This year the International Motorcycle Show rolled through Seattle, Wash. during a cold rainy weekend. However, if you were brave enough to ride your sled (or scooter) to the show, you were rewarded with free parking. There was no lack of die-hards, as the free gear check area had very little in the way of empty hangers. Motorcyclists are a hearty bunch.
Progressive is the major sponsor of the International Motorcycle Shows this year. As you enter the ticket gates, beautiful women dressed as Flo, the quirky Progressive spokeswoman, hand you a card with a digital code on it, and a Progressive tote bag. The tote bag is handy for hauling any swag that you may collect along the way of the show. The first piece comes from the card.
I was instructed to take my card to the Progressive display booth and see what my prize was. You show your code to the computer and it tells you what you win. I scored a brand new pair of riding shades. That seemed to be the most popular prize that day.
With my prize collected, it was time to check out the rest of the show.
Most of the manufacturers were there showing off the 2011 lineup of models. However, there seemed to be a lack of all new models. Yamaha was the only one that had a memorable one, the Tenere. This is Yamaha’s new adventure touring bike. With a shaft drive, 1200cc two cylinder motor, six speed transmission, and six gallon fuel tank, it looked as though it was ready for anything. However, the crowds around this bike were so thick that it was hard to do more than catch glimpses.
Harley had a demonstration in their area about how to lift a bike. They had a rubber mat with a Sportster lying on its side. The instructor was inviting anyone out of the audience to come try the easy way to lift it. With your back to the bike and sitting on the side of the seat, grab the seat and the lower handlebar. Then roll the bike up, lifting with your legs and pushing backwards. I watched as every person who tried put the bike shiny side up without exerting much effort. Now I know how to lift my 600 pounds of Yamaha.
Unfortunately, because of some poor health, I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I would have liked to at the International Motorcycle Show. I didn’t get to check out the DIY Garage, where experts were giving advice on preparing your bike for a long trip, adjusting valves and many other useful topics.
There was also the Motoflix theater, where some cult classic motorcycle movies were being shown. Dogs tired from walking all over the show? Take a break with a movie. Bring your own popcorn though.
One thing that I really wanted to check out and just wasn’t able to, was the Women ride section. In our sport, women are quickly moving from the passenger seat to the driver seat. Manufacturers are starting to offer bikes in more varied sizes, so that anyone of any size can find something that fits them. The women that take the responsibility of the front seat should be celebrated, and this was the place to do it.
Even with my head pounding and my stomach flipping, I was able to still have fun at this show. It is the true spirit of our sport and a good reason to throw your leg over bikes that you know you can’t afford, but you can dream about.