After a lovely dinner catching up with my inlaws, we spent a beautiful night right on the river in Little Rock. This morning, bags were loaded and exited for our adventure to begin, we left our fam’s house at about 9am. Straps ends checked, air pressures and oil double checked, and tie downs secure, we hit the road. But first, Diva needs COFFEE. This bag looks pretty sexy with the Duc, don’t you think?! 😉(the obligatory shot…totally sterotyping here!😂)
I used the time on the road to Get some business slaying done, as well as some boredom busting with some selfie shots and fun filters…The drive from LR to Memphis was teeth rattlingly bumpy, as the roads like more like a teenager’s acne scarred skin rather than silky smooth asphalt…pretty sure my fillings rattled around…but the bikes stayed super tight and bounced around with us like champs. That trailer is awesome. But overall, it was all pretty easy, until just past Memphis.
Just outside of the city, I hear this TINY, faint sound…almost a weird “is it in my head?” sound coming from the back tires area. It sounded like a nylon strap slipping through someone’s grasp over and over, but WAAAAY off in the distance. And Hunky Hubby can’t hear it. You know that feeling of conviction where you just KNOW? Yeah, I had that. I told him I really thought we should pull over and he trusted my gut and immediately did. We got out to check the tires, and omg…One of the trailer tires had developed two huge holes in the outer layer of tire. And the rubber layers were separating from the damage and the heat. My Hunky Hubby said we were maybe 10 miles from a blowout. That conviction saved us a heap of mess. Thank you, Lord!! 🙌🏻
After a quick 10 minute tire change, we were back on the road. We even had a salt of the earth trucker stop to check on us. He actually drive by us with a trailer load when we first stopped. He actually went down the road a ways, unhitched his load, and then turned around and came to see if we needed rescuing. You meet the nicest people on trips like this! Thank you, Mr. Trucker, whoever you are! In Nashville we found a Harbor Freight, and bought two new tires-one to replace the spare and one for “just in case”… We loaded everything into my Motochic Sport Lauren bag, cause a gear girl just never knows when she might need to stick a tire in her bag…😏 We got to the car, and as Hunky Hubby was re-inspecting everything, he saw tiny flecks missing from the rubber, indicating this tire wasn’t far behind the first. Erring on the side of caution, we decided to go ahead and change it right then and there. I am so thankful that all happened before we got to the Dragon! It was easy sailing after that from Nashville all the way to Gatlinburg. We pulled in pretty late, but with no further issues. the view outside our private deck on this quaint little old hotel…our morning wake up…WHAT IS THIS THING? 😂After a good nights sleep and a breakfast snack, we ready in for day two is adventures!
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Well… we are officially on the road! We left about 3:30pm, hauling two bikes in one trailer, pulled by a Lexus. Cause that’s how we roll…😂😏🙌🏻 We are closely tailed by these two gorgeous machines:We are headed to Little Rock tonight to stay with fam, and then off to Gatlinburg tomorrow. We get to be tourists for a day or so in the city before we head on over to the mountains to hang with our crew. So much fun!!!!
Today has been NUTS getting everything ready…I’ve done so much “chicken chasing” and chore doing…Cause in true Diva fashion, we decided to list our house while we are gone AND have a pro photographer come TODAY. Yeah, I know…😱 Crazy. But pretty typically us! Lol! So I’ve been simultaneously destroying my house while packing and cleaning like a mad woman at the same time. My dogs have hid from this hot-mess-mama-tornado pretty much all day long…😏
ANNNDDDD…omg y’all…I have “The Bag!!!” It’s so beautiful! The MotoChic Lauren Sport is lighter than the original leather Lauren, because it’s made of different materials. But it’s seriously just as amazing!! It has the new interior lights which is super handy. (And isn’t that lining the CUTEST?!?) And I LOVE the new strap wrap! Just like its big sister, it’s a part of my family already. Roomy enough for anything I need, light enough to actually use, and cute to boot! Plus the amazing versatility! I’m already in love! I’ll post a full overview video about the Lauren Sport soon.
