Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Milestone 1 year scoot/motorcycle commuting

Our bike family - my 50cc Yamaha Vino 'Vixen' & Motorcycle Man's ride 'Monster'

I have hit the first year mark in my scooter/motorcycle journey, which began January 21st, 2011.  It has certainly been a wonderful year full of ups and downs, highs and some very low 2 wheeled vehicle points.  I marked my 1 year anniversary by going to the Vancouver motorcycle show with some new motorcycle friends.  I also met my fellow motoblogger Bob and it was a great!  Wow what a journey it has been so far in the space of 1 year I went from my Vino 50cc scooter to novice & traffic  motorcycle course with my Honda 450cc and finally to my newest ride my VT500C.  I have had 3 bikes in the span of 1 year!  I am not sure how many other people can say the same.  I used to be so content riding on the back of my hubbies bike that I had no desire to possess a motorcycle license, I had given it passing thoughts over the last 28 years, but that was about it.  After catching the scooter bug and then motorcycling bug I don't know why I waited so long.  

When I think back about the whole process it was pretty daunting.  It's funny when you doubt yourself sometimes it takes the belief of others who love you to pull you through and make you think "Yup maybe I can do this."  Some of the most vivid memories I have of this journey is when I finally figured out the friction zone and that it was my best friend and it wasn't a matter of speed or throttle.  It really meant something when I heard my instructor yell "Well done!" after I finished manoeuvring around the dreaded cones.  I have to tell  you I hate those orange pylons from hell, I swear that the devil created them to torment newb motorcyclists.  I remember taking my MSA test and being so nervous, I am not sure why, because I had done all of the exercises now they were just in a sequence.  I was placed in the second position out of my ten classmates, I guess my instructor new I needed to get it over with.  When I was finished I hugged the MSA instructor, who was a little shocked, I guess that doesn't happen everyday.  The next biggest thing was taking the actual road test, which stared out to be a gong show because my license had fallen out of my coat pocket when I put the jacket on and it was sitting on the kitchen floor.  Motorcycle Man came to the rescue and brought it out to me and then off I went.  I had trouble with the Honda Rebel I was using for the test, it wouldn't warm up and then came the traffic standstill that happened and I was almost late for the test.  During the road test one of the mirrors came loose and the examiner couldn't figure out why I was pulling over.  I have to tell you I almost parked the bike and walked away.   The next best memory of the past year was when Motorcycle Man went riding with me and said "Welcome to the club" I was so happy, we then continued on and rode some wicked twisties.  I have to say that twisties are my favorite thing next to eating some of Motorcycle Daughter's fabulous baked treats.  

I have been commuting for an entire year on the scooter or motorcycle and it has been great most of the time.  I have driven in all kinds of weather from scorching heat to freezing cold to torrential rain.  I have found the key to success in motocommuting is good gear.  If you are can adapt your gear to the various weather scenarios you can successfully commute.  I bought 10 bus tickets for those iffy days and downloaded a schedule, I have 8 tickets left, not bad considering I commuted for a year and through winter.  I can see spring on the horizon and I am dreaming of motorcycles trips and am excited to participate in the International Female Ride day on Friday May 4th.  I am getting together with a group of ladies and we are going riding!  For more information on International Female Ride day go to www.motoress.com  It doesn't matter what you ride, just get out there and ride!

         The dreaded orange pylon from hell, my nemesis until I ran it over and squashed the damn thing.....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Homemade Eggs Benny ~ Princess Scooterpie style


This mornings offerings, eggs Benny Princess Scooterpie style.  Freshly toasted bagels, local bacon & avocado topped with Hollandaise sauce.  Accompanying the eggs we had freshly ground coffee by Fernwood Coffee Company - Strongback blend.  

The other day I weighed myself and had lost 10 pounds, I think I just found the 10 pounds again with this breaky. Tomorrow it will be my traditional smoothy with 1/2 of ground up oatmeal, nope its not gross because I pulverize the oatmeal to dust in my magic bullet.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vancouver Motorcycle Show 2012

Ducati Monster - lowered version
Today was a very special day, it was the day I was going to go to the Vancouver Motorcycle Show!  I have been looking forward to this event for awhile and am so glad that Mother Nature cooperated! The only downside to the day was that my hub Motorcycle Man couldn't make it because Motorcycle Daughter has been battling influenza for the last week.  They both gave me their blessing to go and I truly thank them for this opportunity, I do have the best hub and daughter.  The day was an early one, I was up at 4:15am, made breakfast and coffee, and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Cindy, one of my partners in crime to pick me up so we could meet up with Deb another riding diva and our fearless friends Kevin and Martin.  (I do not think the fellas realized what they were getting themselves into.)  We arrived at the Swartz Bay Ferry terminal for the 7:00am sailing and had a great trip over. Hyper on caffeine and excitement we arrived in Abbotsford at Tradex for the Vancouver Motorcycle show.  

