Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Evening stroll

Just a few pics from my evening dog walk.

Canadian Women's Ride Day Event

Ladies you are invited to attend this wonderful event that celebrates Canadian Women Riders! See event poster for details or go to

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Really Mother Nature?!

Dear Mother Nature,

Honey you are cramping my Moto Mama style. As much as I love spring flowers, I am really tired if your showers, your cold/ hot flashes and greyness are really starting to fray my moto nerves too. So please send this soggy Moto Mama a good stretch of hot weather - lets say until December????


I love the flowers that are blooming in the garden and so apparently does PupZilla.  She patiently sat there while I took that photo, but I did catch her nibbling a bloom or two. 

"I'm just a little black rain cloud... Tut tut it looks like rain."
(from Winnie The Pooh)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Not so mellow yellow

Well I am on the hunt for a new jacket. My current jacket is too big, almost 2 sizes too big now. I am looking at the TourMaster Transition 3 in either hi viz yellow or silver or possibly even blue. I am leaning more to the silver because it won't show the road grime as much and still allows me to be visible, more than my black jacket. I really liked my transition 2 it worked well in all types of weather and at night the reflectivity is fierce and you could definitely see me, it was actually better than the hi viz traffic vest I put over top. So what do ya think?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Art of riding

For the last three days our Victoria Police Department hosted NAMOA 2013 (North America Motor Officers Association) conference. Officers honed their skills and participated in skills events. I moseyed out for a peek today at the skills competition and it was spectacular. They make technical riding look like art. The cone patterns were tight and intricate. These riders made it look easy as butter melting in a hot frying pan - slick! The motorcycles were varied; Harley, Victory, Honda, BMW, and Kawasaki. It was a wicked day of riding. I think my favourite part was the tethered pairs riding it was fierce!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Provincial Election today in BC

Please get out and vote! We have been given the precious gift of democracy and it is up to us to care for it and nurture it!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gearing up for a new rider

For most new riders their first thought is getting a bike and their second thought is getting through their riding course when they start their two wheeled journey.  But there is more to riding a bike than going out and buying your beloved two wheeled chariot or making it through your motorcycle safety course and getting your hard earned motorcycle license. You seriously need to give thought to what you are going to wear while you are riding your beautiful new machine and giving the biker wave to those who pass you.  Wear your gear all the time, even if you are just taking a short jaunt to the store, most accidents happen within 5 minutes of home according to some stats that have been published over the years.

I come at this from the perspective of one who has had a close up intimate encounter of the pavement kind, and I am here to tell you it is not a pleasant experience rolling and sliding across the pavement.  In fact it down right hurts and the results of a crash even a minor one can be life altering.  You do not have to be going fast to do major damage to your skin, bones, and joints.  That being said you can give yourself an edge for the better by buying and wearing protective gear and making the choice each and everytime you go out on your two wheeled love.

Everytime I see a motorcyclist or a scooterist wearing jeans, t-shirts, shorts and flipflops or street clothes my heart honestly skips a beat, because I see potentially devastating injuries coming their way if they crash.  I have to wonder if it is just because no one has told them how bad a slide across the pavement is, or even told them about gear at all or if it just amounts to it being a choice.  Personally I think it is a bad choice and I wonder why they don't value their bodies more?  Here is some sobering food for thought when you venture out on your bike, you are not alone, you are figuratively taking your family members with you and they are the ones who will look after you if you have compromised yourself in an accident.  I have seen the after effects of devastating crashes and the impact on families.  I work in a neurology office and I can tell you it is very sad seeing someone in a wheelchair who is intellectually functioning at the level of a toddler, this is quite a burden to place on your family members. 

A word about road rash.  It is not exactly a rash, but a burn that you get from sliding across the pavement.  These burns can be minor  1st degree right up to full thickness 3rd degree burns, and at this point the supporting structures of the skin i.e. muscles, bones, joints, ligaments can be severely damaged to the point that your skin is like hamburger.  This all takes place within a very short amount of time i.e. seconds.  The problem with road rash is that because you are sliding across the  dirty pavement your open skin wound is picking up all the road grime, oil, dirt, rocks, and anything else that happens to be on the roadway.  The only way to clean this type of wound is to debride it and that usually entails scrubbing the wound clean with a brush.  Did you just shiver? These wounds are very hard to heal and sometimes require multiple skin grafts and there are complications with infection and scarring and you will never be the same.  

Everyone's idea of gear or practicing ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) is different and it is personal choice and preference.  For some gearing up means a leather jacket, sturdy shoes, gloves and jeans and chaps, half face helmet or full face helmet. For others it is full leathers or textile ballistic grade jackets and pants, motorcycle boots, gloves and fullface helmets.

