Tag Archives: BMW

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet LC a.k.a. @SmartBikerChick

Y’all have heard me sing the praises of social media. Well, I have another verse to add by the name of LC a.k.a. @SmartBikerChick from Atlanta, GA, but considers herself a world traveler. Follow her journey on Twitter.

LC a.k.a. @SmartBikerChick

LC a.k.a. @SmartBikerChick

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I caught the motorcycle bug unexpectedly about five years ago.

How did you learn to ride? I took a motorcycle class to get my feet wet.  Then, my fellow veteran riding friends taught me the real ropes through the mountains.

What was your first motorcycle? Go big or go home, right? I’m not one for switching around, so I went for what I really wanted. BMW F800ST

How many have you owned? I’m loyal… one!

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle?  After riding on the back of a few bikes, I decided it was time to stop dating guys just because they had a bike and to learn how to ride for myself.  Freedom!

Tell us about your riding. Riding is pure enjoyment; I ride for the fun of it.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  Do it!  Ride

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Most memorable trip was 450 miles through heavy rains… it was quite an adventure! I have stories for life from that weekend.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online?  I’ve been on twitter only a month, but I’ve really taken a liking to this motorcycle community.

Do you have a favorite riding story? A guy, who was trying to impress me, started talking about buying a scooter to ride around the city. I told him I had a motorcycle.

What do you do when you’re not riding? There’s life outside of riding??Okay, maybe there is. I have too many other interests to list here.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Zoe a.k.a. Splodz

Hang on while I take off from here in Minnesota [wish I could get airline miles for all this cyber travel] over a few thousand miles to Lincoln, UK to meet my next guest Zoe or on Twitter @Splodz! I am so glad Zoe found my blog and now I have another one to keep up with because she has one too! Splodz Blogz is her “everything blog” so there’s a lot of different topics she covers – book mark!

Side rant: Google Reader is going the way of the dinosaur as of July 1, 2013. Any replacement recommendations? I follow a lot of blogs and Reader has been so easy for me.

Back to Zoe and her story!

Meet Zoe a.k.a. @Splodz

Meet Zoe a.k.a. @Splodz

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Around eight years.

How did you learn to ride? I did CBT first followed by just under a year of riding a 125cc on L-plates before taking Direct Access the following Spring. I learnt to ride together with my husband (LincsGeek) after my and my father-in-law’s enthusiasm for biking rubbed off on him. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive the weather on test day – he did his test first and they cancelled the rest of the tests for the day thanks to thick fog in the city. I had to wait a whole week to take mine!

At Lands End, England

At Lands End, England

Of course I know that even eight years on I am still learning – my confidence comes and goes depending on how much opportunity I have to ride at the time. Right now I’m feeling pretty good thanks to preparations for a long trip at the end of the month.

What was your first motorcycle? My 125 was a Motoroma Virage – it was small, light and the perfect riding position for my first few months on the road. Once LincsGeek and I passed our bike test we bought a Suzuki Bandit 600. I had to get the seat cut away for that so I could better reach the floor – being short and riding can be a pain sometimes!

How many have you owned? Four now, but actually my current bike is my first “all to myself” bike – before that bikes have been shared with my husband.  After the Bandit we bought a Suzuki SV650S which we had lowered and kept for a few years. But I really wanted my own bike so LincsGeek and I could ride together – whenever we went out together I’d go pillion as he was a much stronger rider than me (I’d never be able to take him pillion!), I felt like putting a sign on my back saying “I can ride too, we just share a bike”!! I got my BMW F650GS about 18 months ago now. It’s the factory lowered model with the low seat, just right for me, I love it.

Inch Beach, Ireland on a hired f650gs

Inch Beach, Ireland on a hired f650gs

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I’ve wanted to learn for as long as I can remember – I used to look at the custom Harley with gorgeous purple paint job parked outside the house at the bottom of the road with awe, vowing one day I would ride one just like that. It looked completely out of place at the end of the Terrace Street I lived on in Devonport, Plymouth, but the lifestyle that it represented appealed. Even at age six or seven I longed for the freedom, the wind in my hair, the adventure. It took me a while to get there but it’s exactly what I wanted. I might not have the custom Harley (I couldn’t be doing with the amount of polishing it would require courtesy of the British weather), but I’ve got the rest. Maybe one day I’ll complete the picture.

