Sunday, August 2, 2015

Summer moto rambling on Vancouver Island


We have been having the most incredible summer.  We've had long hot stretches of dry hot sunny weather.  Although ithasn't  been good for our forests as we've had lots of wild fires and at times it's almost been too hot to ride.  I know right! I bet you can't believe I said that - I said almost.  Friday I hopped on my bike ready for adventure and coaxed my hubby out for the day. We started the day off riding a technical twisty country road, steep in some places, very narrow, blind curves and steep hills.  It was fabulous and I was wishing I had my GoPro.  We met up with my friend Deb and the 3 of us were off to ride the Cowichan Valley and find a fabulous lunch somewhere.  


Deb has a brand new bike a 2014 Honda CTX700T and has been logging miles on it.  Friday was about 33C temp wise.  We were off on our adventure.  We rode through the beautiful Cowichan Valley with its lush farmland and beautiful sweeping vineyards, down to the onceanside and back into the countryside. 


We stopped at Maple Bay marina for lunch and it was delicious, so delicious I didnt take pictures.  There is a thriving floathome community with beautiful homes.  I found myself reminiscing and thinking about a lifestyle change again, longing for my time on the water.  It would be very attractive, but for the fact it was missing garage space, bikes don't do well near the ocean, pitting, corrosion, just to list a few after effects.
After a lovely lunch it was time to saddle up and explore a little more.  We continued down the twisties until the end which led us to another marina, Genoa Bay.  They have a smaller floathome community with only 12 homes and one was for sale and had an open house, I couldn't resist and we chatted with the owner and I seriously considered plonking down cash to recaputure a life I once lived.  But sometimes you can't rewind time. 

I love these whale sculptures, you see them around the island quite a bit, each is different and unique.

The hub waiting patiently for me to get saddled up. 


This is spectacular and represents the West Coast lifestyle. 



It was time to make our way home and wend our way back through the valley towards home.  It was a long weekend here and we were mindful of the traffic volume building and wanted to get home before it became too crazy. 


The weekend has been amazing, it culminated in me teaching the remainder of the my novice motorcycle students.  They all passed with flying colours and it was the icing on the cake.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Riding with the Moto Mama's & Shaw TV South Island Victoria - TV show segment

Here is my first story for Farkle Garage on Shaw TV and Go Island.  Thank you to all the great women riders who are the Moto Mama's.  More importantly a huge thank you to the Producer/shooter/editor and rider Paul B, our technical director/shooter Orlando and Kim Rock cohost/moto mama and badass ducati rider! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The flash of chrome - The roar of engines - 120 Women Riders - Canadian Women's Ride Day 2015

Sunday dawned sunny, clear, and hot.  Across Canada in cities far and wide, women were donning motorcycle gear, pulling on their helmets, climbing on their cherished motorcycles with one goal in mind, to glide through the wind together on their bikes. Imagine small groups gathering together on every kind of 2 wheeled dream machine; cruisers, sportbikes, dual sports, trikes, spyders, maxi scooters, and bikes with sidecar rigs, all with the common desire to ride together to celebrate women riders.  


My Moto Mama girlfriends and I met up early to ride up to Cobble Hill, BC, for the 3rd Canadian Women's Ride Day. There was a frision of excitement and anticipation in the air. There was easy chatter about bikes, the reasons they ride, what riding means to them, and the adventure we were about to undertake.  We are diverse group of women spanning all segments of society, young, middle aged, and women of wisdom. Riding experience and skill levels vary from woman to woman, with some having ridden for decades, others for a few years, and some a mere few weeks after finishing their motorcycle training courses and proudly earning their motorcycle licenses.  Friendships are formed and there is mentoring of the fledgling riders. This truly is a sisterhood where one and all are welcomed and embraced. After a few hurried gulps of coffee and of course the group photo, it was time to fire up the bikes and get on our way and get registered for the ride.

These are my sisters the Moto Mama's. They are diverse, eclectic, and amazingly talented wonderful women. Each has a story, they are generous free spirited kind women and I am proud to call each friend and sister. 


We support each other, even those across the world that we have not met, and have only read about their motorcycle dreams and life journeys. Ann R. supported a rider a world away on this very special day, she rode with a sign with the name Behnaz Shafiei on her bike.  Behnaz Shafiei is an Iranian motocross rider. In Behnaz's home country it is forbidden for women to ride with men and it goes against cultural norms. Behnaz is brave, bold, and courageous. Today in spirit she went riding with us to celebrate Canadian Women Riders and all women riders. She is one of us, our sister. Thank you Ann R. for reminding us that globally women still struggle to have the freedom to do what we do. Ann R. is an amazing female rider with many years of riding experience, a mentor, and friend to many a woman rider.  


