Featured Bikers

Featured Rider – Paula Redinger

Featured Rider – Paula Redinger

Here at Viking Bags, we always enjoy hearing tales and stories from other riders. There’s just something about that ride on the open road that makes owning and riding a motorcycle.. so addicting. Today, we have a featured rider . We’re very excited to introduce our featured rider this week , Paula Redinger. She lives quite the exciting life and runs a blog called “ Eating on Two Wheels”. Her blog documents her adventures, food, and travels. Paula doesn’t ride the typical type of bike that is featured on our blog normally ( point- she also plays the flute ) , but I’ll let her tell the story..

1. How long have you been riding?

I always have to dig back into my photo archive to answer that question. As it turns out, I reach my ninth riding anniversary next week! That’s hardly a lifetime, but riding has become such a big part of who I am, I cannot even remember life without it. For the past year and a half, I’ve been working weeks (or up to two months) at a time in the Miami area. It’s nearly unbearable being away from the motorcycles for that long! I ended up buying a kayak, just to stay sane. I call it the “Des-No” – get the joke, Ducati owners? It’s fun, but certainly not the wild ride that running up and down mountains roads is.

2. How many bikes have you owned? 3. What is your current bike?

Evidently, I have difficulty selling any of my motorcycles, because I still have all three of the bikes I’ve ever bought. My first bike was a 1999 Kawasaki EX 500. I researched this purchase like crazy, and chose it because they are well suited to the commuting, sporting about, and touring I was dreaming of, and are simply bullet proof. It was, and is, plenty of fun, but forgiving enough to keep the learning curve relatively safe and easy for a new rider. It was a great choice, and the best thing I ever did was to not sell it when I bought my Ducati. In fact, I rode it to Utah this past summer, when the Ducati was down, and we had a fine reunion. I have so much respect for that little machine. The plastic body parts may be held together with packing tape at this point, but that little engine just won’t quit! I bought the Ducati Monster 696 , a 2009, when I was itching for a little more power and torque out of the turns. It, too, is a great bike for me, especially since I didn’t want one that was either much heavier or taller than the Kawi. I wasn’t especially looking for a European motorcycle, but it was one of the few that fit the bill. It’s been quite a performance upgrade, and it’s even smaller and lighter than the Kawi. I’ve taken it on the track, used it for commuting, sporting on the local mountain roads, and ridden it for weeks at a time with my camping gear on the back. My only complaint is that it’s not exactly the reliable machine that the Kawi is, and working on it can be a much more complicated task. Even though I bought it on Craig’s List, it still had a bit of manufacturer’s warranty left on it. Right after I got it home, about two days before the warranty expired, it left me stranded and hitchhiking out by Organ Pipe National Monument. Unbelievable! An exhaust valve had seized in one of the cylinders! I was more than happy to have the dealership take care of, and pay for, that repair, which probably would have cost as much as what I paid for the bike in the first place. Since then, we’ve had a couple other nearly as exciting mechanical issues, giving her the nickname “Italian Princess.” I’ve threatened to sell her on numerous occasions, but she’s been trouble free for the last six or seven thousand miles, so… I guess we’re rebuilding our relationship of trust! I bought my Yamaha XT 225, a 2003, specifically to address this funny phobia I have about riding off-road. I think fear in general is often based on a perceived lack of control over a situation, not necessarily reality. In any case, dirt just seemed so… unpredictable. I got this little bike specifically to drop and get over it. It ended up taking me a couple of years to do so, but we finally fell in some deep sand in Baja. We’ve fallen a few times since then, too, of course! I’m constantly impressed by this little motorcycle. There’s simply nowhere it can’t go! I call it the machine for the apocalypse, my “Li’l Burro.” Its only limits are me. I’ve learned a lot from it.

3. What made you want to ride a bike?

In the summer of 2005, I was working in Utah, as I do every year. A group of friends and I were planning a trip to a park a few hundred miles away, and my car had some issues. It must have been fate. I ended up catching a sporty ride on the back of my then colleague’s BMW K1200RS, and I never looked back. As soon as I got home to Arizona, I was taking the MSF Basic Rider Course, getting my license, and shopping for the Kawasaki. I didn’t have a lot of support from my friends and family around me at the time, which was hard, but my stubborn streak wasn’t listening. Since then, my friends and family have gotten over it, more or less.

4. 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. What about a Cafe Racer?

Sure. Why not? I’m not sure I’d ever be a cruiser convert, and I may make some enemies by saying this, but they just don’t seem to offer the agility and performance that a sport bike does. And since I’m perfectly comfortable on all of my bikes, even for long touring distances, I don’t really have a need for a comfortable cruiser. There’s no question that some of them are really beautiful machines, though.Now a Café Racer sounds interesting…

5. Any advice to novice riders?

Take the MSF Safety course, read “Street Strategies,” by David Hough, start with a reasonable first motorcycle, buy quality safety gear, and wear it.I’m pretty sure the “having fun” part will take care of itself!

6. Any advice to everyone on 4 wheels?

I’m not just a motorcyclist, but a frequent pedestrian and bicycle commuter, as well. Taking my car is always my last choice vehicle. I’d say, whatever your mode of conveyance, stay aware of your surroundings at all times, but especially if you’re driving a car, simply because, in a car, you have the ability to inflict more harm and damage to other people and property.It’s so easy to get complacent. A little laziness or impatience can, in a flash, be disastrous.Maintain vigilance.

7. Helmet or no helmet?

Funny you should ask. I recently managed not just a concussion, but a case of “transient global amnesia” by a low speed off road spill on the Yamaha while wearing a nice Shoei street helmet. Weirdness! But I don’t care to imagine what my condition would have been had I not been wearing it.So yeah, I wear a helmet! But even before that little incident, I’ve never even thought twice about it. I read a lot of the “ Hurt Report,” that famous study of motorcycle accidents by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when I first started riding. After reading that, it’s pretty hard to make a good case for not wearing a helmet. Frankly, I won’t even move a bike without popping it on, and my recent experience only reinforces that.But to each her own!

8. Does your state have a helmet law, what is it?

I have no idea! It’s not really relevant to me, since I always wear one. I guess I see plenty of un-helmeted riders on the street, so I imagine there’s no helmet law in Arizona.

9. Do you practice ATGATT? Why or why not?

Again, I never even asked myself the question about helmets or gear. I’ve always been an ATGATT rider.Perhaps it’s because the rider who inspired me to start was always well dressed, but I simply can’t come up with a good reason not to be.

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