Saturday, November 14, 2009

Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop - Part 2

Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop is owned and run by Walt Fulton (pictured above) and Nancy Foote. Walt is a former motorcycle racer, winning three times at Daytona, and Nancy, an experienced rider in her own right, is known as the Queen of the Backroads. I had the wonderful opportunity to take their workshop today. We started our day at the Hampton Inn conference room in Lancaster, CA. Early on, Walt emphasized the need for head turns and to "look where you want to go". He stated, "If your neck isn't sore by the end of today, I'm going to be disappointed!" The course also teaches a delayed apex in a corner for street riding. The delayed apex gives you a better look into the turn before committing to it. It also helps you stay clear of the center line (and potential center lane crossers) and sets you up for the next corner. It should be noted that this is very different than how you would approach a corner on the race track. The idea of the "tipping point" was also discussed. One comment I found to be very helpful is that your tipping point (the moment you "tip" or "lean" into your turn) should happen once you can see through the turn, allowing you to make a more informed decision about how to approach it.
After our short instruction in the classroom, we all rode over to the Willow Springs Raceway in nearby Rosamond. The course primarily takes place on the Horse Thief Mile track, which is set up like canyon road, but without any pesky oncoming traffic. You may recognize this course from numerous car commercials. We worked on our newly learned techniques and received constant feedback on our progress. I was lucky to have Walt as my track instructor. Actually, the entire staff is great all around. The other instructors are also extremely experienced and "the moms", Peggy and Liz, were there to make sure we ate a good lunch, drank enough water, and to answer any logistical questions. In addition to the "track time" we also worked on "precision exercises" on the practice pad, such as U-turns from a stop and emergency braking. Our graduation exercises consisted of a figure eight and offset weave course and another chance at the Horse Thief Mile, but this time in the reverse direction. I appreciated this final exercise as it allowed me to get a sense for the real progress I had achieved that day. The progress came in steps throughout the day, with a deeper understanding of the concepts as I went along.
In this course, I learned a lot and improved my skills, but I also met some great people - instructors and course participants alike. I had the opportunity to get to know some fellow BMW riders from the BMW Owners Club of San Diego and riders that follow Oh yeah, and my neck was sore at the end of the day, just like Walt had promised.

I am anxious to practice my newly-learned techniques. I can only hope that the Chicago weather affords me the opportunity....

Note: Special thanks to fellow-student, Kevin Wilson, for use of his photos for this blog.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop-Part 1

No fear. Today is Friday the 13th. Something bad is supposed to happen, right? Today it was all good. Last February, I entered a raffle to benefit the Women's Motorcyclist Foundation and Breast Cancer Research. In that raffle, I was the lucky winner of a free motorcycle class, but not just any class, the Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop in sunny California. My hosts, Walt Fulton and Nancy Foote, rolled out the red carpet. Walt picked me up yesterday at John Wayne Airport. We stopped at Kawasaki Motorcycles North American HQ in Irvine, CA, and I got a tour of the facilities. My first bike was a Kawasaki Vulcan Classic, so I have a soft spot in my heart for Kawis.

Today, Nancy and I met Phil (one of the track marshals at Streetmasters) at the Hill Street Cafe in La Cañada for breakfast . (Walt was kind enough to lend me his 1997 R1100RS!) It's located at the base of Angeles Crest Highway. Unfortunately, we couldn't take it, because of recent fires, it's closed... With Nancy, Queen of the Backroads, leading the way, we took 210 West to 5 North to 126 West in Santa Paula, and this where it starts to get interesting. 150 W goes to Ojai where we tooks pictures and got gas. Beautiful vistas. From there 33 North - my favorite part - as we came down the mountain - ahhh sweepers. And Nancy has mad skills, so she was the perfect person to follow (and emulate).

