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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 Sash a.k.a. @2MuchTina

I have another new cyber-friend I want to introduce to you! Her nickname is Sash and her Twitter handle is @2MuchTina. Sash is from San Diego, CA, but currently on what she calls “our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia, so I’m mobile!” Sasha and her hubby are on serious road trip. You can catch her adventures on her blog SashMouth

Sash riding in the California desert

Sash riding in the California desert

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Technically, I’ve been riding for 2 years. Actually, I’ve been consistently riding about 5 months. I got my license, but didn’t have my own bike to ride. I rode my hubs extra bike, a Yamaha Roadstar, but it was too heavy for me. So I took almost an entire year off of solo riding. I just started riding this last January.

How did you learn to ride? I took a course to learn and loved every minute of it. But I’ve spent many, many years riding pillion. First with my Daddy, then my high school boyfriend and now with my hubs.

What was your first motorcycle? My current motorcycle, Kawasaki Ninja 500, Katie Scarlet

How many have you owned? Just one! But I sold my Mercedes to buy her. I don’t even own a car now.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? My Daddy rode when I was a girl. He had many friends that rode and I wanted to ride with him all of the time. That feeling of flying, being free, never left me. I think it’s natural for most passengers to wonder from time to time what it is like to be the rider. But I always knew that one day I would ride. My time just finally came! Riding is the closest to being at one with my soul as I can get while still being alive. It is the most “alive” thing I do. Every sense is heightened and I take in all the world in a single breath while riding. I can’t imagine life without it now.

Tell us about your riding.  We are riding a 6-month motorcycle road trip around the U.S. currently. We ride about 250-300 miles a day, riding only a couple of days a week. We try to stay in one city for a week at a time and then go exploring while we are there. I love riding, but I deal with chronic pain from fibromyalgia, so I have to pace myself.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Ride your own ride. Don’t try to keep up with anyone, be like anyone, ride like anyone. Be You. Boldly Embrace Your Own Uniqueness and while doing so Ride Your Own Ride. Listen to advice, but weigh it with your own good sense.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I’m currently 3500 miles into our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia Trip, so that’s the longest.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I belong to a few online through Google+, but none offline yet.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Riding from Bisbee, AZ to the NM border on Route 80, I saw the most beautiful scenery. My hubs Highway was in front of me, and I followed him on this two lane road for over 100 miles, taking in all of the wilderness. I saw a snake slither across the road in front of me, I saw two deer, and then a fawn, simply munching in the meadows. But at one point we came over a ridge and all I could see for miles was golden grasses flowing in the wind. I’m from California, so we don’t see things like that. I started to weep, really weep, with gratitude that I was in that place, in that moment, being so grateful that beauty like this existed somewhere, always.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I’m an internet publisher, author, marketer, sales director, motivator and pain in my hubs’ ass. I spend most of my time writing or selling advertising. I give motivational speeches to groups, mostly women and with my hubs we coach clients to build their own blogs and earn an income from them. I’m the very proud mother of a 23-year-old beauty Olivia, who recently married the man who was made for her, David. My book, “Finding Christ Inside” was published in 2009 and it is my poetic narrative explaining that I’ve found spirituality within me, not within the confines of religion.

The many faces of Sash!

The many faces of Sash!

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!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Crystal a.k.a. @cbarnwolf

I am so pleased to be able to share another profile of a female motorcyclist courtesy of Twitter! My next guest Crystal, nicknamed Crys, was commiserating with me about missing the International Female Ride Day last Friday because of the weather. Crys a.k.a. @cbarnwolf (on Twitter, Instagram, and Plurk) lives in Central Wisconsin and was experiencing the same cold, ice and snow that hit here Minnesota. She is also blogs, My Crystalline Life. Crys admits she hasn’t updated it in a while, but it is on her to do list!

Meet Crystal!

Meet Crystal!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I’ve ridden on the back of motorcycles with my dad since I was in grade school. I thought I was the coolest kid in school when I’d get picked up on his white 1976 Harley full dresser. I started riding my own almost 17 years ago.

