Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Love With A Girl

I fell in love with a girl yesterday and now my heart is yearning for her.

Once I touched her, it was all over. I should have known better.

Like any woman, my Yamaha V*Star 650 Gracie knew I had been eyeing other ladies. When we left North County Yamaha, she rode with a new spring in her step. I wanted to attribute it to the service she had done, but I knew she was jealous. Jealous of that fair, bonny lass I met. That Triumph Bonneville, the bonny Katharina.

While Gracie, my Yamaha V*Star 650 suits my needs, she gets terrible gas mileage and distance. I've run out of gas only once, but had 4 really close calls. I can get up to 160 miles out of a tank, but I've run out at 115 miles, to my surprise. The cost of the fuel is actually secondary ~ distance is my issue. But it doesn't help that I'm getting less than 40 mpg. That's like a car! Sadly, I've known from the first day I wouldn't keep Gracie for long. There are a few reasons.

The heat from the pipes is excrutiating in traffic. Even with my chaps, the pipes burn me all to Hell. I just groan at the sight of traffic, knowing I'm going to blister. With the California summer coming and facing temps upwards of 100 degrees, I can't stand the idea of riding that hot bike.

Another thing is Gracie the V*Star is slow. Really slow after riding that Ninja 500. I roll the throttle back, then I go out and get popcorn waiting for the show to start. The lag time for speed build up is remarkable. I am so frustrated with her laziness.

Lastly, the lack of agility is depressing. I've learned so much from riding a heavier, longer motorcycle, but for fuck sake, I hate it. The Ninja was so nimble and quick! Oh, I miss my Katie Scarlet every time I ride Gracie, and that's just not right ~ for either of us. Gracie should have a rider who loves riding her, not loathes her. I should love my bike! But every time someone asks about her, I never say anything nice. And I should! She's a great bike ~ for someone else.

I have devised a list of requirements for my new bike. Seat height is primary, because if I can't reach, it's out of the question. I'm only 4'11", so the seat must be low. Gas mileage, distance, quickness, speed, agility, sportiness, seating position and of course, styling are all very important, in that order. I can't see spending money on a bike I think is ugly. I also need to be able to pack it up for another long trip, another Road Pickle, so I need the ability to attach bags, a trunk and/or a luggage rack. I'll want some kind of ferrying or windshield too, down the road, just for the long trip.

What an order, right? I've heard riders say many times that there's no one bike that meets all of your wishes. And I believed that, until she came into my life.

The fair, bonny Katharina, the Triumph Bonneville 900. Oh, I've heard the rumors about you and I don't want to believe them. You're so beautiful, so sharp and nimble, how could it be true? You wouldn't lie to me, would you fair Kate?

The Bonneville 900 meets every single requirement on my list. I sat on her yesterday and I was shocked to see both feet meet the ground. This is always my first issue. With one more inch, I will flatfoot on both sides, so there are options for that. I can have it lowered, change seats, get my boots resoled (I've worn out over an inch of sole on my boots over the trip!) or just wait for the bike to settle after a few thousand miles. Aside from this (which is an issue on almost every fricken bike!) she is everything I want. Everything. You can't imagine how exciting that is, considering how small my pool is to choose from.

I'm fully aware that mistakes can be made when a person is in love, and I'm fully aware that I'm really excited about this bike, which can lead me to a bad choice. So I'm asking for your help. Please, share your opinions of the Triumph Bonneville 900 with me. I would prefer that you only share first-hand experience or links to articles about her. Please don't say, "I've heard they break down alot. . ." Yeah. I've heard that too. I want facts, or first-hand opinions, not conjecture, please.

I'm counting on you, my motorcycle friends, to save me from this ill-fated love affair, it if is indeed ill-fated. But if you love her like I do, please, pipe up and encourage! I'm so afraid of getting on the next bike, rolling 10 miles and looking at Highway weeping, "What have I done?"

I'm still heartbroken over Katie Scarlet. I'm so sorry I left her behind.

***I should note that I don't want another Ninja due to the weight placement. The center of gravity is high on the Ninja and she toppled rather easily. On the Bonneville, the center of gravity is very low and she feels far more balanced. Being old and weak, this is a real issue for me.


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Sunday, January 26, 2014

No Men This Time

I love men. I really and truly love being with men. I love the way they smell after a long ride; sweaty from the sun, grimy from the road. You can blame my Dad for that one, because I simply loved the way he smelled when he came home after a long ride.

I've always loved men. The way men laugh hard and loud, the way they laugh at the dumbest things, the potty humor and slapstick-he-tripped-on-his-own-bootlaces-and-fell-in-cowshit humor. The way men can just watch football and shout and grunt and scratch and no one is offended by one another. The way men sit at a bar and stare off in the distance and think of NOTHING together, with no need to fill the air with meaningless chatter. I love when a man is strong, when a man is vulnerable, when a man is independent and when a man is loving.