Tell us about your riding. I ride for pleasure. I don’t actually long for super twisty roads or long superfast highways – I enjoy simply pootling about on country roads enjoying the views and freedom. It’s a form of relaxation.

I prefer longer trips, riding with a purpose to see someone, something or somewhere, and so I love to go on biking holidays. We’ve toured Ireland, Scotland, and of course England – sometimes as a couple and sometimes with friends and family. We are now planning our ultimate trip to the USA to ride Harley’s through the south-west on one of the Eagle Rider guided tours next summer – I simply cannot wait (although I have just over a year to get so much fitter and stronger so I can manoeuvre my Fat Boy where I need it to go!).

f650gs in Folkingham, England

f650gs in Folkingham, England

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Riding is all about you. No-one else. So ride the type of bike you want, on the type of roads you like, in the style that you like. You don’t have to go fast, you don’t have to scrape your knees along the floor, you don’t have to keep up with the rider in front – unless you want to! Enjoy the freedom that biking provides, let everything else other than the bike, road and view escape your mind and relax.

Oh, and don’t worry about helmet hair. It’s really no big deal.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? At this moment the longest trip I have done was Top Down – a charity motocycle ride taking me from my home in Lincolnshire up to John O’Groats, down to Land’s End, and back home again – well over 2,000 miles and raising £2,300 for charity. It was quite an experience; being a charity event we had no option to ride whatever the weather threw at us – and boy did it throw stuff at us! I was loaned a Harley Davidson Sportster Nightster 1200 for the week from a local dealer (because it was in the days when LincsGeek and I shared) which made the week even more special for me.

Harley Sportster Nightster 1200

Harley Sportster Nightster 1200

I say “at this moment” because in less than two weeks we’re off on a slightly longer charity ride taking us to the four compass points of Great Britain. We sadly lost my father-in-law to cancer last summer just a couple of months after diagnosis, and so in tribute to him and in an attempt to recreate something of Top Down we are raising money for two UK cancer charities. I’d love to give the Memorial Ride blog a plug. [Of course! Let’s kick cancer’s a$$!!)

I often read these profiles and am a little jealous of the 10,000 mile / six month adventures you write about – now that would be awesome!

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Nothing official, no, but I do enjoy riding with a group of friends from my Church in Boston, Lincolnshire. I enjoy chatting about riding on twitter but am not in any clubs or societies.

Do you have a favorite riding story? One thing I love about riding is there is always a story to tell – so many memories.

I think I have to go back to Top Down in 2009 when I rode that loaned Harley for 2,000 miles. We were riding through Devon along the Jurassic Coast Road when the rain was so very heavy the road was just flooding in front of our eyes and we were soaked through to the skin in an instant. I could see the biggest puddle ever seen ahead of me – a pond in the road. I watched LincsGeek ride through and the water was high, so I stuck the Harley in first, relaxed my shoulders, brought my legs up onto the seat and sat crossed legged as I rode through. I wonder what the car drivers going the other way thought? We stopped just up the road at a McDonald’s, emptied our boots and gloves of water and used the dryers in the loos to dry off a little. Awful awful weather but part of an experience we have not stopped talking about since. That same evening we sat outside in Penzance, Cornwall, eating fish and chips out of the paper in the sunshine. What a difference a few hours makes! (My boots never did dry out.)

I’m rather hoping the weather is much kinder at the end of the month!

f650 at Glencoe, Scotland

f650 at Glencoe, Scotland

What do you do when you’re not riding? Life is busy but it’s all good. Work wise I’m a marketer for a University in the UK. Leisure wise I run Splodz Blogz and have loads of fun testing all sorts of stuff out to review as well as writing about my life. Music is important to me – I play trombone and bass guitar, and I enjoy walking and generally getting outdoors. And in true British style, I love to relax with a nice cup of tea.

