Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Artistry Of Motorcycling

Drawing by Heather Ewy, owner of  The Charcoal Gallery. (Not the man I met in the park.)

I met an artist drawing with charcoals and pencils while I was in the park today.

"You must be very patient," I commented. "Your work is so intricate that I imagine it must take you a great deal of time."


The sharpness of his reply surprised me.

"It's actually quite the opposite. I am patient when I am not drawing and waiting until I can draw again. It's all I can think about. It is my passion."

A shared with him how often my mind is on motorcycling when I am not actually on the bike.

"I'm really passionate about traveling by motorcycle, not just being on a motorcycle. I have to be going somewhere to get excited."

I thought about motorcycling as it's own form of art. Each rider selects what motorcycle to ride, what style of riding to do, and the gear to wear, just as an artist may select canvas, charcoal and a subject.

As the artist of my ride, I decide all of the variables. I can choose if I travel long distances, ride alone or in groups, just ride twisties on the weekend or take a long cruise under the summer stars. The development of my gear, modifications to my motorcycle, the way I pack my bags, where I go to eat, the people I choose to ride with and the roads you choose to ride. The artistry of motorcycling has an infinite number of combinations to create a unique style for each rider.

As I watch the charcoal artist sketching a rubbing at each line and shadow, I think of each one of the drawings he creates as a new expression of his reality. I think of my motorcycle, my next road, and where it will lead me next.

"You're lucky, you know. We both are."

The sound of his voice jerked me back into the moment.

"Why do you say that?"

"Anyone without passion is dead. They are missing something that they don't even know they are missing. They will never know what it is like to truly love anything. You're lucky you have motorcycling. You're lucky you have passion."

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!


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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Product Review - Joe Rocket Women's Velocity Jacket

Recently I ordered the Joe Rocket Women's Velocity Jacket from Motorcycle House. Of course I selected the hot pink and black to suit my style! It's getting hot in So Cal and I needed a summer jacket to get through a ride. Many riders believe that simply riding without a jacket will keep them cooler, but that's not really the case. Bare arms expose one to the sun and that sun will not only burn the skin of the rider, it will also raise the body's core temperature, thus making one feel hotter.

A summer jacket not only protects me from the sun and the other weather elements, it protects me from the pavement. People don't like to think about bad things happening so many ignore the dangers. But once a good friend of mine really talked with me about the repercussions of a bad accident, I realized I wanted to protect myself more. So now I make it a point to wear gear when I ride.

The Joe Rocket Velocity comes with few features, but everything important to a rider. I actually like low-tech! The less you have, the less that can go wrong.

The jacket comes with 6 points of adjustability to help it fit snugly, which it does. I can get it snug at the hips, chest and wrists with still plenty of movement around the shoulders and waist. The 2 hand pockets, 1 inside pocket keep it simple, which I appreciate. I'm always losing things if I have too many pockets. The Cooling FreeAir™ mesh shell works great and is made of a pretty solid construction.

When I'm thinking about protection, Rock Tex™ reinforced at the shoulders, ribs, elbows and forearms is important to me. The removable, contoured elbow and shoulder armor and dual density back pad were a disappointment though and were thusly removed. Perhaps I'm an armor snob now, but these pads just don't seem to have much to them. I replaced them with a set of D3O impact protectors - shoulders, elbows, back, which feel far more substantial and have a much higher crash rating.

I'm taking a 8-day ride with 3 friends in August from San Diego to the Redwoods. The entire ride will be around 2,500 miles and we will hit a variety of weather. I wanted a removable full sleeve waterproof liner, which I got in the Joe Rocket Velocity, so I only need to take one jacket. The liner and my hoodie should be all I need with my jacket for all of the weather situations we encounter. Mostly I expect blistering heat, in which case I'll wear my wet vest under my jacket.

I ordered the Viking Cycle Warlock Mesh Jacket for Steve for the summer as well. (No, that's not Steve in the photo.)

We created a video review of the jacket, which you'll see below. Unfortunately, in the video the jacket looks pink, but it is not. It's as red as the photo above. He really likes the jacket, although I don't think we do a good enough job in the video showing his enthusiasm. I guess you just have to know Steve to know THIS IS enthusiasm!

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Motorcyclist Hit By Driver

"Motorcyclist Hit By Driver"

We've all seen the headline and cringed. Recently there were two motorcycle riders killed by drivers in a 12 hour span in Tucson, AZ. Not only that, Tucson has seen more motorcycle riders killed by from January to June of 2016 than all of 2015.

