Thursday, April 7, 2011

Photo of the Week (POW) - Karen Alley

Karen at the Ride for Sight charity bike wash in Midland, Ontario in March 2008.
Nikon D80 with 18-200mm VR. Fill flash provided by built-in camera flash
in TTL-backlight mode. (Click on the photo for a larger version)
Karen is a good friend of mine. We met a few years ago at the now defunct Spiducci's in Newmarket, a regular morning fill-up spot for our bellies and launching point for rides (many fine memories of the 507, Muskoka, and sausages). I'm a little selfish when I say she's a good friend of "mine" because really she's a good friend to anybody. Fun-loving, smart, loyal, caring are all attributes that come to mind when I think of Karen. So are cute and sexy.

It's inconceivable to look at this photo and not smile. Between Karen's natural sweet smile and the silly flower's matching expression, your only choice is to respond back in kind. Karen’s gentle, caring spirit brought her to Midland that day for a bike wash that was raising money for Ride for Sight. It's about a 2 hour ride from Toronto if you take the direct route which might seem a long way to some but for bikers like Karen, getting there is 1/2 the fun.

(more after the jump)

Like Aileen, Karen loves to ride. She loves the feeling of being free on the open road with the sun shining down on her and heading wherever the front wheel is pointing. She does an annual run down to Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway in May, does a long trip in the summer (last year it was to California, this year will be Deal's Gap as well as Newfoundland and Labrador), with a couple more overnight trips thrown in for good measure.

Karen's favourite part of riding is experiencing all her senses especially her sense of smell. In fact her first motorcycle ride as a passenger took her through Lemonville (just south of Stouffville) on a perfect summer's night. Her favourite memory of that ride? It actually smelled like lemons.

Karen continued to be a happy passenger for many years. But one day while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, she fell very ill and passed out. Her last memory before losing consciousness was, "If I had known I was going to go out this way, I would have gotten a bike." Upon her return, she wasted no time in fulfilling that dream and purchased the yellow 1998 Kawasaki Ninja 500EX pictured above. There's nothing like a brush with death to motivate you, right?

I asked Karen about her best motorcycle memories. In addition to the lemony freshness in Lemonville, she shared:
  • "Riding through Nevada with nothing but sand, road, sun and silence breathing in air that felt like it had never been touched"
  • "First time on the Blue Ridge Parkway was pretty breathtaking"

Karen has the following advice for women interested in getting into motorcycling:
"Just do it. You don't have to be a tomboy, hooligan or big to be a rider. You just have to love it. Be your own you!"
Karen, is there anything else you want to mention?
"Look twice for bikes!" and
"Everyone loves Wobblycat!"
Aw shucks! 

Taken at the WROAR charity ride on June 13, 2010. She's still smiling!
Nikon D80 with 18-200mm VR with 2 SB-800 flashes to camera left and right.
(Click on the photo for a larger version) 

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