We stopped at the ranger station, Phil and I switched bikes and I rode his Goldwing for a bit. A first for me. I liked it and could see its benefits, especially on the expressway, but I felt way more comfortable on the BMW. From there, we took 166 to the Cerro Noroestre to the Mil Potrero Highway. We had a delightful lunch at La Lena at Pine Mountain. It was startin to get cold, it was in the 30s up there (and we saw snow on the mountain tops)! So I put on my winter gloves and we made our way to Lancaster. A rough guess at our route was taking Frasier Park Road to the old highway to Gorman Post to 138 to 3 Points Road through Elizabeth Lake on Lake Hughes Road to Quartz Hill through Antelope Valley into Lancaster. It was cold when we got there! In the 40s, but it seemed colder because of the wind. Happy to get inside and warm up.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Love of Chrome Thermal Give-Away

Leslie loves veggies and Leslie loves
motorcycles too. Leslie Loves Veggies Blog
and VaVaVroom got together to honor
Leslie's late brother, Ricky. Check out
Leslie's post and learn more about Ricky
and how you can enter to win a
The deadline is November 11, 2009.
Thanks Leslie!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October Ride

Big thanks to Kevin and Tom (pictured here) for a great ride today. We started at Flying Saucer in Humboldt Park for breakfast. Great fresh food. Then we set out to ride to Union Pier, Michigan. From Chicago, we took 94 east past Gary, Indiana to 20 east to 12 east through New Buffalo, MI to the Red Arrow Highway. Had a very nice lunch at the Whistlestop. Again, a place with great, fresh food. We were told by the folks in Whistlestop to find the signs for the circle tours. I think they are meant for bicyclists, but we loved them too. The day was gorgeous and the trees were in full color. There are quite a few wineries in the area and we rode past many grapefields. I had never been to that area before, but I know I will be back soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Motor Maids

While at the AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference this past July, I joined the Motor Maids, the first women's motorcycle riding organization in America. On Saturday, I met with fellow Motor Maid, Betty Craft Hartman. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the diner at Kegel's Harley-Davidson in Rockford. The diner is open daily for breakfast and lunch. Betty has been riding since the 1970's. When her son bought a bike, she helped him fix it up and decided that she should be able to ride it if she was fixing it. The rest is history. I am excited to be a part of such a legendary group of riding women!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ACEtoberfest October 2009

Although it was a damp, cold day, many scooter and motorcycle enthusiasts came out for the 2009 ACEtoberfest at Ace Motorcycle & Scooter in Chicago. The day included vendors, food (brats of course), beer (the good stuff), and a bike show. And I was hanging out with a winner that day. Chris from Criminal Customs took home two prizes! One for best American bike and one for the best custom. Congratulations Chris! Don't miss this event next year.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Have a New Title - PANK

Did you know that PANK is the new PINK? Melanie Notkin of, coined the term in a recent post on PANK stands for "Professional Aunts No Kids" (hey, that's me!). Notkin believes that retailers often make the mistake of assuming that all female customers are moms. Women control 85% of all household purchases, whether they are single, married, with kids, or without kids. And let's face it. Women like to shop. So marketers, keep this in mind when devising your sales strategy. Sure, keep the women's section next to the kid's section. That makes sense, but don't assume in your advertising that all of the women shopping have little ones at home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last Chance to Buy a Ticket for the Ultimate Bike Raffle 2

I just bought my ticket for the Ultimate Bike Raffle 2 sponsored by Bob's BMW. Proceeds benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. This is a great cause and you can win some super cool prizes including a 2010 BMW S1000RR. This bike rocks. I saw a prototype at the BMW MOA rally in July. It is super-light, extremely well-balanced, and has three different ride settings. Here is a picture of me testing it out. Street models will be available next year, but BMW already has racing versions on the circuit. Take a look at the Motorcycle Consumer News review here.

In the raffle you can also win an Edelweiss Ultimate Alps Tour and gear from BMW, Olympia, Rev'It and Scorpian. Hurry! Time is running out. You don't to miss this opportunity to help the kids and a very good chance to win some kick-ass prizes.

