TEAM AZ Rides Europe: Leaving Is The Hardest Part

<Part Two of TEAM AZ Rides Europe – CLICK HERE FOR ALL SEGMENTS>

I’ve been completely packed for two days now, but I find myself making a couple last minute decisions regarding attire. I’m scurrying around my condo when I hear a concerned voice from the living room, “Whatever you do, don’t kill yourself.”

The statement from the kind, attractive woman in the living room freezes me in my tracks. Fair enough…I deserved that one. In my excitement and prepartion for the trip, I made the poor choice of showing her some video about the Isle of Man TT races. I also showed her some of the more daunting riding routes I would be taking. Her concern is genuine and unfortunate. I didn’t mean to create unnecessary worry, but my excitement clouded my better judgment.

I assure her as best I can. “I’ll be right as rain; nothing to worry about,” I say, trying to relieve some of the fear and provide confidence simultaneously. Reality is her concern is warranted. I’m accepting a larger than usual amount of risk this trip and the Isle of Man is not to be considered lightly. Several motorcyclists, including racers, will lose their life this year during the TT fortnight.

Sky Harbor Airport

OFF HE GOES

The flight is a bit more convoluted than hoped. Thirty hours after departing from Phoenix I arrive at my chosen destination of Southport, England. I visit some friends, have a nice meal, and retire at the Bed and Breakfast (farmhouse) they’ve chosen for me. It is nice to be among friends; I’ve missed them immensely. Sadly, it initially seems like all work and no play as they are VERY busy. I can’t wait for the weekend.

On Sunday, the first major event for my trip is the World Superbike Race at Donington Park. I’ve visited several race circuits throughout the years and find the track surface to be outstanding. The venue, however, leaves me underwhelmed. The racing was fantastic and I meet up with Mike, the first friend from the US to join me this trip.

Donington Race CircuitMike and I part ways with my friend Tommo. We leave the circuit and head south towards London with an eye on the Ace Café for the Margate Meltdown rally which will happen the following day. Hope is high when we hit the sack. All we need is for that bright orange orb to make an appearance the next day and life will be good.

DOWN HE GOES

Crash! Bang! Ouch! That was the start to my morning as I slip and fall in a handicapped shower at the hotel. It feels like I’ve cracked a few ribs. The pain is immense and the aspirin I brought with me doesn’t come close to cutting the pain. Sonufa!

Not wanting to slow us down, I suck it up and we crack on with our plan to be at Ace Café by 9am. We meet our deadline, but I’m in a world of hurt. Regardless, I find a way to enjoy this iconic motorcycling spot. Plenty of shopping to do be done and lots of cool Ace Cafe stuff to buy.  British sunshine, aka rain, puts a damper on the day. What typically is a 500+ biker rally ends up being about 80 strong.

Ace Cafe

L-R: Mike Essig, author Bill Seltzer, and Ace Cafe CEO Mark Wilsmore

Instead of following the rally in our rental car, we decide to head north where my friends live so I can obtain some type of medical treatment. We take our time and hit a few motorcycle dealerships and sights along the way. Eventually, we return back to the farmhouse in Southport. We spend a few days receiving some local hospitality, including pain relievers, and then make room for the rest of the crew to join us: Jim, Brad, and Jon.

We are ready to head to the Isle of Man where five motorcycles and a cottage await our arrival. Chops officially licked!

<Find out what happens on the Isle of Man when five Americans meet their first UNLIMITED speed sign!> <CLICK HERE FOR ALL SEGMENTS>

TEAM AZ Expands Offerings At North Phoenix Buddy Stubbs Site

Paul Schaffran RiderCoach of the Month Dec 2012You may have seen the construction in recent months just north of the Buddy Stubbs Cave Creek Road dealership in North Phoenix.  The Stubbs family have been working hard to add even more value to their dealership by installing a rider training pad.   No expenses have been spared, and lots of blood, sweat, and tears on the part of the dealership resulted in an outstanding place to learn how to ride or advance one’s skills.   The asphalt is immaculate and the learning environment is outstanding.  TEAM  Arizona is excited to announce that we’ll be providing the training in cooperation with the dealership.

