November 16, 2012
One of the most fun things I do is ride my motorcycle. And when I can combine that with shopping, fashion, and/or partying with friends, I'm completely content. That's a picture of friends Paul and Audrey with us at the annual HOG (Harley Owners Group) rally last June in Williams, AZ. They and their friends really know how to pack -- wine, of course, but also a blender to make margaritas! They inspire me.
Motorcycles have been a part of my life since I got married. Tom and I used our wedding money to buy two road-and-dirt bikes (much to the dismay of our parents). Bikes remained a part of our lives until we moved to AZ in the mid-80s. The dry spell of "no bikes" lasted until the summer I turned 50. I was only going to be happy about that significant event if I was riding my own Harley. A mid-life crisis? For sure! Tom tried to circumvent that by bringing home a little Honda 250 which I rode around the neighborhood for a couple of weeks to get my skills back. Then off I went to Team AZ which offers a 3-day course in both classroom and riding know-how. At the end of the course, everyone takes a written test and a riding test, which, if passed, gives you the go-ahead to get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license. I figured I'd do well on the written test (I'm in education -- we know how to study), but I was leery about the riding portion. I was with a group of men who were obviously more experienced and I was feeling inadequate. Sometimes a little trepidation helps -- we were all surprised when I had the best score! I'd recommend this type of course to anyone starting out, and now they offer all-women classes, too.
This past Sunday offered a chance to combine riding with shopping and, of course, I was ready to go. Fountain Hills was having one of their semiannual art and craft fairs and the winding ride from our home through Rio Verde to the fair is one of my favorites.
You may notice this isn't a Dyna Low-Rider. This is a Harley Softail Deluxe and it was a birthday surprise several years ago from my dear hubby. Major husband points on this one! He rides a Harley Electra Glide, but wants to add a side car. Something like this, honey?
Sunday was sunny but cold (cold by our desert standards -- highs only in the 60s) so I needed to add several layers for riding comfort.
Leather chaps add a much-needed layer of protection against the elements and also protection against road-rash when you go down. Notice I said "when" and not "if" you go down -- it will happen at some point if you ride and you need to be wearing as much leather as possible, the appropriate riding boots, and a DOT-approved helmet. We're in a state that doesn't mandate helmets, but most of our "gang" routinely wear them. We've had two accidents in the last couple of years within our group that were single vehicle accidents at low speeds, and both gentlemen might have died had they been without their helmets. Enough said.
Fountain Hills is famous for their water fountain in the man-made lake which provided a nice backdrop to the fair. Shopping and eating was on our agenda so after the first stop to re-fuel (gourmet baked potato with assorted sea salts - chipotle, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary garlic - for me), we made our way through the vendors.
Thomas Tucker (anythingfoundjewelry.com) designed the beautiful orange spiny oyster and sterling silver bracelet I'm trying on -- he really does a fabulous job of handcrafting silver jewelry using shells, beach pebbles, sea glass, and other found objects.
Okay, now to the really important part of riding; the fashion possibilities. Most Harley riders favor black leather and blue denim, but there is room for experimentation. I prefer to wear all-things Harley and, if possible, items that coordinate with my bike. I'm such a girl! The guys did have to get used to my white leather jacket (I think my brother still hates it), but it really looks good with the bike. This Sunday I went with all black Harley leathers with just a touch of bling on the jacket and matching chaps, and a black, grey and white T with letterman-style matching hoodie. The necklace, earrings, and bracelet are all HD. I'm HD even down to the white and black warm socks under my HD boots and the grey and black zebra-striped scarf. I always have a cowboy hat (from Diva Amy who's become a friend -- check out her website "teamdiva.com") along for the ride, stowed in my saddlebags, which is handy to cover up the helmet hair. The black and white sunglasses are Chanel and the white watch is a ceramic Michael Kors -- but aren't they a good match to the bike??
Perhaps the best thing about riding is that is gives me the chance to connect with my siblings (we all ride) and especially with my older brother, who also lives in the Valley of the Sun. We meet for coffee in Cave Creek most Saturdays, and sometimes we're lucky enough to have the kids and grandkids join us.
Wave if you pass by, and keep the rubber side down!