Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Scooter Fashion Photos Shoot

You Better WORK!

Being that I am going to be 51, and I have not had a professional photo taken of me since a glamor shot session in the 1990's. I decided to get photos of me on my scooter. 

This all started when we went to a rat racer rally in Morris Illinois. Great old cars and trucks and classic clothes and stuff. There was a "Pin-up" Photographer there, Harlow House. 

I liked her style and her work so I took her card and set up a session. The one caveat was, I wanted to be on my scooter.

I am what is called, "Artistic" so I wanted a more high-fashion photo-shoot vs. her typical pin-up shots. 
Luckily she was game as well as talented. Here are some of the photos.

If you do something like this. Get ready for some extreme hair and make up. Feather eyelashes are surprisingly heavy. Try to keep your eyes open, and natural looking. GOOD LUCK with that.

Also pick out some dramatic outfits. Remember, this is like a fantasy shoot for you. Be whoever you want to be with your scooter. It's all about you.

If you want to do something like this, first you need a good photographer. Second you need your scooter and some nice theme outfits. Have fun with it, pick out some interesting looks. Make it your own scooter fashion shoot. 

Why did I do this, well, like I said before, I haven't had a real photo taken of me since 1992 and If something happens to you and the news picks a photo off the internet, do you want something like this representing you:

Or this:

Hmmm... that's a tough choice.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I am only trying to IMPRESS YOU

You know you are only riding to impress men...

Yeah, well we all get old and crabby, and THAT is MY EXCUSE but... 

I am getting a little disappointed in some of my fellow lady riders. 

One a certain scooter forum, in the midst of a very blasé conversation about wanting more scooter choices in the USA, one lady rider said, that she felt that other women riders were just riding to, "Impress men".

To which I was like, HUH!???

I responded that I rode a scooter for a lot of reasons, zero of which was to impress a man. And I was quite sure that most lady riders that I met, were basically the same.

To which she responded that she was talking about women who rode bikes, not the lady scooter riders on this forum. Oh, it was the ladies who rode on BIKES that she had a problem with...

Hmmm....this gives me pause, let me digest this little statement...

I mean, did you ever talk to a fellow lady rider, whether it was on a bike or a scooter and they said to you:

"You know, I am just riding this to impress men. I don't ride for the  freedom, the exhilaration, to save money on gas, to beat the traffic... nope, not me. I am doing it just to impress men. Basically, I am doing it for the dudes."

Do I take umbrage with the previous statement. Maybe the lady who made is of a different generation, maybe she has a personality disorder, maybe I think she is just full of crap, but this is where this really gets my goat...  a few other women riders agreed!

No mind you, I don't think THEY thought that THEY were riding to impress men.. Oh no, NOT THEM, but other women were. Mind you the statement was a total bitter rip that MOST WOMEN... MOST of us RIDE TO IMPRESS MEN.

They said they had seem other women riding in little skirts or outfits that they deemed were a bid for attention. 

See, I am going to give my fellow lady riders the benefit of the doubt, and not rip on them for looking super fly while they ride. Why because sometimes we ride, totally dressed as woman, because we want other women, and little girls to see us, recognize us as a female and realize that THEY TOO CAN RIDE.

Maybe it's because I am from another generation, a generation of women who remember the fight for women's rights. With Billy Jean King challenging Bobby Riggs and beating him, with Geraldine Ferraro breaking ground for women in politics, Cha Cha Muldowney, first lady drag racer, with Sally Ride, first female astronaut, soaring into space.

Maybe you are all too young to remember educational experience like this:

In1975, when my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, "I want to be an astronaut".

The teacher laughed, and in front of the entire class he said, "Women can never be astronauts. Women are secretaries, or teachers, or nurses, or Moms. But not astronauts, or anything like that"

And that little bon mot of wisdom burned it's way into my brain. 

Hmm... I thought, Hmmm... I think this guy, this teacher is...


See ladies of the younger generation, We get to ride today, because of all the women who went before us, fighting tooth and nail, to be taken seriously. 

We get to ride, wearing what ever we want, because our country makes it possible for us. 

