rides

Riding with the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Presented by BMW Motorrad USA

Riding Across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 with 150-200 motorcycles behind us! ( Left: Sarah Schilke, National Marketing Manager BMW Motorrad NA. Middle: ME. Right: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer of the Sisters' Ride (Photo: Christina Shook)

Riding Across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 with 150-200 motorcycles behind us! ( Left: Sarah Schilke, National Marketing Manager BMW Motorrad NA. Middle: ME. Right: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer of the Sisters' Ride (Photo: Christina Shook)

Day 1 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Brooklyn, New York

Last weekend I finished up a spectacular event with my friend Alisa Clickenger, the organizer of the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride. If you hadn't read my article about this ride, read this first and then come back. :D 

Adeline and Augusta Van Buren after riding into Mexico all the way from Brooklyn, NY (Photo: Van Buren LLC)

Adeline and Augusta Van Buren after riding into Mexico all the way from Brooklyn, NY (Photo: Van Buren LLC)

Of course I brought  my Man  :-) Photo: Christina Shook

Of course I brought my Man :-) Photo: Christina Shook

I could only do the first week of this amazing ride so I brought the man with me to the kickoff point, Brooklyn on Sunday, July 3rd. That night was a small, intimate event with members of the Van Buren Family that were joining the entire cross country journey. That night I had the pleasure of  meeting Sarah Van Buren, Great Grand Niece of the Van Buren Sisters, as well as her father, Robert Van Buren (Great Nephew of the Van Buren Sisters). Sarah was so inspired by what her ancestors accomplished and the momentous event of this ride that she herself obtained her motorcycle license just 9 months before the beginning of the ride! What an accomplishment, to ride across the country before you've even racked up a few thousand miles of riding experience under your belt. Sarah, you should be incredibly proud of what you've accomplished, as your Aunts would have been so proud of you as well.

Sarah and Robert inside the wall of death at AMA Vintage Days earlier this year (Photo: Sara Liberte)

Sarah and Robert inside the wall of death at AMA Vintage Days earlier this year (Photo: Sara Liberte)

Alisa Clickenger (organizer) holds the Proclamation (Photo: Christina Shook)

Alisa Clickenger (organizer) holds the Proclamation (Photo: Christina Shook)

The evening was marked by a very cool proclamation from the Borough of Brooklyn, New York declaring July 3rd 2016 "Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Day in the Borough of Brooklyn".

Since we were leaving super early the next morning for Springfield, it was a light evening for both of us. 

Day 2: Brooklyn, New York to Springfield, Pennsylvania

Nothing to see here, just a few dozen people riding motorcycles through Brooklyn. (Photo: Christina Shook)

Nothing to see here, just a few dozen people riding motorcycles through Brooklyn. (Photo: Christina Shook)

Our route as we left Brooklyn took us North, up the Taconic State Parkway. It's a very scenic route (nothing twisty really) into Massachusetts. After awhile, Evan and I split off and decided to ride a backroads route into Springfield instead of with the larger group we were with. (There were 3 distinct groups based on riding experience and overall comfort. So no, it wasn't 100 people all riding together all the time <which freaks me out a bit>). We had a blast riding for a bit with Robert Pandya (External Relations Manager - Indian Motorcycles) and Robert Van Buren!

Robert and Sara Liberte riding all the way cross country in this beautiful Indian Chief Dark Horse with matching Sidecar. &nbsp;Such a stunner! (Photo: Christina Shook)

Robert and Sara Liberte riding all the way cross country in this beautiful Indian Chief Dark Horse with matching Sidecar.  Such a stunner! (Photo: Christina Shook)

Me and Robert, after rolling into Springfield! &nbsp;(Photo: Me)

Me and Robert, after rolling into Springfield!  (Photo: Me)

That night we rolled into Springfield without much fanfare. We did however, hit a huge milestone and rode through Connecticut! Another state knocked off my list. It was HOT too. Did I forgot to mention how HOT it was? 

