When I was a little girl, I used to lie out on the lawn under a tree and watch the planes go by. While I watched them, I dreamed of spreading my wings and flying.
Like all children, I grew up. But I never lost the dream of spreading my wings and flying. When I was fifteen, one of my boy friends had a motorcycle. Although my parents forbid me to ever get on a motorcycle, I rode with him every chance I got. He even let me ride by myself a couple of times. The boyfriend didn’t last long (most don’t at that age), but I had fallen in love with the motorcycle. Riding that bike is as a close as I could get to spreading my wings and flying. I knew someday I would have my own bike.
I married at sixteen. (You know how it is. My britches got so hot they shorted out my brain.) I told my brand new husband that I wanted a motorcycle. So, we bought one, a used 1964 Harley Davidson 250cc Sprint. I rode that bike into the ground. In three months, I put 40,000 miles on it. (Occasionally, I even let my husband ride.) I almost cried when we traded the Sprint in for a pair of broken down 1964 Electra Glides. Carl had decided that motorcycles were fun and unless he wanted to double up with me, he needed his own bike.
My love affair with motorcycles had those humble beginnings. For years, a motorcycle was my preferred form of transportation. Later, I would even carry my babies in a trailer attached to my bike until the powers that be passed a law (in North Carolina) that made carrying passengers in a motorcycle trailer illegal.
More recently, as soon as my knee quit buckling after tearing the cartilage in it, I tied my cane on my bike and off I went. I actually arrived at my first Spokes Women club meeting with that cane strapped on my electric pink Sportster.
Over the years, I’ve often been asked, “Why do you ride? It’s dangerous. You’ll get killed.”
My stock answer is, “Perhaps I will get killed. But, what more can you ask out of life than to die doingsomething you love?”
But there is a lot more to my love of riding than just that. I ride to maintain my sanity. I like the freedom of riding because I am in complete control of my destiny. My very survival is in my hands. I’m not dependent on the whims of anyone else. At least for a little while, I am the master of my universe with the freedom to make all of my own decisions and be totally responsible for myself. I am competent. Life is good.
In my everyday life, the roles I play seem to get more complex as I grow older. I am a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, an engineer, a teacher and on and on. Sometimes it seems that there is very little in this world that I can actually control. Occasionally the pressures of juggling, family, work, home, money get overwhelming. When things get that bad, I don’t have to run away or hide because I know that my trusty two-wheeled steed is in the garage ready to make it all better.
As I start riding, the pressures, the frustrations and the concerns seem to slough off my shoulders and blow away in the wind. In a very short time, I am centered, competent and ready to cope with the rest of the universe again. The rest of my ride is pure pleasure because riding my motorcycle allows my spirit to spread its wings and fly.
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