Before long it was time to fire up the engines, and roll down the highway to the Canadian Women's Ride Day 2015.  I always find magic in the moment when the key is turned, ignition engaged, riders rolling on the throttle and then the adventure begins. 40 minutes later we rolled into the event where we met up with more moto mamas, again laughter, hugs, and cameraderie abound. We all registered, changed into our ride t-shirts, wandered around looking at all the incredible bikes rolling into the event.

This is just the beginning, a small fraction of the bikes and riders attending the event.  The parkinglot was quickly filling up and it was so exciting to see everyone arriving.  We went through the pre-ride brief and all were ready to roll.

It was beyond breathtaking seeing the diversity of bikes, every segment of the riding community was represented.  An estimated 120 women attended and rode through the picturesque Cowichan Valley. It truly was a grand sight seeing all the women riders, there were lots of waves and horn honking along the way. When we returned from our ride, there was plenty of food and music by wonderful artists; David Gogo and Mitch and the Baroness. Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame motorcyclist Steve Drane who has given so much to the Canadian and local riding community kicked off the event. 


The wonderful thing about Canadian Women's Ride Day is that the organizers Greer Stewart, Joley Baker, and the ladies who comprised the committee, did this not just as a ride, but to give back to local women's organizations that help women and their families in times of need.  Women are given encouragement, strength, courage, hope, and the tools to improve their lives, or to start over when leaving domestic abuse situations. 

Sometimes it is the small miracles that make the biggest change; a safe place to live, the opportunity to further education, but the biggest miracle of all, the restoration of self worth. 

Women share the common bonds of hope and faith in each other, and it is that connectedness that gives us strength to move forward to achieve success, balance, and enriched lives. 

The Honourable Judith Guichon, British Columbia's 29th Lieutenant Governor attended the event and addressed the women who attended the rally. Her message was one of inspiration and poignancy, as she lost her husband in a motorcycle accident on July 19th, twelve years ago. Coincidentally it is same day the rally was held. It took great courage to share this part of her life and in that moment it was received with grace and understanding of her loss by every motorcyclist at the Canadian Women's Ride Day. 
Her Honour addressing all in attendance.


Women from all walks of life shared an amazing day of riding, sisterhood, growth, and enrichment.

We know that it is not always by the power of one that things change, but through the strength and courage of many, and at times we carry the load and bring those along whose burdens have become heavy. This is what happened on Sunday, July 19th, 2015, it was more than just a motorcycle rally, it was sisterhood at its finest.  Until next year!




Saturday, July 18, 2015

Canadian Women's Ride Day 2015



Tomorrow is the big day! My bike is sparkled, shiney, and decorated.  My girlfriends and I are meeting at 8:00am to spend the day celebrating Canadian Women Riders. Most of us deck out our bikes, its kind of like a mini float.  Thankfully the dollar stores still have a lot of festive Canada kitschy junk, so its pretty easy to do.  I have secured all of the doodads and hope they make it through the highway sections. I have a feeling there will be a trail of fluffy feathers behind me.


I love my country's flag, its simple, but colourful at the same time and it does my heart proud to see the maple leaf waving in the wind.


Hope you all have an excellent day tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Call me Adventure Diva - Dual Sport Riding Diva Style!

BMW GS650 

Never in the world would I have thought that I'd be riding a motorcycle, be a motorcycle instructor, tv co-host, or adventurer.  My life has changed so much in the last 4 years. WOW! is all I can say.



Today I was shooting a segment about off road riding for  Farkle Garage  a tv show I am a co-host on. I tried dual sport riding for the first time on a  BMW GS650. It was a whole different world to me, one where you're standing up on the pegs and shifting your weight. This style of riding seemed so foreign to the way I normally approach riding and very far removed from street riding. I have to say it was physically challenging, but very enjoyable.



It shares some of the common principles of street riding, utilizing your friction zone and good solid slow speed skills. There is no going fast involved in this type if riding, good slow speed skills are king. 


Shiz happens


Looking where you want to go to avoid target fixation is a key component to this type of riding, just as it is in street riding, so the basic skills are the same. You need to have your head up and eyes looking way down the trail, so you can avoid objects and fixating on them. Unfortunately I fixated on a cow pie in the field, yup, I rode through the squishy glob of poop.  I think cow pies would be excellent cone replacements because of the definite avoidance and ick factor. 


The local poop contributors.



Just as a novice street rider learns basic riding skills with exercises that promote good observation skills and friction zone development, it was that same build on skills approach that I am familiar with that was used to teach dual sport riding technique. We started out slow with getting the feel for standing on the pegs and body positioning on the bike. Once I got the hang of riding standing up and the fear factor abated a little it became more productive and easier.  The more I rode and was paying attention to my body position, it felt like the bike sort of melded with me, we developed a commonality and oneness. Eventually I was doing a cone weave standing up! Holy cow pie! It was wild surrendering everything you have learned and being more open minded to riding a different style than what you are accustomed to.

Ry showing me how it's done!


