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The Bigger Picture Journey

Monday, January 24th, 2011 RIDING Comments Off on The Bigger Picture Journey


What happens when a ride turns into something bigger? Like my last adventure ride around Oregon. What’s funny is I felt in my gut before leaving that this ride would open doors. These weren’t ordinary doors like connections for work or leads to material gains.

These were the doors to my soul.

It’s no surprise that the world at large is feeling something bubbling up from beneath. Chaos and the crumbling of archaic systems are visible all around us. The time has come for change in the dawning of this new age. It was this change that brought me to my knees three years ago after my divorce and the loss of my home. But, it took me being shaken that traumatically from the world that I knew to
force me to search for answers within. This search would ultimately lead me to the brightest climb of my life…my inner journey of coming home.

It wasn’t until I threw a leg over my bike, Jack, this last October for a loop around Oregon on an eight day solo journey that I realized my calling. This ride was centered around learning a healing technique called muscle testing from an
acupuncturist in Portland. This technique is based upon tapping into intuitive
answers to yes and no questions, which can include health, life, truth, you
name it. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye, and it eventually led me
down the path of trusting my own stronger intuition in the end. But, all in
all, it was an inner journey to beat all others.

Throughout my Oregon ride, my people connections proved to be magical in many ways. When individuals
would approach me on my bike after realizing I was a woman on a solo motorcycle
ride our conversations would always drift to the lure of living life in a big
way. Invariably, we would all agree that there was some kind of excitement in
the air. That something bigger was happening. Often times, we would walk away
feeling the charge of electricity between two people excited about life.

Since October, my intuition has gotten stronger and I have begun to feel buzzing in
my feet, legs and sometimes my hands. When something rings true to my heart and
soul I get goosebumps and sometimes tears in my eyes. These telltale signs of
connection keep me on the path that is meant for me at this time. I am deeply
feeling the energy and electricity of others all around me, and am repelled by
negativity in people and situations and avoid them at all costs. One of the
biggest draws in this feeling of coming home is the feeling of a very deep
connection within the amazing community of adventure riders, and those who have
responded to my ride reports. This family that I have built around me gives me
this feeling of security, warmth and the love of life that draws me in.

An additional byproduct of this bigger picture journey is my pull to living a healthier
lifestyle, which includes eating fresh, organic fare, exercise that feeds my
body and soul, and meditation that helps me find the answers within.
Synchronicity and coincidences that aren’t really coincidences are happening at
a higher daily rate, as well. Opportunities and people to help me along my path
are being placed before me. This gives me such hope that all will fall into
place the way it should for an exciting future that is right around the corner.

What really hits home from this journey, though, is the realization of my calling or
purpose. I feel so drawn to healing in some way. I’m not sure if I will become
a healer or will inspire others through my adventurous living and loving. But
either way, I have walked away from this ride knowing that I am doing exactly
what I should be doing for my soul’s journey…riding, writing, creating through
photography and product design, and letting everyone know that something big
and wonderful is here.

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Giving Myself the Gift of Moto Escape

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 RIDING Comments Off on Giving Myself the Gift of Moto Escape

Nicole gives herself the gift of riding.

The last time I rode my DRZ, Jack, was on my soul-filling Oregon adventure ride in October. He’d been in the shop since then just waiting for me to get him out of hawk. Two months away from my bike was synonymous to slow water drip torture. In the meantime, life got in the way. Whisking kids off to school, soccer and playdates forced the excuse to use the cage/car. But for those beautiful, peaceful moments while the kids were at school these past couple of months still had me enclosed in a cage. Little by little, my patience got shorter and daily responsibilities began to weigh on me.

At the time, I didn’t link the lack of my bike to the sole cause of my slipping zen mindset. At least, not until this weekend when I picked Jack up from the shop and brought him home where he belonged. No downpour could keep
me from riding my bike down to the L.A. Motorcycle Show this last Saturday.
And, it wasn’t until I was layered for the weather, mounting the bike and
zipping out of the garage did I realize how very, very much I had missed this
experience that I so need in my life.

