Yes – that’s what I’m doing right now – planning! Those two places are on my bucket list and I hope to check them off in July. My son and daughter-in-law, two close friends and I will be headed to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on July 23rd. On the 24th we will attend a Bike Blessing and go on a ride with everyone who participates in the event. My husband did this last year, 1 week before he was killed, and it’s something I want to do to honor him and to see old friends who are also honoring him.
Just A Few Of the Bikes Ready for the Motor Maids 2013 Parade
As I have stated, when I first started riding, I only rode with men. I really wanted some women to ride with because I knew they would understand the fears I had, and I also knew I would enjoy riding with women. I got on the internet and found Women on Wheels. I have link to them on my homepage. I found that there was a chapter in Idaho and contacted them. They got back in touch with me immediately and came to my town to meet me for the first time. I felt so welcomed and joined the group. These ladies then introduced me to Motor Maids and I joined that too!
In Idaho, the class we take, which is better than MSF class, is called STARS. I took the Beginner class in August of 2010. It was over 100 degrees both days we had to ride and, as I have shared in other posts, I passed by the skin of my teeth (to quote my instructor). But, I want to give you a quote, right up front, about the STARS program in Idaho. This quote is from bikebandit.com. It comes from an article stating the MSF statistics, showing a 60% increase in motorcycle fatalities in California after MSF was put in place, has caused California to drop MSF and go with a program called Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic. Here is the quote, “Idaho’s STAR program, founded in 1994, uses a tiered course system, and has had a lot of success since it’s adoption, boasting a whopping 70% reduction in crash risk for riders between 1996 and 2010. (In fact, Idaho’s program was so successful, Total Control actually hired the STAR program manager for a year to help with the huge transition of taking over all of California’s rider training.)” So – now you will understand why I believe so strongly in taking a course! STARS teaches skills – not just how to ride around in a circle for 2 days! You learn to make fast stops, quick avoidance maneuvers, riding in traffic, stopping at a 4 way stop, and much more.
My Husband – Don
Last year, July 26, 2015, my husband of almost 49 years was killed in a motorcycle crash. I was riding ahead of him and, thankfully, did not see the accident. I heard something and turned around and was at his side. He had been killed instantly after losing control of his bike just before a curve, going into the oncoming lane and hitting a truck head-on. He had no external injuries – he was gone. It was a miracle that the family in the truck was not hurt at all.
Of course, I could not ride my bike home. I was in shock that lasted for quite awhile. A friend and neighbor that we had been riding with took me home on his bike – I don’t know how he did it – he and Don were close, close friends – he was caring for me in Don’s place. I wasn’t afraid. I knew that something had happened to my husband. He had multiple health issues. The curve was a curve that a beginner could take at 50 mph. Although I will never really know what happened, I know that an experienced rider would apply their brakes if they were able to, especially in a situation like this. He did not and I do not believe he was able to. I believe something had happened to him physically and he could not do anything.
The very first time I went up what I considered to be a HUGE hill, I had so many crazy thoughts. At that time, I was riding my Burgman 400 and had only gone up or down very small, very manageable hills – lol. When I saw the hill I was going to go up, I thought that I would not be able to get up the hill; I would end up going so slow that I would fall over (well, this one was a real possibility!); that I would crash on one of the curves; that if I had to stop, I would not be able to get started again; etc.
The reason I say “what I do” to winterize my bike is – because lots of people do it lots of different ways. Where I live, I can usually tell when my riding is coming to an end. The prediction of freezing weather or snow is about all the hint that I need!! I am not a cold-weather rider. I’m a wimp. I have heated gear but I don’t enjoy being cold or having to dress like the Michelin Tire man in order to ride. Below 50 degrees is good enough for me to wrap up my season! Ok – I know there are lots of you saying – Wow, she really is a wimp! I’m ok with that. I have good friends who ride unless there is snow or ice on the road. They are definitely tougher than I am and – I’m ok with that too!
Me My Buddies – Harley & Ryder My Softail Slim
Well – the simple answer is – because I think there are women out there like me who want to be able to dialogue, learn, share tips and – there’s always room for that because female motorcycle riders are GROWING group! That is a fact.
I did not learn to ride a motorcycle until I was 59 years old and – I so afraid. I had wanted nothing to do with motorcycles; was never interested; well, until my husband bought this beautiful, red Harley Heritage. It was so beautiful that I instantly wanted him to take me for a ride. I fell in love with riding but, because of my husband’s diabetes, it was very difficult for him to have a passenger – I weigh more than 50lbs!!! So, I took the beginners class and quite literally “passed by the skin of my teeth” – a quote from my instructor. I bought a scooter – a Honda Burgman. I didn’t want to have to think about shifting because I thought I was going to die every time I rode and it took all my concentration just to keep the fear from keeping at home.
That’s it – my adventure machine! A 2014 Softail Slim. This pic was taken right after I bought it and, since then, of course, I have done some customizing. Next time I will post a newer pic.
It is my hope that this blog will serve to provide some info, some fun, and some interaction between ladies who ride. I don’t care whether it’s two wheels or three, as a passenger or a driver, or what kind of bike you ride. The whole point is that – we are women who love to ride! I’m no expert. I have been riding since 2010 and ride 8,000 to 10,000 miles per year. Lots of people ride far more than I do but – lots ride less too. I’m not writing this to be an expert – just to encourage you to ride if that’s what you want to do.