Friday, January 30, 2009

Shuttin Detroit Down - John Rich

On my way to work this morning I was cruising through the radio stations on my car radio(an American Made Car) and I got to one that is a local country station. They were talking to John Rich from Big and Rich and they played his new song, Shuttin Detroit Down. I got tears in my eyes because it's totally how I feel. This song is so completely AWESOME! Thank you John Rich for writing a song that totally reflects what I think about what's going on with our United States. We will eventually get out of this whole mess. I don't know when but we will. Keep the Faith everyone! Keep the Faith!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Photographer, Author, Artist, Garage Girl - An Interview with Sara Liberte

Sara Liberte graduated from Montserrat College of Art in 1997. Since then Sara has been a professional photographer. Motorcycle and portrait photography have been her passion. You may have seen her photos in Easy Rider, In the Wind, Hot Bike, Street Chopper and Iron Works. Her fine art photography work focuses on “Image Fusion”, a technique she uses to combine images. You can see this technique in her “Women and Machine” and “Builder and Machine” photos. And I’m sure you have seen the GEICO Motorcycle Insurance Ads that she created in 2007 for their print campaign. Sara is also staff photography editor for The Cycle Source Magazine.

Sara's passion for motorcycles lead her to becoming co-owner and operator of RT’s North Hills Cycle Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA. She designs custom paint jobs and builds custom cycles. When she's not wrenching on motorcycles she is managing the parts and services department at RT’s.

Sara has been part of the motorcycle industry for over a decade and has been recognized as one of the leading motorcycle designers and photographers at the Sturgis Rally. House of Kolor named RT’s North Hills Cycle as the prestigious painter of 2007. This award is the most elite award in the custom automotive/motorcycle paint industry.

If you haven’t already you should check out “How to Repair and Maintain American V-Twin Motorcycles”. Sara penned this book to help motorcycle enthusiasts who want to be able to service their rides but lack only the know-how. You may also recognize the name Sara Liberte from her “Garage Girls” seminars and website that she created with friend and fellow builder, Jody Perewitz.

Sara took some time to answer a few questions for me recently on her life and career in the motorcycle industry.

When were you first introduced to the motorcycle lifestyle?
Early in my life I started out on 3 wheelers, back then they were considered safer then motorcycles.

Did you always know growing up that you wanted a career in the motorcycle industry or did you have other passions first?
No, I never set out with any goals, just took life day by day. I knew I loved art and would end up doing something with art.

What has been your greatest accomplishment or are there many?
Tough question, I’m proud of many things. Mostly the friendships I have made over the years and my relationship with my family.

When did you decide to start “Garage Girls”?
I decided I needed to do more to reach other women interested in the garage lifestyle after I wrote “How to Repair and Maintain American V-Twins Motorcycles”. So many girls were approaching me and wanting to know more about the mechanical aspect of motorcycles. I decided a website would be the best way to rally us all together.

Could you tell me about the site and what people can find there?
The site focuses on maintaining a balance between our body and our machine. The motorcycle becomes an extension of our body so we need to take care of them both. We offer info about motorcycles and info on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We also have a section dedicated to animals. “Cruisin’ Companions” celebrates the 4 legged friends of our lives. We do product reviews and offer technical info. We share info on trying to stay healthy with health and beauty info, exercise and nutrition…you name it.

Do you have any mentors or people that you look up to?
Of course! My parents have taught me so many valuable lessons that I’m so grateful for. There have also been a few teachers, Christine O’Brien and Linda White, they both taught me lessons I use daily in my world of art and motorcycles. I have many friends I am grateful for as well.

I noticed you have a tribute to Johnny Chop on your website. Could you tell me how he touched your life?
Johnny was one of the guys I would look forward to seeing at the events year after year. I enjoyed our conversations about motorcycles and the struggles of being in business for yourself. We connected especially about the struggles. He had a generous ear and usually words of inspiration at the end of our conversations. I miss Johnny. Rallies just aren’t the same without him.

Have you found it difficult to get people to take you seriously in such a male dominated profession?
Yes… I could go on and on about the struggles but no one likes to hear you bitch…

What is your advice for girls and women interested in careers in the motorcycle industry?
Be involved because it is your passion. The only way you can be happy in such a tough industry is because you truly love this stuff. You eat, sleep, and breathe it! You can’t imagine yourself doing anything else. That is pretty much the only way you’ll survive this world!

Your photographs are beyond words, beautiful. Do you have any favorites?
I have so many favorites because they all take me back to the moment I created them. Whether it was a conversation with someone, or a shot as I was riding in a beautiful landscape or a moment I was alone with an incredible machine.

