Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Would the real VStarLady please stand up ...

New York's like a dream to me now... I've been back to work for three days and I've managed to get three paper cuts (so far). Work is obviously far too hazardous so I've decided to lick my wounds and dream of the next vacation when I'll be riding on a VStar. Paper cut pain aside, that's not the focus of today's post.

Today I wanted to share that I am, sadly, not unique. I went to join a Lady Rider's forum - I'm not sure which one or how I linked to it but I found that my "VStarLady" name had already been taken. It was crushing to find out I was not as original as I thought so I Googled VStarLady and found there are 4 of us on the first four pages of Google (and seriously who searches past page 4?)
So who are these other ladies?

VSTARLADY connected with weight watchers - good for her but it's not me (too bad - have you seen her?) Never found out if she rides or not though.
vstarlady of the Wolfpack motorcycle club in California - I'd like to meet her if I make it that far this time around.
VstarLady on myspace - okay she's riding a beautiful white 650 but it's a classic not my custom and finally
VStarLady - that's me, and I like to tour on my VStar Custom (of course you know that 'cause you're reading this blog.)

It's great to see other lady riders showing off their motorcycles - and really we are all unique. Maybe the lady VStar riders should arrange a VStarLady reunion! If it ever stops snowing in Ontario we might even ride our VStars to the reunion. Here's hoping for spring ... VStarLady.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here...let me bore you with my holiday photos!

She has become a wicked and wild bitch in her old age has Manhattan, but there is still no sensation in the world quite like walking her sidewalks…” Tom Davies (1979)

New York City - It’s a place where my long time friend and neighbor, Barb and I decided to go once again this March Break. We’ve become ‘Urban hikers’ as there is no such thing as a stroll through the streets of Manhattan. Hiking these streets requires as much skill, agility and stamina as the most rugged trail. It was a personal challenge to see if we could log a few more kilometers this time over last but once again we didn’t have enough time, there’s never enough time - even in a city that never sleeps.

This time we were pretty much devoted “To the pursuit of lunch.” From Midtown to the East Village, from Little Italy to Tribeca and back to the Theatre district... we ate. Delis, coffee shops and restaurants...oh the tastes of New York. Of course we stopped to take a few photos along the way.

Motorcyclists have just started to dust off their rides and haul them from their winter hiding spots here in my part of the world but in New York City the season is in full swing. Who can blame them when Central Park has already exploded with crocus and forsythia and the temperatures are hitting double digits under mostly sunny skies. For the most part, and practically so, New Yorkers are riding agile and maneuverable scooters and Vespa like, small displacement bikes. Only down in SoHo and Little Italy did I see larger machines and even some historic rides. They were parked, some covered, I think, waiting for 5 o'clock.
You gotta love the traffic cop who posed for me on his scooter (just after handing out a ticket to the big red truck!) Thanks New York!

(Oh yeah, just couldn't help throwing in the photos of the 'celebs' and guest Billy Ray from abc's "The View")

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Don't Miss The Beauty In Your Own Backyard

I was lucky enough to have my son take me on a little Rincon ATV ride this afternoon to see a beautiful little spring waterfall. Riding on the back of a 4-wheeler is a different kind of ride. Hope you enjoyed this special spot.

It Must Be Spring

There was an excited, gossipy tension in the air this morning when I opened the door. I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something just a little different outside. I thought maybe the birds knew the time had changed in the wee hours of this morning; even though my own dog was a full hour behind on her ‘get out of bed and feed me’ act.

A light dust of snow was falling - the kind you know isn’t going to stay. I could hear the usual chatter of Blue Jays “jaying”, Cardinals “twilling” and Chickadees “chick a dee dee dee deeing.” But something about it all seemed out of place. A lonely crow “cawed” in the distance. The pungent, earthy smell of spring hasn’t quite burst through the crusty frozen cover of winter – so what was it? There wasn’t one thing that I could pin point, but there was something definitely different about this morning.

Suddenly there it was. There, flitting from naked branch to naked branch was the first Robin of spring. It was like the whole natural community knew he had arrived during the night and though he was quiet the rest of the world was busy spreading the rumor, “He and spring have arrived.”

 Riders - start pulling those dust covers off. If you’re like me call your favorite motorcycle mechanic and set a date to pick up your oiled, greased, adjusted and fine-tuned machine. If you’re a ‘do it your selfer’ you probably already know what you need to do…but here are a few links for spring tune up tips and have fun!

And watch for “Shake out the Mothballs and Get Ready to Ride! This is the theme of well-known racer and instructor Misti Hurst's MCC webcast scheduled for Tuesday, April 19 (9:30 pm Newfoundland; 9:00 pm Atlantic; 8:00 pm Eastern; 7:00 pm Central; 6:00 pm Mountain; 5:00 pm Pacific).”

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Common Sense Not Luck Saves Lives

March is the month of leprechauns and luck. It’s also the month of spring when motorcyclists start dusting off their rides in anticipation of a new season. The latest statistics have been released on motorcycle fatalities across Canada and March is a good month to look at taking the luck out of staying alive while riding.

The most recent stats published by Transport Canada show the total number of motorcycle fatalities have risen from 198 in 2004 to 218 in 2008. At first glance this doesn’t seem encouraging until you see the number of registered motorcycles actually increased by 158,000 over the same four years. This translates into an encouraging drop in the rate of fatalities. The rate (per 10,000) has in fact dropped from 4.8 in 2004 to 3.8 in 2008.

These statistics include all riders – male/female, young/old, experienced/inexperienced, blatant risk takers and calculated risk managers. We’d probably all agree that motorcyclists in general, given the nature of the sport, might be considered risk takers to some degree. But let’s take a hypothetical look at the statistics. What happens if we factor out those riders who are blatant, over the top risk takers and law breakers. Those who do things that the average rider, with common sense would never consider when riding a motorcycle.

Off the top, let’s remove the rider who drinks and rides (that’s just plain stupid!) 13% of the motorcyclists killed in 2008 had a blood alcohol level of over the legal limit which translates into 28.3 riders. Take those out of the equation and you have 189.66 fatalities. Then, let’s subtract the 38%, or 82.8 riders who died because of excessive speed (either for their skill or road conditions). We’re now down to 106.86 deaths.

Then there are those riders who, when they died, were not wearing a helmet. Since wearing a helmet doesn’t guarantee you’ll live, but has been proven to effectively increase your odds by 41% we can only take 41% of the 15% of riders who were not protecting their heads. This leaves us with a hypothetical total of  93.46 fatalities.

There were 560,000 registered motorcycles in Canada in 2008. If riders wore helmets, didn’t drink and ride and rode at speeds within their skill level the rate of deaths per 10,000 riders might have been 1.7 – a rate that is comparable to that of passenger car fatalities. (This rate might be reduced even further if we considered the over 40% of riders who at the time of their fatal collision had committed other traffic infractions or the 29% who chose to ride after dark, which isn’t illegal, but risky).

Reduce your risk of death – factor in common sense! Helmet use can be regulated but common sense can’t. The choice is up to you - Just something to think about.

Just an aside  Motorcycle size and age of riders still remains a factor, there are more older riders than ever before. Here’s a quote from a Canadian government report …“The trend toward older victims is because increasing numbers of middle aged men are riding motorcycles.” Hey guys, what do you think about that statement? Sexist? Gender biased? Aged biased? Or all of the above? Way to go Transport Canada!