Tuesday, February 20

Miscellany--and Happy 100th!


I recently finished the first part of a two-part article, "The Case for Camping," in the February issues of Road Runner magazine. The next installment is due out in a couple of months. The author is informative, the article is well-crafted but it is also short-sighted--at best--because it is woefully lacking, so far, in any recognition of gender differences in camping needs and concerns. Thus, the article strikes me as one-sided and ill-conceived. I'll wait until the next issue before I write the piece off entirely. I think writers ought to be more inclusive in their "how-to" pieces. You'd think even one sentence on how camping needs might be different for women would be mentioned in the first installment. I'm talking one sentence! There's a Native American adage that encourages walking a mile in someone moccasins: translation, take another perspective, try to see things from a different angle. In my book, this is not difficult to accomplish. Just think about who comprises your audience. Doing so doesn't make you politically correct, which judging from some forums post some folks want to avoid as much as HIV. It makes you thoughtful, it shows that you are aware that an growing number of females ride and desire information too!
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Carla King's American Borders (book review pending) is interesting, entertaining and refreshingly thought-providing. Generally, I'd have a book like this finished in two days but I keep having to put the book down to make notes about issues the book has sparked in me. Saturday, the book fueled a book store hunt for travel narratives by and about women. I then became side-tracked reading those tales. I'll save my comments about American Borders for the review but what I admire about it thus far, is its ability to anticipate its readers well. In other words, the book does not assume that the world is made up of women just because the author is female. Consequently, the book has tremendous appeal to both males or females. The camping author could learn a thing or two from a writer like Carla. Travel, particularly if you are a lone female, raises some issues that are gender-specific. What I love about this book is Carla's ability to see with a wide angle lens that allows her to consistently avoid the kind of myopia of the camping article writer.
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I finally broke down and bought the boots of my choice. Last year, I purchased two pairs, one for street riding and one for touring. I ended up wearing both pairs a lot; together, they were cheaper than the one pair I just bought. This one pair, however, is a more all-purpose boot and I've rationalized why I need them. Motorcycling isn't cheap but Ive come to realize that it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive either. It's about choices, isn't it? This brings me to my desire for a "new" bike. I don't really need a new bike. I want a new bike. On most things in life, I am frugal and I now understand why people will spend irrationally on their passions. I will balk at the cost of women's clothes and shoes--because I don't fancy such things much. Not so with motorcycle-related clothes and toys. If it's our passion, it only has to make sense to us and our pocketbook. I plan to attend the BMW MOA rally this summer to test ride the F800 bikes and the R1200R. Seat-testing at the recent CycleWorld show went far to mollify my enthusiasm for these expensive two-wheelers. But the upcoming demo rides will be the final test. If I'm not "wowed" after the rides, I will stick with my sweet gal-pal. Period. After all, before all the bike specialization, bikes went where they were aimed. People do long distance riding on bikes far smaller than mine.
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Given that so much of my riding begins in a congested downtown area, traffic lights have always been a problem. I understand that there are signal trippers that resolve this issue. If anyone has experience with trippers, tell me what works and doesn't. Are they even legal in all states? It is frustrating to sit at a light at 5 a.m. waiting and waiting for it to change or for a car to come along and trigger the signal to turn green. I've tried moving the bike closer to the grove in the street where the sensors are buried and all the other tricks I've read about but nothing seems to work. Usually, I end up checking traffic and proceeding when it's safe to do so. I have major fears with regards to Chicago's finest and I don't believe for a minute that they will care one iota about my reasons for running a red light, especially if they are on ticket writing quota duty that day. So, I'm looking into these devices and would appreciate any feedback on which one really does the job.
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The weather here did a major turnaround on Monday. At 1:00 a.m. the temp was 13F. By 1:00 p.m. the temp was 43F ! Snow-covered streets turned to ankle deep pools of breezy water. Everywhere, sidewalks and streets reappeared. Although I didn't leave the house at all, I watched from my window as the ground showed through. The warm up is supposedly going to continue. I am ready to ride but know Chicago's weather tricks. Yet, I'm optimistic. I'm planning a first ride on March 10th.
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This blog, initially designed to keep family and friends abreast of my whereabouts while on the Lake Michigan Circle Tour, celebrates with today's "Miscellany" post its 100th entry. I've met a few new chums through this site and for that it has all been worth it. Thanks to all for ploughing through my ramblings, linking me to other sites, and for sending personal emails and posting public comments. For more ramblings, keep visiting. I appreciate you all.

1 comment:

Crusty Says: said...

Happy 100th Sharon! umm...Post that is!