Thanks to my husband, I have some of the
best memories ever and wanted to share how my best memories of riding
came to be and why I am creating new ones. Many people have their
reasons why women shouldn’t be riding motorcycles, but do they truly
understand why women want to ride? I, like many women, ride for a sense
of freedom which is generally the same reason men ride. For me, riding
has a special meaning and without riding I likely would not be able to
endure many of the harsh realities life has and does deal me. A thought
came to mind one day as I avoided a cager who just cut me off that sums
up how I feel about riding. “Riding a motorcycle is like living life.
Every time you experience it, It is a breathtaking yet treacherous
My husband Kevin died in November of 2000, at the age of 40, on his ’98
Harley Davidson Dyna Super Glide after a vehicle stopped short in front
of him and sent him into a ravine. Although his death has been hard on
me and my children, along with his riding family, our memories of riding
with him keep us going and are some of the best memories we have. We
have learned from him how great riding is for the soul, but we also
learned that being your best and helping others when you can makes you
an honorable person and a good friend.
Many people rode that cold November day of his funeral; myself included.
As we rode down to our favorite hangout, past the spot where his road
came to an end, shaking from the cold, we pondered what those last few
moments were like and knew that he tried his best to get out of a bad
situation. Solace soon came to our hearts as we knew he left the way he
always wanted to leave this world…on his Harley on a beautiful day;
although we sure wished he would have been able to do so later in his
Kevin and I were married two weeks shy of 17 years. Being the
responsible guy that he was, he worked hard and dreamed of the day he
could buy the one thing he wanted to own again; a Harley. He had ridden
some type of motorcycle all his life and knew their potential to satisfy
the need for real freedom. Finally, in the fall of ’98 and after 14
years of marriage, 3 wonderful children, a house and years of hard work
his dreams came true. Never in my life have I ever seen a man so content
with his life and one with his motorcycle.
Knowing how important this thundering hunk of metal meant to him, I had
no problem with it living in my living room (we didn’t have a basement
or garage). It became like a member of our family and got preferential
treatment; nothing but the best. It never slept dirty, nor did its
chrome ever lack a shine. Soon, the living room was decorated with a
toolbox, complete with every tool imaginable to clean the tiniest of
crevices. Stress became a thing of the past, and when he rode we were
all psyched, especially me. We heard great stories (if you know what I
mean) about his rides and always enjoyed going with him on a ride. Our
littlest loved to brag how his Daddy gave him rides to school. Kevin
started showing me how to ride again on his Dyna. We visited the local
school and I rode the quiet country roads surrounding our home. I was
truly enjoying it and we began talking about the possibility of getting
me a bike.
In February of 2000, Kevin made my dreams come true by buying me a 2000
Sportster. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed riding with Kevin on his Dyna,
but those Badlander seats leave your behinds a bit numb. So thanks to
Kevin and Woodstock Harley Davidson, I had my ticket to freedom. My
children thought I was crazy, yet cool, and a few of my friends did,
too. The memories started growing with the Sportster, but we decided
that it was just a stepping stone to getting my license and a bike
better suited for me. During the NY State HOG Rally in July, Kevin and
Woodstock HD surprised me again by handing me the keys to a concord
purple 2000 FLHRI. A Road King was not my dream bike, but it sure was
comfortable and I loved it.
Now, atop a more comfortable ride, our family could head out for more
summer fun; Kevin with our youngest son, me with my daughter and a
friend with our oldest son (sometimes our children just took turns or we
went out on our own). Some of our best memories come from that summer.
Trips to Connecticut, New Jersey and local charitable rides were weekly
rituals. We rode with a handful of honorable riders and met many great
people on our rides. We were able to make several rides that summer and
how lucky we are that we did. Little did we know it would be the last
summer we would have with Kevin.
During our rides Kevin always kept us on our toes; safety was important
to him. He usually lead or stayed near the lead, pointing out gravel or
other potential road hazards and made it clear to other vehicles at
intersections that bikes were coming through. He had his fun though;
when the coast was clear. Familiar stretches of road, where safety
permitted, Kevin would let loose a little and his well tuned supped up
EVO helped him feel young again. We always looked out for overpasses,
too. He had this habit of waking us up as we went under with a blast
from his baffle-less Screamin’ Eagle pipes. Earplugs Please!
Probably the ultimate riding memory, the one that really makes me smile
when I am riding, when times are the toughest and when I miss him the
most is the one of him riding up along side of me; proud and right. His
legs stretched out, feet way up front, drag bars in his hands and the
wind blowing his long black and silver ponytail out from his leather.
His red helmet and his sleek goggles sharing his face with his mustache
and beard. Then, I see him turn his head, smile and send a kiss just for
me. Some people have asked me why I still ride. “Kevin’s bike killed him
and you could be next.” they say. I simply reply that his bike didn’t
kill him, it completed him.
The memories of our rides together, my purple Road King, Kevin’s Dyna
(which has been rebuilt and is what I now ride), and every ride to come
will help me and my children get through our tough times without Kevin.
Our two oldest, (16 and 15) can’t wait to get their Buells in just a
couple years and to begin making their own memories of their own and our
youngest (8) has drawn many Harleys for when he grows up. I can’t
imagine creating new memories any other way. As for those who don’t know
why we can and want to continue riding, I will say to you (as Kevin
would always say) “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand”.
Ride safe and for the right reasons,
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