At long last I met my moto blogger friend Bob of Bobskoot fame! We(s)tCoastScootin  It was wonderful finally to meet the man who inspires me to take pictures and has offered friendship and encouragement to me when I started my scooter/motorcycling and blogging journey.  It didn't feel like I was meeting him for the first time, it felt as though we have been friends forever!!  I introduced him to my cohorts and off we went.

                                                 My dear friend Bob

A Triumph Bonneville SE- Sigh....to dream, to hope, to perhaps have one day! This bike sings to my soul!  (But please don't mention that to my new bike Scarlett or my Scoot Vixen)

It was so fun, we laughed the whole way there and eagerly waited in line for tickets and to get in.  Then the real fun began!!!!  I WAS IN MOTO DIVA HEAVEN!!!!!!!!! For as far as the eye could see it was wall to wall bikes, Honda, Triumph, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Harley, BMW, Victory, Moto Guzzi, Ducati, Aprillia - it was like a veritable bike candy store!  I must have sat on 30 or more bikes.  It was great wandering around to the different dealers and trying out their bikes.  I tried everything, cruiser, sport, dual sport, OH MY GOSH!  We stopped by the gear vendors and checked out what they had, tried on helmets, gloves, looked at boots, jackets, shoes, pants, heated grips, tank bags and other moto luggage. My brain was in overload.  I am definitely going back next year and I am planning to go to the Seattle show in December this year.

                Bob and I found this helmet vendor & we both tried some cute little helmets.

                                              This may be my new helmet!

After trying many bikes I realized in the world of motorcycle sadly height does make a difference. The average height of Canadian women is 5'3 3/4", American women average height is about 5'4" to 5'5". The one thing I would say to the different motorcycle companies is: PLEASE MAKE SOME MORE OF THESE GREAT BIKES FOR WOMEN- YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE THEM A LITTLE SMALLER OR LOWER.  We aren't all just about cruisers and sometimes that is what we end up settling for because everything else is too big or too tall. We want to try adventure bikes, dual sports and even fast racey sportbikes.  I hate having to do acrobatics to get on and off a bike and really it shouldn't be that hard.  DUCATI got it right, they had a Monster lowered version, that is definitely on my top 3.

I found the Triumph Bonneville SE of my dreams, this bike sings to my soul. I had to stop and drool over it and it's still my dream bike. Another bike that rounded out my top 3 was the Suzuki Gladius - I believe my friend Trobairitz rides this lovely little number. and seeing it up close I can certainly understand her love of this little gem.  My friend Deb fell in love with the Gladius and the lowered Ducati Monster.  My other girlfriend Cindy was loving the larger cc V-star cruisers and Harleys.  I also liked the Ducati Diavel it just appeals to the daredevil vixen in me.  We had a blast with Bob and he happily trudged along with us and we talked about the different bikes and I have to say I actually sat on a few that I wouldn't have had Bob not given me a nudge and encouraged me to give it a try.  I tend to shy away from the bigger bikes due to my height.  I tried a few maxi scoots and decided that I like scoots, but these scoots are just too big and heavy. I think I would miss the thrill of shifting.  A fun day was had by all, I am happy, contented and exhausted and I am sure in my dreams tonight I will hear a vroom sound and images of the bikes that may someday be mine.  I may finally be able to start my seven day bike list, but I think I need to go and test drive one or two! It was all a blur after awhile. All three of us girls were very happy Moto Divas.  

PS Today is my 1 year moto anniversary!  1 year ago today I test drove an orange Sym Mio and two days later I owned my beautiful Vixen, a 50cc Yamaha Vino!  I have progressed a lot in those 12 months from a 50cc scoot, to motorcycle endorsement and my first bike Lucy my Honda CM450e and now my beloved Scarlett Vixen, my Honda Shadow VT500c.  OH WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN!

                                            This made me laugh! love it!

