Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Gal and Her Motorcycle… A Passion to Race the Wind

In the beginning… my road to riding

I was just an ordinary girl, well maybe a little weird, growing up in an average family that had nothing to do with motorcycles. But none the less for some reason the idea of riding one was ingrained in me at an early age. Quite possibly it had something to do with the movie Easy Rider or maybe it just had something to do with clothes pegs and baseball cards.

When I was young nothing could compare to riding my bicycle with baseball cards clipped to the spokes with wooden clothes pegs. I remember the rhythmic clickety-clack of cardboard on metal that turned my bicycle magically into a motorcycle (or at least that was the idea) and I would race through the neighbourhood with no particular place to go. I didn’t understand it back then, but it was that sense of feeling free and the rush of the air currents passing by that energized my soul and drove my desire to race the wind.

As time passed and my life had taken many twists and turns, eventually those childhood memories faded but still somewhere in the back of my mind that desire never stopped and would occasionally rise to the surface. Life continued to tick on by until sometime in my mid-thirties I finally had a chance to ride on the back of a motorcycle, to be honest, it was the first time I had ever even gotten that close to one. What I remember most from the experience was that something was definitely missing. And that something was it just wasn’t enough to be a passenger, I wanted to be in control to truly capture the freedom of having my soul in flight.

Dream to Reality…

Unfortunately for me, my life continued to get in the way (real life can be so pesky that way) and before I knew it, middle age was creeping up. As another birthday approached it occurred to me if I didn’t go after that desire to ‘race the wind’ I would never do it and be left with the ghost of ‘I should have’ haunting me the rest of my days. It was on my 44th birthday that I made a silent vow to get my motorcycle license that spring. I never told anyone what had been rattling around in my brain for so many years. I had kept it secret, and the vow I had just made to myself remained a talisman of sorts, and if spoken allowed it would dissipate into a puff of smoke and be lost forever.  (That may have been a bit dramatic, but all true)

2006 Yamaha V-Star 250
It was 2009 and April had finally arrived, I bought a motorcycle handbook and a week later I took the written test. As I walked out with my learners permit in hand (patting myself on the back) and hopped into my car it occurred to me I was missing one very important thing, I didn’t even have a motorcycle! But more importantly I really knew nothing about actually ‘riding’ one. I realized that it would be in my best interest to at least take a Motorcycle Course, and immediately signed up to start one that May. With the Motorcycle Course still several weeks away I wasted no time shopping for a motorcycle.

The moment I walked in the doors of the Yamaha dealer a small, slender beauty caught my eye. Dark red with a hint of sparkle captured that perfect mix of dainty and dangerous. As soon as I sat on the little V-star 250 it was love. We were a perfect fit and I just had to have her. Call it destiny, excitement, impulse... all I knew was she was the one. Even though I bought her that day, the reality was that I still needed to know how to safely ride her.

A few days later the Motorcycle Course started and it poured rain, not only on the first day but it continued to rain the entire weekend. As waterlogged as I was that didn’t dampen my spirit to ride. I admit I was nervous as hell, but my desire outweighed the butterflies that insistently fluttered around in the pit of my stomach. It also helped immensely to keep saying a silent mantra in my head (“You can do this”) the entire time. By the end, I was soggy, glasses were fogged and my hair was plastered to my head, but nothing could take away the smile that spread from ear to ear the day I passed.

Do what makes you happy…

2009 Harley Davidson Sportster 883
It was in 2013 that I eventually ‘graduated’ from my little 250 V-star, lovingly referred to now as “my scooter on steroids” (but that is another story) I had four years of riding under my belt and decided it was time to ride something with a bit more power and one with a bit more weight that could make longer journeys easier. Most importantly I felt confident and ready to make this transition.

The good-bye was bitter-sweet when I traded her in for my Harley Sportster 883. I admit the whole “legend” and mystique of a Harley was a bit (okay a lot) of the driving force behind my decision to get one. I chose the Sportster mainly because out of all the Harleys there it was the only one I actually was able to reach the ground on. (Which is one of the things I believe is very important when choosing a motorcycle)

It also took some time to get really comfortable on my Harley and I ended up making a few adjustments in order to ease the transition.  Starting with switching out the handle bars which were too spread out, they made me feel like I was on one of those torture racks back in the middle ages. The seat was so hard that I have sat on rocks softer, and I needed to get a windshield to protect me from getting blasted in the chest by the wind and the bugs. I really didn’t like the foot pegs either, which resembled something you would find on a telephone pole that a utility worker would climb to reach the top with. After I made the changes my Harley and I were much more compatible.

I have been enjoying the ‘biker’ or ‘motorcyclist’ lifestyle for eight years now and enjoy every chance I get to race the wind and explore the world around me. I just can’t get enough of the pure joy and exhilarating rush I get when I ride, the only regret I have is that I never went after this sooner.

Closing thought…

As a motorcyclist and a woman, my experience learning to ride a motorcycle was empowering and positive and still is. I am finally ‘living’ and even if it took me a lot of years to figure it out, I now firmly believe; “Don't live your life with ‘what if's’ and it is ‘okay’ to do what makes you happy”.

(This article is a condensed and modified version from my original article Cruising through life  on a motorcycle that is)

by Sandy Bird aka the Frozen Canuck
Writer, The Frozen Canuck. "Writing has been flowing through my fingers since I can remember. It allows me to express myself in a way that I could never accomplish with the spoken word. My passion for riding a motorcycle is in a way parallel to it. Both give me a sense of self, a freeing of spirit and a rush of embracing a journey to the unknown. To be able to do both is invigorating." 
“Riding liberates my soul, I feel alive!”  

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to Say What? Sandy! We are delighted to have you on board and look forward to your next post! For those of you interested in more of Sandy's writings, check out her blog at http://thefrozencanuck.blogspot.ca.

    Though,hopefully we will have the pleasure of having her share some of her adventures here too again! ;-)