For outright donations:

For the Ultimate Bike Raffle or UBR2:

For info on the 2009 Ride for Kids:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference 2009

What we all have been waiting for - for three years! The last Women & Motorcycling Conference was held in Athen, Georgia in 2006. I attended back then and had a blast. Naturally, I was excited about the 2009 event in Keystone, Colorado in August. This time I went as a vendor for VaVaVroom, rather than a participant. Don't feel sorry for me that I had to work. I still had lots of fun. As you can see, Keystone is a beautiful place with the Snake River running through it. I have never been here in the summer, only to ski. I can't decide which time of year is more breathtaking. So many highlights from the week. I know many women were able to demo all sorts of motorcycles and scooters, shop for cool motorcycle stuff, attend information-packed seminars, and ride beautiful roads.
I am proud to announce that I am a new member of Motor Maids. Motor Maids Inc. was founded in 1940 and is the first women’s motorcycling organization in North America. Here I am with my new "sisters", Eva and Cynthia!

I also had good company around me at the conference. The vendor booths of Shelly Reiner from Girl Gear and Athena Ransom of Vagabond Choppers flanked the VaVaVroom booth. Shelly's company makes great jackets and pants for women and Athena is a custom bike builder.
Can you believe all of the cool people at this Streetmasters motorcycle workshops and Skip Harrison, author of All Who Wander Aren't Lconference? Well, there's more! Pictured to the left is Walt Fulton and Nancy Foote of ost. I am taking the Streetmasters course in November and plan to read Skip's book very soon!

I also had the pleasure to meet another author, Carla King. Carla and I have known each other through our mutual involvement in the Side Stand Up radio program, but have never met in person. What a treat! I now have an autographed copy of Carla's book, American Borders - also on the reading list.

I was visited on Saturday by Susie "Sunglasses" Sandstrom. Susie is the President of Sziols North America, which sells the best sports sunglasses on the market. There are lenses for everyone occasion. (I use them for motorcycling, softball, running, and biking.) And, they are indestructible. Great eye protection for the road and more. VaVaVroom will be carrying this top-notch brand very soon.

I have to give special thanks to my friends from Illinois, Rick and Jan Seymour. They were kind enough to visit me in my booth every day, watch it for me when I went to get lunch, gathered conference swag for me, and helped me pack up after the show.

For more post-conference coverage, go to Genevieve Schmitt (pictured below) is the editor and we had a chance to catch up in Keystone.

This is just a small sampling of the many amazing people in the world of motorcycling that I was blessed to meet and get to know. Who knows when and where the next one will be, but I'll mark my calendar as soon as I hear.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ride to the BMW MOA Rally in Johnson City, TN

My friend and riding buddy, Sandra, and I embarked on our third annual trek to the BMW MOA Rally. This year the rally was in Johnson City, TN. Here is a travel journal of our trip.

July 13, 2009
402 miles in IL, IN, KY
I left my place in Chicago at 10:00 AM and headed over to Sandra’s to put air in my tires and to pick her up. We left there around 10:45. Took the Skyway to 65 South in Indiana, then off to Kokomo, IN to have lunch with Tom Lowdermilk, the host of Side Stand Up. Tom treated us to pork tenderloin sandwiches and cheese burgers at the local pub. (Thanks, Tom!). Here is a picture of Tom and me after the feast.

Tom gave us a great route towards the KY dams and around Lexington. We hit the best route (229 South) at night. It would have been so fun in the daytime. We probably started looking for camping too late and there was no where to stay on the last stretch, so we rode until midnight until we found an Econo Lodge in Georgetown, KY. For $50/night, it was actually a pretty decent room. Other than a moth in Sandra’s bed, it was clean. Finally to bed at 1:00 AM.

July 14, 2009
312 Miles in KY,VA, TN

The next morning we planned our route – mainly 460 – 11 to 66 to 25 East to 58/421 to 181 South to 23/26 to Gray, TN for the BMW MOA Rally. Great riding especially on 11 and 66 in Kentucky. We arrived at the rally around 6:30 PM, found one Chicago Region BMW MOA member, - Skip and chatted with him a while. We then found Hank and Cindy, also CR BMW members, who led us to the Chicago Region tent and camping area (shown here).
We set up camp and finished that just in time to call in to my segment on Side Stand Up. Tom and I interviewed Sandra on her experiences with track days. I think she inspired a few listeners to try it! We finished that up just in time to join Hand and Cindy for dinner at Alta Cucina in Johnson City, TN. Great meal! Fresh food. Highly recommend it. When we got back it was late and to bed by midnight.

