Monday, December 27, 2010

Ho, Ho, Ho-ley Crap this is a LOT OF STUFF!


Christmas has come and gone. All the holiday insanity quietly begins to die down and my burnt out brain starts to heal. I am left to paw through the pile of stuff that I have accumulated.

Since I cannot eat any cookies or cake because I have recently become gluten intolerant, and chocolate now gives me migraines, (Thank YOU Menopause!) my enjoyment of the holiday has become extremely limited. So gifts for riding are awesome.

1. From my sister, I received these great pink goggles that are actually only $19.95 Onion Goggles from Bed, Bath and Beyond! Since I cannot ride at this time, I can't really give a good review of these goggles. But I have to say, they fit my goofy face pretty well, so we shall see.

She also ordered an Icon Ladies Pink corset vest for me. But that is on back order and will be delivered in February. Again, I must wait.

BONUS GIFT - A Hello Kitty Buff from the UK! That seems pretty thin and flimsy, but might be good for summer riding.


2. Next from my brother and his wife, I got the entire Ride Like a Pro, Christmas Package! My BF and I watched the "Riding the Mean Streets" DVD first and it was mildly interesting. There were some very good tips for approaching and negotiating intersections, some attempts at cheesy humor, and referencing of other Ride Like a Pro DVDs. I am looking forward to watching the "Riding the Tail of the Dragon" because this DVD has some great points and great sequences of people going down (and not in a good way!) on the Tail of the Dragon. I am a fairly cautious rider and I have not ridden any really twisty and curvy roads. I crave information. I am hoping this DVD delivers.


3. My other sister gave me a Hello Kitty Backpack that is pretty pink and obnoxious. My BF highly approves of this backpack due to its very conspicuous nature. I have a black vinyl Hello Kitty backpack, but he feels this is much more eye catching.
They do say that a back pack does help spare you some injury in a crash so maybe I should to wear one whether I need it or not.

A pretty nice haul. Hope you all had a great holiday and enjoy a healthy and safe new year!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What do U want from SANTA!


HAVE YOU BEEN NAUGHTY OR NICE?

So fellow Scooterists, have you compiled your little Scooter Related Christmas Lists to annoy your family members?

Are they all like:

"Where the heck am I gonna find this stuff?"

and

"Why can't you just be normal like the rest of the family and want a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and some beef jerky?"

What the heck, lets just go crazy here and see what come off the top of my head:

Okay - realistically it would be great to get:

1. A BV500 mid size windshield, because even tho it will crap up my scooters sexy lines, I am getting tired of being beat up by the wind.

2. Pink Goggles to be used with my new sparkly parade helmet.

3. An Element Bluetooth helmet.

Okay, now UNREALISTICALLY:

1. Aprilia Mana 800 automatic motorcycle, because there is only one place to go when your ride a BV500 and that is MOH POWER! Tho it looks like a B-Buster or a Pelvis Cracker, I'd give it a tumble.

2. Straight up MAGICAL UNICORN STYLE! A Sol Helmet! Of course available only in the Philipines or Korea or Bu-fu Land. NOT HERE!


4. Dragon Lights of course.


Whew! this can wear a body out! I think I leave it with that. I don't want Santa to have s stroke.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shoot the Gap 2- Ur doing it WRONG!

WARNING! Graphic Video of a scooter accident
Accident happens near the last third of the video.

However, I think all real scooter/bike riders should watch this video and then evaluate how they ride in heavy traffic.


I previously blogged about an maneuver I liked to call, "Shoot the Gap". This is an excerpt from that blog entry:

"This is when a space opens up between the car ahead of me, and the truck next to me. This space would never allow for a car to pass through and move in front of the truck, but it allows for a bike. A "Gap" so to speak.

This takes a lot of judgement on the riders part. You have to wait and see if the car ahead of you is going to speed up and let you get away from the truck. Or are they going to continue to force you to ride in the blind spot and experience truck air turbulence.

If you see that the space does not shrink in size and that the car ahead is indeed NEVER going to speed up enough to allow you to escape the truck and stay in your lane, you can then, "Shoot the Gap".

Is this a safe maneuver? Probably not.

Is riding in a trucks blind spot safe? Probably not.

Should you slow down and wait? Think so?

This is a decision you have to make. But once you do it, and do it successfully, you will feel this frisson of exhilaration, which should prove to you that this is NOT entirely safe, yet very addicting! I speak truthfully here, you who ride know the feeling.

So please. Be VERY VERY careful when you attempt this maneuver. This cannot be done if agitated or irritated. It has to be a calm rational decision.

You have to make sure there is A LOT of space available ahead of the truck. This is incase you and the truck have to make a quick stop. You do not want the truck rolling over you!

So, am I endorsing this move. Not really.

Am I acknowledging its existence. Yes.

