Going Down Stairs

by Liz Jansen

going down stairs

In my dream, I was going down stairs from the upper to ground level in an open concept home. Wooden beams supported the peaked ceiling and the entire wall, from peak to ground was glass, allowing the light to stream in. I stood at the top, looking down into space. This was not the typical staircase—with steps. It was like the bleachers in a gymnasium when they’re all tucked away and I was standing at the top, knowing I had to get down.

From somewhere, a voice encouraged me to take the step; that all would be well. Trust was barely a thread stronger than terror as I falteringly stepped forward into the abyss with my right foot. As if by magic, the step appeared below me, but only the next one. Each step was just as hard, required the same step of faith, and appeared when I needed it. But I had to take the step first.

No one could have prepared me for how life altering the past year has been. The physical crash was merely the catalyst. At first I assumed I’d take 6-8 months to recover, get a new bike and be on my way again. I even called it a detour.

I’ve come to realize it’s no detour. It’s just not what I planned. This is the Road I’m supposed to be on with lessons I need to learn. Like letting go of old ways that once worked but now need to make way for the new. Or releasing (perceived) control of the outcome. Patience. Waiting. Listening. Learning to ask for help. Engaging with the power and strength of community.

Just looking at that list still creates anxiety.

In the ‘old days’ I’d set a goal and then make sure I accomplished it. That learned behavior makes for great results but it takes its toll physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Now I see there are easier, more scenic roads that will take me to my destination with a lot less angst, and more peace of heart and mind.

The Wheels to Wisdom via Ancient Spirituality Quest I set out on more than a year ago is still very much alive. The route I’ve taken looks very different than the one I planned. What I’d hoped to learn by traveling the Americas I’ve started to learn from home. How it’s transpired is just very different.

Perhaps going down the ‘stairs’ in my dream is indicative of the need to travel deeper into my unconscious and discover what’s there. To listen to my internal guidance system.

This weekend I’ll head out for 5-6 weeks, combining motorcycle travel and Energy Medicine Courses. The first half of October will be in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York. Then it’s back home for a day before heading out to Joshua Tree, California. I’ve done a bit of traveling since getting my bike in July, but there’s a lot of pent up desire to get out on the open road so I’m excited about it. For many reasons.

I still don’t know where the Road is leading although I sense the general direction, subject to change of course. My job is to keep moving forward, even if the action called for at the time is non-action. My mission is to take one step at a time, knowing it’s leading me in the right direction.

I’d love to hear from you. Comment below. Or follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I help you see that by mastering motorcycling, you can master anything!

photo credit: Going down? (Azrieli Tower’s staircases) via photopin (license)

Posted in Leadership, Liz's Stories, Personal Growth Tagged with: , ,

Motorcycle News You Can Use | Sept 26 to Oct 2

by Liz Jansen


This weekend I’m leaving for 5-6 weeks on the road. While I won’t be riding the entire time, I’m putting on significant mileage. Top 10 Tools to Take Touring was an excellent reminder, especially since I’m getting used to organizing/packing on a different bike.

One of the most common fears of riders, especially women, is that they need to have both feet flat on the ground. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s actually destabilizing—and can significantly limit your choice of bike. 5 Tips for Short Riders Handling Tall and Big Motorcycles dispels that myth and shows you how to safely manage a tall (for you) bike.

My warning labels peeled right off after leaving my bike in the hot sun, but they can be pesky to remove. How to Remove Factory Warning Stickers shows you how.

Any rider knows why it’s important to Practice Patience, especially since we have to do it more often than car drivers.

Ohio’s Windy 9 offers excellent ideas for autumn riding. Ride them before the snow flies!


5 Tips for Short Riders Handling Tall and Big Motorcycles

Tricia Szulewski, Women Riders Now

“As a woman who is 5 foot 7 inches tall, I realize I am at an advantage when it comes to fitting most motorcycles. That said, I have ridden plenty of motorcycles where I can only reach the ground on tiptoes. I’ve only tipped a bike over once learning valuable lessons in the process that I’m about to share to with you.

How to Remove Factory Warning Stickers from Your Motorcycle | MC Garage Video


“It’s a shame that after some designer has perfected the look of a motorcycle some lawyer types insist on splashing the machine with warning labels. Thankfully those warning labels are fairly easy to remove, especially if you attend to them while the bike is new. In this video from the MC Garage, we’ll show you how to quickly and easily remove factory applied warning labels and decals. You’ll improve your bike’s appearance and provide some solace to motorcycle designers everywhere.”