See, I DO SEE THE BIG PICTURE, and no, I don't have a disorder to hide behind when I get challenged, and the BIG PICTURE lies in solidarity and not ripping on other lady riders, and what they choose to WEAR or RIDE. Because the important thing is that WE CAN RIDE, and we don't have to ride under a blanket with a peep hole, or any other crazy "cultural/religious" restrictions.

So Ladies, I don't care what you ride when you ride. I don't care if you ride a bike or a scooter or a segway, or a little rascal. YOU GO GIRL! You keep riding. Wear your little outfits, and ROLL in the face of all the BULLSH*T.

And I would make damn sure I try not to rip on you for it. But if you fall, you may loose your ass, but Cie la vie.

And if I really wanted to, "Impress men" I would take my scooter money and buy myself some new boobs, not a bike or a scooter. But hey, that is just me.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My first official BREAKDOWN!

If you ride, you know that there is always a slight danger that your scooter can suffer a breakdown.

This is what happened:

While riding our scooters back from Amerivespa 2012, we pulled over for gas.

I have NEVER filled my scooter up to the brim during the summer. My own scooter mechanic, Milan from Motorworks, in Chicago had told me:

"NEVER fill your gas tank all the way to the top and you will NEVER have an evaporation canister problem."

(Very quickly, Evaporation Canisters have been installed in scooters to catch the few gas drops from a tank overflow. It is supposed to then feed the gas back into the engine but often it just makes the engine, basically choke on this extra gas. It is usually wise to remove this Evaporation Canister.)

I also know enough not to top off a tank when it is HOT HOT HOT out. Something about vapor lock or some such fear is always in the back of my mind as well. So for 4 summers now, I have been riding and filling my tank to only 3/4 full.

So while my back was turned, my unknowing BF filled my gas tank to the brim on a HOT HOT summer day and SURPRISE!! the scooter wouldn't START!

Of course you know what happened next... WORLD WAR THREE on the SIDE OF THE ROAD!

You need to listen to this woman when she talks about how her scooter needs to be treated...

After THAT was over, it was decided that I would ride the MP3 400 home while my BF stayed with the Blue Dragon and try to coax it home.

So I rode the reliable MP 3 400 home while my BF got the Blue Dragon to sputter on for about 20 more miles before it died completely at a gas station in Pingree Illinois. Luckily that is only about 50 miles away from home.

By then I had the car and went up to Pingree and picked my BF up. Leaving the Blue Dragon at the gas station over night... now WHY would we do THAT? Because my BF believed that the scooter would start again the next morning when the temperature was much cooler. 

So my BF and Mike went up to fetch the BV early the next morning and it still would not start. They THEN loaded up on the carrier on the back of the Trailer Blazer and brought it home. 

I contacted Motorworks and they had us bring the BV 500 in very early the next morning. There they removed the HATED EVAPORATION CANISTER, since my BF is not good at following directions. Then they checked the fuel pump finding a cracked fuel pump hose. 

Apparently the hose was previously replaced due to a recall but was still not the best quality hose. It also became brittle over time and cracked. When we added all the gas, we caused the pressure in the tank to increase and this made the hose crack even further.

Motorworks replaced the hose (again, but this time with a big black BMW hose, YEAH!) Once you go BMW you never go back!

This has fixed my BV 500. Supposedly, I will NEVER HAVE AN ISSUE LIKE THIS EVER AGAIN!!!!

But this was my first real break down. I think we dealt with it okay. It could have been much worse. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


When posing for a photo, think "Dignity, always Dignity".

 BV 500's are a breed apart. If you want anything "custom" for a BV 500 good luck. It's not your classic Vespa. There are not a lot of chrome accessories that you can buy for them.

The BV 500 is kinda, the true motorcycle wannabe of the scooter world. It has neither the looks or charm of a classic Vespa, nor does it have the big power and panache of a motorcycle. 

They are stuck in a netherworld, powerful enough to challenge and keep up with the bigger bikes, but still, only a "scooter" in the motorcycle riders eyes. 

And, to a pure scooterist, the BV 500 is simply "NOT a CLASSIC". It is an ugly modern hunk of plastic.

Call me crazy, I kinda love it. For me, the BV 500 is everything I wanted and needed in a bike.

So brimming with a irony, I decided to have my BV 500 custom painted like a traditional "chopper". I chose a local bike painter and created my own graphics. 

