Some thoughts on motorcycling and being a female rider

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 2.55.40 PMFeatured Rider – Corinna

We know theres a wide diversity of riders out there. Today we get to interview someone who is quite well known in the world of vintage bikes and was even featured in a book “ My Cool Motorcycle. “ It’s not very often that we get to interview someone with this much insight and knowledge about a variety of bikes. Her name is Corinna and rides in the busiest city in the USA- New York City. She also modifies and makes custom seats for bikes. She also is a part of a female motorcycle group called the missfires- http://themissfires.com/. We love that she isn’t the typical Viking Bags cruiser rider either! Here’s our interview with her.

10177459 10152166146119608 6722476976868115899 n Featured Rider   Corinna 1. How long have you been riding?

I’ve been riding off and on since 2001 but seriously for the last 5 years.

2. How many bikes have you owned?

I’ve had a 1982 honda rebel, 1976 Triumph Bonneville, 1973 Triumph Tiger 750, 1978 Yamaha SR500, and I currently have 1971 Yamaha AT1 125, 1971 BSA Victor 250, 1968 BSA Lightning 650/Thunderbolt 650 hot rod.

3. What is your current bike?( and which was your favorite? Why? Any bike in particular that you DISLIKE? )

Of the 3 bikes I currently own, I love love them all for their own beauties. the yamaha at1 because a tiny dual purpose dirt/street bike is a blast to ride in NYC and is a perfect get around bike. The BSA Victor 250 I bought to ride and race off road and it’s been a great vintage bike to learn on, though from having it i learned the reasons I don’t love it for myself…too heavy, too finicky and so with love it’ll soon go to a new home and I’ll find something more suited to me in the woods. The BSA 650 hot rod is truly my current love as I’ve put a ton of work into it to make it fast and mean and soon it’ll be finished and gorgeous to match.

4. What made you want to ride a bike? Have you made any long distance trips with it yet? Do you have any planned?

I ride old bikes and drive old cars because of my love of classic film. it’s buster keaton, marlon brando, peter fonda and steve mcqueen that gave me the itch for the open road and because of I’ve always had a passion for vintage aesthetics (and everything), owning, riding and subsequently maintaining classics ha always been the way for me. 

I haven’t yet done a truly long distance ride though I hope to go cross country next spring, among other long distance plans.

5. Would you ride a different type of bike, i.e. Cruiser if you have a sport bike or sport bike if you have a cruiser.

Different for me would be modern. I very much want to own a modern bike to experience becoming truly a better rider on long trips as i’ve always had to battle unreliability and unforeseen issues with the vintage bikes.

6. Whats your dream bike and or next bike? Do you enjoy any vintage bikes like café racers and restoration?

Vintage bikes and proper cafe racers (performance modified…not just clip ons and slick paint) are most definitely my love. taking a stock bike that was probably bought on the cheap and finding ways to make it better and faster and then thrashing the hell out of it is something I aspire to do well. For me though, as I work around the clock making perfectly custom seats for gorgeous bikes and hot rods that other people build, I am simply aspiring to own a finished perfect classic that performs. Dream bikes at the moment are the italians. I dream of a Guzzi.

7. What type of rider do you think you are? (Aggressive, conservative, Point A – B )

I’m a “conscious aggressive” rider. I like to push it but on my rattly old brit bike, i’m aware of my drum brakes, etc. I absolutely live for the ride, not the getting from point A to B.

8. What made you want to ride and commit to the motorcycle lifestyle? Any regrets?

I don’t now really. I loved the peace and alone-ness you find inside a helmet, vulnerable and exposed on the rode. Getting past the fear of death and finding that peace and happiness is a feeling only a rider understand i think. You are responsible for every move you make and it’s implications can be deadly. But, even in cold and rain ad close calls….I always have a smile on my face while i ride…which, glancing over at a sour face inside a heated car and realizing you don’t envy them for even a second is truly freedom.

9. What advice do you wish you knew, when you first started out? Any other pieces of wisdom?

when i say i’ve been riding since 2001 but only the last 5 years seriously, that is indeed because of the advice i wish i’d been able to tale and now give others on a daily basis. 