The Top 10 Tools to Take Touring

Evans Brasfield, Motorcycle dot com

“When setting out for a tour, be it extended or just a weekend jaunt, you need to plan for any hurdles you may encounter on the way. The best strategy to increase your odds of being able to continue your ride after a mishap or mechanical issue is to carry a tool kit that includes more than just the basics. While your bike probably came with a factory kit, you’d be foolish to count on it to serve as anything more than a paperweight. Read on to see what tools I think you should carry – at a bare minimum – on your next tour.”

Top Priority: Practice Patience When Riding Your Motorcycle

Nick Inetsch, Cycle World

“With this latest Ride Craft, I’m not trying to teach you a physical technique that can be mastered with correct practice. Rather, I seek to drive home this simple but important message: Don’t push time. This applies to all riders but particularly to riders who are always in a rush. You know who you are.”

Ohio’s Windy 9: The Passport to THE Authentic Ohio Riding Experience

Staff, The Motorcycle Mag

“Ohio’s Windy 9 is the best scenic view of Southern Ohio and is truly the best 1,000 miles for riding. From a leisurely cruise along the Ohio River, to the roller coaster effect of State Route 555 (aka The Triple Nickle), the Windy 9 is the passport to THE authentic Ohio riding experience! And there are several things riders can experience during a break from their ride – from great eateries, bars and wineries to exploring the great outdoors on hiking trails – and places to stay.

There are nine different routes a part of the Windy 9.”

I’d love to hear from you. What were your favorite articles of the week? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I help you see that by mastering motorcycling, you can master anything!

photo credit: Santa Ana – Uruguai via photopin (license)

Posted in Motorcycle Tips Tagged with: , , ,

Learning to Fly

by Liz Jansen

learning to fly

Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Learning to Fly (lyrics and video below) picks up with me on my motorcycle, heading down an Alberta back road last year, starting out for ‘God knows where’. I think of my hospital room overlooking the city of Calgary and the Rocky Mountains, and how everything changed.

“Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still”

It describes the unexpected cycles that have transpired since then—cycles of starting out, learning, soaring, coming down—in a world that perpetually looks different.

The song actually took over the room the year before during my first Four Winds Energy Medicine course. You can’t sit still in your chair while this is playing and soon students were dancing around the open space surrounding the chairs, ‘learning to fly’.

That introductory class was focused on learning to recognize and shed constraining beliefs and emotional drama passed down through generations, and to develop new relationships with self and others—much like a snake sheds its skin as it grows. Learning to Fly in that context was about learning to let go and create a new blueprint.

First recorded in 1991, the meaning of Learning to Fly’s lyrics has been the topic of much discussion, often based on psychedelic drugs. No psychotropics were involved in either of these events.

There are two video versions below. I prefer the audio of the first but find the video interpretation less relevant, so have included the second. Choose your favorite!

Turn up the volume and listen along. Let your imagination run wild, and let the song speak to you. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

“Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn


Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown

So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down


I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

I’m learning to fly”

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Music video by Tom Petty performing Learning To Fly. (C) 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Concert

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Learning To Fly (live 2006) HQ 0815007

photo credit: Bald Eagle via photopin (license)

Posted in Personal Growth, Travel Tagged with:

Motorcycle News You Can Use | Sept 19-25

by Liz Jansen

News You Can UseMotorcycle Art, Photography, Gasoline Additives, Taking a Hit and Fun on Small cruisers are the chosen posts for this week’s Motorcycle News You Can Use.

Photographing Motorcycles Parked in Front of Places captures turning points, in roads and life through creative photography. Artwork of Your Dreams is creative in other ways, using motorcycles and even coffee stains to create innovative messages.

Gasoline 101 helps decipher all the talk around fuel additives—a topic important to the well-being of your bike.

It hurts to get hit—and not just physically. The impact pervades well beyond the initial event. Learn how to handle it if it happens.

Lastly, how big is enough? Many times, a small bike can do everything it’s bigger brother can do, and it’s easier to manage, insure, and pay for.


Photographing Motorcycles Parked In Front Of Places

Tod Rafferty, Motorcycle Dot Com

“We hear a lot about how it’s the ride, not the destination. Okay, understood. But, since you need a place to turn around, the destination has to figure in there, right? Not that you have to actually know where it is when you set out, but when you get there and say okay, time to turn around, that was it. Destination Point. The place to which you were going, whether you knew it or not. So you take a picture.