Thank you Zoe for sharing your story! 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!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Voni

A friend on Twitter, @urbantweeter, thought I may be inspired by meeting a millionaire. She sent a link so I checked it out! Needless to say it was not what I had expected. What an unexpected delight to find a million mile female motorcyclist Voni from the Big Bend of Texas! Checking out her blog is a must and find her on Facebook too! I took a chance and sent Voni an email asking if she would join in the series Profile of a Female Motorcyclist. I am so honored that she replied YES!! It is with great pleasure I introduce you to Voni, a million mile rider!

Voni, million mile motorcyclist

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Over a Million sMiles over about 37 years

Celebrating 1,000,000 miles!

How did you learn to ride?  Trial and error – lots of trial and a few errors.  My million miles have been accident free.  Since the thought of traffic scared me, I rode my first hundred miles in my yard in rural Iowa. But once I got started, it’s been a collage of the most amazing vistas.

What was your first motorcycle? Yamaha RD250

How many have you owned? 15, more or less, mostly BMWs

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? So my husband and I could take our two kids on family camping vacations. Something we could all share.

Tell us about your riding. Touring is my favorite. I’ve ridden in all 50 states, all of the Canadian Provinces, New Zealand and five countries in Southern Africa. Lately I’ve gotten the most fun on a Yamaha TW200 dirt bike I call TWouble on the rocky roads around our adobe here in the desert in Texas.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Just do it. Being scared is good because it keeps you focused. The joy the daring will bring is immeasurable!

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Since we retired, my husband and I live on the bikes at least four months a year. We tour all over the US and Canada and camp in some of the most beautiful and remote places. Before that, I often toured alone for weeks on end since Paul didn’t have the vacation time I did as a teacher. One year I rode 73,660 miles in 6 months just because I could. In 2003 I rode in and finished with bronze medal status the 11 day Iron Butt Rally.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Oh, yes. Lots. When I’m not riding I love to read and share about motorcycles. I’m probably most active with the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America and the Iron Butt Association.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Many! Motorcycles have colored my life in the most amazing hues.

What do you do when you’re not riding?  I love reading. And photography! And visiting our grandsons. And music.  And just living life to the fullest.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Lori a.k.a. BeemerGirl

I want to go on record that I don’t cyber-stalk people unless I really want you to join in with your story and profile of a female motorcyclist. I am so grateful that my next guest didn’t block me in her email account. Lori stopped by the blog and left a comment which was my invitation to contact her – ladies this series isn’t over until your story is posted – and she graciously said yes, but life was crazy.

I’m so happy she took time out of her busy schedule to share her story! Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce Lori, a.k.a. BeemerGirl or Steel Cupcake from Hotlanta, Georgia. Check out her motorcycle adventures on her blog For Love of a Motorbike.

Lori on her Beemer

How long have you been riding a motorcycle?  Started in early 2008

How did you learn to ride?  Private lesson as introduction to a motorbike, turned into forays of  street time riding with hubby running guard…trying to avoid traffic in the suburban sprawl near a huge metropolis.  Then graduated to the Experienced Riders Course with MSF.

What was your first motorcycle?  A Suzuki S50.  A piece of junk that was 3 years old with less than 700 miles on it.  But it taught me to be a better rider since I had so many mechanical issues to overcome while learning to ride. The husband thought it was just me as I was learning.  Then he had to ride it 120 miles one day and realized the issues the motorbike had.

How many have you owned?  Three in all.  The Suzuki first.  And I currently own a BMW R1200R and BMW R1200GS.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle?  I wish I had started earlier…you remember…when you were day dreaming in high school of how fun it would be and how hot you would look.  I never gave it much serious thought until my brother planted the seed in 2007 after I mentioned riding a bicycle across the USA.  Even then, it festered in my subconscious for a year until one day I suddenly decided I wanted to get my license.

Husband was happy when I mentioned it to him since that meant he was going to be able to get a bike too.

