Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Q is for Q & A

Las Amigas in Nevada
When folks see a group of women riders, or a lone rider, they are surprised and curious. Questions, the reasonable and the ridiculous, roll out of their mouths.

“Hah! A bunch of women?”

“Where are you going?”

“How much does that motorcycle weigh?”

The first cross-country bike trip I took was with my friend Sharon in the early ‘90s. Starting out on Honda Helix scooters, we rode west to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean. Then, we headed east to do the same in the Atlantic. I remember one question: “What are you going to do if it rains?”

Na├»ve, we laughed and said, “We will get a motel, sit down, and read our books.”

Beth and I coming home in the rain
The reality is this: When the rains come, you slow down and keep going as long as you can see well enough. You’re watchful that the water on the road doesn’t make your bike hydroplane and that no hazards are below the water’s surface. If the water rises high, swirls around you, or becomes so murky you can’t see, it’s time to pull over. On my Baja trip, our leaders cautioned us particularly about running through rain-filled vados, big dips in the road since we couldn’t see to the bottom.

Always, my first response is, “Strangers have jumped out of their vehicles and off their porches to help me pick it up!” And that’s true. It’s happened more than once. I could take you through the alphabet with names of places where folks have come to my aid. But, at almost every women’s motorcycle rally, there are demonstrations and opportunities to practice picking up a downed bike. Even a Gold Wing.

“Can you change your own oil or work on your bike?” 

I have to quote and agree with one motorcycle buddy from years ago who said, “That’s why I have a job. So I can pay a mechanic to do that.”

I can check tire pressure and put air in, check the oil, and, thanks to my friend Sylvia, refill the coolant reservoir. Once I even changed the battery, with Judy beside me reading the directions.

Getting TJ's bike started; Sylvia in the saddle
A lot of women riders have the knowledge and skills to do their own motorcycle repair and maintenance. If anything goes wrong with a bike, Sylvia, can figure out the problem and most often fix it. There have been times when Sylvia’s just laid hands on an unresponsive Big Red and she starts! The women I ride with, Laurie, Virginia, and Sylvia, amaze me with their skill, determination, and guts when tackling the mechanics of motorcycles.
PattyB in Glenwood Springs, CO

“Did you ride that thing all the way here?”

This question is one that is tempting to answer with sarcasm. Believe me, those kinds of retorts flash through most women’s minds. But, we refrain from speaking them aloud out of decency toward the speaker and as a matter of insuring our own safety. But, when we gather over dinner and a beer, the comebacks and laughter flow. “Well, I rode it half-way and pushed it half-way.”

Every motorcyclist I know welcomes the opportunity to talk about his or her bike. So, go ahead. Just ask your question. What is it that you’ve always wondered?
~ xoA ~


  1. Okay, here's my motorcycle questions: Does the vibration of the road ever bother you after a long trip I'm guessing you can feel it more than in a car.) Also, since I've never had the courage to ask anyone riding a Harley with tall handlebars (sorry don't know the actual name) - do your hands/arms go to sleep from the position they are in?

    PS. Love the "Rode it half-way and pushed it half-way" response.

  2. 'Atta girl, Joan. I knew there should be questions.

    No vibration when riding a Honda Gold Wing. That's the truth.

    I've never tried it, but I would imagine hanging onto those tall handle bars would cause arms and shoulders to get tired. And, those bikes usually DO vibrate a lot.

    Thanks for asking! xoA

  3. This post has totally re-sparked my interest for learning more about how to care for vehicles. I've been meaning to get to know my car a little more. I put gas in my car, but I vaguely know how to check the tire pressure and refill the oil and other fluids. Because of the luxuries of AAA and professional mechanics, I don't have a clue of how to change a tire, the battery or the oil, but I definitely want to learn.

    I also second Joan on the line about riding half-way and pushing it half-way.

    1. It's always good to have a basic knowledge of how these machines that are important to our lives work. Sometimes community colleges offer a basic maintenance class for women. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jasmine! xoA

  4. On the few times I've straddled a motorcycle, I had trouble just holding it upright! So I guess my only question is how do you keep up the strength?!

    1. Thanks for your question, Joan. Gym workouts that include exercising the biceps, shoulders, back, and core for holding upright, lifting, and riding. Also just riding; like everything else, the more you practice, the better you get. xoA

  5. My question to you would be "Hey, do you know a good place to eat around here while the feelings return to my extremities?"

    1. LOL, Jer. Motorcyclists always 1) want to know about a good place to eat or 2) already know about a good place to eat! One thing my buds and I look for when out riding is the number of motorcycles we see in restaurant parking lots. Never led us wrong yet. Thanks! xoA

  6. You are one kick ass chick! I love your spirit of adventure and optimism. I once had a mini bike (scooter?) for a while but got the fad wore off. I never wanted to do a real cycle. like the man said, "I drove a motorcycle from While Lane to 24th Street and was scared to death." My son-in-law had a a bad bike accident in high school (lost a spleen and kidney) but has one again. Char says it hurts her knees to ride (Yeah!) and I am concerned about him sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Avid, dyed-in-the-wool motorcyclists seem to NEED a bike, and prior accidents don't make any difference. Having had an accident, he is probably a more careful, defensive rider. But, there's still worry because we don't know what those other drivers will do. Thanks for sharing, Terry. xoA