Tag Archives: American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Janis a.k.a. @PerfettoJanis

I am so happy that it is finally riding season here in Minnesota! And I am happy that I have another woman rider to feature here on the blog. I met Janis via Twitter a.k.a. @PerfettoJanis. She is an avid motorcyclist from Perry Georgia, but her heart is in her hometown of Tampa, Florida. And she is a blogger on MySphereIsYourSphere writing on many things including motorcycling, cooking and eating … some of my favorite subjects! Without further ado, here’s Janis!

Janis with her Triumph

Janis with her Triumph

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Longer than I will admit – gives away my age. Let’s just say I was 12 years old the first time I swung my leg over.

How did you learn to ride? Funny you should ask, and I do not recommend this method. At the age of 12, I took my first ride on a Honda 125 with my very sadistic cousin who was about 14. I can remember how bad I just wanted to ride that thing for myself. After listening to me whine and beg for what seemed like all day, he relented. He got on the back with me and showed me how to pull in the clutch and shift the gears. We took off and while still in first gear, he hopped off. He failed to show me how to brake, or even where the brakes were. I rode around the block over and over. I was having the absolute thrill of my life. My older sister saw me go by on about the 20th trip and freaked out. She came running after me, demanding for me to get off that thing. Of course, I had no idea how to do that. I don’t remember figuring out how to stop, but somewhere along the way, I got stopped safely and from that point motorcycling was in my blood for good. Flash forward many years, I took the MSF course!

What was your first motorcycle? When I was 15 years old, my dad bought me a Honda 125, just like the one I “learned” to ride on. Unfortunately, I only saw it once in the back of my dad’s truck as he changed his mind and decided he didn’t want to put his little girl on a motorcycle.

My next first motorcycle was a Buell Blast. I put 1500 miles on and took it straight back to the dealer demanding that they sell me a real motorcycle.

How many have you owned? Five – including a Suzuki Hyabusa with 205 horsepower. It was just plain stupid fast.

Janis at Deals Gap Triumph

Janis at Deals Gap Triumph

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? From my first experience to my own first motorcycle, I cannot remember ever wanting anything more than to just ride. I love the sound, the smell, and most of all, the thrill of the ride.

Tell us about your riding. Commuter, pleasure, vacation, racing, or ? I ride for every reason you can name and probably some you cannot.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? I have often been asked for advice from women who want to ride, and I always tell them that riding is something that will provide them with an independence unequaled to anything else in life. Riding will touch you to your very soul. For me, I can solve my problems while riding. I can create a “think tank” that will provide me with the quiet time necessary for my deepest, innermost personal dilemmas. I get in touch with God, as well as myself. If I am stressed, and who isn’t, I can get on either of my motorcycles and within a very short period of time, my stress is gone. My advice is just do it!

Janis at San Rafael Swell Utah

Janis at San Rafael Swell Utah

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I take an extended trip every summer. Two summers ago, I shipped my bike and flew to San Jose, CA. I rode back from San Jose, CA to Perry, GA. I intended to do the whole trip solo, but got stuck with another rider to Grand Junction, Colorado. So from Grand Junction to Perry, GA, I was solo.  I wanted to make a coast to coast trip out if it and travel on to the coast of Georgia, but by the time I was near home, I found the extra eight to ten hour round trip a little more than I wanted to do at that time. I rode almost 5,000 miles that summer as I criss-crossed my way across the states. In June, I will be taking off for Montana and hope to travel to Oregon and maybe Washington too.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? I belong to Women On Wheels, a fantastic organization for women who love motorcycling. We accept all women who love motorcycling regardless of the make of their motorcycles and which part of the seat they occupy. We have real life meetings, rides and events as well as an online forum. I also belong to AMA.

