14 December 2016

FUN--the GS Girls (and Guys) way!

The riding season in Colorado can be a little on the short side, especially if one lives in the mountains. Even in the Denver Metro area, it can be challenging to ride through the winter if you and your bike are not prepared, or if you're a pussy. Not that I'm judging...

However, getting into October, there is often a feeling of "Hey! We've gotta get one more ride in!" Even though many of the Colorado GS Girls find ways to ride the whole year, we know the number riding grows smaller and smaller as the winter comes on. So we look for ways to have little events, on the bike or off, to get together with our moto sisters.

The head of the Colorado GS Girls, and one of my dearest friends, Bex Becker, asked if we should do an event three-quarters of the way through November. She and I had discussed one last "skills" day back in September, but with people being busy and me being out of town a fair amount, it was looking like November would be the date. That late in the season can be a total crap-shoot, weather wise, but it seemed the weather was on our side. Mostly.

Bex asked our friend, and fellow GS Girl Guy, Greg Cocks, if he'd help out with the day, and between the three of us and Lee Becker, we figured we'd have enough cat herders/trainers! Josh ordered me some cones from Amazon (I've always secretly wanted to own traffic cones--I DON'T KNOW WHY!), and we came up with a very loose plan for the day.

Greg came back from riding around, and said that he took a turn, and suddenly his bike kept pulling to the left. I wonder why!?!

I put together an invite for the whole CO GS Girls group and sent it out, saying we'd have a day of skills and games. The plan for the end of the season event, was simply to get everyone together, show off skills they had been working on, play some games, and just have a ball riding around a great off-road park. We had hosted an event at the beginning of the season with 13 or so newbies to off-road riding. Some were brand new to riding, some had ridden for more than 20 years on the road, and some were making a return to motorcycling in general. It had been a great day, at a great site, and we were excited for another one.

November 20 dawned a beautifully sunny, if somewhat chilly, day. I rode the hour and a half to the event site in about 25 degree weather. I was really happy with my new gear! My REV'IT base layers and Neptune Suit kept me toasty! It's been a long time since I wore black gear, but it came in handy as I rode south in the sunshine. I was worried I'd have a tough time keeping my hands warm, so I threw my Gerbings gloves into my tank bag just in case. Never needed them. The new REV'IT Pegasus 2 gloves, along with my grip heaters kept my fingers from getting too cold. I so LOVE my new gear!!!

It was a slightly awkward ride down to the springs with nearly 30lbs of traffic cones!

I arrived at RAM Off-Road Park in Colorado Springs, to see a whole bunch of lovely friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in months, and in one person's case, more than a year. If you live on the Front Range of Colorado, especially in the Springs area, this is a must-visit place. It only costs $10 to get in for the day, and there is so much fun and wonderful terrain to ride.


We had a gorgeous sunny Colorado day. It may not have been typical for this time of year, but we grabbed hold of it and played. We did a few basic skills and had a "slow race". We had riders of every skill level with us--people with tens of thousands of miles under their belts, and people who had never ridden more than a few yards standing up. It was fun to see one of the riders, Lea, who had gotten her endorsement five days before our first event this season, looking confident and tackling everything we threw at her with skill and grace.

Slow races!
Bettina trying out Greg's 1150GS.

One killer highlight from the day was when Jen dropped her bike. I know, this doesn't seem like something that should be a highlight, but it was. She had never dropped it before, and doing it in this environment, she got to learn that it was a much less scary thing than she had been imagining it would be. She only did it once, and we taught her how to pick it up--using a friend to help--and now she sees that her bike didn't get hurt, and it wasn't as terrible as she had always though it would be. She was our hero for the day!

Our hero, Jen!

We rode and played the whole morning, then took a lunch break back at the staging area. We were greeted by three very happy-to-see-us doggies, and one of our GS Girls who joined us had brought stew to share with everyone!

Greg took Chris's 2-stroke out for a test ride. Who needs a sidestand???

As we all got back on the bikes to head out for more fun, someone asked if I could carry their water bottle for them. I said it was no problem, tossed it in my dry bag with all my other stuff, and we took off.

I didn't check to make sure the cap was REALLY tight...