Just a little Diva reminder that this Sisterhood journey I’m on is a CONTEST. I’m so honored and excited to be a part of this! And I’m so grateful you are all joining me!! I really, really REALLY want to win so I can keep this amazing bag!! But I neeeeeed you!! I simply can’t do it without you. So pretty please, would you show a Diva some love and Comment, Like, and Share on all my social media posts and blogs? You can follow my journey several places:
SQUUUUUEEEEEEE!!!!! Guess what guess what guess what??? I’ve been invited to participate in the COOLEST thing this summer…MotoChic has given me the privilege of joining the Sisterhood!
They sent out an all call for any ladies planning fun summer rides and I let them know we’d be headed to the Gap for some Dragon riding in July. I am super excited to let you all know that I’m going to be one of FIVE women nationwide who get to take a brand new Lauren Sport on my adventure! We will all pass the same bag from Sister to Sister…I’m number 3 on the list. I’ve already begun to get to know these ladies, and I can tell you that you will LOVE this adventure! Lighter, convertible, all new features while keeping the ones that I simply love, and it’s simply beautiful. Just look at this gorgeous bag!
Motochic Product shots II Oct 24 2016
MOTOCHIC Product photos
MOTOCHIC Product photos
Motochic Product shots II Oct 24 2016
MOTOCHIC Product photos
BUT!!!!! Here’s the thing…the Sister with the most Likes, Comments, and Shares, gets her VERY OWN Lauren Sport! PEOPLE! You already know how crazy I am about my Lauren bag…AND to be one of the first for the next gen? GAH- the coolest thing ever! These bags are AMAZING, and I am so excited to see how MotoChic has upgraded this bag!
People, my opinions of this bag are all my own, unbiased. I am NOT compensated for participating in this Sisterhood in any way, except for the chance to win this bag.
BUT I NEED YOUR HELP!!!! You’re gonna have to help me out by SHARING, LIKING, and COMMENTING like cray people! I’ll help remind you, but I need you to hit the buttons!
Check out the press release they’ve sent out:
Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag Begins
Inspired by the best-selling novel and blockbuster movie, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, MotoChic’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag kicks off this month. From a group of many, we’ve selected five remarkable women to embark on summer road trips with the Lauren Sport bag. The women will test the bag’s durability, functionality and style, and report their findings to the world on social media. Start getting to know these ladies, and be the first to hear about their MotoChic® adventures:
Riding a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail
From Ottawa to Vancouver Island
June 28 – July 12
Riding a BMW 700 GS
From Kane, Pennsylvania to the BMW MOA Rally in Salt Lake City, UT
July 7 – July 16
Riding a Ducati Monster 620IE
From Springdale, Arkansas to Tail of the Dragon in Robbinsville, NC
July 21 – July 28
Riding a Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster
From Dickinson, North Dakota to the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota
August 4 – August 13
Riding a Harley-Davidson 2017 Sportster 48
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Ohio
August 21 – August 28
Follow MotoChic® on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag journeys. After the five adventures are completed, the rider with the most likes/comments on her journey posts will win a brand-new Lauren Sport of her very own.
Cool, right?? And we’ve been in some pretty big blogs already…Just LOOK!
Accessories are actually a woman’s necessities. Can I get an AMEN? 😉
One of the things concerning riding that I’m growing in is knowing what kind of gear works for ME as a busy woman and a rider. My needs are not the same as someone else’s. I need gear that is multi-tasking, multi-functioning, HIGH safety enhancing, and y’all…I’m a Diva…I want it to look GOOD. PLUS, I’m a sport rider, not a Harley babe. Skulls and such just aren’t my thing. (Although I DIG their bling!! ❤ )
BUT neither are huge tropical flowers, which seem to get slapped all over everything made for a woman sport rider. I mean obviously, by plastering huge Hawaiian flowers on something automatically makes it look good for a woman? It just makes me think of Weekend at Bernie’s…I’m a full-grown, real-job, carrying-kids-dogs-groceries around, multi-tasking Wonder Woman… A lack of large flowers on my clothing is actually a life style REQUIREMENT for me so I don’t try to shimmy into my 8 year old’s undies by mistake, at pre-coffee 5 am…(I’m not a highly conscious morning person, don’t judge me! ;p) I don’t even OWN a Hawaiian shirt…why would I want that design style on my helmet, gloves, jacket, or even my backpack?
