Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summertime and the living is busy!

There has been a lack of posts on this blog and the reason is simple - I've been working too much! There has been no easy living lately, between work, instructing and Farkle Garage my weekdays are full with 9-5 and Fridays off filled with errands, house chores and sometimes extra training or filling in for other instructors and then teaching on the weekend.  So until August this blog is in slow mo and then it's onto vacay, adventures and baking peach pie! Then living will get easy, as the old song goes! 

Oh yeah summer's bounty, cherry pie and peach pie! 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mad hatter

I am a very girlie girl, I love shoes, purses, accessories, and hats! There is more to me than just being Princess Scooterpie.  This is a very rare fashionesque post - don't fall off your bike....

It all started with this little number, I loved the classic charming lines and that it was tweed with a sparkle in it.  I happened to be at the local farmers market and came across a booth loaded with hats! Very lovely handmade hats! I have always been a hat girl way back since the 80's when Princess Di brought them into fashion.  

This lovely lady is the hat artist! Her hats range from the practical yet pretty sunhat to the extreme feathered, rosetted and bowed large silk brimmed hats - and yes I do have my eye one one or two of those! She also makes cute cloche hats and poorboy hats.  Some of my faves though are her vintage 30-40's inspired cloche hats.  

I also like having multiple choices because I wear sunhats in the summer due to the burn & peel factor my skin has even with sunscreen.  This lead to the purchase of this hippie inspired tie dye theme and of course it had pink! 

Tonight I found the perfect throw in your bike bag to hide helmet hair hat! This is a gorgeous deep khaki coloured textured small brim hat.  I love the fit and its perfect for those bad hair days.  Behind me is a cloche style hat and yes I have a similar version. Of course I fell in love with two hats and came home with 2. 

I am a lover of hats and love to wear them at jaunty angles for a bit of flare.  There was once a time when women never went out without a hat, I wish those days were back.  I love Linda's hats because they are soft, shapeable and very wearable.  You can turn and shape the brims to how it suits you and that is the art of hat wearing. I know these aren't as fancy as the British fascinators, I have worn them before and they are uncomfortable.

Gotta say for me these beat the utilitiarian ugly baseball cap I was wearing for sun protection. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Farkling in the dark

The Mad Farkler at work. 

I have a very patient Moto hubby and he knows how long I've waited for all the pieces to arrive for my side bags and racks.  You'd think it would be easy to buy bags & racks to install them on the bike, apparently it's not.  We started this project at the beginning of June with the purchase of the bags at a very good price. When it came to sourcing the racks, not so easy. I ordered the racks from two different places only to find out they were both out of stock with no idea of when or if they'd be back in stock.

Hello internet - the best ever Farkle finder! We found the racks in Italy at Speedmania and they actually ended up costing less than if I had bought them here in Canada. Their service was fast and efficient and it took 5 days! The best part was how excited the courier was about delivering a motorcycle part from Europe.

The odyssey wasn't over yet though, as it still required another part which I was able to source from a Canadian internet retailer, again thank you world wide net. There were a few anxious moments due to a looming Canada Post strike and the package was due to arrive July 4th and the strike date is July 2nd, thankfully it arrived on June 28th. 

After work K decided he was going to get them installed, I was thrilled as I was expecting for it to be on the weekend. Daylight turned to dusk, dusk to night, and the giant light was hauled out.  I didn't realize how indepth the farkle installation process was going to be, gotta say it's a lot easier bungy cording a backpack to the back.  I was happy when it was all complete.  The bags look great and now I'm ready for long distance adventures!

Viola! Givi monokey V35 side bags installed. 
Update:  Some of you have asked a few questions the first being - Any trip planned and where to? Well unfortunately my hubby and I have already booked a 7 day stint of camping in Tofino and we are going it the luxurious way in a motorhome.  Our holiday time doesn't really groove together either, I have the entire month of August off and he only has two weeks that he can take in that time frame, so it leaves us with little time to take long road trips.  After I come home I think I am going to pack up the bike and go solo for a week up the island. 
The bags were supposed to come with two liners, but when we bought them there was only 1 - the shop owner misplaced it and the bags were on clear-out and at a steep discount, so I have plenty of bags that will suit the purpose and I also have a friend who is a master seamstress and can make one for me, so that is the route I am going to go.  The liner bags are pretty steep to buy about $98 Cdn and I can make them for a lot less. 
Still thinking about the heated grips - I have them down in my hoard in the basement, just not sure if I want to install them, right now I would rather have my hubby wire in a charger for my iphone, and with all of the things he has done to my bike I am not wanting to stress him out anymore on farkles for awhile.  Apparently I am not a good farkle assistant because I am not very good with tools, so I will leave it the master farkler. 


