What does a Woman Rider Look like? Like this … | Helmet or Heels: I’m comfortable in either!

You have got to check out the feature Pam did on her motorcycle blog “Helmet or Heels”, a truly inspiring project! A collage of beautiful women, from all over, riding different style machines, to fit their personalities and riding philosophy. Cruisers. Commuters. Long distance tourers. Adventure riders. Sport tourers. Knee-draggers. They even race. All connected through a common bond: the love of their bikes and the ride.

What does a Woman Rider Look like? Like this … | Helmet or Heels: I’m comfortable in either!


Silenzio! Ruhe! Pass the earplugs!

Loud Pipes Save Lives. A statement a lot of bikers swear by. I have never really cared one way or the other about this heated and controversial argument. Roll what you feel good with. If you believe that your 110dB eardrum shattering ass end will keep you alive and well, go for it. I myself am of a more stealthy persuasion. I like my bike to purr like a kitten rather than sound like the end of the world is nigh. Although I wear earplugs most of the time when I’m riding, I couldn’t stand having to wear them because my own pipes are so freaking loud that I can’t hear myself think. It would annoy me, break my concentration, rob me of my inner peace. My bike isn’t really all that quiet in the upper RPM ranges either, but it’s not like I hang out there very often, given the kind of riding that I’m engaged in 90% of the time. I wear earplugs on the track, even though I hate it, because I can’t understand what people are saying unless I’m looking directly at them, which causes a lot of “Huh? What? Could you repeat that?” and a fair share of “I have not a clue what the hell is going on!”. Once I’m out there I prefer to have my ear canal blockage in place. It makes the world eerily quiet, but not completely devoid of sound.

Why don’t I like loud pipes? Personally, I don’t believe excessive noise saves our heinies. Cagers are too engaged in their own little bubble of cranked stereos, cell phones glued to ears, and engaged conversations with their passengers. They don’t even hear your thunder until you are right on top of them. Too late to be of any good other than to piss them off because now they can’t hear what their buddy on the other end of the 3G connection is saying. I also don’t want to listen to myself roaring down the street all the time. And I don’t want to attract any unnecessary attention. Needless to say I would wake the neighbors leaving home for work on my horrendous schedule about seven mornings per month. Even though one of my neighbors told me to blast my horn when I come home, since she can’t hear me ever since I got rid of my beautiful Harley Davidson. She’s an awesome woman. Always watching out for me and making sure I am safely inside my house in the wee hours of the night. She’s seen “some stuff” go down in her time, let’s leave it at that.

Have I considered getting a race exhaust for some performance enhancing fun? Sure I have. But I can’t find one I can live with and give me the performance increase that I would want to see when dropping that kind of money. I suppose the loud pipes will have to wait until I can afford a dedicated track/race bike.

I don’t really follow politics or am I a “motorcycling activista” but I think that the state of affairs is such that all that noise generated in honor of “loud pipes save lives” or “stupid fast performance for squidly street fun” is awfully close to turning into “loud pipes kill rights”.

When the douches wearing pinstripe suits and ties that are cinched way too tight, who never even rode a motorcycle, finally get around to banning our aftermarket pipes with the sweet exhaust notes and the delicious performance increases that come with those triple-digit decibels, I will cry in my beer next to the fella whose conviction was settled on the loud end of the noise spectrum. At least I can say that I wasn’t part of that particular problem. Maybe when they finally get to ban literbikes for public street use, you could point a finger at me… maybe.

I don’t think “majority rule” isn’t quite what the motorcycling public or the “biker subculture” need. The majority doesn’t even ride anything more than maybe the subway or the commuter train, yet we are ruled by them. Oh no… I’m getting politic! I need to leave and wash my mouth out with antibacterial soap! Stat!


No, thank you. I don’t smoke!

Cigarette butts out of car windows have homing devices built into their filters. They lock onto their target, enter the slipstream and take aim at the nearest motorcyclist. If I had a penny for every time… oh well, I could buy a pack of premimum pre-rolled and filtered cancer sticks of my choice.

