Meet Trudy

by Liz Jansen



Photo: Lorraine Sommerfeld

In all my years of riding, through a litany of motorcycles, I’ve never named one. My Triumph Tiger is different. She needed a name. Even then, it’s taken almost a year to find the right one.

After deliberating and trying on appellations for months, none of them befitting, Trudy popped into my head, coincidentally right around the time of my birthday.

Before committing to it however, I had to research its meaning. Consider the following:

  • Some sources cite the name as having Germanic roots and others tie it being British in origin. It’s likely a short form of ‘Gertrude’.[1] It’s a perfect reflection of me and my motorcycle; I have Germanic roots; The Triumph is British.
  • Another resource quoted the meaning of Trudy as ‘spear of strength’ or sometimes ‘universal strength’.[2] Variations include Trudi and Trudie and is seen as innocent, sincere, and bright-eyed if not a bit outdated. I’d like to replace “innocent” with “curious”, a quality I admire. As far as the rest, she does have bright lights but is very much current.
  • Adored warrior.[3] I like that!
  • “People with this name have a deep inner desire to create and express themselves, often in public speaking, acting, writing or singing. They also yearn to have beauty around them in their home and work environment.”[4] Sounds like a perfect match!
  • “People with this name are excellent at analyzing, understanding, and learning. They tend to be mystics, philosophers, scholars, and teachers. Because they live so much in the mind, they tend to be quiet and introspective, and are usually introverts. When presented with issues, they will see the larger picture. Their solitary thoughtfulness and analysis of people and world events may make them seem aloof, and sometimes even melancholy.”[5] Well, the first half fits. From an inner knowing corroborated by Myers Briggs, I’m balanced between introversion and extroversion. I excel at seeing the larger picture and patterns, but I can’t ever recall being melancholy.
  • Saint Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer.[6] I’m no nun but my work draws heavily on the spirituality of motorcycling.

Meet Trudy!

It’s occurred to me I’m drawn to names beginning with ‘Tr’—Trillium, Triumph, Trudy. That’s a mystery I’ll accept without questioning. Trudy and I have many miles of open road ahead of us. There’s no point in getting bogged down in trivia.

Have you named your motorcycle?  If so, what’s the story behind the name?

(Note: I adore my Aunt Gertie, but that I’ve named my motorcycle Trudy is pure fate.)

Posted in Life Lessons from Motorcycles

7 Checks to Make Sure You’re Ready to Ride

by Liz Jansen

Ready to RideMore than half the riders killed on Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) patrolled roads in 2015 died through no fault of their own. It’s a staggering number and one we can change.

We can’t control the actions of others with whom we share the road. However, we can do everything in our power to make sure we’re alert, skilled, visible, and in control of our motorcycles.

Previous posts covered making sure your motorcycle and your gear are ready for the ride. Here we’ll look at the self-check—making sure YOU are ready to ride.

Do an honest self-assessment before each ride, considering:

  1. Intuition. What is it telling you about the ride you’re about to embark on and the others you’ll be riding with? Listen and follow its guidance.
  2. Skills. Do you have the skills for where you’re headed? If you’re not comfortable riding on freeways, heavy traffic times are not the times to learn. Wait until there are fewer cars on the road before venturing out. Skills take time and practice to develop so they become automatic. New riders may have all the confidence in the world, but they’re not ready to take on the Tail of the Dragon until they’ve accumulated experience.
  3. Emotional state. A motorcycle ride to cool down from a blow up with your partner is foolish. Careers, finances, family issues, and relationships can all create stress, which in turn can affect our ability to stay focused on the ride. Settle down before heading out. Even then, find a quiet place to stop, reflect, and think things through. Often times if we get out and clear our heads, ideas and perspectives fall into place as if by magic.
  4. Physical state. Don’t ride if you’re not feeling well. Headaches, colds, or digestive upsets are miserable and take energy and focus away from where it’s needed—managing the ride.
  5. Impairment. There’s no room for dulled senses or diminished processing while operating a motorcycle. While a low blood alcohol count may be within legal limits, I would not get on a motorcycle with any alcohol in my blood. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), 46 percent of riders killed in accidents have alcohol in their system at the time of their death. Fatigue, non-prescription, and prescription drugs can all impair your senses.
  6. Distractions. Although many riders appreciate the convenience and ease of chatting with their passenger or others in their group, or listening to music while riding, those are all distractions. There are enough inputs for me to process—drivers, road signs, traffic signals, road conditions, pedestrians, animals, and any warning signs I’m receiving from my motorcycle or body—without adding more. If you choose to use them, plan how you’re going to manage volume, frequency of use, and interruptions.
  7. Peer Pressure. While motorcycling can be a solitary pursuit, it’s also very social. It’s fun to ride with friends but don’t be pressured into riding beyond your skills to keep up with them. Also, if you don’t trust others in the group to ride safely, stay back. Always ride your own ride. Agree on a destination and meet them there. Everyone’s safer.

