Archive for the Travel Category

Pinkyracer on the various strata at MotoGP races

Someone's long-haired son gets bored posing with the Red Bull Girls, COTA 2013.

Someone’s long-haired son gets bored posing with the Red Bull Girls, COTA 2013.

Sure, pretty much everyone at the track loves motorcycle racing. We wouldn’t be there if we didn’t. Some love racing more than others. But some love more than racing. Some, like me, love feeling special. I like feeling like I’m in the inner circle, not just a fan among fans. I was feeling very introspective this weekend, being at a GP without the press pass I’d grown accustomed to wearing. I had to think about where I most wanted to watch the races. Not just this weekend, but in the future. Everything has a price, or a trade off, and race spectating is no exception. Everyone at the track has a role, and is helping keep the sport alive through their passion.

Some of the roles I’ve held are:
Fan (general admission or varying levels of ticket access)
Media
Guest (well, usually not for the entire weekend, as sponsor guest passes are really for the sponsors)
Volunteer worker (riders for health)

Roles I’d like to hold, in order of awesomeness:
Team Sponsor
Team Press Officer
Grid Girl (not just for the access but for the validation)
Racer’s wife (less of an option now as most racers are young enough to be my kids!)

Sure, I’d love to be a racer, but I discovered in my club racing days that I really didn’t have it in me. So I’m content to watch the talented ones do their thing.

Continue reading Pinkyracer on the various strata at MotoGP races

Yamaha Knows How To Treat Customers!

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!

What I Did Last Weekend Is Addictive and Dangerous

Marquez making history

Marquez making history

But I’d do it every weekend of the year if I could. I’d even do it on a higher level if I could. But I’m just not that fast. I’m fast enough to get to the racetrack in a reasonable amount of time, but can’t get around the track nearly as fast as the pros. So I watch them, and enjoy the show. Making it even more enjoyable, I write about what I see for Gas2 and when there’s no electric races to cover, RideApart. Or even Jalopnik. Sometimes I also write for CleanTechnica, like this piece about the rad solar farms I saw being built on my favorite back road en route to Laguna Seca.

Continue reading What I Did Last Weekend Is Addictive and Dangerous

My R1 Has a Name

My 2009 R1 right after I added a gel seat pad and gave it the custom heart-shaped seat cover I'd also done for my 2004.

My 2009 R1 right after I added a gel seat pad and gave it the custom heart-shaped seat cover I’d also done for my 2004.

I’ve been riding Yamaha R1′s since 2002. Even I find it hard to believe that over a decade has passed since I first discovered that absolute power does indeed corrupt absolutely. I love my big boys, but they’ve never had names. They certainly have more personality than the Honda’s I’ve ridden, but not as much as the Ducati I owned, which almost immediately told me his name was Fred. Making the annual pilgrimage to Laguna Seca, our favorite way to bond, he told me his name, Big Will. What’s interesting is that this didn’t come until after living together just over 3 years, and him tossing me off in December because I made the slightest error on the wrong tires. Lesson learned, I switched back to Pirellis and had him fixed up.

R1 tape

 

But now he has the scars of a crash, something none of my R1′s have endured. It’s weird to think I haven’t crashed a single R1 in all these years. I’ve crashed other bikes, developing a theory that I only crash bikes I don’t like. I wasn’t thrilled with my 09, I loved my 04 better. But she had 50,000 miles, and when the stator & rotor melted together I decided it was time for something new and shiny. That new & shiny R1 happens to be a lot heavier, and seriously thirsty. Then right after our 3rd anniversary, I abandoned him for Shaq, a Zero FX which is perfect for everyday riding, as I reported here. Big Will sat and collected dust until the time came to get that starting issue sorted before the sabbatical. $1300 later, he was ready to go anywhere, as fast as I dared. Yet I discovered on this year’s ride I just didn’t want to go as fast. It’s really unnerving, and something I hope to work through in Level 4 of California Superbike School sometime soon. Continue reading My R1 Has a Name