Tell us about your riding. I would love to be able to commute on the bike.  But my commute is 19 miles of surface streets in 60 minutes.  I sit at too many stoplights for too many cycles to make it enjoyable.  Rather I focus on getting away on the weekends.

Even though I have a husband that rides, and we have such a synchronized riding rhythm, I think it is crucial that we ladies ride alone every so often.  Gives you a different perspective and boosts that confidence.

Hubby and I have always gone on lots of weekend day rides.  Our schedules are now allowing us to begin going on some overnights.  But I have also taken quite a few long distance solo trips to visit the five corners of Georgia.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? We’ve all said it: Ride your own ride.

Take an MSF class to learn to ride.  Don’t let your husband, or his friends, teach you for your first lessons!  It’s easier to not get upset with an instructor, and too easy to get short with the husband.

As you start gaining experience, learning to ride on the road, have discussions with others in your riding party.  Discuss “what if” scenarios.  It gets you thinking of situations you might not have conceived of, and starts you theorizing of what you would do in that situation.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle?  A 5 day ride to two GA corners at 1000 miles, or a 3 day ride covering a whirlwind 1300 miles, both solo.

Recently…husband and I just finished a 2 week excursion to Maine, 3800 miles, 14 days, finally meeting some blogging buddies, even rode up Mount Washington in New Hampshire.  We did not want the vacation to end!

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online?  Belong to a local meetup group.  But since I am not into large group rides, or riding to bars…we basically only meet up with them at coffee and chats mid-week.  Otherwise, I have a plethora of blogging buddies to chat with, or live through vicariously.

Do you have a favorite riding story? I can’t think of one!!!  I just love riding and meeting people.  I love the looks of pulling up someplace on the bike and people realizing I’m a girl.  I love waving at kids staring at me from the back seats of cars.  I love the change in air temperature when crossing a river.  I love the smell of freshly cut grass (always ride lead through that ladies; otherwise it gets swirled up into your helmet.)

It isn’t all play, though.  We volunteer to be Motorcycle Marshals for the Multiple Sclerosis bike rides in Georgia.  It gets us out helping a great cause, cheering people on, and trying to keep people safe.  All while practicing our slow speed maneuvers.  It is such a rewarding experience.

We are talking about taking it to the next level and getting certified as Race Marshals.

Lori riding as a Motorcycle Marshal

What do you do when you’re not riding?  Work to support my growing addiction.  Daydream about the next vacation.

Thank you Lori for sharing your story! Ladies, I invite you to leave a comment and let me know you would like to join too. Ride safe friends.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Susanna a.k.a. @PinkyRacr

My next guest Susanna hails from Motorcycle Heaven, a.k.a. Los Angeles, CA. Follow her on Twitter @PinkyRacr (named because of her pink racing suit and formerly pink hair)! Susanna also has a blog named Pinky Racer! When you get to her blog you’ll see she also has a heart for sustainability – check out those links as well!

“Putting my 2009 R1 to her highest and best use at Willow Springs Raceway.” Photo courtesy of Motoyard.com

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Since 1985. 27 years minus a 4 year break in the early 90’s.

How did you learn to ride? I asked the guy who sold me my Vespa P200E, “How do ya work this thing?” I promptly popped the clutch and launched it into the bushes across the street. A few years later I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) Experienced Rider Course. Since then, I’ve taken a number of track schools, my favorite being California Superbike School.

What was your first motorcycle? 1981 Vespa P200E

How many have you owned?  Twelve. Hoping to make it 13 this year. My next bike will be electric- ideally both a Brammo Empulse and Zero DS.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? My friend Rob took me for a spin when I was 14 and I was hooked instantly. I knew I had to own one! I didn’t want a boyfriend with a bike, I wanted my own. I spent the year working my parents over until they relented and let me get a scooter because it seemed safer.