How did you learn to ride? I went through a rider class held at our local community college and spent a lot of time on side streets. I still feel like a beginner every spring.

What was your first motorcycle?  I bought a 1983 Honda 650 Nighthawk.  I had to have a friend ride it home because I didn’t have a license or the first clue how to ride it.

How many have you owned? I’ve had three motorcycles.  That first Honda got sold early on due to finances and having young kids running around. About seven or eight years ago I bought my 1986 883 Harley Sportster. Two years ago I traded my Harley in on a 2006 Honda VTX1300R. I bought the Honda so that I could start doing longer rides.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I have always loved motor vehicles of all kinds especially motorcycles and classic cars. I love the freedom I get when I’m riding. The feeling of being in control of my destiny. I decided to get my license when I got fed up with waiting around for someone else to take me for a ride.

Tell us about your riding. I do mostly commuter riding. I took a break from riding for several years when my children were younger. I am planning on doing more pleasure riding and eventually would like to take vacations on the bike.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? The main thing I’d like other women to know is the one thing that I wish someone would have told me when I got on that first bike. Which is “Yes, it’s scary and that is okay. But it is well worth riding through it. You can do it!”  The only advice I have is go take a class, get your license and just do it. The only regret that I have had is not riding when I could have.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest I’ve ridden hasn’t happened yet. I hope to do some longer rides this summer. But up until now the longest I’ve ridden is about three hours worth of back country roads around south central Wisconsin.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I don’t currently belong to any groups. I think online or IRL groups are great and I hope to be more of a participator someday. But for now I tend to do more lurking in groups as I have time and following people on Twitter.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Fortunately since getting my license, ridding has been mostly uneventful. However, my family’s favorite story about me and riding happened when I was 12 and taking a weekend trip to upper Michigan with my Dad. We went for a three day weekend with another father/daughter. The first afternoon we hit rain. It was storming so hard that the rain was going sideways and I couldn’t see the edge of the road. We ended up pulling into a hole in the wall bar to get out of the rain. We walked in to this place looking like drowned rats. I’m sort of surprised they served us. We had Pepsi sitting at the bar while drip drying. By the time the rain had passed we were mostly dry and got on our way. It was a trip of a lifetime for a young girl. However, as pre-teen girls are apt to do, the other girl and I stayed up late the first two nights giggling and laughing. By the third day, I was so tired that I was falling asleep on my Dad’s bike. Luckily for my he caught me as I fell so soundly asleep that I nearly fell off the bike. I scared myself awake and got a very stern lecture. Needless to say I was awake the entire rest of the way home. And my family still tease me about being able to fall asleep on a motorcycle.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I am currently busier than I’d like to be. I have two children, one that is grown and one that is half way there. I enjoy knitting and textile crafts. And if that doesn’t keep me busy enough, I’m going back to school for an associates degree in accounting.

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!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Polly aka Buellbunny

My next guest stumbled across my blog and was totally excited about finding stories about other women motorcyclist! Yay! And she wanted to share her profile too. Fasten your seat belts we are flying to the other side of the world to Puhoi Village, Auckland, New Zealand to meet Polly Whimp a.k.a. Buellbunny … and yes, that is her really named!

Polly and her baby!

Polly and her baby!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? At least 10 years

How did you learn to ride? We have to go through a learner course to get a proficiency certificate, then a year (I think) learner license, a year on a restricted license (means you don’t have to have the L plate on the back and can ride at night and go over 70 km per hour!) and then finally your real license. It is all a learning experience … the way I learnt to ride was with my best mate and partner, an avid bikist for many moons.

Polly and her man - it is a rare occasion to find her on the back of a motorcycle!

Polly and her man – it is a rare occasion to find her on the back of a motorcycle!

What was your first motorcycle? My first bike was a Yamaha FZR 250… I hated it and thought it would kill me.

How many have you owned? I have owned 4 bikes. The Yamaha FZR 250, Honda VTR 250 (I got rid of the Yammy and got this one … FAB bike to learn on), a Buell 500 Blast and my Buell Firebolt XB9R.