Not to mention, I am thankfully not the same shape as my Hunky Hubby. 😉 Gear like his backpacks and such don’t work for me the same way they do him. For example, the chest strap on his fav Swiss Army backpack cuts me right across rather sensitive (not to mention unflattering) areas…strapping that backpack on tight makes it just SO SUPER comfy for anything longer than a 60 second upright sit, right? And then if I LEAN FORWARD to stretch my arms out to grab the handles…?!?! I mean, who needs to breathe while riding? It really doesn’t affect my focus at all…
I sit a lot differently on my bike than my hubby, and I am a much less experienced rider, so tank bags that work for him are currently a huge distraction to me. I have a tail bag that I can use on my Diva if needed, but it prevents my Littlest Beauty from riding two-up with me. If we get the rare chance to ride to school, I’ve got a computer and such to tote with me. And that bag needs to have space enough to stash a pair of sandals with all the rest of my stuff to change into so I’m not clomping around in my moon (sport riding) boots all day long. I must have gear that works for me.
I have literally spent HOURS online, shopping all the sites, and Pinterest hunting for gear that I think looks good, but is super functional and safe. Before I go any further, I want you to know my opinions are completely uncompensated. And y’all know I have PLENTY of opinions! I am not an affiliate for these products. I’m just sharing what I found, cause that’s what Divas do.
While looking online, I came across a startup company called MotoChic. Debra Chin has created this brilliant company that provides highly functional and CUTE gear for women. Plus it’s a small business led by a superstar woman…and I’m all about supporting that! She designed the Valerie and Lauren Bags.
(MotoChic graciously granted permission to use their stock photos.)
My Hunky Hubby surprised me with the Valerie clutch for my birthday last year.
The Valerie is a small hand bag, with an inside zip compartment as well as credit card/license slots. The bottom expands nicely, so I can fit my comb, lipstick, and even a powder compact in there if I choose, as well as my cash, license, and debit card. It’s made out of a material that wipes clean easily. SO nice to be able to easily wipe bug goo off… ;P In fact, I just got back from Cancun and it was my bag of choice there…the sand just slipped right off. And when it rained on us (often!) it was no biggie.
It can be worn as cross-body or carried as a clutch. I use it ALLLLLL the time. I usually wear it as a cross-body under my riding jacket and then carry the clutch when I use my Lauren.
Which leads me to the Lauren Bag…One of my FAV Christmas presents evahhhh…Yallllll, I LOVE this bag. Love. It. LOVE IT. It’s SO well designed, from a safety aspect as well as for functionality and fashion. I’m a teacher. I ALWAYS carry bags-MANY bags, and I tear through them in a year’s worth of work. I’m super hard on them and I stuff them to the gills. I need to carry my Mac with me, along with my kitchen sink. And I want it protected while I do, never mind my own person. But my biggest concern was safety. Big bulky backpacks are distracting and uncomfortable, and they don’t leave my Little much room to sit two-up. When looking for a bag, I was desperate for something highly usable on the bike that didn’t look or feel like a man’s backpack. I would love to only carry ONE bag. Something I can shove everything into, yet not look like I’m dragging the world on my back. I was SO excited when I found this bag!
The Lauren bag is all about safety first:
It’s SUPER highly reflective…Very legitimately BRIGHT on the bike. And visible = SEEN = less chance of getting smacked from behind, so it’s kind of a biggie. When it’s on my back, the rear side panels glow very reflective in headlights, even just the daylight running lamps at dusk. It’s also a very low profiled fit, so I don’t really feel at all it when I turn on the bike to check lanes or such.
There’s side snaps that create a sleeker profile so it’s not a parachute on my back that wears me out by catching the winds. And the CHEST STRAP…people. It’s placed for a WOMAN. As in NOT cutting the girls in half. The chest strap slides up and down, so you can custom your own fit, which every woman knows is a must, even week to week. You can slide it as high or low as needed for you personally. (Can I get a Hallelujah!?) Even little details like loops that hold the extra straps length tight so it’s not slapping against me in the 45+mph breeze make it obvious that Debra thought of just of just about everything. Reinforced seams in the straps and super sturdy zippers minimize the concerns of losing valuables on the ride. People, I got my bag for Christmas. I’ve carried it everyday (whether I ride or not) to work and such, full of all my stuff. My concern was the straps giving out. But I’ve been amazed at the strength and durability of the straps.