I'm not just talking about my hubs, who I love more than any other man. Ask any man who's met me and he'll tell you I just love men. Paul (Arizona Harley Dude), Dan Diego (I Never Finish Anyth.), Lucky (The Great Motorcycle Pizza Tour), and George Ferriera (Riding The USA) will all tell you I'm a lover of men. Men who ride motorcycles have a very, very special place in my heart.

But make no mistake women; I don't want YOUR man. I don't want to screw your man or steal him from you (which I don't even believe is possible). At most I want to make him laugh, ride motorcycles with him, and swap stories of road tales. I don't want to be felt up by him, or touch him other than a big hug and maybe a peck on the cheek. I may want to sit close and smell his essence (yeah, I really like that!) And it's not my fault if he goes home and whacks off after meeting me. If he does, I'm flattered and all, but that's his business, not mine.

My therapist tells me that women find me threatening because I'm so open about my wishes, my thoughts and desires. I've certainly met those women and I simply like to think neither of us is right or wrong, just different. I have a few female friends who like me this way and know deep in their hearts I don't want their man. They just get me. My therapist also tells me I'm a little too manly for many women, which I can clearly see. I'm not manly in a physical way, but just in the way I think.

So I wanted to join a group of women who ride and perhaps think like I do. I looked on Meetup and found a group of women riders in San Diego. I liked what I read in the bio so I paid the membership dues and joined:

Our group is primarily Lady Riders, enjoying new roads, scenery and destination spots in a relaxed no drama setting. Perfect group riding setting for the newer rider as we keep to the speed limits, take our time and enjoy the view. Rides range from shorter off freeway, to overnight camping. We welcome ALL bikes!! We are a diverse group of riders which makes this group light and fun!

When I saw overnight camping, I was sold! All I could think was how much fun that would be to motorcycle camp with chicks! Once I joined I found 25 riders in the group, but to my amazement, a few of them were men, including one of the organizers. I had already RSVP'd for a ride, but changed my mind and sent this message:

I was really looking for a group of women only. I have no problem riding with men, but the dynamic I am seeking could not be achieved with a male in a leader/organizer role. I would like to remain a member (since I already paid) and when the ride is women only I would love to attend. Perhaps this should be explained in the group bio so one knows before they join it's a female group with select male riders. Had I known I wouldn't have joined most likely.

The replies I received were kind, but they didn't seem to get my point:

I don't know you but you need to keep an open mind. The people who ride with us just love to ride. We're just a big family of riders.

This group is 99.3% female. We only have 2 active men. This is why our description says "Primarily" lady riders instead of ONLY lady riders. We are very relaxed and that is why husbands are welcome to join if they respect the dynamics.

You need to lighten up! You need to get out of any relationship where your husband won't let you ride with other men. Maybe you should stand up for yourself and do what you want and join us Sister!

I've decided to remain a member and just see how things progress. What I found fascinating is that anyone would think I'm afraid of my husband, or that I don't love being with men. If I want to ride with men, I have plenty to ride with, including my husband I ride with everyday.

While I'm choosing to remain in the group, I'm going to look into other groups for strong, independent women who don't need a man to escort them on rides. I think men and women each need a place to be with their own, to strengthen their bonds with their same-sex friends, and help understand ourselves. I've spent most of my life being friends with men. I'm looking for women who want to be friends with women, without being called **"Birkenstock-wearing-hairy-feminists".

**I organized a camping trip years ago for "Chicks Only" and one husband was deeply offended, calling me this lovely name. He came and crashed the campsite regardless of the rest of the groups' desire to be Sans-Man. His wife, however, encouraged this behavior, finding him adorable for wanting to take care of her.


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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Only A Motorcycle

When I tell people that I don't own a car, they usually don't have a verbal response. I should really start taking photos of their faces when I say that, because they are all nearly the same. Slack jawed, eyes agape, astounded, they just stare at me trying to process this information. They must think I'm kidding. . .

I sold my Mercedes to buy my first motorcycle and I have not owned a car since. I'll tell you the truth. I take great pride in that statement, but it comes at a price. Living in San Diego I have little need, if any, for a car. But there are times it would be much easier.

My daughter will be coming to visit in a couple of weeks and now that she's pregnant, I have no intention of riding her about town on my motorcycle, nor will my hubs ride her about on his. Picking someone up with their luggage from the train station is a bit difficult when one only owns a motorcycle. But we have other options in San Diego, such as Car2Go, cabs, the bus and the trolley. So as a final resort, I do have resources.

This week I attended a networking lunch to promote our business Too Much Tina Media. I have attended these luncheons for years promoting business and meeting other business owners and I've always enjoyed them. I always dress professionally, skirts or dresses, hair and makeup perfectly fixed, etc. So now that I'm on two wheels, this becomes a bit of a challenge. I rode to the lunch wearing a black dress, hot pink tights, black ankle boots and my leather jacket. I wished I had remembered to put on my chaps when a rock hit my knee, but I was just grateful that my tights didn't tear. The pain in my knee was forgettable, but I wouldn't have wanted to attend in torn tights.

