It's a party! With prizes! And music and dancing and motorcycles! Okay, maybe not the dancing, but that's up to you. Join me in South San Francisco at Moto Shop - a non-denominational motorcycle gathering and DIY fix-it place that opened not too long ago that is rapidly becoming very popular with everyone here in the SF Bay Area. Women, and the men who love us, whether you ride motorcycles (pillion, okay!), scooters, trikes, or sidecar rigs. 4pm to 7pm at Moto Shop. And if you can, join the daytime ride. Click the pic to see updated info on our Facebook page. (More prizes! More fun!) And there's even more info below.
Yes I know there's the State of the Union address but you can always catch the podcast later - tonight, January 24 on SideStandUp motorcycle radio I look forward to talking with, Tigra Tsujikawa, Marketing Manager for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) about the women's conference. She has worked in the powersports industry for 12 years, including the last 3 and half with the AMA. (More info under the picture.)
With 26 years of street riding complemented by eight years of off-road, dual sport, and desert racing, Tsujikawa brings a rider’s view to her projects and programs.
Tsujikawa’s focus in 2012 is on the AMA International Women and Motorcycling Conference, July 26-29 in Carson City, Nev. This will be the second such conference that she has managed, leveraging her love motorcycling and enthusiasm for women riders with her work with various women’s clubs and women leaders in the industry.
Join me on Tuesday, January 24 on SideStandUp motorcycle radio. Tune in early and participate in the lively chat room!
I'll be speaking at the IMS Show on Saturday at 1:00 and 4:00 on the Learning Curve stage with rider, tour operator, author Liz Jansen (Twitter: @TrilliumLiz) about her new book, Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment. And cruising around looking at all the new bikes, and tweeting from @MissAdventuring. Also there, speaking at 12:30pm and tweeting will be Joanne Donn aka @GearChic. Tweet me up for a face-to-face hello, and follow @MotorcycleShows for the stream.
Halloween eve on a Monday night and boo as in boo hoo nobody's coming to my door because I live on a dead-end street in a neighborhood with exactly zero children. I used to love Halloween in San Francisco because I'd sit on the front porch with my landlord who lived in the big house on 15th Avenue at Lake and hand out candy to kids in elaborate costumes. For example, a boy in a rock and roll outfit had a guitar that turned out not to be a toy as he demonstrated a Jimmy Hendrix number - it blasted from a portable amp strapped to his back. His parents giggled at the bottom of the stairs at our astonished looks and I wondered if they used to be famous rock and rollers, which wouldn't have been surprising in that area of the city.
Okay... motorcycles. I bought a Moto Guzzi California Stone this month so now I have three bikes in my driveway. I know that most of my neighbors find it amusing but I overheard one of them - not someone I really know - expressing disapproval. Or maybe he was kidding. Well, what can I do? Get rid of one? Yeah, right. Here it is pre-windscreen and panniers. I chose soft "throw-over" panniers by Touratech, that expand. They're black with grey trim and I think they look nice.
So the Guzzi is a lot like the California EV 1100 I rode in the late 90's in Italy for a few months. I rode it from Lake Como to The Boot, Sicily, Sardenia, and back again to Lake Como, camping most of the way and sending dispatches to the web. During that trip I fell in love with Italy and I fell in love with the Guzzi air-cooled V-twin engine that sits off-center at 90 degrees. On an 1100 cc motorcycle you'd better have both feet firmly planted on the ground before you race the throttle at a stop light or it'll whop you over on its side. That's not a defect it's a feature. Or maybe what we call "personality" in the motorcycle world and you either love it or you hate it.
The only thing wrong with the bike was that it has just one key it was dangerously bent trying to open the gas cap. I took it to Trudee at Key Kraft in Noe Valley where all the motorcycle shops said to go because she's a genius, and she is. Oh yeah, and Bill at Quality Motorcycles told me that every single Guzzi he has seen has had its motor wiggled loose, so he torqued it down for me. Thank you Bill.
