Jay Leno collects motorcycles. He loves to renovate them, relate stories about them, and ride them. He parks them in Jay’s Garage, please don’t confuse it with a museum. Like Jay, thousands of riders collect motorcycles. I am not one of them.
I collect skills. At the recent International Motorcycle show in San Mateo, California, I immediately ran to the sessions held at the "Hub," and then headed for the "Women Ride" area where topics from conquering twisties to confident cornering (great session, Dr. Harry Wong!), filled our fingers, feet and eyes with competence.
I then cruised the show for accessories to support our bodies and our bikes, accessories that eliminate any attention on comfort or safety issues, accessories that inspire us to focus on our favorite riding elements — aesthetics and fun.
Here are three of them to consider for your spring riding gearup:
Roll the Wrapter
What I love best about this product is the philosophy of its creator, Andrea D’Assis. Andrea’s mission is "to promote us, women bikers." She adds that "more awareness of women riders will encourage manufacturers to produce more women-sized gear and bikes."
Andrea creates what she advocates with a one-size-fits-all ponytail wrap. Called the wrapter, this patent-pending machine-washable hair accessory protects, keeps kinks and tangles away, so your eyes are totally on the road. When you’re not riding, you can stuff it in your gym or travel bag, at the ready for a run in the wind or that first twirl on the dance floor. The website www.wrapter.com brims with suggested uses in addition to motorcycle riding, so you can stock up on all three colors, black, pink and red, each $9.95 with free shipping stateside. Click on "How to Use" on the website and in four easy steps, you see how to wrap your tresses. When you get off your bike, just unroll the wrapter and shake your head. If your evening snarls, it won’t be due to your hair. Click here for video demo.
Wrap it Up with Rescue Tape
Speaking of wrapping, as my husband Will and I wrapped around the curves of Pope Valley near famed Napa wine country, I noticed my left mirror started to jiggle. Hmmm, about a quarter of a mile further, it started to shake. Then, another hundred yards up the road, it started to sway, and I could not tell if one or two cars gained on me. I hooked my left hand over my head, and pointed to the shoulder. Will and I pulled over. He waved a wrench and tightened that baby down. A minor rescue for him.
A major realization for me. Though I can measure my tire pressure, and wrap a roast beef for a roadside lunch, my acumen with a wrench consists of handing it to someone else. When out on the road solo facing something wrong or broken in the rain, I would reach for Rescue Tape long before the wrench.
Proclaimed as "the ultimate multi-purpose self-fusing repair tape," that "significantly exceeds the military specification set forth for silicone tape," it gives me peace of mind to have a roll in my tool kit. It’s called self-fusing as it bonds to itself, creating an airtight seal. When you stretch it, it overlaps like a band-aid. However, the staff at the booth assured me that you could pull out your utility knife or scissors and cut it off with no sticky residue.
I would have walked by this booth were it not for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" poster inviting a look. People on the movie set used it to fix everything from leaking hoses to broken and frayed electrical wires.
You will feel like a hero if a friend’s bike springs a leak. Seal it, keep going and it will get you to the petrol station, and beyond. You can even use it to repair a damaged spark plug wire. I heard stories of bikers who used the tape to fix a leak and never got around to making the actual repair. Since it sticks to itself, you need not worry about gas, oil, or water ruining the adhesive. I always have extra chocolate in my kitchen to fuel my imagination. A roll of Rescue tape may just do the same for a moto emergency. Plus, you will find friendly prices at www.rescuetape.com.
Ready to Light Up? Check out FastLights
Every season, fashion runways fill with new styles, demanding we reach deeper into our pockets for a "look." Well, you can treat your bike to a new look with FastLights and Skinny’z LED Light, super-bright LEDs you can wrap anywhere on your motorcycle.
The LEDs come in strips with a set of wires attached to both ends. You can even cut them in half. I loved the ten-inch Skinny’z Strips. You can match them to your outfit, as they come in nine colors, including white, red, blue, amber, orange, green, pink, yellow and purple.
The Fast Lights come in pods: you can glow with a start-up 6 pod, 48 LED system. Priced at $39, it includes a wireless remote. If you get hooked on the color, you can move up to the Engine Compartment Package Kit with 60 lights, (includes waterproof toggle-button switch), then the Full Glow Kit with 176 lights. If that’s not bright enough, the Full Maximum Glow Kit with Ground Effects may be just for you with 392 LEDs. Yours for $319.
The next time you decide to ride for a cause, check out FastLights, as a team of cancer supporters did when they outfitted their bikes with pink. As with the wrapter, you will find installation instructions on the website, www.fastlightsleds.com.
I love going to motorcycle shows, seeing unique gear, sitting on unique bikes and filling up on knowledge as well as extending my personal wish list. The first thing on it for 2011 is riding down to sunny LA and visiting Jay’s Garage. What a show that would be!