mid-80s. We visit when we can but haven't been back for over a year.

I realize it has been raining alot there lately. Linda, of Raven's Rides, has recently shown many photos of herself riding between rain storms, and mentioned the constant wind and rain storms in Lodi. It's been the same over in the Silicon Valley. No problem. It will be alot warmer than Seattle so it will seem like a summer vacation to me.

I will be spending some time in Santa Cruz and Capitola, where my brother lives and other friends. Can't wait to see and smell the Pacific Ocean.

To those friends I won't be able to see on this trip (Kim!), I promise I will be back. We hope to move back to that area when we are able to find employment. It could never be too soon for me, even though the Seattle area is a lovely place. It's still not my home.

So I'll be back early next week after our whirlwind long weekend trip. I'm hoping for dry roads and 40 degree temps when I get back to Seattle.