Polly and friend Suzy

Polly and friend Suzy

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I have always wanted to ride, but my parents said no, then when I got older my mother didn’t want me too, so I capitulated.  She was frightened for me … then I had a baby, so I had to put up with the responsibilities rant … and then finally I decided enough was enough and off I went! I actually was a pillion for a while until the chap I rode behind nearly killed us by speeding and almost splatting into a turning truck. That was when I decided that I would rather be in control of my own bike and there was the beginning of my life as a motorcycle addict!

Tell us about your riding. I used to commute because it was the cheaper option, although, even on the bike it was always stressful being in motorway rush hours every day.  My main use is pleasure and holiday riding now. My partner and I LOVE heading off camping … loading up the bikes with all manner of gear. The best ride was to the South Island of New Zealand … great roads, weather and places to stop!

At the start of a trip to the shores of Lake Rotorua

At the start of a trip to the shores of Lake Rotorua

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Go for it … but you have to be confident and make decisions quickly. Its not a thing for women who are timid on the road.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? It was 3 weeks down to the South Island of NZ. My dream trip is the US and Canada.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups?  I do. Kiwibikers.co.nz and Fat Bikers Motorcycle Club for fun.

Polly at Arthur's Pass

Polly at Arthur’s Pass

Do you have a favorite riding story? Every ride I have is great … but the South Island trip was the best … except for the day after crossing the Cook Straight and the weather turned foul. We got SO wet that we had to find a warm place to just get our stuff dry and warm up … we looked like drowned rats!

What do you do when you’re not riding? I am a designer and illustrator of kids books. We live on a rural property so another cool thing we like doing is getting out on the deck with a wine or sitting in the spa watching the stars.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Melissa aka @SnowKitten

Like the many facets of a diamond create the brilliance of a gem so the many profiles of female motorcyclists create a beautiful reflection of us – lady riders! I’d like to introduce another fabulous female motorcyclist, Melissa or as she is known on Twitter @SnowKitten! Melissa hails from Denver, Colorado and is also a photographer. Check out Blue Kitten Photography for some incredible images!

Melissa a.k.a. @SnowKitten

Melissa a.k.a. @SnowKitten

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I’ve spent my whole life around motorcycles. My dad has been riding since he was a teenager so I definitely grew up on the back of his bike. When I was nine, my stepdad taught me out to ride off road. I think that’s truly the point I was hooked. While getting a street bike was always my plan, it took me a lot longer than I intended and I had my motorcycle license for several years before I was finally able to get a bike. I’ve been riding a street bike since 2007.

How did you learn to ride? I started off riding 3 and 4 wheelers, but thankfully my stepdad felt I would do better with two wheels and was patient enough to teach me how to ride.

What was your first motorcycle? A Honda XR125

How many have you owned? Two

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? It’s exciting. It’s a sense of freedom. Very few things compare to riding through the mountains on a motorcycle. And I definitely can’t complain about the gas mileage. I’d rather get 55 mpg on a motorcycle than drive a Smart Car.

Tell us about your riding. I ride every chance I get. Monday through Friday, it’s my primary transportation for commuting. As long as it’s clear roads and at least 35′, I try to use it instead of my SUV. I also try and get as many pleasure rides in as I possibly can. Luckily, I live near the foothills, so there is plenty of scenic riding a short ride away.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Do it! It’s a lot of fun and you’ll be glad you did. But no matter what, if you’re wanting to ride street, take a class. It’s worth the money and your time. You will learn much more than just how to ride a bike. Don’t let anyone try to teach you. While they can teach you how to ride, there is so much more to riding a motorcycle than just keeping the bike upright and going. The second piece of advice I would have is don’t let anyone talk you into a bike you’re not ready for or not interested in. Some bikes are often labeled as beginner bikes or chick bikes, but if that’s what feels comfortable and that’s what you like, go for it. If you’re new to riding, it’s better to start small and work up to bigger bikes than to start with something that’s too big for you or makes you uncomfortable and therefore makes you not want to ride.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Unfortunately, I don’t have a cool answer for this one. I’ve put a lot of miles overall on my bike, but it’s still relatively close to home. The farthest I’ve ridden one way is to Estes Park, Colorado. So about 75 miles. My dad and I have gone on some around Colorado rides though that kills a tank of gas close to 200 miles.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Nope