-1. buy a reliable bike. i’ve never had money to buy new, but buy something that runs in your price range. it will allow you to learn how to ride…not wrench, but just ride.
-2. don’t buy something small. you’ll outgrow it fast. the weight of a bike isn’t in the CI of the engine. riding a honda S90 and trying to keep up with the experienced riders on modern or larger bikes will NOT make you a better or more confident rider. the same goes for not riding mopeds or scooters as a way to ‘build up’ to a motorcycle.
-3. surround yourself with motorcycle friends. community is the key to succeeding on two wheels. Joining a vintage club 5 years ago is what made me a good rider and a happy person. Now my all womens rider group, The MIss-Fires gives me riding partners, support, confidence and inspiration to be a better rider every day.

1385109 10152471434724608 67403133431089656 n Featured Rider   Corinna 10. Regarding those who don’t practice ATGATT, how do you feel about them? Do you encourage it?

I am in no way the poster child for ATGATT but i’m getting better every day. It’s unfortunately a lesson everyone needs to learn for themselves. going down sucks and even when it’s a minor down, you can do major damage. slow speed spills’ll take the skin off your hands. what’s the fix, gloves? what’s the benefit? just try limping a perfectly working bike home 10 miles with a bloody, throbbing hand wrapped in a greasy rag that you have to force yourself to twist the throttle with. Just ask me how i know?

As a woman, i’m thrilled that as apposed to 13 years ago,. gear is getting better. more fitted to our curves and sexier in style. no, pink camo doesn’t fit into my 1950’s rocker aesthetic.

The short on ATGATT is once you commit to it, it’s really not an issue. a full face helmet is damn comfy on a windy highway, and i’m blessed to ride with a pack of gorgeous girls who make it look so damn good…they make the guys in t-shirts look a bit silly. I am trying every day to build the perfect ATGATT wardrobe that will protect me and inspire everyone to gear up and look good doing it.

11. When do you think you’ll stop riding? Anytime soon?

never.

12. We know it’s a really painful topic to revisit, but have you ever gone down?

Yes, but never majorly. it’s inevitable and i think about it every day. I simply do the best I can by trying to always be responsible and present when i hop on a bike. it goes without saying that riding drunk or distracted, under geared or underprepared will only add to the possibility of a very bad day. so, while we can’t control bad drivers or bad roads, we can at least go out each day prepared for the worst and planning for the best. oh, and always have health insurance.

13. Last and not least, as a fun question- is there anything else you’d still like to do on a bike? Like a riders bucket list.

My bucket list is probably longer than my life will be. I simply want to do everything. ride as many miles of road and dirt as I can find. become better at trails and TT. Try my hand at road racing. ride in other countries. Build a chopper. Do everything on a motorcycle I can because it’s always an adventure and everything new you learn on bikes goes back to making you a better rider. And lets face it, there isn’t a moment on a motorcycle that is ever truly bad.

Corinna 3 Featured Rider   Corinna Corinna Mantlo

1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1962 Ford Ranchero

 

 

 

Thanks to our generous speakeasy raffle donors!

The Miss-Fires first Speakeasy Fundraiser was a ROARING success!  We’ll soon have a follow up post with lots of lovely pics, but right now we just want to give a shout out and huge THANK YOU to all of the amazing companies that donated to our raffle!

5boroMLBAmigos Skateboards

Alison Cutlan JewelryAshleigh Ide PhotographyBeaner Bar

Bordeaux Under One RoofBlissThe Bowery Ballroom

Delta miles donated by Wolf & WilhelmineHeaddress SalonHeavy Leather

Five Stride Skate ShopHard Rider NYCPaint Box Salon

Iron and GloryRachel Quinn JewelryTar Pit Coffee Shop

stella & dotUnion GarageUrban Decay

Peacock & PineapplesVansTomahawk

FergusonTHREE KINGScotter pin gearhell on wheelsnippiesstance socksAlso, an extra special thanks to Park Luncheonette for donating and delivering a ton of delicious pizzas, to Lady Jay’s Bar for donating 480 beers (!!!), and to Tanteo Tequila for donating lots of bottles of Jalapeno Tequila!

park luncheonette

lady jaysTANTEOLast but not least, the event wouldn’t have even been possible if Val didn’t offer up Motorgrrl’s new space at 42 Dobbin Street, Brooklyn NY 11222.  Go check her out and ask about her winter storage offers!

motorgrrl

The Speakeasy Benefit is less than a week away!

