Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting Philosophical in the Garage

I was laying under my bike, battling a skid plate bolt that didn't want to thread. I patiently pulled it out, hand thread it again, and finally succeeded. I laid there for a second thinking about what I was doing.  Securing the bolts on the skid plate is the last step in the oil change process.  And out of no where a thought occurred to me, my mother would never have changed her own oil.  A ridiculous thought, the only reason my mother would be in the basement would be to change out the laundry.

My mother lived by a strict unyielding rules, rules that governed gender norms. In my mother's world, a woman would never wield a wrench.  If a woman was seen pumping her gas, she was to be pitied that she did not have a man to do it for her. In addition to the rules, what other people though of her was also a top priority. I distinctly remember the mantra of "what will the neighbors think". 

One could assume it was childhood rebellion that led me to be so different than her. And perhaps there is some of that.  But the unspoken lesson that I learned from her was the price she paid for her dependence. When my father passed away, 10 years before her, she did not know how to pay bills, or get her car serviced. Growing up I saw how she had to ask for money, and account for its spending. It was that more than any rebellion that became the tenant of my values, my independence and ability to take care of myself trumped all.

As I wiped down my wrenches and put away my tool box, tossed the oily paper towels into the trash, I thought about writing this entry.  Why do I write a blog at all?  If for no other reason but to encourage that next woman who wants to learn how to change her own oil. Do it! Taking care of your own needs is the essence of self confidence.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ardys Kellerman, Texas Grandma, Long Distance Motorcycle Rider. RIP

We came from every state in New England plus New York, New Jersey Nova Scotia, Florida and Wisconsin. The good folks from Lone Star BMW made the trip. We came on 2 wheels, three and four. We rode BMW's, Honda's, Yamaha's and even Harley's.   We represented the MOA, RA, IBA and more.  We arrived as one to St Luke’s Church in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  We were single minded in our desire to pay our respects and celebrate the life of our friend Ardys “Queenie” Kellerman.

The Rev. Timothy Rich personally welcomed each of us as we arrived at the church; as did Ardys’ extended family: children, grand and great grand children.  The Reverend assured us that our riding attire would be just fine in his church.  So side by side we stood, fanning ourselves in the heat, collared shirts and ties, rally t-shirts and mesh riding pants. It didn’t matter what we wore, it mattered that we were there.

John Ryan still in his sun bleached gray Aerostitch uniform got up to share his remembrances as did her grandson Jared Swanson.  She knew and loved all of her grandchildren as individuals he said, sending little trinkets to them as she traveled around.

As mass ended we collectively smiled to hear Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” fill the church ...a song that stays in your helmet for many miles.It was easy to feel that Ardys’ was simply on a new road.

A reception followed at the Quonset O Club in North Kingston. Many of her awards and mementos and artifacts of rallies gone by were nicely displayed. Ardys packed in a lot SMiles and friends when she was here. And we all left with a little bit of her, not just in out hearts but in our tank bags. It seems that Ardys wanted her ashes spread wide and far. So back on the road she will go with each us. Godspeed Ardys.
Lisa Hatch & Ardys Kellerman RA Rally in VT 2010

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

College Essay Time

In 2007, my then 12 year old daughter and I set out for 5 weeks to tour the country via motorcycle. I knew of one other parent who had done this, and he was a father who rode with his son.  I had no single mother role model, but I didn't let that stop me.

I thought the trip was about motorcycling. Looking back now, I see that it was about parenting. I learned a lot about my daughter on that trip, and we learned a lot about each other.  As a parent, I was giving her the most important gift of all, my time. I shared with her something that was important to me, I was sharing my love of travel, travel on a motorcycle.

Many people, when learning about that trip, commented that it would be something she'd always remember. The trip of a lifetime.  I hope it's not the trip of her lifetime; instead I hope it triggered in her a love of travel, and maybe a love of the road.

I know for sure it made an impact, as she chose to use the trip as the topic for her college essay.  She was eager for me to share it with you.  I hope that it influences just one of you to make plans with your child, to plan a trip of a lifetime.

Seeing Is Believing

 Staring up the sides of the Rocky Mountains in awe, I realized this is what we had come for; this was the reason for our journey. The mountains seemed to consume us as we rode on, becoming closer and closer until we were right alongside them, riding the curves of the Rockies themselves. Moby’s “Feeling So Real” was playing in my ears and I couldn’t have chosen a better song to describe the moment. I opened my helmet and shouted over the wind to my mom “You were right; you have to see it to believe it!”

In 2007 my mom and I traveled across the country on her motorcycle. Everywhere we went we received a multitude of different reactions to what we were doing, everything from stares, interest, amazement, to pure confusion. The idea of a woman on a motorcycle was crazy to some people, but being a motorcycle-riding single mother, my mom didn’t let stereotypes hinder our journey. I however, was not as used to the stares as she might have been. I was self conscious about my bulky, unflattering riding gear: riding pants that were too big for me and a helmet that made me look like an alien. But after awhile I became proud rather than embarrassed. I realized I was doing something few people ever got the chance to do, seeing the country with my mom. As long as it was important to us, we didn’t need approval from everyone else.
My mom likes to say “You’ll learn more from traveling than you ever will from a geography text book. ”
I knew the Redwood trees were big before, but I never knew how immense they really were until I stood next to one. I knew Montana was known as “Big Sky Country” but I never could’ve understood the vastness until I was beneath it. Going on this trip opened my eyes to how different everything can be from your initial perspective. One day while stopped at a gas station in Oregon, the cashier inside inquired about our adventure. When we told her we were from New Hampshire she mentioned she had always wanted to go to the east coast. I had never realized how lucky I was to have seen so much of the country, that some people had never been so far away, and there I was at 12 years old, 3,000 miles from home.