Of course you also take photos along the way, but the turnabout is key. The turning point, the middle of the story, the place that offers rest and good food. Which is followed by the new perspective, and even point of view, of heading back home.”

Gasoline 101: Origin, Additives, And Octane | MC Garage

Ari Henning, Motorcyclistonline

“On any given day, Americans burn through some 368 million gallons of gasoline. We have a serious appetite for the stuff, but besides fussing over its price, how much thought do you give to gasoline? When so much pride and concern is fixed to your bike’s performance, how much do you know about the flammable liquid that makes it all happen?

Strap in, kiddos, because in this issue and the next you’re going to get a crash course on gasoline.”

Ingredients For Life: Coffee And Motorcycles Together In The Artwork Of Your Dreams

Laurel C. Allen, Cycle World


“Coffee and motorcycles: You need these things for life; artist and illustrator Carter Asmann needs these things for art. (Which, to be fair, is also life, but I’m not trying to blow your mind at 8 in the morning.) Twin coffee-cup rings form the wheels in Asmann’s brilliantly detailed series of motorbike masterpieces, and one look at his creations will convince you that no couple is hotter than graphite and caffeine.”

Somebody Hit Me a Month After Buying My First Motorcycle

Tony Markovich, RideApart

“It only took one month for my friends and family to be able to say to me, “told you so.” I sat in the middle of the street in West Hollywood watching as gasoline spewed out of the punctured gas tank. I looked at the bike, lying on its side, as people started to step out of their cars to see if I was okay. All I could feel was anger.

I wasn’t concerned with any injuries, I wasn’t extremely worried about the state of the motorcycle, and the animosity wasn’t even aimed at the person who’d just hit me. I was mad that my two wheels were now out of commission. I was pissed that I became another cliche. Most of all, I was furious that, after years of yearning to own a motorcycle, I only had about two weeks of true riding (I’ll explain that later) before everybody close to me now had even more fodder to protest my continued riding.”

Big Fun On Small Cruisers | MC Comparo

Andrew Cherney, Motorcyclistonline

“Small-displacement cruisers sometimes get the short end of the stick. They’re too often labeled as beginner motorcycles, which can be a fate worse than death in the size-conscious cruiser market. When they hear you’re on the hunt for a smaller-proportioned, lightweight machine, well-meaning friends will often steer you toward the “entry-level” end of the spectrum, where the bikes are built to a strict price, and, well, they often show it. At that zip code, your options used to involve just air-cooled, single-cylinder, carbureted engines, chain drive, a five-speed gearbox, and drum brakes.

But what if you have some riding experience and a hankering for more than just a cheap quarter-liter machine that can barely outrun its own shadow? Maybe you want something that actually looks, feels, and works like a substantial motorcycle rather than a child’s toy but want to pay less than $9,000. Fortunately, your midsize cruiser choices these days are way more plentiful and a lot more diverse.”

I’d love to hear from you. What were your favorite articles of the week? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I help you see that by mastering motorcycling, you can master anything!


photo credit: 1936 New Imperial 250 via photopin (license)

Posted in Motorcycle Tips Tagged with: , ,

Parting Words From a Friend

by Liz Jansen

Last week I visited a friend and mostly listened. Soon he will leave this physical plane and there were many words wanting to be heard.

Terry is my friend and colleague in the motorcycle training program at Humber College. In April at age 56, he retired from the Toronto Transit Commission, full of dreams and health. Although he taught a lot in spring and early summer, we didn’t get an opportunity to teach together this season as I was healing from a fractured ankle.

Animated, he described this year’s friends’ May dragon-slaying ride to Deal’s Gap, twisting, cavorting, and advancing on their motorcycles as the dragon flicked his tail. They were the victors, returning with tall tales and indelible memories.

Terry Fast Parting words

In late July, he returned to the Mennonite enclave of Steinbach, Manitoba where his father grew up. Terry and I shared a start in life in a similar heritage, and later the transition away from it. Unfortunately, the hope of seeing an ill relative before she passed, meant a plane ticket instead of a 4,000km/3,200 mile loop around Lake Superior on his motorcycle.

My stomach barely stayed with me as in great detail, he described the ‘ride of a lifetime’ in his cousin Mike’s stunt plane. “There’s nothing like a hammerhead stall and rolling out inverted at +3G force,” he exclaimed.

A persistent, gnawing pain in his right side sent him to the doctor in August. Terry was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bile duct/liver cancer. Inoperable. Untreatable. Aggressive.

