I think I met our next lady rider on her Lilred’ Riding Blog and then on Twitter @lilredridingliz or was it Twitter first and then her blog. Either way, I want y’all to meet Liz! She is from the Northern California coast.
How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Continuously since 2006, but I got my motorcycle endorsement in 1983.
How did you learn to ride? I initially learned to ride on a dirt bike, in the rural area outside my hometown of Portland, OR. The man I was dating then taught me to ride the dirt bike, and then let me borrow his early 1980’s model Yamaha RD250 for my street test. I passed with flying colors. I went back to college at age 24 and forgot about riding. After 23 years and many life experiences, I met my motorcycle soul mate and life partner, Tony Reed. In order to really refresh my skills, I took the MSF Basic Rider Course, which was an invaluable experience. Following that, I practiced for several weeks in an empty parking lot, until I was confident enough to hit the road on my own. I’ve never looked back.
What was your first motorcycle? Kawasaki EX500
How many have you owned? Three. My current motorcycle is a Kawasaki ZX600E, and I’m keeping my eyes open for an early- to mid-1990s BMW touring bike.
Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I started riding on the back of high school boyfriends’ bikes in my teens. In my early 20’s, I had a boyfriend who was seriously into desert motocross, and it was exciting to watch. I loved the thrill of being on back and thought it would be even more fun to ride my own.
Tell us about your riding. When I had an office in town, I commuted when I could (the responsibilities of parenthood sometimes put a damper on this). Now that I have a home office, I ride when I can, into town on errands, but my real excitement is having a few hours or a few days to just be on the road. I’d have to say my passion is touring, even though I have a sportbike. My goal, when my daughter starts driving in a few years, is to become an every day rider.
What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Be sure and take a motorcycle safety course, whether the MSF course or the one that HD offers. When you buy your first bike, buy a good used bike in a low cc range. You don’t want too much power right off the bat, and you also don’t want something that you will be afraid to drop.
What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? A couple years ago we did a 1,700-mile round trip to Montana and back. Yearly, we take at least one trip between 1,000–1,200 miles.
Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Let’s see, I used to participate heavily in the Beartooth Kawasaki forum online. I met two of my best friends on that forum, people that I ride with. I belong to a couple of Meet-up groups, one in Portland and one in the Bay Area (though I haven’t ridden with the latter). I’d love to belong to a women’s motorcycle group; I live in such a rural area that it’s not so easy for me to participate in group rides, but I could make it happen. Heck, I may have to start a chapter of some organization, as I now have a couple women friends in my town that ride!
Do you have a favorite riding story? Gosh, a favorite? I think our trip to the Eastern Sierra a couple of years ago. I had never been to the ghost town of Bodie so we made the trip out there on our fully loaded sportbikes (gear). The adventure of it is that there is three miles of washboarded dirt road to get to the town, after the pavement ends. I wasn’t sure I would make it, but I did and that felt like a big accomplishment to me. And Bodie was so worth visiting.
Each of the trips my partner and I have taken have been occasionally difficult, sometimes adventurous (mechanically), and always spectacular. I can’t say enough about the joy of traveling by motorcycle, breathing in the pine or sagebrush, the ocean salt air or the mountain’s crispness. Stopping for a hot cup of coffee when you’re cold; cooling off in a rest stop’s fountain when the air is so hot it feels like you’re riding with a hair dryer pointed straight at you. Seeing sights that most people who never leave the Interstate get to see. Then having your photo of that desolate and lovely spot published in the AMA Magazine. I feel so much gratitude for having the opportunity to ride.
What do you do when you’re not riding? I’m a veteran graphics and web designer, and I manage social media marketing campaigns for several clients. I’m the mother of a lovely and bright 14-year-old daughter. I garden, do yoga, read, and occasionally surf. I enjoy creating art when I have some free time, usually book arts and sewing, and I do love to cook! 🙂