Roe McCracken

Past President and Former Vice President

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania gave me the opportunity to spend a lot of time outside.  My grandparents were farmers and my parents took me to visit them often. On the farm there were always fun things to do, some of which involved learning to drive or operate various tractors or pieces of equipment. My first driving experience came with the farm tractor.  

Back thenÖÖ.not that Iím old, mind youÖÖ..nothing was automatic.  Everything was gears, multiple brakes, hydraulics, or run by a pulley.  I soon learned that playing with gadgets, and going fast through mud was great fun.           

Another big part of farm life was animals.  my parents and grandparents soon recognized  my love of animals.   My partner in crime (my grandfather) helped me raise every type of creature you could imagine.  I spent many fun days playing at the farm. My array of pets included a horse. I was riding ponies and horses not long after I learned to walk. I became an active member of 4-H with my animals and started showing them at a very early age. Horses soon became my love. While showing horses I became close friends with a couple of kids.  Our parents became close friends and we soon found ourselves traveling to horse shows together.

One Christmas, my  friends got a Honda XR80. They would take it to horse shows and I would watch them ride all the time. I was soon begging my dad to get me a motorcycle.  He finally bought me a Kawasaki 100, on/off road. I got it for my 12th birthday and couldnít wait to get outside to ride. Even though it snowed when we got it, I was determined to ride it any way. I spent many hours learning to ride in the snow. I spent several hours where I could on go a few feet before Iíd fall over in the snow. But, I was excited and spent many hours on the bike that day and for many days to come.

I soon learned there was not a lot of support for girls riding motorcycles on or off road.  Fortunately, that has changed for girls growing up today. I stopped riding the motorcycle when I was in high school, but I never lost the desire. When I graduated from high school I tried to convince my dad that he should by me a street bike instead of a car for my first vehicle. Our preacher (a very hip guy) was selling his street bike, a Suzuki 700, I believe. I really wanted that bike, so dad took me to test drive it in the parking lot.  They  were impressed with my ability to ride but he still wouldnít buy it for me. My dad bought me an Olds Delta 88 instead. It turned out the Olds really was a much better college car because I could have never packed all my stuff on a motorcycle for school.

When I finally moved into my own apartment I bought my own street bike. It was a Yamaha Maximum 400, my birthday present to myself. I can remember packing so much gear on that bike. Totally not what the MC safety courses recommend.  They didnít have those courses when I first started riding.  I spent many hours riding that bike and have had many bikes since. Iíve been riding for 25+ years now, and have watched the MC industry grow, especially for women. Itís nice know that if I was growing up today, I would have the opportunity to give Travis Pastrano a run for his money.

Iím also a member of Red Duc, as well as Spokeswomen. Red Duc is a group of people who really love to ride fast on a track. I had always wanted to know what it would be like to ride like the Superbike Racers and now I know. I hope to ride many more years and experience many more miles, or hours, with many more bikes.

I still love my horse, but my bike has a much better attitude. Itís always in the mood to be ridden.

Note: Roe is a scientist at a Bio-Tech company.

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