DAY 3: SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

First day in Springfield, the morning kicked off with a great tour of the Springfield Museums and another proclamation. This time from the Mayor of Springfield. 

Alisa with Domenic Sarno,&nbsp;Mayor of Springfield. &nbsp;(Photo: Christina Shook)

Alisa with Domenic Sarno, Mayor of Springfield.  (Photo: Christina Shook)

The coolest part for me was seeing the Van Buren Sisters portion of the museum. If you haven't visited the Springfield Museums, they have a varied collection of exhibits including the history of Indian Motorcycles. 

Standing below their famous ancestors: Left, Sarah Van Buren and Right, Sofié&nbsp;Ruderman (Great Granddaughter of the Van Buren Sisters. Photo: Christina Shook)

Standing below their famous ancestors: Left, Sarah Van Buren and Right, Sofié Ruderman (Great Granddaughter of the Van Buren Sisters. Photo: Christina Shook)

Something that truly struck me was how much these two take after their famous female ancestors. Their resemblance is striking, isn't it? Right next to this wall was a display case of the very headwear that Augusta Van Buren wore back then during their trip. I guess you could call this her "helmet". 

Erin Sills (SheEmoto) AGV Helmet next to Augusta's cap. Her head was SO tiny. &nbsp;(Photo: Me)

Erin Sills (SheEmoto) AGV Helmet next to Augusta's cap. Her head was SO tiny.  (Photo: Me)

Maybe it's because I've been working in this industry for awhile now, or maybe not. But it truly made me realize how lucky we are to have technology in the 21st century to allow us to be safer. We have so many options available to us now that weren't just ~20 years ago! Ask any woman rider you know that has been riding for at least that long, and she'll tell you that options were pitiful back then. I know it seems like we don't have much today, but WE DO

After the museums it was time to head over to Westover Airforce Base to take a quick tour of a C-5 Cargo Plane. One of the best things about participating in the Sisters' Ride was seeing my West Coast Friends! And the cargo plane was pretty cool too. It was like a sauna inside though, I don't know how any of these brave men and women do it. 

Left: Porsche Taylor, Editor of Black Girls Ride Magazine. Middle: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer (Photo: Me)

Left: Porsche Taylor, Editor of Black Girls Ride Magazine. Middle: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer (Photo: Me)

Day 4: Springfield to Sayre

Our last day with the Ride was to Sayre, Pennsylvania. We even got a police escort all the way out of town! Thank you Springfield Township Police Department for your service. 

(Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

After leaving Springfield Township's city limits safely, our first stop was going to be along Jacob's Ladder Highway along Route 20. It was a place that the Sisters' stopped at 100 years ago. So we paid homage to them and snapped a photo right where they stood. Ok maybe I'm just being silly, but I really felt that awesome light were the Sisters saying hello :) 

Left: Alisa, Right: Robert at the Rock Cairn along Jacob's Ladder Highway (Photo: Me)

Left: Alisa, Right: Robert at the Rock Cairn along Jacob's Ladder Highway (Photo: Me)

Sarah places another rock to add to the pile and add the Sisters' Ride to a place in history. 

(Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

And a lovely shot of the entire rock cairn with everyone: 

(Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

After that, it was an easy ride towards Sayre for the night. 

Unfortunately the next morning (Thursday) meant going back to Philly, so I could take the time off I needed to meet everyone back in Carson City 2 weeks later! 

Friday, July 22nd in Carson City

This was yet another opportunity to see my West Coast friends! I flew out the night before into San Francisco and the next morning, I borrowed this stunning, speedy BMW R1200R. It's practically brand new, and someone I hardly knew extended her kindness to let me borrow her for a couple days so I could ride with my fellow Sisters. THANK YOU AGNES!

This 2015 BMW R1200R had a stock seat height of 30" and nothing lowered.&nbsp;

This 2015 BMW R1200R had a stock seat height of 30" and nothing lowered. 