139 Miles in TN and VA

Got up at 6:30 AM to shower and eat. With a little caffeine I made it over to help Bob Henig and his crew set up the vendor booth for Bob's BMW. Sandra offered to help me get the VaVaVroom – wear set up and that made it go a lot faster. Bob was nice enough to bring in lunch. I think the VaVaVroom display looked pretty damn good. Check out a picture here.

After we finished there, we stopped at a gas station and saw Vince Winkel, the editor of BMW Owners News. Here is a silly picture of Vince and me.

We then took of on a short ride. Little did we know how much fun we would have. From Gray we took 23/26 NW to 81 North to Route 19 to 80 East through Hayter’s Gap (pronounced Highters). It was beautiful with lush green trees and fields, winding roads and then it got real interesting. Amazing switchbacks and sharp curves. It was so intense, I loved it. It was like a mini Tail of the Dragon. We barely saw any cars and no other motorcycles. We stopped at the Hayter’s Gap library to the washroom. Karen Poston, the librarian (and a talented musician and singer, was super nice (picture here). She asked us to sign the guest book, gave us a bookmark and recommended a restaurant for dinner. We found her restaurant – Harvest Table in Meadowsview, owned by Barbara Kingsolver and Steven Hopp, who has written many books on good eating. The food is all organic and really it was an amazing meal. Sandra and I shared the Black Bean and 3 cheese Quesadilla and Shrimp Sausage Jambalaya – yum. Attached to the restaurant is the Meadowview Farmer’s Guild – a quaint general store with locally made candies, honey, scarves, quilted bags and more. Really a great place.
It began to sprinkle as we were leaving so we got moving and jumped on 81 to 23/26 back to Gray. The ride wasn’t bad at all. We were happy to share our route with our friends at the camping area. Many new people arrived and it is becoming quite the gathering. See here how it looked with all of the tents. And this is before it got crowded!

July 16, 2009
2 miles in TN

Ah, the joys of camping. Difficult to fall asleep last night, even with earplugs and Tylenol PM. When it started raining though I found it easier – drowning out the people talking (or maybe the raining drove them inside) and someone snoring nearby. Up at 6:00 AM to shower and get ready for a busy day. Long lines by 7:00 for the men’s showers – ha but not for the women – for once we don’t have to wait.
Working at Bob’s BMW was fun this morning and we sold a lot. I gave a seminar on Women’s Motorcycle Apparel at 1:00 PM, similar to the one I gave last year. The room was full and we had great participation. You can find an article with the content of the presentation here.

On the way out of the seminar, I ran into Paul Loconti – who I met last year at our hotel in Gillette. See the Gillette, Wyoming blog for more about Paul. I visited my friends at LD Comfort in the afternoon and then went to say hi to Nate Kern, my motorcycle racer friend, at the BMW demo booth. Here is a picture of Nate introducing the new S1000RR.

Sandra and I were invited to the BMW On Magazine contributors dinner. Good food, nice people. They gave us a case of beer as a parting gift so we took it over to the CR- BMW MOA tent for the climb. After a short stay in the beer tent, we called it a night. It’s been hot – hearing it will cool off tomorrow.

July 17, 2009
0 miles in TN
Cold shower at 7:30 AM – but at least I didn’t have to wait in line. Coffee and donuts in the CR BMW tent and then off to a busy morning at Bob’s BMW booth. I was excited to find the Belice BMW riding jacket and pants significantly reduced at Blue Moon Cycle’s booth. $350 for both - what a deal! I will have to get the jacket altered but it still worth it. I'm sure I saved at least 40%. Sandra, Jonny and I tried to see Nate Kern’s presentation on his successful racing career, but there was standing room only by the time we got there. No room except for in the hallways. I went back to Bob’s booth and it was still busy. (Yay!)
Afterwards, I found Nate Kern and took him, Tallie Shelton (Director of Sales for the Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau) and Jim Doyle (Nate's pit manager) to the CR BMW BBQ. Many of the club members have heard about Nate so it was nice to introduce him. On the way to get funnelcake. I received a call from Dee Jones. another friend we met last year at Gillette. He had decided to come to the rally. It was really great catching up with him and hearing his crazy stories. Then Jim Doyle came along again and then Nate and Tallie in a side car. The rest of the night was spent in the CR BMW tent talking about riding and ghost stories! Jonny's story was the best.