Should you do it? You fill in the blank ___________."

If you watch the video, you will see how the rider attempts a like-maneuver and fails.
The result was death.

Before the accident the video shows a rider weaving in and out of traffic. Obviously they have misjudged the flow of traffic and trucks and they paid with their lives.

I think this video is GREAT! Do you know WHY??

Because it reminds us to SLOW THE FRICK DOWN! and BE CAREFUL AROUND TRUCKS and HEAVY TRAFFIC!

Ride in the safest position in heavy traffic. Ride in a lane that will allow you to escape any possible situation, and endeavor to keep plenty of space around you.

Remember, acting like Joe Cool can get you killed on a scooter! And this is proof.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter SUCKS!

Ah, tis a sad sight indeed.

Well, the scooter season for me is nearly over this year. The Blue Dragon had a few good days in early November, but the "salad days" are over. We might be able to squeeze in a ride around the block before the first snowfall, but that is about it.

All there is to look forward to are the mid-winter Motorcycle shows. We have a small show at McCormick Place that has a lot of hard-core biker leather and stuff and the big International Motorcycle Show a month or so later.

The smaller show has a lot of leather, choppers, show bikes, skeevey drunks and dubious characters. It is still a fun afternoon.

So far the International show isn't getting much love from scooterists, so it is unclear if it will be a great weekend show in Chicago or if pickens will be slim. We had planned to stay the night up at Rosemont, just so we could see everything and then go eat and relax...but word so far is the show is far smaller than it has been in the past so... that is also up in the air.

So not too much to look forward to for us riders...prrreeeety sucky!

I have a lot of plans for future trips, including possibly one to Italy with ScooterBella Tours. We choose the date, and get our International Motorcycle Licenses, and Insurance as well as plane tickets.

This is a big $tep for me, money-wise. We have been saving for 2 years now. So there are a lot of plans to make.

It is hard to write about riding, when you can't do it. There is something so alive, so immediate about it.

The Blue Dragon sleeps in the garage under it's cover. Hooked up to the Battery Tender, It is dreaming electric blue dreams of endless sunny days.

I feel the same. Sleepy, encased in cotton, my brain is ready for hibernation. Winter rolls closer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

MAGICAL DAY!

It's MAGICAL!

First it was a crazy week for me. It was my birthday, I had a bad tooth and we are super busy at work. But the BEST THING was THE WEATHER!

OMG! It was in the 70's! here and the conditions were perfect. Cool, clear and no wind. So I got to do my 60 mile commute to work because I am a HARD KORE!

Actually there were a lot of riders out there with me. I pulled up next to one guy on Archer Avenue. He was riding a motorcycle in a stunning ensemble, camouflage and reflective strips.
You could definitely see him.

"Great riding!" I yelled to him as we waited at a light.

"It is AWESOME to be riding this late in the season!" he yelled back. "Everyone thinks I am crazy!"

"Me too!" I yelled back. And then we just stared at each other. Both of us enjoying seeing that familiar madness shining in one another's eyes.

It was MAGICAL!

If a UNICORN poofed out an RAINBOW made of SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM with RAINBOW SPRINKLES it wouldn't have a 10th of the MAGIC that me and this other dude generated on Archer Avenue!

Then the light changed and he rode off.

Awesome day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DEMANDING MY RIGHT TO TWINKLE!



I demand my right to TWINKLE!

I spoke before of how my sista and her hubby gave us these very lovely, but plain silver Arai helmets. We did not know what to do with them, since we roll with Full-Face helmets.

So we decided to have them painted and use them strictly as our Patriot Guard/Parade helmets.

Here they are!

His says, "Free to Ride" on the back and mine says "Free to Twinkle".

My inspiration came from a Marilyn Monroe quote:

"I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of the minority rights belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. All we demanded was our right to twinkle."





Scooters are "Gay"

Scooters are "Gay"

or

Your Scooter is so "Gay"

?

I have heard this jokingly from various people. But I never thought too much about it until the entire, "Ron Howard Gay Joke Debacle" occurring on the interwebs, specifically I shall reference an article over at Pajiba, Scathing Reviews, Bitchy People. I am sure there are other articles out there.

So Pajiba has a great article there about the entire brouhaha going down and Ron Howard's refusal to remove "the Joke" in his new movie. Which happens to be basically someone calling an electric car, "Gay".

Meaning men who drive electric cars are not as masculine as others??? I have heard the same of scooters. Hetro coworkers are quick to point out to me, how a gay co-worker also had a scooter at one time. However, Tim (hetro co-worker) and I (hetro graphic designer) also have scooters and still ride them. But the fact that one gay co-worker owned a scooter at one time now means that all scooters,(to them) are "gay".

But how can an inanimate object have a sexual preference? Oh, you mean, "Gay" as in the teenage vernacular of "fabulously stupid" or "insanely nerdy".

