Ride With The Living Dead!

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Every year, The Miss-Fires take a queue from the 1973 biker movie horror classic Psychomania to dress up as The Living Dead and terrorize the streets of NYC on motorcycles…and you’re invited! 10636331_10152559059569608_3487462758814538471_n.jpgSo, saddle up the steel steed, and road ready your costume, so you too can Ride With The Living Dead this Halloween Eve!

Event details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/320609981644477/ 

Check out the first year here: https://themissfires.com/2014/11/01/ride-with-the-living-dead/

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GRACE ROSELLI’S ‘THE NAKED BIKE PROJECT’ – WOMEN AND THE MOTORCYCLES THEY LOVE

GRACE ROSELLI’S ‘THE NAKED BIKE PROJECT’ – WOMEN AND THE MOTORCYCLES THEY LOVE

Artist, photographer and motorcycle lover Grace Roselli examines women and their raw passion for two-wheeled machines with her “Naked Bike Project.”

by John Scott LewinskiJul 27th, 2016

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A motorcycle is inherently an intimate vehicle. Whether driving or cruising along as a passenger, you sit in a car, essentially enjoying a comfortable chair similar to any you’d grab at home, in a restaurant, etc. But, you ride on a motorcycle as an extension of your body. Many riders take to their bikes for exactly that reason — rushing, leaning, weaving or jumping with a motorcycle as though dancing with a partner and putting those human senses of motion and balance to work interacting with a machine hewed from iron and rubber.

While ergonomics change between touring bikes, cruisers and sport rides, the human in charge straddles the motorbike — while its engine burns within inches of human flesh. As a result, there’s a not-so-subtle aura of aggressive, challenging sexuality to riding a motorcycle when the modern equivalent of Wild West outlaws throws a leg over a fuel tank. To be blunt, a motorcycle is called a “crotch rocket” for a very  obvious reason.

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Studies of a man’s chemistry with a motorcycle are rife throughout the arts and popular culture. From Easy Rider to The Great Escape, Captain America to The Terminator, Marlon Brando to Elvis Presley, when art wants to portray a man as rebellious, dangerous, powerful or sexy, he finds himself hanging onto handlebars. Now, a Brooklyn-based artist is taking a sophisticated look at how some very real women interact with their beloved rides.
Artist and photographer Grace Roselli created The Naked Bike Project as both a veteran of the New York art scene and as a devoted rider herself. Rather than create images of fantasy riders posed with random cycles as mere eye candy or pay needless homage to the kind of idealized, “pin-up” women you might find painted onto some custom bike’s fuel tank, Roselli sought out real women with varied professions, ages, and backgrounds. The common factors they all share are a love for motorcycles and a devotion to their personal machines.
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The Naked Bike title refers to the motorcycles depicted in Roselli’s work as much as the featured women. Of course, some of the machines the ladies accompany in the stark, aggressive photos are shiny and new — polished for their big artistic moments. However, others show their ridden character with the dings and burns only thousands of miles can rub into a motorcycle.

Meanwhile, the women appear both  clothed and in the nude — but the nudity is never salacious or exploitative. The nature of riding leathers and other protective gear necessary to enjoy a bike with a bit of sense often hides gender and removes sexual cues from a rider’s body. The nudity in Roselli’s explorations returns femininity to the subjects’ identities while presenting them without artificial glamour. We see the faces and sense the spirits of the women who love their motorcycles.

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Roselli first fired up her Naked Bike Project in 1996 and explored her own fascination with the freedom of writing and how women interacted with it. She returned to the bikes in 2016, 20 years later after raising her children with a new perspective and a new collection of women to feature.

The artist’s exploration of women and bikes is still underway with no sign of wrapping in sight. It’ll be fascinating to see where the current run will take her camera — and if we might see a third tour with the women and machines of 2036.
Read more at http://www.craveonline.com/design/1013679-grace-rosellis-naked-bike-project-women-motorcycles-love#5xhkuzMFyS5gGp8H.99

* Grace Roselli and all of the subjects featured here are members of The Miss-Fires. 