Extra pockets EVERYWHERE, both zippered and non, make stashing my stuff an organized breeze. My OCD side rejoices! There’s even a stashed key strap that the Valerie clutch connects too or my bike key. In fact THAT is my only complaint about this bag – the claw clip attached to that strap broke the first time I used it. It was tucked in the pocket, so I’m not sure what I did, but somehow I snapped the clasp in two. The compartment zips though, so my clutch is safe, making it no biggie for me. All the other hardware is very sturdy, so I am pretty sure I just got a wonky one. I wasn’t willing to part with it to have it replaced, so I just deal.
It’s CONVERTIBLE. Y’all, it’s a tote bag for leg days, and a backpack for wheels days. The Lauren has these ingenious tote straps that hide inside the sides of the bag in magnetic compartments, and also backpack straps that hide in a zippered compartment. It’s so easy to change in a flash. Just unzip and clip to convert it to a backpack, and stash the tote straps in the magnetic closed compartments. For off the bike errands, it looks like a fashionable tote bag. You’d never know it was convertible. I get compliments all the time on it, and I always have to stop and show off the quick change possibilities, much to the delight (eye roll) of the unsuspecting complimenter.
The lining on both bags match and are super cute- non pink, vintage motos are inspired for a fashionista. Not a Hawaiian flower in sight! ❤ It’s even got a hidden rain shield in the bottom that stores away unnoticed until needed. Just slip it out and no worries that my Mac will get ruined in the down pour.
Check out this video of the bag’s functionality as well as look! https://vimeo.com/121756715
As far as beautiful, practical gear that enables me to ride more often, fitting into my lifestyle, these bags have made my life SO much better. I LOVE them. They fit my personality and fashion sense, while keeping me SAFER and able to transition from street to bike in a more streamlined way. They are WELL worth the investment!!
Check out the full line at MotoChic’s website. She’s got a full line of adorable stuff that I can’t wait to add to my collection! If you order, tell her I sent you! Divas help Divas out, ya know? ❤
I finally got my Ducati body parts back, and we got her all put back together! I simply LOVE how the Diva-fication of my Duc turned out, and am so very pleased and proud of the work that Ron @NotJustPaint in NY did! Ron was SUPER patient with me, and did a great job of listening. He was able to take my clearly NON-AUTO related ideas and turn them into something doable and beautiful that reflected my personality more than the yellow did. He worked extra hard to be sure what he was doing truly reflected my desires, but also reflected his expertise and skill. I was so impressed with his professionalism.
I wanted something I’d never seen done on a bike before – a faded out, vintage looking pattern aged and rubbed off to reveal a lace pattern through a faded top color coat. I sent him some CRAZY pictures to try to get across my ideas. The primary inspiration was a pillow and a frame. He was able to take those random thoughts and translate that into his language. He’s a genius! I visualized a bit of darker contrast in the blush and metallic color than the pictures, but the same faded vintage look.
Because I do what I do, I wanted a HIGH glitter pattern that peeked out. The colors I wanted were a rose gold bronze and a blush pink.
In order to help him grasp my crazy ideas, I sent him some paper chips with colors that I liked the undertones of, and some I did NOT like at all. My hope was this would help clarify any confusion of color perception.
So I collected some interior paint chips, and I found some rose gold foiled and glittered card stock so he’d have a better idea of what I was thinking. This proved to be most helpful as he used my chips to perfectly match my picks.
I wanted him to have plenty of fabric to cut up and move around as he needed, so I also sent him 2 yards of the lace pattern I wanted, which was completely unconventional – Leopard print.
I am unapologetically a Diva. ❤
I preferred a Satin, or Eggshell finish to the high auto shine that is custom. Definitely not shiny, but not flat matte either.
After he got my package, he called me and we talked at length. He sounded excited and like he understood the idea I had in my mind. The things I asked him to do were different from any he had tried before, so it was truly new experience for both of us.
Ron took my flake card sample and sent it to his flake supply guy. They matched it perfectly. Like PERFECT!
Amazing, right? SO pretty!
