Small steps to start

In a lot of the articles and books I’ve been reading lately about being more productive, creating and tackling just about anything, starting small is the big deal because those little baby steps add up to giant leaps.

One of the questions during my interview for the Global Women Who Ride project was about working on your bike and maintenance, to which my answer was that I do not although I want to. I think you should know how to do even basic maintenance like chain tightening, when to put air in your tires and proper air pressure for your tires.  So today I decided to do that one baby step (and baby step it was!). The battery was out of the bike to charge it and I decided that I would be the one to put it back in. I assumed correctly this was very simple and it was but I already learned 3 things.

1 – I now know how to get the seat off my new bike.
2 – The colors of the wires coordinate with the color marked on the batter for the terminals.
3 – Always connect the positive first.

An voila! Connected properly and running just fine!

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Signed up for a cool motorcyle project!

My boyfriend forwarded me a link today for a project called ‘Global Women Who Ride‘. It’s an ambitious project for sure and I’m excited to see where it goes! Here’s a little more info about it, if you’re interested in signing up, know someone who would or just want to read the interviews as they’re posted.

About the Global Women Who Ride Project
Headed up by Rashmi Tambe, [her] aim with this ambitious new project is to highlight women motorcyclists across the globe and provide an insight into what a motorcycle rider in another country looks like, what she loves about riding in her particular part of the planet, and what commonalities and differences there are in her riding experiences vs. those of other riders.

Shiny new bike!

After 2 1/2 years of riding and 8,000 miles, it looks as thought the 2006 BMW F650 GS will become a bike I used to own. I now have a shiny new Husqvarna 650 Terra! The boyfriend has been doing his research and thought this would be a good bike for me. I went to visit my parents over Thanksgiving and while visiting some friends in Pittsburgh, I stopped a local dealer there, Schulz Cycle, to try the bike on for size. It was definitely high though weighted differently than the BMW.

We both went down to my parents for Christmas and drove back to that dealer so he could see it and I could sit on it again. It was still high but it has the ability to be lowered. We had lunch at a local dive (really good marinara sauce though!) and talked it over, gave it some thought and I decided to give a new bike a shot! Here it is loaded up on the back of the truck.

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Of course, I couldn’t wait to ride it. The next day happened to be a little warmer (ha!) so I took it for a little spin around the campus across from my parents. All the students were away for the holiday so the place was empty. Did some slow maneuvers in between the lines marked for  parking spots. Was a little nervous that I could only tippy-toe and not flat foot but you do figure out quickly how to shift to one side when you stop the bike for more solid footing.

Is it spring yet?! 🙂

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Just for fun – Heather’s bike

Just had a great weekend at the Rhinebeck Wine Festival! I found a dee-licious Gewurtzraminer. I wish I had bought more than two bottles! I met up with my girls after dropping the boyfriend off for his two week adventure in Colorado and Utah. So excited for him. Here is the group before sending them off on a long 30 hour road trip.

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One of the girls I met up with rides a Honda Shadow and loves pink, clearly marrying the two with gusto! While I might never trick my bike out in pink, it certainly fits my friend Heather. And I won’t fault a girl who rides. 🙂

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I can also flat foot on her bike, which is something I cannot do on mine… unless you count tilting to one side and only flat footing one foot! (The pink swirl on the front is a cat decal – she’s also a vet tech and cat aficionado.)

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Wishing to Ride

The weather has been so perfect here in WV today. I’ve seen all these motorcycles out, groups of them, just enjoying the twisty roads and the beautiful day. I wish I had my bike down here so I could just get away for a bit. Hopefully when I get back home, I’ll get a few rides in before the weather gets too chilly but I won’t be back until early October. Unless the BF decides to buy me heated gear then maybe I can extend my season!

ps – after reading “unless the BF decides to buy me heated gear”, I felt very greedy or something. I don’t want to give the impression that expect it, rather, it would be a generous gesture from him but totally on his own accord. I would love to have some heated gear, but as a fledgling design company of one, it is not something I could purchase for myself right now.

Not Exactly How I Thought it Would Go…

The day started out uneventful though extremely hot. The weather has been brutal this summer! I had my camel pack full of half water and half sports drink, which I probably won’t do again or at least not that flavor! I expected to arrive at the rally early Friday evening, on my bike and set up camp near a woman named Dawn whom I’d ridden with before and I knew would be at the rally. Instead, I arrived early Saturday morning, driving a 10’ Uhaul, bike strapped inside with a flat back tire.

I was less than 100 miles out when the bike was shaking in a way I’d never felt before – I couldn’t even read the GPS from the intensity of the vibration. I pulled off at the next exit and got to a gas station and woo hoo! my first flat tire. I called the boyfriend to share what was now becoming an adventure. I had to unpack everything because I couldn’t get the bike on the center stand with all the gear on it – it was SO hot and there was no shade by the air pumps. I was starting to overheat which makes me nervous because I tend to get physically sick when this happens but I did my best to not focus on that. While I was attempting inflation, he searched for bike stores in the area to see if we could get the tire plugged, because it was inflating but it wasn’t holding air. He found some bike stores near the GPS coordinates I gave him, one being very nearby, so I puttered along in 2nd-3rd gear to the shop arriving just before they closed.

