Posted in accessories, Hoka Hey Challenge, Motorcycle, safety

Let’s Talk about Shocks

bigstock-Damaged-Roadway-Edit-90484274-e1455671502981About two weeks prior to the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge, I was advised by the Taboo Harley-Davidson‘s service department technicians that I might consider upgrading my suspension. I was on a stock Harley-Davidson Dyna Glide, and my route on  would take me on approximately 10,000 miles of back roads. Well, I responded, I really didn’t have time remaining for that sort of thing. And…hmmm…I wondered why.

In explanation of my ignorance, I am from the Southwest. I had no real concept of road conditions after the snow melt. I subsequently learned what “ice buckles” are. And I often found myself riding slalom around potholes. And potholes filled with water? They’re nearly invisible. But you knew that. There were, in short, a great many rough road hazards.

Rather quickly, I came to understand the importance of having good aftermarket suspension and shocks. Those bumps and the occasional pothole took a serious toll on the bike. In addition, that kind of jarring ride over several days also will wear out a rider. For long distance riding, it’s important to consider not only the wear and tear on the bike, but also your own aches and fatigue.

The truth is stock suspension did not cut it.

I will summarize by simply saying I pounded that poor bike, and myself, into the ground. I have since replaced the Dyna with a touring bike, a 2019 Road Glide. I love it and I’m determined to protect it!

Although the touring bike handles much better than the Dyna, I discovered I just don’t weigh enough for the stiff stock suspension on the Road Glide even when it’s dialed down. It’s pretty clear H-D had a bigger guy in mind as their common denominator. I suspect this is an issue for many women on touring bikes, because we are generally shorter and lighter than the average male rider.

Before making an investment, however, I do my homework. I spoke with the technicians at Taboo Harley and also a trusted local shop called Xlerated Customs.  I then called Legend Suspensions, as they were recommended to me both by motorcycle techs and  distance riders. I explained my challenges.

Wow, what a great company! The person I spoke with at Legend consulted with their technicians and got back to me with a full explanation as well as recommendations. They addressed my concerns and even offered to let me try different solutions. The happy ending to the story is I’m going to meet Legend Suspensions in Sturgis next month and plan to install new suspension and shocks this year–  well before I do anything crazy like ride the Hoka Hey again.

Posted in Hoka Hey Challenge, Motorcycle, Women Riders

Women of the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge

Are YOU up to the challenge?
It’s a good day to ride.

By my count, a total of 14 women have completed the 10,000-mile Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge (HHMC)– ever.* Four of these women have completed two or more challenges.

To give an idea of the magnitude of the accomplishment,  949 riders in all have made the attempt. Hoka Hey hosted challenge rides in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018.  A rough sketch of the playing field over time  shows: approximately 100 riders participate per challenge, and, although results vary from year to year, about one-third successfully complete the ride as “Finishers.”

To qualify as a Hoka Hey Finisher, a rider must follow a set of written directions provided at each checkpoint (about 2,500 miles apart) without the aid of GPS. The route is different every year, and riders do not know in advance where they will go. If the rider deviates from instructions, she must return to the point where she got off-route and begin again. In addition, riders must sleep outside next to their motorcycles for the duration. The total ride is approximately 10,000 miles.

The 2018 challenge began with 13 women riders, representing the largest number of women riders to enter a Hoka Hey Challenge. Seven women successfully crossed the finish line, and, of these, five were first-time riders. I was fortunate and honored to be counted among them.

Finally, the Hoka Hey is not a race. It is about finishing, no matter how long it takes. How long did it take? Well, as one of the last to cross the finish line, it took me 21 days. The fastest to finish the route did so in 10 days (with little to no sleep, I might add). But a fair average for time to complete the 10,000-mile route would fall in the range of 14 to 16 days.

Here’s a bit of wonky math: if 350 riders in total (give or take) have completed the Hoka Hey at least once, then women represent 4% of those finishers. And that is elite company.

The full list of past challenge participants and finishers is available on the Hoka Hey Challenge website. The next Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge will take place in 2020.

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*Note: These are my observations and estimates only based on the information available. The are not official Hoka Hey Challenge numbers. Rider statistics were not recorded for the inaugural ride in 2010.

Posted in Motorcycle, safety, Women Riders

Riding in the Driving Rain

I recently shared the following in response to an Instagram post from @empoweringwomenriders (#followthosegals).

blurry rain
When this is the view from your visor. : /

Sometimes you have somewhere to be with no ifs, ands, or buts. In those times, when you find you absolutely have to ride your motorcycle in the driving rain (pun intended), take extra precautions.

