Archive for the 'Ladies Only' Category
April 30, 2010
Miss Vicki starts the day
The big day is almost here … nope, I’m not referring to my birthday (May 31!) but International Female Ride Day! On May 7, women around the world will be riding their bikes, celebrating our great sport. It’s no secret that women and motorcycles are becoming a much more common sight on the tracks, trails and roadways.
In my personal experience with motocross racing, not long ago I could count the number of Ladies’ racers on my fingers and toes—now there are separate classes for beginners and experts and the CMRC has been running a National Women’s Championship since 2006!
As far as street bikes go, I’m sure everyone has noticed the increase of women on the road. I think it’s great. To me, there is nothing more fun than riding a two wheeler and men and women deserve to share the experience together. (In fact, Yamaha’s Facebook Photo Contest winner was a woman rider, Katrina Bryant, who owns an R1).
To be honest (not that I’d ever lie to you ), I didn’t know much about International Female Ride Day, so I called up someone who does, the founder and extreme motorcycle enthusiast, Vicki Gray.
Bike Blog: What’s your background with motorcycles and what is MOTORESS?
Vicki: My background includes 27 years of riding, licensed back in 1983. I decided to get into motorcycling because I grew up as sort of a thrill seeker/tomboy. I’d climb trees, build rafts and ride snowmobiles. I really had an interest in motorcycling, but it wasn’t until I moved to the East Coast of Canada and was very busy with a corporate career that I took the opportunity to take the training. I needed an outlet to get away from the stress of work. I tried sailing as well, it’s nice and calm, but didn’t give me that kick I found from motorcycling.
Tell us about MOTORESS.
It’s a one-stop shop for women and motorcycling. MOTORESS didn’t just come out of the air; it’s a take-off from a brand that I had in the community called RaceGirl Motorsport in Europe. In Canada, I did a lot of riding and teaching here, but in 1989, I left and went to the Caribbean. I lived there for six years and within a year I opened my own training school. So this whole journey of MOTORESS is stuff that happened in between.
I think what spurred it on was when I started racing in Europe in 1998. Again, it’s a guy’s world there, especially in racing. I decided to start a brand and community called RaceGirl, which encouraged women into motorsports and through the non-profit organization, I gave higher skills training. I gave lessons to men as well and held track days. I worked with TT Circuit Assen during MotoGP and World Superbike. I was constantly interviewed when these races were in town, and I always spoke of women and encouraging them to get into motorsports. All of that and my passion seemed to grow like crazy! It was only a hobby but RaceGirl started to get so big. I was working in the telecomm industry at that time, which was having its up and downs. I kept changing jobs and then sat down and made a business plan for MOTORESS. To be honest, all along I searched for a way to make my passion my livelihood.
Vicki raced throughout Europe, and in the first ever European Women’s Cup, supported by the renowned Ten Kate Honda Team.
Now, you’re the founder of International Female Ride Day. What goes into creating an official “day?”
It was an idea … as you can imagine, in 1983, I was a woman riding a motorcycle and there were many women before me, but even then, I was part of the very small number of women riding. Of course, we have challenges keeping it in our lives but we really do have so many women riders out there. In North America—in Europe it’s not such a phenomenon to see a woman on a bike—yet it still gets a lot of response. I thought if we introduced a day, where women would just get out there, we’d show everyone first hand how many of us there are! The day also promotes women in motorcycling. Women are role models in themselves, and they influence other women. You have younger and older women, on cruisers, sport bikes, dirt bikes and it’s so diverse, I thought this concept, synchronized would show other women how wonderful and fun it is.
What’s your take on where women and motorcycles are at now?
It’s really evolved, just like women have. Social values and choices have changed; women buy houses alone now. The whole role of women has changed. Women go exploring other stuff, like motorcycling. Some women are terrified of them [laughs], and I meet some men who are too. I think it’s how we are brought up; generally women are not pointed in the direction of more dangerous “deemed male” activities, like the guys.
What advice do you have for those women who are shy and nervous about riding bikes?
[Laughs] Things are not as they appear. You know, that whole illusion theory and perception-motorcycling looks intimidating but once you’re sitting on a bike, have some good lessons and skills under your belt, you’ll see the other side of motorcycling that catches us all; it’s the same for racing.
Favourite bike you’ve ever owned?
I don’t have one because I love them all! They all bring something different to the road. Obviously my Ten Kate Honda race bike was exceptional, and riding that thing, on my God! Even Honda Japan would come to see how they tune their bikes. I really love the Yamaha R6. When I teach at F.A.S.T. I often use that bike.
