Tag Archives: Suzuki

Game Over

My motorcycling days are done. As I’ve been reminded several times lately, four out of four neurologist said no more riding. This week I sold my bike.

Saying goodbye to my motorcycle

Saying goodbye to my motorcycle

Not sure what is on the horizon for me or the blog. I’d love to hear your ideas. Should I still profile women motorcyclists? Y’all have been so great and I’ve connected with so many fabulous friends. Love to hear what you think.

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Snow, Seventies, and Motorcycles

I miss riding and the season has only begun! Today was in the seventies, sunny, and the windows were open. The sound of motorcycles filled the air.

Only in Minnesota do you have snow, seventies and motorcycles!

Only in Minnesota do you have snow, seventies and motorcycles!

Calling all Female Motorcyclists!

The riding season for me here in Minnesota is pretty much finished. I don’t have the gear to ride in the cold. Hubby and I were not able to do as much riding as we hoped. Looking forward to next year.

You maybe like me and winter is slowly descending upon you. You longingly gaze out at your motorcycle while bundled up in your winter woollies hoping for another sunny 50 degree day when a blast of cold air brings you back to reality. The optimist inside thinks it could happen it is only November. Sigh.

Here she is like a caged beast at the zoo, my Suzy Suzuki 650 VStrom.

Here she is like a caged beast at the zoo, my Suzuki 650 VStrom.

Focus Pam … this is where I turn outward to vicariously “ride” through all the fabulous lady riders I’ve met! And send a call out to meet more! If you are a female motorcyclist and would like to add your story to my series Profile of a Female Motorcyclist shoot me an email at pamela(dot)court(at)gmail(dot)com < trying to keep the spammers at bay!

Your story, your ride, your experience are all unique! We – your fellow female motorcyclists – need to hear your story too. xoxo

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Paige aka @Filosoficalfish

Delighted, that is how I felt when my next guest Paige a.k.a. @Filosoficalfish said yes to adding her story here on my blog! She lives in North Vancouver, BC and has a blog, The Philosophical FishOh my it is a must see and follow! Paige has quite a good eye behind the camera. Seriously.

Paige hanging out at the Cheakamus River

Paige hanging out at the Cheakamus River

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I was on my brother’s dirt bike decades ago, and often rode on the back of his street bike. I had a couple of boyfriends with motorcycles, so I spent a lot of time riding two up. So although I’ve always been around motorcycles, I’ve only been riding my own for about four years now.

How did you learn to ride? I played in the gravel pits out at our cabin on my brother’s dirt bike many years ago, and when we travel abroad we often rent scooters to explore. But my husband encouraged me to get formal training and get my full license, so I took a week long course with the Pacific Riding School in Surrey, BC. Spending so much time on a scooter made learning a bigger bike a cake walk.

Paige on her SV650S

Paige on her SV650S

What was your first motorcycle? Well, if we are splitting hairs, my first motorized two-wheeler was actually an Aprilia SR50 sport scooter, and I still have it. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it because it’s just so much fun and so perfect for around the city streets. It’s so easy to maneuver in heavy traffic and drivers don’t have the hate-on for scooters that they do for motorcycles. Win-win! Plus it keeps me on two wheels all year round.

How many have you owned? If you include the Aprilia scooter in the count, I’m on number three now. After a year on the Aprilia I bought a Suzuki SV 650S and rode that for three seasons and put about 25,000 km on it. It was a great bike to learn on, even though I’d really wanted to start on a Ninja 250. The SV taught me a ton and it was such a wonderful torquey ride in the twisties. Nimble and fabulous and we grew together since it had so much to offer.

I traded the SV in for a Ninja Z1000 just a few months ago and already have 8500 km on the new ride. It is a major jump in power and it’s been interesting; a lot more twitchy but we’ve become good friends.

Two of my favourite toys

Two of my favourite toys.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I didn’t. It honestly never entered my mind. Scooters were for vacation fun, and I was happy on the back of a motorcycle because we could have conversations while on the road. But getting a motorcycle of my own was a bit of a chain reaction event. I ended up with the scooter because I was trying to buy a new truck and had become frustrated with dishonest dealers. I killed two truck deals and went and bought the fastest and sportiest little 50cc scooter I could find instead. I had it derestricted and put a Leo Vince pipe on it. I can wind that little bike up to over 95 k/hr! My husband started getting misty eyed about missing riding, so I encouraged him to get a new bike. I’d been telling him to get one again, for years. But when he did, the one he chose (a Triumph ST) wasn’t terribly comfortable two-up.

