Birthday Ride To Bear Mountain!

 

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Last Saturday, on a lovely cool morning, We gathered to celebrate Miss-Fire Amanda’s birthday, and what an amazing day it was. Happy Birthday darling from all of us!

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We met at Tar Pit Cafe (owned by Miss-Fire Kerry), for early morning coffee.

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It was pretty clear right off the bat that it was going to be a magical day…

10492132_10204212004037377_2749304013105666398_nThe Birthday girl presented with a custom made gift from Miss-Fire Rachel Quinn Jewelry!

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tough guys…

10562970_10152338694449608_354921372504867898_nDirections…

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The route…

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Group photo. Ready to ride!

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Scenic Overlook from the Palisades.

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View from the chase truck.

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We made it!

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birthday cake river surprise!

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Crossing the Bear Mountain Bridge to find some much needed food and beer after a long day…

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such fun.

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Perfect sunset skyline as we return happy and tired to the big city. a perfect day in every way.

 

Corinna Mantlo

1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1962 Ford Ranchero, 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike.

Strange Days 4

This past weekend a bunch of The Miss-Fires rallied with some of our favorite fellas to head out to Strange Days Motorcycle show/meet-up/camp-out/live music festival/swap meet in Vernon, NJ.  It was Brandon’s (Death or Victory) first ride since his unfortunate wreck 16 weeks ago to the day – a wreck that left him with a broken femur and a totaled bike.   We all met up at his garage and waited while he did some last minute adjustments to his “new” 1985 Harley FXR.

Brandon fixes up his new FXR

Photo by Rich Gone

Assortment of bikes

Photo by Rich Gone

Photo by Suzanne

The crew

Photo by Rich Gone

We hit the road and ran directly into some pretty rough Manhattan traffic.  We did our best to stick together and made it though the Holland Tunnel with everyone except for our girl Rachael and her friend (never got his name!)   It was a hot and humid ride so we took a quick break to gas up and hydrate before navigating some fun scenic back roads of New Jersey.

Photo by Suzanne

It was a great ride until we turned a corner and basically ran directly into a scary situation.  We had found Rachael and her friend, but under the worst circumstances.  She had taken a turn a tad too wide and wound up in the woods off the side of the road.  Aside from being a bit shaken and muddy, she was FINE (huge miracle).  Her Sportster, on the other hand, was a bit dinged up.  She lost her plate and her clutch lever.  We all hung around while John, Scott, Brandon and some of the rest of the crew worked on rigging her lever well enough so that she could ride it to a nearby dealership to have it fixed.

Photo by Suzanne

Photo by Rich Gone

We hit the road and headed to our first destination, the Chatterbox Drive-In Diner.  We just happened to roll in during their weekly car show.  The “mayor” of the car show wasn’t too thrilled that our bikes were taking up their precious parking spaces, so we ate and drank our rootbeer floats as quickly as possible and got the hell out of there before we overstayed our welcome.

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

Photo by Lynda Lucas

At this point a few of us who needed to get back to the city (my dog has a small bladder) broke off and took the scenic route back – through Bear Mountain.

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Photo by Suzanne

The rest of the crew – I’d say at least 20 people – made it to Strange Days and partied into the night.

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rachael Becker

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Photo by Leslie Padoll

Kristen Reed 2

Photo by Kristen Reed

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Photo by Rachael Becker

becker 3

Photo by Rachael Becker

Kristen Reed 1

Photo by Kristen Reed

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

Let’s do it again for the Gypsy Run!  Save the date, September 12-14…Be there!

Harley Davidson: Project Live Wire

 

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Some of The Miss-Fires that attended the Project Live Wire unveiling party at Harley Davidson NYC. Leeft to right: Rachael, Corinna, Suzanne, Valerie, Robyn, Melissa, and Shillae.