At the end of the day of playing, Greg and I went back to round up the cones. I opened my dry bag to get the ratchet straps out, and water came pouring out. So much for a dry bag! Unfortunately, my Pegasus gloves were in there, and were soaked. I knew I had my Gerbings in my tank bag, but all too late I realized I didn't have the cords for them. Well, they'd have to do all on their own.

Pouring the water OUT of my dry bag. Oops.

I was so excited about the fact weather was not going to run us out that day, that in my mind, we could play until the sun went down. It didn't even occur to me that would be so much earlier than other events we had done--due to it being late in the year--and that I would have a very chilly hour and a half ride home in the dark. Oh well, live and learn.

Because we were riding in a shared space, I demonstrated the technique for uphill restarts. Everyone practiced on flat ground until they had the steps down smoothly, then we rode on to the trail with a sandy hill to restart on. It was a great success, and a teaching technique I may implement more often!
L-R: Crystal, Lea, Bex, and me. This picture cracks me up when I think about the fact one of the guys who attended asked me if this was my little bike...
Loading up and relaxing!

Bex and Lee Becker kindly offered to take my 30 lbs. of cones home in their trailer, and get them to me at the next GS Girls meet. I gladly accepted, knowing I would have a much more comfortable ride home that night. That ride home was the only truly cold part of the day. Though it was in the low 40s--considerably warmer than my ride south that morning--the lack of sun, and the fact I had to wear my back-up gloves, meant my hands were cold!

Greg and I rode back to the Denver area together, and parted ways just as traffic in his direction got super crappy. I arrived home to a picture he texted me of the amazing breakfast he ordered at a restaurant, while he let the traffic subside. I was exhausted, so I ordered pizza, ate two slices, and fell asleep on the sofa. It had been an exhausting, but oh-so-fun day!

Greg's dinner at The Breakfast King! That's one order...


27 July 2016

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

With Camille at the top of Pikes Peak. I had tried to make it to the summit before, but was turned away just above treeline due to extremely high winds. This day, there was hail, but that wasn't stopping me or any of the other riders I was with!

For anyone who thinks that "adventure" motorcycles marked the beginning of adventure motorcycling, think again! Men and women have been "adventure motorcycling" for more than a century. In fact, 100 years ago, two sisters--Augusta and Adeline Van Buren--crossed the continental United States, each on her own motorcycle. In case that wasn't enough, they were also the first women to ride to the summit of Pikes Peak on motorcycles.

There is much to the historical account of this adventure, including controversy over the fact they were "society girls" from a wealthy family and the fact they dress in men's attire. (For which they were arrested more than once on the trip) However, nothing can detract from the fact that in 1916, two women completed an amazing journey that riders today often count themselves lucky for completing.

I'm with Alisa Clickenger--an amazing motorcyclist and the organizer of the event. I was very excited to meet and talk to her!

In honor of that journey, The Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride set off from New York this past 4th of July weekend, and continued across the country, following as best as it could 100 years later the route taken by the Van Buren sisters. I was not able to join the whole trip--which I would have LOVED to have been a part of--but the trip was to include a ride up to the summit of Pikes Peak, and you can bet I was there to join.

I met up with the group at the staging area, right before entering the Pikes Peak Tollway. Three groups would go in on motorcycles--fast, medium, and slow riders--and we would be met at the top by the group of riders who chose to take the cog railway to the summit.

In all truth, though the road is now fully paved, it is not for the faint of heart. Once you get above treeline, there are many hairpin turns on an exposed mountain side, and few guard rails. This is not unusual in mountainous areas, and though we local Coloradans were used to it, many of the women riders were from flatter areas, and found themselves intimidated by the road. One other factor riders used to determine whether they would actually ride up or not, was the fact that altitude sickness is real, and the only way to deal with it was to get down off the summit.

See the white stuff--hail! And loads of it. But the sun and warming temps had melted much of it, so it was the consistency of a muddy slurpy. Yum!

Most riders with the group looked past their fears, mounted up, and headed for the summit. The organizers had a plan in place should anyone be overcome by altitude sickness and need to get down immediately. An affected rider was to find someone who would ride them 2-up back to the base of the mountain and leave their keys with their bike. Ride marshals would sweep the mountain at the end of the event and bring down any bike left behind. I don't think anyone needed that service, but it was a very good plan to have in place, and extra ride marshals were on duty that day, including my local friend, Chris Ann Flohr who was along for the entire ride.

