Tag Archives: Suzuki

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.

Another New Experience, Make that Two

Happy day! Hubby was off this past weekend. It only happens (mostly) every other weekend. We usually try to pack a lot into those days off together. This past weekend was no different. We knew that Sunday we were having a friend over so that meant Saturday would be our riding day.

We woke to chilly temperatures so we waited until 11 a.m. to head out. Hubby is the navigator – trust me you’d never want to follow me because I get lost in the parking lot! But I digress … we headed out on a new route to our favorite lunch spot, Romayne’s in Taylor Falls.

It started out as a lovely ride. The sun was out, the roads were clear, and the bike was running great! We were about 10 minutes into the ride when I began to notice the wind. I was thinking it was because we were out riding in some open areas, but the further we rode I realized we were riding in some pretty strong wind.

I was never so happy to see the sign welcoming us to Taylor Falls! We parked the bikes and off to lunch we went. After a leisurely lunch we headed home. In town the wind didn’t seem so bad. I was hoping it was dying down, but that was wishful thinking. Not a mile or two out of town I could feel the blast of wind.

It was the strangest wind ever. It came after us in all directions! The cross wind would cause me to feel like I was leaning into a turn on a straight away and then it would suddenly shift to other direction. Talk about needing to be focused while riding.

I’d like to stop and thank the many unknown vehicle drivers around me. There were a few that crept up my backside, but for the most part they had my six and gave me space. One guy in a Cadillac passed us, in my opinion, rather recklessly. Again, he was the exception not the rule. I’m guessing from the rear you could tell I was being tossed around.

Back to the wind. One of our first rides out this year we face some pretty stiff wind, but it was constant and from one direction. The wind we faced Saturday was incredibly shifty and strong. We never seemed to get it to our backs, ever!

When we arrived home I checked the weather and we were experiencing 20 – 25 mph winds. Yup, I concur strong winds. Well chalk that ride up to a new experience. I was very thankful to arrive home safe and sound.

We were planning on heading out again to church since the winds seemed to be calming down. I was pulling my VStrom out of the garage when I lost my footing and fell over. Yes. I kept the motorcycle upright in the 20+ mph winds, but couldn’t back it out onto the driveway. (Why don’t motorcycles have reverse?) Crunch went the left turn signal.

A small bruise on my knee, a $63 replacement part, and an ego that is crushed about sums up the situation as hubby rescued me and the fallen motorcycle. Church will wait until tomorrow morning as hubs is putting the pieces together again.

P.S. We did ride Sunday to church with no incidences and winds were clocked at 3 mph.

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 Mary a.k.a. @Murphdak

Sometimes I wish I knew more about technology than I do because right now I would be playing a soundtrack for you that sounded like a pig squealing with delight! Unfortunately, my tech skills lack, hence the ugly blog, and so you’ll have to use your imagination for the soundtrack.

Regardless, I am so happy >squealing< to introduce to you another female motorcyclist, Mary from Milwaukee, WI. She is also known as @Murphdak on Twitter. That’s where I connected with Mary (hint, hint: follow her on Twitter)! I offer to you another fascinating lady rider for y’all to meet!

Meet Mary a.k.a. @Murphdak

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? 13 seasons

How did you learn to ride? I bought my first bike, a Suzuki GZ250 in 2000, got my learner’s permit and practiced in the church parking lot next door.

What was your first motorcycle? Suzuki GZ250

How many have you owned? 1 Suzuki, 3 Hondas, 2 Kawasakis, and 1 Harley, so seven! I bought my Harley Sportster 1200 Low in 2008 and have been riding it ever since.

Mary with her Harley Sportster 1200 Low

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I have since I was a little kid when my male cousins had them. I was always fascinated by vehicles so I would drive whatever I could, whenever I could. That came in handy when my father started farming. I was always willing to ride the tractors, snowmobiles, Bobcats and other various machines.

Tell us about your riding. I have been a commuter rider for years with one or two rides of about 200 miles roundtrip a year to my family’s houses. I have since been riding more, yet still commute to work. What beats a ride in the morning and a ride going home from work five days a week?

