Editors Blog: Lots of stuff going on in December

News you should know right now

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor

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Harley-Davidson Offers Deal on Newer Sportster Trade-ins

Tough times call for creative measures. Harley-Davidson, always one to find a way to stay ahead of the proverbial eight ball, is offering an unheard of deal. The Motor Company says it will guarantee the trade-in value of newer Sportsters for customers considering upgrading their motorcycles. Riders who trade in 2007 Sportsters between Dec. 26 and March 31 will receive the original manufacturers suggested retail price when they upgrade to one of Harleys Big Twin or VRSC motorcycles. The company also says customers who buy most 2008 and 2009 Sportsters have one year to trade them in for one of a Big Twin or VRSC model and get the original manufacturers suggested retail price. Not a bad deal. Buy a bike, ride it for awhile and then trade it in for what you paid for it. Like most companies during these tight economic times, Harley-Davidson has been experiencing a dip in sales as customers cut back on spending. This program is designed to boost sales.

POSTED 12/22/08
Seeking Woman Rider Stories for Book Project
Tami Walker, owner of Diva Customs, is writing a book and wants stories from women riders on what made them decide to ride a motorcycle. If youre a woman rider and you have a good story, email Tami at info@divacustoms.com.

Amazon Heart Ride Seeking Participants

Amazon Heart Thunder is an organization celebrating young survivors of breast cancer. The next ride is accepting applications for participation starting January 24, 2009. Harley-Davidson is, once again, lending support by loaning bikes for a 1,000-mile, one-week adventure of a lifetime, riding from Los Angeles to San Francisco on October 1 – 10, 2009. Participants pay for their travel to the event and an accommodation and registration fee, and commit to raising at least $1,500 in donations for breast cancer causes. All riders must be breast cancer survivors, and riders of all experience levels are welcome to take part. Each year several women learn to ride in order to take part. New riders are welcome. To learn more, visit AmazonHeart.org. To read WRNs coverage of past Amazon Heart Thunder Rides visit the Way To Go Girl! link. Its the second item on the page.

Honda Hoot 2009 Canceled

The organizer of the Honda Hoot, American Honda, is canceling the 2009 Honda Hoot citing economic uncertainty. This brings to a close 15 years of what has been one of the most successful motorcycle rallies in history. Over the years, almost a quarter of a million guests attended the Honda Hoot, which was born in the hills of Ashville, North Carolina, and eventually moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. At right is a shot from a previous Honda Hoot.

Heres a statement form American Honda: “Based on the current economic crunch which may have significant impact on our customers during 2009, American Honda will take this time to seek out new and innovative ways to engage with our customers. American Honda extends its deepest gratitude to the more than 1300 volunteers who helped make the Honda Hoot a success and to all its event sponsors, its two host cities, Knoxville, Tenn., and Asheville, North Carolina, and especially to all the good people who helped make the Hoot such a great event.”

AMA Welcomes Perry King to Board of Directors

Actor Perry King, a 45-year motorcyclist, has been appointed to the American Motorcyclist Associations Board of Directors. Perry will serve the North West region on the AMA Board. He lives in Northern California on a ranch in Cool. He maintains a second residence in Southern California. Perry is pictured with me at right in a shot taken at the Love Ride.

Perry will fill the vacancy resulting from the departure of former AMA Board Chairman Dal Smilie. “My deep love of all things related to motorcycling, particularly the people, attracted me greatly to the prospect of serving on the AMA Board of Directors,” King said. “Also, my appreciation for hard, productive work made me feel I must not pass up this opportunity. So much of the time, all I really want to do is ride my motorcycle, but thats no excuse to avoid an important calling.”

Perry says that the major motorcycling issues facing the North West region include land-use, noise, drinking and riding, public image, and, “the apparent inability of the American public to see motorcycles as smart, fuel-efficient and practical vehicles for the future.”

Motorcycles have played a major role in Perrys life for more than four decades. He owns bikes of all types, including vintage, dual-sport and sport motorcycles. He constantly rides both off- and on-road and occasionally races. His 500-acre cattle ranch in Northern California where his ranch hands have opted for motorcycles instead of horses to work the property provides him with considerable opportunity to ride off-road close to home.

Perry is an accomplished actor and has appeared in more than 50 films and made-for-television movies, television series and on stage. Some of his better-known roles include Cody Allen in the NBC series “Riptide,” Hayley Armstrong in the Fox series “Melrose Place,” Richard Williams in the NBC series “Titans” and President Blake in the 2004 movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” Perhaps one of Kings most enduring roles is Chico in the 1974 movie “The Lords of Flatbush.” King made his film debut in the 1972 film “Slaughterhouse-Five.” And I will add to this press release, that he was married to freelance moto-journalist Jamie Elvidge. They have a daughter, Hannah.