The only problem with wearing non-motorcycle gear like jeans and chaps is that when you are sliding across the pavement the friction that is created from the slide is going to abrade through your jeans in seconds (unfortunately this is usually in the buttock area).  Jeans are not durable enough to keep your bones or skin in tact.  The anatomy of a fall is such that when you strike pavement it is usually  the bony areas i.e. knees, elbows, and hips hit first. These points of contact are usually where the skin is the thinnest and maximum damage is done to those joint areas. Factor in the the vulnerability of the jeans to friction and this affects  your skin which is the biggest organ in your body it is now vulnerable to infection. If you aren't wearing gloves you are in danger of losing all the skin on the palm of your hand, your natural reflex when you are falling is to stick your hand out to brace your fall.  Street shoes i.e. sneakers or hiking boots are going to do nothing to protect the fragile bone structure in feet and again friction will melt them away like butter in a hot frying pan.  Work boots are not a good idea either because they have steel toeboxes and you can amputate a toe(s) if the toebox is compressed.  Motorcycle boots are made to protect your feet with thick leather and padding in the shins and ankle bone protectors.  Riding half boots are available, but you are compromising shin protection. Have you ever wondered where the lone shoe in the road comes from? I can personally tell you that during a crash your shoes get knocked off leaving your feet vulnerable to the road surface. 

Buy a good lid and wearing it is the single best thing you can do.  Think long and hard about what type of helmet you are going to buy, full face or half.  Some will say they should have the freedom to not wear a lid and to this I say I would rather have the lid and the freedom to ride again another day.  Personally I recommend full face because when you come off the bike you may land on your face and a half face helmet is not going to save your face as it is dragging across the pavement.  The damage that can be done to your jaw and face and skin can be devastating.  Brain injuries are one of the biggest factors of loss of cognitive function in a motorcyclist and some never come back to their pre-accident health status.  Most brain injuries can be prevented with proper helmet use. 

When you are looking for your lid go to the store try on multiple types of them and walk around the store for a good 10 minutes in each, there should be no pressure points and the helmet should not wiggle.  If your cheeks feel 'squished' that is okay because the padding is going to compress with wear making it more comfortable over time.  The maximum life span of a helmet is approximately 5 years due to UV exposure and exposure to the elements. Look for DOT, Snell, & ECE ratings on a sticker usually on the back as these helmets have been rigorously tested to meet high safety standards.   Never ever hang your helmet from the handle bar or balanced on the seat or mirrors because if it falls you might as well throw it away because it is now damaged and the shock absorption layer is now compromised. Even a little fall can compress this layer in a helmet.  NEVER ever buy a used helmet, you have no idea if the helmet has ever been dropped, even if it seems like a good deal it isn't, you are trusting your brain health to strangers.

What type of gear to buy?  That will depend upon the type of riding you do, there are manufacturers who offer gear that is meant for different types of riding i.e. adventure riding, motoX, or street.  Leather or Textile - that is personal preference, both are good when it comes to protection from pavement and elements.  If you do a lot of warm weather riding consider ballistic mesh jackets and pants, these give you the added bonus of protection from the sun and keep you cool.  You also want to look at jackets and pants that have zip-in thermal layers, this gives you the added bonus of $$ value and flexibility of your gear.  Make sure the gear you select has armour in the shoulders, elbows, and back in your jacket, in your pants you want to make sure you have knee armour and hip padding. 

Reflectivity is important as well, you want to be as conspicuous as possible when you are out on the road, particularly if you are night riding.  All black gear without reflective piping makes you seem to disappear and if you are riding behind a car you blend into the car in front of you and are invisible to a driver behind you. Consider lighter colour gear like hi viz yellow, green, or lighter coloured gear like silver.  If you are doing wet weather riding make sure your gear is waterproof and not water resistant. (I always put my cellphone & camera in a ziplock bag) Goretex boots are awesome because they keep your feet warm and dry particularly if you live in a rainy climate and they are breathable in the heat.  As your riding progresses you may consider adding to your gear line-up through purchasing season specific gear like mesh for summer. 

For a new rider this seems like a daunting process, it isn't, just make sure that the choices you make are good ones.  Do not compromise on your helmet, buy a new one, NEVER USED. You should build into your  bike purchasing budget money to buy gear.  Mid-range priced gear from head to toe is going to roughly cost you around $800 and this by no means the fancy stuff either.   The only thing not to skimp on is your helmet the average good helmet will start around $275-$300, so that is a big chunk of your gear budget. Average mid-range coat is about $200-$250, riding pants $200, boots $200-$300 and gloves can be anywhere from $100+ depending on what you are comfortable in.   You can save money on textile and leather jackets and pants if it is used, so it does pay to look around at used gear.  Check the closeout sections on motorcycle gear websites, there are often good deals to be found.