Nice commute!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? If you really have an interest in riding, pursue it! I also suggest taking the training course offered by many establishments. It is invaluable and you will use it every time you get on the bike.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? This past Memorial Day I went on a four day, 750 mile trip to and from the Mississippi River and around WI from Milwaukee.

Mary on the road!

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I am one of the founding members of RockerFoxMC. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook. We are a riding club mainly to encourage female riders to have a comfortable environment to ride in with other female riders. I will ride with anyone, however!

Do you have a favorite riding story? I do. The first time I went on a long trip to my sister’s house (100 miles) I was riding with my husband’s co-worker and my husband was tailing us in the car. My husband is very protective so the two of them had walkie-talkies hooked up between each other to monitor my progress … Oh, brother! Anyway, one thing that I did not expect was a giant hedge-hog to come waddling right into my path as I was riding 55 mph. I saw it just as it made it safely to the side of the road. Whew! It was a good ride even though I was a little nervous, but my husband was told that I was a very good rider by my riding partner. He’s been supportive of my hobby ever since.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I am a graphics services manager for a printing company in Milwaukee. I love music, books, travel, animals and, of course motorcycling.

Harley Davidson

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Joanne a.k.a. Jo

I’m excited to be adding another profile of a female motorcyclist! I was introduce to Joanne through a gentleman that stopped by the blog to let me know that a blogger was plagiarizing my posts, as well as his and others! Glad Geoff James let me know because after contacting Google about the incident the post has been taken down. I recommend that you check out Geoff’s blog too, Confessions of an Aging Motorcyclist. Back to my point, Geoff knew of a couple of lady riders and I asked if he’d pass along my information to them. He did and Joanne responded!

I’m thrilled to introduce to you Joanne, a.k.a. Jo from Christchurch, New Zealand. She recently emigrated there from Kenilworth which is a little town in Warwickshire, England. She’s doesn’t blog yet, but says she’s coming around to the idea! (Jo – do let us know when that happens!)

Jo on her VFR

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Just had to check that one – my licence says I passed my test in 2002 but I was riding a 125cc bike on a provisional licence for about a year before that. That would have made me 33 years old when I first threw my leg over a saddle. Hey, just realised! Missed my ten year anniversary!

How did you learn to ride? This is a familiar story – I was a pillion passenger on the back of my husband’s bike. I’d never even considered riding a bike earlier in my youth, despite the fact that my older sister had a short lived but eventful experience with her own bike. Maybe her not so pleasant experience put me off? Anyway, hubbie is a lifelong biker and I was an occasional passenger until he bought a bike that would tolerate carrying a pillion in comfort for a few hundred miles (that was a 1200cc Suzuki Bandit). After many journeys and many hundreds of miles on that marvellous machine I realised that firstly, I had a numb backside and a terrible view of the back of his helmet and secondly, he wasn’t doing anything that I couldn’t. I’ve since learned that actually he can do stuff that I can’t but I was ignorant of that at the time! In the UK, you had to do something called a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) before you could get a provisional bike licence. That was basically a bit of theory followed by basic manoeuvres in a car park on a low power machine and then a brief road test.  Anyway, the very first minute I revved that little 125 and let out the clutch I knew I’d found my vocation!

What was your first motorcycle? I bought a Suzuki GS125cc with an electric starter because I couldn’t always kick start my husband’s leaky old Honda CG125. That was what I learnt my trade on and meanwhile I was taking lessons on the riding school’s 650cc bike which I think was a Honda NTV. As learners we were only allowed out on a ‘big’ bike whilst being supervised by an instructor in radio contact. Imagine the disappointment of having to ride home on the 125 after a lesson! After I passed my test, I bought a Honda CB500, a parallel twin engine, beautiful red paint work and the only machine I have ever really loved!

How many have you owned? Not many. When I realised I kept hitting the rev limiter, the CB500 was followed by a Honda CBR600F, and that was followed by a Honda VFR800 when I realised I wanted a bit more ‘grunt’.  Now I’m in New Zealand and looking for the next bike – might not be a Honda this time!