How did you decide on the concept for your “Women and Machines” and "Builder and Machines” photos?
Women and Machine was born in my head as I was heavily focused on the idea that the machine/motorcycle becomes an extension of your body. You control this machine, it becomes a part of you. “Builder and Machine” is my series that focuses on Craftsmen. Craftsmen are the rare breed, the dying breed. The craftsmen are the guys who can pretty much do anything like metal fabrication, drawing, engineering, machining, wrenching, and fixing broken parts, painting, bodywork, along with mechanical knowledge, etc. I set out to explore the true craftsmen in the motorcycle and automotive culture. Using my Image Fusion technique my goal is to create a portrait of each craftsmen combining a piece of who they are via their unique work. I was also studying certain quotes at the time, this one was a big inspiration for this project, “One Machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No Machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”-Elbert Hubbard.

Do you sell your prints and if so how does one go about ordering them? The "Woman and Machine" series is limited to an edition of 150 prints of each image on photographic silver gelatin emulsion paper. All prints are available in 2 sizes of 16x20” or 20x30”. “Woman and Machine” was featured at the Belknap Mill Gallery in Laconia, NH for bike week 2005, as well in the Laconia Television show “Riding with Rossi” which aired on the Travel Channel. This series was also featured on “Corbin’s Ride On” and American Thunder, Speed Channel and also on the Documentary DVD titled “Invasion of the motorcycles, Laconia”. "Builder and Machine" is available as a fine art poster print.

What cameras do you use to shoot your amazing photos?
I am a Nikon fan, I love their glass.

Along with being an amazing photographer, you also wrote a book. Could you tell me about it?
The book is a comprehensive guide to servicing a motorcycle, with useful information for those who have the will to service their rides but lack only the know-how. Part of owning a motorcycle is the pleasure of servicing and repairing it on your own. A motorcycle is a symbol of independence, and whether you're wrenching in the garage or making an emergency repair on the side of the road, doing it yourself is part of that independence. By doing much of the service work yourself, you'll save money and time, and you'll have the gratification of knowing what went into your ride.

Do you have any big projects in the works for the future?
Lots of exciting things for . I'm hoping to shoot more work for Cycle Source Magazine and develop our garage-girls column more in the magazine. I have some new images I'll be releasing as well.

What is your favorite rally or do you have more then one favorite?

Where is the best place in the country to ride?
White Mountains New Hampshire.

Do you have any upcoming events that you will be at and if so where?
Lots of events going on! Carlisle Summer Bike Fest is one I'm looking forward to most.

Do you have any motto's that you live by?
My mom shared this with me, "the only thing achieved in life without effort is failure."

What are your other passions beyond motorcycles and photography? Animals, they are god’s creatures and deserve to be treated with respect and love. They have little souls and feelings. Too many people neglect that fact.

If you would like to learn even more about Sara Liberte you can visit her websites.
I'd like to thank Sara for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview with me! Art and Motorcycles...what a gig she has!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Jamey Johnson - This Guy Has Got to Be an ODB!

I love this guy's music and he is an amazing storyteller with his songs. I'm hoping someone books him during the Sturgis Rally!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year! Check out Robbie Knievel & Robbie Maddison

Happy New Year to Everyone out there in bloggerland! Wishing you the best year you've ever had!

So last night I was watching Robbie Knievel jump the volcano at the Mirage...on TV of course. And it just didn't seem to me like he really jumped it so I found it on youtube today and had to post it to see what everyone else thinks. To me it looks like they set up some pyrotechnics and he jumped them.

Anyway...doesn't really matter but I had to share anyway.

For all of you SOA junkies...I was searching for a show that I wanted to record on the DVR and ran across that FX is showing Son's of Anarchy reruns!!!! I know...sick! lol

Some info from the folks at HD:

Ride Free is a guarantee on the trade-in value of H-D Sportsters. Between December 26th and March 31st, current owners of an ’07, ’08, or ’09 Sportster 883 or 1200 can trade-in for any of the bikes in the Big Twin family and receive full MSRP on their original bike. Similarly, new owners purchasing a Sportster in the same timeframe will have an opportunity to trade-in for full MSRP at any point within a year’s time. Essentially, participating customers will have a year to “ride free.”

All of the details about Ride Free are available on

Ok...this blows away the Robbie Knievel jump. Holy Cow! Check out Robbie Maddison!

Have a great day today!
xo IHG