Three of the Colorado crew are the first to make it to the spot where we stopped for plowing. Pat Jacques on her KTM 1190, Cindy Robbins on her F700GS, and me on Camille. About twenty more riders would join us in this spot before the decision was made to turn around and re-group. None of the out-of-state riders were excited by that ice on the road. We just said Welcome to Colorado in July! Photo by Christina Shook

If you think exposed, unguarded hairpins above treeline wasn't bad enough for non-Coloradan riders, throw in the fact that a massive hail storm had moved through the area the night before. It may have been 90 degrees in Colorado Springs, but at more than 14,000 feet, the summit of Pikes Peak had not warmed up. As we got to within a mile or so of the summit, we were stopped and told it would likely be two hours of wait time while they plowed. PLOWED!

We had some nervous women with us, as they eye-balled the ice in the roads. The decision was made to get everyone turned around and re-group at a large spot right above treeline, before we all pressed on for the summit again. Thankfully, there were three of us Colorado women up with the big group stopped on the icy, off-camber hairpin. We all pitched in to get riders turned around and back down safely.

We re-grouped and had some time to talk to other riders, use the facilities--big rocks to "go" behind were the extent of the facilities, but they worked--and snap pics. It wasn't long before we got the word that the plows were clear and the parking lot at the summit was a slushy mess. Some of the riders looked doubtful. I can see how they would have been intimidated about taking 700 lb. Harleys up to a rocky, slushy, icy parking lot. To these women's credit, each of them did it!

There was cheering at the top! Some women cheered because they had pushed through their fears and reservations, challenged themselves, and made it to the top. We all cheered because we had come together as a riding community and celebrated the courage those two women had 100 years ago, and the courage all the men and women had on our ride.

A large number of the group at the top of Pikes Peak--due to the plowing delay, those who had taken the train up had to re-board for the trip down. The rest of us got to enjoy the views all we wanted! Photo by Christina Shook

Most people enjoyed the views, made use of the facilities--actual facilities this time!--and some even bought some keepsakes in the gift shop or had one of the famous Pikes Peak donuts. They're greasy and crispy at the same time, with a hint of cinnamon, and perfect with a cup of coffee!

My dear friends, Pat Jacques and Cindy Robbins! We all had donuts and a great time!

People slowly left the summit in smaller groups, trickling back down the mountain. Later that evening, we would gather at the Harley Dealership, where we were all invited to enjoy the small but beautiful motorcycling museum upstairs. The dealership had Indian t-shirts as gifts for each of the registered riders, and the same year and model of bike the sisters rode on their journey sat in the museum so we could all see what they rode. All I have to say about that bike is that if I ever complain about my seat or suspension again, feel free to smack me!








Keywords: BMW, KTM, Harley, Indian, KLiM, Olympia, AltRider, Wolfman, ADVWoman


07 July 2016

Just Ask My Vagina!

I know. That sounds awfully crude.

I guess I'll start this post by laying out some facts. I am a woman. (you probably have gotten that figured out, and if you've come upon this blog by accident, now you know) I ride a motorcycle. (Three actually, though not all at the same time. I work in the theatre, people. Not the circus) I'm not the best rider in the world, and I'm not the worst. I don't ride the most miles of any rider, and I don't ride the fewest. I'm a pretty "middle of the road" adventure rider.

But, I love riding, and I really love helping, encouraging, and empowering other people to ride--especially women. I think it the best feeling, knowing i helped someone learn a skill or overcome a fear, and watching that person get to enjoy riding even more than they already did.

Through Mountain Moto and the Colorado GS Girls, I get to do this regularly, and I get to see more and more women riding. And riding well! Being a part of groups like the GS Girls, Women Adventure Riders, SheADV, and Women In Motorcycling, I get to see a lot of women out riding and enjoying themselves. I also get to see them wrenching on their bikes, designing gear, going to rallies, participating in the GS Trophy, and winning the opportunity to ride through Madagascar or around the world with a small group of riders. It's truly inspiring to see what women are doing.