While the flake was being matched, Ron had to work on the tank. Remember the dent? All gone!
Ron also spent time matching the chips I sent to him.
They apparently had to dig WAAAAY back to find it. 😉
But they straight up NAILED it.
Next up came the priming. Everything was sprayed with a white primer base to help hide the yellow and give the flake more pop.
After the primer came my favorite shiny part-Flake! When Ron mixed the flake, all my boys said it looked like a root beer smoothie.
I can’t argue with that…
Ron said a typical car has about 2 tablespoons of flake. The Diva had about 10 ounces. Cause Diva does what Diva does… 😉
The haze in this picture is the residual spray in the air. He was COVERED in glitter.
But look at the first coat detail in the sun! ❤
Spraying the flake was messy, and then he had to sand in between each layer with 320 grit paper. TONS of hand work went into this. Lots of love for the Diva…
Here’s BEFORE sanding:
And here’s after sanding (note the reflection of the light bars…straight means SUPER smooth finish, aka TONS OF WORK!):
After that, came taping off the lace and then the top color spray!
At this point, he teased me and told me he wouldn’t show me anymore until I opened it at home…But eventually he relented and sent me this sneak peak…
….along with all these wet paint pics! I was so excited!
The next day, he sent me dry pics of the finish in natural light…The satin finish he mixed was PERFECT. And the spray fog-out he did of the pattern made it look vintage and blended it all so well.
My absolute FAVORITE is the high flake Ducati emblem he did for me.
He blocked them off with vinyl and sprayed over them, then peeled them off and revealed the flaked spray underneath. Just LOVEEEEE!!! SUCH a fantastic job.
To finish it, he undercoat sprayed the bottoms of everything.
All dry and finished, he boxed them up and shipped them home to me.
It was straight up like Christmas at my house!
Everything was carefully packaged and even labeled individually for me.
Unpacking was such fun, but I couldn’t WAIT to get out to the garage. So at 8:30pm, I dragged my hunky hubby out into the garage for quick assembly. Just LOOK!
(click each tile to expand view if you like)
Isn’t it cool?
The next morning, I couldn’t wait to see the flake in the light,
so we rolled it into the sunlight.
Just LOOK at the finish on that tailpiece in the sun! ❤
This was SOOO worth the wait. Many thanks to Ron for his expertise and hard work!
I would LOVE to hear what you think of the Diva’s makeover…PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT OR A LIKE BELOW! And feel free to leave Ron a little love as well. I’ll be sure he sees it. If you’d like Not Just Paint’s business contact info, just contact me!
If you missed the first part of Diva’s story, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the blog and catch up! And please enter your email on the right and follow me? I’d LOVE to stay in touch with you! Rock what you got, and leave the rest to Him! ❤
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As much as I love my Diva, I do NOT love the banana yellow paint job. Sorry to all you racer color die-hard purists, but I just don’t. Every time I look at her, I think about being called Tweety Bird in the 90’s, courtesy of a bright yellow t-shirt pantsuit I wore while singing once. (Yea… I’m old. It was in style then. I was young. No judging.) The color does NOT reflect who I am right now for sure. So I’ve dreaming of a Diva makeover since I brought her home.
We ride with a great YZF forum group, and the leader of the group just happens to own an amazing and innovative paint shop in NY called Not Just Paint. I’ve seen his stuff and have been super excited to have his fingers in this redo. Ron agreed to collaborate with me on the paint, and I’ve been daydreaming and Pinterest-planning for months. During our planning conversations, I’ve had a specific picture in my head of a finish. But I struggled trying describing that to a man, over text, even one who likes sparkles as much as Ron does. I’ve got ZERO experience in automotive paint techniques, so all I had was a dream and a wish, with a bunch of pictures that served as my inspiration. I began to bombard him with “color swatches” aka pictures of things I like the color of…Ron patiently looked at all of them and pointed me in directions he thought realistic. At one point, he said that this was the most interesting consultation he’d had. ;P
For my Diva’s makeover, I wanted a pale blush pink base, with rose gold glitter in the leopard pattern. Cause GLITTER. And I wanted a pattern laced and faded out and vintage looking splotched all over the body. Here’s what I sent him as my inspiration:
And can you guess what I chose for my lace pattern? …Love!
