I’ll never forget my first ride on the back of a motorcycle (okay – not counting that ride on the back of a dirt bike in 1981,heading down a forest service road to the Salmon River in Idaho). This time, I was immediately and completely hooked! I got off the bike and wooped it up as I ran and threw myself into the arms of my friend. A passion for motorcycles was born that night for sure!
I spent the first year riding on the back of a 2003 Anniversary Heritage Softail (“the Springer”) and I loved every moment! Some women long to be the driver from the get go. Me? I was happy sitting in the back, watching the scenery and acting the part of the “traveling, babbling companion”. Yep, that describes me pretty well.
In May of 2009, I took the motorcycle safety course at New River Community College, and while I passed the class without a problem, I was the only one in the class who dropped the bike … in a parking lot … yeah, a flat parking lot. Despite that less than stellar beginning, I got my license the very next week and immediately started looking for a bike.
My good friend Billy helped me to find the perfect starter bike and I’ll forever be grateful to him for that.
Having an experienced biker with me gave me the confidence I needed to take what was for me, a huge step. Billy had a friend who was selling a 20 year old Honda Rebel and I jumped at the offer. He took me to meet the seller of the bike, checked it out for me, watched me ride it in a church parking lot (where I did NOT drop it) and even rode it home for me.
Looks like he’s riding a toy bike, doesn’t it?
Home for the bike for the first two months was a storage unit. I live at the top of a fairly steep driveway so having the storage unit gave me time to gain experience starting on, and getting up, hills. A nearby parking lot offered just enough of a hill to practice on (I look back on it now and chuckle that it presented even the mildest of challenges). Soon enough I brought the bike home and I was riding as much as I could.
I had such great support from my friends during this time. Billy kept encouraging me to get out of town, into the country and to stop “waving like Miss America” when I passed people I knew. Amy, Debbie and Jan insisted that I let at least one of them know when I left on a ride and when I returned home. Once I got my first HD bike, the GOAs and Tim gave me my first leather in the form of a vest and my father even gave me a HD winter cap to wear under my helmet. My friends have supported, encouraged, and been very excited for me!
Soon enough I was begging to ride with the big boys and I managed to keep up pretty well, considering that I was riding a little 250cc bike (I called it my “baby bike”). Within 3 months I was ready to move up to something bigger. I rode that little Honda so hard during one ride that the muffler vibrated right off the bike! It was the perfect starter bike. I encourage new riders to start small like I did. The confidence I gained as a novice on that little bike was invaluable. But after riding 1500 miles, it was time to move on up. I wanted my next bike, my “middle bike”, to be one that would offer me more of a challenge but still not push my capability.
The kind of bike that would be was still to be determined. All I knew is that I was ready!