We sat outside facing the backyard, his pride and joy, the result of years of painstaking planning and care. The lush garden he’d created around the stream and waterfall feeding the koi pond offered serenity and an oasis for the soul, sealing off external interference.


I sat there in my riding gear and listened to the words of a man who knows he’s dying and is ready ‘when the call comes’.

He loved teaching students to ride motorcycles, and he was very good at it. But what touched him most were the stories, especially from the women, about why they were learning to ride—because someone had told them they couldn’t, or they had survived an abusive relationship and were rebuilding their confidence, or they were pushing their comfort zone to see what they could do.

To aid in the transformation that comes with learning to ride was deeply fulfilling for Terry.

He’s actively and directly changed the course of lives in other ways.

Terry’s lifetime love of dogs led him to serve with the St. John Ambulance Provincial Therapy Dog Program. Joining in 1995 with his first Therapy Dog Jenny, he was trained by program founders Jim and Doreen Newel. Between 2002 and 2007, with Lucas as his Canine Partner, Terry served as Provincial Coordinator, traveling across Ontario assisting local Coordinators establish programs in their communities. These front line volunteers would take their dogs to any facility where the love of a dog could be used to comfort the elderly, sick children, or those with learning disabilities.545608_10151258505765351_1518528970_n

Terry talked about the value of the Restorative Justice (RJ) Program he volunteered in for years. An alternative to the court system for young offenders, the RJ volunteer, investigating officer, offender and a family member or support person work through a methodical process together. The results are dramatic for everyone involved. And they’re sustainable, changing individuals, families, and neighborhoods. Last fall he helped train another 20 volunteers to fill the growing need in his community.

He didn’t pick this disease or foresee his life evolving like this, cutting short the plans he and his wife Sherry had for retirement. Yet he accepts it. “I’ve done a lot and I’m thankful for that. I don’t regret what I didn’t have.”

Since learning to ride as a teenager, he’s put a lot of miles on his bike touring the Pacific coast, the southwest, and numerous trips to Deal’s Gap and area. The best trip was last year, when to his surprise and delight Sherry joined him for the first time.

Frightening experiences in her youth had turned her away from motorcycles, but she was ready to try again with Terry. She flew to Halifax to meet him for a wonderful 10-day trip around Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Both are grateful they got this time together.


Now they’re sharing another journey, a section of road they had no intention of visiting for many years—one that revolves around care, hospice, and how Sherry will continue after Terry’s gone. Like what to do with his motorcycle. Bikes have been an important part of his life and he wants as many of them at his service as possible.

Sherry supported an unsteady Terry while we walked out to my bike, although he insisted on bending over to pick up and hand me the side stand puck I’d forgotten to retrieve before I got on.

Contrary to his weakening physical health Terry’s strength is absolutely amazing. To have an evening with him, hear his wisdom, and share memories was an incredible gift.

Thank you Terry. Godspeed, my friend.

Photos: Courtesy of Terry Fast

Posted in Liz's Stories, Personal Growth Tagged with: , ,

Motorcycle News You Can Use – Sept 12-18

by Liz Jansen

news you can use

This week’s Motorcycle News You Can Use covers the whimsical to the practical. Take a trip down memory lane with riders and motorcycles who were considered hot in their day. Then, prepare to see the new motorcycle emoji on your texts and messages after it’s launched on the 16th. It’s kinda cute. :)

Mike Jacobs recounts 18 lessons he learned on an epic 28-day ride around Lake Superior. I’ve never done the circumference in one single trip, but I’ve done all the sections many times and can attest to the splendour. Every time you go you notice something different.

Touring can tire your back, which is why the ergonomic tips from RoadRunner Magazine are so useful.

And lastly, I live in an apartment without access to an outdoor hose and most of the time, have to haul buckets of water for the spot-wash and rinse. The new RinseKit looks really appealing!


Famous Movie Motorcycles : From Easy Rider to Ghost Rider

Amos, RideApart

“Movie car scenes always grab our attention—whether it’s Bond escaping baddies in Alfa Romeo’s with his Aston Martin DBS in Quantum of Solace, or Nicolas Cage helming a stunning gray Ferrari 550 Maranello in Family Man.

But when two-wheelers zoom into the frame, our pulses race that much more. And there’s been more than a handful of great motorcycles in movies to hit the big screen over the decades with no end in sight. We’ve selected some of the most memorable bikes, both production and custom bikes, that deserve your cinematic and motoring respect.”

