Dedicated to the women who RIDE THEIR OWN motorcycles  

IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED - TRY, TRY, TRY, TRY, TRY AGAIN

by Texas Purple

My motorcycling experience began in August 2002. I am 42 years old, had never driven a motorcycle and am a Grade "A" chicken! Last year my brother-in-law got a sport bike, my brother got a Harley and my husband wanted a motorcycle. I told him if he insisted on getting one, that at we should at least take a Motorcycle Safety Course. He got a 2002 Yamaha V Star 1100 Classic and we took the MSF class in August last year, along with four other family members. Surprisingly, I didn't drop the bike any during the class! I passed the course and the DMV test and got my license.

My brother and I went motorcycle shopping the Monday after completing the course and I ended up getting a pretty little red and cream Honda 600 VLX - the seat height was just right! They wouldn't let me test ride it because it hadn't been serviced yet. My husband brought the bike home for me, but as soon as I rode off I knew I DID NOT like that bike! It felt extremely "top heavy" to me (I'm only 5' tall). I've read where other women love the bike so I'm not knocking it - it just wasn't the bike for me.

I tried riding it for a couple of weeks in school parking lots. I had a couple of incidents such as jumping a curb, dropping it when I stopped with my wheel turned, etc. By the time I dropped it I was so disgusted with it and myself that I just stepped off and walked away leaving the bike running. I was seriously considering "dumping" the motorcycle riding idea! After a few minutes I did get back on the bike and tried riding it again. I decided the bike wasn't for me and I sold it.

I thought if I got a smaller bike and built my confidence up that would help. I bought a used Honda 250 Rebel. I had a new tire put on and the man at the motorcycle shop said the bike was dangerous to ride, because of something going on with the front end. He suggested I take it to a Honda shop so I did. Ended up costing me close to $600.00 to fix the bike. I rode it a few times around the school's parking lots, short distances from there, on a "course" we made at the parking lot - even rode it to my brother's house from town. I only dropped it a couple of times.

One day I and several of my family members went on a ride. We were on a 2 lane highway, the speed limit was 70 and the most I felt I could get out of that bike safely was 50 - 55. The wind was blowing me around - the bike was vibrating and it was terrible! I continued to ride it for about 2 hours that day. Because of my not wanting to go fast enough, etc. there was a bad incident among my family members. It was a terrible time for me and I decided I WAS NOT going to try to ride a motorcycle anymore!! Things got patched up with my family and I rode with my husband. You would think I'd be satisfied with that, but I would be sitting at a traffic light or see another woman riding a motorcycle and think "I really would like to do that".

I decided to try again and I rode my little bike across town with no problems. The next weekend I rode it a couple of times on country roads around our house. I really enjoyed that! Whenever we did serious riding though, I rode on the back of my husband's bike. Then my brother's girlfriend started riding her own bike. She's about as cautious as I am and I decided if she could do it - I was going to at least try again!

My wonderful husband bought me a "big" bike Feb. 13th for Valentine's Day. It is a 2000 purple Yamaha 650 V Star Classic. My husband wisely bought a set of engine guards for it before it left the dealership. The bike also has saddlebags, Cobra pipes, is very "chromed up" and I can easily flat-foot it.

I rode it for the first time the next day with my brother when we went to town. It was on a two lane highway from my brother's house to town and back. Of course I was extremely nervous! I only got it up to 55 and it was about 5 miles round trip, and I had to go over a couple of areas of textured road. My bike is a cruiser and has floorboards and I couldn't believe the difference between it and the other two bikes I have had. It felt so much steadier! That afternoon we (my brother and his girlfriend) rode back to town and got gas. It was so funny - there I was all decked out - leather jacket, chaps, gloves, helmet - and I was "baby-stepping" the bike around the gas parking lot! We rode about 10 miles that time.

Fast Forward to the present. Saturday, April 26th we rode 310 miles to a beautiful place in the Texas Hill country, stayed overnight and rode 165 miles back home (we took the scenic route going). I now have over 1100 miles on my purple bike! I know that's not really a lot, but for me it's a milestone a long time in coming. It's taken me that many miles (not counting the VLX 650 or Rebel 250) to become halfway comfortable riding. I'm a far cry from where I want to be, but I have kept on keeping on and the good Lord willing I will continue to ride. I say a prayer before starting the motorcycle, and when I turn it off. I just want to say to women thinking of "riding their own" - if I can do it - anyone can!! Ride safe and Godspeed.

EDITOR NOTE:
Couple of great key points here were made in this article that I felt should be stressed to those considering learning how to ride.

  • Everyone should take some type of motorcycle safety education course before starting riding or after returning to riding after a long absence. The basic skills learned will help you when you least expect it!

  • Get a bike that feels right to YOU. Every person is an individual with different needs. While listening to others suggestions can help, you may need to sit on a lot of bikes before finding the right one.

  • Don't ride beyond your comfort zone. It's better to arrive late and safe!

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From Texas Purple: "I proudly ride a Purple 2000 Yamaha V Star 650 Classic, don't have much experience but looking forward to gaining more. Ride mainly with my husband, brother, his girlfriend, my sister and her husband."

WHAT YOU NEED to Know! Cyclechex Motorcycle History Report.
Motorcycle History Report - What You Need to Know Before You Buy a Used Motorcycle.
 


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