Wings would not fit, the BV 500 is too skinny!

I also painted my own top case with a similar design. Then I rode the thing around like a dork.

Yeah, my crazy has a name...what's yours?

But I never thought that my idea of crazy fun would be the accepted "norm", and that is the very heart of Amerivespa.

At Amerivespa they allow people to enter their scooters into the Concours D' Elegance. This is a scooter beauty contest in which the most artistic of scooters win. 

My BF and other's insisted that I enter my Blue Dragon into this contest. I didn't want too, because my scooter came no where NEAR the artistic creativity and excellent mods of the classic and other scooters. They were works of ART. But we entered the Blue Dragon anyway.

It just goes to show how seriously the rest of the modern scooter community takes this contest, because I WON!

Of course I don't have a photo. Because someone FORGOT THE CAMERA! But I do have a great trophy which is in my office at work as well as my sign. 

That is "LiL' Miss Automatic Other " to YOU!

See, you never know what will happen when you let the crazy take over... it just might lead to something GREAT!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Amerivespa and all points in between

And I thought this was over the top... HA!

Well it's been a looooong time since I posted ANYTHING.

And why? Because I am out living my life and up to NO GOOD.

First, I had to get ready for Amerivespa in Lake Geneva.

Let me just say, that Amerivespa is a MUST! If you ride a scooter you MUST attend at least one Amerivespa in your life. You OWE it to yourself. 
Record ride photo... it was AWESOME!

Now, I had so much to do, with work and with getting ready for Amerivespa that I had to let my blogs slide. But now I am making an effort to come back and document the insanity. 

It helps if you bring your own camera.  Photo by Brian Albers.
Note to self, next time, DO NOT FORGET CAMERA!

First, how do you prepare for Amerivespa? As a matter of fact, I could have gone MORE around the bend, because about 1/3 of scooter riders deck themselves and their scooters out like it was the Mardi Gras.

I have no idea who to credit for this photo but it is AWESOME!

I got myself a nice new helmet and stuck some chrome horns on it. That's how I got ready for Amerivespa. I got a few looks riding up there, but I enjoyed the little bit of attention. But let me tell you, when I got there, my helmet and custom painted dragon scooter was just a wee drop in the crazy bucket.

Turns out this is only semi-crazy at an Amerivespa. 
FYI - could have used MORE Insanity.

Lots of these scooters are classic with crazy awesome paint jobs and great details. I was there 4 days and I don't think I caught all the scooters with all their details. It was just insane.

See, I am NOT the only one! 

If you just "Google" Amerivespa you will find tons of photos and videos to satisfy your curiosity.

My Blue Dragon, tucked in with the other scooters.

Let me just say, the 2012 Amerivespa location (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin) the venue (MAC Motorcycles) the parties, the people and the scooters was over the top awesome. I don't think I have ever met such wonderful open, kind and inviting folks in my life. I really enjoyed every aspect of it. 

Note to self, No matter how much your friends like your white pants.. 
DON'T WEAR THE WHITE PANTS! Your friends are NOT your friends and your FAT WHITE A$$ will be all over everyone's Amerivespa photos.

Because no matter what you ride, you are welcome. Scooterist love other scooterists and other scooters. Amerivespa should really be Ameri-Scooter.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wonderful Weekends!

 I love the weekends! Especially when we can go riding!

So Mike is still learning how to ride. This was his first real trip to a different town with us. We went up Rte 25 along the Fox River to St. Charles. Mike did great and he really enjoyed the trip. 

It's a lovely little town on the river with lots of antique shops and restaurants. 

Mike and Chelsea on the Fox River.

Make and Chelsea and Joe lurking in the background.


Statue abuse was rampant.

Antiquing is always fun.

I'm sure it only gets up and moves around in the middle of the night.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm a-fwaid to ride...meh

Let's talk about "Fear"

Okay - Kinda annoyed by the reactions to a poster over on a scooter forum.

This poster has just purchased a scooter but is afraid to ride and is wondering if riding a scooter is actually for them.

Basically the poster saw people riding scooters somewhere, and decided to just go out and buy one, without even trying a MSF course first or anything.

Of course everyone at the forum is jumping on board to re-assure this "young" would-be rider. But, I have true reservations here.