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Recently, several members of The Miss-Fires were invited to be among the first to view and ride the first HD built prototype electric motorcycle, Project Live Wire. We attended the party at their new, show room store in Soho, where we were able to try the bike out on a stationary rig that allowed you to feel the bikes 0-60 in under 4 second potential. It was a great night of wine and discussion about the future of motorcycling with the men and women behind the concept bike. It left us all itching to get home, rest up and head back over the next day to try the bikes out on a street test ride. Here are 4 very different riders thoughts on Project Live Wire…

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Heidi Hackemer

You know how everyone is running around talking about “the future”? This watch is the future or this phone is the future or this stupid dating app is the future. I work with a lot of tech companies so I hear this shit a lot. So when this bike came around, I was definitely curious, but I also was internally rolling my eyes a bit at the “future” hype. I love Harley, but feared that the brand was buying into it’s own bullshit with this talk.

But despite my future hype jadedness, I WAS really looking forward to getting on this bike. I’m a Wisconsin native and grew up about an hour away from Harley headquarters. People from home bleed Harley. It’s religion. And when it came time to get my proper bike, even though I flirted with other makes, at the end of the day there really was no question for me. It was always going to be a Harley. I ride a 48 Sportster and I’m really in love with my bike. She’s a rumbling brute and I love being a part of the Harley gang.

So I was psyched to get on it and hoping that it was as futuristic as they were saying, as I’m always rooting for Harley to win.

I got on the night my test ride at the party and my first reaction to the bike was shock at how light it felt. I was tipping that thing pretty hard side to side and I felt like I was playing with a toy.

The next day was the test ride. I have to admit, it felt a little odd to hop on a Harley, hit the power button and essentially hear nothing. I always, regardless if I’m just going on a short trip, love that moment when I start my bike and it roars to life. It always feels like it’s time to play. So to see a touch-screen light up instead was a bit odd, but also kinda charming in a weird way.

I’m sure the other girls can evaluate the ride of the bike better as they’re way more experienced, but my short take on the specific handling is that it was really easy to manipulate and handled NYC bumps and bangs well. Also, the jump in acceleration was really nice. I felt like had I had the chance to open it up more I could have really gone.

The negatives? The braking is odd, so fast and absolute. I’m sure I would get used to how to work it, but the first time got some speed and then slowed down I felt like I was going to go over the handlebars. Missfire over! Oh my god I would have never lived that down. Ha!

I also do worry about the lack of sound. The sound that it makes is really cool – I felt like I was in Star Wars. But, as we all say, a loud bike is a safe bike and I definitely use my engine as a signal, especially in the city. This bike doesn’t have that sound and you can’t rev it to get some stupid driver or pedestrian who is texting to wake up. That worries me.

Finally, I’d love to Harley up the look a bit. I think they went more plastics in the body because the battery is heavy, but personally I’d like to be able to grunge, matte and/or blackout the bike.

My overall experience, however is this: you know when you’re going on a long ride and you get up into your high gears, sit back and get into the zone? Where you feel like you’re floating? This bike felt like that even at ten miles an hour. It feels otherworldly, like you’re on a cloud. That sense of float left such an impression on me. I wanted to ride it for an hour to see if the sensation held.

Overall, I think this is a great step forward for the brand. This bike isn’t competing with my 48 anytime soon. It’s just a different bike. And that’s totally cool.

Looking at it through my urban lens, I think there’s so much potential with this bike. I believe the charging infrastructure will exist in the cities, it’s light and easy to handle so men and women can get on board and I hope that the eventual price point gets it to mass accessibility.

When you consider that 75% of the world’s population is going to be urban by 2025, and cities are going to be crowded and difficult to transverse (check out the traffic issues in Sao Paulo or the public transport issues in Tokyo for a glimpse of that future), motorcycling seems to be a really smart transportation option of the future. And to think that Harley is making something that is environmentally friendly, city friendly, gender friendly… well, it makes this little Wisconsin girl proud.
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Melissa Diaz

I want one now! Loved riding the Harley Davidson LiveWire! The Future is here! Amazing piece of art and technology!