Janis with her Fatboy at Niagara Falls

Janis’ Fatboy at Niagara Falls

Do you have a favorite riding story? One of my favorite stories is about a trip to West Virginia from Florida with friends, a married couple. We were about two hours from our destination when we were hit with a deluge and soaked to the core before we could manage to get off the road and into rain gear. Not wanting to unpack my whole bag for dry clothes for such a short distance, I decided I could just wear my Frogtogs rain suit. My friend’s husband was horrified by that prospect and let me know that if I should “go down,” I would expose everything my mamma gave me to whomever would be witness. Well, we were only another hour away and I would be fine. Off we went. I was getting pretty tired of the circular tan on my hands from the cutouts of my gloves, so I took them off and stashed them in my bags. I will say that I never ride without a helmet, but saw no concern for my skin. We got to within a half mile of our destination and had to ride on “Loop Road.” Loop wasn’t quite accurate for this road’s name. It was a loop with switchbacks, it was also a steep climb up, and it was slanted at about a 30 degree angle. Half way into the arc of the switch-back, I froze. After a berating from my friend’s jerk-husband, I attempted to proceed. It is a very difficult task to take off in the middle of a circle going straight up at a slanted disadvantage. I dropped my bike. I rolled down the road which meant I was rolling down a mountain in West Virgina – the mountain state. And I had zero protection for my body, especially my hands! My Frogtogs ripped, but thankfully only at the knee, and my hands, which I instinctively put out to break my fall, were gouged full of gravel, dirt, and mud. My hands were bleeding and so was my knee, but hurt most of all was my pride. The lesson I learned was to never ever ride without gloves, and a Frogtog rain suit offers protection only from the rain!

What do you do when you’re not riding? For my career, I am a high school English teacher. I just completed my Master’s in instructional technology/media specialist, so I am hoping to land a job next school year as a media specialist (librarian). For pleasure, I am an avid reader, and currently writing the next great novel!

P.S. Ladies! Let me know if you’d like to share your story too! Email me at: pamela(dot)court(at)gmail(dot)com < Trying to keep the spammers at bay!

Remix: Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Madeleine

We first met Madeleine back on April 22, 2012. I’m doing a bit of a remix of her profile since some things have changed and she’s updated some of her answers. I also wanted to share that Madeleine is going to embark on another adventure this summer and is looking for a rider to join her.  She will be riding to Alaska starting on Friday June 28, 2013. Details will be posted on her site. Madeleine is looking for only one riding companion, not a group of riders. This rider needs to be able to pull their own weight because it will be a budget ride staying in hostels/motels and some camping when necessary. Madeleine rides between 300 to 500 miles a day depending on weather and road conditions. Now back to the profile!

Madeleine from Worcester, MA is our next lady rider! She has taken some long adventurous trips. You can find Madeleine on Twitter @mvelazquez57 or on her blog Miss Rider which is filled with stories and pictures.

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Around 25 years

How did you learn to ride? Chasing my son around the trails riding dirt bikes. Love motocross!!!

What was your first motorcycle? Street bike, Kawasaki Vulcan 500 (hated it). Dirt bike, Yamaha 125 something, don’t remember any more.

How many have you owned? 9 including dirt bikes

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? The thrill, fresh air, freedom, excitement (too many fun words to describe why)!

 Tell us about your riding. Commute to work, mostly on a 50cc scooter now.  Pleasure riding.  But mostly, long distance touring, like coast to coast alone.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Get on two wheels and ride, ride, and ride some more so you can get so tired and sleep at night.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? My longest ride was the summer of 2012. 24,140 kilometers (~15,000 miles) with a ride from the Boston area to the Panama Canal round trip that included Sturgis, South Dakota and Canada, 9 countries, 23 American states. (Check out the details on her blog.)

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? No, I am a solo rider now.  I do have a membership to the American Motorcycle Association and love reading the monthly articles posted by other riders.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Yes, read about it here in my blog. (Check out the pictures too!)  I have so many wonderful riding stories, but this one is my favorite because it involves the animals.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I ski in the winter and teach high school students.

Madeleine standing on a motorcycle!