Do you have a favorite riding story? Unfortunately, I don’t. More proof I need to take some bigger jaunts on the bike with friends.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I love spending time with my husband and our three dogs. I study and teach tae kwon do, I’m a complete shutterbug and love taking photos.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Dachary a.k.a. @DaiquiriC

I’m not sure how my next guest and I connected, but I’m guessing Twitter, @DaiquiriC her real name is Dachary – I really like that name, so unusual! Dachary is from Boston, MA and is also a blogger, Ain’t No Pillion. Follow her on both!

Dachary a.k.a. @DaiquiriC

Dachary a.k.a. @DaiquiriC

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? A little over 2 years – started in April, 2010

How did you learn to ride? My roommate at the time (now my fiancé – funny how life works!) rode and he was ATGATT and very safety oriented, so I took the MSF class. Crashed my bike the first time I took it out on the street, and that taught me cornering skills and to ride my own ride *real* fast. But I’d say I’m still learning to ride – constantly looking to improve my skills, beef up my offroad riding ability, and now I’m working on mastering a Ural with a sidecar, which throws a whole new wrench into the riding dynamic!

Bandido is loving the Badlands too

Bandido is loving the Badlands too

What was your first motorcycle? My first motorcycle was a used Kawasaki Ninja 250 that I bought off my roommate when he got a new bike. Can’t recommend them highly enough – the Ninja 250 is a very forgiving starter bike, and you can get ‘em pretty cheap used which means it’s not a big deal when you crash them! 😉

How many have you owned? I currently own bikes two and three: I upgraded my Ninja 250 to a BMW F650GS, and we bought a new Ural Patrol over the summer to bring our dogs along. Not a bad stable for someone who’s only been riding for two years! Each bike serves a different purpose and they’re very different to ride, but I love them both!

Dachary riding her Ural

Dachary riding her Ural

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I’ve always had a fascination with motorcycles. When I was a kid, my cousin and uncle raced dirtbikes (motocross) and they had actually won quite a few trophies, but they had also taken a ton of spills and broken a lot of bones between the two of them. Whenever we went to their house, I drooled over their dirtbikes but my family was vehemently against me taking up the hobby. Far too dangerous, and not something that girls did.

Dachary's curves

Dachary’s curves

Fast forward to 2009, and I caught a ride with a friend on the back of his bike (he was the guy who I eventually moved in with and later we got romantically entangled, but at the time I was dating another guy). We were riding in the city so we never got up to any real speed, but there was one corner we took just fast enough to get a bit of a lean… and I was hooked. I wanted to start riding right then and there, but the guy I was dating told the same old story: too dangerous!

Needless to say, we broke up a few months later, I moved into an avid motorcyclist’s spare bedroom and I was surrounded by bike-related stuff. For a few months that winter, we even had a Stella scooter in the kitchen. It didn’t take long before I gave in to my obsession with two wheels, bought the Ninja off the roommate when he upgraded to a bigger bike (also an F650GS) and took my MSF class.

I wouldn’t say I “wanted to ride” as much as “it became an obsession” – it was like a scratch I couldn’t itch. And the only way to itch it was to start riding!

Dachary riding

Dachary riding

Tell us about your riding. I ride because I have to ride. If I go for more than a week or two without a ride, I miss it. I ride for pleasure; I ride to run errands; I ride to get places (we’re a motorcycle-only household – Boston has great public transit, but if we wanna leave the city, it’s on a bike or rent a car). We both love bikes so our vacations are moto-oriented. We bought the Ural so we could bring the dogs with us on extended trips. If I had a commute longer than walking across the hall to my office, I’d ride. Basically, any excuse to ride – and plenty of times when I have no excuse but just want to ride anyway.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? My advice would be: just do it. Don’t let fear stop you from doing it. Don’t let men or family members who are well-meaning tell you that it’s dangerous and talk you out of doing it like I did for so many years. Start at whatever pace you’re comfortable; take a class if there’s one available; buy a cheap used bike to start so you don’t have to worry about dropping it; and gear up.