POSTED 12/15/08
My Favorite Things
Still wondering what you should buy a friend, or put on your Holiday gift list for others to buy for you? Ive compiled a list of some of my favorite things weve posted on WRN over the years. Click on the links below to learn more about each product. They range in prices from under $20 to $200:

Why Didnt I Think of That: A Gadget for Small Hands
Im a better rider because of watching this DVD.
No More Wires: Heated Gear I Can Buy Into
– Cool Idea: Extra Layer of Protection
You Go Girl! An Inspirational Calendar for Motorcycling Women
– I Can Do It Myself! It Lifts Your Downed Bike
No More Helmet Hair: This Product Really Works!
Easy Peasy Trailer: Another I Can Do It Myself Product
Motorcycle Specific Atlas: I love regular things customized for motorcycling.
Sexy Motorcycle Boots: I wear these when I give my speeches.
Fun, Pink Tie Downs: I have these and love them.
Custom Paint Ideas: The author of these books painted my bike.
Great Maintenance Book: I refer to this all the time. It’s written by my buddy Sara Liberte.

POSTED 12/5/08
Update to Yesterday’s Posting about New Women Rider Statistics
If you read my blog yesterday (posted below) you know that I was keeping mum about some news coming out of the Motorcycle Industry Council about the number of women riders increasing over the past five years. I had not officially heard from the MIC on those new numbers while others were already reporting it (the L.A. Times and a recent AMA press release).

Well, this morning I received a press release from the MIC announcing those new women ownerships stats (preliminary numbers only) which is an increase in the number from 2003 (it’s up to 12.4 percent). Between you and me, I believe the MIC was forced to release those numbers before they had planned to because they was already published. Actually, I heard from someone in the industry that the MIC had exclusively given those preliminary numbers to a reporter at the L.A. Times. This contradicts what an MIC representative told me yesterday that “we won’t be releasing those numbers until the spring.” OK, whatever. What’s going on here is some major miscommunication — and I believe my call on Wednesday coupled with the AMA’s press release containing those new numbers, forced the MIC to let the cat of the bag before they had planned to. In any event, check out the exciting new numbers about the growth in women riders by clicking here to go to the article in our Top Stories section.

Bike Builder Sugar Bear Joins Karen Davidson at Harley-Davidson Museum for Sold Out Event

Legendary chopper builder Sugar Bear captivated a sold-out audience during his appearance at the Harley-Davidson Museum in November with his “Untold Stories of the American Chopper.” For 37 years, Sugar Bear has built street-rideable choppers with the philosophy that “if it ain’t long, it’s wrong.” The event included stories, rare photos and home movies of the early days of the American chopper scene. This was the kick-off in a series of programs offered by the Harley-Davidson Museum. In the photo at right, Sugar Bear answers questions from the audience with Jim Fricke, Museum curatorial director, and Karen Davidson, Director of Harley-Davidson General Merchandise and great-granddaughter of one of the Motor Company founders.

POSTED 12/4/08
Thought for the moment…
If you read my “thought,” in my previous posting below, I lamented about the benefits or dis-benefits of my time spent on Facebook. I’ve since opened a LinkedIn account and wow, a lot of professional people I know have profiles. I’m making connections, albeit slowly. Like in life, I don’t want to seem to pushy or overly aggressive in connecting with people just to make a connection. I want there to be some value. I did connect with a few colleauges I’d lost touch with from my days working at E! Entertainment Television. I’ll keep you posted on if I think there’s value for me. Now, I’m on to investigating what Twitter is. I did sign up for an account there, just to see what it is. It seems kind of like Facebook in that you share “what you’re doing right now.” OK, I’m getting up from desk to go to the bathroom. Duh! Why do people care what I’m doing RIGHT NOW. Do I care what others are doing RIGHT NOW. I’m getting the sense this is like the next way to keep in touch on the go, after cell phones, after texting, now twittering. Feel free to share your thoughts at the end of this page.

New Update on Women and Motorcycling Conference Page
I just posted new information, well kind of new… it’s the AMA’s official press release that just went out about the conference. We’ve already shared with you what’s contained in the release but we posted it so you could read it. Click here to go to that page. The link is also on the left under “Columns.”

