Mr. Slow goes Dragon Slaying

My husband wanted to go on a bike vacation for his birthday and finally become one of the initiated, one of those tough biker dudes who “did the Dragon”. He can now answer the question, that inevitably gets asked of a man when any number of motorcycle riding hooligans find themselves together in a loosely assembled mob of smelly leathers and dirty denim. He can now hold his head high, stick his burley chest out , striking a manly pose; stand tall and answer loudly and proudly: “Yes. I have slain the fabled Dragon. I have gone north in search of the mythical beast and I have drawn blood.” Translation: I found him whilst on his afternoon snooze. I snuck up on him and totally stepped on his tail! The beast woke and breathed fire upon my wife who had been to its lair on a previous raid to inflict pain and suffering upon the monster with the aid of a merry band of rocket-riding wild women. My wife put her knee down and the Dragon slithered off in search for easier prey, such as three drunken Hog Wranglers on a Moonshine run, and his spare set of testicles.

…and they lived happily ever after, for about a week or so.  Can we please do this again? Like every year? How does every second week in May sound!?!

Works for me.


Vee-Roddin’ It Down Nostalgia BLVD

20120119-005436.jpg
Just look at the enthusiasm of the newly initiated. Not four months into riding I was already itching to trade in my 2008 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Low for something bigger, faster, stronger.

I happened across this pic by accident, and it made me sink into the warm embrace of nostalgia. Coincidentally, it wasn’t but two days ago we stopped into Augusta Harley Davidson to look at V-Rods. The Slow One has new-bike fever, but since he doesn’t want to admit it, I practically had to kick him in the ass, plop him on the bike, and knock the kickstand out from under him so he would stay put. He says he doesn’t want to park his bum on bikes he can’t get. Hogwash!!!

His face lit up when he spotted the Muscle. Now he had no problem taking a seat. He seemed so… I don’t even know the proper term. Like a kid in the toy store.

“Baby, buy me one of these!”

Sure, I’ll race it. Why the hell not? If things had gone just a little different, I would have thrown my leg over an ’08 Night Rod with mid-controls, instead of the Suzuki Hayabusa. What kind of rider would I be today, if that had happened? Probably would have never turned into a knee dragger or even considered racing.

Oh hell, who am I kidding here? I would have ended up burning rubber and getting high on the smell of race gas somewhere else instead: at the Quarter Mile.

Hubby then remembered that his wife races and therefore he has no money. The Old Lady spends his paycheck, too. Although, Ray said that they would take anything in trade, as long as it doesn’t need to be fed. Now you know. The “I got a Harley for my wife. It was a good trade.” bumper stickers are a lie. 😉

I realized, while we were there, I really miss the Hog HQ in Augusta. Always felt welcome there, and still do. They don’t even make you park your Japanese Girlfriend around back. 😉 The service department was awesome and never did me wrong. The parts department were a bunch of damn chrome enablers, they knew their stuff and how to separate a girl from her money. They even remembered us. Good people.

I hope someday Mr. Slow gets his wish and parks a V-Rod in our driveway… he’s gotta go to work at some point. I’ll race his shit, too!


2012 WERA Racing Schedule

Around mid-December I find a letter in my mailbox from WERA. Hmmm… what in the world could they want? OMG!!! They are revoking my racing license! “Dear Miss Busa, we regret to inform you that we have no choice but to invoke our right to revoke your racing credentials. Based on your past performance, especially the incident at Road Atlanta…” I tear into the envelope with one slightly clammy finger and am relieved to find a reminder to renew said racing credentials and the next season’s schedule. Phew! I get to dress up in leather and play in one-way traffic for another year. I suppose WERA still needs what little money I have left worse than the possibility of my single-handed attempt at ruining their good name. 😉 Welcome to another year of addiction:

2012 Michelin National Challenge Series

16-18 March: Roebling Road Raceway; Faulkville, GA

20-22 April: Talladega Gran Prix Raceway; Talladega, AL Cancelled (Will be rescheduled)

