A new bike and much more

April 29, 2012

A lot has happened again in the past two weeks since my book reading at the Moto Shop in South San Francisco. Also, the first introduction of the To Drink the Wild Air music video let the world go  (somewhat) “wild” and our You Tube links went truly hot for a little while there in cyberspace.

For anyone who missed it  the first time around  Sassy Kool and Birgit Soyka

We all know how the world works nowadays and what networking and spreading the word can do and so the video also found enthusiastic attention in Germany. As a result I have received an E-mail from a friend establishing contact to a famous racing team.  This is not just any race team  but a team dedicated to  win  the “e-power championship” series  (organized by  the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme)  of electrical motorbikes, a world series championship only existing  since 2010. Hence the  revolution of electric bikes and its ability to compete for our attention in the future.  What is being tested on the race track today will be stock production tomorrow, therefore all the racing activities out there have some research and development aspects to consider. It seems that the e-bike series is also the series where most female riders can be found. One of the most famous female road racers was Katja Poensgen who competed fairly successful in the GP 250 scene in the year 2001. Now she was spotted as a new team member of the Münch racing team competing again on an electric bike.

The Moto GP in Laguna Seca, California is around the corner, an event featuring the best of the best in motorcycle racing. The event is scheduled from July 27 to July 29 2012. It also will feature the e-bike series. I was invited to meet the  German Münch racing team and its members.  I am looking very much forward to it in order to get one step closer to see the racing action of the e-bike scene from the first row seat.

You can find more information here :  http://www.muenchmotorbikes.com/en/intro/

But this was only half of the news. The other earthshattering event of last week was that I went out and got a brand new motorcycle to experience the sharp technology of 2012. I skipped 18 years of  technical motorcycle development but now I’ve got one of those beasts and even though it “only” is a 600 cc engine this Suzuki GSX-R 600 is a rocket ship. I am quiet happy with the purchase and will enjoy every single mile on in.  Here are some pics when I picked it up from the dealership this weekend.


Press release – To Drink the Wild Air at Moto Shop

February 12, 2012

One of the First Female Motorcycle Racers Reads from Her Memoir April 14 in South San Francisco at Moto Shop

Motorcycles, Race DVD’s, Book Reading, Book signing, music, party 

On April 14, 2012, the author of the memoir To Drink the Wild Air:  One Woman’s Quest to Touch the Horizon and one of the first female motorcycle racers in her time, Birgit Soyka, will read from her book at Moto Shop in South San Francisco. From Female Road Warrior to Spreadsheet Jockey, To Drink the Wild Air chronicles one woman’s journey of adventure, freedom, and motorcycle racing to becoming a survivor of a subsequent corporate career burn out. The program is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a social hour starting at 5pm. Moto Shop address: 325 South Maple Avenue #20 in South San Francisco.

San Francisco, CA, United States, February 13, 2012 – (PressReleasePoint) On April 14, 2012, the author of the memoir To Drink the Wild Air:  One Woman’s Quest to Touch the Horizon and one of the first female motorcycle racers in her time, Birgit Soyka, will read from her book at Moto Shop in South San Francisco.  From Female Road Warrior to Spreadsheet Jockey, To Drink the Wild Air chronicles one woman’s journey of adventure, freedom, and motorcycle racing to becoming a survivor of a subsequent corporate career burn out.

Few people live life on the edge the way Birgit has. She seizes life with both hands and eagerly anticipates the next big adventure. From sleeping on the hood of her car watching the stars twinkle across the desert night sky in Arizona to the shocking experience of being kidnapped and robbed in Mexico City, Birgit’s adventures gives readers a glimpse of her life racing along the twisting roads of untamed dreams. Audacious and honest with a healthy dose of humor, Birgit’s story is a reminder to live life to the fullest, to persevere no matter what the obstacles, and to always remain true to yourself.

Inspirational and entertaining, Birgit’s memoir recounts the journey from her wild motorcycle days in her homeland of Germany to the narrowing noose of career burnout in the United States, which left her with the question: Is this all life has to offer? It was also a wakeup call to reclaim the fearless spirit of her youth and to combine it with her sophisticated adult wisdom.

