Ladies Night at Big Barn HD was a blast!

by on February 28, 2010
in Winter

Had a fun Saturday night this past weekend enjoying Ladies Night at Big Barn Harley Davidson – a nice opportunity to socialize and shop, but with the added bonus of food and drink.

The evening event included in-store specials on apparel and parts, music by One Night Stand (GREAT group, managed to turn “Another Brick in the Wall” into a funk song, then paired it with “Shake Your Booty” – more funk with “Brick House,” Prince’s “Let’s Go,” and oddly enough one of my least favorite funk tunes, “Flashlight,” which I  thought had mercifully faded into the annals of music history), door prize drawings, and entertainment by aerial artist Ann Stimmel.

Now she’s worth a paragraph all her own – this gal is amazing! I had thought, when Big Barn promotions manager Amy Shane-Nichols had promised an aerial artist, that we’d walk in and see a high-wire strung across the rafters of the barn. Turns out that’s not the act at all. Instead, Ms. Stimmel shimmies up a pair of floor-to-ceiling silk  fabric drapes, then proceeds to twist, turn and flip about (to music, of course) by virtue of being wrapped up in the drapes in various ways. I posted a couple of pictures on Facebook, and tried to shoot a little video with my cell phone camera (which, not surprisingly, didn’t turn out all that well). For a better understanding of what Ms. Stimmel was “up to,” see this Facebook album by Ann Martineau Breier.

The best part of the evening though, was getting to meet my fellow biker chick blogger, Stephanie – aka, Iowa Harley Girl. Now she and I have been attending the same events for years, and commenting on each others blogs for a few of those years, but had never met in person. So, it was a delight to get to hang out with her for the evening. We were also BOTH thrilled to meet a couple of fans of both our blogs – now that is a hoot, when someone steps up to you and says “Hey aren’t you that girl with the blog?”

Oh – and one other thing… something called a Mango Margarita… yeah.

How was your weekend?

Late winter musings

by on February 21, 2010
in Commentary

We All
by Corn Dog

The road calls to each of us.
It separates us, it unites us.
It shows us the distance, then invites us to close the gap.
It promises a destination, but also a journey.

I have heard the call.
And having heard, consider it my joyous obligation
Not only to answer by taking the journey
But indeed to cherish all the gifts of the road
Each in due measure.

Capital City Customs Swap Meet & Bike Show

by on February 15, 2010
in Winter

(See my full album of swap meet photos over on the Biker Chick News Facebook Fan Page!)

Having had at least five inches of snow on the ground since early December, the rallying cry in Iowa right now is “I’M SICK OF WINTER!” The long, snow-covered season has really elevated the importance this year of the annual Capital City Customs Swap Meet and Bike Show.

Held in February, this event is always a sort of mile-marker along the winter highway – a “wake-up” call that Spring is coming, and it’s always as much an opportunity to just meander among “like minds” as much as it is a chance to shop for parts and leather and look at a few bikes.

The swap meet is an interesting mixture of new stuff (rude/ sassy t-shirts, patches, leather gear of every type, bike dealers represented including Harley, Yamaha, Victory and others), used stuff (tubs and tubs, rows and rows of parts), miscellany and even art. (I’ve got a post coming up introducing you to a local gal who makes beautiful hand-tooled leather seats.)

We’ve been there at times when there was plenty of room to move around, and also when you couldn’t even really stop to look because the crowd kept moving you along. This year our experience on Saturday was the latter – apparently the entire riding population of central Iowa was ready to shop!

Got a chuckle out of a sign at the entrance – “Free H1N1 in the Annex”… noticed good bargains on used windshields, unused Sturgis t-shirts from past years, leather gloves, and several other items. Stopped as often as we could to look and consider purchases, but ultimately we didn’t buy anything except our entrance fee. (Which, by the way, was up by two bucks this year – worth it!)

The bike show portion of the event is always interesting, too. These are not usually the concept bikes and high-dollar customs you’ll see at Rat’s Hole – although I have no doubt they were each a major investment for their owners. Rather, they are highly personalized bikes by people who just love to build and ride. Sometimes a bike seems like it’s been entered just to show off a paint scheme. Other times you can tell the whole machine has been built from some kind of visionary scratch.

In every case, the bikes in the show are earnestly built by folks who just want to show you what they’ve done to their machines. I especially liked the memorial bike built to honor those killed in action (KIA) in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the pair of bikes by Jason Crooks featuring his signature “jelly bean tank.” (Okay, Jason probably doesn’t call it a jelly bean tank – that’s just me. And I admit I’m biased here – Jason’s been a family friend for almost 20 years.)

SO – bottom line, it’s been a hell of a winter around here. And the swap meet was one big, fat “WE MADE IT!” – a finger-flipping, you could say, offered collectively by the winter-weary bikers of central Iowa.

And now that it’s past, even as the snow continues to fall, it feels like we’re finally on the downhill slide to Spring.

Were you there? What’d you like? Who’d you see? What’d you buy?

Steampunk bikes, spirited women riders, and more snow

by on February 7, 2010
in Misc Updates

I have officially crossed the threshold of “I hate winter” and am beginning to allow myself the occasional “Spring is not THAT far away.”   I know my optimism might be premature – we’ve had more than 5 inches of snow on the ground since the first of December, and we are supposed to get 8 more inches on Monday. But, I’m more sick of feeling depressed than I am of winter. I need to get my cheerful back, so I’m determined to talk myself out of these doldrums.

Of course, one of the ways I’m passing the winter evenings is by web-surfing. I thought I’d share a couple of the more recent bits I found that really caught my eye.

First, from Rippin-Kitten, here’s a look at some ridiculously cool steampunk motorcycles. What’s steampunk? Well it’s a fashion/culture/design movement that takes elements from the days of Victorian-era steampower and makes them look futuristic – from their own time. Take a look at Lizzie’s post (note the steampunk computer), and maybe peek at the Steampunk Fashion Group over on Flickr, and you’ll get it immediately.

Next up, over on Twitter, somebody shared a link to this post on the Cyril Huze blog about new art by David Uhl. Be sure click through to Uhl’s website – and take a look at his “Women of Harley Davidson” collection. I found the whole series spirited and beautiful, just like the women I know who ride! (I’d love to hear your thoughts – be sure to leave a comment!)

Finally, here in Des Moines I’m looking forward to the Capitol City Motorcycle Swap Meet and Bike Show, coming up the weekend of Feb. 13-14. The swap meet serves as a dose of much-needed biker socializing and shopping at a time when it’s still too early to think about getting the bike out of the garage. It makes you think you are going to survive the winter after all, and I could really use that boost right about now.

(Oh look, it’s snowing this morning – isn’t it PRETTY??)