Sunday, March 28, 2010

With the Boots Again!

Yes, I know, two years ago I went on and on about looking for a decent pair of riding boots. I have had several pair over the years and there is always something that displeases me about them. My first pair were not motorcycle boots at all, but a quick purchase to use at a motorcycle safety course. Those were a pair of Luggs.

Now I liked the Luggs very much. They were insulated, covered just enough of the ankle to get me into the course, and over the next year, served me very well. They had their drawbacks. One was that they were light brown. The spot on the top of the left boot became very black from kicking up the gear shift. They also had laces. First; lacing boots is a pain, especially if you want to get out of your riding gear quickly. Next, the laces can be dangerous. They can snag on a peg, which isn’t too cool when you go to put your foot down at a stop and you’re snagged. In fact, one person I know what taking a turn and when leaning into it, his lace snagged in a pavement crevice, pulling him right off the bike. After the first year, the boots went into the closet.

Next, I got a pair of leather pull on boots with a cool harness decoration. They had a heel, and steel toe. In the end I didn’t like these at all. Oh, for sure they look cool and stylish, but they didn’t seem to really offer the protection I was looking for. The boot around the ankle was too loose, which to me, seemed not to offer much protection. Second, they were not waterproof, and I got tired of ringing out my socks at pit stops. The third strike against them was the heel. If you end up clomping around anyplace, those heavy heeled boots were enough to kill you. Yet I didn’t learn my lesson, and bought a second similar Harley pair I thought had improvements. They did not, and in fact were far heavier than the first, which didn’t help the sciatica much.

Two years ago, in planning for our Western vacation, I wanted a boot that was waterproof, lightweight, low heeled, snug around the ankle, and had a steel toe. Believe it or not, I found all these in a hiking boot. The one drawback was that they laced up. I weighed my options. There were no women’s sizes so I settled for a men’s boot. This pair served me for two years, yet the lace thing still bothers me. While they are water proof for the most part, when you are speeding down the road, water will still find its way through those laces. Plus the fact that they are men’s shows in how they are starting to bunch in the instep. My cool factor deteriorated last year with the boots wear.

My luck turned around, when the Amherst Group shared information about a local Women’s Biker clothing store going out of business. While it is sad to think that another local vendor is biting the dust, it was my opportunity to go back and get a discount on a boot I had seen in there two years ago. My luck held out when I paid a visit to the store last Sunday. Not only were the boots discounted, but they had my size.

These boots have solid ankle and toe protection, Velcro closure, low heel, and reflective enhancements on the back of the ankle. They claim to be waterproof too. The tops of the boots take into consideration the gear shift as well. There is a drawback. While they look like the more popular Tourmaster boot, and a few other brands, this one is hard to find on the internet. These are Nitro boots. There are plenty of hits if you are looking for a racing boot. However, the street models don’t seem to have much information available. It would have been nice to find some sort of customer review. I will be testing them and will report back. The reviews have to start someplace. In this economy, we all want to be spending our money wisely.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Sure Sign of Spring

When you step outside in New Hampshire on the first day of spring, the song of the robin isn’t the only sound you hear, but the subtle rumble of v-twin engines is also in the air. Nor are the crocuses the only color on the landscape, but too, the vibrant rainbow of motorcycles out on their maiden spring voyage.

So it was on the first day of spring when Blaze popped forth from hibernation a “blaze” of color on the landscape in sharp contrast to the remnants of snow still clinging to the earth. Off she went with her Vulcan partner to meet the Amherst Motorcycle Club. What a perfect day it was too! The temperature reached into the seventies, and only at a few elevated spots could you feel the slightest tug of chill from winter’s reluctant desire to release its grip.

While some of the roads showed their winter fatigue in various ways from the harsh elements, it was the first bits of green, the warmth of sun’s rays, the rushing waters in streams and rivers and the otter relaxing on what was left of the ice covered pond that let us know winter was indeed losing its grip. The true testaments to springs arrival however are not these signs alone, but the amount of motorcyclist on the road this day. Blaze was not lost for company and enjoyed every moment with her new friends.

