Various Observations

This past Saturday saw me in Madison, WI, at the Capital City Harley-Davidson dealership. It was their ladies garage day event and it was a fun and very successful event. Many women, sometimes with their husbands or boyfriends in tow, spent hours at the store browsing, taking classes, and learning skills ranging from handling a bike to picking up a full dresser Harley laying on its side. Very impressive.
I had the fun opportunity to talk with dozens of folks while selling my motorcycling tour books; this is always the most enjoyable part of these events. It may have been cold outside but inside it was warm, I was surrounded by beautiful motorcycles, and spent the day talking with fellow riders about our shared passion. It doesn't get any better than that!
To a person everyone was frustrated with the cold weather and the inability to ride even though it was late March - by this time there have usually been a few days when short rides were possible. But not this year.
I was impressed by a couple of women who did ride their bikes to the event - ten or twenty miles in 25 - 30-degree temps.
I was also very impressed with the State of Wisconsin's efforts at motorcycle safety. They had their mobile motorcycle safety van at the dealer. It's a very large semi truck that WiDOT takes around the state putting on safety classes and providing materials. An excellent resource that other states should also use. We all know that states can't simply legislate safety - actual training, including much awareness training for car drivers - is needed.
I was also very impressed with a large sign over the entire width of the I-39 expressway in northern Illinois - it was flashing the message in large letters "It's Time To Watch For Motorcycles". Many states do these sorts of awareness efforts - others, including mine - do almost nothing.  Brochures stacked up in licensing bureau offices don't help much - the message has to be bold and it has to be very public in order for drivers to get the word.

Another week of cold temps forecast. Maybe, just maybe, after April Fools Day it'll begin to look and feel like Spring!