July 18, 2009
80 miles in TN, NC
“Slept in” until 7:00 AM. Cold shower and breakfast. Worked at Bob’s BMW booth for an hour. Then I ducked out to take a short ride with a group from CR BMW. From Gray, TN, we rode 25 East to 107 South at the TN/NC border 109 turns into 395. The group continued on 226 North I turned back right before that to get back to work Bob’s booth. After shutting down the booth, we went over to see the presentation of the awards and raffle prizes – great prizes by the way! Bob bought The Bob’s – BMW Road Crew dinner (Thanks, Bob!) and we relaxed outside Fred’s airstream trailers. The picture here is the entire crew - Henry, Fred, Mike, Denise, Sam and Bob. When they headed back to their hotel, Sandra and I made our way back to the tents. What a nice surprise to see a great fireworks show. It lasted a long time. Then with our new friend, Scott from Neenah, WI, we made our last trek to the beer tent. Not much sleep again – getting to bed at midnight plan to get up at 6:00 AM to pack up and leave.

July 19, 2009
339 Miles in TN, KY, IN

Up at 6:00 Am but slow going – wet tents and disorganization delayed departure. Here is a picture of the Chicago gang (plus Scott from Wisconsin). With the help of Dan Trampel; Jonny, Sandra and I decided on a route – which was 23 North through Kingsport, TN. I was leading and missed a turn. Luckily, I figured it out, in time and we didn’t have to back track too much. With the help of Jonny’s GPS, we found the road we were looking for – Rte 15 through Kentucky. It was a nice pretty route. Jonny needed to get home tonight, so he left us to take Rte 75 from 64 W North while Sandra and I proceeded along 64 West – stopped at a rest area and saw fellow club member, Sue Daniels, and met some other BMW riders. We checked our directions and found a quick way to 421 North. This was the best road fo the day. Beautiful farmland, sweeping curves.
A nice woman at a gas station in New Castle, KY, gave us directions to get around the 421 detour and get to our final destination for the evening Madison, IN. A cute resort town on the Ohio River. Lots of B&B’s and Antique shops. Too tired to camp. We found a Comfort Inn and ordered Domino’s pizza! Hot showers!

July 20, 209
381 Miles in IN, IL

Wonderful to sleep in a bed! And an actual 8 hours too. Up at 6:30 AM, packing and complimentary breakfast at the Comfort Inn. On the road around 8:45. How did that take us so long? Well I guess we spent some time planning our route. Which was 56 West to Salem, 135 North to Morgantown. Once again many thanks to Dan Trampel for the suggested toute. 135 was a great road – who knew Indiana has such great roads? Lot of curvy roads, through open fields and wooded areas. The ride was really amazing for all but one part, I think I ran over a turtle and hit a bird. I saw the turtle and either I got target fixation (or turtle fixation) or he jumped out in front of me, I think we all know what happened. Sandra says she saw a bird hit my bike but I didn’t see it and I couldn’t find a splat. Well hopefully they are both ok. I felt SUPER bad (and not like the movie). Maybe I just scared the turtle and nicked him a bit. Moving on to better thoughts. Food. We had lunched at Kathy’s Café in Morgantown. Great fresh food. The hot ham and cheese sandwich had ham shaved from the bone, fresh backed chewy pie and coffee is only a dime if you buy food. Our waitress was a delight.

