Yes – that’s my motorcycle. I’ve been riding since 2010 and the Slim since 2014. 9 years is not that long and I was definitely the oldest person on a motorcycle when I took the STARS class. STARS is the Idaho class you must take and pass in order to get an endorsement on your driver’s license – a requirement to be able to ride on public roads. I was also the most afraid. Why? Because I thought I was going to die!
Now you ask – then why did you take the class? About 2 months before this my husband had purchased an absolutely beautiful Harley Heritage Softail. It was candy apple red and chromed out. I had never wanted anything to do with a motorcycle, but the day I saw that bike I fell in love. A couple of days later, I asked him to take me for a ride. That was it. I was hooked. I had never felt anything like it – power and freedom and experiencing the trip – it was incredible. There was only one thing I didn’t like and that was riding behind him. It scared me because I had no ability to control or anticipate what was happening. So, I took the course. I barely passed because I was going so slow due to fear of imminent death. I actually thought I was going really fast! At the end of the 3-day course, the instructor asked me if I thought I had passed. My response was, “If I did, it was by the skin of my teeth.” He grinned and said, “Exactly.” I knew what to do, I just did it in a painfully slow manner.
The very next day we purchased my first bike. It was a Burgman scooter and was a larger one made for highways. Every single day after work and every weekend, I went out and rode on the quiet country roads surrounding me. Since there was no traffic, I could stop and start whenever I wanted. I could take 5 minutes to get up the courage to make a right turn from a stop. I rode and rode and put 3,000 miles on it in 3 months. I rode with my husband and he was remarkably patient yet pushed me to do things I didn’t think I was ready for. He knew I was. Then came what my husband dreaded hearing – I wanted to try and ride his bike. I did and it was love-at-first-ride. Within a few weeks, the Burgman was gone and I had a Heritage which I put around 8-10 thousand miles a year on until 2015 when my husband was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Yes, I still ride. The accident was his fault and it had nothing to do with the bike. That first ride afterward was a little tough but I knew that I still loved to ride and do to this day. My husband’s death and a cancer diagnosis less than a year later slowed me down but didn’t stop me.
There is an experience on a motorcycle that is unlike anything else. You feel, hear, smell everything and are immersed in the ride.
Sometimes that means you are also soaked in rain or snow (I’ve ridden in both) but it also means that you are fully present in the experience.
I don’t think about work or problems. All those are set aside and there is a smile on my face on every ride. I wear full gear and that doesn’t diminish the experience in any way. Full-face helmet, leathers, boots, and gloves. If it’s hot, I wear a mesh jacket. No matter what – it is wonderful.
I will be writing more about some of my adventures and the wonderful group of women I ride with. For now, I wanted to share a little more about me – a boomer on a bike.