I Went To Bicycle Heaven And All I Got Were These Stickers

My bike emits butterflies!!! Stickers from http://rydesafe.com/

My bike emits butterflies!!! Reflective stickers from RydeSafe

When my friend Jenny said “I’d like to visit Portland for my birthday” I said “Let’s go!” I’d only been once before for the Net Impact Conference, and had a great time. Since then I’d gotten deeper into pedal-powered bikes, so I wanted to explore the country’s Bicycling Capital. We made a stab at getting bikes from friends, but wound up just renting these single speed hooptie city bikes. They were painfully slow, geared to handle most riding for most people, so we didn’t really get much of a workout. But we rode all over Portland for a few days! It was rad.

Continue reading I Went To Bicycle Heaven And All I Got Were These Stickers

Back in the Saddle Again | Cycling in London!

Like I am with bikes, I dove right back in the deep end. I’ve been a fairly good patient these past 9 weeks, following doctor’s orders, babying that pelvic fracture to the point where I’m overusing the cane. But today I couldn’t take another minute of it. London had dried out, and I had to get from the Waterloo tube station to the Tate modern- a considerable distance for someone who’s supposed to be “taking it easy”.

There they were, proudly waiting right outside the station, whispering “take me! I’m yours! I’ll get you there swiftly, safely, and with far more pleasure than any other mode. take me, I’m free!” So I did. Got on a bicycle for the first time since April 6th. Wearing the same pants I wore that night too. In London, a city I was so terrified to ride my motorcycle in I’d only ride on weekends and usually at night or in the burbs. I’ve ridden in lots of cities, American and European, but the whole left side traffic thing makes it a little too exciting. Especially on a bicycle. One which I can’t be bothered to figure out how to change gears. And without a helmet. I felt safe enough cruising around Barcelona without a helmet, but there’s a lot less traffic there than London and it’s all on the right side. Perhaps it’s also that I drive/ride more like a Spaniard or an Italian than a Brit. It felt so wrong to be riding without a helmet and with only my purse for hi-viz, but London was good to me, and I also rode slowly on the sidewalks when traffic was too scary. Looking forward to getting the official go-ahead! from the Doc June 20th…

Now I’m near Silverstone, looking forward to volunteering with Riders for Health this weekend. More about that later…

Adventures Of a TT Groupie

Just like the first time I rode on the back of a motorcycle, it’s not so much that I want to be around people who have them, but that I want one for myself. Same goes for the TT, even though I’m here for the first time. I’m going as a tourist and journalist, to witness the electric bikes make history, and help my brother celebrate his birthday. But I’d rather be flying through the air, 200 ponies between my legs, slamming back down to earth only to tip the bike into a sharp bend up ahead, then to fly along the Mountain as fast as I possibly dare. This all-out speed on the world’s deadliest racetrack is my idea of a good time.

 

But that’s not gonna happen this year, and honestly, I’ll probably never be fast enough to qualify for a TT race. Someday I will ride the TT course, but likely not in competition. This really shouldn’t be the year for that even, as my collarbone persists in being detached and the doc persists in forcing me to use this infernal cane. Because I’d rather be a gimp a little longer than suffer crippling arthritis the rest of my days, I’m following doctors orders. Well, as best I can…

Continue reading Adventures Of a TT Groupie

Dreaming of Mecca, aka The Isle of Man TT

Thanks Kevin Rothwell for capturing the photo most like my dream, and sharing it!

Photo courtesy Kevin Rothwell via Creative Commons License

 

This morning I had the best dream- I was at the Isle of Man TT, which I’m finally going to in 2012. The only downside of the dream is I was also preparing my next project for the class I’m currently teaching on garment construction. But when I wasn’t doing that…

 

In the dream, there was also a MotoGP paddock, as if the TT were back on the schedule. Somehow I had access to Colin Edwards’ bike. Somehow I knew that if I disconnected the CPU, the bike would run solely on electric power. So I did, then later returned to Colin’s garage and rode off. I wasn’t even dressed to ride, and of course the streets were open to all traffic. But the bike was FAST and so much fun. I careened through the crowded streets and in my dream I was really in some mall (of course), so parts of my short laps were through a clothing store. It was pandemonium but the crowd loved it (as TT fans would). I loved showing them that a GP bike could be fast and fun even without gas. I did 3 “laps” around this little city block, then rode around some real streets.