He wanted me to get my Class 6 license “just in case”, so I did, with no intention of ever owning my own, and I’d clearly made that statement when I took my course in a room full of testosterone. Day one on the lot in the course and my instructor, a former supersport champ, just started laughing and pointing at me and said “YOU are sooooo getting a motorcycle!” He’d thrown pylons at my head, buckets of water in my face, and jumped on the back and pulled my helmet around and covered my eyes said he’d never seen anyone keep smiling and laughing the way I did while maintaining focus and total control.

I bought the SV two weeks later. The rest, as they say, is history, and Kirk says his plan worked magnificently.

Ninja at the top of Mt. Baker

Ninja at the top of Mt. Baker

Tell us about your riding. I commute on the scooter, it’s perfect for it. The Ninja is for pleasure and vacation riding. It’s great for a rip up the Sea to Sky or down Chuckanut Drive for fun, and with the luggage kit I now have, it’s perfect for long trips. And sometimes I get to combine the two and use it for work travel too. Can’t beat that!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Take a course, have fun, stay calm. Don’t get pressured into anything. You don’t have to feel that you have to keep up to more aggressive riders, or have a bigger bike. Don’t play the numbers game, it doesn’t matter. Riding is an individual thing, even if you are in a group.  Leave the ego behind, you don’t have anything to prove to anyone. And stop over-thinking and planning, just do it. The more you think about doing it, and the more time you spend planning, the more time you waste! Maybe it will be for you, maybe it won’t be, but there is no time like the present to try.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? We just returned from a nine day trip down the Washington and Oregon coastlines, and then back up through the volcano region. It was a fabulous trip full of challenging roads and incredible scenery. And just four hours after we passed through the North Cascades highway there were eight mudslides closing the road until further notice! We logged 3,456 km by the time the bikes were put to bed.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Not really. I’ve never really enjoyed group riding – sometimes the dynamics become too much about egos and that tends to irritate me. So offline, no. Online, I have been active in a group that has been advocating for better motorcycle parking in Vancouver (www.mcarking.ca), but that’s about the extent of things. Mostly I ride solo or with my husband, and occasionally end up with unplanned small groups when I accidentally come across friends on the way.

Do you have a favourite riding story? So many to choose from! But I think my fave was actually on the scoot. I was waiting a a light when a guy on a big cruiser rode up next to me and looked at my scooter and puffed up and said  “Maybe you’ll graduate to one of these one day.” I smiled and said, “Why would I, my scooter gets up to 95km/hr” and costs 4 cents per km to operate. His jaw dropped and he said “That goes THAT fast?!?” I nodded, beat him off the line and left him far behind in the causeway. 🙂

Never dis my little scoot!

Don't dis my scooter!

Never dis my little scoot!

What do you do when you’re not riding? I am so happy to do what I love. I work for the Federal Salmon Enhancement Program in British Columbia as a biologist. I work with the major salmon hatcheries to support rebuilding, conservation, and harvest opportunities for Pacific salmon. I am also involved in fish health education within the SEP program, and teach a few courses in the subject area at the University of British Columbia. Outside of work we are boaters and are switching from power to sail soon. I also love kayaking and downhill skiing, and am a hobby photographer.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Christie a.k.a. @Christieland

About a year ago I profiled Krystyna (KK), or on Twitter @KK352, a true lady motorcyclist! I tweeted once again asking for help finding more female riders and KK responded with a recommendation to contact her friend Christie a.k.a. @Christieland. I did and she said yes!! Christie has some amazing skills you can check out her blog Passed by a Chick!

Christie with her racing mechanic, Nikki Nienow

Christie with her racing mechanic, Nikki Nienow

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? 7 years

How did you learn to ride? MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation)

What was your first motorcycle? 2003 Suzuki SV650S

How many have you owned? 5

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I initially wanted to learn how
to ride simply to know the skill and see if I might like it.  I had this idea in my head it’d be cool to know how to drive well, ride a motorcycle, fly a plane, James Bond stuff like that.  In case I ever needed to make a quick getaway and that was the only vehicle around!

Tell us about your riding. Turns out I really liked it.  I had so much fun in my MSF class that I knew I wanted to buy a street bike.  I got the Suzuki SV650S and started joining group rides in the mountains and occasionally commuting through gnarly Silicon Valley traffic to my job at Google.