When I arrived I made a beeline for the Ladies Room and fixed my hair, touched up my lipstick and fluffed my dress. While attending the luncheon someone remarked about a motorcycle out front and the I told him it was mine. I could have knocked the fella over with a feather (imagine the gaping stare I mentioned).

"You're riding a motorcycle in THAT?" he nearly yelled.

"Yes, why not?" I replied, entirely sincere.

When he couldn't answer, I had his full attention and we were able to then get down to business.

It's not easy, as it takes me far more time to get ready twice, once before I go somewhere and then again when I arrive, but it's worth it. Sometimes, just for the look on someone's face.


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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Please Let Me Ride

When I read this morning that Pamela from Helmet or Heels is hanging up her helmet, my heart just sank. Not because Pamela isn't going to recover, nor because her life will be less of a life from not riding, because Pamela seems to have a rather full life and seems somewhat serene in her decision.

I think most of us put ourselves in another's shoes and wonder, "What if that were me?"

My life, like Pamela's is full. I'm deeply in love for the first time in my life with a man who works as hard as I do to have the best relationship possible. I have a beautiful, sparklingly brilliant daughter who is married to the best son-in-law I could have imagined, and they are expecting a baby in the summer. My heart overflows with the idea of holding my daughter's child. I have a phenomenal niece Shelli who is also my bookkeeper and assistant, and my most cherished friend. Her family of 6 is an incredible blessing to me and they keep me loved and hugged. And I have my work, which consumes me and feeds me simultaneously. I love what I do and I love doing it with my hubs. I am also blessed with so many friends that I feel enriched by on a daily basis.

All of this and I didn't mention motorcycling. So yes, I would have a full life even if I couldn't ride again.

But the idea fills me with dread.

That sensation of grabbing my life, rolling my own throttle, making split-second decisions, feeling the movement beneath me, smelling the exhaust, feeling the heat of the engine. . . for me, that's what makes life spectacular.

I don't pity Pamela because she will be just fine. But the idea scares the shit out of me. God, please let me ride for many more years to come. I have so many miles I want to travel, so many roads to see, so many hours behind my handlebars left to experience. . .



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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Give My Daughter a Ride

"She has stage 3 brain cancer" the message from Lacey read.

I attended high school with Lacey and her husband Rick. They've been a great couple for as long as I've known them and now 30 years later they are a great family with two grown kids. Lacey and I had a few classes together and I always loved her easy, kind way. We didn't keep in touch after we graduated but Facebook has a way of bringing people together. Lacey and I had been connected for some time, but she started following our Road Pickle last summer rather closely and I enjoyed having her along for the ride. She did a wonderful job of encouraging me and I remembered why I loved being near her when we were kids.

After we returned to So Cal earlier this year I wanted to go see her and Rick and meet their kids. Before I realized it, the holidays were approaching and everyone was so busy, we both decided to meet after things died down. Then Lacey messaged me with terrible news.

"Hi. Our daughter Scarlett was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. She has her surgery on January 8. So our days will be filled with doctor appts and pre-op before her surgery. Maybe once she's in the clear we can meet up."

We exchanged a number of messages and I did my best to support her. She remarked how supportive everyone has been and discussed how frightened she is. Being a parent, my heart broke for her in that moment.

Then this morning this message came:

"Scarlett had her followup appt to have the staples removed for her craniotomy last week. The good news is that they were able to remove the entire tumor....the bad news is that she has stage 3 brain cancer!

The type of cancer is non-curable but with radiation and chemo they will hopefully be able to stop the tumors from growing back.

Well, I asked her what she wants to do....anything....crazy....anything! She said she wants to ride on the back of your when she feels up to it and when you have a chance I'd love to arrange for her to ride with you....just something short to give her time on the back of the bike. She said not til after the oncologist meets with her and treatments so it might be a while but I told her I'd ask you."

My response was "Of course, of course, of course!"

I haven't learned to carry a passenger, so I'm going to start working on it today with my hubs. He's ready to ride pillion for me, so we're going back to the parking lots and practicing, this time, two up. And when the time comes, I'll give her the ride she's looking forward to.

When I learned to ride, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life, and the lives of others. The heartfelt comments, messages and emails I get from others who are inspired by my story or with a request like this one, these words from others have changed the fabric of who I am. I've always seen the riding as a very solitary, individual thing I do for myself, but the truth is we are all connected and we impact others in all that we do, whether we choose to or not. I'm so grateful I've had a positive impact on others.

Give your daughter a ride? Of course I will! Of course! I'll give her the best ride I can!

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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...)