A Confession from a Friend

With my move to Nevada, I left behind friends I adore in Georgia. So in addition to spending time with Fred and George on my whirlwind visits, I try to pack in as much reconnection time with my tribe as possible. That’s a challenge for an introvert—something you might not realize I am. On my most recent visit, largely consumed …

A Motorcycling Ambassador

As a rider, I believe in continually training. Improving my skills not only increases my confidence and enjoyment of motorcycling, it helps me stay as safe as possible. Our roadways are an unforgiving environment dominated by automobiles. On a daily basis, I share the road with people who do not prioritize safety and responsibility when driving. So I wear gear …

Playing the Odds, Managing the Risks

This week Motorcycle Awareness Month comes to a close here in the U.S. The timing coincides with seasonal riders surging to the roadways after a long winter’s nap. It’s an attempt to mitigate the risks to motorcyclists from drivers who aren’t used to seeing riders on the roads. Obviously this is a subject very dear to me. In previous years I’ve …

Going Off-Road at the BMW U.S. Rider Academy

I’m a fan of proper training. The value of learning from qualified instructors is not lost on me, particularly when it comes to photography and motorcycling. Unlike photography, proper motorcycle training has implications beyond enjoyment and mastery of the pursuit. Health and safety are at stake when honing your riding skills. That’s why I’ve spent so much time at the Motorcycle …

Motorcycling Through Northern California and Southern Oregon

motorcycling california and oregon

“Shit!… are you kidding me?!? I don’t know about this. Shit-shit-shit-shit-shit!” (Or possibly stronger oaths.) Those are the words I gasped in my headset to my riding partner as the pavement suddenly deteriorated to something formerly known as asphalt. The sand and gravel covering it didn’t help matters. The unexpectedly unruly terrain had my bike dancing over its surface like a slapstick comedian …

Carson City Motor Cop Competition

Carson City Sheriff's Office Extreme Motor Officer Challenge 2016

Each year, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office hosts the Extreme Motor Officer Training Challenge. This year marked the 13th anniversary of the event, designed to bring motor officers together for friendly competition, training exercises, and community connection. This year’s venue, Mills Park, proved to be a fantastic site to be able to see all of the action brought by motor officers in …

A Motorcyclist Wonders… Can You See Me Now?

motorcycle safety - val in real life

It’s no secret that, in spite of a lot of effort by motorcyclists to remain visible while riding, the all-too-common scenario of “I didn’t see you!” is still the predominant reason riders are involved in crashes. In the UK, there’s a motorcycling acronym: SMIDSY. It stands for Sorry-Mate-I-Didn’t-See-You. It has a flippant tone to it, but this is a very real issue …

Hi-Viz Hydration with GeigerRig

GeigerRig 710 - Val in Real Life

For the last 3,000+ miles on Nina, I’ve been testing out the GeigerRig RIG 710 hydration engine. Here’s the scoop… What’s a GeigerRig? Hydration packs are largely the domain of hikers, runners, and similar outdoors-people, but they’re also great for motorcycling. In fact, many riders use them to stay hydrated on the road. There are many brands out there but …

Joining Progressive for Bikes, Blues, and BBQ

Bikes, Blues, and BBQ - Val in Real Life

A couple of weeks ago, I partnered with Progressive Insurance to ride to my first major motorcycle rally. Since my motorcycling interests skew towards adventure travel, most of my experience has been with events of the overlanding variety. I knew Bikes, Blues, and BBQ in Fayetteville, Arkansas would be a completely different beast than my typical haunts of Overland Expo …

On the Road to Bikes, Blues, and BBQ for Progressive

On the Road to Bikes, Blues, & BBQ for Progressive

Today is a big day here at Val in Real Life HQ. My Nina is loaded and ready to roll to Arkansas for the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ rally in Fayetteville. I’m taking on this challenge with the support of Progressive Insurance and I’ll be sharing the journey as well as the excitement of the rally over the next 9 …