Justice Served: The Motorcycle Emoji is Almost Here

Lauren C. Allen

“A great wrong in the world has finally been righted—at least if you’re an Apple device user. For emoji-loving, motorcycle-riding, iPhone and iPad users, the days of having to resort to combining the bicycle-rider emoji with the wind symbol (which, let’s be real, ends up looking a lot more like gastrointestinal problems than speed) are almost over: The next IOS release (9.1, coming September 16) contains an actual motorcycle emoji.”

28 Days on the Road Around Lake Superior

Mike Jacobs, Motorcycle dot com

18 lessons learned while touring around the biggest Great Lake—from Go Back to Places you Missed or Didn’t Get To Enjoy Fully the First Time, to Never Deny Yourself Anything in Life, and American Snacks are Superior to Canadian Snacks. Read the article to learn the rest.

Touring Tip : Banishing the Aching Back : RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel Magazine


“Touring motorcyclists are often on the road from dawn until dusk, and riding for days at a time. To maximize enjoyment, riders need a mount that is set up as ergonomically comfortable as possible.

Since each person’s body is different, a bike fresh off the showroom floor may not be configured for your personal long distance comfort. Here are some of the key ergonomic considerations in evaluating how well a bike fits its rider and strategies for improving comfort.”

Water, Water, Everywhere | Rinsekit Portable Water System

William Conner, RideApart

You can take a hose and bucket anywhere with this portable water system.

“The RinseKit hose quickly attaches to your water spigot with a supplied quick connect coupler and fills the two gallon eon™ pressure chamber with approximately 65 psi of water pressure (standard home pressure) in 20 seconds time. It can hold pressure for up to one month. Simply attach the spray nozzle to the RinseKit hose with the quick coupler, select one of the seven spray settings and fire away! This patented design has no moving parts and can be filled with hot or cold water an infinite number of times. (Source: RinseKit.com)”

I’d love to hear from you. What were your favorite articles of the week? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I help you see that by mastering motorcycling, you can master anything!
photo credit: Early Morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway via photopin (license)



Posted in Motorcycle Tips Tagged with: , ,

Migraine Relief

by Liz Jansen

migraine relief

Earlier this week I had a migraine. Not the worst kind where I’m in bed for days—except for every 15 minutes when I have to run to the bathroom to throw up. This week’s was a milder version with no vomiting, just a vise around my throbbing head and a knife in my eye.

Migraines are nothing new. I’ve had them since I was seven. Unlike many women who experience fewer once they pass menopause, mine have increased in frequency.

What was different this time was that I gave in to it. Earlier. And it hasn’t left me looking and feeling like a used dishrag, physically and emotionally spent, barely able to think let alone drag myself around. Or function with any resemblance of competence.

From their onset, I learned to live with them. Perhaps I adopted my mother’s example as I don’t remember explicitly being told to buck up. It was expected. Migraines were a headache, albeit a severe one, but still nothing serious. Learn to live and work with it. Go to bed only when there’s no option.

And so you push yourself, trying to ignore the nausea and blinding pain. More than ‘just a headache’, migraines are a systemic malady and don’t take lightly to being ignored. They want attention. Now!

Sickness wasn’t valued in my family. You worked through things, unless the situation was dire. There was no way I was going to be called a lead-swinger.

I recall the time when as a young Registered Nurse, I woke up with a migraine, and as was my practice, medicated it into submission as best I could and headed off to work. Calling in sick was frowned upon by the hospital and I was still a part time employee, hoping to snag one of the rare full time positions.

Standing in the private room with my back to the window, I tried to make the patient’s bed while he was in surgery. Head pounding, stomach roiling, and irritable beyond words, I tried to squelch undeniable messages my body from my body, trying not to show what would be perceived as a weakness.

Soldier on.

Until my stomach revolted. I ran from the room and shortly after, ceded, and drove home.

Driving while under the influence of a migraine is impaired driving. You don’t even have to have taken any meds—the monster itself impairs you. I’ve even ridden my motorcycle ‘under the influence’, stopping to let the waves of pain and nausea subside before continuing.

During my corporate years, many times I’d try and fake it, stoically remaining at my desk or in a meeting, trying to function. My pallor, squinty eyes, and preoccupation usually gave me away.

Showing up at work and not letting others down was a value deeply ingrained in the corporate culture of the day, not just my family.