18-20 May: Miller Motorsports Park; Salt Lake City, UT

7-10 June: WERA Cycle Jam at Road Atlanta; Braselton, GA

29 June – 1 July: New Orleans Motorsports Park; New Orleans, LA

25-28 October: Grand National Finals at Barber Motorsports Park; Leeds, AL

2012 WERA Sportsman Series (Southeast)

18-19 February: Talladega Gran Prix Raceway; Talladega, AL

16-18 March: Roebling Road Raceway; Faulkville, GA

12-13 May: Barber Motorsports Park; Leeds, AL

19-20 May: Jennings GP; Jennings, FL

2-3 June: Roebling Road Raceway; Faulkville, GA

7-10 June: WERA Cycle Jam at Road Atlanta; Braselton, GA

29 June – 1 July: New Orleans Motorsports Park; New Orleans, LA

21-22 July: Roebling Road Raceway; Faulkville, GA

25-26 August: Talladega Gran Prix Raceway; Talladega, AL

5-7 October: Road Atlanta; Braselton, GA

WERA Grand National Finals

25-28 October: Grand National Finals at Barber Motorsports Park; Leeds, AL


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!


Winter Riding – A love story « thedandooligan

I have read this post twice now. I am so impressed with it, I just have to share it with the rest of my readers (and accidental stumblers). If you are not already subscribed to “The Dandooligan” blog, get over there now. Grab the feed, subscribe by email, whatever… just do it. The man has nerves of steel and he is passionate about the ride. If you come here regularly, I promise you’ll like his style (in print and on rubber). This one goes out to you Northerners who are snowed in at the moment. To all you Southerners: Look the other way, this is not for the faint of heart. 🙂

Winter Riding – A love story « thedandooligan.

If I still lived in Germany, I would have to try this myself.


Sugar and Spice, Cat Ears and All Things Nice

Somebody asked me once: “Why in the hell are you wearing cat ears on your helmet?” My answer was quite simple: “Because I can.” I paused, then added: “…and the kids like it.” He didn’t get it. Why do I wear silly stuff like that when I’m out riding on my motorcycle? It started on the Harley. I actually did it because I could. I’m a dork. I do silly things all the time. I don’t take life too seriously, nor myself; most of the time I actually succeed. I ordered the cat ears (tested up to 175 mph) and stuck them on my lid, and rode around on my black Sportster wearing my all-black gear, my black carbon fiber full-face helmet and black and white cat ears with matching tail stuck to my menacing crown with the aid of suction cups.

I soon noticed that I seemed to have more fans in the younger demographic. Children started waving at me, smiling, and pointing excited little fingers in my general direction. Toddlers’ faces pressed up against the rear windows of minivans became a regular sight. I waved back and acknowledged the little ones; it really made me feel good. It made me giggle, too. Kids also reacted differently to me when I was slowly cruising through a shopping center lot on the lookout for a place to park. They didn’t seem as scared of “big black man” on the big black bike. The engine noise seemed to bother them less also. It is as if the addition of those two small things of fake fur and plastic made all the difference in the world. It opened up an opportunity of curious fascination, rather than induce fear and uncertainty.

Miss Busa's Cat Ears

Miss Busa and The Fat Lady (RIP): Yes, those are cat ears on my helmet. No, I won't take them off. I also refuse to grow up! Why? Because you can't make me. 🙂

That is how Miss Busa’s Cat Ear Tradition started. I am now on my third set. I have never had any negative experiences with them. They are a conversation starter, an icebreaker, and everybody just thinks they are the coolest things ever. Riders and non-riders alike react positively. Who would have thought that such a small gesture would bring about such a dramatic change in perception and hence attitudes?

In South Carolina I have the Clemson University fans chasing after me with their cell phone cameras, asking me if they could take a picture. I wore my tiger set there once and I couldn’t figure out what in the world had gotten into these people. I thought it quite strange and bordering on the verge of freakish. Husband then explained that I was in “Clemson Country”, that those people were Clemson Tiger fans; mostly Football and Basketball, but Clemson University’s athletic department offers a host of other sports for both men and women.

Miss Busa is rockin' the rocket on I-285 outer perimeter, top side.

Miss Busa is rockin' the rocket on I-285 outer perimeter, top side. Tiger (or cat) ears and tail are standard equipment for this girl.

I’ve had a dude on a ‘Busa literally chase me down to finally catch me at a red light, flip his face shield up and yell over the combined sound of our Hayabusas’ engines that I must let him take a picture with his phone, his daughter doesn’t believe that girls ride motorcycles. I laughed and gave him the thumbs up, he whipped out his BlackBerry snapped the pic, the light changed he turned right and I went straight. I haven’t seen him since. Maybe his daughter now rides one of those electric minibikes. 😉

It is stuff like this that makes me love the ride even more.