Story Time – Road Rash

Story Time- Road Rash

The Miss-Fires host Story Time

This weeks Topic: “Road Rash”
Come share your Motorcycle stories of when the rubber side didn’t stay down.

You are invited to the start of a series of informal group talks titled “Story Time”. It will be a night of.. you guessed it, telling stories about our moto related experiences. We hope others will enjoy hearing & telling their tales and it becomes a regular meet-up with a different topic each time.

This particular subject was born out of a few of us discussing Corinna’s recent moto miss-hap on the BQE. Very, very lucky that one, but a great reminder to the rest of us on so many levels. We’ll kick off this series with a topic related to close calls, calling it “Road Rash”.

Please join us this Thursday the 30th at 7:30pm. We have reserved the back room of The Richardson in Williamsburg. This meet-up is not a Miss-Fires only event but is exclusive to women only riders.

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

7:30pm10pm

The Richardson
451 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
http://www.therichardsonnyc.com/

Free, but please RSVP to themissfires@gmail.com

For The Ride…For the friendships.

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READ THE ORIGINAL STORY AT FOR THE RIDE

The Miss-Fires formed in October 2013 after a simple dinner ride made up of a few women. Being happy, active co-ed riders already they didn’t know where it would lead when they took that first scoot, but before dessert, they knew they were on to something.

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Photographer, Todd Heisler

Q. Why did you start the group in the first place?

A. Even though we were happy riding with the fellas, something unique and beautiful happens when you get just the girls together. Our group rides and wrenching nights at the garage quickly became a way for women both new and established in their riding careers to bond and encourage one another. The tight friendships and camaraderie that formed, based on nothing more really than a love of motorcycles, was the proof that we all needed the Miss-Fires.

Q. How many of you are there in the Miss-Fires?

A. More than 140 in seven cities across the United States and Canada, and growing every day. There is strength in numbers and reach around the world, and now the Miss-Fires acts as a support group for girls locally to gather and spend real time together, and globally as an extended family for advice, support and, yeah, travel opportunities!

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Q. How did you decide on the name?

A. Everything we’re about is having fun, encouraging each other and never taking things too seriously. A misfire is a product of having an ignition system problem, bad timing, which results in your bike or car not starting well. The Miss-Fires is a twist on the idea that we’re all constantly learning, making mistakes and becoming better, stronger riders, wrenchers and people, while having fun doing it.

Q. Describe the kind of riding around Brooklyn.

A. Urban off-roading? NYC is treacherous on bikes, with rain, snow, alternate side parking, garages more expensive than suburban mortgage payments and potholes the size of SUVs. It’s challenging and wonderful because in part, you have to be a little nutty to ride here. Because of that, NYC riders are a wonderful breed of humans.

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Photographer, Marc McAndrews

Q.Which bikes are the most popular in the group?

A. I personally ride a 1968 BSA 650 Lightning custom, but have always had vintage Triumphs in my 14 years, and I hope to soon have both a vintage and modern Bonnie. Past the Brit bikes like Thruxtons, we have a healthy number of Harleys, many modern and vintage Japanese models, and a few Italian ladies, dirt bikes, race bikes, and a sidecar rig thrown in.

Q. Do you have to be a woman to be in the Miss-Fires or are there honorary guys?

A. Though you do have to be a woman to join, we’re in no way sexist. We love riding with and supporting our male counterparts. The motorcycle community is our family and we’ve found that creating the women’s group that we needed has worked to strengthen, not separate, the co-ed community. There are actually two unofficial honorary male members who have earned our deep respect and support from the beginning – Tim and John, we love you!

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Q. What’s been your best ride so far?

A. There are so many, and the answers would be different depending on which member you ask, but for me, our Halloween ride where we dressed as The Living Dead gang from the 1971 biker film classic Psychomania and rode around Brooklyn would be up there. Of course, I am the film nerd obsessed with all films vehicular, as can be seen in my long-running project Cine Meccanica (www.cinemeccanica.wordpress.com). Oh, and there are just a few Triumphs terrorizing the neighborhood in that classic British film by the way!