I am tired of it! If you assholes would just take a moment to think how it would make you feel if some joker walking ahead of you flicked their half-smoked Marlboro over the shoulder at you and it hit you square in the chest. You both would end up sitting in the back of a squad car not ten minutes later, like 7th-grade school boys in the principal’s office. There would be an altercation, and tell me it isn’t so. I’ll eat a pack of Camels lit if you would just brush the ashes off your clean, neatly pressed dress shirt and go about your business without so much of a thought of letting the smoking offender know how displeased your are with their lack of consideration and total disregard for their surroundings.

Chances are the motorcyclist two car lengths behind you feels the same way. The jacket I am wearing cost more than your damn business casuals including your loafers and your cheap knock-off watch. I’m going to go out on a limb here and venture a guess and say that in some cases my ride and gear are worth twice the Kelly Blue Book value of your smelly-ass rolling dirty ashtray of an automobile. We are not just some hooligans who had it coming anyway.

If you don’t want the butts in your car, wait until you get to your destination to fire up the next coffin nail, you stupid moronic waste of human trash. Not to mention that if you flicked your butt at a cop you would get fined for littering! Hefty!

Have you ever considered what could happen if that burning projectile you so carelessly jettisoned from your fresh-smelling (and I mean that with every ounce of sarcasm that I have left) environment found its way into a motorcyclist’s helmet or down their jacket collar? And don’t you dare laugh at the thought. You wouldn’t after you spent some time educating your inconsiderate self in the ways of aerodynamics. Although you probably are too narrowly focused (I just spent the last of my sarcasm/cynicism allowance) to grasp the concept.

The next time you toss the rest of your drink, your lit cigarette, your girlfriend’s IUD out of your car window and then act surprised when some irate bitch on a supersport is pacing you close enough to clip your mirror while shaking a mad fist at you and staring you down with red glowing eyes, hoping you’d pull over so she can lay you out flat on the rumble strip, you might be able to venture a guess as to what the possible cause of her anger is.

We are living, breathing human beings who want the same thing you do: get to our destination in one piece, within a reasonable timeframe and with the least amount of stress and aggravation possible; maybe even arrive in a decent enough mood. The only real difference? We choose to use half the number of wheels to get around. Now quit treating us like we are just another vehicle and part of some machine. That “thing” plopped on top of that motorcycle — that is now close enough for you to reach out and touch — is 57% water, just like you and is very vulnerable unlike you in your cage constructed of high-tech plastics and metal alloys, with airbags all around, rolling down the avenue on four pieces of round rubber which are probably too low on air pressure.

Quit behaving like the world is yours and nobody but your deluded self matters. Next time don’t be surprised when I come up alongside you with my emergency window breaker and a can of mace at the ready. What do you think us two-wheeled menaces to society have stashed in those tank bags anyway? That’s where we keep a bottle of water, our stockpile of marshmallows, a handful of ball bearings, a couple of Glocks, extra high-capacity ammo clips, pink lip gloss and some hard candy. Now you know.

The “share the road” philosophy embodies more than just a sentiment to move over two inches for a bicyclist or a pedestrian. It also does NOT entitle you to laying on your horn every time you see a woman walking or cycling!

Oh, will you look at that?!? I still have a balance in my profanity/name-calling account.

You fucking douche bag litterbugs!


Shut Your Trap and Ride Your Own Ride!

The Phenomenon:
Truckers have a name for a person who can only be confrontational and talk trash about another person from the safety of their own bubble: The Radio Rambo. Radio Rambos are the kind of people who are nice to your face and are agreeable enough, but once they get on their CB radios from the safety of their own truck and dial it into channel 19, something amazing happens: They grow a set of trash-talking balls: They’ll cuss you out, they’ll talk smack, they’ll know everything better than you and they’ll threaten to kick your ass. But only if you do or say something that isn’t in concert of their own lacking set of standards and beliefs.

The Internet has its own version of the Radio Rambo. They hang out on forums, social media networks, online gaming servers, and anywhere else where they can be socially retarded ass-clowns and spew their hate to enhance their e-peen. All from the safety of their own home via a broadband connection and a dynamic IP. These people aren’t happy – for whatever reason — until they’ve established their so-called superiority by disrupting online camaraderie and inciting dissent and hate.