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle?  Initially – speed!  But after that there was the thrill of being in control of a machine that transports you with ease past all the traffic.  That wonderful feeling of having tackled a series of corners or overtakes with poise and control is what I ride for now.  There’s also the joy of having a connection with the landscape you’re riding through.  You can feel the wind, the sun, the rain, smell the countryside, see over the hedgerows into the fields and watch the horizon unfold all around you.  All of that is difficult from inside a tin box!

Tell us about your riding.  It’s been mostly a leisure pursuit for me although I did commute in the early days when I needed as much practice as I could get. I joined the Institute of Advanced Motorists when I bought the CBR600 because I realised I needed to up my skill level. I passed their advanced test in 2004 and became a volunteer observer with the local IAM group, helping other riders achieve advanced standard. It gave me a great incentive to get out on my bike in all weathers. I was the only female observer at that club until 2011. My husband and I took a few holidays on our bikes and I have also been on a track day, but that wasn’t really my thing.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  You’ll love it, just do it! Do get some good tuition from a reputable organisation or instructor. In terms of some useful specific advice:

  1. Think before you park – don’t ride into a position where you’ll have trouble getting out again, bikes don’t have a reverse gear!
  2. Everybody, absolutely everybody, has dropped a bike sometime – don’t worry, get crash bungs!
  3. Practice slow riding and emergency stops in a safe environment, preferably with someone who can give you some pointers about how to do it correctly.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I regularly did 300 or 400 mile trips on ride outs in the UK.  My husband and I also took the bikes to France a few times and our furthest trip was from Leamington Spa in the UK to Annecy in the French Alps, about 800 miles over a few of days. I have to say I don’t have an iron butt!

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? I was a member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Advanced Motorcyclists group which was a subgroup of the Institute of Advanced Motorists. We provided coaching for motorcyclists wishing to improve their skills and arranged social rides and social nights for bikers of all abilities. It was very rewarding to be able to impart some wee nuggets of information and instantly see a huge difference in a rider’s skill and safety.

Do you have a favorite riding story? I suppose the most ‘educational’ episode was the one when I fell off whilst on an advanced level social ride. We try not to make a habit of it but now and again it does happen! On this fine, sunny day we were riding through some tiny, rural lanes that were really only ever used by farmers. Most of them had grass growing in the middle of the tarmacadam. This winding road dipped and went under a bridge and to get a better view ahead I moved from one side of the road to the other.

Unfortunately, there was a damp microenvironment under the bridge where mud had gathered and remained wet and slippery when the road elsewhere was dry. Although I had noted the dry line on either side of the road where the traffic had passed, for some stupid reason I still thought I should change my position for better visibility. Well, the front wheel hit the mud and slid, then the back wheel hit and did the same and I watched in slow motion from midair as the bike went down the road on its side. We were going pretty slowly down these little lanes so I was probably doing no more than 30mph. I was thrown onto the verge but not without bruising my knee on the handlebars on the way and cracking a rib on landing.

I can honestly say that my first thought as I watched the bike slide along for quite a few yards was, ‘This is going to be expensive to repair!’ Luckily the guy behind me was a trials rider and, although he was on a big Pan-European that day, his superior skills meant that he managed to avoid making things worse by running over me or colliding with my bike. The last thing I heard over my helmet radio before the power lead was pulled out of the socket was, ‘Man down, man down!’ Oblivious to the panic that my husband would be feeling when he came up from behind and saw my bike on its side, I got to my feet and went to apologise to the run leader for spoiling his ride out.

When the dust had settled, we realised that my gear lever was broken but any other damage was cosmetic. The rest of the group continued their ride whilst my husband rode my bike home using second gear only. That meant I had to ride his bike, an 1100cc Honda Blackbird, for the first time and in shock after losing control of my own bike. Bless him for trusting me then and continuing to trust me now! We made it home without further incident and I used that event as a teaching aid many times afterwards.

Never forget! When positioning your motorcycle, ‘safety, stability, and then sightline’ in that order is the rule of thumb to follow!

What do you do when you’re not riding? I earn a living as a scientist; I manage a biological containment facility and coordinate research projects in microbiology. In my leisure time I like to travel (not always by bike!), read, spend time outdoors hill walking or gardening and I also spend a lot of time on the internet!

