Welcome 2016! We’re off!

by Liz Jansen

welcome 2016

2015 ended as 2016 began—in golden silence. No dragging through the past year to tally results, evaluate progress, or check off boxes. No setting goals or making resolutions.

Even as last year ended, plans were changing. Shoulder surgery booked for today was rescheduled to Jan. 22 because of a flood in the OR. I don’t know the details but I’m glad I wasn’t on the table when it happened!

Don’t get me wrong. I do set intentions and act on them. But it’s my heart that’s in charge these days, not my limiting mind.

This year I participated in a 4-day Silent New Year’s Retreat, led by teacher, thinker, activist, Michael Stone. Spending time at a beautiful center, walking in the woods, eating delicious organic meals, and meditating, in quiet, with no speaking, texting, phoning, or emails was a delicious and refreshing gift to myself.

It’s always fascinating to feel the sense of community that develops around a common interest and this gathering was no different. Even if you don’t know anyone, you feel the connection and the sense of belonging right away. It’s the same feeling as attending a motorcycle event. And then there’s the extra special heart-charge when you learn you share more than one passion with someone. Michael’s a serious rider, most recently on a BMW 1200GS, but now with a partner and two small children, he’s reassigned his priorities.

My prime focus is on writing Crash Landing, and seeing where that takes me. Even if none of it appears on the page, it’s been enriching to reconnect with kin to learn about the lives of my ancestors. Keeping family intact was paramount to my great-grandfather, and he succeeded through WWI, revolution, famine, civil war, and finally, getting established in a new country. Just for fun, we counted the direct descendants originating from him and his two wives. At latest count, there are almost 400 of us carrying this man’s blood!

The advent of the motorcycle show season is a sure sign that spring is almost within sight. If you’re at the Motorcycle Supershow in Toronto tomorrow, stop by the Renedian Adventures booth where I’ll be helping out my friend Rene Cormier.

A few other dates on my calendar are the Toronto Motorcycle Show on February 22nd where I’ll be hosting a new She Rides Night event, Horizons Unlimited (HUBB) Virginia Travelers Meeting, Apr. 28-May 1st, and HUBB Ontario June 9-12 (watch for more details).

Lastly, I’m happy to again be working with an eclectic, vibrant team of enthusiasts at What A Ride, sharing the best of Ontario motorcycling with you. Researching is a blast!

Looking forward to sharing the Road with you and what promises to be an outstanding year!

photo credit: Carve A Turn via photopin (license)

Posted in Adventure Tagged with:

Keep Singing

by Liz Jansen

keep singing

Until recently, I’ve left the electronics off when I hike, preferring only the sound of the wind and my footsteps. I’m well aware there’s a tendency to get carried away with volume when listening to iPods, both with what’s coming in through the earphones and exiting through one’s voice, and it clouds my thoughts.

Recently that’s changed. Hardly anyone uses the nearby conservation area during the week and with the leaves off, visibility is pretty good so I can hit pause on the music if I spot someone. Last week I thought I was pretty safe to let loose, but I’d overlooked one critical set of ears.

The book project I’m working on has me digging into my past to understand the lives of my ancestors. What they experienced lives in me, often in my subconscious where I’m not even aware of it. I’m eager to learn and understand their stories, knowing they’ve shaped my beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions.

To really ‘get it’, I try to put myself in their shoes, imagining what it was like to live the experiences behind the stories passed down through their descendants. Although I’ve always known how important music was to them, they’ve taught me how specifically hymns, can bring me right to them. It was their direct line to Spirit, more so than sermons or Bible readings. Especially if they were sung in German.

Singing their songs opens my heart and brings me symbolically to my knees, and often to tears. It puts me in the heart space I can write from—where I feel their joy, sorrow, angst, and faith. I’ve downloaded their favorites and sing them (in English) on my walks—Christmas carols and hymns sung at their funerals. A favorite is Nun Danket Alle Gott, (Now Thank We All Our God)—the song which erupted spontaneously from weary passengers on the train carrying them across desolate Russian countryside as it passed under Red Gate—after one last military check—and over the border into Latvia and freedom.