Perfect attendance awards were given out annually. I never got one, viewing them as ludicrous. Why would you motivate someone to show up, regardless of capability (or contagiousness), rather than incenting performance metrics, including interpersonal relations? It never made any sense, but so entrenched a value was it, that it was untouchable—until the company was bought out by one much more progressive in its Human Resources—and business practices.

Thankfully for me, with modern pharmaceuticals and alternative medicine modalities, hosting migraines which progress to the knockout stage are rare.

I’m learning to listen to my body. The ancient wisdom that forms the basis for the Energy Medicine I’m studying teaches that our physical bodies are not separate from our emotions or spirit. Illnesses are often the outcome of an imbalance—somewhere. Tracking it down and healing can take much sleuthing and inner work. Often the root cause is unexplainable, defies acceptable logic, and doesn’t fit into a neat little causation checklist.

With any ailment or even discomfort, I now ask, “What message is my body sending me? What am I missing? How do I respond so this doesn’t happen again?”

Equally significant, I question what I’m subconsciously gaining by missing a day of work, an event, or lying in a dark room while everyone around me has a good time. Anything that moves me closer to understanding helps me heal it.

The root cause remains elusive. But at least I’m recognizing and respecting the message. Once you start listening, a shift begins, and you begin to hear other messages you’ve subjugated for years—listening early before the message gets too loud, or drowned out. As if by magic, all kinds of new creative possibilities open up.

The voice that’s in charge now is my own. Not a false belief that I’ve got to work through it. Not a cultural value nor an employer telling me to get to work.

My voice. The one that knows and wants what’s best for me.

Only then, by listening and heeding that voice, can I be of best service to others.

How does your body speak to you, and how do you respond?

photo credit: Migraines Through History via photopin (license)

Posted in Personal Growth

Motorcycle News You Can Use: Sept. 5-11, 2015

by Liz Jansen

news you can use

This week’s News You Can Use takes us touring via video on a Ladies First tour of Italy’s Tuscan region, courtesy of Motorcycle Mag’s Tricia Szulewski. View it with caution—you might just get some ideas for next year’s travels!

How do you keep your gear clean? Mine can get grotty after a while and it’s good to know how to keep it clean, while maintaining its safety and waterproof integrity. Ari Henning of Motorcyclist shows us how it’s done.

Gear is of little use if it doesn’t fit properly, which is why the article on how to select riding gear for women is so important.

Tricia’s been busy. Earlier this summer, she reviewed Yamaha’s FZ07, calling it a ‘fun first bike’. In this safety video, Clinton Smout takes that same bike and shows us how to control skids on gravel. Hopefully you never have to use it but it’s sure good to know if you do.

Lastly, the post on Basic Rider Training is important reading for anyone considering riding, and their friends and family. As a Canada Safety Council (Canadian MSF Equivalent) certified instructor, I can’t say enough about the importance of the solid safety grounding students get from qualified professionals. If there’s one thing new riders can do for themselves and their loved ones, it’s take a course from a recognized school.


Tricia Szulewski from Motorcycle magazine rides Italy with Hear The Road Motorcycle Tours Italy.

“It seems like just yesterday I was rolling happily along the back roads of Italy’s Tuscan landscape on a fun, sporty BMW F 800 R. This past May I was lucky enough to join my riding buddy, Genevieve Schmitt (WomenRidersNow.com) on a “Ladies First” tour with Hear The Road Motorcycle Tours Italy.

I made some wonderful new friends, drank my fill of the best espresso in the world, ate just as well, and immersed myself in the art and history of the magical, ancient places we visited. It was a bucket list trip, for sure. Genevieve and I were connected throughout the trip using Sena S20 Communication systems, and her Sena Prism video camera recorded our conversations. It’s so much fun to go through all that footage and relive the trip all over again.
Here is a short video that compiles just a tiny bit of my seat time using the Sena Prism. Because only one Prism can capture the audio when two people are conferencing, my videos had no sound, so I decided to put some Italian Opera (Verdi) to the footage. Enjoy!

How to Wash Textile riding Jackets & Gear | MC Garage

Ari Henning, Motorcyclist

“Gear gets dirty—bugs and grime gunk up the exterior while sweat funks up the interior. A moist cloth is great for spot cleaning (and the only safe way to clean leather), but when it’s time for a deep cleaning, it’s time for immersion in soap and water. We use a jacket in this example, but the process is the same for pants and other textile gear as well.”