Birgit was the only female breaking into the male dominated sport of motorcycle racing in southern California, showing courage and determination to win a championship against all odds and encountering injuries, destitution, homelessness, and the threat of deportation along the way.

In 2011, 26 years later, Birgit rekindled her love affair with motorcycles when she bought a Honda CBR 600 and now feels the thrill, fascination and passion at a different age. She will compare the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of a female road racer’s psyche. The Moto Shop program is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a social hour starting at 5p. m. at 325 South Maple Avenue #20 in South San Francisco, CA 94080.

http://BayAreaMotoShop.com.


True friendship

January 30, 2012

Last Friday I received a phone call from an old friend I haven’t seen for 27 years!!   All I heard through the cell phone lines was:  “ I will be in  San Francisco !!!!!”

TWENTY  SEVEN (27) YEARS!! This is a damn long time, and hard to grasp that it was even possible to lose touch of each other for such a long time.  Just go to Chapter 9 of “To Drink the Wild Air” and read the story of The wingspan of a free spirit. The story contains adventure, compassion, friendship and an unforgettable road trip with my run down bike. Bernie, selflessly spent a night at the General County hospital in Los Angeles with me while some doctors butchered my highly damaged foot which only hours before was mangled in a motorcycle accident. There was no one else around. I was alone in a city without mercy. But one human, I hardly knew to that time, helped out and carried a big weight in the final outcome of this miserable situation and subsequently of the course of my whole life.

Now, 27 years later on a Saturday afternoon Bernie knocked on my door, I opened the door and we started  talking like it just was yesterday. We spent a beautiful weekend roaming the beautiful Bay Area and reminiscing from the first to the last minute of his stay. Luckily this trip included his 65th birthday.

Such instances make us very aware what real friendships are all about in oppose to our many Facebook friends we painstakingly maintain to be informed and to stay “cyber technically” connected. Fortunately an old organically grown and maintained friendship delivers proof enough that it is more worth throughout a life time to know a few people in depth than knowing thousands of people superficially.

The ultimate truth is that time is relative. Those 27 years seemed like they were compressed into 48 hours but once talking about the happenings of 27 years- time revealed its true nature and intention. Twenty seven years can also be a very very long time.  Our youthful faces have made room for the lines of the infrastructure of life experience, wisdom has conquered recklessness, we all need reading glasses, our thoughts are utterly structured and we are forced to listen to the requirement of our physical bodies. 27 years leave undeniable tracks on our psyche, physical bodies and our mind. This is the human condition. Everyone will experience the same sooner or later.

Bernie, my friend, I am glad we had the opportunity to celebrate your 65th birthday together. It was an honor, great pleasure and a lots of fun.


Books, Volunteers and Moto Shop

January 23, 2012

Last week I still had time to dream about Alaska when I came across a blog of two adventurous girls traveling the most northern state on their BMW motorcycles.  But more about Alaska later – right now let’s stick around the Bay Area were things are happening.

Yesterday was a wet and busy day. I took the bike to pro-actively attack the perpetual parking grid log in San Francisco and then continued down to South San Francisco to visit the open house event of the new Bay Area Moto Shop. Needless to say I arrived there pretty wet.

My first appointment was the volunteer meeting for the famous San Francisco Writers Conference  http://www.sfwriters.org/ scheduled for February 16 -19, 2012. I am privileged that I was accepted as a volunteer for those three days of discussing writing, publishing and Marketing. Over 100 industry speakers will share their experiences and offer services important for everyone interested to sharpen their trade. The place where Writers, agents and publishers celebrating Craft, Commerce and Community. Those four days of volunteering will be stressful but well worth my time. I am looking forward to create new connections, meet likeminded people and to get new ideas for 2012.   It took two hours to be informed about the duties of the 85 volunteers gathered in the California Room of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. The meeting was followed by a Hotel tour which revealed nothing short of old San Franciscan style and beauty.

After that meeting I saddled my bike and went down south to the open door event of the Bay Area Moto Shop. http://www.bayareamotoshop.com/ . The place where every rider, biker or two wheel enthusiast can work on their bike or scooter and take classes to learn how to do it yourself.