My first time out on the bike after taking the class, I low-sided at ~25-30MPH just a couple of miles from home. I was running a short errand to a nearby hardware store. But my roommate was ATGATT, so I made sure I had good, full gear before I started riding – and I wore it. It saved me from a trip to the ER and knee surgery. I was able to get up and ride the bike home, although I had to replace the pants because they were badly damaged in the crash. Good gear can save your skin and your life, and you can never predict what’s going to happen on the road, so gear up.

It was tired.

It was tired.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest trip I’ve taken was Boston to Ushuaia via Mexico, Central America and South America. It was around 18,000 miles, and we were gone for around 4 months. At that point, I had only been riding for like 6 months. It was absolutely epic – we definitely want to go back. We also want to do RTW and we’ve been loosely planning for that in the next year or two, but we really enjoyed the Americas and we keep talking about going back – South America in particular. So I don’t know what the next one will be. In the meantime, we satisfy ourselves with jaunts around the US – we did Boston to Colorado over the summer for a little over two weeks, and took the dogs in the Ural. (That was their longest moto trip, and they loved it! If you ever want to start a “Profile of a Canine Motorcyclist” – sign my guys up! 😉

Dachary at Perito Moreno Glacier

Dachary at Perito Moreno Glacier

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Yes! I love bikes, so when I’m not riding, I enjoy the opportunity to poke motorcycle forums. I’m a member of the Yankee Beemers, which is a local BMW club based in New England – they do a lot of fun rides, often involving breakfast or lunch at someplace delicious. I’m also a member of F650.com for my F650 (we went to Colorado for their High Country Summit meetup), Soviet Steeds for my Ural, ADVRider for motorcycle adventure riding stuff, and Horizons Unlimited for world travel stuff. Also the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) because I support their fight for motorcyclists’ rights, and they do some cool stuff.

Road trip

Road trip

Do you have a favorite riding story? Oh, tons. Let’s see… there was the time I cracked some ribs riding an enduro loop with some guys from ADVRider… and there was the time we lost the bf’s license plate in Colombia… in fact, there was this absolutely crazy road in Colombia… and there was this epic day in Mexico… or the flat tire in the Peruvian desert… or the time we lost part of the bf’s hydration pack in the Atacama Desert in Chile…

Alright, there may be too many to relate here. Maybe I should start on a book? [Yes!]

Waiting in the Pass

Waiting in the Pass

What do you do when you’re not riding? In my day job, I’m a writer. For fun, I write. I also love to read or watch movies about world travel, in pretty much any form – preferably motorcycle, but also bicycle travel. (Those guys are REALLY hardcore! Nothing but respect for them. But I prefer my bikes motorized. 😉  I also love cooking… and gaming. But not video games. Board games. Mostly European ones. Yes, I know that’s a bit old fashioned, but I find it more pleasurable to gather around a table and have a good time with friends than stare at a screen, which is what I do all day for work.

If I’m not out riding, reading about riding, or writing about riding, I’m probably cooking with my friends or playing games with my friends… or both!

She's smokin' baby!

She’s smokin’ baby!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Caroline

This past week we’ve met lady riders from Oregon, Wisconsin, India, back to Wisconsin. Today we are off to Kanata, Ontario, Canada to meet Caroline! You can find her on Twitter @CarolineLewy and I just found out she has a couple of blogs too! Maritime Adventure 2011 and Rocky Mountain High on our Harley’s 2012.

Caroline riding

How long have you been riding a motorcycle?  Just completed my 2nd year.