Women & Motorcycling Story in L.A. Times
The Los Angeles Times is running a story about some new statistics on the number of women riders. The story quotes new survey results from the Motorcycle Industry Council’s recent ownership survey. Those numbers are also quoted in the AMA press release about the Women & Motorcycling conference noted in my item above. I called the MIC to verify those numbers particularly because it is a notable increase over the numbers we’ve been quoting for the last five years. I was told that these new numbers are preliminary and not for publication. Well, I’m afraid the cat’s out of the bag. Two notable sources, the L.A. Times and the AMA, have publicized the number.

To be fair to the MIC, I will not publicize the number until I receive an official press release from the MIC which, I’m told, will be early next year. In the meantime, I have a responsibility to share this story from the L.A. Times with you written by my colleague there, Susan Carpenter. Here’s the link to the story: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-motorcycles20-2008nov20,0,265689.story.

Harley Adds Another Female V.P. to its Executive Lineup
Susan Henderson, a senior public relations executive, has joined Harley-Davidson, Inc. as Vice President, Communications. In this position, she will develop and direct the company’s overall global, strategic communications initiatives. She reports to Jim Ziemer, Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson. “Susan is a seasoned communications and public affairs professional who brings more than 25 years of experience to Harley-Davidson. Over that time, she has worked with some of the world’s leading brands to support business growth and deliver shareholder value,” said Ziemer. “She is a proven leader in her own discipline and is a welcome addition to the Harley-Davidson leadership team.”

Most recently, Henderson was Vice President, Corporate Communications at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in Chicago. She had earlier been a principal in her own communications consulting firm, where her clients included Diageo and Gillette. Her prior positions include Vice President – Public Relations at Kohl’s Department Stores and Director of Marketing Communications at Miller Brewing Company.

POSTED 11/24/08
Thought for the moment…
The biggest time suck is Facebook. I signed up to see what all the hype is about. So far, I’ve yet to realize the benefits. Of course “benefits” is relative. If I want to keep up with my cousins on a regular basis and know when one of them is “getting tired” or when her “baby is tapping the computer keyboard” then sure it’s beneficial. Maybe I should take my other cousin’s “Are you Italian” quiz that shows up on my Facebook page because she’s a Facebook “friend.” Maybe I’ll find some benefit out it then. Is it a benefit to me to hear from the guy I went with to my high school junior-senior semi-formal dance after 25 years? I guess in a reminiscent sort of way. It was kinda sorta cool to browse his profile and see that he turned out to be not so bad looking after all. He wasn’t one of the most attractive boys in his class. (Gosh, I hope he doesn’t read this.) Do I really need to connect with these people on a regular basis? Is it beneficial to my life right now?

Facebook seems all about connecting on a personal level, and well, at this point in my life running my own business, time spent on the Internet should be beneficial to my business. Personal connections for me at this point in my life will remain just that — personal. I’d rather run into the old prom date at a reunion, or see my cousins in person at the next family gathering. Then it would be beneficial as we catch up on old times and talk about the family.

I just created a profile on LinkedIn. I hear that’s all about making business connections. I’ll let you know how it works out. Now here’s my latest blog posting…

AMA Road Racer Jessica Zalusky Suffers a Stroke

Last Sunday (11/16) motorcycle racer Jessica Zalusky suffered a stroke while recuperating from knee surgery. Doctors found three blood clots in her brain which they immediately cleared. The stroke affected the left side of Jessica’s body. It�s been reported that Jessica is aware of everything that has happened is talking and resting, and is starting to get feeling back on her left side. Jessica is one of the only women currently racing with the men in professional AMA road racing events. I met her at Femmoto in 2005 where I took this photograph at right. She was being interviewed for Speed Channel.

Jessica’s friends and family have set up a Web site to update her progress. You can visit it by clicking here. To read about Jessica and her racing career, visit her Web site, RoadRacingGirl.com. We’ll keep Jessica in our prayers that she has a full and speedy recovery.

Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Holidays Back in Business

One of the best motorcycle tours I ever went on was with Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Holidays in Canada. I was treated to a week of top-notch service and amazing scenery (like in the photo at right) when I toured western Canada from Whistler to Banff and back. The tour was so spectacular I’d ride with them again. Well, for those keeping track, a few months ago the company announced it was shutting down due to the tight economy. This past week, I received an email from owner Tyler Douglas that RMMH is back for another season of touring thanks to a partnership with some investors. Hooray!

I wrote an article about my incredible adventure with them in Woman Rider magazine when I was the editor. The magazine is no longer publishing, but I plan to resurrect that article and incredible photos to share with you because RMMH is the company women should tour with. The crew takes such attention to detail in catering to the needs of its motorcycling clients, and women, especially appreciate this treatment. I couldn’t rave enough about the high level of customer service. Be sure to sign up for the WRN e-Newsletter to be alerted when the article is posted. And visit RockyMtnMoto.com for more information.