I think this is a grand idea and I will take some classes to wipe away those cobwebs I have accumulated over the years to re-acquaint myself with ancient technology like carburetors, oil changes and other important maintenance issues. Well yes- carburetors are a thing of the past before fuel injection took over the bike world but we still deal with them in the older models. My bike is old!

I will be involved with the Moto Shop and we are planning to schedule a “To Drink the wild Air” event in April of 2012. It is still too early to talk about it but it will be posted plenty in advance.

Looks like I will be busy over the next months. Tomorrow we will be out on the road again. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the sun can come out to play.


Merry Christmas 2011

December 19, 2011

Wrapping up the year 2011.

Looking back it was a great and successful year. A lot has happened in the course over the last 12 month and now it is time to wind down and to reflect. 2012 will begin soon enough and I still have a number of Christmas parties to go to.

My book “To Drink the Wild Air” performed nicely in its first year of being published. I am quite happy to announce that many copies were sold and a big number of review E-mails floated in. The launch party in April was a big success and the highlight was my book reading at the West Portal Book shop in San Francisco in August. Thank you for supporting me on the “To Drink the Wild Air” Tour. The book trailer was my last addition to the efforts .  To Drink the Wild Air movie 

On the survival front I have managed to build up my own little business where I am appreciated and  valued. Besides the ever growing Bird Hotel I also bought an exisiting pet sitting business in August of 2011 and had already some success with it since I am involved. Both parts of the business create a nice income without having to run to an office everyday. The home office is located just down the hallway.

www.squawkandhowl.com

I met many new and interesting people and want to thank everyone helping me in my projects. I couldn’t have done it without all of those little deeds people supported me with and I truly appreciate and value this.   2012 will be the year where I  build upon this foundation and regardless of parrots or human everybody is a big part of my success.

In August of 2011 I went out and bought a motorcycle again. After 16 years absence of the biker scene.  I joined the Bay Area Moto Group and found many likeminded people and I have the time of my life out there on the backroads on my Honda. It is like I had never left that sport. Let’s see what will happen in 2012 in regards to bikes. Since I am still a race chick by heart I am looking forward to book some track days to see if the race track still is my best friend the same way it was 25 years ago. I hope so!

The only thing I didn’t do this year was traveling. This is a tough call but if this is what it takes to move through my transition smoothly so be it. The world will always be there to be discovered and next year my first and only trip will be to Europe. The home land has requested a visit. I am looking forward to it because I still have family and many good friends in Germany and all over Europe.

Needless to say that 2012 is still a big secret but it also will be a great year!

Winding down with all the Christmas parties and enjoying the warm weather of the Bay Area taking time for a Christmas break. I will be back with my blog posts in mid January.

I wish everyone Happy Holidays, a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!


BMW S 100 RR Planet Power!

December 12, 2011

The only thing keeping your blood cool is the wind rush!  

This is BMW’S sale slogan for that bike – and whoever came up with this- brought it right to the point!!!

It was another dry, beautiful and warm December day here in the Bay Area when I arrived with my scrubby looking CBR 600 at the BMW dealership to test that mean and extremely lean BMW Superbike. What was awaiting me was superb engineering, compact 193 horsepower wrapped into precious low weight metals and shaped into a definite eye candy of a light-weight superbike with a total weight of only 450 lbs (204 KG).  Titanium valves and rocker arms help lowering the total engine weight to a measly 59 KG (132 lbs).  This bike is practically screaming for a race track. It is a beast!

Here it is. Still in the showroom.

I cannot even mention all the technical gimmicks I was just about to experience but one detail is so mind-boggling that it was like sitting in a space ship. I am talking about the Race ABS – “the” device to play around between Rain, Sport and Race mode.  What does that mean??? Well- in laymen terms- it plays with throttle response and power control. Let me be the judge of that one (Yikes).

Here are some of the basics- four cylinders, inline engine, bore and stroke 80 mm x 49.7 mm , 999 cc, maximum output 193 horsepower at 13000 RPM, 6 gear HP gearshift assist  – means up shifting without interrupting the shift flow with a bothersome clutch process. All of these details remind me to well that this is a pure bred race bike rather than a street bike. The last thing really fascinating me is the integrated lap time tracker. LAP TIME TRACKER???

