In December, after 26 years of safely riding through intersections, I managed to finally get nabbed by one of the dreaded “Left-Turners”. Yes, it’s her fault. Yes, there’s things I could’ve done differently, including driving a car. Instead, I covered my favorite jackets in this rad reflective spray paint from Albedo 100. Hopefully that will do the trick, at least for night rides.
While I couldn’t ride (due to a broken wrist, luckily the worst of it), Fiat cut me loose on the streets of LA in a 2016 500e to see if it could be as fun around town as it is on the track. I’ve driven both manual & automatic 500s, and a broad range of other electric cars. None of them as fun as the Fiat 500e. And it’s not just one biker chick saying this, plenty of car guys agree too. Charged magazine has the most comprehensive story on the 500e here. Motorcyclists in California (and most of the world) are spoiled. We never have to sit patiently in traffic, we just “get in where we fit in.” I wanted to see if the Fiat was fun enough to enjoy without being able to lanesplit. I managed to squeeze it into some pretty tight spaces, making it fairly exciting. Rest of the story on Gas2…
Recently, LA Times reporter Robin Abcarian contacted me through our mutual friend Arlene Batishill of GoGo Gear. She was looking for a motorcyclist to take her lanesplitting during rush hour traffic. As this was slated to be legalized (officially), she wanted to write an informed article on the subject. A true professional journalist! So refreshing.
Continue reading Taking an LA Times Reporter for the Ride of Her Life
Many years ago, as a motorcyclist surviving the streets of NYC, I had a great teacher. Armen Amirian taught me a lot of things, including things about myself. That I’m more a rider than a wrench, as I lack the patience to do most motorcycle maintenance. One of the more valuable lessons he taught me was how to plug a tire so it will stay plugged. Most bike shops won’t do this for fear of litigation. You can do it yourself quickly and easily on any roadside. Of course, this is all at your own risk. I’m only telling you what’s worked for me. I can’t guarantee that this will work for you. Armen prefers the mushroom type plug, which requires a fancy set of tools, the ability to separate the tire from the rim, and basically a proper workshop. If you’re stranded on the side of the road, or can’t afford to pay someone else to do all that, this is what has worked for me…
Continue reading How To Plug A Tire
Yes, we’re all Aries here.
My ego simply adores telling people my age and seeing the look of shock on their faces. I look a lot younger than 44. After almost 30 years on motorcycles, I can tell you what’s worked to keep me from looking like leather face in Grease.
First and foremost- since one year before the helmet law went into effect in California, I’ve been wearing a full face helmet every time I ride. Not only is this protective in the event of a crash, it’s also great for your skin and hair. It keeps the smog and crap off your skin and keeps your scalp’s natural oils where they belong- on your hair. Yes, hair can get a bit greasy wearing a helmet, but that’s why we have washable helmet liners! I highly recommend wearing only a full face helmet with a removable liner. Plenty of times I’ve gone too long between washings and the amount of filth that comes out is astounding. Those cheek pads absorb quite a bit of the tailpipe gunk that would otherwise end up all over your face! Most major brands have removable liners.
The main reason I’ve noticed the excellent anti-aging properties of a full-faced helmet is that my neck is starting to show my age. It’s the only part of my body that gets exposure to the elements when I ride, and the only part that has any real signs of aging. So now I’m faced with ever more costly skincare treatments all in the name of vanity. If only someone had told me 20 years ago to keep all that smog & wind off my neck! Now I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing a scarf tightly wrapped around it on every ride. Be sure to tie the scarf in a knot and tuck it securely into your jacket. When I find the cure for neck tightening, I’ll share it. Continue reading Hair & Skincare for Bikers
This bike was not only fun to ride, but blew my mind with the range. Sure, it’s got twice the battery capacity of my Zero FX, and weighs a lot more, but wow. I could totally sell the R1 and go all-electric… Full story on Gas2.
Photographed juicing up at my favorite westside lunch spot- Malibu Country Mart.
my precious babies safe at home after both enjoying some riding today
Patience is not a virtue that comes naturally to me. I have to work hard to develop it. But sometimes it’s easy.
Riding a motorcycle means I….
On the Freeway
In the Rain
In Los Angeles (where nobody knows how to drive in the rain).