You are probably thinking WOW that is a lot of money, but honestly if you wipe out, what you spent on gear is PRICELESS.  Some insurance companies will give you a 'rider' on your policy for gear replacement.  Check with your insurance company about that.  

I have probably scared the heck out of some of you and hopefully have made others reconsider their gear choices.   I just want you to be absolutely clear on what is at stake when you make choices about to wear gear or not to wear gear or what type of gear you wear.  By mitigating risks motorcycling is FUN it gives you blissful moments when you are riding.  Ride Safe. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Island - Beautiful Sidney by the Sea

This is how I feel about riding! My soul is singing & dancing.

One of the first places you will pass by on the Vancouver Island is the beautiful little town of Sidney by the sea.  It is a lovely quaint little town and is a pretty quiet community.  It is very picturesque and they have really captivated seaside charm with statuary along the waterfront.  It is simply stunning to stroll by the seaside and look towards beautiful Mount Baker.  The town if full of lovely little boutique shops and offer something for everyone.

My Moto Beauty.

This statue is dedicated to veterans

Sidney is also home to one of the best bakeries on the Island and it is there that we make the 25 minute bike trek to get our strudel fix!  The weather is stunning today and it was bright and warm, perfect day for the moto family to take to the road, so off we went down the long twisty roads out West Saanich way and crossed over to Sidney.  There were tonnes of bikes on the road today and it was awesome to see so many out on the roads.  On the way back in I was following a bike & sidecar rig, still love those and who knows maybe one day!

I love this sculpture!

Not quite sure about this one, it looks like an Egytian doggis mummy.


                                       I couldn't resist!  Arrrr Matey!!!

Beautiful Mount Baker

I hope today found you in a sunny spot and you were able to get out on a moto adventure of your own!

International Female Ride Day 2013

                                     The beginning of the ride, Cook Street Village

What a day! The dawn broke and it was sunny, clear and warm. It was shaping up to be an amazing day in two wheels. Since I started two wheeling back in 2011 I have ridden in Island events and helped to create two if these and worked with very a team of dynamic women dedicated to empowering women and bringing attention to women's motorcycling and scootering.

We organized two rides, a day and evening ride. 55+ women gathered for the day ride and went on a lovely ride up Vancouver Island to our gathering point at West Coast Roar, amazing women's motorcycle store. The owners Greer Stewart and Joley Baker do so much more than just offering premium motorcycle gear and choice for women riders, they offer women empowerment to be more and do more, whether you are a motorcyclist or an everyday woman. After our safety briefing and road blessing we wove our way through the beautiful Cowichan Valley. It was quite a sight to behold all of these women on their motorcycles! It was breathtaking to look in your mirror and see the long ribbon of motorcycles behind me, each with a woman rider and enjoying the event.

We rode back to Roar for the closing festivities. This year we changed our focus a bit and raised money for an organization dedicated to helping women who have been in domestic violence situations and it was an honour to do this. We held a swag raffle at the end if our ride and raised $650 for Cowichan Women Against Violence. 

It was amazing to talk to the other female motorcyclists and share their stories and adventures. There is a strong sisterhood of riders on the Island and this event was magic!

I came home from the day event  grabbed a quick shower to shake off the road dirt and prepared for the evening ride I was hosting for those that couldn't make it and 8 of us ventured forth and did a relaxing tour of downtown Victoria, Dallas Road and Beach drive. Two gals were riding scoots which made it all the more wonderful!

I rode Scarlet for 12 hours on Friday and I was tired, happy, and euphoric at the end of my day. It was an incredible day!

                                      Wee Tessie on her mom's 2 wheeled chariot

      55+ women rode today this was our meet-up point in Victoria

    Diverse group of motorcycles including Debbi Ferguson's custom designed Kill Bill Chopper Fergi, she is an airbrush and paint artist.  Gorgeous!

      Girls just having fun at the beginning of the ride. 
This is the group that toured through the Cowichan Valley on the long ride in the afternoon.  We certainly were head turners, particularly when we rode by a construction site.  When we were parked a fellow driving by in his pick-up asked how he could join our group, my response was "You don't want to know, the entry test is pretty tough" - only kidding.

After riding all day I organized an evening group ride for those who couldn't make it to the grand day event, this was a perfect end to the day!  The ride was relaxing, the company fantastic.  The best part of our evening ride was all the people waving at us.  There was a mom and her two girls standing at a cross walk as we left my place and they were hopping up and down waving at us.  Girl Power!!
The group posing at Victoria's Inner Harbour in front of the Empress.

Our Ride stopped at Cattle Point on the scenic beach drive.  

Return to the Moto Lair 12 hours later.

 *Update the Ladies of  West Coast Roar just donated $1000 on behalf of all women riders to Cowichan Women Against Violence