How did you learn to ride? My husband, Jim, got his motorcycle license the year before me and I automatically became a passenger. We travelled on his/our bike, a 2009 Harley Dyna Super glide that first year to Lake Placid, NY, Pittsburg, PA, New York City, NY and all around Ontario. It was so fun with our friends (who we learned to ride with), but I saw more ladies riding along side their husbands and wondered if I could do that too! Plus, my tailbone was killing me on those long road trips. The next summer, August 2010, I took the motorcycle safety course with my girlfriend and bought my bike, rode the rest of the summer until the snow flew!!

What was your first motorcycle? A 2011 Harley Davidson Sportster SuperLow

How many have you owned?  Only this one.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I Love adventure, trying new things and have always wanted to travel small town Canada and small town USA … alongside Jim! We have always been outdoor enthusiasts, whitewater kayaking, camping, and hockey!

Tell us about your riding. Mostly pleasure, vacation and to work sometimes.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? To have to ride everyday at first to build confidence and familiarize yourself with your bike and local roads.  Having a mentor is a great idea.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? This summer to Colorado, 7500 km (4660 miles) round trip.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I was a HOG Member when I first purchased my bike.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Well, riding to Key West, Florida, to Tennessee, (the Tail of the Dragon) and Mount Evans, Colorado. We met so many nice people along the way!!

Caroline and Jim

What do you do when you’re not riding? Work as a hairdresser in my own Beauty Salon, love to bake, ski, knit and walk.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Sue a.k.a. @Suzknight4

Don’t you love meeting new people? I do. That’s why I hope we never run out of lady riders wanting to sharing their stories! Whether they are a newbie like me or a road warrior with years of experience, I am always encouraged and gain new wisdom from each woman!

I met my next guest Sue, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in cyber space – Twitter to be exact: @Suzknight4. Also, check out her web site Vision Eye Art. It is a business where a unique optical company and art gallery come together in one location! Hum, who’s thinking road trip to Milwaukee? We have met a few friends from there. I can think of at least three fabulous female motorcyclist: Rania, Mary, and Beth! And now we can add Sue to that list! [Chime in if I missed you!]

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I had my first riding experience a long time ago. (As the baby sister with 3 big brothers, I had a chance to ride their dirt bikes as a kid). I later moved on to other things-windsurfing, canoeing, traveling and bicycling, and forgot about riding motorcycles. Then, 3 years ago, I became really obsessed with getting a motorcycle. I went with my gut.

How did you learn to ride? I took a class.

What was your first motorcycle? 1983 Honda Nighthawk CB650. The neighbor just happened to park it in front of my house, with a for sale sign on it, at the height of my urge to get a bike. Much like pets, he found me…

How many have you owned? Just the Nighthawk, so far. But I have my eye on a Suzuki Boulevard C50T.

Sue and her Honda 650 Nighthawk!

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I’ve always had a huge sense of adventure and a love of the outdoors. Wisconsin has beautiful rolling hills and scenic areas to explore. It’s an extension of my love of getting around by bicycle. Now, I can go farther.

Many years ago, my good friend and I talked about getting bikes. She did it. But I put it off, as I was about to start a family. Initially, I thought it would be irresponsible to ride a bike when my kids were so little. Now I feel that it is a powerful way to set an example for my two young daughters. I want them to grow up with confidence and the knowledge that women can do anything they put their minds to and live life to the fullest!

Look at these two sweethearts!

Tell us about your riding. As a small business owner and mother of two young girls, I have to squeeze rides in whenever I can. I do take the bike to work when possible. I get girls night out occasionally to go to “bike night” at the Harley-Davidson Museum and Iron Horse Hotel, two of the great offerings in Milwaukee. And I take short weekend rides with my friends.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Take a class, start out easy, and find a good group of people to ride with. Get out there and do it. It is a great feeling to ride.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I’m still waiting for that epic trip. So far, it’s just been day trips around the Kettle Moraine Forest and Lake country. The most I’ve done in a day is around 150 miles.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I ride with a local women’s riding club – RockerfoxMC (find them here on Facebook and Twitter). We go on rides and out to Sunday brunch to talk bikes, etc.