I still need to write a review of this wonderful ride, so stay tuned to my social feeds and newsletter to find out when it's published. Needless to say, I had a blast on it! I rode out to Carson City (all slab, 80 to 50) to meet up with the rest of the group. As soon as I get off the bike to walk into the hotel lobby, who do I run into except racing legend Mary McGee! It was such a great moment, because that's where I saw Mary for the first time 4 years ago at the last AMA Women & Motorcycling Conference at the very same hotel. 

Mary McGee :&nbsp;The first woman to hold an AMA motorcycle racing license in California.

Mary McGee: The first woman to hold an AMA motorcycle racing license in California.

That night, we had a nice dinner with everyone who was going to be riding with us to San Francisco the next day. Alisa presented the staff and cross country riders, special medals that showed how they participated in this historic motorcycle ride. 

Medals recognizing all the riders who rode from Brooklyn to San Francisco.

Medals recognizing all the riders who rode from Brooklyn to San Francisco.

New Rider Sarah Van Buren receives her medal.

New Rider Sarah Van Buren receives her medal.

Saturday, July 23rd to San Francisco

Saturday was a quick, all slab route to San Francisco. We had a fairly quick lunch stop at A&S Cycles in Roseville, CA with a bunch of other riders who came to join the fun. Not everyone was coming with us to San Francisco but many of them stayed to say hello and grab a free burger courtesy of A&S. 

After lunch, it was off to the staging point just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It felt SO good to be riding towards that bridge again. I was so tempted to turn off on the Lucas Valley exit and take the R1200R for a really good ride through Petaluma. *sigh*

I don't have the exact numbers so I'll keep using this number: 150-200 riders showed up just north of the bridge at Fort Baker. We had men and women on everything from classic Indians to Ducatis to Harleys to BMW's. It was one of the most thrilling motorcycle experiences of my riding life. I also got to see more old friends!

Me with my friend Aleks Grippo, owner of  Moto Guild San Francisco

Me with my friend Aleks Grippo, owner of Moto Guild San Francisco

Oops, must post another photo of the bike!

The mighty R1200R I borrowed for the weekend. SO much fun and what a suspension! The luggage I used was a  Givi TankLock XS312 Tankbag &nbsp; and my trusty  Kriega US-20 Tail pack (it seems to follow me everywhere)&nbsp;

The mighty R1200R I borrowed for the weekend. SO much fun and what a suspension! The luggage I used was a Givi TankLock XS312 Tankbag  and my trusty Kriega US-20 Tailpack (it seems to follow me everywhere) 

Group Shot with the Golden Gate Bridge shining in the background (Photo: Christina Shook)

Group Shot with the Golden Gate Bridge shining in the background (Photo: Christina Shook)

We had the honor of having San Francisco Motorcycle Club escort us across the bridge into San Francisco down to their historic clubhouse. It was pretty crazy. 

Quick rider meeting before we leave with a few words from the Club.

Quick rider meeting before we leave with a few words from the Club.

I'm lucky that I lived in the city long enough to have participated in several group rides with various friends/ clubs. Shutting down an intersection to let 20-30 bikes through is not big deal. But 150+??

I was lucky enough to be in the front of the pack, right behind Alisa and Sarah. What a great ride down the Great Highway!

I was lucky enough to be in the front of the pack, right behind Alisa and Sarah. What a great ride down the Great Highway!

Looking back after riding down Clipper Street into the Mission District. Woooohooo!

Looking back after riding down Clipper Street into the Mission District. Woooohooo!

After riding through the mad streets of San Francisco passing angry tourists and residents who were left to wait in their cars while all these damn motorcycles ride by.... we made it to SFMC's Headquarters. Did you know that their club is over a 100 years old, established in 1904? They were allowing women full voting rights within the club before our government decided we were equal.  

No big deal, just parking in the median.

No big deal, just parking in the median.