A friend suggested a track day, which turned into another track day, which turned into racing lessons, and then racing.  Four years later I quit racing, and at that point I was fast enough at Sonoma Raceway to qualify for AMA SuperSport but declined to make a run at the pros, deciding instead to cash in my chips and walk away in one piece.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  Take an honest look at your driving ability, if you can. Everyone says they’re a good driver, naturally.  But are you, really? Do you know how to drive defensively?  When unexpected things happen on the road, do you blame others, or think about how you could have avoided the situation better?  If you feel you’re a good driver and can also keep your ego in check, go for it.  For me, motorcycling changed my life.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle?  I rode my
niece’s boyfriend’s Harley from Omaha, Nebraska to South Carolina two
summers ago.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? No

Do you have a favorite riding story? They’re almost all favorites.

What do you do when you’re not riding? Ride my bicycle!  I race road
and mountain bikes now.  No more motor bike racing for me!  My
husband, a former pro motorcycle racer, and I are expecting our first
child in late August, so I’m not racing anything right now (except to
the bathroom, about a million times a day) but am still logging lots
of miles on my pedal bikes.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Grace a.k.a. @SeismicCoach

I am so glad on February 11, 2010 I decided to start this blog to chronicle my journey into motorcycling. It has not only recorded my story, but has opened the door to share other lady rider’s stories as well! We are such a beautiful and diverse group and I have another female motorcyclist to add. Please welcome Grace or on Twitter @SeismicCoach from British Columbia, Canada. Check out her web site Seismic Coaching.

Grace a.k.a. @SeismicCoach

Grace a.k.a. @SeismicCoach

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Two years, but missing this third season.

How did you learn to ride? I learned to ride with the fine folks at Pacific Riding School. I come from a road cycling and technical mountain biking background with some race experience. Some key bicycling skills translated naturally (with minor adjustments for a heavier bike) into motorcycling, including leaning and counter-steering, looking far ahead, looking beyond the turn, traffic awareness, braking concepts (front-wheel vs. rear wheel), and keeping an eye on road conditions.

What was your first motorcycle? A 2007 Suzuki Boulevard S40. It’s a great starter bike that, like me, was small and compact with a solid thirst for adventures.

How many have you owned? Just the one so far. Looking to buy the next one ASAP.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I’m an adventure motorcyclist at heart. I still love to mountain bike, but motorcycling takes adventure and travel to the next level. Everything about the open air appeals to my core – the smells, sharper focus and awareness, open to the elements, and even the dynamic “textures” of air during a ride – can’t get enough of it. At the time I got my Class 6 licence, I was several months into launching my own consulting business and had just finished Big Contract #1. Learning to ride anchored the deep-soul gratifying independence and flexibility borne of building a business. Now it permeates much of who I am and how my business grows.

Tell us about your riding. Every ride is pure pleasure regardless of purpose. I took a couple of short solo trips within the province and gained some new skills and confidence at Reg Pridmore’s CLASS course in Rosamond, California. I live in a more rural area with easy access to city centres. Many rides are about scouting different routes and back roads.

Duffy Lake loop

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?Taking the MSF course (in Canada, MSA, Motorcycle Skills Assessment) is a no-brainer.

1)     Try custom-fitted vented earplugs. It’s a personal preference and, given that I like long rides, I no longer get headaches from sustained loud noise;

2)     Although not imperative, solid bicycle handling skills can ease the transition to motorcycling. Just remember the front brake lever is on the right-hand side on a motorcycle.

3)     Age is inconsequential;

4)     There’s a reason that you’re curious about motorcycling. Listen to that inner voice. Take a stand for your curiosity and desire to keep learning. No such thing as a silly question as everyone had to start at Square One, including the pros.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest trip was an overnighter from the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia to Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The first day of the trip felt longer because Island weather greeted me with sun, rain, wind, hail, sun, clouds, sun, more rain, more hail… in July! Oddly, I didn’t mind it. The plan with the next bike is to take multi-day trips. With my business, I have the flexibility to take an extended trip and notify clients well in advance. I’m currently savouring the process of dreaming, planning, and researching that first big trip.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I’m a member of the LIME (Ladies International Motorcycle Enthusiast) group based in Vancouver, but I tend to ride solo or occasionally with a friend.