So then the colors…well VERY similar to the inspiration pics…
For the base color of all the pieces, I wanted a soft blush pink, satin finish.
But for the leopard fadeout pattern, I want a high flake rose gold, more on the bronze side than bubblegum side…
I collected some paint chips and card stock paper to give Ron a concrete example of the colors in my head. I couldn’t come close enough to the flake color but sent a couple of things to show the tones and ranges. I also sent him some examples of colors NOT to come close to, so he’d truly understand the colors I would accept and those I couldn’t stand.
We packed up all the bits I wanted painted, and now my girl sits naked in the garage, patiently awaiting her new do. The weather here has been GORGEOUS, so I am not as patient, but I am excited to see what he does!
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I’ve always wanted a Ducati. Cause, Ducati…Just say it…SAY it. It’s sexy just to say. ❤
But I’m not a good enough rider yet for any of the Hairy Hoss Big Sister Superbike versions Ducati offers. When I found the Monster 620ie, I super excited to find a great bike with pretty low miles. She had clearly sat lonely for a long while in some deep dark shed, dreaming of a certain redheaded someone who’d love her and sparkle her up. (Cause, Diva does what Diva does.) We’re pretty sure the guy who had bought new was an older rider, and didn’t ride her much. Based on scar marks and tank dings, we think he must have laid over on the left, and maybe it scared him and doomed the Monster to the shed. The second owner was much younger, said he just didn’t really ride it, and simply needed the money.
We drove up, trailer and cash in hand, intending to ride and see if I liked the feel. The poor thing was COVERED in dust. Layers of it.
Not only that, but there were dirt-dobbers nests INSIDE the air filter, headlight and other hidden and visible places.
She’d been lonely for a LONG time.
The Monster had NO blinkers, and by the time we got there it was getting dark. My Hunky Hubby geared up and rode off to make sure it was mechanically sound, steering and such all where it all needed to be and working.
Then it was my turn. I geared up, swung a leg over, and prayed I wouldn’t drop her on the large gravel driveway. Coming from the Night Hawk, I immediately felt like I was superwoman, flying on my belly, even though the Monster is significantly more upright than its big sisters. One of my primary concerns in a ride is footing, as I’m on the shorter end of inseams. As a novice, I really need the security of firmly planted feet. I was pleased to find she was a great fit for me, especially in boots.
Pulling out of the drive onto the road, my first impression was how easily the clutch action was, especially compared to my Hawk, which grumps like an old man in the morning. In comparison, the Monster felt like it pretty much shifts itself! I opened the throttle a TEENY EENY bit, and all of a I sudden took flight like a she-bat. I’m certain I heard her giggle…A little pleased at how quickly she responded, and a lot startled at how fast the stop light approached, I then proceeded to check the brake. SQUEEEECH at the stoplight. *sheepish grin as I hoped I was far enough away my boy couldn’t hear me…*
I rounded the light into a shopping center lot to turn around, and while sitting in the stoplight waiting for a green arrow, noticed a policeman sitting in the light. Hoping he didn’t notice no blinkers, I smoothed into my lane and rather-quicker-than-I-intended schooched on back to the boys. I gave my Hunky Hubby the nod of approval, and he proceeded with paperwork.
We trailored her and brought her the 2 hour trip home. I’m pretty sure my Hunky Hubby was more excited than I was. It was a fun trip home, daydreaming and planning the rides we’d take together.
Once we got her home, we began the cleanup process. First on the list, street legal blinkers, oil change, new tires, chain lube, and a BATH. Cause, GROSS.
I learned to install blinkers. Do it, ladies. It’s easy.
The chain. OH…the chain.
The sprocket actually cleaned up super well.
And then I find these…a whole bunch of them. *insert death star theme playing in the back-ground*
So, a new chain is in definitely required. While he busted the old one and replaced it, I worked on de-gunking the exhaust pipes. Divas are supposed to be SHINY.
Power drill buffers are my fav.
Suds and sprays time. We scrubbed every nook and cranny.
After that, he took the headlight off and cleaned the inside of the lens. I rubbed polish compound all over the “supposed to be shiny” bits, and just WOW. I do so love shiny things…
After hours and hours of scratching through the gunk, my Diva was born.