I was laughing out loud in my helmet, talking to myself, and
smiling so hard that my cheeks popped out over the tight helmet pads…

“Oh my gosh, this is living!!!”

“Man, have I missed this!”


Now this holiday season as I fill myself with giving to
others, I make sure I take the time to give myself the ultimate gift of
life…time on my bike.

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Overland Expo 2011 Registration Open: Don’t Miss the Adventure

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 EVENTS Comments Off on Overland Expo 2011 Registration Open: Don’t Miss the Adventure

Saddleback Leather rig gets help setting up.

Saddleback Leather rig gets help setting up.

Rolling up to this event last year on Jack, my DRZ, had me drooling. I pulled in behind a procession of vendor overland vehicles chomping at the bit to set up their adventure wares. That was not the last time I had to put my tongue back in my mouth after ogling adventure vehicles that weekend.

As the following three days of inspiration, education and demonstration unfolded, this event, put together by Roseann Hanson of ConserVentures, proved to be the leader of the pack in the adventure travel industry.

The stellar quality of this show pulls in quality vendors, which include this year’s killer partnership of BMW and Rawhyde Adventures sponsoring a special motorcycle course that includes BMW motorcycles to demo. You can also add recovery and skills courses to your list of classes to enjoy after lining up the next adventure motorcycle for your stable.

The schedule of classes will be out in the fall, so come sign up for the Overland newsletter to stay apprised of the up-and-coming hot list of new and exciting classes. In the meantime, come sample some of last year’s smorgasbord of classes, while keeping your tongue in your mouth:

-Adventure Motorcycle Riding – Loaded

-Choosing & setting up an adventure motorcycle

-Tire Repair: Motorcycle

-Chain Repairs – Motorcycle

-Loading & Lashing: 2 Wheels

-Motorcycle Electrics: Setting up the extras

…and workshops:

-Packing and Packing Lists

-Overlanding without a fridge — can it be done? (coolers + moto)

-Overland cooking / Eating locally

-Food: Storage, preparation & local supply

-Capturing the Adventure: Overland Videography

-Documentation for international travel: The Carnet

-Overland wired: Staying online off-grid

-Capturing the Adventure: Overland Photography

If you are a vendor, the exhibitor spaces go fast, so you won’t want to take a long time in the decision process. I have already registered for my first vendor exhibit at OX11, and am so excited.

They open individual classes up early in the year around mid-January or so. Paid registrants receive notification and can select classes through the online system at that time.

The Overland Experience registrations will fill up, so getting a jump start on those are important if you want to be included in the driving, riding and special seminar courses from experts around the world.

The day passes are unlimited, so if you’re unfortunate enough to miss the Overland Experience registration then you can sign up for a day pass. You can see the difference between the package and the day pass here.

If you want to get a raw and fun look at OX10 from Dave Muson of Saddleback Leather, come check out his great YouTube video of the event. You can see Dave’s overland rig with some of his beautiful leather bags and luggage in the above photo. Don’t miss this adventure of the year! www.overlandexpo.com.

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My Motorcycle is My Home

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 RIDING Comments Off on My Motorcycle is My Home

"You can take my home, but you can't take my bike!"

"You can take my home, but you can't take my bike!"

I can make any place with four walls and a roof my sanctuary to nurture my family and work life. But, it’s my bike that I need for my sanity. That’s my connection to the glorious world of nature and adventure where I become one with my core and the earth. All it takes for me to recharge my batteries is the sight of my bike, Jack B. Nimble, packed for an adventure ride and then…

I know I’m home.

Who cares what this economy has heaped on me. It can’t take away what I hold most dear…my freedom and the ability to instill in my kids a lust for life. It’s that passion for life that really surfaces in me when I’m on my solo rides and pondering some of the deeper questions of existence. Specifically, have I learned some of the biggest lessons of my life? I actually think that my most recent lesson of letting go is my biggest one. Graduation from the schooling of that one seems to be knocking on my door. Not soon enough, or so it seems. But, then again I realize that it’s all playing out the way it is meant to for me to climb to the next level.