Ride Safe. Ride Aware. Ride Again.

photo credit: Mae Hong Son Loop via photopin (license)

Posted in Life Lessons from Motorcycles Tagged with:

8 Steps to Get Your Motorcycle Gear Ready for Spring

by Liz Jansen

Motorcycle gearIf you’re like me, I squeeze as much season as possible out of autumn and by the time I’m stopped, daylight is short and the temperatures quite chilly. I’m pretty good at winterizing my motorcycle; less so at making sure gear is cleaned before it’s put away.

When spring arrives, we want to get out there riding. But it’s important to give our gear a good examination before we do. We only intend to look good in it, never to test it, but if it’s called into use, we want to be confident that it will protect us.

Follow these steps to make sure your motorcycle gear is ready for the season:

  1. Make sure it still fits properly. A phenomenon that happens in my closet is that gear has a tendency to shrink over the winter. Gear should be snug but you’ve got to be able to breathe and move freely, from head to toe. Read 10 Functions to Look for in Motorcycle Jackets and 10 Functions to Look for in Motorcycle Pants.
  2. Examine it for damage. Ideally, if gear is stored properly, nothing will have nested or damaged it during winter storage. Check also for worn areas, frayed seams, or rips in the fabric. Examine both exterior and interior, especially the pockets which hold protective armor.
  3. Replace faded pieces. Fading is caused by ultraviolet damage. It also degrades the integrity of the surface, reducing its protective properties. The greater the fading, the greater the degradation.
  4. Clean it. Gear gets dirty from bugs, grime, and sweat. Periodically give it a deep cleaning by immersing it in soap and water. Read How to Wash Textile Riding Gear
  5. Treat leather apparel. Get out your favorite waterproofing product and slather some on to keep it supple and durable.
  6. Examine your helmet. Replace scratched visors, check for signs of damage, and check the date stamp. Most manufacturers recommend replacing it every five years. Production dates are noted on the helmet, either on a sticker under the liner, or stamped onto the strap. Read why here.
  7. Prepare for layering. Spring temperatures and weather conditions are unpredictable and it’s wise to prepare for fluctuating conditions. A beautiful sunny day can cool off quickly and you want to be ready.
  8. Check the battery on remote heated gear controllers. Electrics extend the season on both ends, but if the battery goes dead, it’s only as good as it’s insulation properties. Don’t get caught short. Also carry extra fuses.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure your gear is in peak shape for the season. You’ll not only look fabulous, but you’ll be protected as well.

Related Post: 10 Steps for a Spring Motorcycle Checkup

photo credit: Tulip Time via photopin (license)