Motorcycling has always been seen as a man's sport. It isn't that women haven't been riding for just as long as men, but for decades, very few women rode. And for most of them, when they did they would get a pat on the head and a "Hey! Look what you can do. Nice job. Now run inside and make me a sammich, hon."

Uh huh. You know what I said is true.

But these days, the number of women motorcyclists around the world gets larger everyday. I look around and see them everywhere. I think it's awesome seeing women giving themselves the chance to do something so many of us already know is fun.

And women excel at it! Some of them ride as hard and as well as any man I've met. Then again, some women ride to have a nice time, and don't push their boundaries. The exact same can be said of men. Some of them ride as hard and as well as any women I've met, and some ride to have a good time without pushing their boundaries.

The other day as I was perusing trip pics and the like on the GS Giants page, I came across a question a man had posted asking, "Reasons to buy a R1200GS over a Ducati Multistrada: GO" I started reading through the comments--from both men and women--because I've been curious to see what people were thinking of Ducati's new Multistrada. This was a pretty loaded post, as it was posted to a GS specific website.

Some people gave their honest opinions about things such as dealership quality, ride community, accessibility to parts. Some people gave opinions based on the fact they had once been a Multistrada owner (though most of what was reported was not relevant in this case because it was bike specific and the new Multistrada Enduro is really a completely different bike), and someone mentioned he should because Starbucks has special parking for GSs. Hey, even I laughed at that one.

Then, I read one response which brought me to a screeching halt.

"Because you don't have a vagina."

Uh.... Wait, what?

My first thought was that at no time did I ever consult my vagina when purchasing a bike.

Crap! I've been doing it wrong all this time!

Somehow, it never occurred to me that my vagina might prefer a different bike. I guess when I've looked at bikes--new or used, dealership or friend's house--I haven't thought they were gender specific. Dammit! Why don't they paint them pink and blue so we can all tell much more easily??

I know, I'm being funny and silly about it. But honestly, I'm just so damn tired of shit like that. Stop referring to someone doing something badly as doing it "like a girl" or something you think is less capable as being for girls.

A woman I know--who I should mention is a badass rider-- responded with, "Is that due to a seat design issue that would make the Duc less comfortable for a man's balls?"

The guy's response to my friend was, "Don't know. Won't ride one."

Oooohhhh...he's so manly. Oh wait, nope. Just closed minded. Way to make a good showing for your gender. I'm so glad the men I know and ride with are more enlightened than that. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure some of my male friends may have had the same thought or laughed at his response. But, if they did, they were smart enough to keep their mouths shut about it.

That's all I'm going to say on the matter. But if, in the future, you see me bent over in deep conversation with my vagina about whether the bike I'm going to ride is a good one or not, you'll know why. Feel free to take a pic and post it to all social media outlets.

28 April 2016

The Heart of Adventure

I am sitting at my cutting table at work, fuming about a post on Facebook. Yaaaaaayyyy...Facebook. The truth of what I am fuming about has nothing to do with Facebook, of course, but an attitude that seems to permeate everything in life. The idea that "the only right way to do it is the way I do it" can be found everywhere. I certainly run across it in the work I do, but of course I come across it in the world of motorcycling.

To be more specific, a man posted to the GS Giants Facebook page. The GS Giants are a like minded group of adventure motorcycling riding individuals. Though GS is in the name, and most posts revolve around GSs and GS riders, we don't exclude anyone. This is the content of his post--

"Sorry to say it, but I'm bored listening to commentary about farkles and seeing pics of folks fucking-up stream beds. And the lack of posts from people who actually go anywhere in the world besides a campout is pretty disappointing. They're called adventure bikes for more than marketing reasons. So, I go back to my old 1990 GS Paris Dakar and hope for the health to resume my travels. Adios, Happy Trails!"

Some people's responses defended his or her adventure they were currently on somewhere in the world. Some responses defended an individual's attendance at a campout as being his or her own adventure. Some posted pics of farkles, some called him pitiful, some called into his question his political beliefs, and one man suggested he exit the group and begin one of his own called, "we are the best of the best adventure riders." I, of course, did nothing originally. I ignored it, thinking he had every right to believe what he wanted about the true definition of adventure.