21st Annual International Motorcycle & Scooter Ride to Work Day

Ride to Work Day June 18, 2012

For more information: http://www.ridetowork.org/


Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Juju

I am so pleased my next guest stopped by the blog and left a comment! Another female motorcyclist to profile!! I’d like you to meet Juju from the Florida panhandle and she is on Twitter @Juju821.

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Scooter since 1980, motorcycle since 2006.

How did you learn to ride? With the scooter, I just hopped on and figured it out. You know—you think you can do anything when you’re in your 20s. But when I wanted to get started on a motorcycle, I took the basic riders’ course at the local Harley Davidson shop, at the tender age of 53. Then my husband picked up where that left off, since, as they say in the class, this qualifies you to ride your bike in a parking lot. So there was lots of practice afterwards until I felt comfortable.

What was your first motorcycle? A used Suzuki 800 Intruder. It was 13 years old when I got it, and it was a great first bike for me.

How many have you owned? Two, including the trike I have now, plus the Garelli scooter when I was in college.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? My husband and I rode his Kawasaki together when we were dating, but then we didn’t ride much after we got married, bought a house, etc. Then in the late 90s, he got another bike, and he was having SUCH a great time riding. But as we’d gotten older and grown into our own personalities more, we found that neither of us wanted me riding pillion behind him. But I told him that if he was going to ride as much as he wanted to, I was going to have to be involved somehow. By the time I’d finished the basic riders’ course and got the motorcycle endorsement on my license, he had hunted down the Suzuki for me to buy.

Tell us about your riding. Pretty much everything but racing.

I commute to my teaching job at a small state university on my trike whenever the weather allows—my students seem to love it that I ride, though I’m not sure why. Maybe just the novelty of it.

We do a lot of day rides: Sunday brunch rides, beach rides, rides to dinner, rides to visit friends.

But my favorite is our now-annual ride to the Blue Ridge Mountains in June for the Trike Talk Rally, sponsored by TrikeTalk.com. Of course, it’s mostly trikes, and it has grown in its five years from a handful of trike-riding friends meeting for lunch to a four-day event attended by several hundred riders. We do allow a few token two-wheelers for diversity’s sake. 🙂 There doesn’t seem to be a bad road to ride in that area. We like the Tail of the Dragon for a fun challenge, and the Blue Ridge Parkway of course is gorgeous. My favorite road in that area, though, is the Cherohala Skyway, and I’d ride it every day if I could. There’s also the Foothills Parkway, Sweetwater Road, and as I said, I don’t think there’s a bad road for riding in that part of the country. The four days of rides and the fellowship with other riders cannot be beat, and it’s become a highlight of our summer activities.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? I think you could not do better than to take the basic riders’ course sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Spouses can be great teachers, but they can’t always be as objective, unbiased, or patient as a rider coach can be.

And be of good cheer! When I was in the course, I thought, “Clutch, shift, friction zone, head and eyes, rear brake, front brake, watch out for nutty drivers…There’s no way I’ll be able to remember all this, AND enjoy myself out on the road.” But you know what? I did learn it—and now I love it. Just be willing to put in some good practice time even after the class is over.

Another thing: if you EVER decide that you want a trike, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not a “real” motorcycle. So, what, it doesn’t have a motor, or it’s not a “cycle”? Just laugh in their face and ride off to have fun on your trike.

What is the longest trip that youve taken on your cycle? Last year, we extended our trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, riding on up the Blue Ridge Parkway into Virginia, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. For an occasion like that, some people go to Paris, some go to Rome, but not the Youngs—we took a motorcycle trip! Between getting there, all the riding we did on the gorgeous, twisty mountain roads, and getting home, we covered roughly 2500 miles. We visited with old and new friends, discovered the North Carolina wine country, scaled the upper reaches of the Blue Ridge, and were treated to some of the best scenic views east of the Mississippi River. What a ride!!!

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? TrikeTalk.com is currently the only riders’ group to which I belong, but it is the best. I’d encourage anyone who is interested in trikes, either as a current rider or a potential one, to visit the site and have a look around. It’s one of the most friendly and supportive Internet sites I know.

