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New Data Reveals Female Motorcycle Riders Feel Happier, More Confident and Sexier Than Women Who Don't Ride

Female Riders Feel Happier, More Confident and Sexier Than Women Who Don’t Ride

It’s so classically Glamour and just in time for the New Year.

I’m talking about women and self-help books.  No, not the help of how to install a thermostat or how to assemble furniture, but that elusive key to finding happiness.

You see, Harley-Davidson commissioned a study and miraculously the results indicate that women who ride their own motorcycles are noticeably happier – in life, in relationships, and even in the bedroom – than women who don’t ride.

Seems self serving don’t you think?  But, let’s remember for a minute that all humans are somewhat self-obsessed, and if you think I’m writing this is about you, don’t take it personal.

Most men I know just want a gal that can apply makeup without an automobile mirror and be capable of leaving the house on 5 minutes’ notice.  I’m not a psychologist and haven’t a clue on the details of the study, but I wonder what was it about their persistent low self-esteem: how did it get that way? Were they awkward growing up? Not quick or witty enough?  Once they gained a shred of confidence, did they seek out companions they knew would make them feel inadequate? Why? Do they think they’re a narcissist? Or just a weak person?

Well guess what? We’re all different.  We’re a collection of experiences. We’re all special, which is precisely what makes us so un-special.  And if you harbor lingering dissatisfaction with yourself, figuring out what it is might be a pretty good way to start coming to terms with self-improvement.

But, that’s my $0.02.  

Let’s look to the Harley-Davidson “Help Desk” – and their study – of how women can jumpstart their journey to a more fulfilling life.

Conducted by Kelton (and commissioned by H-D) they interviewed 1,013 adult female riders and 1,016 adult female non-riders, and found overwhelming evidence that riding a motorcycle greatly improves a woman’s feelings of overall self-worth.

Key insights surrounding women who ride motorcycles in comparison to those who don’t include the following:

  • More than twice as many always feel happy (37 percent of riders vs. 16 percent of non-riders)
  • Nearly four times as many always feel sexy (27 percent of riders vs. 7 percent of non-riders)
  • Nearly twice as many always feel confident (35 percent of riders vs. 18 percent of non-riders)

According to the study, more than half (53 percent) of women who ride cite their motorcycle as a key source of happiness and nearly three in four (74 percent) believe their lives have improved since they started riding.

Somewhat interesting is that the study found that beyond positively impacting a woman’s sense of self, riding can improve relationships. When it comes to romance, women who ride leave non-riders in their dust, being more content with:

  • Communication with their significant other (60 percent of riders vs. 38 percent of non-riders)
  • Physical intimacy (51 percent of riders vs. 35 percent of non-riders).

I can see it now… a group of marketer’s in a Harley-Davidson conference room brainstorming a catchy title for a new self-help book:  The No Excuses H-D Motorcycle Guide To Intimacy

The book will go something like this…  distraught woman loses it completely, then rebuilds her life bit by bit.  By the last chapter she has purchased a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, found freedom, independence, self-expression, a rebel spirit and ridden from downtown Tokyo to Mt. Fuji and attended the San Tropez H.O.G. rally in France.  She has found a richly rewarding new life and a new mate with who she shares a deeper, more extraordinary love than she could ever have imagined possible.  Simply put, in the romance Olympics she has obtained a “Gold” medal!

Look for it on a bookshelf soon.

Photo courtesy of HD.

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Sarah Palin Rides In Rolling Thunder - 2011

Well the end of the world didn’t happen earlier in the month as Harold Camping of Family Radio had predicted.  In fact, Mr. Camping first predicted the end of world back in 1994 and I’m not sure how many doomsday predictions we’ll give the Christian broadcaster before skeptics scoff at his antics and totally dismiss the message.

And, speaking of doomsday…

To hear the “rumbles” – and, I’m not talking about the thousands of bikes which appeared at the annual Rolling Thunder bike rally in Arlington, Virginia which draws attention to American troops who have gone missing in combat and remain unaccounted for – rather I’m talking about participants in the ride who expressed mixed feelings when former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) hoped onto a Harley and joined thousands of riders.