How I Roll:
I don’t talk voice when I game online, because there is no real good adult conversation to be had, unless it’s on a private server and you’re playing with people you already know iRL or have known for a long time iCL. I don’t participate in ‘controversial’ debates online either. It’s pretty much fruitless unless it is severely moderated and the moderator is impartial. Good luck with that one. I don’t let people rate or comment on my YouTube videos, because I’m not seeking their approval, and by what I’ve seen on YouTube, that’s a good thing. I moderate comments on my blog, same reason. People seem to need a lot of handholding these days, when it comes to etiquette and the social contract. Unless you have some constructive criticism to share, or have something useful to add, or just kudos to spread, I don’t want to hear from you. Go elsewhere. I use the Internet mainly for fun, social interaction on a level that is conducive to empowerment and learning, and for the camaraderie of like-minded people. I take serious stuff private and keep it out of open forum. I don’t personally attack people, or am patronizing, and I always pay attention to what I type. I even reread it several times to make sure I’m not inadvertently coming across as abrasive or could be misread as getting personal. But that’s just me. I don’t like hurting people, and I treat them with the respect and the tolerance that I would expect from others for myself. It is just common sense to me. In other words, I don’t tolerate haters and relationship saboteurs, because I don’t have to. There’s the little X in the corner that shuts them up. But it also shuts up the people that I do like to hang out with. L

WTF?
Where am I going with all of this? This is a motorcycle blog and this has to do with motorcycling. I’m getting to it. I’m just setting the stage, so the reader will know where I’m coming from and understand how I conduct myself online. I have high standards and I’m keeping it that way. Don’t like what I have to say? You know how to close your browser, no? Want to flame? Go ahead, I’ll read your comment, but save your breath, it’ll never be approved and posted. And I damn sure am not going to give you the satisfaction of replying. I don’t participate in the circle jerk of flame wars.

The Scoop:
Not that I had to actually defend myself, my choice of bike, my riding style, my choice of gear, or my level of risk acceptance to anybody in real life. EVER. Not seriously, anyway. It seems that most motorcyclists get along fairly well for the most part, no matter what they ride or how they ride it. In real life, I suppose it comes down to this: If you don’t like a person’s attitude towards riding, you don’t ride with them or hang out with them. Fairly simple. Most of the hate-mongers don’t have the balls to step up to me, while I’m getting off my ‘Busa, and tell me that I’m an asshat for riding the fastest production motorcycle made by mankind and that I’m a prime candidate for killing myself out there. They never tell me to my face that I’m a squid for simply owning one. But online, it’s a different story. Wonder why that is… And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of all the damn stereotypes and all the know-it-alls who don’t even know me or have ever seen me ride. Shut your presumptuous mouths! I don’t want to hear it from you. Your credibility to the validity of whatever comes out of your pie hole is already in the toilet at this point. All you have done, is manage to show your obvious lack of intelligence by providing invalid or unsubstantiated arguments that have the sole purpose of personally attacking, for whatever reason it is that compels you to do so. You aren’t part of any solution. Your crappy logic doesn’t help solve anything, improve anything, or help another rider become a better or safer one. Slinging your so-called credentials around doesn’t really help your cause. Oh, I’m supposed to take EVERYTHING you say as proven fact, because of your so-called “experience”? I’m not one to follow blindly. This IS the Internet, people can be who- or whatever they please. Did I mention I was a rocket scientist with three degrees from MIT? Well, there you have it. I am. Trust me. I know what I speak of. And now I tell you the location of the Anti-Gravity Room: It’s in North Augusta, SC. Don’t you know anything???

If, on the other hand, you have a valid argument and are trying to help another rider out, it would probably be best to be smart and diplomatic about it. If you really care about your message being heard and you feel it is of paramount importance, it would be in your best interest to be supportive rather than abrasive and stereotypical. And quit slinging accolades, nobody cares! You insult or patronize and wonder why your arguments fall on deaf ears. If you want to get your message across, it would be advantageous to not alienate the intended recipient. And for crying out loud, don’t humiliate them in public forum.