I found the group’s pace a comfortable one for clearing away the winter cobwebs, watching for pot holes, and spying sand covered intersections. These are the cautions of early spring riding. You can see in the photo below, just how much sand is still covering the main thoroughfares; a danger indeed for any two wheeled vehicle.

March is also the anniversary month for me and Blaze. It has been one year since our introduction. We are comfortable with each other and feel a perfect match. I’m looking forward to our next 10,000 miles together and adding many new friends along the way like the good folk of the Amherst Motorcycle Club.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My New Ride

First, the unimaginable happened. Last Saturday March 6th, Andy got his bike out and went for a ride with the Amherst group. Why unimaginable? Andy is never first out of the gate. Pat is the one chomping at the bit and trying to hurry spring into arrival. While my schedule didn’t permit going along, I nevertheless could not help wondering where he was at any moment, how things were going, if he was cold, and when the heck he was coming back.

When he did finally arrive and shared his first of the season ride with me, I clung to all the bits that might have kept me from enjoying the day. That way, I didn’t feel so envious, and I could take my time getting Blaze ready for the season. I never did get around to rolling Blaze out, checking the tire pressure and making sure all the nuts and bolts were holding fast. I spent the day inside taking care of my “new” ride.

No, this one doesn’t have two wheels. In fact, it doesn’t have wheels at all, but helps the ones in my head turn in a steady rhythm. My new ride is a beautiful credenza style desk in my “office” to accompany my new-to-me computer that I proudly rebuilt myself. Why do I call it my new ride? Well, as the body of a motorcycle is to its engine, it works in conjunction with computer, monitor and other peripherals to take me on virtual adventures when the season is unfavorable for the real thing. Then too, my newly organized space is perfect for me to sit quietly and ride the tides that flow and ebb in my mind, easing the creative spirit with thoughts put into word.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we are minus one friend who is on a new eternal ride. One we cannot follow. At least not yet. It is a poignant reminder that we indeed know not the hour nor the day and need to make every one of our moments count. With my new longer commute it seems important to me not to let what I love most slip. After all, we will not be remembered by what we did for a living, but how we lived our life each day.

So I am making time to write, sending notes to those I care for, and thinking about ways to balance musts with wants. While I must work, I am not looking for it to overshadow my personal life. In addition, I want to ride and I need to write. This last seems more important these days. I need to say the things that are in my mind, in my soul, and in my heart. Maybe you already know this about me. If so, then I’m doing a good job, but there is always “better.” As my good friend tells me often, “the more we do, the more we can do. The more we love, the more we can love.” I want the words that touch me, to touch you too. So I’m letting my new ride take me writing, so that the more I write from my heart, the more I can.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Fond Farewell

We eat right and exercise to keep fit; take the motorcycle safety course and follow all the precautions in the training. We wear our helmets and riding gear and practice safe riding habits. We say “please" and “thank you” and try to live a good and honest life. We kiss the babies, hug our parents, and are true to our friends. Yet the cruel reality is, for whatever luck of the draw, sometimes we’re dealt a bad hand.

My heart is heavy this day with the news that our good friend Bill was felled by the evil lurking within him. The out-of-control cell division that led to tumors took him from us Sunday. He fought the good fight and gave it all he had. We didn’t want him to go, but he had no say in the matter.

I hear him still, with that great sense of humor that made me laugh so on our western vacation in 2008. In my minds eye I see him riding off into the sunset on his BMW, blazing a trail before us on the great motorcycle adventure beyond. I know there is a riding group waiting for him on the other side. It is the ultimate of motorcycle rallies, and the newest member is being celebrated today.

Prepare the way for us; scout out the best heavenly routes, mark way points of the most glorious views, and set the stops beside restful waters. As for me, I will ask my friends to help me celebrate your life, and on our maiden spring ride, we will keep our passenger pegs down so you can ride with us in spirit.

Farewell our good friend Bill. Fly with the angels and keep the shiny side up.