If you've never had the privilege of entering SFMC's clubhouse, it's a very unique place. So much motorcycle history is here, all over the walls. (Photos: Christina Shook)

That night was the Grand Finale Party Presented by Allstate at the Dainese Store San Francisco, where I got to see more friends and spend time in a city that I miss every day.

I also got a few photos with some long lost friends and family :) 

 

I had an incredible time, even though I only made it for 1/3 of the ride. I felt like I had been there with everyone all the way from Day 1 to 20. 

Now I have the cross country bug. I'm dying to do this trip next year somehow but I'll certainly have a different route. Not sure if I'll have enough time to go all the way across and back with my vacation time, but we'll see ;-)

 

Resources for Philadelphia Area Motorcyclists

trackday_njmp_triumphs.jpg

Often times I'm asked about riding resources in the Philly area. Everything from rider training to social riding events, so I put together this little page to help my fellow riders out.  If you live in the Philadelphia area, you might be trying to figure out where to ride. Or maybe you're wondering where to meet other folks who ride. Or maybe you're wondering where can I get properly fitted for a helmet?!

I'm going to try and collect as much information as possible and put it here, so please add a comment if you have suggestions. I can't promise everything will be posted but I'll certainly add stuff if I think it's useful, appropriate and content friendly.

Thanks!

 

Went out for a quick 150 mile ride yesterday

triumph_street_speed_triple_scorpion_zion Went for a quick 150 mile ride to Northern PA the other day for ice cream!

We used this ride route that I put together, but only did half of it since we didn't leave early enough. So we made it to just below Bangor, PA and then headed East towards the Delaware River heading south on 32.

On the way we stopped for ice cream at Homestead Coffee Roasters. Yum! They also have a small lunch menu, ice cream and misc snacks. There's also a nice patio out back to sit and enjoy your scoops. Oh yes, we're also both testing out new helmets! He got this special edition Bell Star Carbon and I picked up a Shoei RF-1200 'Graffiti' (LOVE this helmet).

bell_star_carbon_shoei_rf_1200

I don't know why the man looks unhappy posing in front (it's also called the General Store), but he puts up a good front because we had a great time that afternoon.

homestead_coffee_pa

 

And along the way down 32, we found this cute bridge to take a couple pics on.

scorpion_zion_womens_jacket (2)

The weather was perfect, high 70s for the most part. Not hot, not cold, just right. I'm testing the Scorpion Zion jacket for WRN and it worked well that day. A full review will be coming soon, so stay tuned.

 

 

First Ride 2015 on My Triumph and Navigating with Garmin

triumph street triple R motorcycles riding pennsylvania Ahhh that was a great ride. This was my first official ride with the Philly Moto Girls (only women can be members, but significant others are always invited to join rides).  And my first long ride on the Street Triple !!

I mapped out this ridiculously insane route, but sadly, my written maps have failed me yet again. I seem to get lost on every adventure because these are all new roads for me!

I've been trying to figure out a way to navigate on my iPhone and have found a few apps that do this. Unfortunately I have found them to be clunky, with the interfaces being rather difficult as to allowing me to import my google maps. But even if they did let me do that, I would have to pull over, take my phone out and pull off my gloves. And if you know me, I don't sacrifice protection for convenience. I'm not going to give up my incredibly protective riding gloves for something that has touchscreen-ability. I love my gloves!

So I bit the bullet and on a friend's suggestion (Thanks Anthony and Kate!!) I purchased a used Garmin Nuvi 765T, the car edition. It was $80 on eBay, and I have the option to return the sucker if it lets me down. I NEED the ability to import routes, and although I could maybe do it on Navigon, that doesn't eliminate my need to remove my gloves to use the iPhone even if it's mounted on my bike.

garmin_nuvi_765T

The other benefit to this particular model is it was less than $100 and it does essentially everything the Zumo does but for less! I'll need to figure out mounting options but I just didn't want to invest $500 in something that I don't *really* need. For $80, I couldn't pass this up.