TEAM Arizona owner, Ron Arieli, shares his perspective about the location.  “It has been great working with the Stubbs family.  They have a very clear sense about the value of training riders to be safe, and we couldn’t be happier to be in the mix.  This is a huge win for the North Phoenix motorcycling community. ”

Phillip_McKee_AdvancedBoth parties agree that better trained, better educated riders in Arizona is a good thing for everyone.  Initially, the Basic RiderCourse will be offered there in full; both the classroom and riding sessions will happen on site.  This is a change from the past few years where TEAM  Arizona offered the classroom portion at the dealership but the riding at Glendale Community College.   In the near future, possibly as soon as this fall, TEAM Arizona will offer more advanced courses like Total Control.

If you know someone who is interested in fulfilling their dream of riding a motorcycle, have them visit our LOCATIONS page and have them select, “Buddy Stubbs Harley Davidson North Phoenix”.  Check back with us in the near future to check out the advanced rider training options.

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

TEAM AZ Rides Europe: An Introduction

motorcycle-cover-europeI’ve been asked by several people why I’m taking this trip, how I go about planning, and how will I make it all happen.  Fair enough.  This is my effort to provide the who, what, when, where, why, and the how (travel philosophy).

First, The WHY

Does one ever need an excuse to travel?  If pressed, I’ll say I turned 40 and had to do something special.  That’s the easy answer I suppose.  More to the point, I really enjoy the adventures, the magical moments, and just the plain act of getting lost when traveling.  Sadly, I misplaced the joy of traveling when I was on the road more than 280 days per year for my business.  This is my attempt to regain the spark and embrace travel once again.  An even darker truth, and something probably not expected from a motorcycle enthusiast and RiderCoach, is that I’ve lost some of the passion for riding on two wheels.  I’m hoping to rekindle those flames as well as I ponder my next professional career move.

Why Europe?  Primarily I have a group of friends in England I’d like to see; plus, there are some outstanding opportunities to check out the world’s best motorcycle racing and some of the greatest motorcycling roads on the planet.

WHAT will be happening and WHEN?

For planning purposes, I’ve broken up the two month adventure into four parts:

  1. English Invasion- (Hey look kids, there’s Big Ben!) – End of May
    1. Spend time with friends Nick and Tommo
    2. Attend World SuperBike at Donington Park
    3. Visit the Ace Cafe in London
    4. Eat at Jay’s (home of former MasterChef UK Celeb and friend)
  2. Isle of Man for TT Races (That’s a Man’s Corner that) – Beginning of June
  3. European Vacation (Bruges is a fairy-tale town) – Mid June to Mid July
    1. Belgium (Bruges,Ghent)
    2. Luxembourg (Soundgarden Concert)
    3. West Germany(Black Forest, B500 Road; Romantic Road)
    4. Austria and Northern Italy (Stelvio Pass, Dolomites)
    5. East Germany (Motogp at Sachsenring)
  4. Return to England/Return to Arizona  -Mid July to End of July

2009 Suzuki Bandit 1250SA is WHAT I’ll be Riding

Suzuki Bandit 1250S ABSFortunately for me, I have very generous English friends who are providing me with a motorcycle and insurance under their business licenses.  If that weren’t happening, and I doubt it will happen again, then renting a motorcycle would be another feasible option.  Renting is not a bad option, it is just more expensive when considering a journey of this length of time and this magnitude of miles.  Ultimately, I’m being well taken care of by my English mates.

WHO  is going?

For the first part of the trip, I’ll be accompanied by some friends.  I’ve primarily been placed as the planner of the first leg of the trip for everyone, so there is a bit of weight to what I do.  I’d hate to spoil a person’s trip based on my poor planning, so I started that bit almost ten years ago, with the majority taking place within the last twelve months.  I have no doubt that Jim, Mike, Brad, and Jon will approve.

When I head to continental Europe, I’ll be doing it S-O-L-O.  Some might consider this a “bad” thing or risky thing to do, but Europe is motorcyclist friendly and what’s an adventure without a little risk?

My Travel Philosophy Retains the HOW

With the desire to be quickly and widely understood, and without sounding overly pretentious, I describe my travel method to be two parts Rick Steves and one part Ted Simon.  Don’t get me wrong by placing Rick first; riding is at the core of what I’ll be doing, but putting on miles just to put on miles is not my thing.  I admire guys like Ted who have millions of miles under their belts and travel the world with grace.  I daydream about that kind of life occasionally, but in the end, it just isn’t me.  For the record, I don’t claim to be an expert in this field of long distance touring, merely an enthusiast.  I plan on making mistakes and learning from them; the bright side is that you can learn from my mistakes too!