I sat on it. It is a low bike. I am only 5’9 inches (175 cm) and to me the bike seemed very low. This was a clear indicator that we are not talking about a cruiser. Organizing myself into riding position I already felt the pressure of my own body weight (6 lbs(3 KG) heavier than the engine weight of this bike)   on my wrists, shoulders, neck and lower back. I didn’t expect anything else. It was almost like sitting on a full blown GP bike. Small, compact and precise!  I lifted the bike off the side stand with the movement of one finger. The bike fell into position like a fluffy feather tumbling in the air. The overall engineering, geometrics and ergonomics of that bike make every rider feel like it was custom tailored to the individual rider’s height, weight and seating position. It was like this bike was made for me. Period. I sat on it and I felt like home.

The engine roared. The dashboard lid up like a Christmas tree with all kinds of little numbers, letters and flashlights but then stayed set with a digital number board. God forbid the electronics fail…..

I started with the DTS (Dynamic Traction Control) in Rain mode. The smoothest of the settings of the DTS and ABS. The seating position is race like, low, like a tiger on the prowl in the jungle. Smooth, quiet, powerful and I would like to say safe.

The freeway was my first acceleration point. Wow— I hardly touched the shift lever and I was already in sixth gear at 4000 rpm and still had a power band-with like in second gear @6000 rpm on my Honda (????) how did I get so quick into 6th gear??  The whole bike is dancing underneath me with ease and grace. The bike is like an obedient dog. It doesn’t do anything what you don’t want it to do. The control is with the rider. I played around with the shifting. I couldn’t even rev it up higher than 5000 rpm on this short stretch of Freeway but had constant power flow and speed. No unnecessary downshifting and playing around with the throttle…. It was just hovering along like a purring cat totally content and in its element.

Exit to some of the back roads. Ok- I switched the electronics from Rain to Sport. An instant change was noticeable in traction, power control, and throttle response. Wow – who came up with a concept like this?  I paid better attention to my shifting and the rpm’s. The engine is smooth, the power is balanced, and the sound is subtle. Some little turns. The bike is low; I shift my body weight and the bike falls into that left turn effortlessly and stuck to the road like a butter knife cutting through soft margarine. The low rpm pull the bike through the turn like on tracks and the feeling was rather as it was pulled by 193 horses instead of propelled by them. There is no doubt in the geometry of the frame, swing arm, suspension system, front fork. Everything plays in perfect harmony like the precise game of the almighty universe.

Once I had some open road in front of me I accelerated a bit harder and the only thing cooling my blood was the wind rush!

On my way home I switched to race mode. Hellloooo—I am a race chick and cannot go slow. This bike practically seduces me to do the inevitable. RACE MODE.  Wham- these Germans mean it when talking about RACE MODE. The traction immediately switched to the nature of a beast. The rear wheel wanted to break out, the throttle response was aggressive and lurking for any predators.

The interplay of perfect geometry and power development makes the bike practically fall into the turns by itself and I had to make sure that the 190/55 tire ( 6.00 x 17 inch rim)   made the best out of the pavement. I only can imagine how this would play out on the track. Dream on.

Back at the dealership I felt my body screaming as loud as the engine for freedom and wide open race tracks. My wrists were sore and my neck was stiff. The seating position is tough, the suspension is stiff, the aerodynamics are perfect and beautiful but whoever is riding this bike should be in physical shape.

My conclusion of the trip to the “planet of unleashed power” is that this bike is as tame as a pussy cat and as wild as a beast in one package. It is highly intelligent and offers several options in how it can be handled by the rider. It is extremely user friendly for anyone who just wants to enjoy a tame beast on a Sunday afternoon, yet a challenge for every racer chasing a world champion title in the World Superbike Championship.

The German motorcycle magazines are talking about the Japanese bike crisis and with BMW setting the bar for excellence extremely high with this bike I can see the argument. This bike is so full of itself, yet humble, that its performance cannot be challenged so easily.

What a piece of machinery!   Triple thumbs up!


Test riding a BMW S 1000 RR

December 2, 2011

Christmas in the city of San Francisco. The  Civic Center in festive look at night. Christmas is around the corner.

Only two questions here:

What is it and who wants to give this to me????

The dream factory played havoc with my mind. Test ride scheduled with this one!  Stay tuned for the detailed report.