Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gearing Up for a New Season

A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes. Unfortunately, while my intentions are good, I didn’t snap enough photos at the New England Riders Meet and Greet this morning. True to my personality, my mouth started working more than my index finger did on the camera. Who could blame me? After a long winter, a parking lot full of motorcycles along with too much catching up to do, took over my good intentions. I’m just going to do what I always do; wait for Goldwing Bob to post up the photos. Then I’ll relive the day again.


What’s so interesting I can’t remember to take enough photos? Well, first there’s Dan. Dan rides a black 2007 1300 vStar tourer. To top that off, he pleased me to no end, telling me about riding the route I had published in RoadRunner. Of course, I had to walk over to check out the accessories on his vStar. While we stood there admiring his bike, we noticed parked right beside him a silver/grey 2007 vStar tourer. Well, we had to go find the owner. After some inquiry, we connected up with Steve.

Dan - Andy

The interesting part of this story, I thought, is that all three of us started out on 650 vStars. While this blog is not particularly about Yamaha vStars, I enjoyed a conversation with a couple of others who really appreciate how this model handles. All three of us wonder why the 1300 isn’t more popular. I then moved on to admire the rides of other members. One thing that is great about the New England Riders, is that it isn’t really about what you ride, just that you do. If you haven’t visited the forum yet, or joined us on a ride, you are only doing yourself a disservice.

One feature of the spring Meet and Greet is the invitation to bring used motorcycle gear to place on a “for sale” table. It’s a good way to move gear you no longer use. On my first go round I missed a couple of items I should have noticed. All was not lost however, as while I bemoaned the placement of my GPS, and expressed my wish for a RAM mount; another rider redirected my attention to the sale table. Low and behold, and at very good price, I came home with a mount I’ll have Andy affix to reposition the GPS unit at a more easily visible location.

To wrap up the event there is the raffle. Andy purchased three tickets and one turned out to be a winner. I selected a gift certificate from KSUMCGear. KSU might make you think “kick stands up” but really means “kinda sorta used” motorcycle gear. This donation to the raffle came from PhotoJim. All this time I thought his store was a photo shop! With the price of riding gear, how is it I missed this little bit of information about a shop that sells gently used gear? Now that I have the gift certificate, I’ll be taking a ride to Wakefield to inspect the shop. In the meantime, I’m checking things out at his website. If you are just getting started riding your own, or if this economy has you pinching pennies until Lincoln bellows, think about used gear and check out Jim’s store. While there, ask him about the Northshore Rimby he’s planning for May. Here’s a sampling in Jim’s own words. “Join us for a backroad, rustic, twisted, wooded tour to the beautiful seacoast of CAPE ANN.”

I’m IN!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

International Female Ride Day
May 7th 2010

In 2007, little did I realize that I was taking part in an event that would grow to the proportions it has today. On May 4th, 2007, I threw my leg over the saddle and proudly rode to work, took photos of myself and Jade out on the road to celebrate women riders everywhere. I sent those photos to Motoress, the sponsors of the event and received from them a commemorative pin, decals and bragging rights.

Fast forward to 2010 and this event has grown to encompass not only Canada and the US, but Australia, England, The Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Poland, Israel, Qatar and Denmark to name a few. You can read all about this year’s event to take place on May 7th at their web site. While my new pal Blaze and I will be regulated to ride our commute, I have other plans coming in the near future that will celebrate women riders everywhere.

One of our very own NER female rider’s is organizing an overnight adventure for a group of us women only. The route she has planned, is to me, exceptional! It has points of interest, fun stops, and vistas. We will not take with us any male “protectors” and want to travel this adventure ourselves, feel empowered, and stop where no man would ever dream. Think farm stands, or road side gift shops; whatever strikes our fancy, it is not off limits.

Where are we going? For now, we are keeping that to ourselves, partly for safety sake. You can be sure however, that the ride will be well documented by me, along with photographs you will not want to miss. I plan to interview the ladies, take photographs of them and the sites we will see, and offer the route post ride to anyone interested in taking this tour themselves.

One of the positive results of such events as the International Female Ride Day is that it raises awareness in the industry that women are indeed serious riders. It tells manufactures that we need articles of clothing designed for women and that we are tired of wearing men’s riding gear. Also, too, while some women stay away from the really powerful bikes, the industry has begun to recognize that we need something in between 650 and 1500. This is what I love Blaze so much for. Her 1300 CC is a perfect fit!

Remember to ride your own on May 7th. While women are often the care givers, we often forget to watch out for ourselves. Bringing awareness is one way we can help each other. Then too, this event brings to mind so many lyrics we could make our own from “I am woman hear me roar in numbers to big to ignore,” to the more light hearted, “anything you can do I can do better!” It just makes for more lighthearted banter when we ride with our male counterparts the rest of the year. Something we thoroughly enjoy as well!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Time Out for Tony

It’s interesting how you meet people. I noticed Tony at the gym and have been keeping an eye on him for a while now. My attention always gravitates toward certain types. I can’t help myself. If you could see these folk they way I do, you’d be a secret voyeur too!