Q. Do you ride as a pack?

A. Any chance we get.

Women on bikes: Female motorcyclists hit the streets

Women on bikes: Female motorcyclists hit the streets

The number of women taking to the road on motorcycles in the US is on the rise.

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council there has been a 30% jump in the number of female bikers in the past decade.

As the popularity of motorcycling among women has risen, so too has the number of clubs catering to enthusiasts. One such female-only club in New York is The Miss-Fires.

Michael Maher caught up with them on a recent weekend ride.

Produced and edited by Michael Maher, filmed by Mark Hiney.

-BBC NEWS

New England Trials Clinic (NETA) Trails Cross training Clinic

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Chantal and I…stealing a lil kid’s bicycle?

Sometimes you just need to take a day off and get out of town. So, last Sunday me and some friends from NYC Vin Moto and The Miss-Fires loaded up the trucks and headed up to lovely, lush Connecticut and the Meridan Motorcycle Club….

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Me. ready to ride?

The destination? the New England Trials Clinic (NETA) Trails Cross training Clinic. These clinics are run entirely by volunteers and wholly for the love of the sport. Their theory? How could you NOT want to ride Trials after trying it out. so, the first time’s free kids!

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Kim looking like a pro?

What is Trials? 

Moto Trials (formerly “Observed Trials”) is now the pinnacle of off-road riding, as the riders tackle the most severe terrain capable of being conquered by any two wheeled machine. When someone looks at the obstacles before the riding starts, a frequent comment is a simple “No way!” A big plus for the spectators is that they can watch from just a few feet away as the riders attempt seemingly impossible obstacles. Trials competitions consist of “sections” that are physically defined by marker tape. These sections contain challenging features, both natural and artificial. They may include stream-beds, boulders, logs, and slopes. Tape markers identify different skill class levels for competition; the better the competitor, the more severe the obstacles will be in the corresponding class. A trail loop connects the sections for the event. A typical event will have 8 to 12 sections and the competitor must ride the loop and complete the sections three to five times. Riders cannot practice the sections but may inspect each section just before being judged (or observed) on their ride. Then, one at a time, the riders will enter a section on their motorcycle, as an observer scores the rider’s performance. Like golf, where the least amount of strokes on the course wins, trials are won by the person who touches their foot to the ground the least amount of times over the course of the event. The rider with the lowest score wins. The score goes to a maximum of 5 points for that section if they fail to reach the end gate in time or crash. Riding a section “clean” without footing is the ultimate goal of all riders (score of 0).

The Bikes
Trials motorcycles are very specialized. Years of development have produced a very lightweight (i.e. ~150lbs), very slender, extremely well balanced machine with a powerful 2 or 4 stroke engine. The bikes have high ground clearance, minimal fuel capacity and no seat, creating a highly maneuverable motorcycle capable of overcoming nearly any obstacle.

Competitions
There are many local clubs around the US that host events locally, with some putting on as many as 15 events per year. A listing of NETA’s clubs and events is provided under the “Events Tab” on our website. The United States National Series, governed for the AMA by the North American Trials Council (NATC), hosts the best riders of various classes in America, and consists of 6 to 12 events held in various parts of the country. There are a few select riders in the USA that have the skill to compete at the World Championship level and these riders compete for a spot on the American Trial des Nations Team. The Trial des Nations is held in various countries in the fall of each year, and is a nation vs. nation team competition.

Summing it up
While Trials can be a very challenging and dramatic sport, events by NETA’s local clubs have competition classes for riders of “all” abilities, from beginners on up. Of all the motorcycle sports, it is probably the most
“family-friendly”, and kids can enjoy healthy competition alongside their Moms and Dads and share in an activity that they love. Additionally, trials is easy on the environment. Because of the nature of the bikes and the competitions, environmental damage is minimal, and some clubs have riding areas that have been used for decades with little evidence of any damage to the environment. Trials is also viewed a safer alternative to other forms of motorcycle competition due the lightness of the bikes and the very low speeds (i.e. 1 to 4mph) involved when traversing sections. For this reason alone we continually see veteran enduro and motorcross riders switching to trials competition, and why we commonly to see riders as young as 6 and as old as 70 competing. Lastly, Trials riding also serves as a great cross-training tool for all types of riding such as enduro, endurocross, and motocross. This evidenced by the successfulness of our nation’s top endurocross, and motocross riders (Jeff Aaron, Cody Webb, David Knight, and Taddy Blazusiak) all of which are top trials riders.

