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postheadericon State of the SIR’s 2014

State of the SIR’s 2014

Once again it is that time. The Sky Island Riders have had another birthday and we are 6 years old. November 8 marked our anniversary.

Membership” continues to grow and we had more events this year than last. Our number of riders, however, has been declining a bit. I am hoping to work a bit less in 2015 and leave myself more time for ride/event planning and promoting.

What did 2014 look like?

Members: I will focus only on the Facebook group, since that is where 99% of our activity is. Last year at this time, there were 184 “members” of the Facebook group. This year, there are 237. That is an increase of 53. In 2013, we only grew by 40. As of this writing, there are 2 membership requests pending, as I cannot ascertain whether they are humans or spammers.

Rides/Events: In 2012 and 2013, we had 24 rides or club events. This year we had 32! A 33% increase. There are actually more, but I count multi-day events only once, even though there were actually 3 Facebook “Events” scheduled around this year’s Fall Classic.

Some points of interest: Our “For A Few CC’s More” 3 day rally, was changed, this year, to a 6 day tour around AZ, also know as the 7-Corners Ride. Due, in part, to a perceived lack of interest in attending a 3-day rally, I think we will continue to do an annual, multi-day tour instead of the regular rally. It was a good run and maybe we’ll try it again someday.

On the other hand, 7-Corners was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Five of us rode about 2000 miles in 6 day, going from Tucson to Yuma to Vegas to Four Corners and back home. We have already been contemplating possible routes/destinations for a 2015 tour.

The Phoenix scooter community had some changes this year and there was no Phoenix Scooter Fiesta this year. To my knowledge, no SIR’s attended High Rollers in Las Vegas either. We did, however, make a fine showing at the Fall Classic this month. 13 SIR’s showed up for Saturday’s ride from Tucson to Parker Canyon Lake.

Attendance at this year’s El Scoot de Tucson was way down, as well. We are considering moving this to a different time of year.

We had another multi-day ride called “3:10 to Yuma.” A few SIR’s met up with some Cali riders, led by Doug and Dorothy Hoover. We all met in Yuma and had a memorable time.

It was also great to see some other SIR’s stepping up and planning some events. Earlier in the year, John K. held a few Bikes & Brews events. They were a lot of fun and were held and Maker House, Maker House, unfortunately, has been so successful, that it got too difficult to keep doing the event. I hope John comes up with another location. I was out of town most of the 2 weeks leading up to the Fall Classic. Warren stepped in and planned rides for Friday and Saturday. That was incredibly helpful. Thanks john and Warren as well as anyone else who scheduled an event this year.

2015 Ideas:

  • Another multi-day touring ride

  • 3:10 to Yuma. We are hoping to do it again and increase it to 3 days.

  • I would like to do a month long scavenger hunt

  • Let’s see Bikes & Brews or similar social event to resume.

  • I see that last year in the State of the SIR’s, I mentioned starting a club roster. Yup, it’s still there.

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postheadericon State of the SIR’s 2013

Well, November 8th marked our 5th birthday as the SIR’s! Yay us!


With two of my kids getting married in the near future, I haven’t had as much time to sit back and formulate our annual “State of the SIR’s Address” but I will post an abbreviated version.


“Membership” continues to grow. Of course, by membership, I am referring to anyone who takes the time to register on one of our internet locations or who takes the time to ride with us.


The number on the Yahoo Group and Google+ are essentially unchanged. Due to so many potential spammers registering on, I closed it to registration. (For anyone concerned about this, registering really didn’t do anything and we had about one real person for every 500 spammers.)


The Facebook group continues to be our most active location. Last year there were 144 members, this year we have 184. There some of those who aren’t active on Facebook at all, some are just lurkers and there are a few who are very active.


I’m not sure how I counted events and activities for the 2012 address, but in counting from December 2012 til the end of November, 2013, it looks like we had 24 events/rides. This is about the same as last year.



For A Few CC’s More III – Attendance at this year’s rally was about the same as last year. Thanks to our sponsors and all those who purchased raffles tickets, we were able to donate $784 to Ben’s Bells. This is up from $752 last year.  Thanks to Sean for making those wonderful, collectible cards that we used for our Poker Run.


El Scoot de Tucson V – We had a record number of riders show up this year. We did have one injury crash at the beginning of the ride but the rest of the ride went well. I think there were 33 bikes start this year’s El Scoot. (For those wondering, there was a big foul-up at the patch place and El Scoot patches are still forth coming. We will announce when they are available.)