I didn't get the saddlebags and windscreen installed quite in time for the Horizons Unlimited motorcycle travelers meeting but I did ride it to the Overland Rally in Hollister. It wasn't awfully awkward on the dirt road to the meeting, but riding it took me back to Italy to the day I rode its cousin down a dirt road on the island of Sardenia that took a sharp curve where I saw too late that the small gully running down the center became a deep, sharp V that sucked the bike right in.
I waited for 45 minutes under some scrub trees for someone, anyone to come along, and finally I heard the stamp of hiking boots from a dozen elderly Dutch hikers headed to the petroglyphs I'd been headed for. It took almost all of them to haul the bike out and then they were so quickly anxious to get on their way that I had to beg them to wait a minute to make sure I made it back up around the corner away from the bike-sucking V. I still want to see those petroglyphs.
The Overland Rally was fun though it was waaaaay heavier on 4x4s than motorcycles. Next year I hope to convince Horizons Unlimited attendees to extend the party for a week using the rally as an excuse. I did learn how to right an overturned vehicle, which rope to use - the static rope, the bungee rope, or chains - and how to wench it just right so you don't flip it into your windshield, you know, useful stuff like that. There was a lot of math too that I need to review before I actually try to do it myself. Rope weight and tons per inch or something. I never was good at math. But the crowd was adventure travel-y and interesting and there were a LOT of modified vehicles which is always a kick.
This month I've also started walking my neighbor Raymond's fat Jack Russell Terrier Tinker. I tried walking him a couple of years ago when Raymond first had a heart attack and couldn't provide him with the exercise he desperately needed, but Tinker pulled so hard that I couldn't stand it. Another neighbor, Marilyn, has since trained him really well and he heels beautifully and does not veer to follow common doggie interests such as squirrels, cats or other dogs. So he has been my companion on my almost-daily hikes.
I hike in the open space near my house where a mountain lion was recently spotted so now it is considered that dusk and dawn walks are not safe. Those who know me just had a little giggle at that word "dawn" because they know that a dawn walk is not really in the realm of possibility, but I do love dusk hikes as the heat of the October sun is cooled by bay breezes here in Northern California. Tinker, I think, would make a nice distracting little appetizer for a cougar, anyway, and I can run faster than he can - so far, at least.
I've got him jogging a little bit but mostly we just walk really fast. After an hour and a half in the hills and then down by the waterfront - where the sound of water laping around the rocks kind of freakes Tinker out - Raymond tells me he sleeps very well.
The International Motorcycle Show hits San Mateo in mid-November, and I want to motorcycle there, it's only an hour, but if tradition stands there will be driving rain all weekend. This would be too bad, because Liz Jansen of Trillium Tours is coming to tout her new book and I want to take her for a ride through Fairfax over to Bolinas by the lakes and through the Redwoods, and then down Highway 1 to Stinson and back to Mill Valley and over the Marin-Richmond Bridge.
Liz says we could ride even if it rains but I say you don't understand, you're Canadian and I live in California and I will ride in the rain if it hits me unexpectedly but few of us like to negotiate greasy wet roads and idiot tailgating lanechanging car drivers talking on their cell phones. I am going to keep my fingers crossed, hope for sun, and if it rains maybe, just maybe, I'll try. I have the gear for it.
I will join Liz at the show on Saturday for a couple of presentations on her new book Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment: 50 Inspiring Stories of Adventure and Self-Discovery. (You can pre-order it for delivery in time for holiday gift giving.) I have a story in the book, and there are some other women whose names you might recognize like Genevieve Schmitt and Sue Slate, Debbie Evans, Stefy Bau, a couple of others I wrote about in May for International Female Riders Month. Here's a review I wrote of the book:
“Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment is a collection of fifty intensely personal stories of women’s journeys through obstacles, desires, self-realization, setback, perseverance, failure, success, courage, excitement and finally joy in shedding fears to open a big new world in which to frolic and share and move through with purpose. I recognized myself in many of these stories and you will too, whether you motorcycle or not. It’s all here — bad husbands (and good husbands), supportive parents, discouraging bosses, perceptions of physical limitations, real injuries, societal restrictions, and then, a turning point, a role model, or sheer exasperation and simply getting fed up and doing it anyway. Some of the stories made me cry but then they eventually made me laugh or even shout out loud in congratulations. The writing is exquisite, with each woman pouring her truth and passion onto the page in the spirit of sharing and encouragement. Our tour guide on this journey is Liz Jansen, a real-life motorcycle tour guide, workshop and retreat leader whose own story elegantly leads us through ten aspects of power through mastering the motorcycle, the very real, yet symbolic and spiritual machine so uniquely qualified to carry each of these women to freedom. ”
If you're anywhere near San Mateo on the weekend of November 18, 19, 20, stop by the show (Twitter: @motorcycleshows) and say hi! I'll be monitoring tweets and you can tweet your location to @MissAdventuring.