Just got to do some single block laps dreaming of being on the West Side Highway, but I’ll definitely take it on being allowed to ride a $200k prototype! Really crazy having no clutch and being in “drive” as soon as the motorcycle is on, even though it’s completely silent. And, letting this thing respond to put itself in neutral once you completely stop was interesting and then you just hit the throttle to take off. And, once I got to open her up, take off indeed. No problem speeding well the heck up. A caution that as soon as you let up on throttle the bike completely slows to stop, so you gotta tap the brake so others behind you know you’re stopping. Sure, one guy who rides an HD White Glide did say it sounded like he was riding a vacuum cleaner (though 5 minutes later he was really into the ride) but I seriously dig the futuristic sound and feeling like I’m borrowing one of Tom Cruise’s Oblivion or Mission Impossible Motorcycles!

I couldn’t love electric and innovation more, plus the thought of no more wars/battles guarding oil fields/rigs or depleting our planet’s natural resources. The cost of the electric for the same 100 mile charge that my monster goes with also be somewhere around a 10th of the price!

I’d like to think I may have to be first in line once this bike is released (and a full figure is dropped to make it (hopefully low) 5 figures to obtained). I’m definitely smitten!

Your turn next Ducati!

 

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Valerie Figarella (MotorGrrl)

And, a mega thanks to Megan Baldock and Harley’s COO Matt Levatich for personally inviting my staff and I to this event.  I’d also like to give props to  The Miss-Fires,  for spreading the word.  Truly this group of ladies and my staff is like no other, whom I couldn’t be prouder to ride with and who’ve already given me so many amazing experiences but today’s prototype riding lunch break will surely be one of my best ever!

The Big Buzz Electric motorcycles,  I think everyone we know has friend or knows a friend of  friend doing a prototype on electric cycles.  Zero so far has been the leader in with the most per mile per charger factor.   Harley Davidson is no cupcake when it come to R&D. From the risk with Buell to now, the electric trend.

Not letting pride and tradition get in their way to keep up with Jones’.  It’s  great to see Harley step outside it’s comfort zone from big burly loud traditional American motorcycles to  it’s counterpart:  “Project Live Wire” – a sport bike with quick braking that’s super quite (uber quite) and Star Trekky futuristic display,  their electric prototype.

HD is sure challenging it’s customers and potential customer.  Their prototype “Project Live Wire” is automatic has a  mono shock and a front floating rotor still leaves me with some questions .  Though I didn’t have the opportunity to open the throttle, I did get the  gist of its lightness, cornering, maneuverability, and quick braking power (especially upon deceleration) .   The word on the street is people( including myself) miss the loud heart pounding  rumble of a Harley.  I think it’s great to see Harley break through barriers and try different things and continue to be a force in this industry.  But I think, they need to make a loud electric bike.  I will always love and treasure our American Beauty: an old school Harley Davidson; it will never get old.

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Corinna Mantlo

I can honesty say I have no idea why I got an 8am phone call on a saturday morning from Harley Davidson in Florida, inviting me to test ride their newest creation, as i’m generally the only weirdo at a HD event on vintage british iron, and though i giggled to myself for days about the spectacle I’d make arriving for the test ride on my 1968 BSA Lightning hotrod, and having to ask where the kickstart is on this new fangled future thing, I was thrilled to have been selected and truly excited to ride the bike.

I am in complete support of the engineering pioneers building the future of motorcycles. Electric motorcycles even now, with their limited 70 mile range fill perfectly a need for fuel conserving, planet conscious commuting conveyances for over crowded urban environments, and with 74 hp and 52 lb-ft of torque, they also have amazing potential on the track if you can hack the electronically restricted top speed of 92 mph.