I was never afraid to ride 2 wheels. It's true. Nervous and excited. But not afraid. So basically I was ignorant. So sue me.

I also never fell off my bike as a kid and thus, why would I fall off a PTW? Of course this is how my brain works.

Silly I know, but if you are scared and afraid to fall when you are just riding in circles in a parking lot, than maybe, riding a PTW is not for you.

As I have told my friends my thoughts about riding in traffic... you have to be afraid, to be "afraid".

Fear does you no good in heavy traffic. It can be paralyzing and cause you to freeze or make mistakes that could get you or others  injured.

And as for putting your foot down when you turn... don't. I don't even know why some people even start doing that. I have seen people do that again and again, and I don't get the logic of it. Why would you think you can just hang your foot down from a moving vehicle and not break your foot/ ankle or worse. Goofy.

Anyway, just call me an crabby rag I suppose. But I think some new riders need to suck it up and go out and just do it without all the constant re-assurance. Because you won't get that on the road, fer realz my friends.

Other drivers will NOT be thinking: "Oh look, a gal on a scooter! Let's give her some space and just take it easy around her."

Because honey, riding a PTW in traffic is fun, but it can be deadly serious. And if you just want fun, go roller skating at the roller rink.

If you want to expand your mind, hone your skills and risk your life (and I do mean risk your life) then you ride a scooter. 

And yes, riding PTW is not for everyone. Just like flying a plane, scuba diving, or parachuting or alligator wrestling is not for everyone.

It's your life, it's your choice. Because when you ride, it you, and the road and no amount of handholding and cheerleading is going to help you. It's all about you now. Nothing else.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

AAAAArrrrrrrrggggghhhhhh! WIND!

Even the "Stunt Queen of Naperville" cannot deal with this crappy weather.

The weather here is killing me. After having a great early spring, with a couple weeks of great riding weather, we have now segued into our normal, wet and windy Chicago spring.

This means plenty of threatening clouds and WIND.

For those of you in balmier climes, how I envy you.

The other day I rode home from work and I was just buffeted and shoved the entire way. Honestly people, Scootering is a battlefield.

I arrived home, cold and exhausted. I wanted only to take a hot bath and go to bed. But it was POTLUCK night and my friends were already at my house, waiting for dinner.

ARGH! Anyway, the best thing you can do when riding in the wind, is maintain your grip, but stay loose and relaxed and KNOW that the wind is going to push you around. It WILL move you so just let it happen. Don't panic, just deal with it.

Also, do not go out in the wind if you cannot flat foot your scooter. It can knock you over while you are waiting at a stoplight. So please, take care people.

You know the wind is bad when it grabs your full face helmet and tries twist if off your head, like the twist cap on a bottle of soda. NOT REFRESHING!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Teaching friends to ride...Part 2

Okay- So far so good for Mike. We have gone from practicing in parking lots to riding down suburban streets and roads. Mike has kept up with me pretty well.

(You can say one thing about the back of a ain't sexy!)

We have gone to our local DMV (which is super close to us) and he has now tried practicing on the motorcycle licensing obstacle course.

In addition to that,  Chelsea is now riding behind him! 
Yep he is riding two up already, well in a parking lot.

I don't mind telling you. He is pretty steady. It took me 3 years before I would let someone ride behind me. With Mike, it took 3 weeks. I guess it is a guy thing. They want their ladies with them when they roll. 

Right now, I am keeping them riding two up - only in a parking lot. Even tho Mike is buying this bike from my BF, we are keeping it in our garage as he makes the payments. This allows us to monitor him and make sure he doesn't try anything alone. 

We are still looking for a small scooter for Chelsea. Deals come and go on Craigs list, but nothing worthwhile as of yet. We also need to get her a proper armored jacket, boots and gloves. 

Scooter Fashion Show or How to Properly Pose with a Scooter

Everything I know about posing I learned from Ru Paul.
(Jacket - Harley Davidson, Dansko Clog Shoes, BMW custom painted helmet)

Action shots are always good.
(Jacket - Tucano Urban Lady Inuit, Size 8, Scorpion Exo 400 Helmet)

It helps if you channel your inner drag queen.
(Jacket - Gogo Gear Hologram, size 8)

This one makes my sister call me a "tool". 
(Jacket - Harley Davidson)

Action shot - showing emotion is important

(Cheap fairy costume purchased from cheap costume store - Harley Davidson Ladies Boots)

"Serious Ninja Look", 
Well as serious as a ninja can look with a cheap pink helmet purchased on Fleabay
(Jacket - Gogo Gear Trench, Harley Davidson Boots)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Teaching friends how to ride

If you teach them, they will ride...AWAY!

