In the time I have been posting on WordPress, about five months, I have not hit upon my former biker chick life. It was a life I led for 15 years, gathering fond memories of learning how to sit properly on the back seat, how to drive my own bike, how to embrace the biker ways and simply enjoy the ride. It is a life that I would still be leading had circumstances been different. I have the leather jacket, rain gear, a helmet, and a lifetime membership in Harley Owner’s Group. Unfortunately, I have no bike.
*insert pouty face here*
I miss the wind in my face, the hair that escapes from my dew rag blowing into tangles and knots. I miss the smell of the first ride in spring – the muddy earth, the new grass, the crisp air. I miss traveling to different places, the views that seem so different when metal and window cease to impede the surrounding view. I miss the camaradery at biker rallies and giving the “wave” when fellow bikers were headed in the opposite direction.
If you had told me 25 years ago that I would be driving my own Harley one day, I would have given you the “are you crazy?” stare. My ex-husband (Mr. K) had driven motorcycle since the age of 12 and I always knew, up until he actually bought one, that he yearned to have a Harley-Davidson. Before we took ownership of a 1994 Dyna Low Rider, I was the pessimist, unaware of the allure or the feel of a rumbling iron horse beneath my backside. I also have to admit, I was a scared cat (a short ride on a motorcycle in my 20’s had a young life silently flash before me…I was not impressed). In the end, Mr. K was persistent and I gave in to his pleas. He ordered his Dyna and we took possession in the spring of 1994.
With a few rides on the Harley, I was finding ways to be comfortable on the back seat and be comfortable in dress. The biker callouses on my butt were starting to form. I was enjoying myself. Mr. K, on the other hand, made the decision to change the too-quiet mufflers, which came standard on the bike. He claimed that his Dyna wouldn’t be called a Harley until its mufflers exuded the famous “potato, potato, potato” sound that would distinguish it from the other wannabe motorcycles. I said, “whatever” and rolled my eyes.
I was so dumb.
Once the new mufflers were on, Mr. K fired up “the baby” (as he often called her), the earth rumbled… and I was forever hooked. I had goosebumps. I had not felt that kind of exuberance before, the kind that gives you warm fuzzies and makes your soul light up. We rode that day, with glorious rumbles beneath, and you would not have wiped the smile off my face with either the threat of a liver dinner or leeches stuck to my feet. It was a beautiful potato day.
Mr. K and I engaged in interesting travels that year – up and down the Mississipi River, to the Mall of America, around Lake Winnebago, down to Milwaukee, and to the biker mecca of Sturgis in August. Sturgis is wild. One of the coolest memories I have is of the ride out to South Dakota – motoring down the highway with thousands of our fellow bikers, listening to the steady hum and roar of bikes, giving up on the biker wave because the arm was getting tired (there were too many of us). Sturgis is an experience, not to be missed if you own an engine on two wheels.
If I had to describe the biker life in a few words? Fellowship and comradery. Leather and steel. Wind, sun, rain and bugs in your teeth. Fresh air and tattoos. Goosebumps and tingles.
I became so infatuated with the biker life, that I took a rider course in 1995 at the local tech school. I passed with flying colors and ended up buying a Suzuki Intruder 800 (*gasps ensue from hardcore Harley riders*) in order to practice my skills. This is when I officially became a biker chick, in my own eyes. Five years later, after further lessons from Mr. K – speed up, do this, do that, blah, blah, blah – and saving my pennies, I purchased a 2000 red-and-black Dyna convertible. He was MY baby.
I tried attaching the Jack of Spades to my mountain bike with a clothespin, but it only made a pfffft, pfffft, pfffft sound. No potatoes. It’s not even close to a Harley.
I miss my Harley.
The Mary J Melange plan is to recount a few biker adventures in the coming weeks and months, in between the other nonsense I post. Along with trips covering the beautiful countryside of the U.S., Mr. K and I encountered a few hazards that involved rain storms, detours and exploding pavement – exciting stuff! It’s all part and parcel in a biker’s life.
I was motivated by another versatile blogger, Melissa Nacinovich, a fellow biker chick, to write a few stories from my biker days. I want to give a “shout-out” to Melissa and her blog, “we’re all mad here . . .” Check it out if you love daily quotes, book reviews and jewelry.