Madeleine standing on a motorcycle!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Liz a.k.a. @trilliumliz

Friendly. Caring. Accomplished. Author. Coach. Motorcyclist. Are a few words to introduce my next guest, Liz from Ontario, Canada. Oh, I forgot to add social media maven as well! You can find Liz on Twitter @trilliumliz and Facebook Liz Jansen Speaks and at her blog Liz Jansen! I am so please she agreed to share her profile of a female motorcyclist with us all.

Liz with her motorcycle!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? 42 years

How did you learn to ride? When I was 16, my younger brothers bought a Honda 50 to get around on the family farm. I picked it up from them.

What was your first motorcycle? 175 Honda XL.

How many have you owned? I’m only on my 5th bike. I tend to hang on to them for quite a few years.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I was 16 and it was there. Why not? And I loved it.

Tell us about your riding. I use my motorcycle for transportation as the season allows. If it’s either not too hot or icy, I’m likely to be using my motorcycle.

I also love long-distance solo travel.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Do it. It’s no different than anything else your heart is calling you to do. And do it only for your own sake, not for anyone else’s. Take a course from a qualified school – not a well-meaning friend, partner, family member. Be patient with yourself – there’s a lot to learn. Purchase your bike after you’ve taken the course.

Ride your own ride. Get the bike that’s right for YOU and ride according to your skill level. Learn as much as you can about riding and your motorcycle. Always wear good quality, functional gear.  And have a blast with it! Enjoy the adventure.

Take regular refresher courses and challenge yourself to learn new skills. Off-road riding courses are excellent at teaching you how to deal with the unexpected when it happens on the road. And it invariably does.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? A 2-month trip around North America in 2003. It followed a year in which I made significant personal and professional changes and was the beginning of a whole new life for me.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I’m a member of a local association, although other commitments mean I rarely attend meetings.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Each ride I’m on is my favorite. I’ve been riding for a long time and it just keeps getting better and more meaningful. There is nothing like riding to connect me to the Universe and who I am. I get my best ideas and insights when I’m riding.

This summer I met Mary McGee at the AMA International Women and Motorcycling Conference. She’s 75, still racing vintage and plans to ride for another 30 years. She’s my role model.

What do you do when you’re not riding? My work has evolved from riding. All of my activities are designed to create the environment for others (men and women) to recognize their own greatness – through riding or using symbolism from motorcycling. I do that through writing, speaking, organizing events, workshops and retreats.

My book Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment* uses stories and symbolism from motorcycling to illustrate the transformation that occurs in all areas of life when we push our limits and discover how much we’re capable of.

I’ve had the privilege of being on the Executive Council for two of AMA’s International Women and Motorcycling Conferences and was the Project Manager for Canada’s first similar event. I’m also on the Board of the Motorcyclist Confederation of Canada – a national advocacy organization, looking out for the rights and safety of all riders.

Aside from that, I love to hike, camp, spend time in nature and with friends and family. I also volunteer with local charities.

*I recently purchased Liz’s book for my Nook. Very encouraging read. I highly recommend it!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Rania a.k.a. @MadSocial

If you are a female motorcyclist on Twitter then I’m sure you know my next featured guest, Rania a.k.a. @MadSocial! Rania is very passionate about bringing anyone from the novice to the Iron Butt rider together to talk about all things motorcycling. Okay, this gal doesn’t just talk, she rides a lot! Rania has been exploring around her home in Milwaukee,WI tweeting and blogging about her discoveries. Find her blog at: Steel Horse Diaries – of course this is another must follow filled with inspiration, eye candy, and  great reading! I’ll turn it over to Rania to tell her story!

Rania a.k.a. @MadSocial

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? 14 yrs

How did you learn to ride? My ex-boyfriend taught me how to ride. He spent hours teaching me how to balance and basic mechanics. He also spent hours driving the truck behind me while I took longer rides each day. That was in the summer of ’98 or ’99. I didn’t take the MSF course til 2008.

