My adventure with motorcycles began back in 1978 when I fell in love with a guy and a 1973 Norton Commando. We rode all over Long Island, but my fondest memory was the night he let me sit up front and steer (it was a red Moto Guzzi on that trip) while we rode along Ocean Parkway, the road that runs along Jones Beach. How we laughed when people stared at the little chick giving the big guy a ride!
The relationship didn’t work out, but I never forgot the
feeling of the wind in my face, the smell of the fresh air, the sun on
my shoulders and the great people we rode with. Fourteen years and 1,200
miles later, living Minneapolis, I’d see a Norton Commando every
spring and summer, parked at the University of Minnesota. I’d think,
“Oh, to be 24 again!” and I’d remember the guy and the
bike, but those warm memories were quickly buried under the responsibilities
of a career and motherhood.
I finally realized I loved the bike as much as the guy, and I
wanted to ride when I wanted to ride, not just with him and his friends,
but to places I wanted to see and to meet my own friends. But I had been
convinced that motorcycles were too dangerous, I was too old and distractible,
and that motorcycles were for “the guys.” My mother would
be real upset, and my kids would think I’d lost my mind. But I knew
I needed to try it on my own, so I talked to the one gal I knew who rode,
and started looking up motorcycle sites online. She steered me to the
MSF class and encouraged me to give it a try. She was the first one I
called when I passed.
I haven’t been riding long, but I am having the best time learning. I can’t wait for weekends, and I plan outings around my bike. The best trip has been to my grad school class at Rutgers, where my classmates were amazed and surprised and had a zillion questions. I meet interesting people everywhere I stop.
My bike is my declaration of independence, and the feeling of
freedom is indescribable. I can go out for a few hours and forget about
the rest of the world. No matter how much stress my job or grad school
can bring, I can go for a ride and it helps me clear my head and put everything
into perspective. I’ve found beautiful places in my newly adopted
home state, and I’ve met some great women through riding with the
Polar Bears. And if my kids think I’m going through a mid-life crisis,
so what? I hope this “crisis” never ends!
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