Coming around a corner on the trail, up ahead and up wind was a woman standing at the side of the path. The slack leash in her hand was not necessary to restrain the little dog sitting quietly beside her, waiting for me to pass. In fact, the dog had heard me well before she did and they’d stopped to listen. Hymns aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you see someone tethered to electronics. Sheepishly I offered a two second explanation of what I was doing, and why. Somehow it resonated with her and what would otherwise have been a passing greeting became an emotional bonding. “Keep singing,” she spoke in parting.

I know my grandparents walk with me on this journey, teaching me, and guiding my steps. On that day in the woods, they’d reached out from the past to touch yet another soul.

I honor them and myself with their songs and will keep singing.











photo credit: puppy via photopin (license)

Posted in Liz's Stories

No Motorcycles Allowed

by Liz Jansen

No Motorcycles“No motorcycles!” The underground parking lot attendant glowered, shouting in barely legible English, intercepting me before I could push the button for the ticket. “No motorcycles,” he barked again, thrusting his arm and pointing to the exit. “Park on the street.”

He’d just thrown a match on gasoline.

“What do you mean no motorcycles?” I exploded. “Why not?”

“Company rules,” he responded.

I was livid. A barrage of exchanges followed as I focused on balancing my bike and trying to figure out what he was demanding. “Back up!” Back up!” I was past the ticket machine and thus the sensor that would enable him to lift the gate. That was because the machine was on an incline and I’d moved ahead to a more level surface so I could get off and obtain the ticket. Now he was asking me to back up an incline!

I was in Toronto for an appointment and had left plenty of time for travel hiccups. Most of that buffer was used up in stop and go highway traffic. Staying safe while navigating downtown streets in the midday cacophony demands full attention. Concurrently watching for traffic, one-way streets, pedestrians, ubiquitous streetcar tracks, and searching for a parking spot is a challenge. Not finding one on the street, I’d turned into a parking garage, winding down the steep ramp into the bowels of the building to where I now sat.

There was no reason to deny me access. There were no signs, no logic. “How dare he turn me away?” I fumed in silence. Riders who’ve been around for any length of time will likely have experienced such overt discrimination, but I haven’t seen that since my 1977 Yamaha 650 was a baby. I could have forced the issued and parked my bike but it wasn’t worth the risk. I’m sure it wouldn’t be there when I returned.

Later in the day when I’d had time to reflect, I was curious to understand what had touched a nerve. I’d surprised myself by losing my cool in such a way. Perhaps his actions had sparked a tension I hadn’t felt. Maybe I was frustrated because I couldn’t understand him through my helmet, earplugs, and his broken English, spewing instructions as he paraded around me trying to figure out what to do.

No. It wasn’t any of that. My outburst came from a source deeper within me. Being turned away just because you’re on a motorcycle is a violation of fundamental rights. While it’s a minor example, it triggered a more collective memory of arbitrary practices that have defined history. My ancestors fled a country where their existence was threatened by iron rule cemented by brutality. Indigenous people in this country had their culture systematically erased. Escape routes from hot spots around the globe are choked with families fleeing violence and unspeakable horrors. I was responding from the collective tension that bombards us daily.

The answer isn’t in returning hatred, violence, or aggression. My agitated response only exacerbated the situation. Likely new to our country, this was probably one of several jobs the attendant held to support a family making a new start. He wasn’t about to jeopardize his income by allowing a violation of company rules, right or wrong. Whatever the case, neither of us felt good after that encounter.

I’m not suggesting we sit back and let these things happen, but there were more constructive ways to diffuse the situation.

Peace begins with me.