From there we took 252 West to 44 West briefly to 39 North through Clayton and Danville, IN. 236 West through Roachdale 231 North, 234 West. More great roads. Lots of cornfields, open fields in little valleys, more curvy roads, and wooded areas. After we rode through Georgetown and Cayaga, IN we're not 100% sure which roads we took to get over to Rte. 49 in Illinois. We thought we could figure out how to ride by some state parks on county roads (that weren’t marked on the map). Well we did with the help from a nice man from Illiana Seed. We did find a couple gravel roads down the way but over all it was nice to fly along the country roads. We picked up 39 North somewhere west of Catlin and flew by the cornfields and farmhouses until we reached Kankakee. Stopping for gas and McDonald's for dinner. Sandra walked into the men’s room and couldn’t figure out why there urinals in there. She walked out and checked the door, looked up to see the manager watching her come out. No – she didn’t get kicked out. He laughed and said he was watching to make no one else went in. After our healthy dinner of cheeseburgers and fries we took 57 North to 94 East to the city. Home by 8:00 PM.

Really a great trip, amazing riding, got to know some club members better, connected with old friends, good for business. And confirmed that those who wander are not always lost (but sometimes they are).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Softer Side of Motorcycles

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world,” Susan B. Anthony once said. She wasn’t talking about motorcycles but I believe that quote rings true for women today that ride them. The freedom I feel on my motorbike is like no other experience. That is one of the reasons I am thrilled to be the female correspondent to Side Stand Up, “the world’s only motorcycle radio road show”, where I have the opportunity to share my love of motorcycles with other like-minded individuals. What was once considered a man’s world is quickly changing. Every time we ladies break a barrier, I get pretty excited. When I started riding seven years ago, there were few resources out there for me and other lady riders. A lot has changed since then. I hope that my participation in the show will help inform and entertain not only women, but show more men that we are an important part of the riding community.

Side Stand Up streams live from their website every Tuesday from 8:00 – 10:00 PM EST. Many of us listeners and guests of the show log into the chat room during the program, where a lively conversation ensues around the topics of the evening. Riders and enthusiasts of all makes and models are welcome. Side Stand Up was created and is hosted by Tom Lowdermilk, a serious rider with a laid back attitude and sharp sense of humor. Tom started the show in September 2007 after returning from an adventurous motorcycle trip through 40 US states and parts of Canada – 42,656 miles in 178 days. He is writing a book called Side Stand Up about the trip he calls “BFE N BAK” (as found on his license plate). Many people that he met along the way are featured guests on the show.
My segments focusing on the ladies airs every second Tuesday of the month. My first two shows focused on resources for women riders and CTEK battery chargers – the smartest battery chargers in the market. During my segments, I will cover other helpful products in the industry (both equipment and riding gear) and women-focused events like the 2009 AMA Women & Motorcycling Conference. I will also highlight motorcycle businesses that are run by women and helpful for the female motorcyclist.

My introduction to the show was by Nate Kern, who has made a name for himself racing for BMW. Nate is a regular guest on Side Stand Up, updating listeners on the world of motorcycle racing. The highlight of 2008 was when Nate clinched the ASRA Thunderbike championship. I admire Nate’s tenacity on the track and his friendly nature off the track. If you ever see Nate at a race, say “hello”. He appreciates his fans greatly. Other regular guests and correspondents include folks that are experts in motorcycle history, the law (from a police officer’s point of view), dual-sport riding, new motorcycle models coming on the market, medicine and health issues while riding, and motorcycle authors and bloggers.

Please join us on every Tuesday from 8:00 to 10:00 PM EST for a show that is fun for all riders. And don’t worry, if you miss an episode you can download past episodes from the Side Stand Up archive.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Photo Shoot at Ace Motorcycle and Scooter

Last week, VaVaVroom received a message from Motorcycle Product News Magazine (MPN) that we could send them some photos for an upcoming spread. We called our friends at Ace Motorcycle and Scooter at 1042 W. Jackson in Chicago to see if we could use their space for the photo shoot. They said "Sure, no problem!". Awesome. With little preparation, limited pick of models, and a budding photographer, we set out to take some rockin' pics. We took over 300 pictures. We share the best ones with you here.

I HEART Motorcycles long sleeve thermal and Viva Lacet tank

Ride tee from the Chopper Chic Collection. The Ride tee looks great on scooters too!