Where do you see women going in this sport? And what can dealers, manufacturers, anybody do to help promote women’s involvement?
I think you (the manufacturers/industry) are already doing it. You guys have ladies events, you have a great array of motorcycles that are available and you’re underlining these to women; the clothing is getting better. There isn’t much more to do, but it’s accepting the fact that women ride. For instance, when I see women at motorcycle shows, my mindset is that they are there because they ride. The goal of MOTORESS is to show women that motorcycling belongs in their life, and it should be placed higher on the priority list.
Unfortunately, for the average women, we have so much to juggle in our lives. There are big debates to that, but studies have proven, women, unlike men, can’t leave domestic duties alone for too long. After a day of work, arriving home, tending to say a partner, children, household demands … when all is said and done, if we have any time or energy remaining, what will receive the priority? With MOTORESS, we’re trying to bring it to an easier belonging, a lifestyle and make motorcycling that choice priority.
With that, what do you hope for International Female Ride Day, simply to get women on their bikes and ride?
Of course! There is so much going on around the world it’s unbelievable. I received an email from Cape Town, South Africa where women are organizing a ride day. Women riders just seem to take such pride in being a part of it. It’s awesome! This year, I even had to translate the logo into Hungarian so they could post it and use it. I would really like this to one day, similar to Mother’s Day, be recognized by the country as an official day.
Hey ladies (and guys) are you going to be out supporting In. Female Ride Day? If so, please comment and let us know! Feel free to share your bike of choice as well!
April 8, 2010
Destiny or coincidence?
Needless to say, our customer relations team receives some “interesting” feedback from past, present and future Yamaha owners. It could be someone looking for general tech support, or someone is upset because the rear tire on their 1973 DT3 is already worn out … it’s never a boring job, that’s for sure.
More recently, one of our agents helped provide some tech specs to a then-and-now Yamaha rider named Lynn. As it turns out, Lynn endured some eerie coincidence on her new bike. (Looking at her pics, she’s also attained some wisdom in regards to proper riding gear )
Thanks for sending me the detailed tech specs for that DT200. I am comparing it to what I currently have, the WR250R, which was the bike that replaced the DT200. I never thought I’d be able to come close to replacing that beloved DT, and to be honest, when I bought the WR and was riding it home, I got goose bumps. Not because I was on a flashy new bike (well, that was kinda part of it) but because of the day and time I took possession. It’s REAL creepy.
I bought that old 1986 DT200 brand new in Penticton; I was 19 and had saved up from working a whole winter up at the ski hill in Kelowna. I absolutely LOVED that little bike. Roll forward to 11:30 AM, Oct 23, 1988. I wrote off my poor bike after an old lady failed to yield and decided to cut in between me and the truck in front of me. Bike was totaled. All I have left of that memory is a picture of me on it when I was camping at Christina Lake in the Kootenays.
I had always wanted to get another bike like the one I had. Life took me different places and I never got the chance to get another, even though I kept my eyes open for that year of bike. Nothing. I ended up with an old 1977 Honda XL 250 that was a heavy tank of a bike, and didn’t enjoy it near as much (I still have that old bike)…in fact it never even could be compared. I had numerous street bikes, the last one being a 1995 Suzuki RF600R. Stupid fast bike. It was a scream to ride, but every time I’d go past a trail off the road I’d want to explore it. NOT a good thing on a sportbike.
I then went onto the Yamaha site and saw the WR on there. I had looked at the WR250 years before, but because it wasn’t street legal I never took a second look. I read up on the R that others own, and the responses were incredible. A new bike, basically a dirt bike you can ride on the road right out of the crate. I immediately thought of my old DT, and HAD to take a ride on one. I had to wait for a demo day in order for that to happen, but once I rode it, I was hooked. I felt I had finally found a replacement, even if the damned thing was so high I couldn’t touch the ground. That was in July, 2008. A month later I sold the 600.
Roll forward to Oct 23, 2009. I’ve got the paperwork in my hands, my gear on and anticipating my first ride on my brand new 09 WR250R. The salesman had managed to get in the very first ’09 in BC, right after the dealer demo that was held in Whistler, just for me. They hadn’t even been released to the public at that point, but he apparently knew someone and pulled a few strings. So at 11:30, I am on my new bike and riding down the highway. It was then that it hit me, and why I felt a cold shiver run the length of my spine. When I got home, I found the paperwork from the accident on the old DT. Check this out:
Oct 23, 1988 11:30 AM : 1986 Yamaha DT200S written off
Oct 23, 2008 11:30 AM : 2009 Yamaha WR25R ridden off the showroom floor.