**On a serious note: 2013 was a bad year for crashes. We have had at least 5 significant crashes. 3 of these resulting in visits to emergency rooms. There were 2 hospitalizations and 1 person had to have surgery. Not all of these crashes occurred during a SIR’s event, but they all happened to one of us. Please, be careful out there, my friends.


Other 2013 notes:

  • We have had an increasing number of interactions with other area clubs. We have had riders going to Phoenix to ride with VespaAZ and the Phoenix S.C. We also had riders meet with the Prescoots of Prescott. Phoenix and Green Valley riders have been coming to some of our events as well.
  • Stan Scott rode in the inagural “Real Cannonball” from New York to L.A. He didn’t finish, but made it further than any of the other riders. Stan has been active in several events held by the MSLSF (Motor Scooter Land Speed Federation)
  • Several of us represents the SIR’s at this year’s Amerivespa in San Diego. We had a great time.
  • Chaeri & Randy met on a SIR’s ride, fell in love and they were married in November! Our first club wedding.
  • A new Ride Rating System was released. in November. Time will tell if this is helpful, or not.

Looking toward 2014:

  • For A Few CC’s More IV – The 2014 edition is hitting the road for the ultimate AZ scooter adventure. We are hoping to ride AROUND the state. This will be an 1800 mile, 5-day trek.
  • Stan is planning to ride in the 2014 Scooter Cannonball. They will be “racing” from Hyder, Alaska to New Orleans! The race is scheduled to end during Amerivespa. Should be great.
  • We are hoping to have a few of us make it to Las Vegas for High Rollers.
  • We’re looking forward to more interclub events with our friends in Phoenix.
  • We are planing to create a club roster. More info on the soon.
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postheadericon Ride Rating System

Ride Ratings System

Before I started riding scooters, I was somewhat of a bicyclist. I was a member of the greater AZ Bicycling Association (GABA) and on a number of organized rides with them. They also kept a list of good rides with maps and descriptions (sound familiar?) as well as a rating system for their rides that gave you an idea of what to expect before you got there. When I first started posting ride maps, I wanted some kind of way to rate the rides but couldn’t come up with anything I liked……. until now.

I think I have devised a decent, although somewhat subjecting, system for assigning a difficulty level to the rides which is better than what I have been using. Not only will I be going back and assigning scores to those rides already listed in the “Ride Maps” tab, I will also assign a score to each ride we do in the future to give newcomers an idea of whether or not a ride is appropriate for their current skill level.

Creating this system required that I look at a number of things besides just the ride. For example, if I say a ride is appropriate for advanced riders only, what does that mean? I need to create “levels” of rider skill and then definitions or descriptions of what, in my opinion, constitutes each level. This is a work in progress and is not meant to offend or malign anyone’s riding ability. I welcome suggestions regarding improvement of anything in this post.

Skill Levels

Becoming skilled at riding is something that takes time, effort, education and most of all, miles, miles, miles. Therefore, I am basing my skill levels primarily on miles ridden. I have created 5 skills levels. One thousand miles, IMHO, is what is necessary to go any one level to the next. We, at SIR’s, highly recommend attending the MSF course and recognize it’s value. Accordingly, successful completion allows you to add five hundred (500) miles to your actual number ridden. e.g. if you ridden 621 miles since you got your scooter and then complete the MSF, you can now make your total 1121 which moves you from “Newbie” to “Advanced Beginner.”

By the way, this system is just to assist people in SELF DETERMINING their own readiness for any given ride. No one will be asking for anyone’s mileage numbers to prove their readiness for a ride.

  1. Newbie                                – 0 to 1000 miles

  2. Advanced Beginner  – 1001 to 2000 miles

  3. Competent                       – 2001 to 3000 miles

  4. Proficient                          – 3001 to 4000 miles

  5. Adventure Ready        – 4001 miles and up

Rating Criteria

I came up with a point system where the total number of points determines the overall score, Score is based on points scores assigned in each of 3 criteria. Generally each is given a score between 1 and 5, with 1 being the easiest. Exception: An extreme score in any one of the criteria can push the ride to the highest level regardless of it’s scores in the other areas.