Skid school on gravel with Yamaha FZ-07

Basic Rider Training

Evans Brasfield, Motorcycle dot com

“So, you’re considering joining the ranks of motorcycle riders. Congratulations! Motorcycling is an activity that many riders immediately fall in love with and even claim to be life altering. You won’t hear any of the MO editorial staff argue with that. After all, we’ve devoted the bulk of our lives, professionally and personally, to motorcycling. Consequently, our opinions skew hugely motorcycling-positive.

However, we won’t sugar coat it either. Riding a motorcycle is a challenging sport that requires diligence and constant self-analysis to be done proficiently while limiting danger. With the stakes being so high out on the road, you don’t want to depend solely on the advice of a riding buddy (though it’s always good to have more experienced friends as resources) or just plain dumb luck. With that in mind, we’ve put together this rider training primer to help start you rolling down the highway the right way.”

Female Riders & Passengers: How To Select Riding Gear That Fits

Joann Donn, Motorcyclist

“What’s the big deal when it comes to shopping for motorcycle gear? You visit your local dealership, try on something, pay for it, and then you’re done. Unfortunately it isn’t that easy for most women riders. The Motorcycle Industry Council says that among 27 million riders in the US, 6.7 million of us are women. However, only 12.5 percent of us are motorcycle owners, which means the vast majority are actually passengers.

As a result, we’re often ignored.”

photo credit: road to sodwalls via photopin (license)


Posted in Motorcycle Tips Tagged with: , , ,

Motorcycle News You Can Use: Aug. 29-Sept. 4

by Liz Jansen

motorcycle news you can use

This week’s News You Can Use provides practical tips for getting out of a mechanical bind, whether it’s going through the checklist of Top 10 things to do when your bike won’t start, or dealing with being stranded at the side of the road—and enjoying it!

Mechanical failure brings with it all sorts of positive possibilities, even for the solo traveler. It forces you to engage with other people, who are almost always glad to help—and often invite you for in for a meal. Whenever I hear someone talk about being afraid of being stranded in the middle of nowhere, I think of Carla King. She’s traveled the globe on unreliable motorcycles and welcomes it. Read her book American Borders and you’ll see how to handle them!

It’s not enough to trust your body to anyone. Body Armor Comparison is a great resource that allows you to make an informed decision on the protection you’re actually getting when you purchase gear. I have super armor to thank for minimizing the extent of my injuries.

Lastly, the No Brakes Exercise will change your perspective on the relationship between speed and braking. It’s not as clear as it seems.


The Perfect Motorcycle: Know  Yourself to Know your Bike

John L. Stein, Cycle World

“The Japanese have a term, “jinba ittai,” which translates to, “the rider and horse as one.” Some years ago, Mazda picked this up to describe how it wanted the MX-5 Miata driving experience to feel. But the concept really is more suited to motorcyclists, who should absolutely choose the correct “horse” for their type of riding. Imagine André the Giant flogging a race-kitted Vespa LX 50 through the Carousel at Sonoma Raceway. That obviously doesn’t make much sense, nor does the vision of 4-foot-8 Snooki caning a Triumph Rocket III along the Tail of the Dragon. Borrowing from Chevy Chase in Caddyshack, “To be one with the horse, you must be the horse, Danny.””

Top 10 Things To Do When Your Bike Won’t Start

Evans Brasfield, Motorcycle.com

“You know the old saying: There are motorcyclists who have gone down, motorcyclists who are going down, and motorcyclists who are going to go down again – down to their garage only to find that their bike won’t start. Even with today’s improved batteries, if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. So, before you pull out your phone and call Uber or your buddy with a pickup truck (You have one of those, don’t you? Every rider should have a buddy with a pickup truck.), check these 10 common causes to assist you in troubleshooting your no-go woes.”

Because Breaking Down With Your Riding Buddies Can be Fun Too! | Megaphone

Aaron Frank, Motorcyclist

“Even though we spent as much time on the side of the road turning wrenches as in the saddle twisting wrists, it proved one of the most memorable weekends any of us had ever spent on two wheels.”

Body Armor Comparison: Just Between You and the Road

Gary Illminen, RideApart

“Not so long ago, motorcycle riding gear only had leather as the main material for body armor. Occasionally, there was leather in layers, or a little padding here and there to provide impact and abrasion protection for key areas like the joints.

Now, there are way more options and not only are they affordable, but they are also tested for effectiveness against an international standard. But even though their performance is tested against a common standard—CE EN1621-1: 2012—their designs are not standardized. There are some important differences.”