I will do a couple tests next week and post a mini review. I can't wait to use it on my trip on the 13th! I'll be heading to W. VA (weather permitting) to visit my friend Tamela Rich so we can ride together through the mountains. Yippee!

I just have to say that I LOVE this bike. It's everything I'd imagined and I just can't wait to go riding again with her. She's smooth, powerful and just perfect. We even rode some dirt together!

me_dirt_pennsylvania_triumph

 

One thing that I really love about this bike is the handling. Every corner, stop and start is smoooooooth. The throttle doesn't twitch nearly as hard as the SV and is far more smoother when accelerating and decelerating. I can't say enough good things!

I'll be doing a more comprehensive review after my long trip next week.

Ride Report, Bike Review and Pants!

2012_ducati_monster795 Last week I went home to see my family for Christmas. Of course, I had to carve out some time to go riding on some of my favorite roads! Luckily, a wonderful friend of mine had this gorgeous little lady for me to ride up to Bodega Bay. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, except that I now know a Ducati Monster isn't really in my future :)

First off, I have to say that a Monster is a really really great motorcycle. And I can definitely see why many people love them so much, especially as first or second bikes. However, after having ridden many different bikes with really really great suspension, performance and handling it's very difficult for me rank this bike near the top of my favorites.

I thought the height and weight were nice, certainly a lower ride than what I'm used to on my SV650 and the Speed Triple. However, after having ridden the (Triumph) Speed Triple, I can definitely say that I want a Triumph of my own. But the STreet Triple, the smaller and more compact version of the Speed. The main reason is the suspension!

So this is where I'm coming from, having ridden an amazing bike with superior handling especially on the front end. I would definitely recommend a Monster to anyone moving up from 500-600cc or looking for a mid size twin over a mid size inline 4. I certainly enjoy my twin very much. But I'm tired of stock suspensions that aren't adjustable so saving up for a used Street Triple R is my current plan for next Spring.

As far as the Monster, I would have to say it's a much better version of the SV with a little more power, ABS, nicer wheels and a few other bells and whistles. But for me it just doesn't compare to what a Triumph has to offer, so unless it had an upgraded suspension you don't find me looking for one anytime soon.

However, what I would recommend is riding these two roads!

one of my very favorite motorcycle roads, san francisco bay area

 

The big yellow highway is 1, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The white road is the Panoramic Highway which takes you to Muir Woods. It's one of the most perfect, twisty roads that I love love love to ride. Something I can't find anywhere near the state of Pennsylvania. Perhaps down to West Virginia but I still need to find it. Le sigh....

riding_sanfrancisco_bayarea 2

I also wanted to mention the pants my friend Aleks and I are wearing. Unfortunately those exact models are discontinued (Rev'it Marryl and Gear Pants). However, the latest version is the Gear 2 pant, which I reviewed a couple seasons ago here. There's a reason why Rev'it is my favorite brand, and it's because they know how to put us in gear that fits and looks great!

best women's motorcycle leather pants

riding_sanfrancisco_bayarea3

(my friend's Triumph Speed Triple on the right and my borrowed Monster on the left)

Happy Riding, and don't forget to Gear Up!

PS, If you live in the Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to ride these roads, asap. You just have no idea how much I miss them.

 

Ride Report, SF to Hawthorne, NV the Long Way Over

san francisco nevada motorcycle route  

Last weekend I ventured out to Hawthorne, NV as part of an annual pilgrimage with my friends from B.A.R.F. This was my first time going out to the desert and although I had a great time with my friends, the longest ride I've ever done in a day wrecked my back. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 4.09.26 PM

My friend Kurt routed this for us and it was certainly an incredible way to get there, instead of the boring highway routes.