(I am not bothered when people use the word Gay to describe my scooter. Now don't go all crazy on me here... I understand that the goal is to be hurtful, to me and to Gay people. It is just that monikers/labels and curses do not affect me. If they did I would have opened a vein long ago! It is just a part of life. People LOVE to RAIN ON YOUR PARADE! Or Your own personal "GAY" PARADE.)

So I tell them, that by calling my scooter "gay" means you are acknowledging it's awesome power of FABULOUSNESS! An attribute that I, do not fear.

"No, we mean it is LAME!" They yell back, "Your scooter is LAME!"

"Oh, Lamé," I reply. "You mean like the Lamé fabric that is often used in evening and dress wear and in theatrical and dance costumes. I guess that is kinda right, it is pretty Lamé looking."

"NOOOO!" They start hopping up and down like brain damaged ticks, "You SUCK! You and your scooter SUCKS!"

" You say that like it is a bad thing." I reply with a smile.

"ARRRRGHHH!" They wretch, clutching their pencil-necked froats, and gasping they choak from their own stupidity and die.

So yes, my scooter is "GAY" It is FABULOUS! FLASHY! CREATIVE! FAST & EASY but NOT CHEAP! Just like its owner!



Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Haller-weeeeeeeeeeen! Time to officially look like a dum A$$!

Happy Halloween Bit-chez!

Yeah, I got dressed up as, "The Scooter Fairy" and went out on my scooter to enjoy the MAGIC that is HalloWEEN!
It was a bit "nippish" but it was worth it! So many kids out and about with their parents. This was one of the FEW sunny halloweens that I have ever experienced.

It was a great day!



Friday, October 29, 2010

Does Size Matter? - Weight and Scooter Riding


"Boy you really have a lot of fun on your scooter. I wish I could do something like that."

"Why don't you?"

"Well I would have to loose some weight first."

"Huh?"

This is a condensed version of various conversations I have had with several friends.

What does weight have to do with riding a scooter? I know that being short is a large factor because it is difficult to find a scooter that is small enough to allow a short person to, "flat-foot it". That means stand securely on the scooter at stops. So that is a real issue.

I have always thought that "heavier" people could ride easier. I thought they might have a better center of gravity, so they would ride more stable. The wind could not shove them all over the road.

I have seen heavy people riding and not thought anything about it. Others have commented with derision, "Look at them!" As if a heavier person on a bike is something funny or odd. I'm like, "Yeah, a big person on a bike annnnnd.... what is your point?"

Why should anyone denied the experience of riding because of weight issues? Is it unsafe or difficult for heavier or bigger people to ride? Do they face more obstacles than slimmer or smaller people other than derision from J-holes?

I take some flak for riding a scooter and not a motorcycle. Comments like, "Get a real bike!" or "You're a Nerd!", are mostly delivered from people who don't even ride or claim that they will never ride because it is too unsafe.

Would a heavier person, particularly females, attract more unwanted rude comments? Should that stop them?

For every crap comment I get, I get 10 times more approval from people who do ride or who want to ride.

If you are heavy and you want to ride, DO IT! If you would feel more comfortable if you lost weight before you ride, than do that too. It is enough to learn how to ride without being self-conscious while you are doing it.

Or do both at once. What the heck do I care as long as you do it safely.

I just want to say to anyone who is out there on the "scooter fence" about riding, if it is not a huge health issue, don't let your weight stop you. Heck, I may be thinner than most, but that is no guarantee that I won't stroke out while riding.

You can be LARGE, or you can LIVE LARGE! It's all up to you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hell Mutts Helmets!










It is quite possible that I have found the Motherload of Crazy A$$ Helmets!

I give you Hell Mutts Helmets!


mmmm...I iz in luv.

Now people are talking issues. They say that the liners would make you sweat. They say that these helmets belong on a shelf, not on your head.

So I emailed the company and asked them - I know vintage helmets are not DOT approved. But if they did this to a new helmet, (DOT approved) would the process compromise the safety quality of the helmet.

We will see if I get an answer. Because I would LOVE to have one of these liners in my NEW Arai helmet that is currently in at the painters!

Okay here is a respose from Billy of Hell Mutts Helmets:

Hi Martha,

Thanks for the compliments and for linking our site! The person with the sweat comment is 100% wrong! We have sold and relined literally 100's of helmets and have only satisfied customers. I personally use my helmets all year round. The crushed panne fabric we use breathes very well and in fact is similar to what some helmet manufacturers use.