Do you have a favorite riding story? It’s a short one, but a good one! Last summer, we had stopped overnight to visit the lovely Sheldon Vineyards in North Carolina. We’d toured the winery and had the most delicious and graciously but simply served dinner at the vineyard restaurant, overlooking the chef’s huge and copious garden and behind that, of course, the vineyards. Full of delicious local wine and melt-in-your-mouth veal porterhouse accompanied by the chef’s fresh greens, we wandered back to our bikes for the short ride back to our hotel.

But a storm was clearly in the offing—we could smell the rain already. So instead of rooting around in my trunk for our helmets, we just saddled up and headed out. We virtually flew back along the narrow country road (only a couple of miles), hoping we wouldn’t get caught by either the approaching storm clouds, and hoping we wouldn’t get caught

What do you do when youre not riding? I teach English at the University of West Florida in the Florida panhandle, I read a lot, spend time with my husband and our dog, travel as much as I possibly can, and love to bicycle, 50-90 miles a week. Yes—it’s all about the wheels!

Juju and her trike!

P.S. Ladies I’m still taking names for profiles! Just leave a comment letting me know you would like to join in on the fun.

Motorcycle Ride to Taylor Falls, Minnesota

What a beautiful day to take a ride with hubby on our motorcycles! We decided to head out to Taylor Falls, Minnesota.

Our route to Taylor Falls, MN – 100 miles round trip

The ride  there and back was wonderful. Slightly windy, but nothing like the wind gust I experienced a couple a weeks ago. You know the kind that throw your head back if you’re not paying attention! We saw lots of other riders. Love getting the head nod or the hand signal as you pass.

When we pulled into town there were motorcycles all over the place! I snapped a few pictures of some of them. Take a look!

Captured some of the motorcycles we saw today!

We parked the bikes and scoped out a place to eat! We chose Romayne’s because they serve charbroiled burgers.

We dined at Romayne’s in the outdoor garden.

While we ate some very yummy burgers we watched the all the bikers riding up and down the street. I did see a lot of women riding solo today. Unfortunately, most of them were not ATGATT.

Typical of the riders I saw today – partial gear!

Of course you can’t leave town without having some ice cream! And there just happened to be Schoony’s Old Fashion Ice Cream across the street – dessert is in my future!

Yay! An ice cream place right across the street!!

Not only did I get dessert, but hubby bought me a pretty necklace to commemorate the trip!

Here’s our VStroms, us, and the necklace I got today!

Then it was time to head home, but first a stop at Franconia Sculpture Park. What an amazing park! An eclectic collection of art, a huge play area for kids, an amphitheater, and clean bathrooms!

Franconia Sculpture Park

In the middle of one section of the park, there was preparation for a wedding. What an unusual, but awesome setting!

A group was setting up for a wedding ceremony in the park too!

What an enjoyable day! I hope your Saturday was awesome too!!


Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Pam a.k.a. Helmet or Heels

A couple of friends pointed out I don’t have an about section on my blog. Actually, I don’t have a lot of things I’d like on my blog (insert jealous rant about blogs like the beautiful FuzzyGalore.com  or all the eye candy Chessie’s Tales, Motorcycles and Rides posts or how Princess Scooterpie posts about the cool people she rides with … sigh, I’ll stop now.) but it has been functional for me.  Today’s Profile of a Female Motorcyclist will be about me. You can find me here on my blog or on Twitter @helmetorheels too!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? April 26, 2010 I passed the MSF course and test! It cold and rainy the whole weekend I took the class. But I was so excited I hardly noticed because I was bit by the bug to ride!

How did you learn to ride? After hubby and I married he started to teach me to ride. Back then it was not common for women to pilot. We sold the motorcycle before moving to Minnesota so I never got too far learning.

What was your first motorcycle? I shared a Honda 750 Nighthawk with hubs until this year.

First day of riding on the Nighthawk hubby and I shared!

How many have you owned? Shared one. Owned one – `05 Suzuki 650 VStrom.

My current ride, `05 Suzuki 650 VStrom

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Well, it all started with a trip to the Mall of America (you can read that post here).