Tell us about your riding. I’ve always used my bike as my primary transport, but in 2011 I got into bicycles, and am riding my bicycle a lot more. I raced for 6 years until it stopped being fun, so now I just terrorize the streets of LA, local canyons and do track days whenever I can. I love riding to Monterey for Laguna Seca, and before I got this gas guzzler (2009 Yamaha R1 that averages 22mpg!) I rode to San Francisco and Las Vegas fairly often. When I have an electric bike for around town, the poor MPG of the R1 won’t be so bothersome.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Same advice I have for everyone. If you want to try it, go to MSF and take their weekend class. It’s the best way to dip your toe in and find out if riding is for you! The instructors are all very knowledgeable, so if they pass you, you’re ready to start riding. Then continue taking lessons, and practice, practice, practice! I was lucky, learning to ride in a quiet suburb, learning in the city can be intimidating, especially in LA.

I think people with urban bicycling experience are MUCH better prepared for urban motorcycling than people who’ve only driven cars. Get out and ride a bicycle whenever possible, ideally with more experienced urban cyclists at first, to get accustomed to having to be hyper-aware of everything around you. Then when you get on a motorcycle you’ll just have to get used to the sensation of speed, and shifting (if it’s not electric). If you feel the need for speed, take it to the track! I tell everyone to start with a track school. My favorite is California Superbike School. Their instruction is excellent, and they travel all over the country and to other countries as well. Many women I meet tell me they’re intimidated by track days and such, and I think CA Superbike School is a great place to start out. Although some women prefer just riding with women and there are track days for them as well. But I still think a reputable school is the best place to start out.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? 400 miles toSan Francisco. Many times.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? No, I just have a lot of friends who ride.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Too many to choose one favorite. Some are on my blog on pinkyracer.com. Pick your own favorite! I especially savor the ones from my favorite secret back road that I take to Monterey for the Laguna Seca MotoGP race each year.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I write about electric vehicles for gas2.org, do product development consulting for fashion designers, and I’m the Communications Chair for Net Impact Los Angeles. I also go to MotoGP races as often as possible.

Grant Ray of Hell for Leather was more than happy to oblige when I asked him to pose with me, because real men enjoy taking a back seat once in awhile! Photo Courtesy of Scottie Images

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Jess

Let’s hear it for all the female motorcyclists that have been profiled! And we are not done yet. My next guest is Jess from Eugene, OR. She is also know as @bmwgsgirl on Twitter as well as having a blog by the same name, BMWGSGirl!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I remember riding dirt bikes when I was young, but didn’t start riding faithfully until college.

How did you learn to ride? Trial and error. Most of my early experience comes from scooting around the University of Oregon campus on a Vespa.

What was your first motorcycle? My first two wheeled contraption was a 1964 Sears Allstate Scooter. My first motorcycle was a 2001 BMW F650GS, which I sold then re-bought then sold.

How many have you owned? Three Vespas, a KLR 650, and three BMW GS’s (650’s and a 1200).

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Initially it was for closer parking and the ease of finding a spot on campus! I had a boyfriend in college who was a Vespa geek (still is) and he got me hooked on scooters. We cruised through the street ofEugenelike we were cool. Now, I ride because I love the way riding helps put everything in perspective … you can’t worry about anything while riding other than what’s going on around you so I find it very relaxing. I love the spontaneity of riding … just getting on the bike and heading a direction with no particular plan other than to ride and to end up at a location. It’s the journey that is exciting, not the destination.

Tell us about your riding. I commute, go on vacations, and ride with a friend around the Eugene/Springfield area when he’s gracious enough to invite me. If I had a sidecar for my dog, Trout, I’d ride everywhere!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  Your biggest obstacle is fear. Go slow, trust and believe in yourself, and ride (and buy a bike) for the right reasons. Some people will tell you riding is dangerous or stupid. Don’t listen. Follow your heart above all else, in riding and in life.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I rode solo to Texas from Oregon in the summer of 2011 on a whim. I’d always wanted to do it but life always got in the way. I finally decided if I didn’t do it, I may never, so I packed up the bike and took off. A lot of people thought I was an idiot since I had no particular route planned, just a direction. I packed for camping and realized I was a huge chicken, despite the fact I had a gun with me! I met so many people, tolerated so much advice from strangers about a woman riding alone, and realized that often what holds us back is only ourselves and our doubt which often grows from listening to others who are trying to “help.”

