How did I start riding?

Why do I ride motorcycles and why did a forty-something year old women get into racing them?  Well, I love to ride, I started with horses when I was 5 years old, and I decided to try riding motorcycle after my divorce.  I’ll just say now, so far my only regret is that I didn’t try this sooner in life.

I’d always found motorcycles fascinating but as a kid my parents, felt they were too dangerous.  I went from living with my parents to being married; he also didn’t want me near them.  Oh yeah, horses were so much safer then motorcycles….  Not.

It’s funny how life works out.  Once I was on my own, I figured it was one of those things that I had to tackle.  Along with scuba diving, snowboarding and learning how to work on my own house/vehicles.  I was certain that I was going to love it, so I started to look at bike reviews on line, but I was worried about learning how to ride on my own so I signed up for an MSF course in Albuquerque thus began my new addiction.

I was so nervous about riding the bikes that first day on the range.  What if I did something so outrageous and embarrassed myself?  Still not sure why I kept worrying about that, it’s not like it would have been the first time or the last for that matter.   I couldn’t believe it once we got to the exercise where we were actually riding the bikes.  WOW!  I was hooked, and knew it was something I wanted to do more of.  I was so disappointed when the day was over, I wanted more.

I was so hooked that I went that afternoon and bought myself a brand new bike (a Buell CityX) It had clear blue plastics and I thought it was so unusual and pretty.  Let’s be clear that is NOT the reason I bought the bike, I had done some research on bikes, its numbers and reviews were really good too, but it is the reason I picked that one over the sort of similar Firebolt and Lightning.  I talked the sales guy into riding home for me, since I hadn’t completed the class and didn’t want to wreck it before I got it home.   Once I took the guy back to the dealership, I went home and rode it around the neighbor hood a couple of times.  I went back to class on Sunday so excited, and worried again, not about the riding but it was raining when I got there and the instructor told me that most of my classmates wouldn’t be able to deal with the rain and they might have to cancel the class.  As luck would have it, the sun came out and the range was rideable, we only had to delay for an hour.  I finished the class just shy of a perfect score; I lost 1 point for being too slow in the cornering test. Looking back at it all now, I find that really funny.

Side note:  Now, there were a few things here that I did, that I would never recommend for another beginner rider, male or female.  First of all was buying a brand new bike, second was that the bike I bought was torquey V twin wheelie machine at 998 cc, so basically it was a liter bike.  Third was that the bike was way too tall for me, I couldn’t really touch the ground, so I dropped it a number of times.  That got expensive; replacing the things that broke each time I dropped it, not to mention the time it fell over into my car….    However, I’m stubborn, and falling down wasn’t a new thing for me.  I rode horses for 35 years, I was used to getting tossed into the dirt, falling doesn’t bother me.   I believe this is one of those things that is hardest for most women to get over.

So here I was with a brand new bike.  I didn’t know anyone else who rode motorcycles, and I wanted to ride.  I was at least smart, and got the insurance and licensing taken care first thing Monday morning.  So what did I do Monday afternoon?  I took the bike out, all by myself, without telling anyone about what I was doing or going and put 160 miles on it by riding from Santa Fe up to Jemez Springs and back down to Santa Fe.    It’s a tight, twisty road, with switch backs on it, I was in heaven; however isn’t really a new rider friendly road.  I’ve taken newer riders up that route and they’ve been almost too scared to go back down it.  There just might be some validity to my Mother’s statement that I don’t know what fear is.

It only took me 6 months to find others to ride with; my buying the bike in September might have had something to do with that.  I rode all winter when ever I could, and many times when I shouldn’t have.   Coming up to an intersection that was covered in snow and ice comes to mind.  I’m still not sure how I stayed up right and didn’t fall over; needless to say I went straight home after that.  Once I found others to ride with, I really became obsessed with learning how to ride better.  I was talking to a friend that I went to high school he told me that the best way for me to learn how to go faster and be safe was to find a race track and do a track day.  Especially, since it sounded to him, like I was riding over my head on the streets and taking too many risks.  I started to do internet searches and for a race club in Abq that also held track days.  I’d just have to wait 3 more months for winter to be over and their race season to start.   Little did I know what I was in for….   How I got started racing motorcycles