Here are some pointers for you asshats who think you know it all, because you have x amount experience, y amount of miles, helped z number of people avoid certain death by giving them your sage motorcycling advice:

1. Not all sport bike riders are jackasses who do wheelies and stoppies in rush hour traffic; or lane-split at 80+ mph; or paint smiley faces on the road with their rear rubber. Don’t you dare judge me by my choice of motorcycle. It makes me think that all you have is throttle envy and you’re in it for the pissing contest and don’t care about the ride at all.

2. Just because I ride a Hayabusa or [insert your most loathed supersport or literbike here] doesn’t mean I’m a moronic speed freak, do triple digits everywhere and view the public roads as my personal racetrack. Get over yourselves. The throttle goes both ways. This also makes me think you’re compensating for something.

3. Saying that all Hayabusa or [insert your most loathed supersport or literbike here] riders are squids is like saying all Harley riders drink and ride. When it comes down to it, everybody’s got a rep, but that doesn’t speak for the whole group, does it? So, fuck you! Don’t judge me by some idiot who happens to ride the same style bike that I do. And I have a newsflash for you: All bikers have a bad rep in the eyes of the non-motorcycling public; to them you’re just another hooligan on two wheels.

4. Why does it matter what the hell a person rides anyway? WHY? Can’t we just all enjoy our chosen sport and get along? It’s not like you have to ride with people you deem incompatible with your own riding philosophies. Personally, I only ride with very select few people. Group riding isn’t for me, it’s too stressful, I stay mostly out of it due to safety concerns.

5. If you dare tell me you never did an Act of Squidliness in your whole entire motorcycling career, I’m going to low-side it in the corner, because I was laughing so freaking hard, I chopped the throttle and upset the suspension. Who do you think is going to buy that??? Get over it and quit lying to yourself. Like you’ve never had an instance of “let’s see what she can do?” on a deserted stretch of public road out in the middle of nowhere. Phuuuleeeze!

6. Just because somebody doesn’t agree with your sentiments, doesn’t mean they’re a worse rider and less safe than you. There’s more than one line of travel through a corner, and different doesn’t necessarily mean worse or unsafe.

7. I hate to tell you all that, no I actually am going to enjoy it: Legal doesn’t equal safe, and illegal doesn’t equal unsafe.  In other words: Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. When you’re out there, you ride your own ride. It’s your life on the line, and you are the one in control. You are the only one who will be making the judgment call. Your mission out there is to come home safe and sound, preferably with the bike in one piece. And don’t you dare tell me that how I go about it, is for whatever reason, wrong. I must be doing something right, because I’m still here. And I had more close calls I handled well, without incident, than I care to remember. You’re not the one who is going to visit me in the hospital, pay my medical bills, or visit my grieving family. So STFU!!!

8. Having to make the crappy, no-win choice between keeping it legal and staying safe: Personally, I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. If you don’t like it, again, you’re not riding my ride, are you?

9. However, if you have constructive criticism, valuable input, want to discuss riding skills and techniques, do PLP or practice emergency skills with me, discuss the latest m/c book you’ve read and generally want to get together for the purpose of camaraderie, sharing experiences and help each other become better and safer riders, and you don’t give a hoot what I ride, I’m your girl.

Rolling It TraNceD Style
I will never stop learning. I refuse to become an “experienced” rider. The day I quit learning is the day I should park it for good. I will never stop pushing my boundaries. I’m not an idiot. I don’t blatantly punch through my skill envelope. Constant prodding and gentle pushing is a must for me, though. I want to be the best rider I can be. I don’t want to become a complacent know-it-all; that just spells disaster. If I’m not reaching out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, I’m not working on improving my skill set. I want to keep educating myself, because knowledge is power. What I don’t know can kill me. What I fear can kill me. I don’t have a death wish, I know myself, my weaknesses, my strengths. I know I can be a squid at times, but it’s all good. If I wasn’t a squid at times, I wouldn’t have much of a blog, now would I?

@MissBusa
A girl on a Hayabusa has an instant reputation for badassery. I don’t know why. I joke about it. I enjoy it. It is my online persona. It is the Marilyn Monroe to my Norma Jean.