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I’m an on and off again member of BMWMOA, and just joined an online forum called Ride44 at the advice of a friend. I’m finding the Ride44 forum to be a great way to tap into the knowledge of other riders and to participate in group rides if you choose.

Do you have a favorite riding story? My favorite stories are those that remind me that you have to laugh at yourself. I’m notorious for leaving my kickstand down and having strangers scream “kickstand!” and for being the one person who, when riding in a group, always hits the debris in the road when the person in front of me points it out. Doh!

What do you do when you’re not riding? When not riding, I’m an insurance investigator. I spend a great deal of time with my dog, Trout, who is a co-dependent freak. I also spend time volunteering with the Kilcullen Project and helping with the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride (motorcycle ride) in honor of Officer Kilcullen who was killed in Eugene while on duty. I am also working on my Masters in Criminology and trying to remember that life isn’t waiting on any of us and that every motorcycle trip in my mind is going to stay there unless I get moving!

Jess and her motorcycle

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Kathy a.k.a. ToadMama

My next guest is another woman who stopped by the blog and left a comment on one of the profiles (hint, hint ladies). I made contact with her and she agreed to help me out! So I’d like to introduce to you Kathy a.k.a. ToadMama from Warrenton, VA! She has two blogs, a Moto-blog Appalachian Tours and a personal, catch-all blog ToadMama’s Interstitial Space. Check them out!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Got my license at 18. Rode for a few years then stopped when responsibility/real-life knocked. I always missed riding, though. So I took it up again about 10 years ago.

How did you learn to ride? I taught myself. Back then, I didn’t know there was any other way. The salesman who sold me my first bike rode it home for me. I got my learner’s permit and rode it around the neighborhood for a couple of months. I had a neighbor who already had his license that told me what the licensing course consisted of, so I practiced those maneuvers, too. I think I only did one or two rides beyond the neighborhood, with a licensed buddy, before taking the licensing test. I was one of very few people to pass it on my first attempt. That was awesome enough, but being a girl and doing that, while all the guys immediately before and after me failed, was even better.

What was your first motorcycle? A Honda Rebel 250

How many have you owned? Four. The Rebel, a V-Star 650, a V-Star 1300, and a BMW F650GS, which is my current ride.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Because it was fun. I had a couple of guy friends in high school that carried me around as a passenger on rare occasions. I loved it.

Tell us about your riding. Pleasure and vacation. I work from home, so there’s no commuting. When I ride, it’s just for fun. We (Hubby and I) do take overnight trips periodically, but have three dogs, so day trips are more common.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Do it! Take the MSF safety course. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with a bike, get the feel for riding, learn the principles of safety, things to watch out for on the road, etc. Who knew manhole covers could be threatening, directional arrows are dangerous, watching what’s behind you can save your life, etc. Oh, and don’t start too small. You want to be comfortable and build confidence, but I quickly realized my little bikes just weren’t fast/powerful enough for me. Of course, I am tall so don’t have the seat-height issue many women have to deal with.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Um, probably our trip from Maryland down to the Smoky Mountains. Either that or the ride we did down through West Virginia, into Virginia and then Kentucky. I’d always wanted to see a bit of the real Appalachia. It was great riding.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Nope. Well, that’s a lie. There’s the BMW MOA, but I am not exactly an active member. They have a great magazine, which I read religiously, but I am not into the group thing. Somethimes I think that’s because I have a husband who also rides, so I am not always out there riding alone. Other times I realize it’s more likely because the whole club thing is too regimented for me. I love people, really. And I can be quite sociable. But enforced meetings? Largish group rides? Nah. Plus, there always seems to be one person in groups like that who is a real asshole, has a personality that grates on my nerves, etc. I prefer building my own little group of friends.

