Category: Awesome - Women in Motorcycling
 
At the beginning of the season, I quietly set a goal for myself to ride 2000 miles my first season riding. As of my last ride, I had ridden 1960 miles and was terribly frustrated that I hadn't met my goal. As the leaves started to fall and the weather turned more crisp, I grew resigned to the fact that I wasn't going to get to my goal.

"It's just a number," I told myself.
"You did great!" I tried to convince myself.
"It's only 40 miles, you got close enough," I repeated to myself.

Baloney.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely goal oriented and will stop at nothing to achieve a goal once I've set it for myself. I just needed one more warm-enough-to-ride-without-frostbite day.

And then, like a chorus of angels singing from the heavens, my weather woman said "It's going to be almost 70 this weekend." There was MUCH rejoicing. I requested my time on babybike, made a few last minute changes to my schedule, and it was time to ride!

This morning, at 5:45 AM, I set off on babybike and headed to the ice rink for skating practice. It was a gorgeous morning. I saw the sunrise as I headed off towards Bensenville. It was a simple route- 90 to 190 to Mannheim to Irving Park Road to York to the rink. Nothing exciting, no crazy twisties or traffic- just me and the bike and a goal in sight.

After practice, I zipped back towards the garage. I pulled into the garage with 40.6 miles for my ride and celebrated with breakfast with my mentor MJ and my timeshare buddy Nora.

It was a perfect morning.

Miles ridden: 40
Miles for the season: 2000!!!!!!

Goal Achieved!'
 
Sunday was an EXCEPTIONAL day out on the bike with Furies and Friends. The best part was that I got to ride with both MJ and Nora-- something I don't  usually get to do because Nora and I are part of the timeshare for babybike. MJ decided to ride the Ducati which meant Nora could kidnap the blue bike and we all got to ride together.

We zipped merrily on down I-90 towards Woodstock and due to a poor estimation of time, we were very very late to the meet up spot and expected that the group would be leaving us behind. They didn't! They waited for us and we gathered, got the ride instructions from Shannon and headed off down the road. We ended up taking some beautiful roads with gentle curves and fall colors on our ride towards Roscoe.

Lunch was at the Backyard Bar and Grill. It was a great spot and "Mr Happy" came out to play on the tire swing and in the dog house at the restaurant. My favorite part of the meal though was looking at all 12 bikes lined up out front. It was a fantastic view!

Several folks had to leave for various reasons before the next part of the adventure, but those who stayed went to the Historic Auto Attractions Museum in Roscoe. It was a really neat museum with lots of artifacts from the Kennedys in particular, but also cars that had belonged to Hitler, Stalin, Eva Peron, Mussolini and Batman. It's definitely worth the trip to Roscoe to see all of the attractions.

Then it was time to head home and we hopped right back on 90 and I ended up leading for most of the ride back-- apparently just a tad too zippy. Keeping up with the flow of traffic is tricky!

It was an awesome day out on the bike. I loved getting to spend time with the Furies and my fellow hangers on. I did however fall just 40 miles short of my goal for the day and season, so a quick 40 mile trip is in my future soon! No matter how cold it is!

Miles for the day 201
Miles for the Season: 1960


 
For my birthday on 10/10, all I wanted to do was to get a chance to ride the motorcycle. I had spent the majority of the season riding here in Illinois and venturing into Wisconsin, so I wanted to add a couple more states to my tally. So, I decided to ride to Michigan for crepes. So, I set out from the garage and hopped on Lake Shore Drive. I have pretty much reached peace with riding on the Drive and did not freak out too much when I entered the curve where I had my incident earlier in the season.

I got on 1-55 and then 94 without any major issues and headed to meet up with Carol at the Torrence Road exit. I'm really surprised at how at-ease I've become on the bike-- especially on the interstates. And now I have ridden on all of the major interstates in Chicago-- kind of cool really.

Carol and I stayed on 94 to get past Gary and then hopped off to take 12 through the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It was a BEAUTIFUL ride. The trees were ablaze with changing leaves and the curves were gentle and plentiful. It was a bit chilly, but MJ had loaned me her heated gear in honor of my birthday so I was toasty warm.

We crossed over into Michigan, and in New Buffalo we had lunch at Pierre Anne Creperie. Lunch was delicious-- I had a ham and gruyere crepe and then shared a nutella crepe with Carol for desert. Both were fantastic.