POSTED 11/16/08
Thought for the moment…
I’m resisting crossing over into Blackberry land. Yes, I run an online magazine, but being able to check email away from my computer and then people knowing I’m available by email when I’m out of my office invades on my privacy just too darn much. If I have a Blackberry, I will literally have no personal life. Email is addicting. If I don’t have a chance to be away from it and my computer, I’ll never have a life away from work.

Now, here’s my latest blog posting…

Ducati Unveils New Fashions
Fashion isn’t a word we usually associate with motocycle apparel, but Ducati, like Harley-Davidson, has managed to cross over into mainstream with its “fashions” and its branding. People who don’t ride motorcycles like to wear the branded garments to look…well, cool. The cross-over appeal is partly due to the much hyped fashion unveilings that Ducati holds each year at select Ducati dealerships around the country — and that’s what happened this past Friday night. The Italian manufacturer’s 2009 line of fashion, technical, and lifestyle clothing was unveiled at 28 dealers in an evening of style and celebration.

The 2009 Ducati apparel line promises to be the Italian firm’s most innovative yet because the clothing is designed by several boutique Italian fashionistas. The dealers hosting the unveiling put on a full runway gala, each with their own twist of creativity. Guests could also check out the latest 2008 and 2009 Ducati motorcycles including the newly announced 1198 Superbike after its debut Friday. For more information, visit Ducatiusa.com or contact a participating Ducati dealer. Hey, one of my favorite shirts is a red t-shirt with Ducati patches all over it — and I don’t even own a Ducati.

AMA Offering Discounts on Garmin GPS

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has been continually tweaking its member benefits to make them appealing enough for people like me and you to buy a membership to the AMA. The newest benefit involves Garmin. AMA members will receive a discount of up to 20 percent on a purchase of any Garmin navigation unit and software starting November 19. Garmin’s aviation product line is excluded.

“Garmin makes some of the world’s finest GPS navigators, and the company’s zumo line is tailor-made for motorcyclists with a number of features designed with our needs in mind,” says AMA Director of Business Development Jim Moore. “With these products naturally becoming increasingly popular with riders, it only makes sense for the AMA to partner with this great company to bring even more benefits to our members.” AMA members can use the discount up to twice in a calendar year. To take advantage of the offer, beginning on Nov. 19 AMA members can visit a landing page on the Garmin web site, at Garmin.com/ama.

WRN reviewed the zumo. Click here to read it. The top-of-the-line zumo 550 is Bluetooth ready and can connect to a Bluetooth-enabled headset to deliver navigation voice prompts wirelessly. The 550 also doubles as an XM satellite receiver and features text-to-speech technology for turn-by-turn directions with spoken street names.

Women’s Conference Page Updated
Click here to read the latest report on the WRN Women’s Conference Update page.

POSTED 11/10/08
Exclusive Updates on the AMA Women’s Conference

I just returned from beautiful Keystone, Colorado, (picture at right) for an advisory council meeting for the AMA Women & Motorcycling Conference being held there from August 19-22, 2009. Because I�m on the advisory council, I have access to important updates on the conference. I am using a special section of WRN to pass along these updates exclusively to you. So, sign up for the WRN e-Newsletter by clicking here so you don’t miss anything. WRN will report on aspects of the conference that you won’t read anywhere else. You can access the special AMA Women’s Conference Update section by clicking here or by clicking the link on the left side under “Columns.” My first report has lots of insider news you should know about the conference that is not on the conference Web site.

To read my previous blogs, click on Editor’s Blog archives at the top or bottom of this page.

1 thought on Editors Blog: Lots of stuff going on in December

  1. I bought a Sportster 1200L (first bike) in 2007. When the H-D Sportster trade-in offer became available recently, my first thought was that it was probably a bait-and-switch offer full of exclusions in the fine print, which so many offers are.
    Wrong. It is the real deal!

    My hubby and I went to Capitol Harley-Davidson in Lansing, Michigan, to look at riding gear, and to talk to the salesman briefly about the Sportster “ride free” offer before we left. We were totally unprepared for the reality, which turned out to be the actual MSRP for my bike (more than I paid for it), and a great deal on my new Heritage Softail (in deep turquoise and antique white).

    I now have the cruiser of my dreams, never have to trade up again, and for the first time in my life I'm not upside-down on a trade-in! If you're even remotely considering their offer, don't wait until March 31 to talk to them about it. Do it now!

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