MF Cig girl

The Event: 1920’s/30’s themed party to raise funds for A GREAT cause. All proceeds at the event will go to help keep Kim’s mom’s autism clinic doors OPEN while she undergoes treatment for Cancer. You can also donate online HERE.
The Location: It wouldn’t be a speakeasy party if we told you…now would it?!
(follow our Instagram page @themissfires, and our facebook event Page HERE)
The Details: HOT BABES in flapper garb. Poker tables. Period correct cocktails. Insane Raffles. Cigarette Girls smoking indoors WILL BE permitted, with ventilation). 21 and over.

RSVP to themissfires@gmail.com to be put on an email list to get the location the morning of the event.

Spread the word, and see you there!

- The Miss-Fires

Ride with The Living Dead!

Ride With The Living Dead

As the woman behind Cine Meccanica and The Motorcycle Film Festival, it’s an understatement to say I spend a good amount of my time obsessing over motorcycle movies, and one that has always been a favorite, is the 1972 british classic, Psychomania. Outside of it being a fantastically macabre biker flick, the gang it portrays are The Living Dead, a group of hooligans who terrorize the countryside while attempting to obtain immortality. theres also an weird frog thing, an amazing funeral sequence, and the best damn helmets ever!

I’ve talked about making making myself a Living Dead helmet for years…but never did get around to doing it. So when I checked my Miss-Fires email earlier this month and saw that Miss-Fire Kim had taken it upon herself to make my movie nerd dream a Miss-Fire Halloween reality, i was beyond friggin’ stoked. And that email began the start of what will now be a yearly Miss-Fire tradition. Hope ya’ll can join us next year…and thanks again Kim!!

10653527_10152552944664608_2588667570218686771_n

 

Prep. Me outlining helmets to be painted

10378151_595192377251661_5481090323814606853_nMy helmet. One Shot on a Daytona 3/4 Helmet and Echo Amber shorty shield.

10712758_10152552965489608_8624873523981690490_nKim and Suzanne. Pizza and paint.

10710806_595192753918290_7974085308813786181_nKara, Leslie and Amy prepping and watching Repo Man.

10314539_595192797251619_4725229774369097691_nThe plan coming together

10646961_10152558809424608_3987949408558843971_nHalloween night, The Living Dead have arrived!

10702240_10152558945614608_6557751070553475274_nHell yea!

10636331_10152559059569608_3487462758814538471_nRolling 14 or s deep through the streets of Brooklyn…

535916_10152558956279608_7140313930456528372_nMe and my Beezer, photo by Miss-Fire Val

 

1460176_10152785196435552_9027906212332852163_nMiss-Fire Slava, even the Living Dead need gas.

10629574_10205036053838107_8724967780385735423_nGorillas on hogs in the mist.

Actually it’s a smokey burn out courtesy of our friend Tom who just happened to roll by in his truck.

1497724_595455933891972_2316235429126794969_nSee you next year…when The Living Dead shall ride again!

Corinna Mantlo

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

Party like it’s 1932!

10171747_10203885217109222_9051786588538891048_n

Remember the days of whispering secret passwords through door jams for illegal back room poker parties? Sipping gin from tea cups? cigarette girls and fancy dress? …Ok, i personally spent my early years doing just that. exactly. to a tee…but on a whole, no we’re as old as the days of Prohibition, but here we go!

So, if you ever wanted to see a Miss-Fire in a dress, smoking a cigar and sipping a fancy cocktail while playing poker, this is your chance. Not only will this benefit be one hell of a crazy night but it will also help a special lady in our girl Kim’s life. Her mom’s fight with breast cancer is threatening her business. Please don’t let cancer close the doors on her clinic for kids with Autism.

Please spread the word, come on out and spend some cash while having a blast. 100% of proceeds will go to Kim’s mum. And if you can’t make the event, it’s real easy to donate HERE.

