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adventure motorcycle

Lowering the DRZ400S

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 PRODUCT REVIEW Comments Off on Lowering the DRZ400S

My lowered DRZ

I guess some of the shorter off-road studs get used to sliding off their seat at a stoplight with one foot on the ground, while maintaining total balance and control of the bike at the drop of a green light. Personally at 5’6″ with a 31″ inseam, I like to feel both balls of my feet on the ground for traffic riding mid-week. It gives me more peace of mind with cell-distracted LA drivers coming up on my rear at a stop.

I opted to initially lower my DRZ-S with the premiere craftsmanship of a custom Renanzco Racing seat. Not only did this lower my bike about an inch, but it also added extreme comfort with its ergonomically shaped wider spread. James Renazco personally contacted me to go over the specifics of the seat build to make sure that I understood the ins and outs of accommodating my body type and riding style as well as their methodology, time issues and costs. Renazco customizes the hand-crafted seats by reconstruction, so my stock seat was shipped to them for its transformation to a masterpiece that was built with premium materials to achieve durability, practicality, comfort, function and style.

Renanzco Racing seat from above

I chose the combo materials of a black suede top and yellow vinyl sides that have worn extrememly well following the detailed instructions of seat cleaning and care two years into its regular usage. After adding the suede water-proofing and conditioner, Pecard’s product “PNP4,” the seat has been able to endure rain and bike cleanings without any problems. Aside from being one of the best-looking seats out there, I have to say their personal and extremely attentive customer service jets them to the top of their class in the seat industry.

In addition to the seat, I discovered another way to lower the very tall DRZ. Enter the genius of Norman Kouba and his brilliant product, the #3 Kouba Link, which is a lowering link that dropped my bike another 1.75″. You also need to drop the front forks to match, so that the overall resulting bike geometry doesn’t change dramatically. Norman provides info on the differences between the three Kouba links and the recommended race sag (the difference between the unloaded suspension and the suspension with you on it) for each link. The Kouba site FAQ states: “They put more leverage on the rear spring and make the rear more compliant on the small stuff, but may require a heavier rear spring to help prevent bottoming if a rider is very aggressive.”

#3 Kouba link

Sure, when opting to lower your bike with links you take the chance of compromising suspension travel, effective spring rate (feels softer) and steering stabilization. These issues can be addressed, somewhat, by adjusting the suspension setting and the rear shock preload, and adding a steering stabilizer. You may also need to add bar risers in the front to lower your fork tubes.

What it comes down to is setting the bike up according to the rider, and his/her type of riding. While you may find info out there explaining the differences in the various lowering techniques, only you know through personal experience and riding style whether it’ll work for you. In the end, if lowering your bike provides more confidence on the trail and street, then it may very well be worth the money for guaranteed peace of mind and comfort in the saddle and off.

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The Bigger Picture Journey

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

"Shocking!"

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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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…

www.ovexpo.com


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