Beginnings on Two Wheels

Back on May 22nd, I threw out a challenge to a few of my blogging buddies to write or photograph or wax poetic, during the month of June, over two-wheeled transportation: Bicycles and Motorcycles.

If you’ve not been to Mary J Melange prior to today, I must tell you that I have a love of both. While the 15 years of motorcycling are but a memory in photos and brain matter and the weight of a leather jacket, the past three years have been awash with bicycle trails, new bike gear and many miles of pedaling under the sun. My intention is to write about both in the coming weeks, with this post as the official opener.

In 1994, the now former husband bought a black Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider. The then wife dumped the Harley on a roadway behind the nearby mall, after which she signed up for motorcycle driving lessons at the technical college. One night a week, for four or five weeks, a few biker people and I studied the laws, learned biker etiquette and watched video of motorcycle safety. The first time on the 200cc Honda at the tech college, the instructor wouldn’t let us put the motorcycle into second gear. We had to leave it in first. Students paired up and pushed each other around on the motorcycle to get a feel for balance. Eventually, we were able to shift gears and almost stop on a dime, as well as weave through orange cones and avoid the instructors in the parking lot. On the last day of instruction, I passed the written test with one wrong answer and performed perfectly for the road test.

Which meant that I was bitten and smitten. I wanted my own motorcycle.

The former husband didn’t argue and we agreed that my first motorcycle would not be a Harley.

BikerChick1
This was my initiation as a Biker Chick, circa 1995. My memory of that year is almost as fuzzy as the photo.

Enter a Suzuki Intruder 800. Big enough for me to keep up with a Harley, but not too big that a newbie Biker Chick can’t handle. It served a good purpose while I overcame white-knuckled, hand-tingling nervousness on the first ride and learned to maneuver through construction and the curves of a road on many rides thereafter. I found that the Intruder handled well, but did not provide a good ride for a passenger. Suzuki also decided it would be a great idea to place the battery in such a position that it would take two people and a few swear words to remove. I kept company with my first motorcycle for five years, until the arrival of a Harley Dyna Convertible in 2000.

I absolutely, positively loved the redΒ and black Dyna Convertible. It was my baby. It took me out to the Dakotas and on several rides within the state. The only mistake I made, that I still regret, was letting the former husband talk me into trading in both of our bikes for a trike. Yeah, a trike sounds cool and they look cool, but they don’t handle the same. One “steers” a trike through the corners, the thrill of “leaning” into a curve no longer an option. I found leaning into a curve part of the motorcycle therapy. I missed it when it was gone and never got it back as a divorce eventually took away the trike as well.

“You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!” Β ~Dan Aykroyd~

The end of the practicing Biker Chick era came in the fall of 2009. The start of the practicing Bicycle Chick era began a few years later when a brother’s orange mountain bike was shipped to her from Virginia. At first, I only rode short distances, around the neighborhood, because I had to find my bike legs and was unaware of the many bike trails in the area. From the start, I was not a fan of riding on a busy street, so I stuck to side streets and sidewalks. At some point, I began putting the bike in the back of my SUV and driving it over to Natasha’s place. From there, we would make our way to the technical college, where I had learned to drive a motorcycle and where there was a walk/bike path surrounded by fields of milkweed and native flowers.

When I moved two years ago, I found the neighbor across the hall was also a Bicycle Chick. She, Natasha, and I started to go on jaunts together, which turned into even longer jaunts. Natasha and I also searched out state and local bike trails, ripe with adventure. One of my favorite bike rides was on the Sparta-Elroy and Omaha trails in September, 2014. You can read about it HERE.

When Natasha wasn’t able to go for a ride, the neighbor took her place. Last summer, the neighbor and I biked whenever possible, while Natasha nursed a sore knee. This summer, the CB and Friendship trails will allow me to bike to work. If it stops raining. It’s been a rainy month so far.

BikerChick2
It sits rather lonely in the garage. Rain, rain, go away!

Meanwhile, Kona has been living a lonely existence in the garage. It’s dark in there, a place not worthy of this beautiful piece of orange and black art. As I’m typing these words, the neighbor and I were contemplating a Sunday ride during a small window of sunshine. However a headache, brisk winds and threat of a late afternoon hail storm put an end to those plans.Β I suppose I can bake a spaghetti squash and prepare a yummy tomato sauce for supper instead. And finish this post. Maybe go to yoga later.

I feel bad for Kona.

Anyhow, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have the opportunity to ride the orange and black Picasso one or two days this week and continue that habit through the summer. Two different sources are predicting a dry and hot summer, so the rain must end soon. Right?

Right?


Stay tuned for a few additional posts this month in the veins of bicycles and motorcycles. I have plans. And also keep your eyes (or taters) peeled for reblogs and Tweets as I expect fabulous two-wheeled posts from a few blogging friends (you know who you are) that will be more than share-friendly. Join in the fun, if you are motivated, by leaving a link to your bicycle or motorcycle post in the comments below. I’d love to hear your experiences on two wheels.

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28 responses to Beginnings on Two Wheels

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Gee, you’re a positive Penny today. I sure hope you see rain soon so you don’t have to build an ark.