I was definitely a novice rider all over again. It was an absolute blast, but I think I would have to do some pretty hardcore fitness training due to the physicality of this type of riding. It definitely brings home to me how my novice students feel when learning a new skill. My interest is definitely piqued and I would like to learn more about dual sport riding.  Unfortunately  there aren't any pics of me standing on the pegs. I was too busy riding, and there wasn't anyone extra to take pics, but they will be in the Farkle Garage segment when it goes to air, so you'll have to stop by the Farkle Garage FaceBook page and check the episode out.



The Instructor Ry was great and very encouraging and walked me through the process step by step. We discussed riding gear and the different aspects of dual sport gear compared to street riding gear where you are more concerned about asphalt/pavement with sliding and abrasion. In dual sport off road riding you are going slower, so are more concerned about impact and wearing good body armour and comfortable lighter weight all purpose gear.  So again there is a good element of farkles to purchase! 



Safety is definitely a key factor and important to being successful in all aspects of motorcycling. I learned today that there is more to off road riding than just buying a dual sport bike and going for a rip on the trails. It truly is a different type of riding and riders will be better served if they are well prepared and take a course and have a good solid basic skill foundation. As with everything moto, you have the potential to get yourself into a whole lot of trouble in a big hurry. Riding off road can be unpredictable, particularly as most rides are in out of the way places, which may not be as accessible to help should you need it. So if you are going out, go with a buddy and if you can't make sure you tell someone where you're going and expected arrival at your destination and arrival home. There is also fabulous technology available for all motorcyclist who travel in the form of spot trackers which are satellite driven, they work where cellphones don't. You activate them and they let people you know you are okay or can trigger them to send help. These are amazing tech tools for motorcyclists or anyone who likes to wander.  I barely scratched the surface of the training during our short segment, I definitely see the value of learning from a professional. Who knows there may be a dual sport adventure or two in my future, but that also might entail a new bike, which due to my newest ride edition probably isn't in the cards any time in the very near future. 


The hub better make more room in our garage!


Another element to this style of riding is that women are embracing it! As with the basic rider course I teach, we have noticed that a significant amount of riders enrolling are women, it is roughly 40% . This speaks to women falling helmet over heels in love with motorcycling and that they are entering the sport at all levels of motorcycling, street, offroad, track, supermoto, motoX, touring, and scootering, nothing is off limits. 


One of the things I loved the most about today's adventure, was talking about what makes riding dual sports special. Seeing Ry's face light up when talking about the zen and magic of being intimately engaged in his surroundings and the passion for this and all forms of motorcycling. It was pure joy connecting on that level. It is the common bond all motorcyclists share, whether it be street, dual purpose, off road, track, weekend hobbyist, daily commuter or year rounder. We all love the feeling of oneness, the melding of mind, soul, and body with the machine. 


Ryan Austin is a professional riding instructor and police motor officer. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

3rd Annual Canadian Women's Ride Day


Women across Canada will be gathering Sunday, July 19, 2015 creating their own events to celebrate women riders.  

Women are one if the fastest growing demographic of new riders. We are taking to 2 wheels like never before. There is great diversity in the women and the bikes they choose to ride; everything from scooters, sport bikes, cruisers, dual sports, adventure bikes, and trikes. If it's out there we'll ride it! 

Come ride with us for this great day in your community.

South Vancouver Island gals we are meeting at Shell/Timmies 2890 West Shore Patkway @8:00am stands up 8:15am. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

what I'm up to!


Wow, it has been an exciting busy couple of days! I've been working with the Farkle Garage crew shooting stories for our upcoming episodes. We did an awesome shoot with a local riding school Vancouver Island Safety Council.  It was a great day interviewing instructors and students.  Its so exciting watching novice motorcyclists learn how to ride and knowing that they are getting a great skill foundation to build on.  


Its pretty cool seeing how a show comes together from a story concept to the actual segment being developed and shot.  Its a lot more work than I imagined it to be, but in the end its worth it because its something that is tangible and pretty cool knowing you had input into the creative process and I get to work with talented cool people. I also get to indulge in my passion for everything motorcycle! 

Orlando Farkle Garage's technical director/shooter making the magic happen. 

Paul Farkle Garage Producer testing out a Honda Grom 125cc bike.

Cool little Honda Grom 125cc motorcycle.  This is an awesome little moto beastie, its small, but mighty, very nimble and was a hoot to ride.  I couldn't resist parking my Honda NC700S next to it. if my bike hatched a moto baby, I think this is what it would look like! Notice the yellow on the 'mommy' bike :) 

I wonder if I watered it if it would grow up to be an NC.


So if you want to find out more about Farkle Garage give us a like on Facebook and can find us on Twitter at @FarkleGarage.  The show will be airing soon, we are working on some great stories and the show will be available on Youtube and Facebook.  

Keep your knees in the breeze and farkles shiny side up!