Until next time, may all your misadventures have happy endings.
Just back from the Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting in Cambria, California and a friend told me, "You're glowing!" Yes, I am, because there is nothing like being among people who don't think you're crazy for planning to pack up and head down through Mexico and Central America to South America on a long camping trip because you have been invited to visit a friend who lives in Chile -- who I happened to meet at the last HU travelers meeting.
See the Misadventures Media Facebook page for photos of the weekend HU meeting. Again this year I met many people I'd only known by reputation or online, and reconnected with motorcycle traveling friends, and met many new friends I look forward to staying connected with. Here's a quick rundown of a few you'll enjoy following through their blogs, books and articles.
Sherri Jo Wilkins is a belle on a bike who is smack in the middle of a world tour on a KTM. Her duct-taped windscreen is a souvenier from Russia, why bother to get a new one, it works fine, and all those memories!
Zig Kaluzny is a professional photographer (People, Forbes, etc.) who shares his pro tips with us even if it does mean riding with one hand and letting rocks ding your lens. He also shared his system for traveling light - really great advice - and his experiences riding around the world. A true bon vivant and okay, an incorrigible flirt.
Speaking of incorrigible, Gregory Frazier rode his KLR up and brought his new book Motorcycle Adventurer, Carl Stearns Clandy: First Motorcyclist to Ride Around the World 1912-1913. I guess after riding around the world five times now he figured he could settle down and learn about the guy who pioneered his passion. It's a great trip back in history, Greg has been researching this book for years.
The array of motorcycles was stunning, all the usual suspects from KLRs to GSs and KTMs and DR650s and VStroms and even Harley-Davidsons including not one but two huge Harleys that have visited more countries than any other bike in the group. Go figure! That would be Peter & Kay Forwood from Australia (193 countries) and Tim Bussy who wrote this great story about his world travels.
As always, it's fun to connect with Moto Adventure Gal Alisa Clikenger, who presented on South America. She's been writing for Adventure Motorcycle magazine too - check it out. Editor Paul Smith and contributor Nicole Espinosa, aka Nicomama of RuggedRider.com were there, too. Paul is test riding the new Yamaha Tenere adventure motorcycle, so far so good, he says, heavy, but on the bottom end, so it doesn't have that GS1200 top-heavy feel. Don't quote me on that. Nicomama did some magical demos with home-dehydrated food (lighter, healthier, packable!) and just-add-water or heat ready-to-eat stuff from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Yum!
The last night of the event Clement Salvadori gave a great slide presentation of the off-road Continental Divide ride, and then Ted Simon closed it out with a wrap-up of his world journeys including a narrated video slide show of Jupiter's Travels.
Next morning there were a few more presentations and then parade of travelers on two wheels rolled out, some of them in newly-formed groups to camp in Yosemite, or zoom to Malibu, or up to the San Francisco Bay Area where the October sunshine beckons. Those of us in the SF Bay Area have promised to get together for a mini-Horizons Unlimited meeting soon.
The grounds were stellar. Camp Ocean Pines is by the sea, and has lots of bunkhouses and tent spaces, a big mess house and good presentation rooms. There are also some nice motels and B&B's around, it being a tourist destination and all. I think I heard Grant say that they'll need to cap the event at 300 participants next year. The weather was sunny on Friday, foggy on Saturday (the day we were mostly inside with the presentations), and sunny again on Sunday for the ride out. Yay! Those who are camping sleep to the sound of the waves and the sea lions barking. Since October is mostly sunny on the coast we'll hope for nice weather again in 2012. Sign up early, I know it's going to fill up.