Unfortunately I only had my iPhone with me so I wasn't able to take any good pics of the roads worth mentioning (I did manage to get a few random shots in my Instagram Feed here). The best part was the chunk from Valley Springs through the Sierras to 395. Here are the ones you should check out if you're headed East:

  • Jesus Maria Road from C to D (goaty, no dirt but nice short twisties)
  • N South Road to Mormon Emigran Trail up and over 88 (also goaty, no dirt and nice twisties)
  • Highway 89 Monitor Pass (perfect, twisty, amazingly paved to 395) See my ride report from last year to see pics from this road.

The total miles for me from SF that day was a painful 412 miles. A painful, personal best. But worth every inch of pain to hang out with my motorcycle family. Next year I pray that I'll have a dual sport or dirtbike to trailer out. There were some incredible dirt roads out that way...

sv650s suzuki sportbikes touring motorcycles

Huge thanks to Kriega for letting me use their universal fit packs for this trip. And to BMW Motorcycles of San Francisco for having them in stock!  For more info about these packs, click here.

kriega motorcycle tailbags tailpacks saddlebags luggage

 

I also went the fastest I've ever ridden in a straight line wearing my Schuberth helmet. Once again, it impressed me with it's wind resistance and comfort at 80+mph.

Ride Report, Highway 1 CA

  paper maps tankbag motorcycles highway 1 cambria

Last weekend I took a long weekend trip to Cambria, CA along the central coast. Needless to say it was a fantastic weekend of riding and having fun with my fellow women riders. I also got to ride the infamous Rossi's Driveway.

My 2 girlfriends and I rode down Highway 1 at a leisurely pace on Thursday and then we took some sweet roads Friday and Saturday.

Friday - Rossi's Driveway

From Cambria, we took the following route: http://goo.gl/maps/m6sz9

It was a hair under 130 miles all together and took us about 6 hours to complete the whole loop. We had a couple of pitstops and took our time on the Driveway, riding it back and forth a couple times because it's a short Highway.

If you look at the map, point F to H is Highway 229 aka Rossi's Driveway. Why do they call it this you ask? Well, I think this pic pretty much sums it up:

Rossi's Driveway aka Highway 229 california twisties motorcycles

Imagine a road, so perfectly paved (just like a track) with barely any traffic. Short, tight twisties and no dirt, potholes, rocks, or gravel ahead of you. No hairpins/switchbacks, just beautiful twisties.

I must admit, however, the 2-way traffic was a little worrysome at times so I didn't get to fully enjoy this road the way I wanted to. But it was beautifully paved and allowed for some really nice lines when I could see the next 2-3 twisties ahead.

But it was smooth and my tires responded well to the warm pavement. (best tires ever, btw)

rossi's driveway california highway 229

girlyride 9

 

rossi's driveway california highway 229

 

Sadly it was almost 100 degrees while we were out there, but I was extremely comfortable under my leathers, thanks to 2 important accessories:

1. Icebreaker merino baselayers - written review coming. You can also listen to my review on Episode 20 of Moterrific.com 

2. Revit Challenger cooling vest insert

I never would've made it without these two. I feel like I have the perfect riding outfit for summer and look forward to a couple more rides before Fall!

Almost 100 degrees!

 

 

Saturday - Nacimiento-Fergusson Road

I tried to find other pics of this road, but I think this one really shows the main reason why you want to ride up it and over the mountain.

Hwy 1 CA, Nacimiento Fergusson Road motorcycles twisties

This was a much shorter, simpler route. We went north on Highway 1 from Cambria and turned right at Nacimiento Fergusson Road in Big Sur. It's right before the Kirk Creek Campground.

The road takes you from sea level all the way up to the top of the mountain, towards Fort Liggett.  It's not a long ride, but great for some sight seeing or just a quick detour to extend the ride home up or down Hwy 1.

http://goo.gl/BBNfvj

girlyride 20

Once you ride through the clearing, there's a large paved space on the right before heading further east to Jolon Road which eventually takes you Highway 101.

After we took some group pics we went right back the way we came, west to Highway 1 and then south back to Cambria. It was a beautiful, HOT afternoon but somehow we had a really great time.