The No Brakes Exercise | Code Break

Keith Code, Motorcyclist

“It sounds counterintuitive, but experiments with pro racer Joe Roberts showed that you can learn a lot about proper braking technique by riding without using brakes.”

Liz’s note: This exercise is done only at a qualified track day or race school. As an every day road rider, what I liked about this article was the insights it gave me on understanding the relationship between proper braking and speed judgement. Read the article. You’ll see what I mean. 

photo credit: Skull Keychain via photopin (license)

I’d love to hear from you. What were your favorite articles of the week? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I help you see that by mastering motorcycling, you can master anything. To receive my weekly newsletter with updates, tips, and resources, Subscribe Here.

Posted in Motorcycle Tips

7 Pros and Cons of Independence

by Liz Jansen


Last summer I was a 60-year-old woman, traveling solo by motorcycle across the continent, camping, exploring, and meeting many wonderful friends. This spring, I was back where I started geographically, confined to a small apartment—the same woman, but in a wheelchair recovering from a smashed shoulder from a crash, and a broken ankle, the result of a slip while walking on wet grass.

It was a hard lesson on learning the pros and cons of independence. With much time for reflection, here’s what I’ve learned—so far.

Pros of Independence

  1. Self-confidence. It’s very empowering to have the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wherewithal to look after yourself. It allows you to take on challenges you’d otherwise pass by.
  2. Financial. Possessing a few fix-it and maintenance skills is liberating and cost-effective. Recognizing signs of trouble, whether it’s on your motorcycle or a leaky faucet, allows you to take action before irreversible damage occurs. Calling a tradesperson or mechanic every time you need to fix something costs time and money.
  3. Freedom. When you feel independent, you feel like you can do anything. And you can! But freedom always needs to be exercised wisely.
  4. Flexibility. Independence gives you greater choice in selecting alternatives. If a road is closed for construction, you can go the long way around. But if you don’t have enough gas, you’re in trouble.
  5. Convenience. It’s often a lot quicker, less expensive, and less frustrating to be able to correct a problem, rather than wait for help to arrive on their schedule.
  6. Resilience. Crap happens to everyone. When you know you can sort something out, even if it’s messy or takes a while, you bounce back from adversity more quickly.
  7. Resourcefulness. When you’re on your own and things go wrong, there’s no one around besides you to figure out a solution. Sure we can call for help, but learning how to get out of a predicament teaches us a lot more about what we’re capable of and adds skills to our repertoire that we may need down the road, when help isn’t available.

Cons of Independence.

  1. The Ask. It is very hard to ask for help. It can even feel demeaning. Most of us would much sooner give help than receive it. Yet we know how fulfilling it can be to help someone in need. Asking for and accepting help from someone is a gift to them, as well as to you.
  2. Disconnection. There’s a danger of getting caught up in your own world, failing to see how your actions influence those around you. On a larger scale, we can lose sight of how we affect our natural environment.
  3. Blindness. Being independent takes work and it also comes with luck. Circumstances beyond our control can make us dependent on others. When we feel independent, we see the world through the eyes of someone without constraints, forgetting there are others—whether through illness, divorce, or job loss—who need help to get by.
  4. Complacency. I’ve felt independent—able to care for myself and do whatever I choose—my whole life. It’s a shock when that gets taken away, even when you know it’s temporary. It turns your world upside down.
  5. Loneliness. People make assumptions about someone who’s self-sufficient, and won’t offer help as readily or invite involvement because they think you don’t want or need it. Then you have to ASK.
  6. Financial. It costs more to live alone, travel alone, and work independently. Cooperatives exist for a very good reason. Aside from facilitating economies of scale, they make you less vulnerable to fluctuations from prices, health, or ability, depending on the type of coop.
  7. Effectiveness. One person can accomplish a lot in life, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to leveraging the power of community. We need each other to thrive.

Independence is a gift. But like everything else in life, going to the extreme is counter effective. You don’t realize the value of independence, until you lose it, nor do you realize the gifts that come from engaging with others more and asking for help. Our culture values independence. We all gain when we shift our value to interdependence.

Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

photo credit: KVB Excursion via photopin (license)

LL_PowerTo learn more about how you can be more effective in your life, read 75 Tips on Unleashing Your Power. Available as an ebook for any ereader. Enter Coupon Code KT64C to get it from Smashwords for $0.99 until September 4th.

Posted in Personal Growth, Personal Power Tagged with: ,

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