The man whose face I don’t even remember lifted the gate so I could turn around and climb back up to street level. Perhaps it was getting back into the light, or maybe it was the tiny parking spot right beside a KLR that rescued me from that dark place within myself. It was not my proudest moment but I was back in familiar surroundings, wiser for the understanding my travel to the underground taught me.

photo credit: Above the Law via photopin (license)

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Posted in Leadership, Liz's Stories

The Itinerant Writing and Riding Life

by Liz Jansen
niskamoccasins itinerant

Today I’m taking a day off from writing and going riding! Actually I don’t write every day, but most days. When I’m not putting words on paper, I’m digging into the past, and the present—both with their treasures and landmines.

As it turns out, it’s fascinating to see that the major interests in my writing—culture, Indigenous wisdom, and riding—have all come together on a single December day. Even the weather looks like it’s cooperating so I can tie them all together on my motorcycle on a 265 km/165 mile loop.

First up is a pre-op appointment at St. Mike’s Hospital in Toronto in preparation for surgery on January 8th. The hardware that held my shoulder together after my crash at the beginning of Crash Landing’sresearch trip” is coming out to give me more mobility.

After that I’ll ride to the Mennonite Central Committee offices in Kitchener to attend My Moccasin, an event in the Dancing to Reconciliation series where Indigenous men and women share their knowledge and stories. I’m eager to hear from Shirley Ida Williams nee Pheasant (Neganigwane) and even more fascinated to understand the history and the nature of the link between the two cultures. Ironically, there was a time not so long ago when the only connection between Mennonites and dancing was to turn and run the other way. How times have changed!

I mention these plans to illustrate how events are unfolding for me. My heart is taking the lead these days and even though I can’t see the details of where this writing is taking me, people and experiences show up at just the right time to take me around the next corner. Most of my life I’ve tried to make things happen rather than allowing them to happen, but those patterns weren’t working. This is a very different approach and at times scary with many unknowns, yet I’m continuously amazed, but not surprised, by the synchronicities that occur

December has already granted an extension on the riding season and the snow will soon be here. I’ll make the most of it while I can before putting the bike away for the season.



WMRE CoverMaster a motorcycle and you can master anything. The women in this book have confronted and overcome personal challenges, physical challenges, societal stereotypes, and cultural expectations. They’re now embracing the freedom and independence of motorcycling. For many of them, it’s been the catalyst for other long-awaited life changes. The book makes a great gift!  Purchase here.

It’s always heart-warming to receive emails like this from a reader in New Zealand:

Your book arrived safe and sound and I absolutely loved it! Couldn’t stop reading, but I wanted to make it last so I limited myself to savouring only two stories a day. I could so relate to all the stories, woven into your own journey. I have only been riding for a year, but it is the best thing ever.  My husband is reading it now, he finds it fascinating as well. Thank you for writing Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment.”  Angela

Posted in Adventure, Freedom Friday Tagged with: , ,

Time to Write

IMG_3774 Catskills crash landingby Liz Jansen

My grandparents were refugees, fleeing civil war, starvation, and persecution. Speaking your mind got you shot, often in front of your family. I’m sure that ancestral fear was imprinted deeply in my psyche when I arrived on this earth, compounded by religious beliefs that taught me questioning my faith was a sin.

Contrasted with these shadows were enormous strengths that also live in me—kindness, compassion, courage, resilience, community, forgiveness—and actively working for peace.

Understanding these intricacies was the intent when I set out in August 2014 to travel the Americas by motorcycle, living, studying, and working from the road, researching my next book. I never anticipated the chain of events that would take me down a road very different from the one I’d planned, set off with a crash on what was my grandparents’ wedding anniversary. Painful and unsettling as they’ve been, the ensuing months have also been transformative, in a wonderful way.

I’m curious. Specifically, how did the teachings of my early years, including those from the Mennonite community, prepare me for life today? What forgotten or subconsciously buried beliefs live in my energy field and unknowingly influence my thoughts, choices, actions, and even health? How do I heal the past with its limiting roles, and become the author of my destiny?