Do you have a favorite riding story? I’ve had lots of great rides over the years, but whenever someone asks about my “favorite riding story,” I invariably think back to our first motorcycle trip to Europe (a group tour). The riding is very different over there. People actually respect motorcyclists. Cars and trucks expect you to pass. They don’t try and run you off the road, they actually encourage it. Our group was going up one of the major pass roads, the sort that are full of switchbacks and hairpin turns. Because of all the turns, opportunities to pass are few. You have to seize the opportunity when you can. So after being stuck behind a car for several turns, when I saw an opportunity to pass, I took it. The “window” was narrow. I zipped past the car just in time to lean into yet another hairpin turn. It was very smooth, like the passing and turning were all one motion. That was sweet enough. But then later, when we stopped atop the pass to savor the views, a guy who’d been riding behind me was gushing a bit about the move I’d made (my turn) and how cool it was. It was pretty awesome.

What do you do when you’re not riding? Work. Ugh, which takes up way more time than it should. I write proposals for a clinical research organization (CRO). A CRO is not a pharmaceutical company, but we provide many of the services pharma companies need to run clinical trials. It’s interesting, but also very stressful. Always a deadline, never enough time to get everything done, and unpredictable days. Riding certainly helps de-stress from that. Your mind cannot wander too much while riding. Photography and reading are my biggest hobbies. I can’t forget blogging, which is actually sort of time consuming. I dabble a bit in sewing, too. And gardening (flowers). I’ve got three dogs that are my constant companions. And a husband. One or the other of us (usually him) always seem to have a home DIY project going on.

Kathy, her hubby, and her rides!

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 Kharon

My next guest is a friend of Donna’s and left a comment on her profile I posted. I was thrilled to read she wanted to join in and share her story (hint, hint ladies)! I’d like you to meet, Kharon a.k.a. Bibendum from the San Francisco Bay Area. I love the advice Kharon was given over the concern women have on the weight of motorcycles, but you’ll have to read that below!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Off and on for about 29 years, lots and lots since 2000.

How did you learn to ride? I have been riding as a passenger since I was old enough to hold onto the tank. When I was about 12 my Dad got me a dirt bike for Christmas and taught me how to ride (boy was my Mom pissed!). Started street riding in 2000 after completing the Motorcycle Safety Training Course.

What was your first motorcycle? Honda XR200 dirt bike

How many have you owned?  Four – Honda XR200 when I first started out. Harley XL883C after getting licensed in 2000. Traded up to a BMW R1200RT in 2006 and I currently own a 2009 BMW R1200GS.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Not to sound glib, but because it is fun … pure and simple. It also opens up opportunities to meet people and to really be part of the surroundings not isolated from it. I am always amazed how many people will approach me to ask questions and talk just because I am on a motorcycle; you are not hidden inside your car and it makes people feel more comfortable talking to you. I have met and talked to so many interesting people when riding, just because the conversation all started with a question about my bike, or where I was headed to.

Tell us about your riding. Commute frequently, always for pleasure and definitely for vacations as often as possible.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Get the proper training and just do it! I hear so many women say they want to ride but are afraid because the bikes are so heavy. The best advice I ever got was when a friend told me, after I voiced the same concern about weight: “You’re not gonna carry it, you’re gonna ride it!”

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Nine days through the Southwest, covering five states and approx. 2600 miles. It was life changing.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? No groups, although I did belong to the local HOG Chapter when I first got my Harley. I am on some forums, albeit infrequently; Pashnit, South Bay Riders, various BMW group forums, lurker on ADVRider.

Do you have a favorite riding story? There are many, but a recent funny one happened while on a five day group trip earlier this year; half way through our first day, and after going down Highway 1 to Cambria, the group stopped to see the seals along the coast. As I got off my bike and removed my helmet, I heard a guy from our group say to me “Wow, I have been following behind you and I had no idea you were a chick! You really know how to ride that thing. I should have known when you showed up on a guy’s bike this morning that you could ride that thing!”

What do you do when you’re not riding? Construction Project Management at Stanford University to pay for fun things. Other fun things: kayaking, fishing, photography, hiking and camping.


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!