Do you have a favorite riding story? There was one Sunday when I cleared my schedule and convince some friends to ride, even though the weather forecast was not good. I think they agreed to join me just because I don’t get too many opportunities to ride, and I really wanted to go. It was a good ride until it came time to turn east to head home. There was a most intense bank of black clouds right where we were headed. I love a good storm, so it was pretty cool to see it looming before us. As we hit it, it was an absolute deluge of massive rain drops. I was really enjoying the feel of the rain, until we stopped for a friend who wasn’t seeing well, and then I realized how soaked and cold I actually was. I’m thankful that my friends put up with it. For me, it was a wonderful experience. I got home just as the sun broke through, and a beautiful double rainbow smiled down on me!

Double rainbow!

I look forward to many more years on the bike and a new adventure at every turn.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I enjoy traveling, spending time with my family, bicycling, going to the beach, camping, and water sports – kayaking, canoeing, wave running, swimming, boating, etc. I’ve been a windsurfer for years, and would like to try kite boarding next. I’m always looking for my next adventure. Maybe I’ll get a sidecar and take the kids on a cross country voyage.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Jayne

It is amazing all the wonderful lady riders that have joined in sharing their stories. From newbies to iron butts every story is filled with personal experience, wisdom, and the love of two wheels! I am so please to be able to share another story. Friends, I’d like to introduce to you Jayne, female motorcyclist from Portland, OR. She has a must follow blog A Broad Abroad Resources & Inspiration For Women Who Travel (or Want to!) and follow her on Twitter too @jayne_a_broad.

Jayne and her adventures!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I’ve been riding my own motorcycle since the summer of 2009, after being on the back of my husband’s motorcycle all over Europe for eight years.

How did you learn to ride? I took a four hour “sniffer” course in Germany in 2008, to see if I really wanted to learn to ride my own; the instructor was wonderful, and by the end of class, I knew I wanted to ride my own bike. Right after moving back to the USA, I took the basic rider course from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in the summer of 2009, and got my license immediately afterwards. Then I set riding goals for every month, such as a certain number of miles to complete, a certain scenario to undertake (riding in the rain, stopping on hills, etc.) or a trip to take. I also read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles, a really excellent book that filled in a lot of blanks for me.

What was your first motorcycle? A 1982 Honda Nighthawk 650. I rode it more than 11,000 miles in those two years I had it, including from Oregon to Jasper, Banff and Kootenay National Parks in Canada, Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone, and the Lost Coast in California. It was funny: every time I road it, men of a certain age – in their 50s or 60s – would walk over and start waxing nostalgic about the Nighthawk they had once upon a time. It was a perfect first bike for me – and I lost 25 pounds while I owned it, which meant that, by the time I sold it, I could sit on it and be flat-footed (I’m 5′ 4″). I sold it to a woman rider, which made me very happy – and I wept as it was hauled away.

How many have you owned? Just two. I’m now on my second, which I expect to have for many years. I switched to a KLR 650 in the Fall of 2011. It’s been a big learning curve: the bike is a lot taller than the Nighthawk, and much lighter. My husband, a Honda Africa Twin rider and experienced motorcycle traveler, lowered it an inch and a half, then bought a very expensive seat for it that would lower it another inch and a half. I also bought boots —  Irish Setter work boots, size 8 for men (extra wide) — that add at least another 3/4 of an inch to my height. I couldn’t find any motorcycle boots that provided the height I needed, fit my feet properly, and that I felt were safe enough for riding – so glad to have found these work boots!