Monday, June 20, 2016

When the teacher becomes the student

Recently I was gifted an amazing opportunity of taking an experienced riders course through my riding school that I teach for.  Every once in awhile they have a vacancy come up in a course and it gets offered to instructors.  I have wanted to take this for awhile.

This course allows riders with experience to build and hone skills.  Gotta say I had a few moments of trepidation, because I was riding in front of my peers and wanted to make sure I learned from the experience.

It was amazing! We didn't mention to other students that I was an instructor and then there was no undue pressure on me.  I soaked up the experience and really pushed myself and my bike, which is good, because since I got it last May I haven't really bonded with it and needed to get a feel for it's handling and ABS.  The best part was I was mentored by 3 incredibly talented instructors who I admire deeply and learned so much from them.

This course achieved that for me and I really am a cone and slow speed manoeuvre nerd! I Loved it!  I found zen with the Duchess on that 2 day course.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Farewell Scarlette

You know that feeling you get when you have a bike that you love, but have outgrown it, and you're reluctantly move-on, but can't say goodbye. Well that is what it has been like for the last year since buying the Duchess.  Poor Scarlette has been sitting in the garage while I was deciding about what to do about her. I tossed around the idea of keeping her and collector plating her which would have made insuring her affordable, but in the end I knew I wouldn't do her justice with her waiting for me to ride her. I finally passed the moment of reticence at letting her go and needing for her to find a new home where she will adventure and help a new rider bloom or a current rider enjoy her classic style.

Fate intervened, completely out of the blue I was  cc'd on an email of someone looking for a person to go along with a new rider to look at a vintage bike and help them evaluate it for potential purchase. I sent an email saying I was busy, but then thought hmmm I have a beautiful vintage bike that I could sell. In that moment the bond with Scarlette was broken and emails started flowing back and forth.  I stayed out of the sale and let my hub deal with that, because it was hard for me and I was teaching that long weekend.  By the time my classes finished she was sold. It was a bittersweet moment, I sat on her for the last time, reminisced and even kissed her tank - yup I'm a squish.

This is Scarlette's new owner.  She is a brand new motorcyclist and I know Scarlette will be an awesome first bike and good for skill building.  

After the paperwork was complete I rode with T and Scarlette to her new home. Of course we took a long scenic route and stopped to take some pics.  She asked me if I wanted to ride her one last time, but I was content not too.  So goodbye my lovely Scarlette lass, you will be missed and thank you for the lovely memories!

Doing the Renfrew Loop in 2014

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lazy Sunday morning reflections

It is Sunday morning and its a stunning summer day, we are destined for 28c today.  It was unusually quiet in the neighbourhood and it felt like morning just meant for sleeping in, catching up on blogs and drinking coffee in bed.  It was a morning to relish, I haven't had many of these in the last few months because I have been busy with the advent of motorcycle training season. 

My hubby has made coffee and brought me a cup of the demon bean into the bedroom, which is an enticement for me to continue in my slothy state, at least for a few minutes anyway. I am listening to the easy happy chatter going on between my husband and daughter in the livingroom, broken by occasional giggles. We don't often have time together these days, it is rare in fact that we are all off work at the same time.  So I lay here listening to the exchange between them and it is one filled of love and I don't interrupt and let them have this glorious few moments of father/daughter time, it feels like a treasure was given to me.  Life is moving fast, my daughter is approaching 19 and on the brink of adulthood, but still wanting to keep a foot in childhood where things were less complicated. Thoughts of next steps, working, and education are in the atmosphere, there is indecision and a little angst about making life choices at 19, but I have suggested that life paths can change, we are not always anchored to the idea of what we thought we are or should be, my life is one full of change and diversity.  She will find her path and may even have to reinevent a few times in her life because our world is always changing at a fast pace.

For now though I am going to enjoy my cup of coffee and think about what I an going to do with this glorious day! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ripping up the tarmac in the Greater Victoria Motorcycle Skills Challenge

Saturday, May 14th, 3 local police agencies united to run a motorcycle skills challenge clinic. 

The CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU) which is comprised of members of the RCMP, Victoria Police and Saanich Police put this event on in conjuction with ICBC who sponsored a $1000 gear giveaway.  My riding school Vancouver Island Safety Council also participated as we offer courses to strengthen riders skills at every stage of their skill development; novice riding classes, traffic skills classes, right up to experienced riders courses.  

