Laura Sisto

Former Treasurer & Current Ride Captain

My first experience with Motorcycling was not a pleasant one, in fact it kept me from trying a sport that I would absolutely love and embrace with a passion.  

Let me explain, when I was sixteen I had a friend who bought a new Vespa scooter.  It was the cutest little thing, cool, different.  One day he came over to my house and convinced me to take it down the block for a spin.  It looked simple, sort of like riding a bike, so young and fearless (more like stupid) I hopped on.   Besides I had a big crush on him.  There was no shifting or clutch to worry about, he showed me the throttle and the brake, then ran next to me until I got going. 

I drove down the block and found it to be fun and easy.  Here comes the unpleasantness…. he told me to do a left turn and go back on the other side of the road (yeah, you thought I was riding this on the sidewalk).  I waited for the traffic to pass and started turning, not doing too well, he said give it more gas.    Well, I gave it so much gas it jumped the curb and slammed into my neighbor’s house.

I wasn’t hurt but my heart was pounding in my throat.  The scooter was fine thanks to the neighbor’s bush, which was totaled, and the only damage to the house was a broken shake.   They never did repair it, I think they didn’t just to remind me of that day.   I never went on the scooter again, not even as a passenger.

From that day on I had a very bad attitude towards motorcycles, they were very dangerous.  So several years later when my husband came home with a Kawasaki 350, I was very upset.   He tried and tried to get me on that “thing” and I wouldn’t budge.   Each time he went out on that “thing” we would end up in an argument.  He had responsibilities, a wife and young children to be risking his life on a Motorcycle.   

Then one day my worst dream came true.   He was on his way to work, going through a residential area, a person in a car didn’t see him coming and pulled out in front of him.   He went down, banged up his shoulder and scraped up the motorcycle.   This had proved my point and I forced him to sell the “thing”.

Fast forward 23 years…..I am now divorced, my children are grown and I start dating Bob, who had been riding motorcycles for twenty-six years.   Is there such a thing as old and fearless???  Well that crush thing, no more like infatuation, is happening and I hop on the back.  WELL, I LOVED IT.

Maybe it was the fact that he was experienced, without incident, or I was more mature, whichever, I loved it so much that after a few years I wanted to ride on my own.  So five years later for Christmas ’93 he gave me a beautiful red Harley Hugger 883.

I was so excited, couldn’t wait until the spring to learn to ride. So one day we ride it over to a school parking lot and I start going round and round in circles…..it was easy.   I got the hang of it, even shifted to second gear.  So he says “take it out around the parking lot”…where there were CURBS.  Well, you guessed it I crashed into a curb……AAAH flashbacks of the scooter.  I now know never to let anyone teach you to ride, take a MSF course and learn right.    I damaged the bike and the old fear was back.

It wasn’t until the spring that I got the courage to try again, the bike was fixed, our relationship was on the rocks, and he was threatening to sell my beautiful red bike.   So off I went, instead of a parking lot, he wanted me to follow him on the road.  Again the wrong way to learn, but I succeeded or should I say survived.   I learned to ride hard and fast, there was no time to be afraid, otherwise he would have left me behind  (a form of tough love?)  I got my license that summer, rode on weekends still hard and fast, chasing Bob. 

In the fall, a MSF instructor I knew told me about Spokes-Women, MC.  I gave them a call and was put in touch with a member who lived in my area, Linda Brown.  Linda and I met one Saturday and went for a ride.  We did some back roads, within the speed limit and actually enjoyed the ride, we even stopped at a local church for a craft fair. Riding with men you only stop to eat or gas up.

I had a great time that day and decided to meet the rest of the club.  I joined that Christmas and thanks to SW  I have some great friends for life.  Have done some great motorcycle trips with lots of great memories over the years and expect more to come.  With the SW I have taken two MSF courses, something I encourage everyone to do….even if you have been riding for years, this course will teach you the right way to handle situations on the road, I am proof of that, it saved my life one day…..but that is another story.

I want to thank Bob for helping put my butt on that little red Hugger, the start of my passion for Motorcycling.    Bob was replaced with Scott, who found out that if he didn’t start riding he wouldn’t be seeing too much of me on weekends.  He took the MSF course, loves it and now rides more than I do.  The little red Hugger was replaced with my beautiful Orange Harley Road Glide. In one year I put more than 14K miles on that baby, it’s a pleasure to ride.  I finally sold the Hugger, to another woman learning to ride and who I knew would love it as much as I did.

By the way….8 years and over 39,000 miles and no curbs.

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