Ride Distance – The longer (time and/or distance) you are in the saddle, the more tired you become. A tired rider has slowed reaction times. However, the more long rides one does, the more accustomed you are to it, therefore, higher level riders are not as affected (up to a point) by distance as less experienced riders. After a bit of thought, I chose 75 miles (roughly 90 minutes) as my unit of measure. Therefore:

  • < 75 miles              = 1 point

  • 76 to 150 miles    = 2 points

  • 151 to 225 miles   = 3 points

  • 226 to 300 miles  = 4 points

  • 301+ miles              = 5 points (add 1 pt for each additional 75 miles)

Road Quality – This is a very subjective category. While the distance between two or more points doesn’t change, road quality can, and does, change. I will assign a score to a given road. However, it may get re-paved and upgraded at some point, or it may get damaged in a storm and down-graded. Any significant stretch of dirt/sand/gravel (I have no idea, yet, how I will determine when it is “significant.”) will result in a score of “5.” This number will be further adjusted by the speed limits of the roads on which the ride takes place. In other words, a rough road in a 25 mph residential street may only get a score of “3” where the same degree of roughness on a 50 mph street would get a score of “5.”

Twists, Hills and Grades – Another subjective category. I think the definition is self explanatory. Like “Road Quality” raw score will be adjusted by the prevailing speed of the road being ridden.

Using the above system will render scores from 3 to 15+.  Following the name of a ride, I will post its score in the following format:

Ride to XYZ: Score RD-2, RQ-1, THG-3 Total = 6

This lets people see why it’s score was given and if they aren’t proficient in a certain, they can avoid rides with high score in that criteria.

 Now to break the points down to match our skill levels:

Ride Score

Minimum Suggested Skill Level

3 or 4


5 or 6

Advanced Beginner

7 to 9


10 to 12


13 or more

Adventure Ready

The ride score is determined by the ride leader of that ride. I encourage anyone posting any future rides to use this scale and prominently post the score somewhere in your description of the ride.

If you have constructive criticism of this system, place send me an email, phone call, text or set up a time to meet with me. As I mentioned before, this is not aimed at anyone and is something I’ve wanted to do since I created the first ride map. Your input is appreciated.

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postheadericon 2013 Scooter Haiku Winners!

I received 30 or so haiku from our participants and submitted them, without names, to our 2 judges. The results were sent back to me, where I rejoined each haiku to its writer. The winners were announced at our meet up tonight and now I am publishing them. Who knows? Maybe some literary person will “discover” just how talented us scooter folk are and want us to submit more of our amazing work to them. Or not.

I will first post the winners and honorable mentions in each of our four categories: (Please forgive the awkward spacing, I tried cutting and pasting everything and no matter what I do, it still comes out a bit weird. Deal with it.)

Best Haiku Including Nature-

Floating on a cloud

Smooth passage over the road

Pavement becomes jade – Sean Lynch

Honorable mention for nature haiku-

Riding! Hot in summer

Cold in winter, monsoons? Wet!

Riding! It’s still great! – Howard Rains


Most Humorous-

Can’t sleep, 4am

Scootering verse in my head,

I hate Howard Rains – Stan Scott


Honorable mentions for humor-

Rumbling Down the Road.

no mercy from the saddle.

Poor aching kidneys – Carol Voeller


Best Word Choice-


on two wheels in the springtime

what a lot of guts! – Tracy Adair

Honorable mentions for word choice-

Failed to move away,

errant hair under face shield

distracting my ride! – Anita Tourigny

Like river Mekong

While traveling Vietnam

I saw scooters flow – Jerry Hamel

Pure serenity

Rubber on the hot flat road

For love of Freedom – Doug Hoover


Conveys Joy of Scootering-

Scooting home from work

de-stress, re-charge, re-lax, ride.

Do I smell oranges? – Howard Rains


Honorable mentions for joy of scooters-

Feeling the warm air

Sting my face and take my breath

Is the price for fun – Amy Thomas


Red flash races by

Girl on scooter flying high

Harley boys – jealous – Cheryl Dickson

Scooter riding

My senses have awakened

Cleansing of my mind! – Penny Palmer

The open road calls

Scooter is full and ready

Why am I waiting? – Stan Scott

The judges told me that it was difficult to choose the winners listed above because there were so many good haiku to choose from. I will let you judge that for yourself. Here are all the haiku that were submitted:

Jerry Hamel

Like river Mekong
While traveling Vietnam
I saw scooters flow

Douglas Hoover

Pure serenity

Rubber on the hot flat road

For love of Freedom

Anita Tourigny

Failed to move away,
errant hair under face shield
distracting my ride!

Carol Voeller

Rumbling Down the Road.

no mercy from the saddle.

Poor aching kidneys

Try to catch a breeze.

Lift shoulders, angle elbows.