Before I forget…
And for all you (online) haters of Miss Busa’s magic cat ears who think that this is just the gayest thing ever, let me state for the record: Yes, it is. It’s totally gay!!! Gay, GAy, gAy, gAY, gaY! In the traditional meaning of the word; but you people wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?


S1000aRRgh: The Saga Continues…

Originally Aired: October 30th, 2010

Bringing My Baby Home

Previously on S1000aRRgh…

After I pretty much lost it on the phone I laid into Mr. Slow. All of my frustrations, all of my anger, all of my stress jettisoned at once in a whirlwind of a profane verbal shit-storm of epic proportions. I call it venting; psychologists would probably label it transference. Needless to say – and I don’t blame him one iota – Mr. Slow left the building; in a hurry, I might add, to save his sanity, no doubt. I had to apologize profusely to him later on for being such a jackass. I was treating him poorly and I wasn’t even mad at him. Apparently BMW North America doesn’t care. We were told they would “call us right back”, after calling the dealer and “getting to the bottom of this”, but they didn’t. It was painfully obvious that he dealer couldn’t give a two-bit shit less as they’re still clinging to their contrived story. I felt helpless in all this. I hate feeling helpless! There aren’t but a few things in this world that are worse for me than the feeling of being unable to do anything. I suppose there’s nothing left to do but wait for the phone call that will inform me that my bike is ready to be picked up. Waiting isn’t one of my strong suits either; especially the kind of wait that doesn’t come with a definite expiration date.

Making peace with the situation, but nevertheless tirelessly working to get the bike and myself ready for running the You-Know-What at You-Know-Where and then celebrating the occasion with You-Know-Who kept me from committing random acts of homicide; it gave me something to do and something to look forward to, a luxury carrying a hefty price tag of approximately $700.

BMW NA does finally call. We are informed that they have looked into the matter, that it was deemed unreasonable for the repair of my motorcycle to take this long, that they are so very sorry that this issue led me to miss almost a month of prime riding season, that this is completely unacceptable and that she is going to forward our case to Marketing to see if there is any way we can be compensated for being inconvenienced like we have.

A few days later Blue Moon Cycle calls. It is Daniel wanting to keep us updated on the status of our repairs:

“The part has cleared customs. It should be here tomorrow.”

Still no tracking number, I see. I suppose Customs doesn’t issue those after all, eh? Ah, I’m just such a ray of sunshine. I get ticked off all over again. Did I or did I not tell you people to not bother me until my bike is ready to be picked up? Overnight shipping, I have learned as a German who gets packages from the homeland on a fairly regular basis, apparently takes two weeks now. The audacity! My aunt once overnighted a book to me, t’was the day before Christmas and… and I still received it the next day, which was Christmas Eve, no less. DHL to the rescue! That little luxury cost her an arm, a leg, and 27% of her eternal soul. My point is… ah, who cares! I know what the point is. They never ordered the part when they said they did, lied to us to cover up their mistake… and blamed it on customs… ah, here I go again. Enough! It’s making my blood pressure rise just writing this. I detest a damn liar more than anything. Line Feed. Carriage Return.

Two days later, a Friday, my bike was ready to be picked up. Joe and I decided to go Saturday morning after we both got off work and had occasion to squeeze a little nap in. We leave around noonish. I wind up with dash rash on my spine and a bloody elbow on the way and am told at one point to stay in the truck when we get there.

“What? … Why?”

“You can’t keep your cake hole shut. That’s why. I don’t wanna go to jail today.”

Pregnant pause, then: “Cake? I want cake.”

Dash rash?!? WTF? What in the Sam Hell are you people doing in your truck? Well, I’m getting my gear sorted because hubby wants me ready to jump on the rocket and leave.

“You stay in the truck. You hear me? If somebody comes over tries to talk to you, ignore them. Don’t even look at them.”

“Ok, ok. Gotchya. Stay in the truck. Keep trap shut. Pretend people are invisible. [pause] C’mon I swear I won’t say anything.”

“No. I don’t trust you. Stay in the truck.”

“Whhhhyyy-yyy?” [takes on a playfully whiny tone]

“You can’t keep your cake hole shut. I know you!”

“Hmmm… cake.”