When contemplating the “climb” the other day, I had a revelation about how I am going to be successful in both work and daily life. It is going to be through my personal connections with people. It’s funny how I crave that, especially on my solo rides where the interpersonal stories or strangers living their own journeys is what’s most intriguing to me. Here we are thrown together on this Earth in various cultures and communities, and through international adventure rides or everyday interactions we can find that we are all one.

There are commonalities that just can’t tear us apart, no matter what wars are being projected on the news. Have you ever been a rider on one of those adventure rides out in the middle of nowhere and your bike breaks down? Ever needed any help beyond what your tools or mechanical expertise can reach? Isn’t it amazing how a stranger in a foreign land or a fellow ADV rider appears out of nowhere to lend a helping hand? How about the exchange of love and laughter between a rider and children in a third world country? It’s those priceless moments on the road that demonstrate that home is really where the bike goes in the journey of life. So the next time the bank says, “foreclosure”, I’ll answer, “You can take my home, but you just can’t take my bike!”

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Overlanding and Inspiration

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 EVENTS Comments Off on Overlanding and Inspiration

"Let's kick this beemer into overdrive and get to Overland Expo, pronto!"

"Let's kick this beemer into overdrive and get to Overland Expo, pronto!"

Adventure riding is a lure for me in so many ways, especially, solo riding. To me, it has always been the journey that holds the growth of spirit without focus on the destination. It is the challenges that arise on every adventure and the connection with nature and people that whispers to me to hop on my bike to discover new land.

By exploring solo, I can quiet myself to feel the beauty around me that is so inspirational for the soul. This, in a nutshell, is called “overlanding”, which is the self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal.

Our industry has a new name that celebrates and inspires this very meaning of overlanding…the “Overland Expo”.

This exciting one-stop three day event, on April 16, 17 and 18,  is in its second year providing a large venue that is designed to educate and inspire people to get out and discover the world. Additionally, spreading awareness about conservation of our land is a key focus for Overland Expo director, Roseann Hanson. Roseann takes pride in presenting the first event that encompasses education, conservation, and inspiration, while getting familes and women involved in huge numbers. Last year, almost fifty percent of the attendees and instructors were women. Now that’s something to get excited about.

The 40 classes and workshops are a great way to grab that valuable hands-on education for safe adventure travel with off-road motorcycles and vehicles, while respecting the natural landscapes.

How can you resist class names like these:

  • Adventure Motorcycle Riding- Loaded
  • Choosing & setting up an adventure motorcycle
  • Tire Repair: Motorcycle
  • Chain Repairs: Motorcycle
  • Loading & Lashing: 2 Wheels
  • Motorcycle Electrics: Setting up the extras

…or workshops like these:

  • Packing and Packing Lists
  • Overlanding without a fridge — can it be done? (coolers + moto)
  • Overlanding cooking/Eating locally
  • Food: Storage, preparation & local supply
  • Capturing the Adventure: Overland Videography
  • Documentation for international travel: The Carnet
  • Overland Wired: Staying online off-grid
  • Capturing the Adventure: Overland Photography

With 65+ exhibitors like Wolfman, Black Dog Cycle Works and Rawhyde Adventures it’s sure to whet your whistle for adventure immediately. And, in  addition to the exhibitors and classes, you’ll find on-site camping and social opportunities like happy hours and a BBQ to kick things up a notch.