Motorcycle Rider In AlpsWhen I decide which roads to take, usually I choose motorways to get the primary destination (hub), but then I choose “A” and “B” roads when I venture out from the hub.  This may be sacrosanct to adventure riders who claim to never use a motorway, but I like to unladen the motorcycle of the bags so that I can ride unfettered.  Just a preference really; neither is the “right way”.

I like using a hub-and-spoke method of traveling where I hunker down in one place for several days, typically a week or more, so that I can get to know the area.  Then I take day trips to points of interest with an intent to return back to the hub.  Also, I like to take every third or fourth day as a day of rest and relaxation in the town I’m staying.  I find that a place begins to reveal itself only after the third day.  These aren’t steadfast rules, just general guidelines I tend to follow.

Part of the joy I receive from traveling comes from exposing myself to the cultures and habits of the locals.  Making myself vulnerable, taking myself out of my comfort zone nets the biggest personal growth and typically helps me achieve a personal connection with the locals that only a day or two in a tourist zone won’t produce.

bnb_alpsWith that said, I tend not to stay in hotels.  I prefer BnBs and homestays.  Often, they are less expensive and more culturally rich in experience.  As I am out and about so much, I find spending a lot of money on housing to be inefficient and unnecessary.

In regards to money, I suspect my trip, including airfare, may run close to $4,000.  I’m ultra conservative and use the “rule of 3″ when budgeting, so over the past ten years, I was able to save $12,000 for the trip.  One never knows when a medical emergency not covered by travel insurance may occur or a motorcycle may need to be purchased post-incident.  While I hope neither happens, they are realities.

READY TO TAKE THE TRIP?

Are you ready to join me on the ride?  I’ll be posting as I complete portions of my journey.  To look at the postings, simply visit this page:  TEAM AZ RIDES EUROPE

We want to know what you think about the trip.  Visit our Facebook page and tell us what you think or ask questions about the trip!

 For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Kelly’s Korner: Changing the Approach to Riding

Kelly's KornerIt’s official: making my dirt bike a supermoto for the track is one of the best riding decisions I’ve made yet.

Remember last fall when I was too afraid of crashing my Triumph to enjoy Horsethief Mile? That all changed in early May. This time, I took my new-to-me Honda CRF 230 outfitted for the track and had more fun than I’ve ever had at a Total Control track clinic. Not worrying about hurting my bike freed me to enjoy the rush of being on the track, and gave me real focus to work on vision and line, and body positioning. I have much practice to do in those areas, and others, but I am so excited to keep doing so without fear of crashing my Street Triple R.

kelly_dirt_bikeThere’s a lot to be said for taking a small, humble bike out amongst the BMWs and Ducatis. For the first time ever, I was passing people (despite riding a woefully underpowered bike, which will not remain the case) and smiling the entire weekend because I was simply having a great time, both on the bike and off.

And that’s what riding should be — fun. The minute I turn being on my bike into a negative competition against myself or feel too much stress, I lose the purity of the experience. The solution I have found is to take a different approach to certain forms of riding. For example, up until this past year, I only rode sport bike on the street and at the occasional track clinic. Now I also ride a dirt bike out in the desert and forests, and on the track. That basic change has made everything about my riding more fun and exciting, and it has bettered my street riding, too. (See last month’s Kelly’s Korner)

I guess the message is that, if we want more out of our riding, we should apply more than one strategy. Of course, that’s just a parallel for living in general, which is another reason why I love riding — it’s full of life lessons.

Get out and ride!

Kelly Teal Signature

 

 

 

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Sean Mullineaux: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month July 2014!

Sean Mullineaux

Ever meet a person and walk away thinking, what a nice guy?  Sean fits that model for us.  He’s attended multiple training sessions, we’ve chatted with him at several Bike Night events, and he was the winner of the WHY WE RIDE film poster when we held a special WHY WE RIDE film viewing earlier this year.  To say he is part of the TEAM Arizona family would be an understatement; he is at the core of what integrates us into the motorcycling community…he IS family.

When several nominations for him to be Rider of the Month came into us, it was a no brainer.  The only question we had was about why he started riding.  We were somewhat surprised by the answer:

A buddy of mine used to ride his Ninja 636 to work everyday.  I was never really interested in motorcycles, but seeing him ride everyday caught my attention.  I took a ride on the back and I was sold.  I bought a CBR250 to start out, truthfully, as I considered it a cheaper form of transportation.