I don’t know about you , but this has a bit of that “spoiled little Daddy’s uptown girl lives rent free” smell to it.  Average talent and giant hype.  When I listen to her speak I hear the marketing machine.  Palin talking about military hardships?!  It’s like listening to the building receptionist droll on and on about the hardships of the African child she supports through TV commercial contributions.  She’s speaking the words, but her connection and understanding of the hardships are highly suspect.  Like the Creedence Clearwater Revival song… it’s true, some kids are born with a silver spoon.  But, there are a lot of us who didn’t even have spoons, wooden or plastic!

You’re likely thinking, blah, blah, blah… it’s just politics so chill out, Mac.  You’re right.  Maybe I’m feeling a little envious that I couldn’t participate…

Okay.  Independent of political leanings and politician likes, I do believe the involvement of a high-profile politician can only boost the visibility of the veteran’s event, raise contribution awareness and help energize America to not forget.  That is a good thing.   Thank you Sarah Palin!

Photo courtesy of AP

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H-D Sprint Model on Varese, Italy Assembly Line

Congrats Ken!  You follow in the famous celebrity footsteps of Eddie Murphy, George Clooney, Meg Ryan, Woody Harrelson and Michael J. Fox who also turn 50 years old this year.

Factually speaking,  Ken was born March 11, 1961.  The year marks the “swingin’ sixties,” being a member of the baby boomer generation when John F. Kennedy was president, when race riots occurred throughout cities in the U.S., when the Peace Corps was established and the president advises American families to build bomb shelters as the cold war worsens when U.S.S.R. detonates a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb in the largest man-made explosion in history.  Then the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Cuba, twenty-eight men died on Texas Tower No. 4 in the North Atlantic and by year’s end there were more than 2,000 U.S. military “advisors” in South Vietnam.

In popular culture, 1961 brought the last episode of “I Love Lucy” to air, FCC Chairman (Newton Minow) claims that television is a “vast wasteland” (déjà vu all over again!), Johnson & Johnson introduced Tylenol, Harley-Davidson introduced the Italian assembled Sprint model, FM stereo is introduced and Ken got a hawt girlfriend, Barbie.  Yeah that Ken & Barbie – Ken Carson.

H-D Barbie Collectible Ken Doll #2

It was 50 years ago when Mattel introduced Ken with his trim crew cut, stiff carriage, and vacant eyes ready to do Barbie’s bidding.  That aging Ken now has a scruffy beard, shoulder-length hair and a patch of old-growth chest hair that might make Tom Selleck proud.  It certainly looks a lot like the core targeted customer segment of H-D.

But what about the new Ken?  The new modeling paradigm of American masculinity today seems to be that of men in their 20’s who hang out in a novel sort of limbo land – sort of a hybrid state of adolescence and responsible self-reliance — many still living at home with their parents!  These so-called “men” talk about ‘Star Wars’ like it’s not a movie made for people half their age and their idea of a perfect guys-night-out is a hanging around the PlayStation 3 with your guitar “bandmates,” or a trip down to the local ‘bucks’ with college friends who have yet to complete two semesters and are perpetually looking to land that dream job…  Yeah, the twenty-something’s have the appetite for luxury, but not the cash and given the slow pace of economic recovery it may be a long while on that job.

My advice?  Mattel should consider partnering Ken up with the likes of BRP/Can-Am to promote Ken & Barbies electric-hybrid roadster sensibilities and showcase that it’s okay to be more fuel-efficient and have greener CO2 emissions on the open road.

Photos courtesy of H-D and Mattel.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Hollywood (circa:1921)

In Hollywood, morals clauses began cropping up starting in 1921, when silent-film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of raping and accidentally killing a young actress at a wild party in San Francisco.  A series of scandals led to popular outrage and calls for censorship.

A morals clause allows a buyer to bail on a contract if a star’s conduct is detrimental to the buyers interest.

In the late 1940s, morals clauses provided a convenient out for studios looking to get rid of suspected communists in Hollywood.  For example Ring Lardner Jr. was among the “Hollywood 10” who were notified that their studio deals were being dumped under the morals clauses.  These days there are other forces that push on top stars as an actor who has a ‘history’ can be much riskier to employ because bond companies generally don’t want to insure a motion picture or TV show that depends on such a person.

And speaking of morals, communists and conduct being “detrimental to a buyers interests” we have TV personality of defunct West Coast Chopper fame and Austin Speed Shop owner, Jesse James –  a heartwarming story of a man who dresses up in Nazi garb (a joke he states), cheats — repeatedly — on his universally beloved wife with a tattooed stripper, the Amish-raised Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, but turns it all around and gets engaged to yet another tattoo enthusiast, Kat Von D (a.k.a. Miami Ink).

So in a world where words speak volumes, Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint determined that a Jesse James memoir is what you’ve been waiting for and is going to hit bookshelves later this year.  James who writing experience is limited to, uh, well, nothing I can think of will write the tell-all book for those fans that want to know all the details about re-hab, his infidelities and how he found true love.  The memoir is called “American Outlaw” not to be confused with the movie of a similar title, but it looks like bad is good again!

And speaking of tattoo chronicles… Kat Von D has her own illustrated diary that offers up an intimate look at her life and art.

Photos courtesy of Kat Von D, and Ralph Barton/Vanity Fair (circa 1921).

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Let’s be clear.  Lady Gaga (a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Anglina Germanotta) grates on me.

Her lifetime achievement of ten songs are not only a derivative, but uninspired.  More on music later.

She’s been everywhere: award shows, gay-rights rallies, magazine covers, stadiums, YouTube, Letterman, SNL, Grammy’s, etc.  She consistently makes headlines for wearing outrageous outfits – a meat dress here, a spiky scepter there – and for spouting sound bites such as, “I can mentally give myself an orgasm” or “I smoke a lot of pot when I write songs” … it’s gag-a, gag-a all the time.

She is clearly a celebrity overexposed and should just go away.  But, her “little monsters” are goo goo over gaga and won’t let that happen so, what to do?

Call Mark-Hans Richer to suggest he create and capitalize on a “Sputnik Moment” as President Obama evangelized.  So here it is… drum roll please…the headline would read: Harley-Davidson signs Lady Gaga to an endorsement deal!  I can’t think of anyone else other than Lady Gaga who cuts across multiple gender identities, social boundaries, is an erotic taboo breaker, a mainstream manufactured product who claims to be singing for freaks, the rebellious and the dispossessed.  If there ever was a Harley-Davidson brand ambassador she would be it!

So, I put the question out to the Northwest Harley Blog think tank (a.k.a. my pet cat Smurf!) and the name H-D: Lady Gaga Edition rose to the top.  A close second was Lady Gaga: Dare To Be Different clothing line.  Honestly I think Lady Gaga’s fashion style is weird and qualifies her for worst dressed, but what do I know?  My fashion wardrobe is mostly black t-shirts.  However, the youth crowd demographic — which H-D desperately seeks – see’s her as agent provocateur.

Now I could wax on about some ideas of a limited edition, “Bites of Enlightenment” Sportster model with Beef Jerky strips as the paint theme or “The Fame Monster” FatBoy model complete with a “Glam” accessory kit like a hair bow, hat, sunglasses, gloves and even a couture neck brace!   But you’d likely think I’m just grousing and I wanted to get back to music.

Speaking of, there’s no cheating music.  Let’s be clear, you can imitate, you can rip off what’s been done before, but there is no short cut.  There’s a schism between “performers” and true artistry.  The artist stories are all the same.  They bought records and practiced in their basements until they were good enough to get a gig.  Then they gigged long enough until someone noticed.  Then they got a chance and some broke through.

The Eagles - 1973 on BBC

Speaking of breaks.  A reader emailed me a video.  My jaw dropped.  It was an Eagles performance on the BBC.  It was like being transported back to 1973 instantly.

So for all you Gaga haters out there the clip begins with “Train Leaves Here This Morning.”  What’s stunning is the band is sitting on stools singing all the music.  ALL the music.  Incredible harmonies.  There’s no one in the background, nothing electronic-fied or on tape.  The 4-part harmonies are almost perfect.  And when something is almost perfect you get “chicken skin.”  Hell, Bernie Leadon is wearing a UCLA t-shirt which was likely the first thing in his suitcase.  It was about the music not the look.  Randy Meisner smiles when singing “A Certain Kind of Fool” and when Don Henley sings “Witchy Woman” it takes you back to the first time you ever heard it, when you had no idea who he was.  This is a band.  Remember bands?