The test ride was done in heavy traffic in downtown manhattan. Not ideal conditions at all to really test the potential of the bike, or technical handling in tight turns, but I found it very interesting as like I said I think of these as the perfect mode of transport for urban commuters. For this application, the light and nibble feel of the bike was perfectly suited. The automatic transmission freed me up from my constant battle of up shifting and downshifting at ever stop light which can be maddening, and I immediately felt right at home with the smooth automatic acceleration and deceleration and the bikes unique sound. by the second time around the block I was having a blast. The bike leaned and turned around cars and corners and the suspension handled our NYC potholes well. The read out display and sound design make the future feel like Tron (1982) which I think is perfectly appropriate. It is a future bike. It shouldn’t look like it’s dressed up like a classic Harley, though I give props to the design team for styling the uber modern bike to have a unique look that still completely fits into the traditional HD branding.

I am honored to have been able to ride one of only 33 built and though Harley has no plans to release the bike for sale, it is a step in the right direction and it’s great to see Harley (who is no longer known as a company pushing the envelope to develop new bike technology) making strides for the rest of the industry to follow.

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Video Recap of Project Livewire

 

 

Wow! What a Ride! …Hellbound And Down, part 1

photo-31(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride! ― Hunter S. Thompson

10325668_10152200361634608_7627567789328270453_nTeam Hellbound And Down

 In life there are sometimes opportunities too crazy to pass up. Hunter S Thompson lived it, and it’s a moto i’ve decided to live by, or as I call it the decision to just ‘get in the van.’

Get in the van‘ is basically the conscious decision to quit talking about things you want to do, making excuses, or put plans and dreams off for another day, but instead to embrace life, look fear in the face and tell fear to get lost. It’s how i learned to flattrack (read the GET IN THE VAN flattrack post here) among other things, and I wish i’d been stronger and more confident to do this in my younger years but the past is the past and so at 34 I am becoming the daredevil, badass, juvenile delinquent i wish i’d been at 15.

So, when my dear friend Greaser told me about his plans to race the Norra Mexican 500 this year (yep…500 miles across Baja on vintage motorcycles in brutal terrain), I was totally supportive and encouraging. Of course, THEN he followed up with, ‘hey you should race too!’

I thought about it for a minute…and I was fucked. I had to do it. His offer came with a van, a mechanic, and the support of his club The Yellow Jackets MC who have been racing motorcycles since they formed in 1938. Basically all I had to do was find and buy a vintage bike ($2500), a bunch of gear ($$$), learn to ride off road (i’ve never even done 1 mile on dirt, and this is 500!), and raise thousands of dollars to cover entry fees ($1800), transport gas ($1000), race gas ($200), food and lodging ($$$), etc. and do it all in time for the race in early October. Uh, no biggie. Sure, why the hell not? I’ll get in the van!971995_10152189932989608_8264714705718617213_nMe and my 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike

A few days later I bought a bike. A 1971 BSA Victor 250 from my motorcycle mentor Hugh Mackie at Sixth Street Specials. I had to borrow money to get it, but i wasn’t backing down. Buying the bike meant this was a reality and not just talk, and though i woke up in a panic every night after for a week, i was excited and determined to pull this off, and the first time i went ripping around the neighborhood, i was in love with this brat of a baby Beezer, and the idea of racing as a woman and a Miss-Fire.

photo-4(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

I mean seriously, its an adventure to end all adventures. a girl on a tiny, old british motorcycle alone (well hopefully not) in a race against the clock for 3 days and 500 miles in Mexico. HELL YEA! I’d be a fool NOT to do it. Right?

photo-21(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

Well, there it is. I’m doing it. My bike has been gone through. I’m ordering protective gear and knobby tires this week. A Bell Powersports helmet and Von Zipper goggles are on their way to me from our wonderful friends at Hell On Wheels MC in California, i’m being trained in core and overall strength building by the wonderful Coach Ray, and in just two weeks Team Hellbound And Down will be hitting the Pine Barrens for the the first of what will be weekly, all day off road training sessions. So, See you in October Baja!

10491086_10152286393714608_6560630621284729587_nThe amazing race jerseys for Myself, Greaser and our mechanic Doc from Jill at Hometown Jersey!

