Dedicated to the women who RIDE THEIR OWN motorcycles  

Used to Be Young and Stupid, Now I'm Old and Crazy!

by Gale R., aka 57Sportster

Twenty-seven years ago I had a Honda something, 350? I managed to get my license after practicing in the Honda parking lot and being escorted to DMV by a dealership employee. I was the only one out of 11 that passed, the only girl! I rode for a very (very) short time. A little old man decided he was going to use me and my bike for target practice and ran me off the road amongst the trees. I sold the bike. All those missed years!

I was a passenger for awhile and wasn’t bothered with riding my own ride. A couple of years ago hubby started talking about buying a new Harley. I checked out the website and decided I would eventually get my own Sportster Hugger (I’m only 5-3”). In May 2003 hubby reserved his Ultra Classic Electra Glide, the Cadillac of H-Ds. I, on the other hand, had visions of a Hugger with fringe hanging from the levers and fringe and studded saddlebags. My mid-life crisis had set in and at 46 I knew I had to have one!! I wasn’t about to say ‘I wish I had’ 20-some years from now!

After leaving work on a warm, crystal-clear afternoon and passing too-many-to-count bikers on rumbling Hogs, I ran straight in the house, called the HD dealer to see if they had any Huggers coming in, called the credit union and insurance company and went the next day and put a deposit on my Hugger. It arrived a week later and we trailered it home (my husband is too tall and I was too nervous to go over 60 miles after all those years). I sat on it and duck-walked it in the garage until the following weekend when we trailered it to the high school parking lot. As it roared to life, again and again and again (I kept stalling it out if you didn’t catch that) I finally took off, bucking and wobbling! Instantly ‘what have you gotten yourself into’ flashed through my mind, but quickly left as I got it under control. Around the parking lot I went, with a death grip on the handlebars, in first gear, doing 10 mph, stopping and starting. . .for four hours. I was like a kid; give me one more hour. My hubby was finally sitting in the truck with the a/c going, asleep.

I called for almost two weeks to get into an MSF course and finally “showed” up July 4th weekend hoping for a no-show at the class. The instructors took pity on me when everyone showed and let me complete the class work and written test. I passed! The instructors are trying to get me into the driving part of the class soon.

Hubby said we could go on the road one evening and do it to my comfort level. I was ready to go all out, but wound up going about 3-1/2 miles out our development and down a road with a real yellow line down the middle; turning around before reaching a major road and coming back (repeat five or so times), in third gear though and doing the speed limit of 35 mph with hubby behind me on his UC. He complained that his s--- was getting too hot and he would follow me in the truck the next time!

The following Sunday we took off with me in the lead to go at my comfort level. I surprised him by going four miles from the house and hanging a right onto a major (two-lane) road. But I quickly turned left onto a small country road. Of course, I went a smidge over the yellow line on the main road (it was a turn lane and empty) and didn’t put my left foot on the foot peg until after hanging the left on the next road (hubby gave me heck for that). Off I went thinking I knew the road. Roads are so different on a bike! Back to a road with a yellow line down the middle and, oh no, we have to turn left and right across the street is a gigantic Rottweiler standing at the foot of the steps. Good, there’s a fence, oh no, it’s split rail and there’s no wire! The dog went up on the porch and faked sitting down twice before actually doing it, as I cringed and prepared to make my turn. (Hubby told me later that there was a person at the door talking to it.) Luckily he stayed put when I turned. . .Hubby was on his own!!

The road turned back into an unlined country road and there were hills and twists and turns that were preceded by signs saying 15 mph and, horror, 15 mph sharp turn and what’s that sign, oh no, one lane bridge! Brake, downshift (only from third to first). . .no I’m in neutral, braking, uh-ho, here’s the turn. . .off the brakes, look and lean, into the turn, stomp it in first and throttle. . .yikes, the bridge!!! Thank God no one was coming. Shift to second and act like nothing out of the ordinary happened! Hubby didn’t know I was in neutral! Then I went down a dead end road (didn’t see that sign) and wondered what happened to hubby. Turned around and he was sitting at the stop sign waiting for me. Turned on what I thought was the little country road with no yellow lines that I wanted, but it wasn’t. Got in third gear several times, but mostly downshifting and braking going into 15 mph, sharp turns, and we had torrential rains the night before that washed anything and everything out into the road. Came to a crossroad and stopped and hubby pulled up beside me and asked which way and I told him I didn’t know where the h--- we were. He said go straight and we did.

Then the next horror. We were at a regular road (the yellow line thing going again) with a sign that pointed to Route 9 (a 55 mph curvy main road in our area). I looked at hubby and he said turn on it toward the dreaded Route 9 and I did. Zoom, I was in fourth gear, going 45 mph!! What a rush!!! I didn’t even care that we were headed for the dreaded! When we got to our turning point I asked how many curves to our road and hubby said it was okay, so off I went. . .not 55 though, but 45!

I made another mistake when I turned on the road to our development and went past our street. There is a golf resort development down the road, which happened to be another 15-mph-sharp-turns-all-over-the-place-road with no place to turn around. The little asphalt golf cart paths that crossed the road were starting to look very inviting at this point! I wound up pulling into a golf pro shop parking lot and turning around to come home!

Of course, when we got home hubby had to tell me that I got to close to the yellow lines on some of the curves and that I didn’t need to ‘stop’ before going into a curve! I let him know real quick that I only slowed down to 15 mph when it said, too, and tough cookies, I was in front! Our little jaunt in the country took us 1-1/2 hours and a little over 30 miles. I was so proud and so ready to get back on!!

I can’t wait to ride her to work, but I need saddlebags first for stuff! I really need to go solo without, “Mr.-I-have-to-ride-my-new-UC-from-the-HD-dealer-in-rush-hour-4th-of-July-Thursday-night-holiday-traffic-70-miles-home-after-not-having-ridden-for-15-years” behind me! His input is good, but you know how it is girls, we gotta ride our own ride!!!

I’ll have to admit though, I’m a little "afeared" of curves - going down or running off the road! Hope I get in that MSF class soon! (It’s taken people in my area over a year to get in!!!)

Gale, a.k.a. 57Sportster (after all, it was a good year!!) ;o)
Hedgesville, West-By-God-Virginia

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From Gale: "My ride is a 2003 Anniversary Edition Black XL883 Sportster Hugger. Member of National H.O.G. (came with bike), but will soon join a local H.O.G. and Ladies Club."

WHAT YOU NEED to Know! Cyclechex Motorcycle History Report.
Motorcycle History Report - What You Need to Know Before You Buy a Used Motorcycle.

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