I’ve heard it called middle-aged crisis, but I call the sudden desire to
ride at 49 years of age ‘living’.
I completed my motor cycle safety course the second week of February
2003. With the exception of a husband/wife couple and one of the
instructors, I was the only female in the class. And the only one with
no previous motorcycle riding or driving experience. The class proved
invaluable as I learned the basics and then some. I easily passed the
DMV motorcycle written test.
My first ride, after leaving the DMV with my license, found me sooo
excited that I raced home ready to master riding about the neighborhood.
I jumped on my Harley-Davidson 2003 V-ROD (passed down to me because my
hubby decided he preferred the Screamin’ Eagle Deuce) and found the bike
way too high. I was basically on my tippie-toes. The clutch lever was
too stiff and wide making it difficult for me to squeeze it in and let
it out slowly. The feel of the throttle and the riding position were
very different from the little Japanese bikes we rode on in class. And
of course the weight difference between the bikes was tremendous! In
spite of these obstacles I was too excited not to ride. Needless to say
my first ride was a short one. With difficulty I duck-walked the bike
from my garage to the end of my driveway. I took off up a slight incline
with too little throttle, feet groping for the footrests, a jerky stop
using the front brake only. Then tippie- toes on the ground. And then me
on the ground with my bike on top of me. Boy, that bike is heavy!
A neighbor watching just had to tell me that I looked like the character
from the 70s show, Laugh In, who pedals along on a too-small tricycle,
stops, and slowly falls over to the ground while still on the tricycle.
My confidence was wrecked. However, I made several more attempts to
ride, but with no success.
Hubby and Harley-Davidson personnel to the rescue! Switched out my
standard bench seat for a Willie G seat. This enabled me to get my feet
flat on the ground. Adjusted the clutch lever removing its stiffness
which allowed me to manipulate it easier. They gave me lots of
encouraging words, rider tips, and inspiring stories about their first
And now, two months since class completion and obtaining my license --
and dropping my bike -- I am up and riding!! I ride every day the
weather permits. I have ridden throughout my neighborhood, then out of
the neighborhood around the corner to a school parking lot, then to a
restaurant about 5 miles away. The farthest ride so far has been to the
Harley-Davidson store about 20 miles away. Each ride challenges me with
different terrain and traffic conditions to overcome. I am looking
forward to longer rides and improved skills. I am living to ride!
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