Posted in Motorcycle Tips Tagged with: ,

Spring Renewal

by Liz Jansen
Spring has been late arriving here in Ontario so a road trip south to warmer temps was a welcome break from the unseasonal cold we’ve been experiencing.
Aside from loose planning, there’s no point getting bogged down in details. That only closes the door to the wonderful serendipity that happens when we’re on the road. I belong to Moto-Stays, a moto-home-sharing site—which is how I came to meet Elsie Smith in York, PA.
spring renewal
It was approximately the half-way point to Appomattox, Virginia, and the Horizons Unlimited event I was attending. There I met a kindred spirit and new friend, and spent a lovely evening sharing stories. It’s a great way to travel – so check it out and see if there are others participating along your route.
Although the weather wasn’t optimal, rain didn’t deter those in attendance at the Virginia gathering, including many new to adventure travel. A diverse gathering of people and motorcycles from eclectic to exclusive, sharing a love of travel and a zest for life. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
The most astounding feat was recounted by Dylan Samara Wickrama– an incredible round-the-world adventurer who upon arriving at the Darien Gap, constructed a raft powered by his motorcycle to take him from Panama to Columbia. One might think a two-hour evening presentation would get weary, but everyone in the audience hung on to every word in rapt attention. Seemingly insurmountable obstacles kept materializing but so did miracles—like having dolphins come to your rescue when you’re being carried off shore by ocean currents. Watch the trailer.
This year Horizons Unlimited will host 22 similar events around the world, including one in Ontario June 9-12. It makes a great destination and you always leave enriched for having been there.

Photo Credit Horizons Unlimited

Then it was time to enjoy the spring time riding through the Blue Ridge, Appalachian, and Allegheny mountains. Mother Nature was at her glorious best with everything bursting to life. Twisty roads wound beside streams tumbling over rocks as they made their way to the ocean, the chorus of birds was easily audible through my helmet, a profusion of green was everywhere, and the heady fragrance of blossoms permeated the air. I couldn’t help but feel the energy and connection!
At the end of April, the weather is pleasant and there’s hardly any traffic, especially during the week. The further up into the mountains you go, the twistier the roads, and the more you have them to yourself.
Watch for the full story to be published in print, including some of the interesting characters I met.
Wishing you health, happiness, abundance, laughter, and adventures. Safe travels, wherever your Road leads.
Posted in Adventure, Travel Tagged with: , , ,

Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride

by Liz Jansen

I recently sat down with Alisa Clickenger for a conversation about the epic cross-country Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride she’s organized for this summer. A summary of the conversation follows. You can hear the whole interview by downloading the audio MP3. Alisa will be hosting Q&A Conference calls on May 4 and 5. See the website for more details.

Alisa-in-Namibia-October-2014Alisa describes herself as a moto traveler and motorcycle journalist. She credits motorcycling with completely transforming her from a shy housewife into a bold adventuress who has ridden over a goodly part of the world. Solo.

She once led motorcycle tours for a large company and now runs her own motorcycle touring company – Women’s Motorcycle Tours – focusing on motorcycle tours for women. For 15 years, she helped Kawasaki with demo rides and is now part of the team that leads them for BMW.

She’s giving back to the motorcycle community not only by being a responsible motorcycle rider but also by empowering others to ride their own dreams, as she has.

What is the Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride?

SistersCentennialMotorcycleRideLogoIt’s a cross-country motorcycle ride for women, starting in Brooklyn on July 3 and spend three weeks crossing the country, following for the most part the route taken by Adeline and Augusta Van Buren 100 years ago, and end up in San Francisco on July 23.

Who were the Van Buren sisters?

They were two sisters who grew up in NY in the early 1900’s and were the first women to ride their own motorcycles across the United States. They were part of the preparedness movement (preparing United States for their inevitable involvement in WWI) and did the ride partly to prove to the US government that women could help in the war effort as dispatch riders.

This was one of their many accomplishments. They were also suffragettes who helped get the vote for women. Adeline went on to get a law degree at a time when women didn’t practice law. And Augusta went on to join the Ninety-Nines—the International Organization of Women Pilots established in 1929 by 99 women pilots, with Amelia Erhart as their first president.

Adeline Van Buren

Adeline Van Buren

Gutsy ladies, and they’re such an inspiration for me.

Were the sisters already motorcycle riders?

Motorcycles had a different role in society than they do now. Cars weren’t that popular yet because they were still very expensive to manufacture. In 1916, if you were a family of means, you had a motorized bicycle. It was a very popular form of transportation.

As Adeline and August prepared for their cross-country trip, they took longer and longer journeys.

How did they think they were going to get across the country on uncomfortable and unreliable motorcycles?

The Indian Power Plus motorcycles they rode were the most reliable in the day. There was a precedent the year before with Avis and Effie Hotchkiss, the mother daughter duo who rode across the country and back in a Harley-Davidson sidecar.

There was a whole wave at the time of exploring across the country because of the advent of the motorcycle and car.