What was that? Oh my! Where has your mind gone! I’m not eyeing Tony because of his pecs, or the size of his forearms. I’ve been watching Tony for a few years now, pull into the lot on his Harley Road King. A great looking blue motorcycle with that rumbling sound only a Harley can produce. He handles his bike like a second skin, and looks quite comfortable in the saddle. As spring rolled around, I couldn’t help but stop on my way to the locker room and ask if he’s gotten the bike out of winter storage yet.

Tony, not missing a beat or thinking it strange that I would ask about motorcycles, proceeded to tell me about his current project as if we’d been speaking for years. That’s how it is with motorcyclist. We notice each other as if we are extended family. (It’s also why we wave to each other on the road.) Tony’s “project” is adding a hitch to his Harley for the camper he purchased. He and his wife have just begun camping and are incorporating the two pastimes of camping and motorcycling together.

We connected again this week, and I asked how things were going with the camper. He’s been riding around with it hitched to the back, getting comfortable with the feel of towing on two wheels. We then went about our workouts. On his way out, he took time to show me a few photos he had on his cell phone. I was impressed with the size of the camper once it is opened. He and his wife will practice opening and closing it in the backyard, and even sleep in it before going on the road. Their first planned excursion will be to Laconia for Bike Week.

You may be interested in combining camping with motorcycle touring too. If so, check out the photo here of the Time Out Camper that Tony owns. Then check out the link to learn more about the specifics. Here is a sampling for starters: The camper itself weights 345 lbs, but the tongue weight is only 20 lbs. My tour pack can weigh more than that! If you think it might be cramped, then take a look at the photos in the link. Very roomy! While I believe my camping days to be long over, and have been resisting Andy’s push to do so, I think I’m starting to crack.

If you’re heading to Laconia this June for Bike Week, and plan to do some camping, keep an eye out for Tony. He’ll be camping near the Looney Bin. If you already do some camping and want to learn more about the campgrounds in the Laconia area, check here for more details. In the meantime, I’m going to keep watching Tony to see how he is doing with this Time Out. Check back after bike week, and I’ll give you all an update on how things went.

Monday, April 5, 2010

“Riding with the ‘rents”

Just when I’m thinking I should have invested my money in boat building, and specifically arks, the rains stops, the sun appears and the temperatures soar. Next I find myself with an unexpected and gratefully accepted three day weekend! I role Blaze out of the “barn” and off Andy and I go for six hours of riding time. We stop and visit a friend, ride over to Derry to try to find my brother, and investigate roads we’ve never ridden before. We had no time clock, no destination. It was all about feeling like two kids playing hooky, or kicking up ones heals on the last day of school.

Saturday all the dealerships are having open houses, and while we are on the bikes, our destination this day is more somber. We are heading to see Barb, Brian and the rest of their family to remember Bill. We feel it fitting to arrive together with Lee and Debbie in tribute to Bill and the great trip we all took together two summers ago. It felt good to be with people who knew Bill for so much longer than we, yet we feel blessed to have been a part of his life too.

With Sunday comes Easter and again the blessings unfold with Kyla and Aiden spending alone time with Memere and Papo. Aiden and Papo are two peas in a pod with the way they love the outdoors. Papo shows Aiden a miniature motorcycle out in the yard, and it doesn’t take Aiden long to know what to do with it, his tiny feet propelling him along, while Papo encourages motorcycle noise imitation, which Aiden obligingly provides. Memere and Kyla chuckle as we watch the two of them. Then Aiden is off with his Dad and we have our Kyla to ourselves.

“Want to go for a ride?” Andy asks and without hesitation Kyla agrees. We don’t have a lot of time as Kyla has a long ride home ahead of her. To my recollection Kyla’s only motorcycle ride has been on Jade, and that was before Aiden. I’m a bit curious the way she so readily agrees to the ride. Before we leave Kyla asks for the camera. Now this girl I’m thinking will want her two hands for hanging on. “I don’t have a lanyard for the camera.” I tell her. But she is all about the ride.

Before we mount, true to her generation, she’s tapping away. Texting? Email? Twitter? I’m not sure and I don’t pay it much mind. We deck her out in leathers and helmet, put her on the back of the Vulcan, with Blaze following behind.We take a wonderful loop over hill and dale through Wilton and Lyndeborough. I see Kyla snapping away. Is she envious of her cousin’s trip to Vermont with us I wonder? I put that out of my mind as I mentally will nothing unfortunate to occur as she does have a little one to consider. In the end, I think its bragging rights she’s after. Once she is waved goodbye and on her way home, I boot up the PC and she here Facebook wall. “Riding with the ‘rents” it reads. It takes me a while but I finally realize I’m one of the ‘rents. Just when I thought I was cool, even the word is so yesterday!

Enjoy Kyla’s first attempt at snapshots from the back of a bike!
Love you kiddo!