Dedicated to the women who RIDE THEIR OWN motorcycles  


by Janine A.

I’m submitting my story with the hope that it will help one of my fellow newbies just as the other stories have helped me. I, like so many other women, had my days on the back up until August of 2004. I went with my boyfriend, at the time, to a rally in Cripple Creek, Colorado. To make a long story short, he got drunk and abusive so I opted to ride home in the bus. I promised myself that night that I would never ride the bus home from a rally again!

I am 4’11” and about 115 pounds. Although I consider myself as having the will of a warrior, those close to me say I’m stubborn and they call me Lucy – as in Lucille Ball. What can I say, I’m clumsy.

In January, 2005, I enrolled in a MSF course. When I walked into the class the instructor looked me up and down and said, “Let me guess, you’re here for the basket weaving class.” At that moment I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The class comprised of mostly men and the women were much bigger than I am. Everyone had previous riding experience. I was intimidated. If you’re not familiar with Colorado weather in January, let me just say that it is COLD! We rode all day on Saturday and by the end of the day my buttocks and fingertips were numb. And the day did not go without an incident. I wanted to ride so bad and having that bike under me for the first time felt so good. However, when it came time to get off I forgot to put down the side stand and the bike fell over with me under it – Lucy Incident No. 1. When the instructor came over to help me pick it up I hollered at him and told him “I can do it!!” The next day, Sunday, was the riding and written tests. I passed. Of twelve of us, eight of us passed – two women and two men failed.

I was now determined to find my bike. I didn’t know any women who rode so I mostly asked men for advice on which bike to buy. I received too much advice. Some said start off on a dirt bike, some said get a bike with about 250 cc and then move up as you become more comfortable riding, others said get a big bike because you’re going to end up wanting one anyway. I concluded that the best advice was to get the bike that felt most comfortable. So, I tried to find the bike most comfortable. Here comes Lucy incident No. 2 . . .

On Valentine’s Day weekend, my new boyfriend arranged for me to test ride a bike that his friend had for sale – a Wide Glide with a lowering kit. She was pretty and she was BIG. She felt good though, my feet were flat and I could pick her up. I could see myself riding her. He started the bike for me and I got on but soon discovered that in order for me to have my feet on the forward foot controls I would have to sit on the gas tank. As determined as I might be I wanted off. Since my boyfriend and his friend were waiting for me so that we could all ride to breakfast, my boyfriend was kind enough to offer me to ride his bike (a 1200 Sportster) while he rode the Wide Glide. I gladly accepted the offer and away we went out of the driveway which was dirt and uphill. I got on the street – whew! Here comes my first turn . . . it’s a right turn and I can’t tell if my right foot is properly placed on this forward foot control so while I’m in the turn I decide to look down at my foot. Okay, remember, the bike will go where you look so if you’re looking down where do you go? I went into the curb, went down with the bike and scraped the entire left side of the gas tank. My boyfriend came over, picked up the bike and rode it home. So I found myself on the back of the Wide Glide with him in the front, totally frustrated, embarrassed, angry and for the first time questioning whether I could really do this. By the time we finished breakfast I wanted to try again. Lucy Incident No. 3 . . .

We returned to the house and I got on again. This time I wasn’t going to look down. Up the driveway I went and then I had that overwhelming feeling to look down because I couldn’t find the foot controls. By then it was too late so over I went again. This time I am so angry that I try to lift the bike from the ground which I succeeded in doing except my right hand slipped and the bike came back down on my foot. That was it!!! We put the bikes away for the day and, again, I questioned whether I could really do this. I came to the conclusion that I could, I just hadn’t found the right bike and those forward foot controls just weren’t for me.

Two weeks later I found her . . . a 2005 883Low Sportster. She’s black and sleek and petite like me and she’s got mid-mounted foot controls!! I call her Gypsy. Once she was delivered I took her around the block – one time. The pain to shift was so overwhelming I went to the doctor. Yes, it’s broken and 50% displaced because I didn’t have it looked at right away. The doctor is going to have to re-break it; this means I will have to have surgery, be in a cast for 2-4 weeks and then wear a wonderfully stylish boot for an additional 2-4 weeks. I spent a total of eight weeks healing and looking at my bike sitting in my garage.

It is now September and although I am fully healed the process of getting back on has been slow. The first time I got on my legs were shaking and my heart was racing. I made it out the driveway, around the block, came back in front of the house and stopped a little too much to the right, bike dropped. The neighbor ran over to help me pick it up and put it away. I gave it a week and got back on again. This time I was trembling so bad that I got right back off. I went into my house and I cried and I cried and I cried. As of mid-June I have managed to get back on. For awhile I rode in a cemetery by the house. Then, I ventured out and found a frontage rode which allowed me to pick up my speed a little more. Most recently, I took the bike out with my boyfriend and I stopped with my front wheel turned, Gypsy down again and a broken mirror. Another time, I went to make a right turn from a stop sign and Gypsy died out, down again.

I still see myself riding the Rocky Mountains without a Lucy incident. I still have some anxiety before I get on but once I get going I have moments . . . moments where I feel that vibration under me and the wind in my hair and then I look over and I see my shadow on the road – that’s me, Lucy, riding a motorcycle.

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From Janine: "I am 37 years old and a single mother of a beautiful six-year-old boy. I have a Masters Degree in Legal Administration and work for the Colorado court system. I believe that life is the sum of its experiences."

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