Where was I? Oh, the dash rash. I drop something. I don’t even remember what it was now, but I undo my seat belt and stick my head under the seat to go hunting for whatever it is that I’ve lost. Picture this: Head resting on the floor mat, one hand braced to keep from falling over, the other groping around in the semi-darkness between old (but fresh looking) French fries, dust bunnies, lost change and whatever else makes its home under there. Two feet wedged between the seat cushion and the lumbar support, balancing precariously on toes, ass hiked way up in the air. Screech! The noise of the sudden loss of forward momentum is accompanied by an incredulous proclamation of “Holy shit!” Meanwhile, in the Land Down Under, my head rolls onto its spine, my posterior is catapulted forward until my back impacts the dash. My feet are now stuck to the windshield with my ass resting on the dash and it takes me a minute to undo the pretzel I find myself in. Damn the physics of an object in motion… I hear an apologetic “Sorry, Foxy” from the driver’s seat. Then, as I slowly emerge from the Underworld, he proceeds to tell me the rest of the story in an excited I-can’t-believe-THIS-shit staccato:

“I almost hit a deer. A freakin’ deer. In freakin’ Atlanta! The guy in front of me swerved, I missed it by inches … and it kept on going. I think it jumped over the wall.” He looks around: “I don’t see it anywhere. I think it jumped over the divider and kept right on going! A freaking deer! Over the wall. Jumped over the freakin’ wall!”

I scan the Interstate behind us. Six lanes of traffic and nothing going on. Just the flowing, uninterrupted organized sheet metal chaos as always. Wow.

“Damn, that takes skill,” I muse, “hooves on asphalt, definitely a low traction situation. Like a dog on linoleum.” I giggle at the thought.

Power Shot

Be afraid, be very afraid: You don't want to piss this woman off. She eats Aktiengesellschaften for breakfast before her second cup of Kaffee (and after she throws up in her mouth a little).

A little later we pull into the joint and park. Mr. Slow gives me a stern look:

 

“Stay here! I’ll be right back.”

With that he gets out and heads into the direction of the service department. I look around. There are two dudes chatting it up over a vintage bike in the back of a pickup truck. The parking lot is pretty full. I get out of the truck. Nobody else around. Good. My heart is starting to pick up the pace a little. I recognize it for what it is: the beginnings of my system going into “Flight or Fight” mode. It is a somewhat awkward moment. I’m half hoping somebody is going to give me the opportunity to chew their ass, but I’m really wishing for a quick, unobserved, unmolested departure. Never mind the unobserved part, it’s too late for that; but the guys are still engrossed in what they are doing and pay me no mind. While I’m putting on my riding gear standing next to the truck Steven walks out the front door with the cell phone glued to his ear. I knew he saw me, because he was looking right in my direction and he promptly turned around and went back inside. Sadly, my quarrel isn’t with him. He sold me the bike, always been straight up with us, no bull, just straight with a chaser of the best places to eat.

This hurts a little. Maybe he didn’t see me after all? No, he had to have seen me. Yeah, this hurts. Before all this went down, he was the one who came practically running across the parking lot when I pulled in, basically telling me that he put the coffee on or would I rather have a Diet Coke this fine morning? Sad, no, it’s depressing. He was the one who offered me a slot in Keith Code’s California Superbike School for half-price, the same week I was scheduled to attend the Kevin Schwantz School at Barber Motorsports Park. Had to turn it down though, because there was no way I could get out of work. Apparently word got around and my email was probably circulated as Exhibit A for the prosecution and of course, I’m the bad guy here. The guilty party. Look at this disgruntled unhappy, ne’er can please her, rude customer who — when not getting her way — runs crying to Corporate to stir the shit pot and all we ever did was bend over backwards for her. Oh, how you can misjudge people… Wrong! Oh well, he’s on their team. He’s got a job to keep after all.

I’ll miss Jean-Marie, too. The man you see for your gear and apparel needs. He always greeted me with “Hello, Speedy Morrigan.”, which made me giggle. Or “How is the only woman riding an S1000RR doing today?” His wife is a fast woman, too. She rides a Blackbird. Oh, the stories he told. His wife and I would have gotten along splendidly to the chagrin of our husbands, I’m sure. ☺ He always answered my questions, texted me updates on my orders and had me look at bike part porn, telling me my Double-R would benefit from this and that… yeah, he had me pegged as one of those high performance junkies right from the start. He showed me stuff on his bike, made suggestions, we had rapport. I know it’s business, and as such he was an excellent sales person. But that’s how it’s supposed to be, or used to be, or should be. I liked it.