After some discussion with the two mechanics, the boss lady and getting the boyfriend back on the phone, the boss of the store declared they would not plug the tire for liability reasons, which I totally understand (though still frustrating). She also kept referring to a young girl who died on her bike recently and she didn’t me on her head (very encouraging at that moment). One of the mechanics suggested the Uhaul in the next town.  The two mechanics went home when they were sure they could do nothing else besides sell me some CAM straps and soft ties.

The boss drove me to the UHaul in a blissfully air conditioned car where a pokey but pretty girl checked me out and gave me the keys. Much to my “delight”, it was a 10’ truck that I had to back out into traffic and people, with a building and dumpster surrounding me. And no rear view. A guy walking by saw my consternation and offered to back the truck out for me. Wherever you are – you are wonderful!

I followed her back to the shop and lined the truck up with the store’s bike ramp so I could load the bike. Of course, the ramp was higher than the bottom of the truck and so I was going to have to let the bike drop almost a foot to get into the truck. Mind you I couldn’t even pick this 450 pound bike up so I was thinking if it fell, that’s how it was going to stay. Thankfully, though, it did not.

The woman, who was suffering from a neck injury and did not know how the cam straps worked, was just making me nervous and it was so hot I thought she was going to pass out right there. I told her to just go ahead home; I’d take care of this. I needed to call the boyfriend and pull myself together which meant a little blubbering first. I had to stop every five minutes and walk out of the truck from the heat. I was overheated at this point and I knew that getting sick wasn’t a question of if but when. In the middle of whimpering, sweating and fighting the straps, Dawn called to see where I was. That meant the world to me and I think that gave me some kind of push, just knowing someone was out there thinking of me. I got those damn straps figured out (after a second call to the boyfriend!) and pulled them tight. That bike was not moving and headed out.

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Strapped that baby down

I stopped a Sheetz for gas, to put on flip flops and get water. I knew I needed to be sick so I hung out in the air conditioned bathroom, hoping it would happen there but no such luck. I got in the giant ass truck, pulled on the highway and within probably 3 minutes, I had to pull over and vomit on the shoulder, 18 wheelers whizzing buy at what felt like 1000 miles an hour. I would end up stopping 2 more times to get sick on the side of the road. I decided enough was enough. I was staying at a hotel. It was 930 at night. I would get to the rally, have to find where to put up the tent and set it up in the dark, exhausted and nauseous. No thanks. I ended up staying at a truck stop that I’m pretty sure I recognized from overnight trips home on Greyhound buses during college. I called the boyfriend, put my contacts in water in plastic cups (because of course, I left the toiletry bag in the truck), covered them with a silent prayer for no parasitic infections, put the AC on high and promptly went to sleep.

Looking a little rough the next morning

Looking a little rough the next morning

I headed out early in the morning, a little rough around the edges but much better after a good night’s sleep, made it to the rally and had my tire replaced by one of the vendors at the rally and they even put the nail that caused in my tank bag as a souvenir. The first song I heard getting on the highway was Sugarland’s ‘It Happens’– a pretty good way to sum it up! When I got there, Dawn gave me her giant glass of cold ice tea, probably the best ice tea I will have for a long time.

First Solo Trip!

The morning of my first solo trip. Heading to the 2011 BMW Rally in Bloomsburg, PA. Probably around a 5 hour trip, maybe a little longer since there isn’t a big rush. Mostly excited, of course a little nervous but have been riding the roads around mom’s for a couple weeks now, almost every day so feeling much more confident than when I got down here.

The bike is packed and ready to go.

And a tasty breakfast before I head off. (and yes, dad’s coffee is always perfect!)

Riding my Ride

As always it’s nice to spend time at the parent’s house in West Virginia. It’s fun living in the city but it’s nice to have somewhere a little off the beaten path to go and take it easy. Coffee on the porch with dad in the morning is pretty hard to beat. Unless it’s a cold beer on the porch in the afternoon. 🙂

It’s been good practice having the bike down here, especially since I’ll be riding solo for the first time in a few days! They live off of a nice twisty road so I’ve been taking the bike out every day and just riding. I’ll pick an errand to run simply because it’s efficient but I’m really just practicing those turns. I’ve been taking the same direction every day but am going to have to go the other way before I leave. There is a left hand, blind, upward hairpin turn that I have to do at least once.

After I ride the roads for a bit, I go over to the university parking lot and practice slow-speed turns. The students are gone for the summer so there are no cars in the lot. I’ve had a couple of good figure eights but definitely nervous with no around to pick the bike up if I drop it soooo… there will be no bike dropping!

Update:
So I did that hairpin turn and I’m embarrassed to say that it was not graceful or done well but it’s been done. Sigh. Maybe next time!