Dedicated to the women who RIDE THEIR OWN motorcycles  


by Sharon Z.

This is a story of my 1st group ride... (January '04).

Now I've been riding since August, small roads by my house mostly. I've gotten pretty comfortable, still nervous at times, but hey, it keeps me on my toes! Well anyway, my husband doesn't really ride anymore, (he did 20 yrs ago, but not since..) he doesn't have a bike, so I truly am a perfect ride-my-own model of independence... out by myself for rides, or toting a teen co-pilot for company. But I realized part of my wanting a motorcycle all my life was from seeing the groups of bikers riding together, looking like they're always out on an adventure, and enjoying the freedom and independence together. So I've been searching thru the women's sites, looking for clubs in my area, hoping to make a connection with other riders... well, last week someone replied to one of my emails and informed me of a local chapter of riders right here in my city (not all women, but a few) and so the story begins...

So I signed up to become a member on Friday, and got a group-email that evening about a ride scheduled for the next day. Not knowing anyone yet, I replied to ask about it, & the sender assured me yes, 1st-timers are welcome! So I told my family I was heading out in the a.m. to ride with a motorcycle club (no, not a gang, kids, a "club"). I even talked to myself about how id only been on the interstate twice, & that was this week (I just started to train myself on the interstate the day after Christmas) & am I sure I'm ready for this?... but then I decided it'd probably be a lot easier on the interstate in the middle of a large group than by myself anyway... so I told myself, yes I'm ready, why not?

I was soooo nervous, & also excited when I got up Saturday. I packed up & hopped on my bike and left home for my adventure, only partly familiar w/ the area I was heading to. on my way I took my 1st big steel-grid bridge (OMG I was sooo scared!) but I survived, & was feeling pretty proud of myself then, not realizing that was just one of many 1st's id encounter today... so now here I am, taking my 1st trip beyond my hometown area, to my 1st group ride ever, thinking "what am I, nuts? I must be.."

So I finally got to my destination, and I see a parking lot full of bikes, but it looks like only men...uh-oh...all the leather, the bigger bikes... this was intimidating to say the least... ah, there's the lady who emailed me... oh great, she tells me she's not actually coming...but she introduced me to some other riders, & then some more men pulled up with female passengers... and everyone seemed nice so off we went.... (I know I shouldn't have cared there were no other women riders, but as a beginner, I was already nervous, now I'm asking myself why didn't I force my husband to ride me on my 1st group ride? Talk about a moment of weakness!) Oh well, its too late now... so I'm gonna quit worrying & enjoy myself! So, we stop at the gas station up the road, & I survived my 1st mile...phew! OK, I'm gonna try harder to'll be fine...

On the road again, well, now we're on these really curvy country roads... they actually got more & more scary the longer we rode, partly because of increasing speed of the group, and partly because at every straight-away following a curve I thanked god I made it again...(I think I was starting to worry my beginners luck would run out.) so I hung back a little, but still had a small pack of riders even further back, so I felt safer...

Then we arrive at the ferry...yeah! (thank god b/c boy did my butt need a break!) this was my 1st ferry ride, and when I looked around at all of our bikes on the ferry, riders talking and chilling, meeting new people, the beautiful views, I finally relaxed and said ok, this is cool.

Then we got off the ferry and rode the most beautiful scenic road, and again I think how great this is. Then, oh no! what's that ahead?! Oh please no, not a tunnel!!! I cant go thru a tunnel!!! (I get nervous in a car in a tunnel, now on my bike? cars coming at me will blow me off the road!!!) major panic hit me but, oh well, cant stop now, so I go thru my 1st tunnel... (now I know everyone likes loud pipes, but i almost jumped off my seat when those big bikes 1st roared in the tunnel, almost even forgot about the oncoming traffic!) So I'm kinda praying and bargaining w/ God to get me thru this alive (as I did a lot that day, actually) and thankfully, I did survive. and then the group kinda separated at our next stop, half went to an "exotic-dancer" place for lunch, & the rest of us went to a nearby restaurant. This actually was good, because it was much easier to relax & enjoy myself in a smaller group, & now 50% of us were women. We all had a nice time, ate, talked, got to know each other...

But then I was getting nervous because it was getting dark, and we were still pretty far from home. The group was very nice & decided to take the interstate home, for my sake, avoiding a huge bridge that even the more experienced riders called scary.. so they reassured me, & Ii knew the interstate we were going on, so I knew worst case i could pull off & have my husband come and get me. (sorry, I was weakened at that point, it'd been almost 5 hrs since we left!) so everything's going ok, when i almost had a heart-attack... puhleeaassee, not another tunnel!! I moved to the far right (forget formation!) and began to hold my breath & pray, when...ahhh, what a relief!... I realized it was a one-way tunnel, no head-on traffic comin at me! (thanks again, God!)

Well, I survived the day, I'm really close to home now, but there are still lessons to be learned...when waving goodbye to everyone at their exits on the interstate, I learned why it is we wave low (a coupla high waves @ 60mph made me swerve like a drunk driver till I got my arm back!) I laughed out loud right there on the road at that lesson!!!

Well, everyone's gone now, and here I am... approaching the steel grid bridge that I took at the start of my day, although now its dark, cold, & windy, & there's a lot of traffic now...I look around to see if there's another way to get home, but I don't think so... so here goes.. (my last hold-my-breath event of the day, I told myself).. and it was...

The rest of the trip home was cake (except i needed to go to the bathroom soooo bad I could die!) But no stopping now, I'm almost home! I got home, my 1st thought was to kiss the ground... but instead I ran inside the house straight to the bathroom... everyone asking at the door "so, how was it?!"

When I came out I said, "it was great, I really had a blast". I seemed to have forgotten all the fear, the stress, the nerves & panic... I was so pumped as I described the highlights of the day .... "it was everything I hoped and more!! I cant wait to do it again!!"

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From Sharon:
"New rider since August '03, Honda shadow 600 (1st bike)..."

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