PUG Riding Revisited and Ton Up, My Squiddies!

PUG: an acronym that I’ve borrowed from the MMORPG online gaming scene, meaning ‘pick-up group’. A PUG refers to a random and informal collection of people, who usually don’t know each other, getting together for the purpose of achieving a common goal, such as the completion of a mission objective or quest. In motorcycling I obviously use it to refer to an impromptu, informally organized ride by a bunch of bikers who are more or less strangers to each other. PUGs mostly happen at bike nights or well-known biker hangouts.

Happenstance:
Ah, Tuesdays. It’s that time of the week again: it is bike night at Hooters. Why do we keep winding up at this particular venue? Because we are such classy individuals, that’s right. Classy and addicted to fried pickles. Actually, it’s the only bike night around here that is on a day Manx isn’t required to grind gears for the sole purpose of hauling simple carbohydrates to Point B. Our schedules pretty much suck that way. We’ve joined a riding club early this summer and we have yet to make it to a meeting. They never seem to be held on a day when we both have the day off. They may have given up on us it’s been so long. But I digress.

The Hooters Parking Lot

It's Bike Night at Hooters!

We show up and are promptly greeted by Goose. We park and make our way to their table on the deck. There are a few new faces, too. Sammy, the resident speed demon and drag racer starts referring to me by what is printed on my cookie sheet: ‘Miss Busa’. I wonder if he forgot my name? There is no time to eat, the boys want to play in traffic and off we go. Same as last time, somebody needs go-go juice.

This time it’s a bit more organized. We do their usual loop, which heads out of town towards the dam, where they stop on the SC side to shoot the breeze and then to downtown Augusta to finish out the night at a joint called ‘The Loft’. I really like this joint, I get to ride on the sidewalk. LOL Anyway, I’m at the back of the pack with Manx and Paul behind me. I’m trying to watch the level on my Squid-O-Meter, since Paul is an MSF RiderCoach, and I really don’t want to make a bad impression. Gawd, I’m a weirdo! Nah, it’s probably more along the lines of not wanting to give the ‘Hayabusa-For-Experienced-Riders-Only’ proponents ammo for their argument. Then there’s that whole fear-of-embarrassment-in-public thing. And if somebody can see the kinks and screw-ups in your riding, it’ll be a motorcycle instructor. This makes me a little nervous. However, I’m proud of what I have accomplished since I’ve started on two wheels. People are surprised when they find out how long I’ve been riding. Not that I advertise the fact, but I’m not going to lie if somebody asks me straight up. And the reaction is always the same: They’re amazed at a ‘little girl like’ me handling ‘such a beast’ and when they find out that I’ve only started a little over a year ago, it’s instant kudos. Sometimes it’s good to be a girl.

I’m so glad that I don’t have to defend my decision to buy a Hayabusa (as my second bike) iRL. It is what it is to most folks. I’ve come across only one negative reaction, and that was before I actually owned one, from a sales rep at a local dealer. Needless to say, I bought mine at a joint where they offered me a killer deal, were friendly and supportive of my decision and where they treated me like ‘one of the guys’. They acted like they actually wanted to sell me the bike I had already picked out for myself and made the process as enjoyable and smooth as possible. It was an awesome experience. I would highly recommend these peeps. Would you like to know more? It’s all in ‘The Busa Report’. Recommended reading for all you girls out there wanting to ride your own, but too scared to do it. On that subject, you may also want to read ‘The First Year: 13828 Miles & A World Apart’ where I talk about my fears, worries and insecurities about being on two wheels and how I learned. I’m getting sidetracked again. But it’s all good; I do eventually find my way back to where I’m supposed to be. Eventually.

And this is where I’m supposed to be: After fuelling we head on out of town to the dam. It is an enjoyable ride, less squidly and more relaxed than last time, too. Maybe that’s due to having ridden with most of these peeps before. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I have Mr. RiderCoach breathing down my neck with a watchful eye? I soon forget about ‘The Man With The Patch’ and settle into my groove. I do cross an intersection on ‘cherry green’ and leave Paul and hubby waiting at the line. I don’t know why I did that, other than wanting to stay with the group. I wasn’t even the last person and I knew where we were going. Stupid. STOOPID! Calamari, it’s what’s for dinner.