Who maintained their bikes along the way?

They went to the Indian Factory and learned from the factory how to work on the bikes. Learning the mechanics was just the beginning. The most incredible thing in my mind, Adeline and Augusta were 5’2” and 100lb, riding these 1000cc motorcycles across the country with a stock seat height of 32” inches. Starting, stopping, pushing them through mud was a monumental achievement; traveling across the country on farm roads that weren’t paved.

What inspired you to organize the Sisters Centennial ride?

AugustaPortrait RevA

Augusta Van Buren

I have a lot of women who come up to me and say they wish they could do what Ido. And I kept hearing a lot of women say they’d like to ride across the United States. That was one of my dreams a decade ago.

I’ve been yakking to my friends about leading a group of women who thought they couldn’t ride across the United States, across the United States. A couple of years ago, I bumped into the story of the Van Buren sisters again and a light went on. 2016 was approaching, the centennial of the Van Buren sisters ride—the perfect time to do it.

Listen to the audio to hear how the ride grew from 10 to 100 women.

Is it just for women?

No. We have a number of men already registered who are riding with their partners. We’re focused on a nice balance of riding, smelling the roses, feeling what it’s like to ride day after day across the country and experiencing small town America. Riders are going to be awed by how differently things run in small towns like McCook, NB.

What are some of the points of interest you’re stopping at?

Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride is in Ohio at the same time as the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. The Van Buren sisters were inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame (HOF) in 2002. Now that we’re spending an extra day in Ohio, we’ll have a reception at the AMA HOF on Fri. evening. Saturday evening we get to attend the vintage races and we get to do a victory lap on the mid-Ohio race track!

We’re stopping at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. I really believe in supporting the history of motorcycling and the people who have come before us. The only place that stuff is preserved is in these museums. National Motorcycle Museum also has a large collection of women in motorcycling.

ClassicThen there’s Pike’s Peak. Adeline and August van Buren were the first women to ride over the 14,115’ summit. We’ll summit and have a group photo at the top, come down and celebrate.

See website for a full list.

What other ways can you join the ride?

Folks can sign up as a self-guided ride and join in a variety of spots along the way. You can join in Colorado Springs for the Pikes Peak with us and ride to San Francisco (10 days). If you only have a day or two and meet us at one of the community events that’s on the website. We’re about to launch a day-rider option so folks can still come with us for a day or two.

We’ve organized a fabulous agenda for the AMA Vintage Days weekend and there are different ways to join up for one night or both.

Listen to the audio to hear about the grand finale across the Golden Gate bridge in SF.

Tell us about the charities you’re supporting.

We’re supporting Final Salute—a non-profit that helps homeless female veterans. The Van Buren sisters’ ride was all about women entering the military. Fast forward a hundred years and women are able to serve in the military but they aren’t supported when they return home. This organization helps homeless female veterans get back on their feet.

The Womens Coalition of Motorcyclists have a train the trainer fund that trains women to train more female motorcyclists so we’re supporting them equally.


BMW Motorrad is the title sponsor. We’re thrilled to have such a premium sponsor for the event. They’re great machines, always on the leading edge and they’ve really started paying attention to women’s riding needs. There’s a BMW for everyone.

Note: BMW Motorrad has Ladies only Demo Days at 3 locations in Canada – in BC, Ontario and Quebec. Learn more.

Find out more at Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride.

Photos courtesy of the Van Buren Family.





Posted in Adventure

10 Steps for a Spring Motorcycle Checkup

by Liz Jansen

Updated for Spring 2016

spring motorcycle checkup

After having your motorcycle in hibernation for the winter, getting out for that first ride is one of the most anticipated rites of spring. But before you do, there are three things to do:

  • Check your motorcycle
  • Check your gear
  • Check your readiness to ride

They’re important rituals before any ride but especially at the beginning of the season.

This article will cover how to check your motorcycle before that first ride. Even if you were meticulous in winterizing it, corrosion, condensation, and critters may have caused damage while it was stored. A thorough and methodical check can alert you to areas that need attention and reassure you that it’s safe to ride.

Always refer to your owner’s manual for guidance for your own specific motorcycle.