Then, like a grown-up, I posted a picture of me flipping off the camera with both hands.

Here is the reason behind my reply. This is the dictionary definition of Adventure: ad-ven-cher --noun-- an exciting or very unusual experience.

For many people--particularly those who have just come through a long, snowy winter--a March Moto Madness campout, even if in one's own backyard, can be an adventure. For a working mom, an afternoon riding the back roads around home and stopping to watch a moose in a pond can be an adventure. Anything can be an adventure to any person, as long as he or she chooses to view it as such.

Are we all to stop calling ourselves adventurers because we don't go out into the far flung reaches of the world? I call Bullshit on that idea. Occasionally, I stop writing this blog, thinking I haven't gone anywhere exciting, or done anything adventurous. But, then I remind myself that my rides around my home state are as exciting--hey, wasn't that word in the dictionary's definition--as my big adventure to Alaska, or one of my big rides to and from California. Going out and working with a bunch of women on a Sunday afternoon to get them feeling comfortable riding their bikes off-road is an adventure to me.

So, I guess that guy's idea of adventure only includes hardcore dudes slogging through Mongolian sands or across Eastern Russia on the Road of Bones like those two dudes in that documentary. You know the one--where they had a cameraman who rode everything they did while filming, and had a full support crew. Whatever. I watch that and laugh every time someone whines or cries in his helmet. But, I still recognize that as an adventure.

If you are a hardcore, experienced rider, riding around the world and venturing off to foreign lands on your bike labeled for adventure, I'm going to ask that you keep in mind everyone adventures in a different way. Remember where you started from, financial or familial limitations you've ever had, and that desire deep in you to simply have fun on your bike.

I'll leave this off by telling you about my adventure last weekend. I flew to California and had the opportunity to do some coaches' training out at the RawHyde facility. When I got there, they had forgotten to set aside a bike for me and all that was left were 1200s. I swung my leg over and could just get the tips of my toes down. As my friend, Dusty, looked at me with doubt in his eyes and asked if I'd be ok, I said, "Yep! I'll be good." Then I rode the rest of the weekend, doing skills and drills with a fantastic group of people from all over. I may not have put thousands of miles on, or gotten myself all wadded up in a deep mud bog, but I had a great adventure never the less.

And I'm looking forward to so many more!

My weekend adventure ride!


22 March 2016

Final Farkling...for now.

One final cold afternoon found me installing the last of what I had, and the last of what I would strip from Thumper. First on the list...

Rox Risers

It helps to have three hands when doing these. If you are not someone who was born that way, I recommend getting a buddy to help.

I have these on Taz, the XT, also. When I raised the bars on Thumper, I didn't have to go far, so I used Touratech 3/4" risers. I really needed my handlebars to be in a very different place on the 700GS, though. So, I got the 2" Rox Risers and set about determining if I had enough length in my cables to install them as is. As it turns out, I did! They were a quick and easy install, and I was off and running onto the next addition.

Because of the state of my hands at the end of a work day building costumes, I have a very hard time with stock grip diameters. My hands tend to cramp if I hold onto a narrow grip for any length of time. The solution? Foam grip covers! Knowing my old ones were in bad shape this past summer, Josh thoughtfully had a set sent to me in San Diego, and I went to work installing them in the parking lot of my apartment complex. It was a hot, summer day, and I stood out there sweating like crazy, trying to get the new ones on by what appeared to be very obscene means. It was a little simpler this time, and I actually had hairspray to use. I'm getting ridiculously good at putting these on quickly, which is good as they don't last forever, especially if one rides a lot.

A little hairspray helps them slide on a little easier, then dries to keep them in place. It's lube and glue all in one!
In the comfort of my own garage, I can make all the obscene movements I need to while getting the job done, with no pesky neighbors looking down upon me wondering what the hell I'm doing.

Grips on! Let's finish the handle bars.

The "Helping Louise's Hands" adventure would be incomplete without the addition of a throttle rocker. Can live without it on long mileage days.