Stay tuned for updates on the race prep here, and be sure to follow us on our dedicated website HELLBOUND AND DOWN where there is information on us, the race, upcoming fundraisers, and even a paypal link to help us get to Mexico. Every dollar helps and we’re blown away by the outpouring of support we’ve received so far. Most importantly from my dear Miss-Fires family who support me in all of my motorcycle shenanigans and came out in force for our first FUNDRAISER a few weeks ago. thank you Miss-Fires from the bottom of my heart…or the gears that are there in place of one.

 

Corinna Mantlo

1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1962 Ford Ranchero, 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike.

 

The First Miss-Fires Bike Wash Fundraiser

Yesterday was the first Miss-Fires Bike Wash Fundraiser, and I gotta say, it went better than I expected. I threw the idea out to the Miss-Fires for a fundraiser to help a friend with a very special cause. Since the deadline was/is so tight, I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. But to my chagrin, I sent out the bat signal and the Miss-Fires came to the rescue. The local moto garages also pitched in, and I went with the first taker, Brooklyn Moto, whom I can’t thank enough. I compare it to stone soup, throw an idea and a plan in the pot and our moto-community threw in their bits to cook up a full-blown event a few short days later.

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All funds went directly to NYC Art x Sweet Treat 311 to help children in Ogatsu-cho who were affected by the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The project is an art workshop that Hannah Lamar Simmons and Yuka Miyata put together to empower children by creating a sculpture for the town’s new learning center. The children will be able to contribute directly to their community’s recovery. This project will open the door to future collaborations between individuals in NYC and the Ogatsu-cho community.

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If you’d like to donate or learn more about it, you can do so online here: NYC Art x Sweet Treat 311

Hannah and Yuka are still at it as we speak. Their next fundraiser is at Cafe Edna’s this Thursday:

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Any little bit will help. And they are always very thankful, as this hand-made plaque represents. It would be awesome to have it hanging in a Miss-Fires club house some day.

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Many thanks to everyone who donated and have squeaky clean bikes. And thank you Brooklyn Moto for being our host.

Happy America from The Miss-Fires!

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4th of July, in Miss-Fires fashion…10389414_10152309198049608_8413275633421469591_n

The Miss-Fires have are an eclectic group of ladies and bikes and we make a point to have fun and not take ourselves to seriously. We had a nothing more than a loose last minute plan to hit up a few local parties for the 4th and see what trouble we could find…Sandra (above) rode in a vintage sundress, under full leathers on her Honda CB77, seen here setting Rachael up for a test ride. She makes full gear sexy as hell.
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Lynda was recently reunited with her VTR 250 after moving to NY from California and waiting a painful few months before it could be shipped over. She hasn’t stopped smiling since!

 

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Amanda and her Harley with Sandra and her CB77

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Rachael taking a break from her Triumph Bonneville to take Sandra’s CB77 for a spin.

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It’s so much fun, everyone wants a turn!

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Rachael and Amanda

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my 1962 Ford Ranchero with a perfectly matching Bell Bullet helmet

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me, in my natural habitat. happiness.

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my ranchero was running funny and a few of the classic car friends jumped in to lend a hand diagnosing. I was so engrossed, i never even noticed Rachael slapping my ass. ha!

 

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Suzanne and her new whip.

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Suzanne’s home made  ‘America’ cake

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Minivan burn outs

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Greenpoint Hot Rod BBQ Miss-Fires ‘groupie’

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As the sun set, full of BBQ and shenanigans, a crew suited up and hit the road in search of music and fireworks…

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Our travels led us to where else, but the Dances Of Vice Rockabilly Extravaganza where VIP parking and tickets awaited us!

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Live Bands, Swing and Jive dancing led by the Rebel Night crew, vintage vendors and a roof to see the fireworks display. Alison even won the twist off!

imageroof top Miss-Fire ‘groupie’ …right before they kicked us off.

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the ride home left us vintage car gals stuck in nightmare traffic while the moto ladies snuck on through. Lori’s 1959 T-Bird died in and BQE traffic was brought to a stand still while we managed a jump from my Ranchero. never a dull moment!