Talk Dirty to Me in a burnout tee and lettuce edge tee

Those Girls - Sport Bike Edition tank and Scooter tank in white

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dealer Expo 2009

Last month, VaVaVroom participated in the 2009 Dealer Expo in Indianapolis. This is where motorcycle and scooter dealers converge to see the new products in the industry. I am very thankful for all of the help that I had from my friends. Pat and Sandra made the trip to Indy out of the goodness of their hearts and spent the weekend talking to prospective customers on behalf of VaVaVroom. Ed, one of VaVaVroom's sales reps, was also a tremendous help at the booth. We made some great contacts and made some fantastic sales. Although the motorcycle industry is having its share of issues, there are bright spots as well. Scooter sales were up in 2008, mainly due to the high gas prices last year. That trend is expected to continue as commuters look for inexpensive ways to get to work. Also, many dealers believe that although consumers may not buy as many new vehicles this year, they will not cut out there passion, just cut back. And that gives them the opportunity to stock up and sell apparel and other accessories.

VaVaVroom also received some great press from the show. For example, Vince and Mandy from BMW ON Magazine stopped and took a great shot of the VaVaVroom girls. AND he says he'll feature VaVaVroom in the magazine. Thanks Vince!

The Dealer Expo is not just about buying for the season. It is also about having some fun. Ed, Sandra, Pat, and I had a great dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery. Dinner was followed by an invitation by George, another VaVaVroom rep, to join him and his colleagues for a night of fun. So George sent a car for us. "Why are you sending a car?", I asked. George replied, "Because it's f ' ing Valentine's Day." Ah yes, it was Valentine's Day and we appreciated the gesture. So our driver, Rick, arrived to pick us up and took us to Iaria's Restaurant, a charming, authentic Italian restaurant that's been around since 1933. While George finished dinner with his crew, he made sure we were comfortable at the bar with our bartender, Dominick. Us girls enjoyed martinis and wondered what the night had in store for us. After Iaria's, the night for us ended at Jillian's. I always have fun at Jillian's and this night was no exception. I really can't share any more of details of the night, but trust me, we had fun!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome to the 2009 Motorcycling Season

Well, the motorcycle season has officially started for me. The Cycle World International Motorcycle show rolled through Chicago this past weekend. Although it appeared there were slightly fewer vendors this year, it was well attended and many vendors said that they did better than the year before. Luckily, VaVaVroom sales were brisk at the DGY Motorsports booth. That is encouraging given our country’s economic troubles.

Of course, I had to check out the BMWs and see the latest. The new BMW S 1000 RR race bike will compete in the World Superbike Championship in 2009. There will be a limited number of production bikes hitting the dealerships in Germany this summer. Expect to see this model in the US in 2010.

I also checked out the Vespa scooters. I like this Portofino Green color on the GTV 250 that Sandra is sporting.

I spent my Friday night at the Women and Motorcycling booth promoting the 2009 AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference to be held August 19-22 in scenic Keystone, Colorado. I attended the last conference that was held in 2006 in Athens, Georgia and had a blast. Demo rides, seminars, shopping, guided rides, parties. Although it is a women’s conference, men are welcome to attend with their significant other.

I spent my Saturday night at the Chicago Region BMW Owner’s Association booth, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary. I was a little ticked off that I missed the birthday cake that day, but I got over it - but only because I had dinner that night at Giannotti Italian Steakhouse in Schiller Park. Not only did I meet my new boyfriend there (pictured to the right), but we had a wonderful meal in a charming environment. Early on, one of the owners Larry came by our table to see how we were doing. When I told him that this was our first time at the restaurant, he insisted that we try the vodka sauce over mostaccioli (for free). We then ordered the house pinot grigio. The waiter informed us that they were out and that we would receive the Santa Margarita pinot grigio for the house price. Then, the waiter misunderstood our order and brought orders of two chicken parmigiana and one zuppa di pesce when we thought we ordered two orders of zuppa di pesce and one chicken parmigiana. We decided we had plenty of food and did not have him correct the order. He insisted on taking one of the entrees off the bill. He did what great restaurants do. He turned a potentially negative experience into a positive one. We will definitely be going back. You can see how happy we look here in front of the lovely Valentine’s Day display. I am now realizing that although this is a motorcycle blog, I got carried away with food. Signing off now…