Do you have a favorite riding story? One of my favourites is the time I refueled at a quiet gas station in Fort Langley, BC. Imagine a petite woman, solo and gassing up, as an older gentleman with grizzled white beard and tousled hair limps toward her with a crooked, toothy grin. His first words were, “That’s a really nice bike. I remember my first bike when I was 15…” His was a love story of his first bike and the impact of riding throughout his life. I leaned on my bike and listened to the whole thing – wasn’t in a rush. I soaked in his every eye-twinkle, chuckle, and gesture. That could be any of us x years from now. Everyone has a unique and beautiful story, motorcycle-related or not.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I run, mountain bike, and kayak… oh, so West Coast! My business recently launched an initiative called Moto Leadership which brings relevant leadership development to professionals who ride motorcycles, although it’s also open to non-riders. The first event is slated for June 2014 in British Columbia, so there’s plenty to keep things hopping. And, as always, there are extended trips to plan!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Sofia a.k.a. @CandyStripes327

I’m so excited to be able to serve up another profile of a female motorcyclist! This time I have Krystyna a.k.a. @KK352 to thank for introducing me to Sofia. She is also known on Twitter as @CandyStripes327  or CVMA #327 at the track! Sofia is from San Diego, CA. Check out her racing profiles on BigHeadzRacing and GirlClutchRacing. Pretty cool stuff.

Sofia

Sofia

How long have you been riding a motorcycle?  Five years

How did you learn to ride? Motorcycle Safety Foundation

What was your first motorcycle? 2003 Suzuki SV650S

How many have you owned? 5 total; 1x Gen1 SV650, 3x Gen2 SV650S and 1x CBR600rr

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Initially it was all about commuting … but that only lasted a year. Now it’s a complete addition and I don’t want it to ever end.

SMMR T6

Tell us about your riding. Racing! I initially got into motorcycles because I needed to save money on my commute (30mi each way), with the intention of “never riding in groups”, “Never going to the track” or any such madness … let alone racing.

Now, I only ride track. I no longer had a street bike, but I am racing with Chuckwalla Valley Motorcycle Association and supporting SoCalTrackdays. I am considering racing other organization such MotoWestGP (Willow Springs), WERA (Las Vegas Classic) and maybe AFM (Buttonwillow). I would like to race regionally to support my sponsors better. Currently I am sponsored by Torco Lubricants, Snug Harbor Motorsports, ACT Racing, Impact Safe-T Armor, Bell Helmets, OCSuperbike, Podium Tire, Racetech Suspension, Woodcraft, Bazzaz and Livewire Energy.

girlclutch

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?

1. Do it. The sooner the better.

2. Learn from certified instructors; As much as you may love your significant other, the student/teacher thing will be strife. Avoid at all cost.

3. There is a lot of free advice out there… and it’s worth less than you would pay for it. A lot of guys try to impress girls on bikes with their knowledge of riding and most don’t know what they are talking about so take advice with a grain of salt.

4. If you can avoid it, don’t race the Same Classes as your significant other… more strife. I haven’t needed to worry about this one, but we did talk about it and agreed it might not be a good idea as we are both pretty competitive.

Jan-19-2013-CVMA Race 9 RG__4966

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? 300ish miles … been a while since I did a street ride.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? BigHeadzRacing: A group of folks connected through corner working for SoCalTrackdays, whom also share other interests such as getting together at the Regale Beagle or Mission Valley Starbucks in San Diego

GirlClutch: An all girl club lead by my friend Christin, CVMA #61, which is mainly a street riding group

GirlClutchRacing: Also lead by Christin and a subset of the aforementioned group, this group is targeted at Racing.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Winning my first sportsman class, Amateur Formula Twins, after working my way up from the back of the grid after a bad start, and lead the entire race up to the very last turn where 2nd tried to pass me on the inside and forced 3rd place off the track when I shut the door on him. It was my proudest moment and was my inspiration for bumping up to expert after only half a season as am amateur. I have been chasing faster folks ever since, but I am working my way closer and even placed 3rd as an expert.

baseOf12

What do you do when you’re not riding? I am a software engineer by trade, but I spent a lot of my free time doing much of my own work on the bike. I am also a bicyclist and I am looking forward to enjoying the off season with some surfing.

I definitely recommend that girls learn how to do simple maintenance on their bikes. Doing so will help with the skills of riding if you know mechanically what your bike is doing for you and foster a closer relationship with your machine. Honestly, I even talk to mine, and yes, I even name my bikes.