Then we hopped back on the bikes and headed back into the city and split up where we had met. I headed back towards the garage, making a pit stop at my house and then taking Lake Shore Drive all the way back to the garage. Buckingham Fountain was still on and the lake was simply shimmering in the sunlight.

I had 2 major realizations on the road today.  The first is that this is the first "Birthday Ride" I've taken where I was not the passenger. I've had many people over the years take me out on the back of a bike for my birthday, but this is the first time I've been the one driving. It was awesome.

The second realization was a bit more profound. I had a moment on the road where I was completely content. I have a very busy life and every moment is filled with things I'd rather be doing, things I should be doing, or things I'm worried about getting done. But today was different. There was no where else I would have rather been than on the back of babybike. All other cares and worries were locked tightly away and left in the garage. In that moment, I found joy.

I get it now. I understand why people talk about riding as therapy. I understand why the first thought on a warm day is, "Can i ride?" and why the first thought on a cold day is, "Can i make myself warm enough to ride?" I understand the "freedom" that so many speak of and the peace others have found.

After pulling into the garage and having a deliciously hot shower and finally feeling my toes again, I got to have dinner out with my chosen family here in Chicago. There was much laughter, blue cupcakes (don't ask), and wonderful fellowship.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect birthday.

Miles ridden today: 167
Total: 1759

Hoping to hit 2000 before REALLY gets too cold to ride!

 
I started off the morning by meeting a fellow rider, Mercedes, at the “blue angel parking lot” (although the blue angel isn’t the blue angel anymore). We headed off towards Elgin to meet up for breakfast. It was COLD. The air temperature was hovering around 40- so it was around 30 on the bike as we zipped down  I-90. My fingers and toes went numb, my teeth were chattering, and I was going 70 mph not because I wanted to go fast, but because I was desperately seeking our exit and the promise of warmth. Note to self: heated gear- buy some soon!

We met up with Furies and Hangers on at Alexander’s in Elgin for breakfast. There were 9 of us at breakfast, but 4 of them were off to a skeet shooting adventure so that left 5 for the ride. Shannon was the leader of the day and the others were Mercedes, myself, Jodie, and Caryl. So it was 2 furies and 3 guests and we were off on our adventure to Norway and Peru.

We wound our way through some fun back roads and ended up first at Elvis. After some pictures and obligatory guitar strumming we hopped back on the bikes and were off to Norway. Norway, IL has a fantastic little Viking heritage museum and a store that has been run by 5 generations of the same family and still has the original wooden floors. It was a really neat little stop.  We waved to the dead Vikings in the cemetery and at the downed plane commemorating the farm crash in the 80’s and then were off again.

We hopped on 71 and went towards Starved Rock State Park, we changed the line up of folks so that we could each go through the twisties at a comfortable speed. It was fantastically beautiful to be zipping in and out of the trees and up hills through the park area. It was also fun fun fun! I loved the road and wanted to do it again the second we were done. 

Then we headed towards Oglesby, IL and Woody the Rootbeer Man. We ended up having a snack at the Rootbeer Stand http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/3378. They make their own rootbeer and it is delicious and the prices were fantastic. It was one of the highlights of the ride for sure!

Then we were off to Peru and the Star Trek Vulcan Hand were we all had to pose “Live Long and Prosper” style.  After a few more winding roads it was time to say goodbye and we split off to find our ways home. I ended up leading the I-88 crew and I’m actually growing more comfortable at leading.

I find that despite small issues (killing the bike once at a stop sign, fighting to get out of neutral, fighting to get into neutral), that my general ability is improving and I am growing more confident on the road. I am much more able to relax on the bike and to actually enjoy the ride. I do however have these moments where I think, “I can’t believe I ride a motorcycle”. I do. And it’s awesome.

Miles ridden: 250

Total Miles:  1372

 
This weekend my riding mentor MJ, my timeshare buddy Nora and 3 other riders attempted something I don't think I'll ever be brave enough to do. They did an Iron Butt-- 1000 miles in 24 hours. 4/5 riders made the whole trip in  under the 24 hours and they actually all made it to Canada.

I am completely blown away by these women. I am in awe of the commitment, bravery and slight insanity it took to accomplish such a task.

Many congrats to MJ, Nora, Nadine, and Monique!