Check Your Motorcycle in 10 Steps

  1. Tire condition. Check for tread depth, flat spots, embedded objects, bulges, damage, and cracks. They should be OK if you followed our winterizing instructions – however, it’s always good to make sure. Keeping your tires in good condition is one of the most important, and easiest, checks you can make to keep yourself safe. Read Motorcycle Tire Guide 101 from RevZilla
  2. Tire pressure. Check both tires when they’re cold and make sure they’re at the setting recommended by your motorcycle manufacturer. Tires can lose air pressure with time, especially in cold weather.
  3. Fluids. Check for any leaks before and after you’ve started it for the first time. Make sure your brake fluid is within spec, both in terms of quantity and age. It needs to be replaced periodically; fluid that is dark amber is likely due for a change. Do a full circle check, inspecting hoses, cables, and fluid levels.
  4. Oil and oil filter. Change your oil and filter unless it was done in the fall.
  5. Battery and wiring. If you’ve kept your battery on a trickle charger, it should have maintained its integrity. Examine it and make sure it is fully charged and topped up, depending on the type of battery you have. Make sure the strap that holds it in place is secure. Check the terminals and leads to make sure they’re secure and free of corrosion. Check the wiring for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Make sure all the lights and turn indicators are working.
  6. Tool kit. Make sure the tools in your bike’s kit are clean, and free of rust. Double check to make sure everything is still there and replenish if necessary. You may want to add a few small frequently used items that aren’t in your kit, such as an air pressure gauge.
  7. Drive chain and sprockets. Make sure the chain is clean and well lubricated. Check the sprockets for wear and before you take it out for the first time, make sure the chain tension is set to your manufacturer’s specifications.  How to Maintain Your Motorcycle’s Chain and Sprockets from BikeBandit
  8. Air filter. If you plugged your air filter to prevent critters from nesting, make sure to unplug it now. If you didn’t, check for evidence that it’s been used as a winter residence. One season mine was full of sunflower seed shells. Also remove any plugs from your exhaust pipes.
  9. Fuel intake. If your bike is carbureted, make sure the gas supply is turned on.
  10. Brake pads. Look at each set of brake pads on your bike to confirm there’s still lots of wear left. Often brake pads have wear bars on them just as tires do. Change them now if necessary.

Even if your bike didn’t rust over the winter, to varying degrees, your skills will have.  Ease back to riding gently and safely. You want to enjoy a full riding season. We’ll cover how to check your gear and your readiness to ride in subsequent posts.

photo credit: Field of Light via photopin (license)

Posted in Motorcycle Tips Tagged with: ,

An Open Road

by Liz Jansen

open road

Life changed on August 27, 2014. That day began more than 18 months of stillness, reflection, and learning. I knew the Liz that was a confident, free-spirited, 60-year-old professional woman riding her motorcycle solo across the country. I didn’t recognize the Liz with limited mobility, having to ask for help and rely on others, let alone knowing how to live like that. Unless of course it was motorcycle related. Then asking for advice was not an issue.

That crash on an isolated country road in Alberta was traumatic, but it was merely a catalyst. As I stood there brushing the dust off my riding suit with the one arm that could move, surveying the mutilated remains of a beautiful and trusted motorcycle, I felt only curiosity and a deep knowing that my route had changed. And gratitude that I wasn’t more seriously injured. Shock kept me from feeling physical pain, but aside from that, there was not, and has never been, anger, remorse, or sadness.

So began a series of events that dragged me through foreign territory. Through circumstances beyond my control, I surrendered my independence, mobility, plan for an open-ended 18 months on the road, and my motorcycle. I was relegated back to the starting point with no home, no car, and very little work.

In a stroke of divine timing, I’d begun my studies in Energy Medicine the previous summer on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest, drawn to it because of its simplicity, logic, and keen ability to get to the root cause of personal challenges. In a healing practice that combines ancient wisdom with modern science, it addresses the root cause of physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma.

The practice complemented the coaching, facilitation, and teaching work—and even the writing—I was already doing and brought me full circle to the healing work I’d begun as a Registered Nurse in 1974. Not only were the teachings the exact tools I needed for personal healing, but they fit seamlessly into my motorcycle inspired work, applicable to any aspect of life.

