Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Riderz Diaries - 3

This is how Claudette Hatcher’s profile looks like on the Seattle Rider’s site. She is the organizer of Lady Riders of Washington and co-organizer of Seattle Riders club. Also, pro in dancing, she is one of the few experienced and passionate lady rider who have really seen it closely. We take a deep dive into Claudetta’s passion for riding in our Riderz diaries series – part 3. Find parts of her interview with Seattle Times - Here.

Forever angel
Keep on riding
And fight for your rights
Forever angel
Roaring thunder
Through endless nights

Ready to roll, ready to start .. flying away to life

1.      Why biking – what was your inspiration for living life on two wheels?
I love speed and the feel of the wind rushing by.  As a kid I used to dance on my grandmother’s front porch during (mild) hurricanes.  My dad raced stock cars, speed is in the blood. When I had my convertible, sometimes it was hard to decide between the bike and the car – the car only won if I wanted to wear a dress or skirt.  Guys don’t tend to have that issue. 

2.       Since when have you been riding and which was the first bike? Also elaborate on how you bought it- a gift from parents, money saved or borrowed, with the first salary, or something else.

I was living in Japan teaching English in the early 90s and decided to buy a bike (on an expired international driver’s license).  I had only ridden a bike in a parking lot once a year or twice before and here I was riding in a foreign country on the other side of the road.  If you’re going to be a squid, Japan’s the best place for it.

3.       Which is your best road trip so far? The most memorable one. The one you would want to relive provided an option.

I’ve had several great trips, but I’ve got to say it’s the one to Montana.  I went across Lola Pass with its 100+ miles of twisters to the point I got twisted out.  Then I got to ride across the Contenential Divide at 100+ mph  at night in the rain (did I mention I love speed- Poorvi- Definitely Did J), the got up to my top speed of 120 downhill on the way home with nothing but road and sky in front of me, coming back along Glacier park.  Would love to go back, ride the divide during the day and ride through Yellowstone on the bike with a bison walking beside me before swimming in a hot spring.

4.       Have you ridden pillion – some memorable moment. 

     I have only ridden as a passenger 3 times in my 20+ years of motorcycle riding.

1)      When my friend took me out which in turn prompted me to have him teach me to ride.
2)      When my bike broke down and I had to have someone give me a ride back to the clubhouse
3)      When my late boyfriend picked me up from the shop while my bike was getting maintenance.  Another time he took me to the store and it was really nice to sit behind him and wrap my arms around his waist, like a hug, and rest my head against his back.  For a moment I could see why other women like riding as a passenger, just an elongated hug. 

5.       How many bikes have you had so far and which has been your favorite one. Reasons for picking it.

I’m on my 5th bike and would have to say this if my favorite.  I’ve had cruisers and sport bikes and my current sport cruise, Suzuki Marauder 1600, is the best of both worlds!  Comfort, cornering and speed, but too much for me to get stupid crazy on.

6.       Your dream road trip?
Starting at the tip of Scotlan and riding down along the coast of Europe to Greece. (Poorvi: Boy, I am stunned.)

7.       Do you ride as part of a group or a club? Or you are the one who prefers the comfort of your bike’s company on the sands and hills.

I run a Meetup group called the Lady Riders of Western Washington (kind of by default) and organize rides for the Seattle Riders Meetup group.  Though I rode with a friend from a play I was doing in Japan, I had been a lone rider for about 10 years, then I went on a group ride and started to ride with other ‘real’ motorcycle clubs like the Magic Wheels, Brother and Sisters of the Sun, Soul Riders, Iron Zion, Drama Boys and Twister RIderz to name a few.  I love showing other people some great roads I’ve discovered via my road bible “Destination Highways” or the camaraderie of the m/c.  But I had no qualms hitting the road on my own with my music drumming away in my helmet.  Love the sensation of flying on the wind, dancing (and singling) to the music in my mind.

8.       Some tips for the novice riding enthusiasts? Safety and otherwise.

    Start small, ugly and used, no matter what anyone says.  As the saying goes, there are 2 kinds of riders, those who have dropped their bikes and those who have yet to drop their bikes.  You’ll feel more comfortable to increase your limits and not be too afraid of crashing.  Better to crash on a bike you only spent a grand or 2 on that’s light enough you can pick up and keep on going (that was me in Japan) than a $20,000 HD which will cost an arm and a leg to repair, let alone tow – the bigger the bike, the more the damage. You can always resell an old, small bike and upgrade later.  Once you feel comfortable on a smaller bike you can always move up, and feel more confident you can handles more situations –  had my back tire blow out on me in a turn and didn’t drop the bike.  Likewise a couple years ago I hit a deer on a solo trip, didn’t drop the bike and kept on riding for 3+ hrs to get home. See I started on a 250 Yamaha XS Special, then back in the States I got a 450 Yamaha XS Special (electric and kick start which was so freaking COOL!!!).  I wanted to try a sport bike so I got a 650 Suzuki Katana, then to a 750 Honda Shadow and settled on my Marauder 1600.  My next bike will be the next generation of my current bike, the M109 (1800cc+).

9.       Please share some of the favorite moments from your riding journeys (I won’t call them tripsJ).  

In Japan riding in the mountains and seeing if I could figure my way back since there are no street signs in Japan. :s
Riding the back road twisties to Mima Mounds (south of Olympia), showing people who live in the South End new roads.  ;)  
Love being a biker chick and showing guys news routes.
Listening to Lenny Kravitz “I Wanna Fly Away” as I’m speeding down the road after watching paragliders as I’m riding by.
Riding by Manchester Park on the Kitsap Peninsula and seeing a camel (missed the 2nd one!).
Leading a groups with some Ducatis on the back roads/twisties  of Bucoda Hills  (Centralia area) doing 80/90 in the corners then at the end having one of the Ducs come up and hug me saying this was the best ride ever!
Meetng my late boyfriend (he died in a car accident, not on a bike a few years ago) at a Support the Troops rally and leading him on some back road north of gig harbor and taking the ferry back across the Sound and seeing Orca whale calves just under the surface.
Having my soon to be boyfriend ride behind me as my passenger on my bike in front of a bunch of military guys and when I asked him if it bothered him he responded “look what I get to hold on to”.
Riding on Vancouver Island last April with other crazy biker chick in the sun, drizzle, rain, freezing rain, hail and snow.  Such a great trip.
After visiting the Kangaroo Farm and lunching on elk/ostrich burgers and venison hot dogs, I lead a group along a real deserted road- S Skagit highway, that was really the road less traveled with a tree that had fallen, blocking one of the lanes and no one had bothered to move it.
Speaking of the road less traveled, ridding over on Bainbridge Island/Hood Canal area with my late boyfriend on a sweet twist, but taking it easy since the moss wasn’t just on the side of the road, the road was so unused the moss was across the entire road. 
In Japan riding my first bike on the toll roads (the freeway that the Viaduct is often compared to which feel over during the 90’s Kobe quake) and just opening up the throttle, not knowing how fast I was going. 
Lane splitting in Japan and California.

I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high

Let's go and see the stars
The milky way or even Mars
Where it could just be ours

I want to get away
I wanna fly away
Yeah yeah yeah
I want to get away
I wanna fly away
Yeah yeah yeah

From one of her recent trips

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