Now who wouldn't want to throw a leg over a bike that has lights & sirens - You knew I would have to sit on this baby.  Funny he wouldn't let me turn it on or play with the lights - DARN!  When I asked the policeman what he thought about scooters, his reply was  "I don't" I had to laugh at that.  Oh and by the way if you saw off the pedals on an E-bike it is now considered a motorcycle and you will be fined for not having a license, insurance or plates - I didn't know this, learn something new everyday.
This was just too cute not to take a picture of, we did ask permission first.
                     Yup my eyes were closed I was envisioning riding twisties!

                               A girl has to try everything.

             Deb of Adventure Kiwi blog & Bob of Bobskoot: Wet Coast Scooting blog

    Deb on a Suzuki Gladius - I think this may be her next bike!  I love the headlight on this bike.

    Another shot of the Ducati Monster lowered version

Cindy on her  favorite ride - it was a beautiful bike!

This little Ducati makes me giggle when I look at the picture, it looks like a little bug or alien.  I know, I know, or mabye it was because I was up at 4:15am.....You decide.
        Moto Guzi - this is definitely a BAD GIRL bike! it appeals to my edgy side.
                            I climbed under this display rope to get this picture!

More to come, this tired Princess Scooterpie is heading to the the land of nod, where I am going to be riding the bikes of my dreams!  


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mother Nature is not having hot flashes! OH NO ITS SNOW!

My version of Frosty the Snow Dude made from junk in my desk drawer at work.
Across the Capital Region today we woke up to winter full-on.  Us Victorian's are kind of smug when it comes to winter compared to the rest of Canada because we usually have mild and wet winters.  Through most of Canada they have snow starting around the end of October and last to at least March.  Every once in awhile Mother Nature throws us a curve ball and the city is usually paralyzed be a small amount of snow.  We somewhat learned some lessons in 1996 when we actually had Snowmageddon  and had record snowfall which essentially shut down the capital city for an entire week.  It hasn't been so bad this time around because we are learning lessons on preparing for winter.  I have been scootering all through most of the winter, but the other day I parked Vixen and took the bus, I didn't want to give her or myself any road induced owies.  While most of my motorcycling and scooter brothers and sisters have their babies tucked up for winter I have continued on, they have now had their revenge.  

When I was going into work yesterday I saw a young lad on a dual sport motorcycle go zipping by me, he was incredibly lucky because the roads were nothing but ice.  On my way to a meeting after work the temperature had dropped considerably and the roads were slick from the melt and refreeze that was happening.  I just about fell out of my seat when a woman on a scooter coming in the opposite direction went by.  I have to say these two individuals where going on a wing and a prayer because even 4 wheels were having trouble.  It snowed all day yesterday and was just was taste of what we would wake up too this morning, 15cm of snow overnight.  Today was declared a snow day for most public institutions and schools.  Kids were out having fun.  I lived in the Northern half of the Province where snow is an everyday occurrence along with -40 temps on an average winter day, we never got snow days, school was always open, people went to work and went about their business.  The one thing that is different for Southern BC is that most people do not have snow tires, don't have the skills to drive in it and honestly there are a lot of eccentric Vancouver Islanders who think winter clothing is shorts with sport sandals with wool socks, that should tell you how *ahem* prepared we are here.  They are calling for snow tomorrow and then rain on the weekend with warmer temperature.  So Mother Nature I wouldn't mind you getting a few hot flashes and sending them our way okey dokey?!

This lovely tree is in the laneway on my way to work, those sad little apples are still hanging in there.The upcoming pictures were snapped from the balcony yesterday throughout the day at work.  Mother Nature seemed to have misplaced her meds because she couldn't make up her mind if it was going to be snowy or sunny all day.  It was quite the day and the adage for Victoria lived up to the saying; "If you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes and it will change."  It was a wild day yesterday.

The next pictures are from today.  I went out to Check on Vixen to make sure she was snug as a bug.  Speaking of bugs there is my '74 Super Beetle hunkered down behind our Westfallia "Goldzilla"  I tried to coax Zilla out of the driveway this morning, but she wasn't having any part of it, after 45 minutes I gave up and Motorcycle Man drove me to work to do what I needed to do & then go home.  Unfortunately on my way out to the car at work I slipped and fell hard on my lower back & elbow and smacked my head on the concrete.  I am feeling it now, so much for being a Road Warrior Princess.  I had on good winter boots too!

This evenings snow shots and the doggis is out frolicking in the white stuff, for at least 5 minutes anyway!

So all of you who are thinking "Well that isn't very much snow at all!"  I am here to tell you in Victoria it is a lot of snow and it is enough to make a city shut down. We are supposed to get more tonight & tomorrow and then we are going to return to the rain bubble again for at least a couple of days, and then we might get more snow.