To round out the inspiration, there will be special guests guaranteed to set your adventure-loving spirit on fire. At the very least, you will really enjoy digging into these solo adventurists’ backgrounds, who will be three of the guest speakers:

  • Ara Gureghian: “Oasis of My Soul“, author of the most heart-felt solo adventurer’s blog; avid photographer; travelling partner to his adventurous pit bull, Spirit; and so much more.
  • Lois Pryce: “Lois on the Loose“, author of two incredibly adventurous books, “Lois On The Loose” which is her first book, telling the story of her ride from Alaska to Argentina, and according to the Sunday Telegraph, “it roars along at a breakneck pace, and is full of funny asides and snappy accounts”; and, “Red Tape & White Knuckles“, the book of her ride through Africa. “Lois Pryce knows what it takes to be a fun, fearless female. She rode solo from London to Cape Town, with the barest of essentials” –Cosmopolitan
  • Austin Vince: “Mondo Enduro“, author of “Mondo Enduro“, one of the first fully documented round-the-world adventure rides on unprecedented smaller sized bikes, 350cc’s, with virtually no riding experience; subject of two popular DVD’s: “Mondo Enduro” and “Terra Circa“. Vince’s best known quote, “Just go for it.”

The popularity of this amazing event is growing in monumental leaps and bounds, so you better act fast if you want to catch anything this year. In fact, full registration may be closed by the time you read this. They may have some day passess left or you can always plan for next year. Either way, you should take a peek at their trailer to help get you excited.

Adventure riding is a growth industry, so why not come out and get inspired…


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Dualsporter’s Support Beats a Belt and Suspenders

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 RIDING Comments Off on Dualsporter’s Support Beats a Belt and Suspenders

"Never fear extra dualsporter's support is here!"

"Never fear extra dualsporter's support is here!"

It’s amazing how one commonality of straddling a motorcycle can corral such a big group of the kindest, most supportive and adventuresome people I know. Look at any ride report on ADV rider website and you’ll find that the response to any rider in trouble is astronomical. There are many heroic riders out there who would ride for hours over many miles to save a fellow dual sport or adventure rider from a tough situation in the boonies. Yes, it is a tightly knit bunch, to say the least. So, what is it that binds us together like Threadlocker?

Love of life.

It’s that intoxicating thirst for adventure that gets us out there buying the bike in the first place, but, it’s that love of life that keeps us out there riding, experiencing, and living it time and time again. Witnessing someone else in the process of loving life on an adventure ride is especially inspirational. Just look at any one of the highly viewed ride reports on the ADV rider website like “The Oasis of my Soul, 4th Year on The Road” by Ara Gureghian, or Beemerchef as we all know him, with 155,387 views. The reason Ara has such a large following is because he writes from the heart in a colorful, engaging and deeply humanistic way. You can’t help but walk away from his ride report and blog touched with a new perspective on life or deeply moved by his photography. Ara easily demonstrates a love of life through his continuous adventure ride with his 4-legged cohort, Spirit, in his sidecar that is now into its 4th year of communing with Mother Nature. Many of us stand up and cheer when we witness an adventurer of life like Ara, especially when he is one of our own. These larger than life adventure riding stories can transport any of us from the daily grind and seduce us into living the adventure vicariously.

Personally, I don’t find it coincidental that my adventure riding started the same year I experienced a huge shift in personal growth. My yearning for independence, exploration and one-ness with nature shook hands with the wide-eyed idea of adventure riding and there was no looking back. Plus, my kids were finally old enough to understand that mommy “needed” to go on these trips for so many reasons. With each solo ride, I experience an enormous feeling of “coming home” once I cathartically expel my experience into a ride report on ADV Rider and am supported by the many riders that have welcomed me back. Some of that glorious support has grown into some magical friendships that make me realize that no matter the obstacle in front of me I am not alone in having to overcome it.

We are a unique group that is woven tightly together by its strong brotherhood and lust for life. With this sense of belonging, we can tackle any hardship and know that in the bigger picture it isn’t this small obstacle that matters, but rather the feeling of belonging to a larger family that has your back.