Continue reading Dreaming of Mecca, aka The Isle of Man TT

Day in the Life…

Or rather, days. Just to clarify, here’s what I’ve been up to…

I LOVE LA.

well I was gonna get some work done tonight… two articles I need to write for Green Options. Riveting, exciting, world-changing articles. But the fabulousness that is LA has held me in her thrall too late, and now I want only to sleep. Did I tell you how much I love LA? Well, I do. LA kicks every city’s ass. Although I don’t think I could live here without my motorcycle. It must suck to sit in a car all day.

My weekend began with a Friday afternoon at Oxfam America’s Sisters on The Planet event, courtesy of my new boss at Opportunity Green. The event honored women who are leaders in helping us with this whole climate change mess. Met some very interesting women kicking ass for the planet. More about that when I write it up. Djimon Hounsou was there, but since I already fawned over him once and got the cold shoulder, I left him alone. Next, I met a bunch of friends to watch Zombieland at the Chinese theater. It was very meta when they passed by the very same theater in the film. We clapped in glee, knowing that we live in a city so great people think they can be safe from zombies here. :-)

Then I got some rest, got up early to meet up with friends and go to the Alt Car expo in Santa Monica. A schlep if there ever was one, but worthwhile. I’d love to see the rest of LA embrace sustainability the way Santa Monica has. Even the convention center food they were serving was veg and delish.

Then home to relax for a minute and get some shit done. Then off to downtown to rehearse and prepare for the show. Then to the Hive, coming out of retirement to perform with Zombies Without Borders. Then a stroll 5 blocks uptown (which is more like 20 blocks uptown if you’re in NYC) to get back on my bike and ride home to wash the zombie stench off and go to Bootie LA. To listen to music, as by then I could barely stand, I was so tired.

Woke up early enough to meet Wade for breakfast then ride to the rock store to watch world superbike, 250 & MotoGP back to back. It was 4 solid hours of racing heaven. If only the MotoGP racing was as exciting as the SBK racing…Teased Nathaniel mercilessly about pitching his bike down a hill, because he was in shape to laugh about it. caught up with Britt and generally had a good time. Had a little too much fun racing some guy on an R6 down 101, and we actually got pulled over together. Lucky for us, we weren’t even going that fast when the cop saw us, but he did see him speed up to get in front of me and warn me. He let us go with a warning. That warning being that Glendale has one of the worst crash rates in the country. Very nice, being pulled over by a fellow biker with mercy, even though he was stuck in a cage all day (not a bike cop). Then I let Kevin follow me to the grocery store, where we chatted while I shopped.

Then dropped by a friend’s picnic in Hollywood, then to Machine Project to check the status of last night’s bite victim. still not a zombie, I guess being bit by a fake zombie is safe. aren’t you glad you know? And, enjoyed some really bizarre choral music by Killsonic, the likes of which I’ve not heard before. Then dinner at Brite Spot and now I’m supposed to just sit here and do something that can actually bring me fame and fortune? I’m too busy having fun with all the fun people I love!

on that topic, I neglected to mention how I know I need to focus. Keep my eyes on the prize, as it were. Here’s some sage advice from Barry Schwartz, via Derek Sivers, a man living my dream:

Most good decisions involve these steps:
1. Figure out your goals
2. Evaluate the importance of each goal
3. Array the options
4. Evaluate how likely each of the options is to meet your goals
5. Pick the winning option
6. Later, use the consequences of your choice to modify your goals, the importance you assign them, and the way you evaluate future possibilities.

:-)