Welcome home, Diva. ❤
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Riding is SUCH an adventure. It’s both a challenge, and an escape all at once. But truthfully, when you first start, it’s mostly just a challenge…
Especially when you don’t even know how to start the machine.
18 years of two-up riding, and I stupidly never bothered to learn how to myself. Ladies, I REALLY don’t recommend this. Just learn. Cause “what if?” Even in two-up, may be in the position of needing to move the machine at some point. Seriously. No one wants to think about it, but just the same…Do it.
My Love surprised me with my first bike when I came home from work one day late January of last year. He had found a little Honda Night Hawk 250, spent hours secretly scrubbing, polishing, and getting it cleaned it up, replacing some important parts, and even rattle-can painted it for me.
It was a bit moody in the clutch, and struggled to make it up big hills unless I was open throttled and at full speed. I had to work way too hard to get ahold of the brake. The Night Hawk was NOT made for extra-small handed ladies, and the levers are fixed so there’s no way to adjust that…But all in all, it was a fantastic starter bike. I could comfortably flat foot it, which was important for my beginner’s confidence, and I knew I wouldn’t die if I sneezed. Eventually I even mastered the Fred Flintstone’s walk required to make it up a major hill, but truly I was thrilled to be on my own.
My solo riding adventures started with the MSF class put on by our Harley shop. I learned to ride, weave, zig and zag, box turn, and such all in what seemed like the shortest time span ever. And all on a Harley. It was EXTREMELY stressful. My instructors were super knowledgable and mostly patient, but going from zero mechanical knowledge to passing all the skills tests in two range days was a huge challenge for me.
My biggest issue day one starting off was clutch. The friction zone was a major struggle for me the first day. I killed it more than I actually ran it, I think. Clutch in, ignition, clutch out/gas on, lurch, CHUNK.
“Friction zone, friction zone…bikes don’t stall in the friction zone.” (singsonged to me by my ever supportive instructors…)
And then I got hit from behind. I was completing a close off-set cone weave, full stop, left turn drill. I had just stopped when I heard this shrill whine that made me think Hmmmm. Turned to look, and sure enough from the opposite corner of the range one of my classmates had popped the clutch and was zooming straight at me. Reality slowed as I slow motion processed what to do: if I try to move out of his way, I’m either gonna chunk the clutch and kill it, or zoom straight into the dumpster in front of me, cause beginner LEFT HAND TURN…Just sayin…and he was clicking straight at me.
So I jumped off like a startled bird taking flight. Dropped that bike like it was hot and tried to get my booty out of the way. He hit my bike just as I went airborne, and spun my bike into my leg, bruising me up pretty good, but mostly just totally jacked the back of my bike up. He flew by my and slid 10 feet on his face. (Thank God for full face gear.) We were both shaken up but neither seriously hurt. They told me later it looked like I ballet leapt off the bike and pirouetted out of the way. Cause Diva does what Diva does, apparently…
My instructor grabbed my helmet, and checked me over. Seeing no major damage, they got me back on a new bike pretty quick, and had me moving again before fear really set in.
But still…Lurch. Chunk. EVERY. TIME.
A 5am garage lesson with my hunky hubby the next morning helped me with the friction zone tremendously, and day two was more focused on realizing neutral was not a real gear. I idle like a PRO. Shift up? Heck to the no. I’m quite content at 1st and 2nd gear, thank you very much. She revs real purty there, don’t you think?
I don’t think anyone (including me) really thought I’d pass that class, but I stubbornly knuckled down, and pass I did. With 3 points to spare… 😉 I left that class feeling like I’d just won the lottery. 40 years old and finally had the ability to take the exam for my M class addition. Exciting! But I think Micah was more excited than I was. He asked me regularly if I’d had a chance to go take the written yet. A week later I was certified and ready to rock the road, albeit REALLY SLOW.
My first ride on the Night Hawk was terrifying and liberating. Mostly terrifying. I’m an overly cautious control freak, what can I say? It took me a full minute to wobble lurch my way through a huge figure eight in a parking lot near me.
But I made it. I was officially a rider. Now I’m riding to work and church, as well as around with my Love, just because I can.
Rock what you got, and leave the rest to Him. ❤
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