On June 24, 2016, a group of riders in Tucson took to the streets to heighten awareness of motorcycle riders. They staged a protest on a main drag with huge signs covered with slogans and names of the dead riders.

I wonder if this will do much to impact the cagers of Tucson. Will they remember tomorrow? Will they even care?

Cagers killing motorcyclists isn't anything new.

In 1969 my Daddy was cut off by a cager who was making an illegal left turn. He was badly injured, spending a month in a coma and a year in a hospital bed in traction, most of that year in our home. He had multiple injuries including a broken spine, a shattered left ankle, a torn scrotum and the loss of a testicle.

He lost his testicle.

Most men find that to be the worst injury my poor Dad sustained. He was lucky to survive the crash, especially considering his only "gear" was a good pair of boots.

He was determined to continue riding afterwards which was the source of many fights between my parents. Because of the injured ankle he could never kick his kickstarter again with his left foot, so he did it with his right. (His buddies gave him a hard time about it, but he didn't give a shit.)

Surprisingly, he recovered well, except for that ankle. Through my childhood, some of our closest moments as father and daughter were spent removing his boots. When he came in to door I rushed to hug and kiss him and follow him to his recliner to pull his boots off and massage that ankle.

At the time of his accident I was only 4 years old. My entire life I've been aware of the notion that cagers don't look for motorcycles when they are driving.

It wasn't until I started riding my own bike that I started to believe that cagers just don't care. We aren't more important than their phones, their GPS, their hamburger, their coffee and especially their time and attention.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not bitching about this fact. I'm clearly aware of this fact (Yes! This is a damn FACT!) and I still accept the danger as part of riding. It's not a fact that I can change but I sure commend those who want to try.

When non-riders say, "Be safe on that motorcycle!" or something along those lines, I always respond with the same phrase.

"Watch for motorcyclists and that will help to keep me be safe."

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!


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Friday, June 3, 2016

Not A Real Rider

The Ratz and Mice certainly felt unwanted by the cool kids on the beach. 
No matter how much effort has been made to desegregate the population, there will always be those who desire separation.  Perhaps it's such a great part of our DNA that we can not feel safe unless we are determining who is superior and who is inferior.

Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle for more than 5 minutes will tell you this fact is evident in the motorcycling community.  In fact, the terms "brotherhood" and "sisterhood" could not be any less true.  There are cliques within every society and the motorcycling community is certainly filled with them.

Recently, I was called "a fat, old woman on a cruiser" by a kid on a sport bike. He insisted I probably didn't even know how to ride. The fat and old part is subjective, in my opinion. The only part he got right was I am a woman. Of course, I had the last laugh when I shared with him some of the facts about my travels.

So how do you identify?

Are you a young, foolish, hipster pretending to ride a real motorcycle?  An old, fat, leather-clad, Harley Davidson pirate?  A dangerous, speed-demon, sport bike idiot?  A poser with the hottest, new selfie-accessory; a cruiser to nowhere? A textile-wearing,  snooty, wealthy Power Ranger riding an adventure monstrosity? An overly-paranoid, ATGATT-gospel-preaching, covered-head-to-toe gear Nazi? A brainless, helmetless, shorts-and-flip flop-wearing, soon-to-be organ donating, squid?

Are you a nice guy on a Honda?  A gadget geek on a Goldwing? A loser on a scooter?  Do loud pipes save lives or are stock pipes good enough?  Are you proud to stand roadside next to your broken down American muscle?  An unpatriotic, pinko, Commie bastard on a metric?  Are you tree-hugging, granola-eating, liberal on an electric saving Mother Earth with every mile?  Or are you a gas-guzzling, self serving, capitalist pig?

It doesn't really matter where you fall in these categories.  You may not fall in any one of them.  But I guarantee someone, somewhere along the line pointed out what made you different because you didn't fit in their group.

Of course the end all be all insult is, "He/She is not a real rider!"

And I guarantee that someone has said that about you at some point.
"Do what you're gonna do. Just don't victimize anybody while you're doing it."
- Kathy Cartwright
I know that Steve and I have a different identity from one another and neither one of us really fits into any specific category or with any particular group. We usually ride together and I occasionally ride with some much younger women in San Diego. The ladies I ride with don't have a coarse word to say about anyone. They just love to ride.

I have simply become nauseated with all of the comparisons, finger pointing, and insults. Get over your damn selves. And for fucksake, just shut the hell up about each other and ride!

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!


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About Sash

People call me "Sash" because I'm a former beauty queen in my old home town. My father used to ride in an MC which got me interested in the culture. After my last divorce I said "goodbye" to Susie Homemaker and became the rude biker chick I always felt inside. (Read more...)