I eventually graduated from riding the motorcycle in a college parking lot to a larger lot that had an actual road around it. Here I could practice my stops, passing, and switching gears. When I got to third gear, the exhilaration of speed came back, and I completely forgot I was in a parking lot with my husband and our dog cheering me on! I did this for a couple weekends, and then, smile on my face, officially graduated to the road.
Bigger parking lot = more speed on the motorcycle!
The first time I went on the road with the motorcycle, it was an early Sunday morning with no one out.
I was following my husband on his Harley Davidson, and was really excited to be out for the first time.
The first few minutes had my nerves jumping a bit, but this didn't last long. The feeling of exhilarating power and freedom was so overwhelmingly fun that I forgot to be nervous.
I'm going faster than it looks. :)
I just paid attention to what I was doing and enjoyed the ride. The first time I got up to 45, I felt like I was flying! I now started to really realize what everyone loved so much about riding motorcycles!
The hardest thing I had to learn about riding motorcycles on my own?
First: Curves. But I went slow, and low and behold, "looked where I was going" (I DID remember something from the MSF class!) and it made the turns much smoother.
I also really watched my husband ride, which was really helpful. Riding behind him helped me to see how he entered and exited turns, which I then tried to replicate.
Second: Starting on a hill. Although no one laughed when I stalled four times going up my inclined driveway, I would rather not do it on the road. This one just takes practice coordinating all those damn levers and peddles on the motorcycle.
I recommend finding a small hill that you can do it in private. I'm not perfect yet, but not too bad either.
This past week I hit a milestone. For the first time, I took the bike to work on my own.
No one was there to make sure I shifted OK, didn't stall, or felt steady. I was completely on my own.
So, with my laptop in my backpack and high heels in a bag, I set out to work on an early Monday morning. I didn't have any trouble - I think all the practicing made me feel really comfortable with the bike and with my skills.
There is nothing better than watching the sunrise break over the horizon on my own motorcycle. And I do have to say that it was the first time in a long time that I went to work with a smile on my face!
To all of you fellow motorcyclists out there, ride safe and ride well.
Read Part One Here:
Woman Motorcyclist's Viewpoint - Learning To Ride
Read Part Two Here:
Woman Motorcyclist's Viewpoint - Buying Your First Motorcycle
I'm a 47 year old female getting ready to take the BRC finally next month. I've put it off too long. Finding this series of blogs while researching all kinds of things pertaining to being a new rider was really helpful for me to feel less intimidated. Thanks!
Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 5:56 AM
Great Reads!! Thanks for posting!
I have been riding since I was five, so I did my practicing in my parent's front yard. I don't remember too much, but I know at that young, I didn't have any fear!
I enjoy hearing new riders' stories, and listening to the questions they have.
Always have great rides, and keep the shiny side up!
Tue Mar 4, 2014 at 5:19 PM
I'm 50 and have wanted to ride for years.I am signing up for the 3-day Basic Rider Course located in the Bayside H-D parking lot in Portsmouth, VA. I had only looked and sat on the H-D Sportster Superlow; being 5'3", 120 pounds it was the perfect fit. But after reading your article and all the replies I know now to look and sit on other makes and models. Great articles and thank you for sharing your experience. Your viewpoints and comments posted offer great tips and I too want to experience the thrill. Thanks again.
Sun Feb 2, 2014 at 4:53 PM
I love your story. It is wonderful, the sunrise, the sunset, the closeness of the stars and the skyline on a long country road. Is is an exhilarating feeling one that rings freedom! I am so happy for you. I hope you have the rides of your life! Keep safe.
Mon Nov 4, 2013 at 3:26 PM
Nice write up. You described the feelings and thoughts that go through a gal's head when first starting out. Like the last picture where you are looking where you want to go in the curve. Looking out is probably the biggest thing I got out of the class. Made the figure 8 a breeze. I'm on the petite side so the Honda Rebel 250 that I took the class on was and now is still a good fit for me. (at least for now, hee)
Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 7:13 AM
I'm getting ready to buy a bike. but having a hard time knowing where to start. but your story is giving me a great starting point. Let's go bike shopping. :)
Tue Oct 1, 2013 at 1:47 AM
I took an MSF course last year, with no prior experience with the clutch and throttle, and passed it! I now ride my own Softail Slim. What a thrill! :) I too did my little Sunday practices near a vacant office parking lot. It served me well. Still constant practising but now I am more confident going on highways. But I especially love the backroads route. Thanks for sharing your story.
Wed Jun 5, 2013 at 8:59 PM
9a.m. Saturday morning reading post about getting over the fear of riding when I should actually be practicing. Thank you for this article it's helpful. I take my MSF course in two and a half weeks. I practiced some a few weeks ago and my confidence was really boosted then I loaned my bike out to my son and missed practicing the following wknd so what confidence I had seems to have shriveled up.
Couldn't get my bike to start this morning and just gave up.It's comforting the nervousness isn't so uncommon.
Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 8:14 AM
Took MSF lessons in September of 12 with hubby and bought our first Hona GoldWing Trike at the end of September 12. We also joined GWRRA (GoldWing Road Riders Assoc) and ride with them every Saturday and have a blast. Hubby takes the GW from the house and I bring it back to the house. We had a 1999 GL1500SE and just today brought home a 2004 GL1800 and absolutely love it. We are both in our 70's and acting like teenager.
Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 8:18 PM
Just an additional note and perhaps some good advice, my wife and I make a point of taking a rider training course every two years to pick up pointers and improve our skills. Here is the Boss at a Lee Parks Advanced Rider Class: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ridemyst/5196758282/in/set-72157625477341778
Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 8:16 AM
Good article.When I decided to restart riding again back in 1995, my wife said "If you get a bike, I get a bike!" We have been riding ever since. We have covered most of the States and a portion of Europe. She has owned several bikes over the years. Her current ride is a Yamaha FZ6 set up for touring. -JEP-
Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 6:03 AM
I was riding on the back of my husbands bike for about 1 year and loved it, but as I saw more and more women on these huge bikes riding I knew that's what I wanted to do, so I thought for my 49th birthday I would surprise my husband and go get my license. I didn't tell anyone and studied when no one was around and at my birthday dinner I surprised my husband with my motorcycle license,he was so excited we went out and bought my first bike and I've been never been happier. Next year for my 50th were off to Sturgis.
Wed Aug 8, 2012 at 6:37 AM
Wow, this story was insperational. I hope ican get my wife to read it. She would love rideing but I think she is just to fightened. I rode years ago on a honda cb750 (1981) but sold it to move to pa. Now I want to ride again your artice helped me remember way. The unremovable smile the feeling of flight and freedom. Any way I went amd got my permit took the msf course (free in pa.) And im currentlly saving money and shopping. I camt wait to get back on the road. Ty for your essay. Happy trails.
Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 6:00 AM
I just got my first bike. I am a 50 something woman. I chose a HD Tri Glide. Love it! I had never driven a motorcycle before and only ridden as a passenger a few times. I started in a church parking lot. (seemed appropriate place). That was 5 days ago. After riding in the neighborhood and with a friend, I took my first journey onto country roads tonight. I went 35 miles. Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks.
Wed May 30, 2012 at 9:22 PM
Scariest moment ever for me, was the day Ragan "Flash" rode her own bike, a 2002 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider I had just bought and brought home. I was running along side her like an idiot and she stops and says "go get your bike"! Then she took off and I had to catch her. 3 months later she left with 5 other women on a 6500 mile trip to Colorado and back. She has been going ever since. Oh she alos took MSF course to get her license during that time.
Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 11:27 AM