What was your first motorcycle? 1983 Yamaha Exciter 250. I now own a 2008 HD Dyna Low Rider.

How many have you owned? Two

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? As a child I’ve always been a fan of motorcross and motorcycle racing in general. My cousins use to bring over to the house a 50cc bike and my father wouldn’t let any of the girls get on it. He said it was unsafe and girls don’t ride those things. From that day on, I’ve always had the desire to ride … I just was waiting for the opportunity when I could do it.

Tell us about your riding. I use to commute, I work from home now. I ride for pleasure, vacation and for the sake of riding. I try to ride each and every day, no matter where I go I need to be on my bike. It’s my therapy.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? For women that ride, I just want to say to them “keep riding,” keep exploring, and be the voice for another women to look up to you as another female rider. For those that want to ride, do it! You won’t regret it; you’ll only regret that you never tried!

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I’m about to embark on the biggest adventure to date. A trip from Milwaukee,WI to Carson City, NV for the AMA IWMC. This trip will be well over 5,000 miles total! I can’t wait. I’ll be riding the same roads as Lewis and Clark and through 3 of the most beautiful National parks in our country; the Bad Lands, Black Hills and Yellow Stone. On the way home I’ll finally ride my Harley through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I’m a national member of AMA, HOG, LOH, and RockerFoxMC here in Milwaukee.

Do you have a favorite riding story? I do! 2009 Smoke Out West Rally in Cottonwood, AZ. I lived in AZ at the time and six of us left from Chandler to Cottonwood by way of Payson, AZ. We headed west on hwy 260 until this two lane road come to a dead stand still. No traffic moving east or west and we were literally surrounded by desert. There was an accident and a few lives were lost. A helicopter was on its way and this was the only road to the rally, without turning all the way around and basically going back to Phoenix to head north on I-17.

An officer said it would take hours for the road to re-open. A truck driver told us about a dirt path just to the south of the road. He said to us, “if you want to get out quick that’s the closest option.” So, we headed over to what looked like a horse trail. It sure was! No one with a Harley would ever think to take this road ever! We did!

We had 20 foot cliffs we road down on and we had 20 foot hill climbs to get back up. We road in washes with heavy sand and rocks. It was so much fun and scary at the same time! We made it around the accident and when we looked back, there were a line of cars following us on this small horse trail. Only they hadn’t seen the 20 foot cliffs yet … not sure how many of them made down or even up them. We continued on and made it to the rally before sunset! Great time, great company, riders I trust for life!

Cottonwood Adventure 2009

What do you do when you’re not riding? When I’m not riding, I seem to be planning or talking about motorcycling. My life just revolves around it and the culture that comes with it. It’s gone from a hobby to a lifestyle with the older I get and the more experience I develop. I currently co-host MotoChat every Wednesday on Twitter and I am starting a motorcycle touring business here in Wisconsin. I’m working on starting a support group for women motorcyclists to meet and talk about everything and anything related to motorcycling. When you have a passion for something so great, why not share it!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Em Alicia a.k.a. Miss Busa

I “met” this next gal in cyber space. I was new to riding, Twitter, and blogging but somehow found dear Em Alicia from Augusta, Georgia. Right now I feel like a preschooler (my motorcycle skill level) trying to introduce a rider with a PHD in all things motorcycle. Find Em Alicia or @MissBusa on Twitter. She also has a blog  filled with stories of her adventures in riding, The Girl Gets Around. And check out her Facebook Team PLD Racing page! This gal has some skills!

Em Alicia a.k.a. Miss Busa

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I bought my first scoot in September of 2008, so 3 years 7 months.

How did you learn to ride? My husband taught me the basics in two sessions. Halfway through the second outing, he sent me out into traffic. I made him follow me in the car to “watch my six” the next day I started riding to work by myself.  I had to wait to take the MSF Basic Rider Course, but I got lucky and several cancellations enabled me to take it a month after buying my bike.