Legally, vintage helmets are not considered to be dot approved and all helmets should be replaced after 5 years according to the dot. We do not alter the safety features of a helmet when we reline them. However, again for legal reasons we consider any helmet that has been altered in any way (including custom paint) is not considered dot legal. We have made custom liners for new dot approved helmets. Our customers are either looking for something completely custom, or are into vintage motorcycles and helmets. Some people just don't "get" what we do, and that is ok with us. :)

Billy
www.hellmuttliners.com

Okay - so I am sold and I will be sending them my new, repainted Arai helmet for re-lining! I will keep you guys updated with photos and information. What else can a gal get into when scooter season is over in Chicago....let me see...hmmmmm

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ridin' the Storm Out

From the: I am committed... or I should be, files.

I have aschewed riding in the extreme damp but today I had to try. No more being a CANDYA$$!

It was going to be a very warm day for fall here in Chicagoland, and even tho it poured the night before and the ground was still very very WET, I decided that I MUST SCOOTER to work. It was going to be 77 degrees on the way home! Who could resist that?

So I got up early, put on my myriad of layers, until I looked like a sexy Mr. StayPuft, and took off.

First thing I notice: What is this all over my scooter???? A fine pearly DEW! Odd, but it should dry off as I went along. The sun was coming up so I should be good, right?

Second thing: What is this slime all over the road as I roll along? Oh, it is the DEW from our rosy dawn, carassing the streets and highways with natures sparkly goodness...hmm... a bit slippery tho...

Third thing: Why are there no other bikes out on the road. I know it is a bit wet and foggy, but they are usually out here?....I wonder, do they know something I don't?

Fouth thing: What is this stuff spewing off the back of the cars in front of me and spattering all over me as I ride? Oh it is a mix of the lovely jewel-like DEW, polluted chemicals and noxious goop that the wind is blowing off the cars in front of me!

Lastly: Why does everything smell like worms?

Okay - I made it to work. No big deal. But everything stayed WET - the entire 30 miles to work! WET, like 100% humidity but at least no rain. But it would not dry off! It was like Chicagoland had been slimed! And it was COLD, but not terrible. But the damp was penetrating. It took me a few hours to warm up at work.

Lessons Learned from Riding on Wet Pavement:

First thing you need to realize is that riding on wet pavement is NOT supposed to be relaxing. SO WAKE UP!

You really have to be on top of your game and very very careful. I don't know how people do it when it really rains! They haz Skillz that I doz not.

I was very careful in my turns. Leaning as little as possible and hanging far back from the cars in front of me. I have never had any issues braking, so my stops were very smooth and controlled. But I kept my focus very sharp.

Luckily everyone was moving very slow and cautiously. I was actually HAPPY to see a construction zone so we could all slow down and CRAWL ALONG! And I was amazed that grooved pavement when wet is just as annoying and scary as when it is dry. But no worse.

The ride home was much better. The roads were dry, the sky was windy and cloudy, but it was still very nice.

Some day I will get caught in a real rain storm and I will really have to suck it up. I hope that what I learned riding on the wet roads today will help me in the future.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Even if Yella, makes it acapella



I will never wear "Hi-Viz" yellow when I ride.

Yep, I said it.

Not gonna do it.

No, it is not just to, "be cool". I just don't like yellow. It's so frickin' sunny looking. It's all like, "Ew, look at me! I'm all cute and chipper, like a fuzzy little chick."

But that high visablity crap is way too much. It's like that Frankie says Relax/Wham day-glo crap from the 80s, and I don't like the 80s.

So you can throw all the "safety studies" you want in my direction. Like scientists DON'T manipulate their data to get the results they want.

Look, I worked with a bunch of archaeologists back in the 80s doing data entry. There was one guy who thought that every pot sherd from a site was a, "Ladle Head". Honestly, it was like the entire site was covered with ladle heads. So how did these people fricken' eat without any bowls or plates and just ladle heads. Mind you, NO HANDLES, Just the HEADS!

I used to call him "Ladle Head Ed"....Good Times.

Anyway, Anita Zaffta, was wearing her hig viz riding togs and she got mowed down all the same.

I have people look directly at me and nearly hit me, including that Fokker that made the crybaby gesture at me afterwards.

Some of us just believe a color is not going to stop some jay-hole from knocking you into the next life.

Or maybe some of us just prefer pink.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lookin' like a BadA$$!


Riding two wheels can make you feel like a "BadA$$".

However, what you think you look like...


are two different things!

Why does "fashion" play any part in the ride beyond use, protection and comfort?

I don't think men have this issue. Riding fashion for men is pretty simple... THEY DON'T CARE HOW THEY LOOK! THEY THINK THEY LOOK HOT IN EVERYTHING THEY WEAR!

Go ahead, ask a man if he is worried about panty lines, or wearing the right foundation garment. Yep, you know the answer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pretty in Pink!

Lovely! I'll take it in a small!




In my interwebs search for pink motorcycle helmets - this is what popped up.
This is some knitted art by Theresa Honeywell. Check out her website for more.