*at the event, we will have card games, cocktails, snacks, and insane raffles! Join and share the Facebook Invite: The Miss-Fires Benefit Party to keep up to date with the raffle details, and we’ll announce the secret location of the party (in Brooklyn) right before the event.

10003959_593377354099830_1143152608617709700_n(Kim, being Kim. Photo by Amanda)

We love you Kim, let’s kick some Cancer ass in Miss-Fire Style!!

- Corinna “Miss1932″ Mantlo, proud Miss-Fire

 

 

 

It’s been 1 year already!

What do you get when you put  a ’94 Suzuki GS500, a 2012 Custom Iron 883, a 1972 CL350 Scrambler, a 1968 BSA 650, a 1987 Suzuki Intruder VS700GL, a motorcycle shop owner,  a vintage brake-less 250 flat track racer and a 1959 Ford TBird  together.  Well, on Oct 22, 2013, one fateful fall evening, a year ago that’s exactly what happened —  a small group of avid motorcycle and car enthusiasts went on a ride and had dinner. This was no ordinary gathering of a bunch of bad ass beauties:  This was the beginning of The Miss Fires.  A Brooklyn, NY based Motorcycle Club/Car Club (MC/CC) was born.

HappyAnniversary MF _0

Erika ’94 Suzuki GS500, Rachel 2012 Custom Iron 883, Kim 1972 CL350 Scrambler, Corinna 1968 BSA 650, Ashleigh 1987 Suzuki Intruder VS700GL, Val owner of MotorGrrl, Kara vintage brake-less 250 flat track racer and Lori 1959 Ford TBird.

We are supporters of the community and especially of each other.10524316_10204423524698169_7931748305384206954_n

Tech Night Anyone?

TBird

There are no rules, just traditions:

ErikaAshleigh20141023_214531Corinna20141023_21444120141023_23022620141023_214458  20141023_214545 20141023_214625 20141023_214712Kim AwesomeRachel Inmen 20141023_214727 20141023_214754 20141023_21481420141023_22592720141023_23041020131022_215447 20141023_215012 20141023_215030 20141023_215100      HappyAnniversary MF _5

Getting in trouble with this gang is always a blast!

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We are race car drivers, musicians, moms, sisters, aunts, founders and co-founders, designers, writers, photographers, entrepreneurs, horticulturist and probably everything in between. I cannot be prouder of these adventurous, breaking boundaries, pioneering woman who come from  across the globe, the country and NYC to ride and wrench together.  These bad ass beauties are truly inspirational.   I am proud to be a Miss Fire!  I’d like to thank each and everyone one of you for being a part of this crazy obsession for hot rods and motorcycle mania, sharing your fire and making a difference in all of our lives.  Happy Anniversary!

Valerie Figarella, proud Miss Fire and owner of MotorGrrl

1978 Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker, 2003 Honda Shadow Spirit VT750, 1983 Iron Head 1000

Miss-Fires Gone Wild Wood

Easy wins at TROG  Photo: Amy Maxmen

Easy wins at TROG Photo: Amy Maxmen

I’m told The Miss-Fires are into cars, and not just bikes. But I don’t own a car and don’t know squat about them. Corinna, however, owns a beautiful blue ’62 Ford Ranchero, and when she offered to drive me down to The Race of Gentlemen, I couldn’t think of a decent reason not to join her.

Corinna with her Ranchero in Wildwood. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Corinna with her Ranchero in Wildwood. Photo: Amy Maxmen

In The Race of Gentlemen, hot rods race along the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey, just after the tide goes out, while the sand is still compact. I took a bunch of photos, and to figure out what I was looking at I called a friend of mine who edits the hot rod magazine Mag-neto, Tony Dowers. He designed the posters and pamphlets for the race, and everything he’s told me is in italics below.

Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 999. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Sketch is the guy who owns this ‘33 or ’34 Ford with a flathead V8 engine. It’s a really old racing car that’s been in this condition for a long time.

I have no idea why the guy lining up the cars is wearing a tuxedo. The Race of Gentlemen is kind of like an old-timey circus. When Mel [the event organizer] asked me to do the graphics, he sent me circus posters for inspiration. He tends to surround himself with characters.

Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 81. Photo: Amy Maxmen

“81” has some beautiful design features, like that little lip in the frame, stretching from under the “8” up towards the exhaust pipe. The car is a 1930 Ford Model A roadster on a deuce frame, which they made for just one year in 1932. In the late 1940s, this combination of a Model A body with a flathead V8 engine—an AV8—was really popular. That’s the time period when hot rods started getting really fast. People had been hot rodding as soon as cars were invented—they were hopping up their Model T’s as early as 1918—but their cars were still pretty slow until the late 40s.

TROG "Scratchy". Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG “Scratchy”. Photo: Amy Maxmen

“Rolling Bones” is a hot rod group from upstate New York. Every year, they drive their cars to the Bonneville salt-flats in Utah. For some reason they named this car Scratchy. It’s is a 1932 Ford Tree Window Coupe, with an Italian flathead SCOT Blower engine. Basically, the carburetors sit on blowers, and the blowers spin around and force the gas and air into the engine at a much higher velocity than regular carburetors on their own.

He’s chopped the roof down to make the car more aerodynamic and to make it look more racy. Ford built these super tall roofs so that men could wear their tall hats while driving. No one wears hats like that anymore.

TROG 667. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 667. Photo: Amy Maxmen

This guy’s such a bad ass. He usually drove around with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. And that number, “667,” is great. He’s got one up on the devil. He’s driving a 1930 Model A roadster with a flathead V8 engine. Henry Ford came out with that engine in 1932, and it was so versatile that everyone started modifying it to go faster. This driver added extra carburetors, to allow more fuel and air mixture into the engine. And then he had to modify the engine to use up all that extra mixture, like put straight pipes on it—which is why it’s super loud.

TROG Speedster. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG Speedster. Photo: Amy Maxmen

 That’s Corinna, she’s the Miss-Fire that convinced us to all come down to the race.

She’s watching a speedster race by. “Speedster” is just old-fashioned carnie slang. Or you call this car a gow job—an early term for hot rod. There are different theories on what that means, I like to think it means Go! Get Up and Go! This gow job looks like it’s from the 1920s.

TROG 167. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 167. Photo: Amy Maxmen

I love this car. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a 1927 Model T with a 1951 flathead V8 engine. I like it because it’s the epitome of a 1950s racecar with punky black and white flames it. Flames were like this back then, before airbrushing allowed you to get so detailed and colorful. Once airbrushes hit the scene in the 60s, everything got candy colored. If this photo were in black and white, you’d have no idea you took it last week.

 

I couldn't resist.

I couldn’t resist.

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TROG 117. Photo: Amy Maxmen

“117” is a crazy modified 1927 Model T with an aerodynamic nose on the front. The driver looks so goofy way up in front because the engine is behind him. But it makes sense to put the engine in the rear because you can get more traction that way—since these are all rear-wheel drive cars. I’m not sure why more cars aren’t built with engines in the back. Chevy tried it in the 60s and it just flopped. Maybe Americans just like sticking with what they know.

TROG Amanda Miss-Fire. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Amanda at TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

This is Amanda Haase at the starting line of the race. Anything to see here?

Check out that ’32 Sedan with the white and black combination. Those were considered family cars back in the day.

TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Last year this speedster with a banger engine won the overall race. The driver comes all the way out from Washington state. He just nailed it last year, but this year I heard he had car problems. He had the engine splayed apart in the hotel parking lot Friday night.

TROG Miss-Fires. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Amanda and Corinna, with bunny ears, at TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

 

TROG Miss-Fires. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Amanda, Suzanne, Corinna at TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Here are my girls, watching the races. We had a pretty memorable night. It involved moonshine, sand storms, the Ranchero, the Ranchero, the Ranchero, small-town cops, some dude with a cane. I woke up with sand in my ears and Twizzlers in my purse.

Why aren’t you all racing? Your club needs to get an early motorcycle and race it. 1948 is the cut off. I’ll put you in touch with the right people.

Truth. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Truth. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Never truer words. Miss-Fires + TROG combo does not disappoint.

— Amy Maxmen (posting through Val’s account. Thanks, Val!)