What was your first motorcycle? The first motorcycle I have ever ridden was a Kawasaki GPZ900R, the very first generation Ninja. The first bike I’ve owned was a 2008 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Low.

How many have you owned? Four. After seven months on the Sporty, I bought a 2009 Suzuki Hayabusa. Eleven months later, after having wrecked the ‘Busa, I decided to throw my leg over a 2010 BMW S1000RR, which is the bike that I currently ride. I also own a dedicated race bike, a 2007 Yamaha R1.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I was bitten by the bug riding on the back of my boyfriend’s GPZ900R. The dude was a maniac on two wheels. I was scared, but for some odd reason I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of fear and exhilaration. I wanted to learn to ride myself! However, my dad found out about my hooligan endeavors when someone caught me practicing figure 8s in the school parking lot and put a stop to the “nonsense”. He said he’d rather kill me himself then let me go through with it and wait for me to do it myself on a bike. He rode when he was younger, I really didn’t understand. But I was young and had no money to speak of. The decision had been made.

Life happened and eventually motorcycles were forgotten until 19 years later, when the opportunity presented itself again in the form of needing my own vehicle to get to a new job; the need of learning to ride was revived. I always dreamed of owning and riding a true American Legend and since I thought I was too old for speed, I opted to go ahead and buy that Harley. A kind of big deal for this German girl.

Tell us about your riding. My bike is how I get around; I even raced it until my husband surprised me with an early birthday present: a dedicated race bike with all the performance upgrades this girl could possibly want.

I commute year around, and ride every chance I get. I am a combat commuter, superbike sport-tourer, knee dragger, part-time drag queen, speed freak with land speed record aspirations, and am learning to turn my own wrenches. I would also like to get into flat tracking … one day.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? For the ladies out there already on two wheels: Ride hard. Ride safe. Hope to see you on the road or the track. 🙂

For the women who are thinking about learning to ride: Take a safety course, like the MSF Basic Rider Course, even if you are unsure if motorcycling is for you. The class is fun, you learn the basics of motorcycling in a safe and controlled environment and you will know by the end of it wether or not you like riding. Don’t ever let anyone pressure you into something you are not comfortable with. Learn at your own pace and expand your comfort zone on your own terms. Educate yourself from respected sources, such as skill books or participate in formal training such as rider clinics and even track schools. Your education, protective gear and level of riding skill is your only line of defense out there. Always wear your gear and ride in traffic like you’re invisible. Oh, and buy used! Your first bike should be something that is not too expensive and you are not afraid to drop and break something. You won’t know what kind of rider you are going to be, so don’t invest too much money in your first ride, you might find out two or three months down the road that the bike you bought just isn’t doing it for you for one reason or another.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest solo trip that I ever took was from my house to Deals Gap, to engage in a weekend of Dragon Slaying with the Women’s Sportbike Rally, which is held annually at Deal’s Gap. That’s about 240 miles one way.

The longest trip was with my husband who rides a 2009 Kawasaki Concours 14: Augusta, GA ~> Barber Motorsports Park; Leeds, AL for the Kevin Schwantz Racing School ~> Cherohala Skyway ~> Blue Ridge Parkway ~> Skyline Drive ~> Myrtle Beach, SC ~> Augusta, GA. 1824 miles in 11 days. I learned to race, we stopped a lot and laid around on the beach. It was the most fun I’ve had since skiing Black Diamonds in West Virginia.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I am a member of the AMA. I belonged to the BMW RA for one year, but didn’t see the point. I joined a local chapter of the Southern Cruisers, a riding club that doesn’t charge membership dues, but never actually made it to one of their meetings. I really don’t get the club thing, and I don’t like to pay money to belong. I’m not really a group rider, not to say that I can’t behave myself in a group, but I prefer to do my own thing or ride with just a select few. I don’t feel comfortable around street riders whose riding style I’m unfamiliar with. I have trust issues on the street and if you find me in a group, I’m usually in the back of the pack, riding sweep.