They were almost like family. My newfound BMW family and at first I thought I had died and went to heaven. After the level of service I got used to with my poor, neglected Hayabusa, this was like a dream come true (fleeting as one, also). But what can you do? I have talked to several people, all the shops around the Augusta area suck. Even the place in Aiken isn’t worth going to anymore. There are several decent enough places that will work on your bike, but if you own a new bike, need to keep up with scheduled services and have recalls and warranty to worry about, you’re screwed. You would think with the economy the way it is and with motorcycle sales declining these people would kiss your feet and wipe your ass while you wait for your 3K service to be completed. They have to be there anyway to earn their paycheck, so why the shitty customer service? They all act like they don’t really care whether or not you come in with your bike and open up your wallet. The “we’ve made the sale so we don’t care jack anymore” attitude doesn’t really make sense to me. Yeah, you got me on that first one. But I damn sure aren’t going to be back to buy the next one from you! And if history repeats itself (let’s hope not), I’ll be strolling onto your sales floor about once a year to get a replacement for the one I just wadded up. My Suzuki dealer lost my sales business anyway, since I was treated like I was out of my mind when I told the sales manager that I was wanting to trade my Harley-Davidson Sporty 1200L in for something a little more “my style”. When he asked what I was looking at, I threw a confident thumb behind my right shoulder:

“This white Hayabusa.”

He looked down his nose at me, cocked an eyebrow after sizing me up and sarcastically uttered one word:

“Really?”

Dripping, drawn out, with just the hint of a high pitched man-whine on the last rubberized syllable. I looked him dead in the eye and repeated:

“Really!”

Then turned around, grabbed Mr. Slow by the arm and dragged him outside stating flatly:

“I am not buying a bike from them even if it were the last white Hayabusa on the planet.”

The deal they offered us was shit anyway. Good riddance. I ended up keeping the Sporty and buying my dream bike from a dealer in Hayesville, NC. Good peeps up there. They made me feel at ease and welcome. They’ve made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. The deal was pretty much handled by phone and email and when we got there it was but a formality with the paperwork. No hard selling, no macho BS, and 10% off the gear we bought and a really good deal on my Shoei Flutter RF-1000 lid. I wonder if they have good service, too.

Meanwhile, back in the service department….

Joe walks in and informs them that he is there to pick up his wife’s S1000RR. Daniel apparently hadn’t gotten the memo that explained that the game was up and promptly laid another lie on Mr. Slow:

“Hey, Joe! I’ve called Corporate and I’m working out a good deal for you.”

Mr. Slow takes a breather, a moment of strategic silence, and replies calmly, but firmly:

“I called Corporate. They then called you. I think we are done here.”

With that he pays for the extra service I had requested when I was still swallowing their spoon-fed lies in the name of “benefit of the doubt”, grabbed the Pirate’s keys, did an abrupt about-face and walked out.

He met me at the truck, handed me the keys and told me to look the bike over VERY carefully before I took off on it. I did. I was being watched by the two dudes who were still hanging out in the parking lot. I felt awkward. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. I wanted this to be over with. I got on my knees, checked out the bike, took note of the clean work they’ve done on the requested drilling of safety wire holes on selected bolts and nuts; they had even wired them up for me. I started the engine. The S1000RR came to life and sounded smooth as always, looked great, she was clean and seemed to be in good shape. Their work, as always, seemed to be of superior quality. I never had a problem with their workmanship. I sighed heavily as I pulled my helmet over my head, put on my gloves and prepared to leave. As I put the bike in gear and slowly eased out the clutch I noticed how tense I was. My hands on the controls were jittery and I felt a little nauseous. The four holes the dudes in the parking lot had burned into my back with their uncomfortable stares were ablaze. I was starting to perspire. I took a deep breath and tried not to think about it. What I need now is to stall the bike or fall over trying to make a turn or have an incident in the form of any of a number of “This Girl Can’t Ride” adventures.

As I completed my right turn out of their facility I started to feel relieved and the anxiety quickly left my body. I spent the next few miles testing the bike and putting it through the paces. She felt great, shifted smoothly (she always does after an oil change), sounded as she should, handled as she should (well, handled as she must considering the miserable shape my Interstate-abused front tire was in.) and the brakes also performed as they always have. I felt alive again. I hadn’t ridden in almost five weeks and it had gotten on my nerves something awful. And now I have about 150 miles to make up for lost time with my baby: A Pirate Named Trouble.

Miss Busa is baaaaaaaaack!