Tag Archives: New York

Failure Club Episode 80: Eric

What a lovely tribute. I found this on Yahoo, “Eric breaks-in his brand new bike on a road trip to commemorate his father.” It is a short video. Sorry about not being able to embed the code but I couldn’t seem to get it work.

Check out the video here.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Rachael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rachael a.k.a. Fuzzy

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Kari

I don’t know about you, fellow female motorcyclists, but I seem to not fit the “mold” of what people expect. Meet Kari from Orange County, NY; engineer by profession and motorcyclist by choice! Mold breaker extraordinaire. You can find and follow her on Twitter @karinajean! Check out her blog, karina jean | crafts, books, fish sandwiches, motorcycles! and other shiny things, you’ll find lots of things that make you smile!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? This is my third year!

How did you learn to ride? I took the MSF/Riders Edge course.

What was your first motorcycle? I rode for a full season on my partners SV650. The first motorcycle I’ve owned is my current DRZ400SM.

How many have you owned? Just one!

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I took the course because my partner loves riding and I wanted to give it a fair shake. Once I learned to ride, I found out that I am also really into motorcycling!

Tell us about your riding. I have a 90 mile/day commute and it’s so much better on a motorcycle than in a car. We do at least one long (week+) trip with friends every year and lots of weekend trips. I would LOVE to do track days but that’s got to wait for a couple of years while we spend our money on more immediate concerns like fixing up our house. Sigh. Adult decisions!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Ride your own ride, stay strong and open to new and educational experiences, wear your gear, and get as much training as you can. You’ll be amazing.

And watch out for well meaning advice. Lots of people will tell you stories about their friends who have wrecked – I think women get this more than men do – and it can be really frustrating to feel like your decision to ride and the preparation you’re taking to mitigate the inherent riskiness of riding a motorcycle isn’t trusted by your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Surround yourself with thoughtful participants in motorcycling if you can – either in real life or online – and trust your instincts.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? In 2010 we rode through eleven states in eleven days. We covered about 2500 miles. My ride report is here.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? I love the forums at twowheelfemales.com and participate there a lot. I also ride with a small group of friends – at a minimum, we do our annual long vacation ride together – and we blog at The Rainmakers when we’re away. And I love keeping up with other motorcyclists through blogs and twitter!

Do you have a favorite riding story? In 2010 we were at Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, and at one of the Harley dealerships we stopped at I had a hilarious encounter. Now, I am fairly scrappy looking on the bike – full power ranger gear, with riding pants and a filthy white jacket. I ride a supermoto bike so it looks like a reject from the Planet Dirt Bike, and I have a “hat box” (top case) on the back at all times to carry my stuff. My helmet is white and at the time had a red racing stripe made out of sparkly tape. I was out of place at this dealership, and there was a big guy sitting on a bench with his biker buddies who agreed, and gave me a hairy eyeball as I got geared up to ride off.

As I got ready to start my engine I deployed my secret friend-making weapon – I rang the bicycle bell that I have strapped to my handle bars. That big biker dude? He LIT UP. He cracked a big smile, nudged his buddy on the bench, and said “I’m going to get one of those!”

The moral of my story is: No matter how different we look on our bikes, there’s a basic joy of motorcycling that we all share. Even if some bikers try to cover it up with extreme toughness. 🙂

What do you do when you’re not riding? I’m an engineer who works in sustainability and environmental remediation.

Kari: I’ve got red hair, but I’m a little bit more pippi than pin-up. Arm-wrestling, anyone?