  • Trust your gut. If it looks like rain ahead, then stop and put on all the gear before you get dumped on. Because soggy boots suck.
  • Slow way down. It absolutely does not matter how fast the cars are going. Just get in the slow lane, if there is one, and/or throw on your flashers (and leave them on) and wave the cars past.
  • Increase your safety distance by a lot and don’t let anyone tailgate you. (See previous tip.)
  • Ride in cars’ tire tracks if possible.
  • Never trust a puddle.
  • Do not slam on the brakes.
  • Rough weather can stress you out and wear you down. Take a coffee break. You deserve it.

These are only a few pointers from my experience. Here are more detailed articles on the topic:

https://www.twistedthrottle.com/blog/15-tips-for-motorcycle-riding-in-the-rain/

https://motoress.com/ride/how-to/tips-for-motorcycle-riding-in-heavy-rain/

https://www.visordown.com/features/advanced-riding/wet-weather-motorcycle-riding-tips

While not rain-specific, I want to stress the evermore critical nature of protection in the rain: wear all the gear, all the time. #atgatt #helmet #nobrainer

A closing point: rain gear and weatherproof gear can differ significantly. What you wear and/or wish to carry on your bike will depend on your needs. Read this gear guide for product specifications:

https://www.denniskirk.com/learn/motorcycle-rain-gear-guide

What experiences have you had riding in the rain? Which tips would you add to the list? 🏍🖤

 

@twistedthrottle @motoress @visordown @gearpatrol @klimwomen @denniskirk

Posted in Badass, End Hunger, Feeding America, Fundraiser, Hoka Hey Challenge, Motorcycle, Women Riders

1 BADASS patch = 100 Meals

watch me

 ***10,000 Meals for 10,000 Miles*** campaign. All July BADASS patch sales go to Julie’s Hoka Hey fund for donation to #FeedingAmerica.

Buy one $5.50 patch, feed 100 people!

Get Your BADASS Patch Today: https://facebook.com/commerce/products/1730103200438091

FREE SHIPPING with Discount Code HOKA HEY.

With @FeedingAmerica, and a matching partner grant, just $1 will provide 20 meals to hungry families this summer.

THANK YOU for making this all possible. #BeTheChange #EndHungerInAmerica

Badass Porkchop

Posted in Hoka Hey Challenge, Motorcycle, Sponsors

Hoka Hey Ready

tabooharley-logo

I’m packed and ready for the 10k-mile Hoka Hey. The ride starts July 15th from Medicine Park, OK. I am Rider #942. If you want to follow the ride, I will post a link to the tracker on my bike before we start.

My Hoka Hey sponsor @tabooharley Taboo HD in Alexandria, LA gave my bike a full tune-up, new rear brakes, new tires. And fixed a cylinder oil leak (thankfully still under warranty). Overnight. Love these guys and gals!!!

It always seems to rain on the ride home from Louisiana to Texas. Oh, well. You know what they say, “If you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride.” I’m ready! Dry bags, rain gear, latex gloves, tarp, umbrella. Yup,  umbrella.

 

Posted in Badass, Hoka Hey Challenge, Motorcycle, Women Riders

Hoka Hey, y’all!

I’M GOIN’ FOR IT. If I told you I have a chance to ride the **Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge** starting July 15- and I need a hand to be able to do it- 
would you be willing to pitch in $5 or $10 bucks? 
Cost to ride 10,000 miles in about 2 weeks: $2,200 
(that includes an est. $1,000 in premium gas alone)!

A few juicy details:
* We do not know the ride in advance. Nope. Nada.
* We are not allowed GPS. Gulp….h..e..l…p. LOL
* We sleep outside next to the motorcycle, every night.
* We cannot deviate from the route or speed. Yeah, they know! We have a personal tracker on us. Sigh.

I also hope to make this ride personally meaningful, with your help, by raising additional donations to @FeedingAmerica to provide ***10,000 Meals for 10,000 Miles***

That’s the Dream. Motorcycles, miles, meals. Hell, yeah!

If YOU can pitch in, or want to learn more, click below.

And THANK YOU. Because Women Ride Their Own!

P. S. Everybody asks, “Why?!” Because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It’s a chance to be among a handful of beautiful, strong women riders (out of 100 riders total) to represent … well, ALL of us beautiful, strong women riders! And it’s a chance to do Good. Can’t stop, won’t stop. 

https://goget.fund/2Le4IGz

#hokahey #motorcycle #adventure #longdistancerider #mileage #getoutside #exploremore #motocamping #womenridetheirown