Barkbuster Storm hand guards. These are burly and more attractive than BMW handguards at the same time. If I had Barkbusters on when I hit that deer, my handguard wouldn't have been bent out of shape the way the BMW one was on the 650GS. Once again, super clear, easy instructions and a quality product. I just found out they are coming out with new ones which have led lights in the front, allowing cagers to see you more clearly when you are approaching them. If you're in the market for new handguards, they might be worth waiting for.

The basic protective element of a Barkbuster is a super strong metal brace. I have no doubt I'll be putting it's s strength to the test later this season. Hopefully, not on a deer....
The toughest part of installing the handguards, making sure they were at the same angle! Also, please note I'm wearing my new Alpinestars Tech 7s to break them in. They don't really need it--they're super comfortable on their own.
The finished look. I'm not sure how I feel about the aesthetics of them, but then, I'm not sure I like any others any better. So, if I can't have super strong, invisible handguards, these are a good compromise.

The last step in making my stance on the bike comfortable, both for long distance road trips and off-road handling, was new pegs. Or, in this case, old pegs stolen from Thumper. I had a set of Fastways on Thumper for the four years I had her, and I loved them. They are broad, stable, and have really good grippers on them. Bonus? They can be installed in a lower position. This was important as the stock peg placement on the 700 is really uncomfortable for me. I feel like my knees are in my armpits when seated, and that they placed me far too high when standing, forcing me to bend over to grip the handlebars. Not cool. The Fastways are the perfect solution.

Each of those little grippy spikes screws in individually, and the pegs come with two different sizes--I like the short ones as it turns out. Pro tip--locktite those puppies! I lost one before I got smart enough to locktite them.

I am still researching things like windshields, radiator guards, tires, and luggage--aka, making the dream list. As soon as I get all these things, I'll set off on an adventure to my nearest Starbucks for the obligatory super-clean, tricked out GS pic. I also decided on a new front sprocket with one less tooth. I'll let you know if it's as easy to switch out as the ones on Thumper and Taz, or if the neighborhood gets regaled with my complete repertoire of colorful vocabulary. Until then, if it didn't snow 8" on Friday where you live, I hope you had some nice riding this weekend. I wrote blog posts. You're welcome.


20 March 2016

Vogue--or...What Not To Wear!!!


Vogue magazine published an article last fall, interviewing "Biker Babes." It has only recently come to my attention, but I knew as soon as I saw the article that the women featured would be what one thinks of as the stereotypical biker chick--a babe on a Harley out for a cruise on a sunny day. Besides the fact that this is the largest group of any motorcyclists I have had snub me out on the road, I begrudge no one, even them, the style bike and riding they prefer. If you are on two wheels, I want to get to know you, or at least say hi!

If you've read any of my blog, you know I belong to a different group of riders. We call ourselves adventurers, and most of us welcome any woman (or man...I suppose) who is interested in finding adventure on two wheels. Whether it happens on an "Adventure" bike or not is of no concern to me, or to most women I know and ride with. But we are a huge part of the motorcycling woman population.

So, why are we not highlighted in Vogue's "Ride or Die" article? I get it.


I don't have to wear mini denim and halter tops when I ride. I'm happy being safe. And quite frankly, that bike is sexy enough for both of us! Damn!


is not sexy like THIS.

I know, this is just a picture, but the inclusion of it makes more sense when you read the next pic down.


What is sexy to me is brains and skin. You know, simply possessing them because they haven't been splattered by a wall, or shaved off by a slide.

Now, I get it. I really do. This is a FASHION article, not an article about transportation safety, or an article about gear in a motorcycling magazine. However, Vogue has a huge, HUGE, population of women it reaches with every issue and I hate that it puts out there that this is the sexy way to be on a bike. And sadly, I see it every gorgeous day out on the road. I get passed by sport bikes with girls perched on the back, wearing cute dresses or short-shorts and flip flops, or women riding their own bikes in tube tops and denim shorts.

I also get that there is a culture to the Harley set, passed down through generations. A couple of the girls interviewed started to ride at a young age, with their dads. I honestly can't imagine anything better! But really, dads, aren't you better off protecting those girls by teaching them to protect themselves?

One biker babe mentioned that she will wear leather chaps--when it gets too cold to simply pull her socks up over her jeans. One other girl also mentioned that she never rides without leather--a leather handbag. **I had to actually take a moment to shake my head when I read that** Then one girl described what she wore, and how she dressed when it was hot. She actually uses the popular quote, "Dress for the slide, not the ride." IN DENIM SHORTS AND STOCKINGS!!!