This is not Glee.  It’s not a look-a-like tribute to Madonna.  It’s like stumbling onto the Dead Sea Scrolls.  You can be broke and still sing “Take It Easy” with the wind in your face on the open road and you’re right where you want to be.  It’s reminiscent of a time where radio was about music, not commercials.  This is the way it use to be.  Something that exists in the mind of the artist/players not some stylist standing in front of the mirror perfecting your ‘do.

Photo courtesy of Lady Gaga, The Eagles, BBC and various publishers.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Triumph -- Jolie -- Salt

The persona projects a take-no-prisoners ferocity along with unapologetic James Bond intelligence.

I’m talking about Angelina Jolie and her movie ‘Salt‘, a spy thriller where she plays Evelyn A. Salt, a rogue CIA agent who tries to clear her name after being accused of being a Russian sleeper spy.  The movie released this past weekend to fairly positive reviews and attendance figures.  Being a mom of six you’d think taking the kids to see Toy Story 3 would be the goal of the day vs. getting back to gunslinging and fistfighting while clinging to the side of a building, leaping from a balcony or racing a motorcycle.  But actors need to earn a living too and this is a chance to show off the action-star talent again in what many see as another franchise – can you say ‘Salt 2’?

Scoring a major product placement opportunity in the film was motorcycle manufacture Triumph.  Jolie was filmed in a motorcycle chase scene as the ‘Salt’ character rides a 2009 Triumph Street Triple R in the film.

Photo courtesy of Triumph

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Leslie Porterfield

Bonneville Salt Flats.  It’s no stranger to speed records.

And if you stroll through the race pits now days you’ll probably notice a lot of ponytails beneath helmets.  And they belong to women racers!  Racing in general is no longer a male dominated sport and motorcycle racing is no exception.

Harley-Davidson has made no secret of their strong interest in the female motorcycle market.  From support of the Women Riders Month, the International Female Ride Day to the dealer garage parties, Harley is helping women all over the world to join together to ride and break down any old stereotypes.  In some ways this is old news because in 1915 the 20-year-old Effie Hotchkiss drove from New York to California on a 3-speed Harley.  Or if you prefer during WWII, Bessie Stringfield rode from Army base to Army base as the only woman in the Army’s motorcycle dispatch unit.  Solo women motorcycle riders are revving engines as much as the next guy.

Now we have the world’s fastest woman on a motorcycle, Leslie Porterfield (34).  Not only does she hold the world record as the fastest female on a motorcycle, but she owns and operates High Five Cycles (Dallas, TX).   And, among many other accomplishments she has become the first woman to earn inclusion in the prestigious Bonneville 200 mph Club.  The first woman in its 61 year history.  After a nasty crash in 2007 she came back in 2008 to set the land speed record of 232MPH in the 2,000cc turbocharged class (on a 2002 turbo-modified Suzuki Hayabusa) and in the 1,000cc production class (2008 Honda CBR 1000) set the record of 192MPH.  Then at the 2009 International Speed Trails she claimed top speed of the meet award with a 240MPH pass.  Motorcycle tuning is performed by Scott Horner (Heads Up Performance) and Rhys Griffiths (APEX Speed Technology).

It turns out that Ms. Porterfield is featured on the cover of MyTekLife Magazine’s current issue, and for those lucky enough to be in the area she will be visiting Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson.  She is the honored guest during the Hogs and Dogs event on June 26th.  The location is 13850 N. Cave Creek Road and the event will include an opportunity to get autographs, and hear Ms. Porterfield talk about what’s next and going faster.   As a sidebar, Mr. Stubbs has an extensive racing career too which includes winning the Daytona 100 mile race in 1963.

For reference — the world’s fastest motorcycle crown belongs to Chris Carr and Denis Manning who logged 367.382MPH through the measured mile.

Photo courtesy of MyTekLife Magazine’s

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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