Also, you gotta love a crowd who doesn't scold you for buying a Guzzi Cruiser when you were really shopping for an adventure bike, and furthermore completely understand how that when that engine turned over your heart did, too. And who can have too many motorcycles, anyway? Jonathan Ehly of Xpedition Tech may have convinced me that the BMW R100 should be my next bike. It's carbeurated, air cooled, light, maneuverable, a great ride to South America, which is maybe my next trip. Maybe. Unless it's Mongolia.
Well, we'll see. And I hope to see you next year at an HU meeting somewhere!
Don't miss the very occasional Miss Adventuring & Motorcycle Misadventures Newsletters I'll be sending soon. Please sign up here. Here's what you'll find:
Miss Adventuring Q&A: How do I get paid to write about my adventure travels?
Coming Events: Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting, Overland Rally in Hollister, Self-Publishing Boot Camp on the Stanford Campus.
Ride Report: Ted Simon's Jupiter's Travellers Foundation Ride in the Redwoods.
Social Media Highlights: From Facebook, Twitter, Scribd, and LinkedIn.
The China Road Motorcycle Diaries: Get an excerpt from the story included in the new Travelers' Tales: Best Travel Writing 2011
Highlights from Side Stand Up Motorcycle Radio
I'll be in Hawaii soon, too, so we'll see what else happens! Please sign up here.
Tonight on SideStandUp radio I interview Roseann Hanson, Director/Founder of Overland Expo April 1-3 2011
We'll talk about the expo which is held each April in the hamlet of Amado in southern Arizona, just a few miles from the Mexico border. This international event educates and inspires people to get out and explore the world by vehicle or motorcycle, bicycle or on foot, whether 100 miles from home or 10,000 miles. The expo promotes global exploration and conservation of natural resources and culture offering educational and inspirational opportunities for adventure travelers. Over 3000 do-it-yourself adventurers enjoy 70 different classes, workshops, and roundtable programs, or visit 100+ exhibitors who offer four-wheel-drive and adventure motorcycles, accessories, camping gear, and adventure travel services. (And Carla will be presenting on China and on self-publishing at the Expo!)
Rosann, along with Jonathan Hanson, her husband of 25 years, has authored over a dozen natural history and outdoor books. Rosann is also a lapidary and metalsmith, creating one-of-a-kind gemstone and precious metal jewelry. They live in a remote, off-the-grid property 35 miles southwest of Tucson. Early on in her career in conservation, Roseann realized that the most effective strategies for success was with grassroots projects, for which funds were raised $5 to $50 at a time, rather than the big million-dollar projects, which got mired in bureaucracy and greed. The Overland Expo is a fundraiser for ConserVentures, which conducts conservation expeditions throughout the world (you can participate!), either assessing potential project areas or working with existing but under-funded wildlife, landscape, and cultural conservation projects.
These classes cover basic sidecar motorcycle operation and riding skills with and without a passenger. This is what you need to learn to corner with confidence cope with the unexpected challenges that traffic and road conditions present.
The registration fee is $260. Class is limited to a maximum of 12 students. Sidecars are available for use in the Novice Class at no extra charge.
Sidecar Skills Mini Tour Weekend Package - $550 - Sidecars are not included in price
July 16~18, 2010 Western Columbia Gorge Mini Tour
September 17~19, 2010 Eastern Columbia Gorge Mini Tour
You can bring your own rig or rent one of theirs. There will only be a very limited number of rental sidecars available and the mini tour will be kept to a small group to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
The Sidecar Skills Mini Tour is geared towards folks that already have some experience or training. Friday evening and Saturday morning is the Advanced S/TEP class. They will brush up on technique and work towards perfection during the Advanced S/TEP class, then apply it during the rides Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. The routes will be a mixture of highway and secondary roads with some gravel and dirt roads as well, touring the spectacular Columbia River Gorge and surrounding mountains.
Visit Adventure Sidecar.