This event was about riding community engagement, studies have been released that show over time riders skills can deteriorate primarily through lack of practice and not taking skill upgrading courses.  Striking statistics in a study of male riders ages 49 to 70 have shown higher rates of crashes in riders in this age group. Most of this is due to lapses in riding with people taking long breaks from riding and thinking the skills they learned 20 years ago will still be there and as reflexive, which generally is not the case. People overestimate what their skill level is particularly if they are seasonal riders.  Even the most seasoned well practiced riders routinely work at honing their skills. Friends of mine who are police riders regularly practice skill handling and practice at the start of their shifts.  Its the simple things that we lose; good strong shoulder checking, scanning gets lazy, sightlines deteriorate and basic handling such as slow speed skills and steering in emergency situations with quick stops all suffer over time. One of the most important things is situational awareness, people don't scan far enough ahead and aren't anticipating hazards in their riding environment or being ready to take action. Another is lane dominance, it drives me absolutely nuts when I see riders giving up their lane dominance by riding in the wrong lane position. Owning your lane through lane dominance does two things it discourages other vehicles from sharing your space and it increases your visibilty to other drivers both around you and coming towards you. Conspicuity in traffic is the 'art of being seen' and this is acheived through lane dominance and wearing higher visibility clothing.  Most drivers when they collide with a bike say "I didn't see them", it makes sense to increase your visibility by asserting lane dominance and wearing hi viz clothing or a traffic vest. Riders have a huge part to play in their safety by making sure they are anticipating hazards in their evirinment by using good SIPDE hazard detection skills (Scan Identify Predict Decide Execute).  

Now that we've talked a little about the reasons for the event lets take a look at some pics of the artistry of riding.  I saw some pretty hella amazing skills on Saturday. Quite a few of the riders who attended benefitted from the coaching provided by the IRSU members and VISC instructors involved.

RCMP and Saanich PD members playing follow the leader. This my friends is amazing riding! Sightlines, space management, and lots of practice.  Practice makes better! Don't think that the pro's are immune to bike drops, they aren't and there were a few tip overs, but it is the continued practice that allows them to ride like this.

Check out those sightlines! 

This is my instructor colleague Jeff, he has the most incredibley fierce riding skills.  He makes it look effortless, he is killing the course.  His youtube channel is MrMadbiker1 check out his videos.  Check out the link. 

This gentleman showed up on his vintage Indian with a side shifter and foot clutch.  You should have seen him taking this bike through the cones.  Gorgeous bike!

My iphone does not do this bike justice!

It was a great day! Everyone took away positive skill building techniques myself included.  

I was a little tentative at first, most think I am extremely outgoing and extroverted, but in reality I am an introverted extrovert - I know that is a confusing statement, but in some respects I am shy and get the jitters and a wee bit of performance anxiety.  I wasn't too keen on trying the course, but then decided to suck it up and give  it a try.  I got some coaching from an IRSU member and one of my instructor colleagues and eventually was whipping off figure 8's in a tight circle like it was a smooth as butter. With a bit of coaching my figure 8's where getting tighter and tighter and easier to do. My instructor boss was coaching me and he had me stop and then he kicked the cones in about a foot making the circle even smaller, at first I thought "Eek!", but then realized it was no biggie.  

I have had the Duchess for a year now and this was truly the first time in that time period where I have pushed her and myself. I also have greater confidence in the Duchess now that we have installed lowering links, its changed her handling for the better for me and I am glad I made this decision and very happy that my hub did the research and the mechanical work. 

After this my sightlines and handling improved and I was flicking my 500 pound Honda through the slalom and the back to back uturn maze confidently.  Again the key was getting my head turned further  and better sightlines.

I could have spun circles and 8s all day! Was I ever having fun! 

This was crazy! It was a series of 3 turns, it showed me that I really needed to get my head turned & eyes up and looking through to the next turn and end gate.  Imagine that what a novel idea of looking where you want to go!

I eventually went and tried the harder layout and loved the gate slalom, I did get a wee bit lost on where to go because it was at the very end of the day, but it was fun just the same. I was so glad I was a part of this event because I learned stuff and had improvement in my skills, I also realize I need to continue my skill building process. The bonus from today is I have a better understanding of my bike's handling and was flicking 500 pounds around like it was nothing and that made me hear the moto angels singing and I was in cone nirvana and yes practice does make better.

 Now If only I could find more cones....guess what I want for my birthday next month - traffic cones!