At the dam we stop to hang out. There is a lot of talk about farkles and mods from the Connie crowd, which is now up to three, thanks to Paul. Hubby is getting ideas. Can’t really say anything in that regard. I have done 23 mods to The Fat Lady so far, and I can’t seem to stop. Somebody warned me about this, but I didn’t believe it. At least I’m not ordering swingarms and fat tires and sending various bits off to get chrome-plated… in other words, it could be worse. Definitely.

Somebody comments on my riding style, how I seem to be one with the bike, how well I tuck in and ‘go with it’, how smooth my movements are. And, of course, how teeny I look on that ‘big ass bike’. Naturally. Compliments and attention make me feel awkward, and I’m glad it’s dark, so they don’t see me blushing. I smile and give thanks, as it would be rude not to; but on the inside I’m high-fiving myself and doing the happy dance. “Uh-huh. That’s right. Girl’s takin’ care of her business. Yeah. Uh-huh. You said it, brother.” Gawd, I’m such a dork. LOL

We get back to town, and it seems that half the crowd is in the process of unleashing their inner squid. We’re sitting at a four-lane intersection. The light is red. Four of us are stopped at the line. Sammy is at the far right and I happen to be at the far left. We take up both lanes. The rest of the crowd is behind us, with hubby directly behind me and to his right, Goose. There’s a lot of revving going on in the first string. I turn to give hubby a questioning look. He smiles and nods. He yells something, but I can’t hear him over those loud-ass chopper pipes and the blipping of throttles. Yup. Apparently I assume correctly, I’ve read about this. Red-light-to-red-light (illegal-as-hell) drag racing. I think to myself that there’s no way, they’re gonna do that. They’re just playing. Not on freakin’ Belair Road in the middle of town. It is late, but NOT that late. The light turns green and off they go, screaming into the night. I sit there astonished for a split-second, then collect myself and grip it and rip it, I have some catching up to do and I’m on a machine that’ll do it. The Fat Lady’s made for this! She purrs contentedly and then roars to life. The docile kitten turns into a ferocious lion. I inadvertently lift my front wheel off the ground (in my first ever baby of a wheelie), but gracefully correct that little lapse in clutch control with a bit of throttle modulation. By the time I catch up with them I’m doing somewhere in the neighborhood of 120. Holy frakking mother of pearl (splash white)!!! In a 45. In the middle of town. In a stinking 45! I slow my squidly group-thinking ass back down and decide to stay behind them (still going well over the posted speed limit) until we all come to a stop at the next red light, grinning like jackasses. Weeeeeeee! That was fun I have to admit. Riding like idiots. Loads of fun, good gawd! What a freakin’ rush!!!! I can’t do that any more. No ma’am. Holy crapola! And here I thought drag racing was boooooring… Since it lacks curvature. I need to get my adrenaline junkie self to Jackson, to the strip, where I don’t have to worry about felony arrests, complimentary body cavity searches and turning myself into a pedestrian for a predetermined length of time. But maybe that was part of the rush? I’m such a heinous criminal… We take it slow until the group is back together and I take up my accustomed and preferred position at the rear of the pack, riding sweep. We, more or less, keep it under control for the rest of the ride. Although two more incidences of redneck drag racing do occur, they’re just not quite as… umm… felonious. The speed limit is also not being observed too strictly.

I asked Sammy later when we were hanging at ‘The Loft’ how fast he was going, since I still couldn’t quite believe what had transpired. He wouldn’t say. I told him what I was doing just to catch up with them, he just grinned and remarked nonchalantly: “My bike doesn’t go that fast. I probably did around 70.” My ass, buddy, my ass!