Do you have a favorite riding story? It is hard to pick just one. Any time you throw your leg over your machine you are risking exciting adventure. I think my all time favorite street riding story would have to be when I picked up my Hayabusa seven months into learning to ride. It is a three-day story of anxiety, nausea, elation, fear, adventure, excitement, and the awesome payoff that happens when you push your comfort zone a little and find you can do it, even though most people told you that you couldn’t (or shouldn’t). I’ll leave you with the link, if you would like to read how this Harley rider came to trade her classy V-Twin for 196 HP rocket sled. Check out the story here.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I’m currently unemployed. I wish I could land myself a gig in the motorcycle industry, working with the one thing in my life that I’m extremely passionate about, would make me complete. That is my Zen. I also enjoy writing, poetry, image editing and graphic design, digital art, photo retouching and restoration, and running and I am constantly chasing that next adrenaline rush (endorphins are good, too).

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Rachael

I’m going to start this post with a true confession: I have blog envy. My green eyes look at Rachael’s Girlie Motorcycle Blog and dream of the day I’ll have something so delightful! Not to mention she had a brush with greatness! You’ll have to check out that story here. Rachael or as she’s called on Twitter @FuzzyGalore hails from Long Island, NY. She did mention that she’s often referred to as Fuzz or Fuzzy. Sounds like there’s a story behind that nickname! Without further ado, here’s Rachael’s story!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? This is my 17th year on the bike. Not a whole lot of time in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like I’ve been at it my whole life. It’s such an all-encompassing lifestyle that I don’t remember what life was like without it.

How did you learn to ride? I learned to ride through an MSF course. The first moment that I threw my leg over the bike, I knew it was for me. Taking the MSF class was probably the biggest favor I did myself.

Then in my mid 30’s when I wanted to learn to dirt ride, I took another “dirt basics” class to get a very basic understanding of the body mechanics involved in that type of riding.

What was your first motorcycle? The first motorcycle that I bought myself was a firecracker red Kawasaki ZX6R. I can still hear my dad’s voice as he and I stood in the driveway looking at its sleek lines and shiny go-fast red paint, “Well? You gonna look at it or are you gonna ride it?”

Those first few miles were the most exciting and frightening miles ever. It was probably a good thing that most of my first year of riding was spent alone. I took it easy getting to know what it meant to ride a motorcycle without being pressured by anyone else. That bike was probably too much, too soon.

How many have you owned? I’ve personally owned 9 motorcycles. But, being one half of a motorcycle riding couple has put many more at my disposal. I’m pretty lucky that way.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I don’t know, really. Riding a motorcycle seemed like the most natural thing in the world to want to do. I come from a family with many motorcycle riders in it. You could probably say it was in the blood. I really can’t imagine NOT riding a motorcycle.

Tell us about your riding. Commuter, pleasure, vacation, racing, or ? Yes, Yes, Yes, No. 🙂

Over the years my riding style and what I want from riding has gone through many changes.

In the beginning it seemed like there was a constant desire to go fast, to challenge myself to be a better rider. I did some track days and stuck to riding sportbikes and hung out with folks who did the same.

As things in my life changed, so did what I wanted from riding. I started to have more of a hunger for traveling, for seeing more of the world. The desire to go fast became a desire to explore and so I began to slow down and wander more. These days I’m usually just poking along looking at the scenery and that’s just fine with me.

My travels haven’t been especially far flung but ::knocks wood:: I’m not done yet. Thinking about the “somedays” and the possibilities is always very exciting to me. My daydreams of riding through far off places keep me striving to make those “somedays” a reality.

On an everyday level, I often find that there aren’t enough daylight hours to be able to sneak out for a pleasure ride. Commuting to work on my motorcycle gives me that little kick of fun that I need. It falls into the better than no riding at all category.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Gah! I am terrible at giving advice. I see myself as more of a pep talk type, really. So, with that ~You, yes you – are capable of more than you will ever know.

