Delighted, that is how I felt when my next guest Paige a.k.a. @Filosoficalfish said yes to adding her story here on my blog! She lives in North Vancouver, BC and has a blog, The Philosophical Fish. Oh my it is a must see and follow! Paige has quite a good eye behind the camera. Seriously.
How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I was on my brother’s dirt bike decades ago, and often rode on the back of his street bike. I had a couple of boyfriends with motorcycles, so I spent a lot of time riding two up. So although I’ve always been around motorcycles, I’ve only been riding my own for about four years now.
How did you learn to ride? I played in the gravel pits out at our cabin on my brother’s dirt bike many years ago, and when we travel abroad we often rent scooters to explore. But my husband encouraged me to get formal training and get my full license, so I took a week long course with the Pacific Riding School in Surrey, BC. Spending so much time on a scooter made learning a bigger bike a cake walk.
What was your first motorcycle? Well, if we are splitting hairs, my first motorized two-wheeler was actually an Aprilia SR50 sport scooter, and I still have it. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it because it’s just so much fun and so perfect for around the city streets. It’s so easy to maneuver in heavy traffic and drivers don’t have the hate-on for scooters that they do for motorcycles. Win-win! Plus it keeps me on two wheels all year round.
How many have you owned? If you include the Aprilia scooter in the count, I’m on number three now. After a year on the Aprilia I bought a Suzuki SV 650S and rode that for three seasons and put about 25,000 km on it. It was a great bike to learn on, even though I’d really wanted to start on a Ninja 250. The SV taught me a ton and it was such a wonderful torquey ride in the twisties. Nimble and fabulous and we grew together since it had so much to offer.
I traded the SV in for a Ninja Z1000 just a few months ago and already have 8500 km on the new ride. It is a major jump in power and it’s been interesting; a lot more twitchy but we’ve become good friends.
Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I didn’t. It honestly never entered my mind. Scooters were for vacation fun, and I was happy on the back of a motorcycle because we could have conversations while on the road. But getting a motorcycle of my own was a bit of a chain reaction event. I ended up with the scooter because I was trying to buy a new truck and had become frustrated with dishonest dealers. I killed two truck deals and went and bought the fastest and sportiest little 50cc scooter I could find instead. I had it derestricted and put a Leo Vince pipe on it. I can wind that little bike up to over 95 k/hr! My husband started getting misty eyed about missing riding, so I encouraged him to get a new bike. I’d been telling him to get one again, for years. But when he did, the one he chose (a Triumph ST) wasn’t terribly comfortable two-up.
He wanted me to get my Class 6 license “just in case”, so I did, with no intention of ever owning my own, and I’d clearly made that statement when I took my course in a room full of testosterone. Day one on the lot in the course and my instructor, a former supersport champ, just started laughing and pointing at me and said “YOU are sooooo getting a motorcycle!” He’d thrown pylons at my head, buckets of water in my face, and jumped on the back and pulled my helmet around and covered my eyes said he’d never seen anyone keep smiling and laughing the way I did while maintaining focus and total control.
I bought the SV two weeks later. The rest, as they say, is history, and Kirk says his plan worked magnificently.
Tell us about your riding. I commute on the scooter, it’s perfect for it. The Ninja is for pleasure and vacation riding. It’s great for a rip up the Sea to Sky or down Chuckanut Drive for fun, and with the luggage kit I now have, it’s perfect for long trips. And sometimes I get to combine the two and use it for work travel too. Can’t beat that!
What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Take a course, have fun, stay calm. Don’t get pressured into anything. You don’t have to feel that you have to keep up to more aggressive riders, or have a bigger bike. Don’t play the numbers game, it doesn’t matter. Riding is an individual thing, even if you are in a group. Leave the ego behind, you don’t have anything to prove to anyone. And stop over-thinking and planning, just do it. The more you think about doing it, and the more time you spend planning, the more time you waste! Maybe it will be for you, maybe it won’t be, but there is no time like the present to try.
What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? We just returned from a nine day trip down the Washington and Oregon coastlines, and then back up through the volcano region. It was a fabulous trip full of challenging roads and incredible scenery. And just four hours after we passed through the North Cascades highway there were eight mudslides closing the road until further notice! We logged 3,456 km by the time the bikes were put to bed.
Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Not really. I’ve never really enjoyed group riding – sometimes the dynamics become too much about egos and that tends to irritate me. So offline, no. Online, I have been active in a group that has been advocating for better motorcycle parking in Vancouver (www.mcarking.ca), but that’s about the extent of things. Mostly I ride solo or with my husband, and occasionally end up with unplanned small groups when I accidentally come across friends on the way.
Do you have a favourite riding story? So many to choose from! But I think my fave was actually on the scoot. I was waiting a a light when a guy on a big cruiser rode up next to me and looked at my scooter and puffed up and said “Maybe you’ll graduate to one of these one day.” I smiled and said, “Why would I, my scooter gets up to 95km/hr” and costs 4 cents per km to operate. His jaw dropped and he said “That goes THAT fast?!?” I nodded, beat him off the line and left him far behind in the causeway. 🙂
Never dis my little scoot!
What do you do when you’re not riding? I am so happy to do what I love. I work for the Federal Salmon Enhancement Program in British Columbia as a biologist. I work with the major salmon hatcheries to support rebuilding, conservation, and harvest opportunities for Pacific salmon. I am also involved in fish health education within the SEP program, and teach a few courses in the subject area at the University of British Columbia. Outside of work we are boaters and are switching from power to sail soon. I also love kayaking and downhill skiing, and am a hobby photographer.