Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Sign Of Spring In Rural Ontario - Bump Ahead

The days are getting longer - that's not news, but I noticed it for the first time this morning when it actually dawned on me that I was arriving at work in daylight. And yes, you might think that more hours of sunlight is a sign of spring, and you might think that it has some relationship to the tilt of the earth but the real reason the days are getting longer is so Canadians can actually make it to work in the spring. You see, in my part of the country the real sign of spring is the inevitable "sinking" of the pavement. We need the daylight in order to maneuver through the constantly changing obstacle courses we call roads.

Spring means the roads in my neighbourhood are constantly changing with new sink holes occurring daily, sometimes even hourly. Where there was road in the morning doesn't guarantee there will be road at night. The township roads department is diligent. They're out there throwing down "bump" signs all over the place, but whether they just don't have enough signs to keep up with the number of muffler ripping cave ins or the roads collapse faster than they can mark them -only about 50% of the rough spots get marked.

The long time locals usually know the habitual trouble spots. These "dips" appear each spring and disappear, as if by magic, each summer - but new comers beware. I happened to follow one of these rural newbies home last night. The driver slammed on the brakes 100 feet ahead of the "bump" sign then confidently got back up to speed just in time for his Audi to take air on the next, unmarked road divot. I'm fairly certain I heard swearing. I don't know, it may just be some sort of cruel, rural roads department joke.

In a car it can be rough but riders need to take extra caution. These same rural, surface treated roads that manifest daily dips in different spots also tend to be the same roads that literally fall away in others. The edge of the road often, dangerously disappears in spring rains and run offs. Gaping holes simply appear in the middle of lanes without warning. Riders, especially as you start to plan and gear up for that first spring ride - be watchful!  As you get back out there, remember, you've got to be more aware of road conditions than you were in the car. Be scanning - at least 30 seconds ahead, be prepared, drive with a little more care 'til it becomes habit once again. A bump in the road might mean ten on the head - remember, always wear a helmet!

Monday, February 21, 2011

What's With Mama Nature?

A week ago the temperature was minus 30, this week it hit plus 12. What the he--! I'm convinced Mother Nature is absolutely, mood swinging menopausal! It has shifted from winter to spring and back to winter again all within a week. I'm Canadian, I like watching the seasons change but going through an entire cycle within a week is just a bit over the top even for us.

This week the snow mountains started to shrivel and in just one day my drive turned from an arctic, hold onto the hood of the car just to keep from falling on your asterisk, skating rink to a suck your boots off mud hole that would make the tar sands proud. Now, I am not complaining, I am ready for spring and Wednesday I spotted the first sign that it is coming.

Wednesday I saw a rider on a sport bike, right hand on the throttle, left hand on his waist just struttin' his stuff down the snow free, sun warmed, sand a salt covered highway! Call him crazy optimistic or call him just crazy? I'm eager but I can't help thinking there must be some question about that guy's mental capacity (or maybe I'm just jealous that it would take at least a week to have my VStar hauled out from the sea of sleeping motorcycles at KTec and by that time the warm spell would be only a memory.)  No, even though the temperature was well within my "acceptable" range, I like to give the spring rains plenty of time to wash the sand hazards from the highway before I head out on two wheels. I hope he was holding on with two hands when he hit the curve littered with just some of the tons of salt and sand that have been scattered this winter.

Ah, but it's cold again and the snow has started to fall once more. That poor sod who couldn't wait to ride last week has been busy this long weekend winterizing his bike - again. I wonder if it was worth it just to have one day of "in your face" riding.

This week has been a heck of a ride. This was the week we had it all - shorts and t-shirt temperatures, power stopping high winds, snow swirling blizzards and a holiday (Yeah Ontario and a select few other provinces for thinking of an excuse for a midwinter long weekend).  But I'm still a believer ... the days are getting noticeably longer - spring is just around the corner. Let's hope that corner is a short, gentle curve and not a hair raising, peg scraping mountain switch back.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Helmet Hair (Old news from last week)

Just another day - no bells or whistles. It's still February and there's still lots of snow. I keep looking out the window hoping to see that, like a bad dream, the mountainous snowbanks have vanished overnight. They haven't. What's worse, there's another ten to 15 centimeters to come. More freakingly cold snow - just what we need! Yeah Canada!

So, when you're snowed in and thinking of two wheels and the open road what can you do? Well, you can get a new hair cut of course. This is a motorcycle blog so follow me here. Hair - helmet ... helmet - hair.  February is the perfect month to helmexperiement. I can't ride the bike but I can wear the helmet so that makes February the perfect month to test the hairdo for 'helmetability." This is, after all, a motorcycle blog from a feminine perspective. I'll be wearing the helmet around the house this week (Thankfully no body's watching) - I'll let you know how the helmet hair tests go.

More importantly - it's not the hair, it's what's under it. Wearing a helmet is all about protecting your most important feature - your head. Are you wearing a helmet?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Respectable Snowbanks - eh?

Is there any doubt why the VStar is in storage?  This is me in my driveway - enough said!

It will be gone in 6 weeks - I believe, I believe, I believe!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A SNOWDAY Top Ten List

This time, the weather ‘guys’ were right and the storm that ‘brewed’ in Texas has slam dunked Eastern Ontario just like it threatened. Way to go Texas! I wouldn’t say we’re buried but the roads seem to be developing moguls quicker than they can be pulverized by the mighty plows. We Ontarians are generally a hardy bunch, not too much shuts us down, so I was ‘blown away’ (metaphorically speaking) to hear (on my way to work already) that for the first time in twenty years the local school board called a SNOW DAY! As a teacher, of course, I was very disappointed but managed, broken heartedly, to U turn (faster than I can change my mind) and was back in the drive almost before I left - A whole SNOW DAY ahead of me. My first SNOW DAY, Yahoo!

So once past the stage of elation and disbelief what do you do on a SNOW DAY? Here are my top 10 things from today and none of them, being over knee deep in snow, has anything to do with a motorcycle, except for reading the MCC news letter:

1. Stand in awe and stare at the snow swirling, blowing, driving, blizzarding - like a scene from a weather network live cam, only this time, it’s my back yard - let the dogs out.
2. Read emails and answer the phone – colleagues calling in disbelief, just checking to see if they heard right, is it really a SNOW DAY?
3. Wander to the front window to gawk at the drifts now piling up in the driveway, strain to see if neighbor’s house is still visible across the street (not), and think, mother must be psychic (having predicted today’s school closure last night) - let the dogs in.
4. Get a jump on the weekend chores, vacuum house.
5. Furminate the Golden Retriever… think, “Could life get any more exciting?” - let the dogs out.
6. Vacuum house again, making note to self, brush dog before vacuuming next time - let the dogs in.
7. Look at drift in front of door visualizing scenes from the Day After Tomorrow - let the dogs out again!
8. Decide to finally sort the plastic ware in kitchen, job is hopeless - missing lids and bottoms still missing. Discuss (with self) the pros and cons of disposing of the unmatched pieces - let the dogs in and tell them go lie down somewhere.
9. Call mother to find out her predictions for tomorrow.
10. Take a nap (dream of riding my VStar), feel like a kid again and enjoy the SNOW DAY.

Was there any chance - anywhere that a groundhog saw its shadow today?