The Trip is something I will never forget. Now, five years later, I am still realizing how it affected my life and me as a person. I’ve learned that perspective is not something that can be taught in school, only through experience. I learned that doing something that may seem impossible is in fact achievable. I learned how to be proud of myself, even if I was doing something different. I had the opportunity to see how diverse and unique this country truly is, and I have been inspired to someday discover the same things around the world. I’ve come to realize that you can see something on TV, read about it, see pictures of it, even listen to stories about it, but you will never completely understand something until you go experience it for yourself.
Lisa Hatch

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tour of the Battenkill Video

The video guy was on the back of an Aprillia.
The race was 4.5 hours, here are 15 minutes of highlights.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Motorcycle Marshal - Carrying the Photographer

Tour of the Battenkill is promoted as America's toughest one day race.

BW Road Dust
Photo: ©

I rode the 124 miles of pavement and dirt of Battenkill under horsepower, and I can attest that it is a tough route. I taxied two photographers during the elite men's race. How I was assigned two photographers is a mystery to me. They worked out a drop off and pick up schedule around the 62 mile circuit. It sort of worked out.

Photo 2

Pre Race Staging

Pre Race Line Up

This race operated with a rolling roadblock. If you are outside the official vehicles, you need to abide by road rules. Inside the enclosure and you can ride the left side of the road, pass police cruisers and blow your horn at the Sheriff's car. Any questions as to why I like to participate?

Oncoming Road Closure

Moto Marshals and officials have different functions with the race. I was carrying a photographer, so I did not have marshal responsibilities.
Moto 4

Shortcuts outside of the route allowed us to get to a shoot area, park and set up in anticipation of the racers coming through. I had enough time to shoot the shooters.

Head of the Pack

I love my new Canon SX 230 with GPS. Now I just need to find the software to map the GPS locations for me. The picture quality is nice for a point and shoot.


It was my first time carrying a full sized adult who probably outweighed me. The most difficult aspect was the mounting and dismounting the bike, which was often parked in less than optimal road conditions.

The twisting and turning of a photographer did not prove to be a problem. Communication via shouting worked just fine. I had the race channel cranked up to hear instruction from the director. Frequently he would direct me to move along, away from the pack. Roll along side, get your shots, roll away. If you tried to hog the good position, you would hear the radio squawk.

Wearing the Road
Photo: ©

Feathering the clutch for miles on end to pace a bicycle is challenging work. One guy liked to lean way out, with him on the back, I would lose visibility in my right mirror. For this I needed to compensate with more full head checks.

Tour de Dust
Tour De Dust
Photo: © Barry Koblenz/

These yellow line pictures can only come from being right in there with the riders.

Yellow Line
Photo: © Barry Koblenz/

This picture, probably shot from a stationary position, shows good perspective of the aggressiveness of the course.

Mountain of dirt
Photo: © Barry Koblenz/

Moto Marshal

Moto Marshal
Photo: © Barry Koblenz/

Barry & Marco did succeed in getting their shots. And I succeeded at my first outing as a photo biker.

For information about moto marshals: Motorcycle Marshal Handbook

Monday, March 12, 2012

Soul of an Old Machine

1. The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.
2. A person's moral or emotional nature or sense of identity.

A friend of mine is shopping for a car. He commented that the SUV’s he is considering have no soul. I thought about that comment as I rode the K75 for the first time this year. Do machines have soul? Can a new machine have soul? Isn’t it our relationship with that machine - the time, the adventures & misadventures we share with it, isn’t that what forms the identity, giving the machine soul? I don’t think a new bike, or new car can have soul off the lot. I think it needs to develop soul, and some never will.

First Tag of the Year

The K75 has soul. It’s 25 years old this year. I have owned it for 13 years. I remember the day I picked it up. The gentleman that sold it shared his photo album, packed with pictures from the many trips he and his wife had gone on with “Gretchin”. (I never cared for the name, and within a year of owning it, the K75 was dubbed Spare) I wish I’d paid more attention to that album. As it was my first bike, I only glanced at those pictures, they where someone else’s memories of trip to faraway places, like Maine and Canada, I could not even fathom that the bike would ever travel so far with me. On that first day, I could not even envision getting out of my drive way.

Adventure: a key ingredient of soul
Yellowstone National Park

I had the GT for 5 years and it remained soulless.

Good depth?
2003 K1200GT

Why was that? Perhaps we never bonded right, I knew in my heart it was not the bike for me. With the K75, I can’t part with it, it is an old family album, a family friend…it is family.

Scenic Vistas pictures, an important bonding ritual

If you are swapping out your ride every 2 years, how can you expect to bond with your machine? Why do people do that? Are they in search of some elusive quality in a bike? Or is it only important that they be seen on the latest machine? Perhaps they are missing the point. A new machine will remain soulless until you two have been though something together, and that takes time.