Whether you are just thinking about maybe riding a motorcycle, already riding and thinking about your first big road trip, learning to wrench your own bike or maybe thinking about trying a different type of riding like say – dirt: Whatever it is – You. Can. Do. It. The only real obstacle in front of your progress is you. You just have to be brave enough to take that first step of trying.

Above all else – your gender is not a handicap unless you make it one.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest single trip I’ve done so far was riding from Long Island toYellowstone National Park with my soon-to-be hubby, Kenny. The trip was a little over 5,000 miles in 10 days. In hindsight I wish we could have squeezed in more time but that is the ultimate commodity.

The trip came about because I wanted to see Mount Rushmore. Since we were in the neighborhood, we thought we’d work Yellowstone in as well. I had no guarantee that I’d ever be in that area again so it seemed like we should go for it.

It was wonderful and exciting and though taken at a faster pace than I wanted it to be, I wouldn’t change it. Those types of experiences teach you things about how you really want to do the next trip. Every journey is valuable.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? No, not really. I mean, I am an AMA member but that’s the extent of my “membership” in anything.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Not so much a story per se, but I do have some favorite motorcycle-related moments. The top of my list would have to be watching my daughter Chloe who was 10 at the time, go from some tentative wobbling on her dirt bike to riding with a confidence and effortless grace that I greatly admire.

There is an absolutely joy that overwhelms your heart when you watch your children triumph. It is so full, so all encompassing it’s like your body can barely contain it. Watching the person I love most enjoying and progressing at something I love deeply – it just doesn’t get any better than that.

What do you do when you’re not riding? My biggest and most important job is being mom. As every parent knows there are a million things that go into that so it takes up the majority of my free time. But, since I have the most awesome kid ever, we’re always having fun doing whatever those million things are.

On a personal level, I love to ride bicycles, explore the world around us with my family and am working on learning to appreciate the small pleasures in life.

Rachael a.k.a. Fuzzy

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Colleen

You just never know who you’ll meet in cyber space! Today I’d like to introduce you to a woman that stopped by and left a comment on one of the profiles. She mentioned being a California police officer, a motorcycle riding officer, and she teaches riding at a local community college. Of course after reading that I HAD to reach out and ask her to join us! And she graciously said YES!

Please warmly welcome Colleen a.k.a. Motopippi from Santa Cruz, Ca. Thank you Colleen for your public service. My helmet and heart are tipped in respect to you.

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I started riding my dad’s Honda 350 when I was 16. No, he didn’t know I was riding it in the back yard. I taught myself and even ventured on the road without a license and sometimes with my 15 year old sister on the back … just in our quiet neighborhood. He had a crash with the bike that ended my riding adventures. Luckily, my dad wasn’t hurt.

How did you learn to ride? I really learned to ride when I bought a new Harley Sportster at 42 years old. I figured out how to ride and pass the DMV riding test by myself while I waited for my MSF course … there was a three month waiting list!

What was your first motorcycle? My 883 XLC. It was purple and beautiful to me. I rode it 5000 miles in the first year and never went back to four wheels … unless I had a grandchild with me!

How many have you owned? Let’s see … the Harley, a BMW 650GS (the thumper), 2 Ducati Monsters (800 cc), a BMW F650GS (the parallel twin) and a BMW R1200GS which is my current ride. I’m on the lookout for a dual sport 250 that will fit a 5’03 1/2″ slim gal. The ground is always so far down there!

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I remembered how it felt when I was young to ride. I had raised my two kids and they had licenses and I just had myself to get around. My husband was supportive and I was tired of riding on the back of his bike. I’ve heard so many women echo that same sentiment!

I had no idea how riding would make me feel! If I felt down or overwhelmed by life, riding made me feel in control, capable and free. There is power, rhythm, expression, excitement and beauty in riding.

