I need to branch out and am probably buying a friend’s KTM 690 Enduro this summer. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time on our shop bike—a Kawasaki KZ1000P. It’s an old police bike I bought from a customer. We use it for the Gentleman’s Ride and we’ve moto-paced local bicycle races with it. It was always sort of a joke but the thing just doesn’t die. Plus the lights and sirens still work which makes it extra fun riding around town.
And I got really into Euro Baggers a couple summers ago. As my “babymoon” to myself before my daughter was born (Alexandra’s now 1.5 years old, Zach is 4) I took a trip with a good friend up to Nova Scotia on old 80’s bikes loaded up with gear. The novelty has since worn off and I just sold the Moto Guzzi California II on eBay. The new owner in Australia promises to let me ride it whenever I make it out. Gotta love the connections motorcycling can make for you.
How did you hear about Babes Ride Out?
I’m sure it was through Instagram. Between Babes Ride Out and a few other women’s rides like it there seems to be a real movement bubbling up of more women riding, supporting each other, planning trips. We have the Missfires group here locally that I always point to as a great example – it’s cool to see more groups and rides coming together. It’s something we want to absolutely support however we can.
What makes you interested in supporting Babes Ride Out?
What’s not to love?! I recently became aware the specific statistic that 13% of motorcycle riders in the U.S. are women. That’s based on motorcycle registration figures, and the ratio goes up to 25% if you count women who ride as passengers too.
The more women riding, the better. Of course we’re selfishly motivated here too as we do sell and support quite a bit of women’s gear. In terms of proportion of jacket and glove options compared to men’s, we definitely stock more than 13% of the store with women’s gear. I know for some big companies the women’s category can be a loss leader. Seems more like a growth opportunity to me.
We have one customer Tracy Keeping who always comes to mind on this subject. She came on one of our early shop rides back in 2013 and we encouraged her to do it even though she was nervous about whether her new-to-her Honda Rebel 300 would make it. She came and had a blast and now she’s got a Yamaha Bolt and an FJ-09, and she’s planning a big Route 66 ride this summer. It’s cool we had a small part in encouraging and enabling her.
What do you love most about riding in your area?
The dirty little secret about riding in NYC is that it’s probably the worst place to have a motorcycle. Bikes get rained on, snowed on, pissed on, knocked over, towed and ticketed at a higher rate than maybe anywhere else in the country. That said, I always say it’s a testament to how great motorcycles are that so many people jump through the hoops to keep a bike in the city.
And motorcycles here definitely have their benefits. Lane-splitting is technically illegal in every state but California but I like to think of it as the British do—they call it “filtering”—which makes it seem so much more civilized, and legal. And parking is a cinch. Of course in the dead of summer nobody likes sweating through their jacket, but in spring and fall a motorcycle is hands down the most pleasant way to get around the city. Sure beats the subway.
I used to live in Southern California and it was great having so many beautiful roads and riding areas. But one thing I’ve come to love about New York is that it’s slow. That sounds weird, but from a gear/risk/liability perspective for everyday living, riding around NYC is a lower-stakes bet than riding around LA, where you might just be going to get lunch or commute to work, but that means you’re on the highway doing 70. In NYC the nominal speed limit is 25MPH, and everyone goes faster than that, but overall it’s a densely populated megalopolis that’s really easy to navigate by bike. And relative to public transportation or driving/parking, motorcycles are still loads faster, and more fun.
Any favorite rides to do upstate?
The usual escape route is to get up to Harriman State Park. It’s the best network of quality roads within easy striking distance and for that reason I’ve ridden it to death. The Delaware Water Gap and the Catskills areas also are usual suspects and worth getting out to. Lately I’ve been poking around New Jersey and Connecticut more just to find fresh roads. These days I ride about every day getting to the shop or running errands. The out-and-backs are fun but I got into this racket for taking longer trips and hopefully there are more coming for me soon – I’m due!