I’ve also been drawn to learn more about indigenous wisdom, especially as it pertains to the interconnectedness of all things. All my relations. Somehow, the two themes converge.

Now, finally, it’s time to write the stories that have been so formative in getting me to this place in time and space. For months, I’ve been (not always so patiently) seeking clarity, to envision the framework of the overall story. Through a series of synchronicities, just last week the fog lifted.

Even though I know without a shadow of doubt it’s what I’m to do, the thought of putting pen to paper is anxiety producing. I’ll be traveling symbolically to unknown inner places and I’m not sure what I’ll find. Additionally, deeply desiring to honor the stories as they’re extracted and written is intimidating.

Beginning Monday, my intense focus will be on completing a first draft of Crash Landing, the title for at least the time being. I enjoy posting blog articles, writing newsletters, and interacting on FaceBook, Twitter, and others. But diverting energy here makes it that much harder to get back into the head space of where I need to be now. Expect to hear or see very little from me over the winter while I hunker down and write.

Thank you for your understanding and support. I look forward to hearing your stories as well as sharing mine as we ride down this road together.


Posted in Adventure, Liz's Stories

Motorcycle News You Can Use: Nov. 13-20

by Liz Jansen

motorcycle news you can use


Riding season is drawing to a close or significantly curtailed for many of us. That’s a sign to start planning for next season. I thought I’d help by sharing favorite posts that have crossed my desk recently.

I’m loving my Triumph Tiger for many reasons, not the least of which is its low weight. 6 Great Motorcycles Under 500 Pounds identifies more choices in this category.

You can count on Rachael, aka FuzzyGalore, to come up with creative, often quirky, and always delightful ride themes. Get some travel ideas from her Lifelong Pursuit of Fun List.

On the subject of safety, Skidmarks graphically illustrates the importance of quality gloves. Riding Tips: Why We Crash reviews common causes of crashes and how to avoid them.

Gift giving season is just around the corner and Leatherman’s Tread Wearable Multi-Tool is on my list. My guess is it’s going to make a lot of rider’s lists this year.

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!


6 Great Motorcycles Under 500 Pounds

Amos, RideApart

Note: Let’s not forget my #1 Pick: Triumph Tiger! 

“If you’ve ever tried threading the needle at slow speeds in traffic or just meandering your way around a busy parking lot, you know how difficult it is to deftly helm a heavy motorcycle. There are advantages to riding a lighter motorcycle in these situations since they’re generally more nimble.

They’re also easier to lift should you drop the bike. But that doesn’t mean you want to ride something featherweight on a daily basis, since you also need a modicum of power. We’ve settled on 500 pounds as a great middle ground for bikes that are easier to ride and steer, but still come with enough displacement and power to get you where you need to go.”

Lifelong Pursuit of Fun List: Time to Start Planning for 2016


“Every morning a writing prompt from The Daily Page greets me in my mailbox. The intent is to encourage me to write something, anything each day. Ostensibly the encouragement is for this blog, but 9 times out of 10? I scribble something in my journal instead.

But today we have a winner! A topic that seems blog-worthy and quite timely as 2015 begins its wind down.”

Riding Tips: Why We Crash

Ken Condon, Motorcyclist

“Play with fire and you just might get burned. This truism about doing risky things applies to motorcycling as much as it does to open flame. Fortunately, you can reduce the risks by knowing the most common crash scenarios and then utilizing strategies to keep from getting burned.”

Leatherman Introduces the Tread Wearable Multi-Tool

Troy Siahaan, Motorcycle dot com

“With the Tread wearable multi-tool bracelet, each 17-4 stainless steel link features a specific tool (or two) to fix whatever minor roadside problem you might encounter, whether it’s a loose cable or a lever that needs adjusting. The 10 links total up to 29 tools, including screwdrivers, box wrenches, hex heads, cutters, SIM card picks, 1/4-inch adaptors and much more, making it a really handy device if you don’t want to carry a toolbox everywhere you go.”