Please note the large section of text...

What part of sliding across asphalt do you think stockings will protect you from? Even denim won't.

This article makes me sad and furious all at the same time. I know people will do what they want to do, and some will use their brains better than others. We all make our own choices, and to be honest, I have been known to ride in a pair of jeans on many occasions. I was glad to read this, and take some time to respond. I believe the same journalist wrote another article about MX pants being fashionable. I truly wish Vogue editors would have used the brains they no doubt do possess to hire writers who might actually know something about that which they were writing.

My real response to this article--better myself. I will be the ATTGATT girl, and I will attempt to be a better model for safe riding. Adventuring off into the wilderness, other countries, or just the next county is more fun with healthy, intact skin! I plan to keep mine that way as long as possible.

These are the women riders I find sexy. I love riding with them and trading stories of great adventure!

Bex and Brenda--CO GS Girls
Ellen--ID GS Girls
Jude--WAdvR admin


P.S.--Do you want to be sexy and safe? Try leather. Some of the sexiest women I know, including land speed world record holder, Erin Sills, wear leather. Check it out!

Erin is sexy AND badass in her leathers!



More Mods (seriously, it's still snowing--no real riding)

Call me crazy, but I like the stability of being able to get more than one toe on the ground at a time. Am I capable of riding a bike that is nearly impossible for me to touch the ground--of course I am. You should see me on the KLX--if it is standing straight up, my toes wave around in the air. It's a light bike and I can pretty easily drop a toe on one side or the other to hold it up, but the new GS is not light. I also expect, at some point, to have to put my foot down in an off-camber situation, and would prefer to have a better chance of dropping that foot and not the bike. I could have bought a lowered chassis version of this bike, but I didn't want to lose any clearance. I have bashed the bottom of Thumper on rocky steps--yay! Bash Plate!--and I didn't want to lose any clearance on this new one if I didn't have to. I also didn't want the optional low seat. I wanted a custom seat. Well hey, I've got those skills and all the correct tools. So one snowy weekend, when I wasn't riding anyway...

First step is simple. After removing the seat from the bike, pull off the cover by carefully removing staples. This seat is remarkably simple compared to my little Honda seat I did a few years ago.

I sit...here!

With the cover off, I put the seat back on the bike, sat on it, and using a Sharpie (carefully--I didn't want Sharpie marks on the crotch of my jeans) I roughly marked in the area of the seat where I comfortably sit.

Mapping out areas to be removed. On the top of that list is the ridge on each side of the seat.

Poking at the foam, I determined the levels of foam I would be able to shave away, outlining and writing those numbers in so as to remind myself as I worked.

Oh my dog--the foam really got ALL OVER! I ran the shop vac along side my project for as long as I could stand the noise.

I began carefully cutting the foam away to approximate depths, and once it was roughed in, I began smoothing it out. I used three different sized files, smoothing down with the finest at the end.

Getting there.... I love how smooth it is now--no ridges on the sides.

When the seat was sufficiently smooth, I loosely fit the cover back on and tried it out on the bike. Success! I could get the flat part of my toes on the ground on both sides--not quite the balls of my feet, but that's okay. I reattached the cover with a manual staple gun, stretching it more for a snug fit, and put the seat back on. At some point, after I determine this is the final shape I want (probably after a long trip), I will use a pneumatic stapler to finish the seat cover. There are a few areas that are too skinny to get staples from a manual stapler into. For now, it works fine.

There are some skinny areas this stapler doesn't get into well. I'm planning on finishing it after I test it on a long ride. After I do, I'll use a pneumatic stapler with the air compressor to re-assemble. It has a narrower area where the staples come out, and can get into tight little crevices.

This is a really simple thing to do on one's own. I would say the most difficult part is having the right tools for the job. One hint, some types of foam carve away easily with a serrated electrical knife. You know, the kind Mom used on the ham at Christmas. However, not all seat foam is the same, and some will just get torn all to hell. If you're going to attempt this, go slowly at first to know what you're working with, then create a custom spot for your custom butt!