Ah, a cooling blast

Penny Palmer

Scooter riding
My senses have awakened
Cleansing of my mind!

Howard Rains

Buying a scooter

best purchase I ever made

rides, friends, fun, awesome!


Scooting home from work

de-stress, re-charge, re-lax, ride.

Do I smell oranges?


Riding! Hot in summer

Cold in winter, monsoons? Wet!

Riding! It’s still great!

Tracy Adair

on two wheels in the springtime
what a lot of guts!

S-curve ’round the bend
leaning behind my legshield
big smile on my face!

Vespas in a row
Means only one thing tonight
Great friends having FUN!

Jack Loudermilk

Scooting at fifty
Got friends waiting patiently
Throttle wide open

Ninety miles an hour
Warning signs are flying by
Down this dead end street

Look my way, you smile
From behind I hear his voice
I talk to myself

Cheryl Dickson

Lonely stretch of road
Riding in the bright moonlight
Will we make it home?

Red flash races by
Girl on scooter flying high
Harley boys – jealous

Amy Thomas

Feeling the warm air

Sting my face and take my breath

Is the price for fun


Rushing past pavement

Around corners over hills

Blood pumping through veins


Alone, no traffic

Early morning no sun yet

Me, road warrior

Stan Scott

The wind in my face,
Scooter on cruise control,
Good to be alive.

Down to Sasabe,
My favorite ride near town,
with wind in my face.

Riding my Helix,
only open road ahead,
I hate to go home.

Riding the scooter,
Arizona highways call,
and I will answer.

Big group ride today,
Variety of scooters,
all out to have fun!

The open road calls
Scooter is full and ready
Why am I waiting?

Scooter riding
A serious affliction
So what is your point?

Arizona June
Scooter is calling my name
Can not wait to ride.

Honda and Vespa,
Kymco, Genuine and Sym,
All great scoots to ride.

Can’t sleep, 4am
Scootering verse in my head,
I hate Howard Rains! 

Sean Lynch

Curvy metal shape
Bending early morning sun
Great time to go ride 


Open the petcock
Stroke the kickstart lever twice
Sleeping engine wakes 


Clutch lever to grip
Twist the shifter to first gear
Gone in a smoke puff


Smooth shape bottle nose
Long flowing lines blue and grey
But not a dolphin 


Insert key press Start
Stubborn beast will not breathe fire
Another day then 

Floating on a cloud
Smooth passage over the road
Pavement becomes jade

Flies along the road
Blue-black with a pointed beak
Yet not a raven 

Smooth purr from below
Numbers dance on soft blue field
Calming evening ride


There really are some great haiku here. Well done, Sky Island Riders. Next time, I think we may do Scooter Limericks.




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postheadericon Scooter Haiku Contest

I’ve been thinking this over for a while, and decided I would spring it on everyone as we begin our summer.
I would like to see how creative our group is and give everyone a chance at writing a haiku, having one of our esteemed scooter writing members judge them all and then give out a few prizes. I’ve seen a few scooter haiku in the past and it looked like there was a lot of potential fun there.
**First, what is haiku? Haiku is a simple “poem” consisting of exactly 17 syllables. The syllables are arranged in 3 lines of 5, then 7, then 5 syllables. Rhyming is not usually found in haiku. For the purist, haiku is usually about nature or the seasons, but in this case, each haiku is supposed to be about scooters or riding scooters, although you may get bonus points with our judge if you manage to include nature/seasons in addition to scooting.
Example #1 (Real Haiku)
Spring morning marvel
lovely nameless little hill
on a sea of mist

Example #2 (Scooter Haiku)
Twisted throttle – rush
Curvy road – lean
Troubles and worries – gone (borrowed from a Modern Vespa thread)

**All poems must be received by me no later than midnight on Wednesda, 6/12. Please email or facebook message them to me. Please DO NOT post them directly to the page, so that we can have them all published at the same time.

**There is a limit of 3 haiku per entrant.

**I will collect all the poems, remove the names of the writers, so our judge does not know who each poem came from. I will then email the poems to our judge, who will have the results back to me by Monday, 6/17.

**Who is eligible? All SIR’s and friends of the SIR’s.

We will have a SIR’s Social night on Wednesday 6/19, where the winners will be announced and prizes awarded. I am not sure what the prizes will be yet, but if an out of towner wins a prize, I will make sure they get an appropriate (i.e. useable) gift certificate or something.

I am looking forward to seeing how creative you SIR’s can be. Let the writing commence!

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