I grew up in Corona Queens, a suburb of New York City. I hardly ever saw motorcycles growing up and really never thought of it. Bicycle riding was my passion. I lived across the street from Flushing Meadow Park where I would ride my bike. I loved the feeling of freedom riding gave me.
One day as I was walking over an overpass near my home and I stood to watch the traffic, I saw a horrible accident on the L.I.E. where a truck cut off a motorcycle. I heard the crash; the motorcyclist’s head was decapitated. It was so frightful that I vowed never to ride a motorcycle. I was convinced that they were dangerous.
I moved to New Jersey when I was 25 years old. When I was 40 and married to my second husband, my neighbor is selling a small motorcycle and my husband asks me “can I buy it?” I reply, “Absolutely not, motorcycles are dangerous. End of story.”
That year I suffered lots of losses, my best friend died in an airplane crash. The plane fell out of the sky and crashed in Pennsylvania. I saw her face on TV. Two other close friends died of cancer at age 40 and 45. I was in shock, afraid to do anything. I then lost both my parents within two years of each other. The feeling of being an orphaned consumed me and I sat in self-pity and fear for quite a while.
Then one day I decided that I was sick and tired of saying, “I’m afraid”. Living in fear was exhausting. So, I told my husband to go ahead and buy that motorcycle. When something scared me, I acknowledged that I was afraid and then did it anyway.
My husband bought a 2001 HD 1200 Custom Sportster. When I rode on the back of it, I had that same feeling of freedom I remembered feeling on my bicycle, only I didn’t have to petal. After one season on the back, I decided I wanted to learn to ride and signed up for the safety course the following April (2002).
Now let me tell you, I was a true gear
shifting virgin, I had never driven a stick shift and had never ridden
a motorcycle. I failed the first test (the guy was so mean to me, all
he did was scream at me about what I did wrong and then wondered why I
was so nervous.)
A ski instructor nicknamed me Ambitious Angela because that’s what she saw in it and me has stuck because I am ambitious. After failing the test, I came home and did all the beginner exercises over again. You know, like feel when the clutch just catches. I just kept practicing.
I signed up for the 2nd safety course
in July and had two wonderful instructors. I was so afraid that they were
going to be mean to me that I lied and said “I never rode a motorcycle
in my life”. They were so kind to me and well I passed the class!!!!!
I read somewhere, “When the weather is good, put your car away and use your motorcycle.” So I did that. I rode my motorcycle to go food shopping. I rode to work. You name it. I loved people’s reactions when they saw me bungee the grocery bags to my bike. I also found a website for women riders called vtwinmama.com that gave me inspiration to keep on riding.
Someone suggested that I get one season under my belt before I hit the super slab highway. I was afraid to take the 600 on the highway. I didn’t think it was big enough. So in the spring of 2003, I started riding my husbands 1200. He got a bigger bike, a Road King Classic.
Last summer was my second summer riding and I was ready for the super slab. It was so great as I pulled out of my driveway, I could hear my instructor say, “Look, lean and roll” and “Smooth is cool”. I think it was great that I took the safety course twice because the classes formed my riding habits through repetition.
I rode my motorcycle to the intermediate safety class. This experience convinced me that I was ready. My husband and I rode to Americade in June. I test rode a Low-rider there and fell in love with it. In July, we rode to Ground Zero for the Miracle Ride to New York State to the town of Woodstock. There was live music, food and dancing. We camped out and had a great time.
Our next ride was to Ocean City Maryland in the beginning of September. Then we did a tour of Pennsylvania in the 3rd week of September. Also in September, I got into my first accident. A guy pulled out in front of me.
After the accident, I talked to some of the women from Spokes-Women and they suggested I work on my braking technique. So that is what I worked on this year. I practiced braking, making sure I use both brakes.
This year is my third season riding and I am now a proud member of Spokes-Women. I am going to be riding a brand new HD Low-rider this season. My husband says that I change motorcycles the way I change underwear. Not so, I change my underwear much more frequently. I just started small and am moving up – it’s the safe way to grow.
I am so excited to plan rides with Spokes-Women and rides with my husband and friends. My life feels so full.
I love riding safe and feeling free.
Keep the rubber side down and a smiling
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