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Happy America and HAPPY SUMMER!

Corinna Mantlo

1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1971 BSA Victor 250, 1971 Yamaha AT1 125, 1962 Ford Ranchero

 

Deus Ex Machina Sunday Mass Ride in NYC

Photo by Stefan Wigand

Photo by Stefan Wigand

Deus Ex Machina, superheroes among custom bike builders based out of Sydney, Australia, brought their Los Angeles crew out east for a premier spring weekend and converted New York City into weather-loving, lane-splitting criminals, reuniting us with our long lost true loves once again.

It was Sunday in mid-May and one of the first beautifully sunny and warm days of the year. As usual, the Northeast was fashionably late in joining the rest of the country in the most welcomed season, but we greeted it with pure and unbridled enthusiasm. The warm sun finally shared its most elusive quality with the city that never sleeps, and we finally got the opportunity to straddle our summer flings that had begun to feel like distant memories and forget about the winter warfare from which we realized we had survived, not unscathed but unphased. In other words, we had overcome our seasonal blues, pulled up our literal and proverbial bootstraps, and got the fuck out of the house.

Keeping in mind that I’d purchased my first motorcycle almost one year ago, I’d heard of Deus Ex Machina but admittedly knew very little about the Aussie company. I was gratefully informed of the ride by a digital newsletter that infrequently has free, appealing events to do; and my interest was doubled when a motorcycle buddy received a flyer hand-delivered to his dealership by the very guys who orchestrated the entire day. It was on.

I’d never had the privilege of joining a group ride before, and I was equally curious and nervous. I wasn’t entirely concerned that I might crash into another rider, but I had also only recently joined the motorcycle community in my home of nine years, and I was mildly shy about not knowing anyone. Additionally, remnants of the chaos that occurred on the West Side Highway only months before still irked many motorcyclists and left cops and drivers similarly suspicious of us. But nerves had never inhibited me before, so I awoke at 8:00 a.m. to break my fast and meet my buddy in time to mingle for a few minutes prior to kicking up stands at 10:30.

From Brooklyn, I crossed the Williamsburg Bridge on my black 2013 Bonneville, took in the Manhattan skyline and headed to the Lower East Side (LES). Upon arrival at the meeting point, Freemans Sporting Club where Deus had installed a stylish pop-up shop, I turned onto Rivington Street where Triumphs and custom street bikes lined the hidden block surprisingly free from random passersby. I immediately felt like I was in-the-know. I quickly found a spot to tuck in my Bonny between other bikes, whose owners had obviously spent hard-earned money to customize, and was startled to look up to find a tattooed photographer squatting nearby documenting my arrival with his Nikon D3 (or some kind of fancy camera). I timidly returned my divided attention to parking my ride, because I was surprised that anyone would find any interest in photographs of a girl from Oklahoma riding a machine that, although sexy enough, still wore all its original, boring stock parts. (These insecurities came from the fact that I’d been fantasizing about the modifications I’d been wanting to make but had yet to have the funds to fulfill.) I quickly got over myself and noticed my buddy was parked nearby on his crotch rocket. Later in the day, he confided in me of how out-of-place he felt among all the cafe racers.

There was a good, but not intimidating, crowd outside Freemans. I noticed only a handful of other brave girls lingering about and walked over to join the relaxed group of people with whom I felt an immediate connection. I somehow related to the familiar strangers from the unpretentious vibe cast from their scruffy attire of trucker hats, t-shirts and jeans.