Contrary to what many thought, the goal of my big trip wasn’t to ride through the Americas. That was a wonderful side benefit but the motorcycle is my teacher, not my raison d’étre. It appeared in my life when I was 16 and has been my greatest teacher ever since. With pure delight, I am riding again, on an aptly named Triumph Tiger—Triumph to symbolize overcoming challenges and Tiger the wild spirit in each of us.

I’d set out to understand who we are before we’re shaped by our culture; to understand my ancestors and their migrations, and how their thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs formed my values and perspective.

On that August day, the roles I identified with had been removed in a dramatic, definite, and unexpected way. Now it was up to me to discover the person under all the layers. And it was traditional ancient wisdom conveyed through my energy medicine studies that guided me through a treacherous stretch of road—a practice that I now weave into my work and share with others.

Make no mistake. The intervening time has been rife with challenges. It’s also been personally enriching and continues to unfold in a way I couldn’t have dreamt possible. Ahead lies a blank page, an open road, and uncharted territory. Now it’s up to me to heal the past, live in the present, and create my future.

Care to join me?

Let me know how you see your open road. Email Liz.

photo credit: Peak to Peak Highway via photopin (license)

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Posted in Adventure, Personal Growth Tagged with: , , ,

Pushing Off

by Liz Jansen

pushing offIn my dream, the bow of the canoe rested up on the bank of the waterway while the stern floated in water already deep a few feet from shore. I climbed into the bow, kneeling. My niece and nephew, both in their 20’s, climbed in behind me, Andrea in the middle, Fraser manning the stern.

Ordinarily this would be no easy feat because they had to cross water to do so, but this was dreamtime where anything can happen. Nonetheless, it was a precarious maneuver and we all understood the importance of staying balanced. As I used my paddle to push off, I braced with my knees, closing my eyes and focusing inward to stay calm and centered. The canoe broke free of the land, slid back into placid water, rocking back and forth gently before stabilizing. I exhaled, and we were off.

Dreams are always symbolic, not literal, and although I’m no expert in their interpretation, there were clear messages.

What immediately came to mind is it’s time to push off. I’ve been on shore long enough. While that may sound like a relief, it’s accompanied by fear, depicted in my dream by holding my breath over fear of tipping.

In the past two years I’ve had a few major upsets when I’ve pushed off. Shortly after setting out for an epic journey (little did I know how epic), my crash and severe shoulder injury was the first. Seven months later in early spring, when I thought it was time to get moving, I slipped while walking and broke my ankle. Recovering from that, a stubborn physical condition took me down. My hesitancy to push off is understandable.

Even since the dream comes news doctors had expected greater progress following hardware removal from my shoulder in January. I was doing my home exercises diligently but therapy was not effective. Following my intuition, I’ve switched to a new physiotherapist who’s administering intensive treatment three times a week. The other two days, I’m seeing other, complementary practitioners. Plus home exercise three times every day. It requires a lot of time and energy, but regaining as much mobility as possible is a priority. If I don’t get movement back now, it’s not likely to happen. Still, it’s a struggle to defer work activities. Again.

Fortunately, along with the trepidation of pushing off, the dream offers guidance, support, and reassurance.

There’s a reminder to balance masculine and feminine energies, the creative and the receptive. One completes the other and nothing comes to life without the involvement of both. I can’t go full out without allowing time for stillness. There can’t be all action without periods of rest. Body, mind, and spirit need nurturing so they stay strong, healthy, and vibrant.

The third message reminds me that support is available when needed. Without Andrea and Fraser, I could not have pushed off, let alone navigated down the river. Somehow I knew they were there just when I needed them, I had only to invite them to join me. And they’re kin. Special kin. My writing and research into the role of culture has uncovered strengths and shadows in my bloodline that I hadn’t appreciated, yet they’ve shaped me. These two wonderful beings are a reminder that there is no power greater than blood.

Fourthly, there’s advice on allowing myself to be guided, trusting my intuition, and staying in the flow. In a canoe, the stern paddler does most of the steering. The bowman provides power, sets the pace, and watches for obstacles. Both have to work together to navigate the waterway successfully. There’s also a powerful symbolism in moving downstream rather than creating unnecessary resistance by going against the flow, against one’s inner guidance.