Upon taking my permit test I realized I needed help in learning how to ride the thing. I then took theSean_Cornering Basic RiderCourse (ed:  You’re not alone Sean!  Many people “back into” training).  At the time just to get the licence, but then I realized what I was getting into and how much more that class would mean for my riding.

Afterwards, I attended the first TEAM AZ bike night. It was there I learned how much the people really make the difference in this hobby. It was no longer a cheap mode of transportation; it was a fraternity.

And from that point on, I met the best people on two wheels. I made great friends…some I could call family. I love two wheels and could not imagine not doing it.

When asked what challenges him the most about riding, Sean says it is maintaining the attitude to never be complacent.  We agree with this challenge.  No matter how experienced or how skilled a rider may be, the laws of physics may bite you at any given moment if we’re not dedicated to riding our best.

Sean_CactusIf he were to proffer one piece of information to newbies, it would be take the classes and buy all the gear; they supercede any motorcycle upgrades.

Sean’s next sights are set on a little bit of track time.  He’s hoping to possible even race one day, although he’s in no big rush.  Ultimately, he sees it as part of his much larger motorcycling journey.

We’re thankful he’s chosen TEAM Arizona to be part of that motorcycling journey.  We wouldn’t want it any other way!

Riders, we want to honor YOU!  Do you know someone who should be a TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month?  Entering their name is SIMPLE.

  • Email Bill (bill@motorcycletraining.com )
  • In the subject line, type “Rider of the Month”
  • In one paragraph, tell us why this rider deserves the title TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month!

Let’s have some serious FUN with this gang!  There are some great stories out there and we don’t want to miss them, so tell us about yourselves!

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

July 12, 2014: Band of Brothers Motorcycle Rally for Fallen Officers

Band of Brothers

TEAM Arizona is honored to provide a Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic certificate for raffle at this very important event.  As many of you know, we lost a TEAM Arizona family member in May when Jair Cabrera lost his life while on duty.  Proceeds of the event will go to the families of the fallen officers.

We ask you to join us by attending this event to honor Jair, Brandon, and Alexander.  Here are the event details:

When:  Saturday, July 12, 2014; Registration at 10am
Where:  Cactus Moon Grill, 1017 N. Dobson Rd #108, Mesa, AZ  85201  (see map)

 

 

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Here’s Your Sign…European Edition

One of the more challenging aspects to driving in a foreign country includes sign comprehension. We may not know exactly what our signs mean in the United States, but we have a good idea what they are communicating based upon their shape in color.

When traveling in Europe, we’ll have to come to grips with some signs not standard in the US. Here are a few that have piqued our interest during our research:

ISLE OF MAN: No Speed Limit
No speed limitThis small, simple sign means big things to both drivers AND riders. It means the speed limit is UNLIMITED in that particular area. Yes, triple digits often happen in these areas, so mind your “six”. Oh, and the same sign in England means up to the national limit of 70mph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELGIUM: Priority
End of priorityIn one of the more strange experiences, areas marked with this sign means that motorists entering from side roads have the right of way. In effect, they have priority when entering your path of travel even though you are going straight.

A few close calls with incoming traffic and you’ll quickly learn to identify this sign.  This sign can be found in various other countries.

 

 

 

 

FRANCE: No Flammable Materials

No flammable materialsYou’ve been warned!  Please don’t have any flammable materials in your vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GERMANY:  Motorcyclist Warning

sturzgefahrWith the outstanding roads in the Schwarzwald region of Germany, there are bound to be a few motorcyclists who forget they’re on public roads.  This sign exists to help bring them back to reality; running off the road and down a cliff is a real possibility.

 

 

 

 

 

We want to hear from you. Do you have any interesting signs in Europe you’d like to share with TEAM Arizona family members? Post them on our Facebook page here!

 For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

We Honor Jair Cabrera; Rest In Peace

Jair CabreraTragedy struck the TEAM Arizona family on Saturday, May 24, 2014, when family member Jair Cabrera lost his life while on duty as a Salt River Police Officer.

Jair was a loyal friend and an excited learner.  He came to us seeking help to improve his riding skills, and improve he did.  After advancing to Total Control, he joined us at Willow Springs Raceway several times for the Total Control Track Clinic.  His smile and sense of humor endeared himself to all at the track.

