By: Emilia Jae
I’ll put it out there: I do NOT fit the stereotypical idea of a biker chick. I do not have multiple tats, although I do have one that gets the occasional eye brow raise among the more conservative folks I meet. I do not wear leather vests sans bra; at my age, the girls would probably just slip out the arm holes. I’ve never been to Sturgis, South Dakota – mecca for Harley riders all over the world.
But when I am on my ’94 Harley Soft tail Custom, I feel peace and serenity. But it wasn’t always like that.
My husband purchased his Harley back in 2002. Fine – have your mid-life thing. I’m not opposed to motorcycles. But then he asked if I wanted a ride.
The helmet felt awkward. My feet wouldn’t stay on the pegs. I couldn’t get close enough to him to feel safe and there was NOTHING to hold on to! I truly believed that if I sneezed, I would cause us to veer into oncoming traffic or wipe out ala Evel Keneval. I clutched the bike so hard with my legs that by the time we reached our destination, my thigh muscles were cramping and I walked funny.
I hated it.
So that’s why when he suggested I take an endorsement class, I waited for the punch line. Why would I want to DRIVE something that scared the shit out of me as a passenger?! The man had lost his nut. He told me our (older female) neighbor took this 3 day class and claimed it made her ride easier as a passenger. He said it was only $25 and they provided the bikes. He said she loved it and did really well. In other words, he played to my vanity and sense of competition. Damn – he knows me too well.
I enrolled in the class.
I was hardly the only woman there. The age range was wide as was the experience level. There were some old riders who just never bothered to get their endorsements and this was a cheap shortcut. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that after my first popped clutch, I took to it and found myself smiling in spite of the August heat, the black pavement and the mandatory long sleeves, boots and helmet.
I confess that on the third day – I had fallen in love.
My own baby wasn’t purchased until the next year and I had a lot to learn, and I had some truly hairy moments, but I have arrived at a point where I am able to enjoy every moment. Full disclosure: I am NOT hard core. I will not ride when it’s under 45 degrees, I avoid heavy traffic areas, I don’t push it over the speed limit (much), I wear a helmet, I have a windshield and I truly prefer the back roads of America to highways.
Motorcycles aren’t for everyone – and I am glad for that. I have to admit the cool factor is one that I enjoy. But I am thrilled I found it.
So whether you are nudged to try a new sport, make a new meal, or join a new club…give it a try. You may just find your own Zen.