The Deus staff welcomed our presence by introducing themselves and engaging in friendly banter with us, which further reinforced their solid reputation from the positive personal experience I now had with them. We learned each others’ names and discussed our riding histories and their stay in New York thus far. After the small talk wound down, I noticed the motorcycle clothing meticulously organized just inside Freemans. I was curious to enter not only because of my consumerist upbringing but also because of my intense attraction to cool bike wear. Once inside, I was disappointed to learn that the clothes were designed for men. Despite having a few masculine traits to my personality, my scrawny, feminine body type isn’t becoming in XXL shirts. So I ventured back outside. Shortly thereafter, a Deus associate having limited knowledge of both New York streets and its traffic, gathered everyone for a briefing on the upcoming route through three of the five boroughs, crossing three different bridges and one river twice. We were stoked and ready to ride.

We headed to our bikes, started our engines and woke up any remaining sleepers within a five-block radius. I let those parked behind me pass first to ensure I wouldn’t cut anyone off. We poured one-by-one out of the LES and thus began our invasion of New York City.

We cut through traffic. We turned heads. We ran red lights to stay together. But despite our best efforts, the large group quickly splintered into several smaller ones causing confusion as I tried to determine which riders I was meant to follow because the beautiful weather lured other random riders out that day as well. Despite my doubts, I kept with my crew. This could have been due to the monotony of bike style or ubiquity of tattoos or the various characters found upon further inspection of the group. I kept my eye on the 6’5″ guy who struggled not to overpower his modified Thruxton possessing super low handlebars that made him appear like a hunchbacked giant, yet still incredibly cool; and the cute girl whose vintage Honda kept stalling at every stoplight, backing up the line of bikes behind her but inciting sympathy and assistance from their riders. And I definitely couldn’t overlook the photographers who rode on the back of some bikes because I envied that their arms were free to hold cameras and snap shots of us all over the city. (Thus, you’ll find a link below to their photos in lieu of any I would have loved to have captured myself.)

Our bikes stayed in second gear most of the ride through Manhattan, but once we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and hit the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), I was able to shake out the cramps in my left hand and feel the spring wind through my leather jacket. I relished in those few minutes down the BQE more than I’d enjoyed myself in a while. I was finally able to say “good riddance!” to the 19 snow storms we’d had this year and reconnect with my passion for going fast and feeling free. Nothing could divert my attention. It felt like the Buddhist teachings of living in the moment and practicing gratitude united perfectly in my mind. And even though we were all on separate machines speeding at 80 mph with plenty of lag between each bike so that it was no longer apparent we were traveling as a group, each one of us shared the same purpose – we were acting out the mantra that the journey is the destination.

It took a good half hour for all the riders to reach the midpoint meeting location at the base of the Verrazano Bridge. But once we did, our spirits were even higher than when we began a couple of hours earlier. We’d just bonded in the most unusual of ways – by sharing the experience of facing the open air at top speed while ignoring civilized behavior and any obstacle inhibiting our intrepid swarm through the city. We happily posed for more photos and took in the breathtaking view before hitting the road again to finish our day. The most significant part of the ride was behind us, and all that remained were a few more miles and some further bonding time.

We arrived back at Freemans ready to avail ourselves of Deus’ hospitality. They kindly offered us some BBQ and memento t-shirts and charmed me further by complimenting my riding. I’d been on some form of motorized bike since the tender age of 13, despite purchasing my Bonny just one year ago, but I hadn’t ridden since moving to New York. Those comments supported my feeling of the day that my riding had improved. I’d taken mental notes and mimicked others I knew were infinitely more experienced than I and, although subtle, moved my body and bike in ways that felt more skillful. The thrill of my first group ride became so much more in that moment. I not only possessed bragging rights of having ridden with a respected custom motorcycle company but now had an emotional connection with them as well. They helped pull me out of my comfort zone, which although is not that difficult to do, still is not frequent enough in my life. They helped introduce me to others with whom I now have a history and have also helped increase my level of riding. My bike is now in the shop undergoing those modifications I’d been fantasizing about, and the next time Deus graces New York City with their presence, I’ll no longer be a novice stranger but a friend and more confident rider. Until they announce the date in August, I’ll be riding with my fellow Miss-Fires and looking forward to doing it all over again.

To read the blog by Deus Ex Machina and to view their photos, click here.

by Kristen Reed