Motorcycling News
Louise Reeves

Louise Reeves

November 1, 2013

A Remembrance

I wasn’t going to do a column this month. Then I asked myself, does it have to be about only motorcycles all the time? This is a column for women riders and while we all share the bond of helmet hair, we share other things as well.

I am a baby boomer, born almost smack dab in the middle of those years, 1946-1964. There have been a few television reports as well are news articles about the uniqueness of our aging group and how we have gone from baby boomers to “middlers”. Stuck between aging parents and the kids we have that haven’t quite made their own mark on the world yet, we are saddled with more responsibilities and worries. We, as a whole, became more prosperous than our parents but perhaps less so than those that came after us. We take care of aging parents while still taking care of our own homes and families.

If I were to break down the 155 friends I have on Facebook into groups, riders would far exceed any other. It is, perhaps, another facet of being baby boomers that we want the freedom from all that responsibility as we age. We have the disposable income to buy the bikes and we have the need to feel unconstrained from the stresses that being “middlers” brings. When we ride, there is no house to clean, no college kids to send money to that day, no parent to take to the doctor.

On October 2, my time as a “middler” came to an end. I am now part of the oldest generation in my family, save a cousin of my father’s, and it is a daunting thought. It is something we all go through, sooner or later, but it is still strange to me. I liken it to slowly stepping up a staircase and now I’m the one on the top.

Everyone who ever met my dad liked him, but my childhood friends were afraid of him. He was large and loud and expectant of respect. He was a fantastic artist but only drew for his own amusement. He also wrote stories but never shared them. It was only after my mother’s death that we found his writings and then more after his passing. I suppose I inherited a portion of those parts of him as a writer and photographer, along with the strangely colored green eyes.

Like Mom, Dad didn’t care much for motorcycles and that distaste became more acute after my cousin’s accident. But he never brought up my own mishap and never said I shouldn’t ride although he had some choice words whenever we saw a rider with no helmet on.

If you are still lucky enough to have your Dad around, give him an extra hug or an “I love you” tonight. Be proud of not only who you are, but his contribution to that; even if it wasn’t a great one, it is a part of who you came to be.

Among the 2013 AMA Hall of Fame Inductees was Dianne Traynor of Atlanta, Ga. In 1984, Dianne and her husband, Mike, founded Ride for Kids to raise funds for childhood brain tumor research. The success of Ride for Kids led the Traynors to start the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

Dianne had worked as a teacher and accountant before dedicating her life to the PBTF. Her own struggle with breast cancer in the 1980’s made her an advocate for patients and their families. Under her guidance, the foundation’s family support program grew to include social work, educational resources, and college scholarships for survivors. Dianne also educated herself in the intricacies of complex scientific research to become an expert grant funder. Today the PBTF program includes the University of California, San Francisco, Duke University and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Dianne Traynor was instrumental in establishing the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the US as well as helping to organize the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, an advocacy group made up of other nonprofits, medical professionals and social workers. Along with her husband, Mike, she was devoted to helping children, sponsoring scholarships for survivors, research and family support programs. Said Dr. Darell Bigner, director of the PBTF Institute and the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University and chair of the PBTF’s Scientific Advisory Board, “I know of no one who led a nobler life.”

Mike and Dianne were previously awarded the AMA’s Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award and Motorcycle Consumer News’ Culberson Memorial Award for their work with Ride for Kids. In 2011 Duke University established the Mike and Dianne Traynor Lecture to honor the couple’s research legacy.

Following Mike’s death in 2009, Dianne became the PBTF’s president and chairman of the board. She also served on the board of directors of the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, and was a patient advocate for the National Cancer Institute’s Brain Tumor Specialized Program of Research Excellence.

Dianne passed away July 20, 2012 at the age of 67 after a long illness.

February 1, 2013

News Shorts

Helmet Recall: Vega Helmet Corp is recalling certain XTS model motorcycle helmets in L, XL and XXL sizes because they may not provide adequate impact protection based on federal safety standards. The company said the recall affects 30,546 helmets manufactured from May 2011 through October 2012.

I was reading a pretty good article about the ten things you should take on a road trip and, while it was great advice, I think they left out a couple of things. As women, our needs might not be the same as men’s, of course. So, I will take their suggestions and add or change a few as we go.

November 1, 2012

Finding Inspiration

Where the heck did summer go? Seemingly overnight, we went from unbearable heat waves to doubling up on blankets at night. One reason it seems like the summer just disappeared suddenly is my lack of riding in recent months. A slipped disc doesn’t like bouncing around on back roads. And, for whatever reason, this time it is taking longer to heal.

A recent weekend event in Mount Airy, North Carolina had two common denominators--trikes and gray hair. As the bikers of the 70’s approach their 70’s, they are finding it is not necessary to sell their chaps on eBay anymore. They are simply trading in two wheels for three. And it’s not just the elder bikers giving three wheels a try. Novices, those with health problems, and a few who just didn’t think motorcycles were for them, are jumping into the three-wheel circle.

September 1, 2012

As Seen on TV

I have noticed that there is a commercial on TV that shows “stereotypical” bikers, including women, ogling a particular truck and nodding in approval before roaring off to the local watering hole. The final image is a row of motorcycles with the truck among them in front of said watering hole. I have a couple of issues with this commercial. One will never, ever be Sam Elliot’s voice-over, however.

August 1, 2012

Safety Thoughts

Why are left turns so dangerous? The obvious answer would be they are dangerous because the driver is crossing oncoming traffic as she is completing the maneuver. One would think the knowledge of this information would make one look to her left at least twice before proceeding. But time after time I read articles in my Google alerts about people being injured or killed on their bikes because of a left turn. Most times it is a driver in a car making a left and either cutting off a bike or a bike crashing into the car as it crosses the bike’s path.

Another year is about to come to an end. When I had a “regular” job, I always said the days seem to drag but the months and years seem to fly by. Now that I am a “woman of leisure,” the days aren’t so long, but the year still seems to have gone by in a flash.

As the number of new women riders continues to grow, the question of who is the safer rider, a man or a woman, is inevitable. According to a recent MetLife poll, 50% of women believe they are less aggressive and more law abiding than males. Several insurance studies are beginning to bear this out.

Research from Quality Planning, a research firm that works for insurance companies, shows women generally are safer drivers than men. Men are 3.4 times more likely to get a ticket for reckless driving and 3.1 times more likely to be cited for drunken driving. When it comes to motorcycle safety, this data may translate into fewer motorcycle accidents for women.