Tell us about your riding. The first year I rode mostly by myself trying to get experience on the motorcycle. I took the motorcycle to work a few times and on weekends when my husband worked I took it out on the back roads around our home. I only rode a couple of times my second year because of health issues. This year it has been different – yay – I’m ready to get back a motorcycle and we were able to purchase a bike for me! I trying to get out there as much as my schedule will allow!! Yippy!!

My new girly jacket!

 What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Fear of the unknown keeps us from trying many things. Don’t let that happen to you. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has incredible instructors teaching classes (remember Colleen) across the U.S. where no experience is needed. Passing the State of Minnesota’s permit test was a prerequisite for the class.

The other bit of wisdom I’d suggest is learn how to pick-up downed motorcycle. Take it from my experience of dropping the bike in the middle of no where, riding alone, and realizing I can’t pick-up 500 pound bike. (Read about it here.) In the end I was told there is a technique to pick-up a motorcycle and I saw it demonstrated at the International Motorcycle Show.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Recently hubby and I road to Stillwater, MN over 100 miles round trip.

Stillwater, MN

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Nothing off-line. Joined an online group, but haven’t really interacted with the community yet.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Well, it has to be my recent day trip to Stillwater, MN. It was my first “long” ride (all the iron butt riders are chuckling at my measly 100+ mile round trip). It was a very windy day with wind gusts that threw my head back … once. After that happened I then tried to be more aware of the conditions. It was so fun to ride the back roads! There were some nice twisties involved! We walked around Stillwater, had lunch, then road back home. Great experience and looking forward to more now that we both have motorcycles.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I’ve been married for almost 33 years, mother of two married adults, and a grandmother of one! I work full time as a marketing communication manager, managing a team of eleven. When I’m not riding I crochet, read, and exercise (trying to stay ahead of the age curve as I head toward the double nickels)!

Grandson with an Octopus i crocheted!

P. S. Ladies I’ll keep posting as long as you submit your story! Leave a comment and let me know you are interested. I’ll grab your email address and send you the questions.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Elizabeth (Liz)

We have been around the world with the profiles of female motorcyclists. Today, we have another first – both mother and daughter motorcyclists have been profiled! Sarah (daughter) was profiled on May 16, 2012 and today we have Elizabeth (Liz, mom) also from Sacramento, CA sharing her story.

Liz and Sarah

How long have you been riding a motorcycle?  Since I was 17. At first it was a practical solution to transportation … just kinda taught myself on a Honda 90, rode it for about 2 years. Didn’t actually ride a “real street bike” until I turned 50 … been enjoying the unique freedom of riding my own bike for about 4 years now.

How did you learn to ride?  I was a pillion for years, enjoying “my knees in the air”, then I watched my daughter Sarah ride her own bike, first on the dirt, then she took the MSF class, so I pretty much followed her steps. My husband coached both us via our radio communication.

What was your first motorcycle?  Honda 90

How many have you owned?  Honda 90, various dirt bikes … then GS500, then V-Strom 650 and now the Ninja 650 (three street bikes).

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle?  To have a much fun as my daughter Sarah was having!

Tell us about your riding. I mostly ride for pleasure and several vacations have been based on riding. The annual ride with all girls has been some of the most fun!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  You aren’t too old to have fun!  If you love being outside, traveling, but don’t want to ride in a car … start riding! It is the perfect way to get from one beautiful location to another!  Our friend Donna (@Demenshea) has been an inspiration to me. She is able to go on adventures, take beautiful pictures and share it all with us. I would also encourage other women to pick out their own bike!  Sit on different ones, pick one that you can comfortably put your feet on the ground and it doesn’t feel “top-heavy”. That was my frustration with the V-Strom. I didn’t feel comfortable.  Now with the Ninja, I am having so much fun!

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle?  No sure, might have been the trip north to Washington and home through eastern Oregon, or the trip with the girls, south to Cambria and home.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? My family is kinda my “group”…  nothing online

Do you have a favorite riding story?  Not really an exciting story, but for me a real confidence builder, was when we had spent the day riding with a large group. While taking a break along I-5, one of our party called home and said it was raining there (about 50 miles north). Wow! It really was pouring … I just kept calm and remembered all I had been taught.

What do you do when you’re not riding? Reading, origami, knitting, gardening … adoring my daughters and granddaughters!

Liz riding!