Skidmarks: ATTGATEFGism

Gabe Ets-Hoken, Motorcycle dot come

“There are things out there that should never happen, yet they happen often enough there’s a word for it. Necrophilia is one of those things, as is “Quesarito.” Another one of those things is degloving.

Degloving, you say? Isn’t that when you take off a glove? Sure, I guess so, but that’s not the primary usage of that word. You may Google it of course, but I strongly, strongly advise against it.”

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: Mae Hong Son Loop via photopin (license)

Posted in Adventure, Travel Tagged with: , ,

Mind to Heart Motorcycle Talk

by Liz Jansen

Motorcycle Talk

When motorcycles talk, I listen. And so it was that I pulled off the road last Friday evening, choosing to get a room for the night rather than complete the remaining 300 km/190 miles that would get me to my planned destination. It’s also why I’ve decided to fly rather than ride to Joshua Tree for next week’s course.

After spending two weeks of introspection and intense Energy Medicine study at the Omega Institute last week, punctuated by a weekend of riding through brilliant Hudson Valley fall scenery, my original plan was to return home for a quick turnaround and then get back on the road to cover 4,000 km/2,500 miles in five days.

Friday’s ride started out with beautiful riding weather—sunshine and coolish temperatures. But my mid-afternoon start was later than I’d expected and even with a GPS, I got turned around following a circuitous route through the Catskills. The scenery was gorgeous however and the roads in fantastic shape as I wound through showy autumn foliage. Even when I knew I was hopelessly off course, I sat back and enjoyed it. These opportunities don’t come every day and I figured I could make up time whenever I got to the Interstate.

By the time I was on the freeway, dusk was descending. As I headed west on an already gusty day, I could see a storm front approaching and intensifying, bringing thunder and lightning. Not good conditions for making time.

New York State rest stops are conveniently close together as rest stops go, but if you’re caught in between them, even 20 miles can seem like the other side of the earth. Timing is everything though and with a little help from the throttle, I made it to shelter just as the heavens opened.

I was barely halfway back so when the worst of the storm passed, I started out again, now in total darkness. It was still windy and rainy and with the storm front passing, the temperatures had plummeted. Still, I’m geared to stay warm and dry in those conditions.

Shortly after returning to the road, my bike started misbehaving. I can only describe the sensation as the feeling one gets when traveling over expansion joints, bouncing up and down. It varied somewhat with speed and was intermittent. Although there was plenty of wind buffeting, this was different, and it didn’t seem to be affecting any other vehicles.

Fatigue was creeping in to add to the mounting challenges and finally, I had to come to terms with the fact that it would be crazy to continue riding. I pulled off at the next exit and found a room where I could sleep until daylight provided decent illumination to inspect my bike.

The next morning there were no obvious problems and a test ride went very smoothly. The behavior did not return. It must have been the road surface that was hard to see in the darkness and rain (another reason to stop). Or it could have been the bike talking to me in the language I know best. It was time to get off the road.

Sunshine was back but it was cold—5.5C/41F most of the way. Even with heated gear, those temperatures take a toll and I was grateful to have less than 300km/190 miles to go. It also validated my decision to fly to Joshua Tree.

I love being out on the open road and there was a not-too-long-ago time when those daily distances would have been no problem. However, I’ve not yet recovered full movement or physical stamina, and the weather is unpredictable at this time of year.

This time, mind won out over heart. It’s been an abbreviated season that’s coming to a close too quickly. But wisdom wins. That ‘you can do it in spite of the challenge’ talk got me into big trouble last year and I have no desire to repeat that lesson. Besides, my motorcycle will be waiting when I return, and there’ll still be riding opportunities, even if they’re shorter.


Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 9.34.29 PM

Posted in Adventure

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:

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