by Texas Purple
My motorcycling experience began in August 2002. I am 42 years old, had
never driven a motorcycle and am a Grade "A" chicken! Last year my
brother-in-law got a sport bike, my brother got a Harley and my husband
wanted a motorcycle. I told him if he insisted on getting one, that at
we should at least take a Motorcycle Safety Course. He got a 2002 Yamaha
V Star 1100 Classic and we took the MSF class in August last year, along
with four other family members. Surprisingly, I didn't drop the bike any
during the class! I passed the course and the DMV test and got my
My brother and I went motorcycle shopping the Monday after completing
the course and I ended up getting a pretty little red and cream Honda
600 VLX - the seat height was just right! They wouldn't let me test ride
it because it hadn't been serviced yet. My husband brought the bike home
for me, but as soon as I rode off I knew I DID NOT like that bike! It
felt extremely "top heavy" to me (I'm only 5' tall). I've read where
other women love the bike so I'm not knocking it - it just wasn't the
bike for me.
I tried riding it for a couple of weeks in school parking lots. I had a
couple of incidents such as jumping a curb, dropping it when I stopped
with my wheel turned, etc. By the time I dropped it I was so disgusted
with it and myself that I just stepped off and walked away leaving the
bike running. I was seriously considering "dumping" the motorcycle
riding idea! After a few minutes I did get back on the bike and tried
riding it again. I decided the bike wasn't for me and I sold it.
I thought if I got a smaller bike and built my confidence up that would
help. I bought a used Honda 250 Rebel. I had a new tire put on and the
man at the motorcycle shop said the bike was dangerous to ride, because
of something going on with the front end. He suggested I take it to a
Honda shop so I did. Ended up costing me close to $600.00 to fix the
bike. I rode it a few times around the school's parking lots, short
distances from there, on a "course" we made at the parking lot - even
rode it to my brother's house from town. I only dropped it a couple of
One day I and several of my family members went on a ride. We were on a
2 lane highway, the speed limit was 70 and the most I felt I could get
out of that bike safely was 50 - 55. The wind was blowing me around -
the bike was vibrating and it was terrible! I continued to ride it for
about 2 hours that day. Because of my not wanting to go fast enough,
etc. there was a bad incident among my family members. It was a terrible
time for me and I decided I WAS NOT going to try to ride a motorcycle
anymore!! Things got patched up with my family and I rode with my
husband. You would think I'd be satisfied with that, but I would be
sitting at a traffic light or see another woman riding a motorcycle and
think "I really would like to do that".
I decided to try again and I rode my little bike across town with no
problems. The next weekend I rode it a couple of times on country roads
around our house. I really enjoyed that! Whenever we did serious riding
though, I rode on the back of my husband's bike. Then my brother's
girlfriend started riding her own bike. She's about as cautious as I am
and I decided if she could do it - I was going to at least try again!
My wonderful husband bought me a "big" bike Feb. 13th for Valentine's
Day. It is a 2000 purple Yamaha 650 V Star Classic. My husband wisely
bought a set of engine guards for it before it left the dealership. The
bike also has saddlebags, Cobra pipes, is very "chromed up" and I can
easily flat-foot it.
I rode it for the first time the next day with my brother when we went
to town. It was on a two lane highway from my brother's house to town
and back. Of course I was extremely nervous! I only got it up to 55 and
it was about 5 miles round trip, and I had to go over a couple of areas
of textured road. My bike is a cruiser and has floorboards and I
couldn't believe the difference between it and the other two bikes I
have had. It felt so much steadier! That afternoon we (my brother and
his girlfriend) rode back to town and got gas. It was so funny - there I
was all decked out - leather jacket, chaps, gloves, helmet - and I was
"baby-stepping" the bike around the gas parking lot! We rode about 10
miles that time.
Fast Forward to the present. Saturday, April 26th we rode 310 miles to a
beautiful place in the Texas Hill country, stayed overnight and rode 165
miles back home (we took the scenic route going). I now have over 1100
miles on my purple bike! I know that's not really a lot, but for me it's
a milestone a long time in coming. It's taken me that many miles (not
counting the VLX 650 or Rebel 250) to become halfway comfortable riding.
I'm a far cry from where I want to be, but I have kept on keeping on and
the good Lord willing I will continue to ride. I say a prayer before
starting the motorcycle, and when I turn it off. I just want to say to
women thinking of "riding their own" - if I can do it - anyone can!!
Ride safe and Godspeed.
Couple of great key points here were made in this article that I felt
should be stressed to those considering learning how to ride.
Everyone should take
some type of motorcycle safety education course before starting riding
or after returning to riding after a long absence. The basic skills
learned will help you when you least expect it!
Get a bike that feels
right to YOU. Every person is an individual with different needs. While
listening to others suggestions can help, you may need to sit on a lot
of bikes before finding the right one.
Don't ride beyond your
comfort zone. It's better to arrive late and safe!
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