Last 2 numbers on the VIN are 23.
20 years later to the exact date and time, I have replaced something I never thought I ever would.
Sorry if I’ve bored you with this, but what you’ve done really means a lot to me. I’m going over the spec sheets for both bikes, and besides the difference of the DT being a 2-stroke, the two bikes are very similar in a lot of ways.
Again, I thank you for doing this for me. I’ve sent along some pics, just for comparison. One of me when I was on the old DT (well it was maybe 5 months old there), me on the new WR250R, and the WR after I went to work and modified it.
What do you think? Is this all coincidence? Or was Lynn meant to be back on a Yamaha dual sport?
November 9, 2009
Good girl gone bad
From Meager Scooter Girl to Full-fledged Biker Chick:
True Stories of the Hard-Life by Amy “Cowbell” Campbell
Amy Campbell ain’t no tart – she’s a biker chick!
I live approx. an hour and a half north of Toronto, which is definitely on purpose. For those who know me, know I am not a fan of city life. I recently spent 2 days downtown Toronto for training, and was overjoyed each night to return to my little 2-horse town …..
June 23, 2009
Biker Chicks with … “Cowbell”
Everyday, we’re seeing more and more women riding motorcycles, and it’s a beautiful thing. No matter what your gender is, there is no better sense of freedom and expression than hitting the open road, track or trail with your bike, twisting the throttle and feeling all of your cares float away….
January 31, 2008
Forget about the XV 650, girls… the XV1900 rocks!
What a glorious beast is the new XV 1900
By Maggie Hole, Yamaha Motor Canada
As an employee at Yamaha Motor Canada, I must admit I get a lot of great perks, like the opportunity to borrow Yamaha products.
The best job perk so far, though, has been the recent ‘Yamaha Ladies Night‘, where I got to try out some bikes that aren’t on our employee rental program.
I must say, it was a great thrill to try out the all new 2008 XV1900 (what a beast of a bike!) The power is amazing, yet I felt very confident and comfortable after the first couple of shifts. I loved every minute of it!
You should read what went into the making of the XV1900 from my colleague at Yamaha, John Bayliss – it’s quite a story!
December 11, 2007
Welcome from Carolyn Hay
Hi, I’m Carolyn Hay (but you can call me Cal). I’ve been working in the marketing department of Yamaha Motor Canada since January 2004. My main focus at work is developing the creative behind the company’s brochures and point-of-sale materials.
I like working at Yamaha because I feel like I’m part of something I believe in. Not only do I get to work in the motorcycle industry, but it’s one of my treasured hobbies. I feel very fortunate that I have combined the two.
I recently rode my first bike home for the first time – my very own 2007 YZF-R6 (in dark-grey). I’ve wanted an R6 for seven years now!
Ever since I bought it, I’ve been wearing a grin ear to ear every day! Now I’m counting down the days until April when the roads clear and I can launch into my first full season season with my R6!
My hobbies include anything that burns gas. I grew up around classic muscle cars, the drag track and car shows. When I discovered motorcycles (in 2000), it was just an addition to my other moto-passions.
I am blogging in this space to share my personal stories of motorcycling, including great roads I’ve found and my bike “firsts.” I hope to hear back from you, about your own biking adventures! Cal
December 6, 2007
Growing up moto – but not with cycles
How I discovered bikes and never looked back
By Carolyn Hay, marketing representative, Yamaha Motor Canada
Growing up, I was always surrounded by classic muscle cars, rail dragsters, big blocks, and four-speed manual trannys. Not too often would you find a motorcycle among the crowd.
But then, one hot July night back in 2000, something changed all that. I was at work when some friends came by to coerce me to go to a superbike race over at Mosport the following day. At that time I was like, ‘what’s a Superbike?” I was reluctant, but with a little convincing, I went.
I found out that motorcycles are a whole other world! And that was just the beginning. That summer I put in plenty of seat time as a passenger. It was official… I was hooked!
Then I decided, why should I leave all the fun to someone else? I didn’t want to be the passenger any more. So I went and got my motorcycle license in 2003. The natural progression was to get my own set of wheels, and it was the Yamaha R6 that I had fallen in love with!
The first time I got to sit on an R6 was at the Toronto Motorcycle Show back in December 2003. (Yep, that’s me in the picture (right). Pretty funny, I know… the look of pure concentration on my face is good for a laugh!)
The very next day, I applied for a marketing position within Yamaha Motor Canada.