But even I have to draw the line at doing all of the above right after the Superbowl (or any other major drinking event). A simple detour to one of my favorite quiet surface streets made a potentially fatal ride home quite pleasant. Beverly can get you from Hollywood to DTLA just as fast, even faster sometimes.
Today I also got to ride my R1 through sand, out in Joshua Tree. That was exciting. But I kept my speed down (around 6mph!) and didn’t make any sudden moves, and we made the half mile trip (each way) successfully. It was exciting, especially having to turn corners where the sand was actually a couple inches deep. Luckily traffic wasn’t an issue. I am dying to play in the dirt more, now that I’ve learned how to do so through Shelina Moreda’s dirt camp, which I did last year. In case you missed it, the full story is on RideApart.
Winter has finally come to SoCal, let’s all keep the shiny side up!
Shockingly, I never got around to watching this film until this week. It was released 2 years before I was born, rated X, so the first 15 years of my life, I just wasn’t likely to see it. I’ve known about it since the 80’s or 90’s, friends mentioned it, and of course I’d seen That Suit. But given the crowd I ran with from age 15 on, when I started riding my scooter, you’d think it would’ve been playing at some art house or something. But nope. I saw Born Losers, which was my favorite 60’s era “Bikesploitation” flick. Until now. And not just for the flawless Lanvin custom leather suit. I’m already plotting how to make a replica with D30 armor inside instead of fur.
Continue reading Girl On A Motorcycle | Film Review
I’ve been thinking about SIPDE lately. It’s the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s acronym that’s very handy for riding- Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute. They must be done in order. Don’t mix that up. Scanning used to be so automatic is wasn’t even conscious. Then I started riding a bicycle. At 15mph, your eyes can safely wander. You notice stuff you’d never see at 20+mph.
The hard part is getting back to 20+mph vision, which requires consciously ignoring shiny distractions and ONLY seeing the things that matter. Mainly the big, fast things that could kill you. Not much else matters. Not that intriguing billboard. Not that new store that looks like it might be interesting. Not the cute guy waiting for the bus. None of that matters. It’s rather annoying that I have to re-train my brain when switching from bicycle to motorcycle. But there it is. Continue reading Execute! Predict! Scan! Decide! Identify!
Enjoy this video of my booty working it around the track on Saturday…
The weekend of October 12th and 13th, Yamaha sponsored their annual Owners Appreciation Event at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The track days were conducted by Zoom Zoom, and awesome as always. Zoom Zoom does a great job, and Yamaha kicks down some money to make it free (if you’ve got a newer Yamaha) or $100 for the rest of us. This is a brilliant strategy from a company that prides itself on making kick-ass sportbikes.
$100/day is a quarter of the cost of a typical track day at my favorite race track. It was so fun to be back out there, and on my big boy. The Refuel event was fun, but my Zero FX tops out at about 80mph, which makes for a very boring run up the front straight. I trained a little to try and build my strength, as I knew two days on the R1 at Laguna would be a serious workout. But it wasn’t enough, so my lazy ass could barely walk by the middle of the second day. So I packed it in early, as did quite a few others. Track days are a great way to appease the need for speed, and Laguna is my favorite track to ride. You can see pictures of me on-track at gotbluemilk.com
Continue reading Yamaha Knows How To Treat Customers!
In August I was asked to cover Suzuki’s 50th Anniversary party at the Indianapolis round of MotoGP. It was a lovely party, especially because I got to see the Suzuki that was my first real motorcycle. They had this nice history wall, with media highlights from all their 50 years of selling bikes in the US. You can read my story on RideApart. Before the GS450 I’d only had scooters and an MZ150, which looked like a motorcycle but ran like a very high-maintenance scooter. The GS450 was the most powerful bike I’d owned. I bought it from my friend Jaxon, who’d been using it as a motorcycle messenger. At the time I was a scooter messenger, delivering letters and packages around San Francisco on a 1965 Lambretta TV175. The Lambretta had been properly rebuilt by Barry at SF Scooter Centre, so it ran like a champ even under the hardest conditions. But I saw the messengers on proper motorcycles getting the higher paying out-of-town runs, and wanted a piece of that. In the early 90’s in San Francisco, all the cool kids rode BMWs and the REALLY cool kids rode Ducatis. I didn’t have the kind of money for either, and needed something practical. So I bought Jaxon’s GS450 when he upgraded to a bigger bike. Continue reading Suzuki Girls…