Lastly, there cannot be a metaphor without including the motorcycle. There are similarities between the modes of conveyance. Both a motorcycle and a canoe require balance to stay upright. Both have limited room for cargo, and although you can pile extra stuff on, it takes more energy to stay balanced. Both handle better when you travel lightly, carrying only what you need.

It’s time to push off. How that unfolds remains to be seen, but it won’t even begin without that push.

photo credit: Basingstoke Canal Claycart-Eelmoor 10 January 2016 005 via photopin (license)

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Posted in Personal Growth

The Best Laid Plans

by Liz Jansen

It sounded like a noble and doable plan: take four months during the winter, off-riding season and write the first draft of Crash Landing, my next book. At least get a good start at it. It began well but as I’m learning, from its inception, this project has had a timeline all its own.

best laid plansThe focus in November and December was on research but things took some unexpected turns in January. Surgery, to remove hardware installed after my crash to rebuild and stabilize my shoulder, was postponed for two weeks because of a flood in the OR. Right on the heels of a rough post-op week, my almost 90-year-old father fell and broke his hip. My parents live almost two hours away but I’d made the trek that day to take my also-almost-90 year old mother bra shopping. She lives with dementia and he is her primary caregiver. Shopping got shelved and the world changed.

Early on in her cognitive impairment, she hung a sign in their apartment that reads, “We may not have it all together but together we have it all.” My father’s fall set in motion a whirlwind that saw his hip replaced and mom placed in long-term care. The loss of independence and mobility, setbacks, and separation have been very difficult for them—and the whole family—at a time when they need each other the most.

It’s easy to view this as an interruption in plans, but a second look offers a different perspective. Crash Landing explores the role my culture and ancestry has played in shaping who I am and how I respond to life. The latest events have brought with them new learning.

Out of necessity, both parents have been independent and since childhood, worked to contribute to meager family coffers. They’ve weathered life’s storms with aplomb, but immobility and dementia have taken them to new territory. Their responses, fueled by the same thoughts and beliefs they passed on to me, have opened a window to seeing them with new eyes. Furthermore, this time has been an opportunity to reconnect with extended family on both sides, gather new stories and rekindle a sense of community I thought was lost. As much as I wouldn’t have planned this, it’s provided invaluable insights.

I feel like I’m back at the starting point—where I thought I was when I set out on August 4, 2014 on my motorcycle. Technically and motorcycle wise, I was well prepared for the trip, but from a grasp of what I was about to undertake spiritually, I was nowhere near ready.

Now there’s a whole new arsenal under my belt. A new understanding of where I came from. So although not a lot of words have landed on paper in the last three months, it’s part of the grand project after all.

When I left on my ‘big trip’, I vowed to be open to what the road delivered. Little did I know where it would take me or the challenges it would deliver—things I didn’t learn in school. I may not have moved very far down the road geographically, but the journey has taken me through completely new terrain, all the while furthering the quest I thought I had to go to South America to satisfy.

I still don’t know where the road will take me but I’m open to it, knowing that Spirit’s plan and my well-intentioned plan may have two different maps. The adventure doesn’t get much more exciting than that.

photo credit: Map-Mother Road Museum-Route 66-Main Street-America-Diagonal Highway-Will Rogers Highway-Barstow-California-Golden State-San Bernardino-HMG via photopin (license)

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Posted in Adventure, Personal Power

She Rides Ontario!

by Liz Jansen 

The material on this page was included in She Rides Ontario, presented at the Toronto Motorcycle Show She Rides Evening. It highlights Ontario’s riding opportunities, resources for route planning, maps, and touring ideas, and events for women riders. It’s by no means an all inclusive list, merely a primer to inspire ideas and further research.

Articles mentioned in Presentation:

Ride Planning:


BMW Ladies Only Test Rides

Check out to review the full BMW motorcycle line up. For further information and to book your test ride, please email Jenn Martin or call her directly @ 705-725-4252.

She Rides Ontario








Clare’s Harley-Davidson Garage Party & Boot Camp








Barrie Harley-Davidson Garage Party


Posted in Adventure, Travel Tagged with: , ,

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