      • loisajay says:

        Ha! So sorry. I do enjoy a good rainstorm, but it is getting a little bit depressing now…

  1. Dan Antion says:

    It’s always great when the lead-off batter puts us on the scoreboard. Great post, Mary. You truly deserve the biker-chick emblem. A 800 cc starter bike makes me look pretty lame but I did enjoy riding on two wheels. I never though about not being able to lean a trike. That instantly removed any desire to own one.

    I’m not sure I will get on my bike in June but I will contribute.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Dan! Whatever you can contribute will be awesome, I’m sure. I have to say that the former husband was a good teacher/mentor as he had years of experience. I think that made me more confident as time went by.

  2. joey says:

    I really relate to the lean into the curve bit. I feel that, in terms of bicycling and roller skating. There is a kind of euphoria in it I get it.
    My own experiences with motorcycles are limited to riding on the back. I dated a motocross guy for a while, which sorta ruined me for the other motorcycle guys, you know? Haha. Oh well, they probably won’t read this. πŸ˜‰

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Euphoria is a great word. Perfect. No worries…I won’t tell the other motorcycle guys about “him.” Your secret is safe with me πŸ˜‰

  3. A great post. In India, riding a motorcycle is closely connected with the concept of ‘being a man’, but lately many women have come out to break this illogical concept. Now, you can see women and girls riding bikes and scooters and it was just yesterday that I was talking to my wife saying that two-wheelers have become a symbol of women liberalization in India. Women here in the 80s and 90s were dependent on their fathers, brothers and husbands to come and pick them up, but that’s no longer a case. Somehow, my passion for bikes is zero and that also applies to cars. I love reading about bikes and cars, I write professional articles and reviews, but I can’t ride or drive it and I don’t want to buy one. I am passionate about cycles and would love to have one someday. However, the funny thing is that Sarah wants to have us a scooter for emergency purposes or for grocery shopping so someday I will have to buy one.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That’s awesome that women in India are driving scooters and motorcycles. There was a time here, too, that you rarely saw a woman on a motorcycle, but that changed back in the 90’s, when Harley and motorcycle popularity was fervent. I remember being at a Harley event many years ago, watching a woman who was not more than 5 ft tall, handling a big Harley on her own. I was amazed and it made me realize that I could drive a bigger motorcycle just as well. I hope you and Sarah both realize your desire for a scooter and motorcycle some day. And ride them with passion (in a safe way, of course).

  4. cwaugh212 says:

    Great first post and tease for future adventures. I look forward to reading about your biking adventures.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thank you! I’ve had plenty adventures on both, but I might be sharing more of my Harley days if I don’t get on the bicycle soon.

      • cwaugh212 says:

        Going backward with recall can sometimes lead to different decisions as you go forward, so enjoy and take notes as you reminiscence.

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Funny you would say that. I’ve been reminiscing about a lot lately…good times and good friends. I made a connection with a friend on Saturday that I hadn’t seen in 22 years. It felt really good. πŸ™‚

  5. I do love your orange bicycle. I’ve never had the urge to learn to ride motorcycles but I have a hidden, Audrey-Hepburn-inspired love of Vespas. I don’t cycle much either because I live on the top of a very long, very steep hill and the other walk back up is not inspiring.

    Looking forward to Bike Month from everyone else, though.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I can envision you as Heather Hepburn on her scooter. Scarf, sunglasses, capri’s and little white Keds.

      You could get in really great shape pedaling up that hill.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    Reblogged this on No Facilities and commented:
    I am one of the recipients of this challenge. I was planning to post yesterday, but the #SoCS prompt was too good to pass up. I’ll put up my entry tomorrow, but I thought I’d give you all a look at what I’m up against. Yeah, I don’t have a chance.

  7. joannesisco says:

    ooooo – I’m so glad to be back in the blogging saddle again. I had forgotten that you had thrown down this gauntlet and after reading this, I’m primed for a bike story πŸ™‚

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Awesome. I’m currently living a boring biker life. I can’t even get the weather to cooperate so I can ride the bike to work. Something has to change soon…

      • joannesisco says:

        After 2 days of intense winds, I feel the same way! I had hoped I could finally get out for a ride today, but the winds convinced me otherwise 😦

  8. Bikerchick, I’m a bit late to the party here, but just saw this now. πŸ™‚

    I don’t have a piece of NEW writing, but you might enjoy my first ever published work: “Free Peoples Transit” — a radical nonviolence bicycle activism article I wrote and had published in WIN Magazine FORTY YEARS AGO! πŸ™‚

    See: https://assortedtopics.quora.com/Free-Peoples-Transit

    πŸ™‚
    MJM, Still cyclin’ after all these years…

  9. LB says:

    I’m so glad that I saw your June 29th Wordless Wednesday post, which brought me back to here. Loved hearing a bit more about your cycling and motorcycling background, and how you and Natasha met.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It’s been quite the adventure on two wheels, Laurie. I hope to get a few biking adventures in before summer ends…fodder for the blog, you know!

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