Tell us about your riding. My bike is my favored mode of transportation. I ride anywhere and everywhere. My husband thinks I’m crazy because rain, shine or whatever, I ride. I’ve taken him into snow more times than I like to admit and he deals with it. Every vacation is a bike vacation with trips across the US and through the Alps.

Last year, I passed the California Police Officer Motor course so now I ride at work, too! I became the first woman to ride a police bike in our department’s 145 year history. We ride Harley Road Kings so backing up 850 pounds of bike is a challenge for a short girl. Thankfully, riding it is pretty easy although I had my own struggles to get to this point. Little girls wave at me and guys smile after they do a double-take. I’ve been told I look small next to my fellow officers on bikes.

I also teach motorcycle courses; the MSF Basic course and Lee Park’s Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic. I love helping other people find their comfort level and improve their riding skills. The women riders appreciate the female perspective of riding, gear, mental aspects and bike selection that is sometimes missing when instructors are all male. We all have our demons to face but it can increase the comfort level if someone speaks your gender language and can empathize with girl issues. The guys in the classes push themselves to try harder so they aren’t embarrassed by a girl … and have fun, too!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Try out an MSF course. They supply the bikes and helmets [editor note: I had to supply my own helmet]. The environment is friendly and supportive with classroom and range instruction. If you see a woman riding and you get the chance to ask her about it … do it! She’ll tell you what makes her happy about riding and you’ll make her day!

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Riding across the country has been my longest ride so far. One time, we rode 850 miles in one day but we usually go about 600-700 daily. Riding helps me forget about work and everything else so, for me, there is no better and more relaxing way to recharge. There is a certain rhythm to long distance riding that I love. One day, I’d like to do an Ironbutt, Four Corners (of theUS) and Alaska.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? Other than BMW MOA and AMA, no groups for me but I read motorcycle blogs all the time! I love to read about what other people (men and women) are doing!

Do you have a favorite riding story? One day, our whole family of six was out riding. My son and daughter were on their own bikes and my two stepsons were on back, one with me and one with my husband. We rode the coast and then went out to dinner! We’ve had lots of riding time together and I hope to have lots more. I can’t wait till the grandchildren are ready to ride!

What do you do when you’re not riding? I’m never not riding, it seems but I do love to run, read Moto blogs and magazines and spend time with my family. Both of my kids ride and I’m trying to encourage my daughter (who is also a police officer) to consider training to become a motor officer in her department as well!

Officer Colleen and her rides!

Progressive International Motorcycle Show 2011

Last year I went to the International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis hoping to get my endorsement in the spring. This year I’m going knowing I’m a card carrying motorcyclist with one season under her belt!

Can’t wait to look at gear, motorcycles, accessories, and more! Are you going to attend a show near you?

P.S. If you purchase your tickets online save $5 by using Promo Code SAVE5, expires Feb. 2, 2011.

Do you know what’s required of you?

Hubby and I gathered with some friends tonight across town. We took the car because of the food and some other things we brought with us. I bet we saw about a dozen motorcyclist out on the road today. Of those dozen I’m guessing maybe four were wearing proper gear! Not smart.

I’d love to be able to take a long distant trip on a couple of bikes with my husband. We talked about maybe being able to do that next summer. We’d love to drive down to Illinois to visit my family. It’s about 400 miles mostly through Wisconsin. All this got me thinking about the different laws Wisconsin or Illinois might have for motorcyclists. Minnesota only requires eye protection for those with the motorcycle endorsement. Guess that’s why I didn’t see too many helmets today.

The internet provides so much instant information! I Googled and found this sheet put out by the American Motorcyclist Association. It has motorcycle requirements listed state by state. Not sure of the copyright date so it is best to check with the state you are traveling through. I ride wearing full gear and helmet, but it was interesting to see some of the other requirements like head light must be on or how old a passenger must be.

Okay friends, I’ve got the state laws down but what else do I need to know about taking a road trip on a motorcycle? Your wisdom is always appreciated! Ride safe.