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I had started thinking about it back in the 1990s, when I was in my 30s. I researched Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses – and then never followed up. I had thought of it as a fun, economical way to commute – I was living in Austin, Texas at the time. But I kept talking myself out of it. I so regret not getting a license then. I moved to Germany, met a really cute German guy traveling through Ireland by motorcycle (we’re married now), and he took me all over Europe on the back of his bike. I loved being a passenger (still do), but I also really wanted to learn to ride myself. I knew if I could learn to ride, we could take a lot more stuff with us on trips. I also thought I’d enjoy being a motorcycle rider – and I was right! My husband was super supportive. Unfortunately, to get a motorcycle license in Germany is *terribly* expensive and much more difficult than in the USA: you have to take a written test that is way, way harder than what we have to take in the USA. Also, my German is dreadful – although I could take the written test in German, the actual riding test is in German, and all of the classes I would have to sit through for several weeks would be in German as well. At one point, I was thinking of going back to Kentucky, where all of my family is and which has a treaty with Germany regarding driver’s licenses, staying for five weeks, taking the MSF, getting my license, and then going back to Europe and getting a German license – which, including plane ticket, would cost about as much as getting a license the proper way in Germany. But we ended up moving back to the USA in 2009 – I was in a MSF course just three months after arriving!

Tell us about your riding. Since learning to ride, I’ve put more than 6000 miles on my motorcycle each year. We do one big, two-week trip every year, and as many weekend, overnight and day trips as we can squeeze into our schedule. We like scenic drives, and love to stop at beautiful vistas, historic sites and quirky sites along the way. Camping is a special joy – other campers always come over to say something, to check out our bikes and our gear and to ask us about our travels. I get a lot of men saying they wish I could talk to their wives, because they haven’t been able to convince them to start riding on their own.

I also am ATGATT –  after seeing all the photos of road burn online by people that wear shorts and t-shirts while riding, I would never ride any other way.

My husband is faster than me. I told him long ago I’ll go my own pace, and he has the choice of following me at that speed, or going ahead at his own pace and waiting for me to catch up. He usually chooses the former. I am little Ms. Speed Limit. It’s not that I try to go the speed limit – it’s just so happens that the speed limit is usually as fast that I want to go. That’s so much slower than the majority of bikers want to go, therefore, I rarely ride with other motorcycle riders, except for my husband.

Most of the time, I’m riding with my husband. But I sometimes go on my own – to run an errand, to get my haircut, and a few times, on a ride of my own when he’s out of town. I’ve commuted to downtown Portland a few times, and found it absolutely wretched – traffic is horrific, and some of the stops, either because of traffic lights or traffic jams, are quite precarious – sharp hills, steep curves, etc. I also hate trying to park in a city. When I have to go downtown, I prefer taking twice as long via the bus.

We try to regularly practice on gravel roads – I want to be good enough to travel to some remote ghost town somewhere on back roads with confidence. I will never be a real off-roader – I accept that. I ride my own ride, and I don’t care if that’s slower or more careful than others. I’ve gotten a little flack from younger male riders who can’t believe I “don’t do more” with my KLR – I guess they think I’m supposed to be shooting up and dirt and gravel roads most of the time. I’m going to keep practicing on gravel roads, but I’m not aspiring to ride the Dakar Rally!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Everyone says this, and I totally agree: take a MSF class, or similar course, to learn to ride. A friend or relative is NO substitute for a qualified, experienced, trained teacher – the reality is that a lot of veteran riders have very bad habits they will teach you.  In addition, take a refresher course every couple of years – it will really sharpen your skills and identify bad riding habits. I have a lot more to say about getting started as a female rider, including how to choose a first bike, on my own web page on the subject.  

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? We take a trip of more than 2000 miles at least once a year. I think the longest trip was up into Canada, as I mentioned before. We’ve also gone all the way down to the LostCoast in California, and this year, we took two weeks and went all the way to near Yosemite, and then back up through Nevada to home.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I don’t. I’ve been to a couple of P.O.W.R. (Portland Oregon Women Riders) meetups, but since I ride most of the time with my husband or our friends, I haven’t really had time to do their rides as well. That said, I really encourage any woman who wants to ride to seek out such groups – it makes a really big difference to have lots of invitations to ride when you are a beginner.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Not really – they’re all my favorite!

What do you do when you’re not riding? I’m a consultant, helping nonprofit organizations here and abroad with communications, community/volunteer engagement, and management issues. In the last 10 years, my work has taken me to Germany, Afghanistan, Serbia, Australia, Egypt and Hungary. I also am a very slow bicycle rider.

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.