The last four years have been a blast… now I ride R6s – heck, R1s even! But the sweetest was yet to come…
October 17, 2007 was an extremely exciting day for me; you see, I rode home for the first time on my very own 2007 Yamaha R6!! (That’s me with my baby, right.)
No more begging for loaner bikes at work… no more Sunday mornings waking up and just WISHING I had my own bike!
The ride to work will never be the same… or to anywhere, for that matter!
What I want to know is, am I going nut’z or is this normal?
November 20, 2007
Welcome from Andree Lamarche
Hi, I’m Andrée, and I’m the French translator for Yamaha Motor Canada. I started riding in mid-2005, about three years after I joined Yamaha… but these days, I hardly ever drive my car in the warm months. You’ll find me on a bike most weekdays as well as virtually every weekend!
I most often ride the V-Star 650 that I borrow from Yamaha. (My favourite bike, the V-Star 1100, is usually signed out by coworkers before I can get to it!)
Off the bike, I love to garden and to canoe/portage deep in Algonquin Park at least once every summer; I try to get any of my three kids (the youngest is 17) to go with me, if I can! In another life – predating kids – I used to enjoy scuba diving and parachuting.
My new big adventure? Blogging!! I’m trying it out because I want to keep in touch with customers – and keep up with the changing times. (I’m looking into getting a laptop so I can blog anywhere, anytime!) I’d really like to hear from some like minded ladies on my posts. Enjoy. Andrée
November 15, 2007
Riding doesn’t always go without a (trailer) hitch
Expect the unexpected!
By Andrée Lamarche, French translator, Yamaha Motor Canada
The sun was shining, the breeze was refreshing, the road was just too inviting to pass up… Sound familiar? Early one warm morning this past summer, I went out to enjoy a ride on a V-Star 650. No arm-twisting necessary!
The fact that a windshield had not yet been installed on the bike I was riding that day ended up contributing greatly to averting a serious accident. After almost two hours of riding and a good many long curves and winding roads, I found myself heading south on a rural highway. (Can you smell the fresh country air? Feel the freedom? Heaven on earth!)
Well, as usual, my helmet visor was up because I like to feel the wind on my face. (My contacts haven’t blown off yet!). Then grains of dirt began to disrupt my perfect world – and my vision. I thought maybe the pickup truck ahead of me had veered a bit off the asphalted surface and disturbed the soft stuff on the shoulder of the road.
Without a windshield and with my visor up, my face had no protection, so I lowered the visor. Bits of grit kept coming up through the bottom of my helmet. I increased the buffering distance between the pickup truck/old trailer unit and my V-Star, blinked a few times to wash my eyes of the bothersome grains.
All of a sudden, there was a sharp cracking noise… and I found myself watching the old trailer slowly moving away from the pickup truck. It took a few seconds for me to realize that this very unexpected scenario was really happening… in my lane, a short distance in front of me!!
Luckily, there were no vehicles in the oncoming lane to my left, so I whipped over and watched the trailer dance by me and auger crash into the ditch. There was a huge thump and an impressive cloud of dust.
Look ahead, plan ahead, keep a safe distance
By the time I stopped up ahead and walked back to the crash scene, the driver of the pickup and his passenger were looking at the heap of broken wood that used to be their trailer. We were all unharmed, just a little shaken up and very thankful! (Apparently, the safety chains had broken as well as the receiver.)
In the end, these few seconds taught me in a very real lesson – to look ahead, plan ahead, and keep a respectful safety zone around my bike, out of harm’s way of unexpected flying cigarette butts, gum wads, tire chunks… and runaway trailers!
Guess that’s what the motorcycle course instructors mean when they told us to expect the unexpected!!
Have you had any ‘close ones’ where you learned a lesson in safety?
Ride safe, Andrée
November 1, 2007
Welcome to the Yamaha Canada Bike Blog
Hi, my name is Chris Reid and I am the Senior Product and Research Manager here at Yamaha Motor Canada. If you are also a ‘sled head’, you might know me as CR over on our sister blog, ‘Sled Talk‘.
We have assembled a group of Yamaha Motor Canada employees who all love to ride and have some stories to tell. We hope you’ll check in often, and read what we have to say.
(As far as I know, Yamaha is the only motorsports company in Canada to host a blog where we interact with our friends and customers.)
If you like what you see, you can subscribe (enter email address on the right) and we’ll email you whenever we add a new post, or you can add Bike Blog to your list of RSS feeds. We’ll be populating the blog with a wide selection of content over the next few weeks and we’d love to hear what you have to say about it all.
I sincerely hope you enjoy Bike Blog and if you do, please let your friends know about us.
Posted @ 8:45 am in Commuting