Don’t be afraid when I tell you that I stalk follow people in cyber space. That’s where I found my next lady rider Eve (formally known as GSXGRL, presently IRNGRL) from Grant, Alabama. She has blog Sunny Side Up that I’ve followed in my Google Reader for a while. Imagine my delight when I remembered she rode a motorcycle. I am so happy she said yes so you too can connect with Eve here and on her blog!
How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I started riding my own motorcycle 18 years ago at the ripe old age of 34. OH, what I would give to be able to be 34 again!! You would have thought I was a teenager … I rode about a year on my permit, with or without a licensed driver. UG!!!
How did you learn to ride? On my own. Once I got the hang of it and found people to ride with I watched and learned.
What was your first motorcycle? My first bike was a 1994 black, teal and purple Kawasaki Ninja 250R. It was the perfect starter bike for me, a 5’5″ 110 lb beginner. Super inexpensive, including the insurance for someone with extremely limited funds.
How many have you owned? I’ve owned five motorcycles. I loaded my ’94 Ninja with lots of miles so I traded for a used green 250R, same bike but newer, then realized it had been dropped so took that back and got a new 1999 Green Ninja 250R. When I look back on that decision, I could kick myself (should have got a bigger bike). In 2004, ten years into my riding, I finally got the nerve to step it up. I decided on a 2004 Suzuki GSXF 600 Katana. Note the theme here … insurance is low on these motorcycles. The Katana was a little tall for me, so we lowered it ourselves. In 2010, I broke the resistance, and bought my new Harley Davidson XL883 Iron. Actually I traded the Katana and my husband footed the bill for the balance of the Iron on my birthday (at that point I exempted him from all further gifts, because after all … what more could a girl ask for!) Getting used to the foot position was the biggest obstacle, but that only lasted the first couple stops.
Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Why? Because I love to go fast! Because I’ve wanted one since I was a kid. It’s just who I am I guess. I love every bit of the riding experience.
Tell us about your riding. Pleasure or short runs to the store for small things. I like to travel light. I miss riding with my best bud Deb, aka BKRCHC from NY. She, having had a bike at a younger age but sold it long ago, got jealous of my new hobby so got herself a Honda Rebel. We rode whenever our jobs allowed us. And that was quite a good amount since I worked in the school system with summers off and she is a dairy farmer which left some time for day travel. She eventually got her HD 883 Low (which her husband had converted to a 1200 as a gift just before I left for Alabama). I didn’t get my Iron, until I moved to Alabama, and she is very sad to be missing out on the great rides we could be enjoying together. Me too!
What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? It’s very important to have a healthy fear of motorcycling. A slight fear keeps you on your toes and focused on the road and where you want to go. You should work on defensive driving skills for all diving and bring them with you on the bike. You must look ahead and behind and KNOW what the drivers around you are going to do before they even know what they are going to do! Give yourself space and use your speed to get away from people who are not paying attention. Use your judgment; it might be just as good to go in another direction. Take classes, learn from others. But if you have a desire, by all means, RIDE!
What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I’ve been on many long rides but not many trips. My husband and I went on a Veteran’s Run from our home near Watertown, NY to Albany with a small group. We stayed the night near Albany and rode through the Adirondack Mountains the next day and headed home. Sadly long drives like that on the Katana were extremely painful for me. After years of riding with the weight on my right arm, my shoulder started complaining. I know I’m supposed to tell a favorite story about riding later, but I have so many that I thought I’d sneak one in here. The Veteran’s Ride originated from the Watertown/Fort Drum Nomad’s. The morning of the ride there was a downpour of biblical proportions but that wasn’t going to stand in our way. My husband (he on his 1200 Custom Sportster) and I geared up and made it to the meeting place in town. Dang those potholes are hard to see when they are covered up in water! Just a small hand full of diehard Harley riders showed up along with the ride leader. After waiting for about a half hour and deciding to head out, the leader said, “I can’t wait to go to work on Monday and let them all know that a tiny chick on a sportbike managed to come out in the rain this weekend, while they all chickened out and stayed home!” I had a smile from ear to ear under my full-face helmet the whole way!
Do you belong to any motorcycle groups?I have become involved with a group called Mercury One. There are many Mercury One groups popping up throughout the country. Their goals are to serve others and raise money for charity, so we are not dependent upon the government. I have started my group Mercury One Riders on Facebook and would invite anyone to come see what you think. My goal is to inspire groups to form around the country to ride for charity and for Mercury One.
Do you have a favorite riding story? Heck YES!!! Too many to tell, but here is one of my favorites. When I got my first bike, the little Ninja 250 I was single, having been divorced for just a few years. In the two summers that I rode, before I met my husband, now of nearly 16 years, I experienced some of my most fond rides! I got bold and went on my first Poker-type Run but it was a mixed crowd with lots of Gold Wing types and only two other sportbikes. Naturally I fell in line with them. I let them know I was a newbie, and the two fellows took me under their wings for support. Through them I met some great guys to ride with. Mind you, I never dated any of them, mostly because that was not what I was looking for at the time. They treated me with respect and honestly, like one of the guys. This may be the reason why … on one of our first excursions we left heading for the Thousand Islands and since I lived near the area I brought the gang to one of the few windy roads on the way. Sadly when we got there the road had been freshly paved with loose gravel! Did that slow my experienced friends down … NOPE … off they went and there I was holding on for life testing my skills on slick rocks! Did I give up and go home with my tail tucked. NO. When I finally caught up with the guys, they were stopped at the convenient store on the highway getting water and patiently waiting for me. (OK OK it wasn’t that long of a wait!!) “I’m really sorry about that,” I say to one of the fellows sitting there. “It’s no problem,” he says. “Well,” I say, “you guys have something I don’t.” “Bigger bikes,” he nodded. “No!” I say …”you guys have balls!” That was it … they were my best friends for life!!
What do you do when you’re not riding? I was laid off from my position as an Educational Interpreter in 2005. Had a blown disk in 2006, no, not on the bike … in my back. The first thing I asked my Doc when I had my surgery in February was, how long will it be before I can ride? I was on the bike in April on the first warm spring day!! In 2009 we moved to the beautiful state of Alabama and as of yet I have not found the right job for me. I love photography, bird watching and gardening. I take my 83 year old mom, who moved down here to be near us, places she needs to go and am helping to raise our 14 year old daughter to be an independent and intelligent young lady. And as most of us, when not riding, wish I was!
As much as I love my Harley Davidson Iron, I do wish I’d been able to keep my Katana to jump on every now and then. But even though my two sportbikes weren’t the real hardcore version of Supersport motorcycles, I was able to drop onto the tank and let her fly. For those of you who know the experience, there isn’t much better fun out there on the road. However … I will say one thing … That Old Iron has just the right set up for me to drop down and have a little tank time too!!!