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The 5th annual 2009 AMA International Women and Motorcycling Conference 
was held in Keystone Colorado August 19 -22. This years theme: ‘Riding to New Heights’. 

There were 1,000 avid motorcyclists in attendance. The event was sponsored by Harley
Davidson and Buell. 

The beautiful Keystone Resort and Conference Center, with the Rocky Mountains in the background, provided the perfect location for four days of training sessions, riding, seminars, riding, speeches, and yes, more riding!

Celebrating the dramatic, and continuing, increase in the number of female riders and the role they will have on the future of riding, this conference was an testament of the AMA’s dedication to representing all riders no matter what, or how you ride. 

The keynote speech by Ashley Fiolek, the defending Motorcross Association National Champion and X Games gold
medalist, who was born deaf and was the first woman to compete on the Honda racing team. 

Fiolek told of her challenges in breaking into such a male dominated sport. She stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with those who believe in you and your dreams and will support you in the pursuit of those dreams. After Fiolek’s passionate speech the crowd, many of whom were moved to tears, gave her a standing ovation. 

Throughout the 4 day event, punctuated by social events such as the Rocky Mountain Barn Dance and the International Street Party, there were many inspirational speakers such as: AMA’s President and CEO Rob
Dingman, newest member of the AMA’s board of directors Maggie McNally, Leslie Prevish the great-granddaughter of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson, Jan Plessner Public Relations Manager for Kawasaki, and Leslie Porterfield the land-speed record holder and 2008 AMA Female Athlete of the Year. 

AMA Marketing and Special Events Manager Tigra Tsujikawa summed up the event like this: “The AMA is appreciative of all the speakers, guests and sponsors who helped make the 2009 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference, presented by Harley-Davidson and
Buell, possible,” “We had an incredible time in Keystone, and I’m sure I speak for all the attendees when I say that I came home more optimistic about the future of
women and motorcycling than ever before.”

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Here’s an interesting point to think about: why do some bikers think it’s okay to ride uninsured? Is it possible they don’t realize there are heavy fines and penalties if they are caught–including losing their bike?

Hmmm…it does makes one wonder how they missed the memo on biker safety. Research studies show that uninsured automobile drivers tend to behave more recklessly: could the same be true for bikers? In addition when two cars are involved in an accident and either of them is uninsured, guess what? It affects the lives and premium rates of everyone.

It’s amazing to hear discussions offering workarounds that encourage bikers to flaunt the law. Yeah, we know the cost of living is high. But let me ask you this: have you checked the prices on funeral arrangements lately? Can you imagine being the uninsured biker in an accident? The first thought will be: “No insurance? That was stupid.”

Let’s not forget that bikers are already living on the fringe of legal roadrunners. Gas prices are making drivers look kindly at motorcycles, but there are still those who wouldn’t miss them. There have been some nasty encounters between drivers and riders on the road. So with that said…is YOUR bike legal?

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While the mystique of riding a motorcycle causes many to yearn to shed their conventional mode of transport and don a leather jacket instead, for bikers around the world who enjoy the experience on a regular basis the goal is much bigger. Many bikers dream about it, but only a few ever have the ability to make the dream a reality, here are two of the few.

Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor are two bikers who started a mind-bending 15,000 mile trip on May 12, 2007 from John O’Groats, London to Cape Town, South Africa. The journey that took 85 days included a crew of photo and videographers who chronicled the adventure.

Of course there is much more to this story than charting a course for a motorbike run. Beyond the weeks of planning was hours of physical training for endurance; traveling through different types of weather conditions, climates and time zones can be grueling and disorientating to say the least.

The book “The Long Way Down” won the Play.com Popular Non-Fiction Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards, a fitting reward and a well-earned thumbs up for motorcyclists everywhere. The film will be released on the National Geographic channel in July 2008. Check out the videos at http://www.longwaydown.com/

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