Now that I have the MP3 400, my friends, (Mike & Chelsea) have been dying to learn how to ride. 

Since our local MSF courses have not started as of yet (too early in the year here) I decided to give them my INTRO to RIDING.

First thing I did was make them get their permits. That allows them to ride as long as they are in the company of another M class license holder. Both Mike and Chelsea had no problems getting these from our local DMV.

Permits in hand, we went off to a local school parking lot to give them an introductory class in scooter and motorcycle riding.

Going by what I learned at my MSF course and scooter school we went in the following order:

First, we had them sit on the bike. Just sit. Get used to the weight and feel. Point out the starter, kill switch, throttle, brakes, turn signals, etc.

Second, we showed them how to start the scooter and just roll/walk it across the parking lot, turn the scooter around and just roll/walk it back.

Third, we discussed gear, helmets, boots, jackets, gloves and pants. 

Fourth, we talked about riding on a road with cars, versus tooling around in a parking lot.

By the end of the "class" we had Mike going in circles in the parking lot on the MP3. 

The bad news is that my other friend, Chelsea, is too short to ride the MP3. We are currently looking for a very smaller 150cc scooter that she might be able to handle. But Shorties do have a hard time getting a bike that fits. So I feel bad for her.

So far she is content to ride behind my BF on the MP3 as we ride. But she wants to ride and I can tell she was real disappointed in not being able to handle the MP3. Her feet could not hit the ground!

So here I am, thinking that my friends are going to be riding the MP3 and guess what? After a few classes with me, Mike shows up at my house wanting to try one of my BF's motorcycles. ( We are a multiple bike family)

Yeah, you can see where this is going. A few more lessons from my BF, and now Mike is riding a Suzuki Boulevard 40S. 

Dang it! my BF stole my Scooter Minion! Oh well, there is still Chelsea... Now if we can find her that one tiny 150cc scooter, I may have my Minion yet!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The reason why I have not posted in a while...

Mama's got a new toy

If a BV 500 is an Arabian Stallion, than the MP3's are the Clydesdales.

Yeah, I have wanted one of these for quite a while now. And boy this scooter does NOT disappoint!

We picked up this used MP3 400 from a dealer in Michigan for a good price. And let me be the first to tell you scooter riders, riding this machine is like a dream.

Sure the front end is heavy and it takes a bit to get used to it, but once you do, I promise you super smooth sailing. And stability! My friends you have NO idea how stable and secure you will feel once you master this wee beast.

I only use the front wheel lock when it is parked because when you flat foot it on one of these babies, they don't budge. They make riding in traffic a dream.

Of course it is not as "flickable" as a two-wheeled scooter, but it has a charm of it's own. 

Rding two up is a dream. Especially during mounting. Gone is the worry of pitching over, since you just apply the front wheel lock and let your passenger hop on board. The two grips are positioned perfectly for passengers and you WILL need them, since the seat is a wee bit slippery. Any quick stops may cause a passenger to slid forward, so make sure they grab those grips.  

Other than that, the ride two-up is the most stable and secure that I have ever experienced.

What can I say, this wee beast can give my BV 500 Blue Dragon a "run-for-the-money".

Now all I have to do is restrain myself from crapping it up with a crazy paint job.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Knightriders (trailer - movie by George Romero)

Knightriders! Holy Crap George Romero!
But Ed Harris!!??? Fighting the Dragon? 

If I was a kid I probably would have loved this. 

From Wikipedia:

Knightriders (also known as George A. Romero's Knightriders) is a 1981 film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was filmed entirely on location in Pennsylvania, especially in Fawn Township and Natrona. The film is a change of pace for Romero, known primarily for horror films; it is a personal drama about a travelling renaissance fair troupe.

Also: Stephen King (and his wife Tabitha) have a 20 second cameo.