Realizations & Lessons Learned:
I still don’t like PUG riding. I mean, I do love the social aspect of riding with a group, but I’m not sure the added safety concerns and elevated risk are worth it. I know I will (and would want to) ride in a group on occasion, but there are a few things I have to consider, and I have to be honest with myself here:

  • I’m too competitive to keep it legal.
  • Although I stay well within the limits of my riding skill, it doesn’t take much for me to get caught up in the ‘showing off’ and/or ‘keeping up’ mentality that can so easily happen during informal group rides.
  • I don’t like taking responsibility for other people. I cannot control their behavior, mostly don’t know their skill levels, their riding attitudes or their attitudes towards safety. I can control what is in front of me, by being proactive and reactive (if need be), hence I like for all the unknown variables to be in a place where I can keep an eye on things.
  • I’m too much of a control freak, that’s another reason why I prefer to bring up the rear. I love to ride sweep. That’s where I feel most in control and most comfortable. It also helps me to keep the right wrist under control. However, one’s position in a PUG is at best dynamic, and you’ll eventually find yourself elsewhere in the pack.
  • It would be too hard for me to have to tell someone that I don’t want to ride with them anymore for whatever reason (I find unacceptable to my own level of risk acceptance), so it’s best just to say no. I’ll spare myself being put in that awkward position of ‘having to be blunt’ with someone later.
  • Crap happens when two or more are gathered. The only person I really feel 99% good about riding with is my hubby, Manx. I trust him. I know his skill level. I know his attitude towards safety and his level of risk acceptance. But even then, I mostly let him lead. Unless we’re in the twisties, of course; he’s too damn slow. ;P We have an understanding, however: We don’t keep up with each other. We ride our own rides. The person in the lead will wait patiently (at a safe, visible location) for the slower half to rejoin, so there is no pressure to outride our respective comfort zones.
  • Although I can, and will behave myself and adapt to the common consensus of what is deemed ‘acceptable riding style’ to a particular group and adhere to their rules, when things get spirited, you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll be in the thick of it. When Ms. Squidlypants hears the call, she will gladly listen and come out to play. Another reason for me to keep away from PUGs. It’s a weakness that’s difficult enough to keep under control when riding alone.
  • One has to know one’s limitations and work within and around them. I’m a prime candidate for a therapy of regularly scheduled track days, so I can keep certain things where they belong: at the racetrack. I can get my speed and aggressive cornering fix in a safe and appropriate place, so I have an easier time to keep it civilized on the public roads. Redneck racing only gets a girl so far.
  • A group ride is NOT a place to practice one’s (drag) racing techniques.
  • If you have a tendency to fixate to the rear (worrying about what happens behind you), you don’t belong in a group ride. Ride your own ride. That doesn’t mean you should be completely oblivious of what’s going on behind you and neglect your mirrors or head checks. You still have to maintain your full awareness to all sides. You can’t control the front (or your own safety) if you ignore what’s going on behind you. I have a hard time with this one, but I’m learning to relax about it. Again, another reason why I like to be last.
  • Riding SAFELY in a group takes more skill, more concentration, quicker reflexes, more self-discipline, and demands you be in full control of your machine at all times, or you will put yourself and others around you in jeopardy. Newbie riders have no place in a PUG ride until they have become comfortable with their own skill sets and have freed up enough attention (from the controls and executing basic riding skills) that they are but second nature and require not so much as a thought to execute. This will help ensure that riding with others is more fun and everyone is safer doing it.

All Things Considered:
PUGs are not for me. Period. Organized rides? I’d probably give it a shot, when the right opportunity presents itself. Riding with one or two friends? Check. Going riding with a bunch of people I just happened upon? Hell, no! This ‘Busa doesn’t play well with others. 😉 Would I go to a bike week? I don’t know. To me that just seems like asking for trouble. Too many people who don’t know what they’re doing in too small an area. Add to that the cagers and the people milling about on foot. Don’t think I would want to put myself through that.

Famous Last Words:
Ride it like you know what you’re doing. The rest of the time, when the inner squid comes out to play, at least be respectful and responsible about it. Take the lives and wellbeing of the people around you seriously. Just because you like to dance with the devil on occasion, doesn’t give you the right to force others to join the music (unless they’re cagers [on cell phones], then all bets are off. Ha!)

Would you like to read about my first group riding experience? Check out PUG Hooters Style