Summary courtesy of NETA. READ MORE ABOUT TRIALS FROM THE NETA WEBSITE.

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Charles, Neta President

Though i’m sure they regretted ever inviting us first the first five minutes of the dingbat Miss-Fires girls trying to figure out how to mount a Trials bike with no seats…Charles and the staff were incredibly patient, and knowledgeable.
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Graduation photo

By the end of the clinic…just a few hours later (though it felt like days we were so hot, worn out and beat up), every single one of us could not only balance on the pegs, but manage the slow speed turns, wheelies and rock climbs. Pretty F’in cool for some city slicker motor bike riders!image2

Kim, counting points

After the clinic, and a bag lunch provided by Neta. Yea, they’re that awesome…They put us to work helping judge that days Trials competition. One of the reasons I got into Motorcycles so heavily and that they are now my life, is the community of it. Events like these are only possibly with volunteer support and we were more than happy to help out.

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how it should look.

The riders competing ranged in age from 8 to 80 and as with all moto sports, everyone is patient and supportive. Truly incredible to have been part of it, learn a new skill and challenge myself to be a better rider, risk taker and face my fears. God damn those rocks are scary when you’re staring them down from the pegs of a Gas Gas!

Corinna Mantlo

1962 Ford Ranchero, 1968 BSA 650, 1971 Yamaha AT1, 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT

Women bikers are on a roll…and have been for a while!

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Christine at Coney Island 2015

For Miss-Fire member Christine, belonging to a women’s club is no new idea. She recently shared with us an article published in the Daily News on May 13th, 1990. Below is her story and the article. Enjoy a bit of NY motorbiking history! – The Miss-Fires

My name is Christine and I have ridden on motorcycle for as long as I remember. As a child, every time I would use the bathroom at my grandfather house, I would spend some time pretending to ride on the old broken motorcycle that my grandfather stored next to the toilet, which were in the shed next to the barn  (Yes!! This is true, my grand father had only running cold water in his house, and no indoor bathroom. This was the 60’s in rural France). As a teenager I loved going on ride on the back my cousins and neighbors bike. I also rode my father “Solex”, a cross between a moped and a bicycle, and my sister moped (in rural France in the 70’s, teenagers drove moped to get around, unlike in America, where they drove cars). By the time I got to college, I wanted to ride a real bike, so I used the money from my summer job to pay for motorcycle driving lessons and passed my motorcycle driving test the first time (the NYC motorcycle driving test is a joke, compared to the French motorcycle driving test). I dropped out of college in 1986 and  came to NYC on a one way ticket. As soon as I had enough money saved, I bought my first bike, a Yamaha 750 XJ. This was in 1987. One day, in 1989, I was in the Harley store in Long Island city, looking for riding apparel, when I saw an add on the bulletin board about a women motorcycle group: the American Women Road Rider Alliance. I was a member of AWRA from 1989 to 1991. The Long Island/NYC chapter was featured in a HSBC ad and was also interviewed by the Daily News. I recently found the old “hard copy” of the article while cleaning/disgarding some old boxes. So here it is.

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The Daily News, May 13th 1990b2

The Daily News, May 13th 1990

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The Daily News, May 13th 1990: Miss-Fire Christine shown above, at far right.

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The Daily News, May 13th 1990

My grand ma and grand pa were from Belfort, near Alsace, next to the the Swiss/German border. This picture was from the trip they took for their honeymoon, in the Alps. My grand ma told me that this picture was taken in Annecy. My grand pa was a blacksmith and bought his first bike in the late 1920’s. After WWII, he opened a garage, as horses were being replaced by cars.

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