Monday, July 31, 2006

You just got passed by a girl!!

Whoosh! What was that blur that sped by? Wait! It's slowing down and pulling back in front of me. Long blonde hair flowing out from under the lavender helmet with the white orchid pattern. From the patch on the shoulders I see it's a Vanson Leathers jacket. Some sort of racing oriented gloves. Boots and gloves are matching blue and white patterns. Following behind, I'm thinking "Nice rear end!"

Not hers, the bike's. It's a silver Kawasaki sport bike. I think it's a ZX-12. I love following a big bore sport bike. That trim rear fender hovering over the fat rear tire. Seeing that tire where all the power meets the ground conveys the essence of the bike's prowess.

My eyes are drawn up to the back of the helmet. There's a black sticker with bright green letters. The letters state what I've written in the title of this post. Did she pull back in front of me just so I could see the sticker? Does she have an attitude or is she just kind of "sassy"? I ponder that for a mile or so as we approach the I-205 turn-off. Morning traffic is pretty thick right here. The female rider is probably attracted by the open space I try to leave in front of me. Sometimes all you can do is get over early and ride the train to the exit. Sure enough, she takes the turn-off and then proceeds to leave me in the dust.

The encounter got me to thinking about who's commuting on bikes these days. In what was a predominantly male undertaking females are asserting themselves. I know a gal who's an emergency room nurse. She commutes about 25 miles round trip on a Honda 250 Rebel. There's other ones I know who commute on a bike, as well.

In the last few years the number of women taking our classes has increased. Where you might have previously seen only one or two, now 25 to 30 percent of classes are made up of female students. Just for fun I checked with Oregon's Department of Motor Vehicles.

There are almost 180,000 Oregon drivers who also have motorcycle endorsements. Nearly 22,000 are women. In 1999 there were 17,015 women with endorsements. Gives you an idea how their numbers are growing. How many are riding to work? Probably a small percentage but I know I'm seeing a few more as time goes on.

When you see a woman riding a bike be sure to wave. It's neat to see the girls find the joy we find in riding and commuting. Remember that she's also helping break new trails for other women to follow. I'm happy see the trend growing.

By the way, I saw a couple of interesting things on the way to the office this morning. Traffic was backed up because there was a VW Bug still smoldering on the side of the road. The real kind from years ago. Fire trucks were still on the roadway. Later on I saw a Hummer pulled off to the left shoulder with a shredded left rear tire. That sure tugged at my heart strings! (NOT)

At a stop light near the office I noticed steam coming out from under the hood of a Lincoln. Looked like it could be a heater hose. The driver seemed oblivious while waiting for the light to turn green. With steam billowing the car continued. Stayed in the left lane with no move to pull over. I thought I should ride up to point it out. The steam was so thick nobody could miss it, though. And still the driver kept on. Maybe the man driving thought he could get to a garage before the car expired. I decided to leave him to his own devices. Leaking antifreeze can be slippery, you know!

Miles and smiles,

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