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Livin’ the Dream: Grand Canyon Ride

Monday, November 2nd, 2009 RIDE REPORTS Comments Off on Livin’ the Dream: Grand Canyon Ride

nicole-zoom-red-rocks-fatty-crop_jeffThe load you carry at the beginning of an adventure ride is usually much bigger than the load you bring home. That’s because half the load is the stress of life that starts to melt away as soon as you make the decision to go. Yet, who influences that decision is usually significant others, family members or kids. Even if it takes permission to get out the door, It makes it that much harder to get that permission if no one understands the yearning of the adventure ride.

As a single mother, getting away for a week meant that I was going to need to pull some pretty big strings. This is why this week long solo trip looping the Grand Canyon from Los Angeles was such a big deal for me, even when my kids understood Mommy‘s yearning for adventure. I had to move heaven and Earth, so I could be plucked away from my busy daily routine that is easily likened to quicksand and the squeeze of demands from every direction.

It was time to set myself free.

So, there I was…free to yield to the whims of the road and whatever adventure rolled my way. This was me making my dream of designing aftermarket accessories come to fruition. This was me feeling independence and freedom at this point of my life. This was me feeding my soul. And, because I was feeding it on so many different levels, I began to see life and how I fit in it with a whole new perspective.

Having to rely solely upon myself for everything on this trip gave me the perspective of a new confidence that I brought back for my business and other areas of my life. That confidence gave me the belief in myself, so that I could be resourceful and have faith that I could get myself out of every tough situation that arose. › Continue reading

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Planning an Adventure Motorcycle Trip

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 RIDING Comments Off on Planning an Adventure Motorcycle Trip

maps-in-living-room-w-orangutan-map-cropThe digital age can’t compare to the fun of spreading out maps and organizing binders filled with trip routes to be looked over and touched for years to come. Yeah, I’m the type that likes to open up scrapbooks and family photo albums while sharing the memories with others sitting beside me. It’s just not the same when all of you are crouched around the computer screen with someone else’s trigger finger on the mouse.

Sure you can forward your ride reports to your family and friends, but what if your computer goes down like mine has twice this year. Do you want to risk losing your data and memories? Nothing compares to the fold-up maps that can be stuffed into your tank bag window.

Touchy, feely is important to me…in books and albums, in buying motorcycle apparel and in planning motorcycle adventures. I’m a tactile person that likes to feel quality with my fingertips. My touch doesn’t mislead me. Plus, half the fun of the trip is in the anticipation, planning, information gathering and touching before your butt even hits the seat. › Continue reading

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Dual Sport Tool Kit Magic

Friday, April 24th, 2009 GEAR Comments Off on Dual Sport Tool Kit Magic

"Watch me pull a tire iron out of a hat."

"Watch me pull a tire iron out of a hat."

Tool kits are like health prevention … you don’t think about it until something’s broken.

Sometimes, when you’re a newbie and just getting started on rides you might be lucky enough to hook up with a group of riders with at least one guy or gal who’s been around the block, make that trail, when it comes to changing tires.

While watching him work his magic on the flat, you will probably find a well-rounded tool kit in this magician’s bag of tricks lying on the ground next to him.

A fine-tuned tool kit may take years to develop, especially for the singular needs of your bike. But, if you take some advice from the riders who have been servicing their own bikes in the field for a long time then you’re one step ahead of the game. › Continue reading

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Beating this Economy with Dual Sports

Sunday, April 12th, 2009 RIDING Comments Off on Beating this Economy with Dual Sports

Man with pink slip on KTM

"Pink slip, shmink slip."

Pink slip just hit your desk? Can’t qualify for a loan modification on your house? Your underwear so worn out even your holes have holes? Well, don’t knock your head against your Facebook wall, hop on your dual sport and hit the trails.

If there’s one thing to make you forget about your holey underwear it’s participating in nature…being one with it. When you’re out there dancing on the throttle through some rocky terrain you tend to forget about the economy and how it’s affecting you.

But if the daily casualties of the economy are unavoidable, then let’s equal it out by first looking at the fact that only dual sports and scooters had an increase in sales in ’08. No other bikes pulled that off according to the stats from the Motorcycle Industry Council Retail Sales Report. › Continue reading

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