We will miss his warm heart and willingness to use every experience in life as a learning tool.  May the road be curvy and rise up to meet you friend.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences:

Chief Patrick R. Melvin
Salt River Police Department
10005 East Osborn Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Phone: (480) 850-8200

or visit this MEMORIAL PAGE

 

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Kelly’s Korner: It’s Mid-2014…Do You Know Where Your Riding Goals Are?

goals-2014We’re halfway through 2014 and now seems a great time to assess riding goals. What did you set out to accomplish this year, and how far have you gone? I’ve achieved one key aim: having more fun. After all, riding absolutely should be a blast. If it’s not, we’ve turned riding into something mundane; we’ve lost the magic. For me, adding dirt biking to the riding repertoire and using that same dirt bike for the track met my goal of having more fun.

 

Let’s back up. Last fall, I was re-introduced, after a long hiatus, to dirt biking, an experience that made me see how much I was missing when it came to playing. We adults need play in our lives, and when there’s a bike and jumping, sliding, rocks, hills, sand, who can’t play? With that in mind, earlier this year I bought a 10-year-old Honda CRF 230. Since then, I’ve put it to good use at Four Peaks, near Gila Bend, out at Rio Verde and more. I’ve also ridden it on Horsethief Mile at Willow Springs — more on that next month — and had my best track experience to date.

 

Overall, my 2014 has featured more fun and play, which are necessary as I deal with the typical stresses that come from work and life.
kelly_dirt_bikeThe cool part about pursuing “fun” through dirt biking is that the method sneakily has contributed to my street riding. You see, dirt biking builds a whole different skill set than street or track, yet it translates to those types of riding. Because you get used to the bike slipping and sliding underneath you, being a dirt biker can save “oh s—” moments on the street. Case in point: A couple of weeks ago I was leaving a dirt parking lot. Just before I reached the asphalt, I twisted the throttle more than intended and my back wheel slid side to side. Had I not had dirt biking time, I probably would have freaked out, grabbed the brake (never grab the brake, FYI) and crashed. Instead, I rode it out as if I were on the dirt bike and didn’t even realize until after the fact what had happened.

 

I’ll take it. I like that dirt biking and my CRF give me varied, new experiences and make me a better rider as a whole. So no matter your goals when it comes to riding, how are you going to achieve them? It doesn’t just happen, we have to put thought and effort into the desire. Start by listing what you want out of your riding career; write about ways you think will help you meet those aims. From there, talk to your TEAM Arizona coaches and your riding friends, get advice from your favorite dealer. Make use of the resources available to you and then put the feedback into practice. Be prepared to see, in December, how far you came over 2014.Kelly Teal Signature

 

Riding rules. Be safe, and have fun.

Mike Papierski: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month June 2014!

Mike Papierski

Don’t let the tough New York biker look fool you.  This guy is 100% genuinely nice.  Harley rider on the surface, two wheeled lover of anything at his depths.  His passion for riding and his care for the motorcycling community make Mike our June 2014 Rider of the Month!

Mike came to TEAM Arizona in October of last year.  A bit of a scare and a strong desire to advance his abilities directed him to us.  He knew before attending Total Control that rider training and good gear are imperatives for a good ride.  In his words:

Chrome won’t get you home; however, a well maintained ride, good education and training, and quality gear will get you home safely.  Back in the day all we had was a helmet and leather.  Today the gear is advanced far more than I ever thought possible.  In the early 80’s a helmet saved my life, and leather saved my skin and possibly some muscle.  These items can save your life as well as enhance your riding experience.

Why does Mike ride?  For him, there is a biker to biker relationship that makes riding so enjoyable.  Again, in his words:

Besides the freedom of the open road, there is the camaraderie of the entire motorcycling community.  From younger to older, we each have something to contribute to, and enhance each other’s skills and enjoyment. That bond is indescribable and not found in many other communities.

Mike Papierski RidingFor Mike, motorcycling is generational.  He feels it is an imperative for him to mentor the younger riders.  He resents those who place a divide between the riding generations just because of bike preference or riding style.  Mike is on a mission to help younger riders understand the value of proper riding gear and training.  More importantly, he wants to train and go on rides with younger riders.  He says, “By riding together and taking classes together, we all become better riders.”

We applaud Mike’s perspective and hope you’ll join him in welcoming new riders into the activity we all love so much!

Riders, we want to honor YOU!  Do you know someone who should be a TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month?  Entering  their name is SIMPLE.

  • Email Bill (bill@motorcycletraining.com )
  • In the subject line, type “Rider of the Month”
  • In one paragraph, tell us why this rider deserves the title TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month!

Let’s have some serious FUN with this gang!  There are some great stories out there and we don’t want to miss them, so tell us about yourselves!

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE