I am so glad on February 11, 2010 I decided to start this blog to chronicle my journey into motorcycling. It has not only recorded my story, but has opened the door to share other lady rider’s stories as well! We are such a beautiful and diverse group and I have another female motorcyclist to add. Please welcome Grace or on Twitter @SeismicCoach from British Columbia, Canada. Check out her web site Seismic Coaching.
How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Two years, but missing this third season.
How did you learn to ride? I learned to ride with the fine folks at Pacific Riding School. I come from a road cycling and technical mountain biking background with some race experience. Some key bicycling skills translated naturally (with minor adjustments for a heavier bike) into motorcycling, including leaning and counter-steering, looking far ahead, looking beyond the turn, traffic awareness, braking concepts (front-wheel vs. rear wheel), and keeping an eye on road conditions.
What was your first motorcycle? A 2007 Suzuki Boulevard S40. It’s a great starter bike that, like me, was small and compact with a solid thirst for adventures.
How many have you owned? Just the one so far. Looking to buy the next one ASAP.
Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I’m an adventure motorcyclist at heart. I still love to mountain bike, but motorcycling takes adventure and travel to the next level. Everything about the open air appeals to my core – the smells, sharper focus and awareness, open to the elements, and even the dynamic “textures” of air during a ride – can’t get enough of it. At the time I got my Class 6 licence, I was several months into launching my own consulting business and had just finished Big Contract #1. Learning to ride anchored the deep-soul gratifying independence and flexibility borne of building a business. Now it permeates much of who I am and how my business grows.
Tell us about your riding. Every ride is pure pleasure regardless of purpose. I took a couple of short solo trips within the province and gained some new skills and confidence at Reg Pridmore’s CLASS course in Rosamond, California. I live in a more rural area with easy access to city centres. Many rides are about scouting different routes and back roads.
What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?Taking the MSF course (in Canada, MSA, Motorcycle Skills Assessment) is a no-brainer.
1) Try custom-fitted vented earplugs. It’s a personal preference and, given that I like long rides, I no longer get headaches from sustained loud noise;
2) Although not imperative, solid bicycle handling skills can ease the transition to motorcycling. Just remember the front brake lever is on the right-hand side on a motorcycle.
3) Age is inconsequential;
4) There’s a reason that you’re curious about motorcycling. Listen to that inner voice. Take a stand for your curiosity and desire to keep learning. No such thing as a silly question as everyone had to start at Square One, including the pros.
What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest trip was an overnighter from the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia to Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The first day of the trip felt longer because Island weather greeted me with sun, rain, wind, hail, sun, clouds, sun, more rain, more hail… in July! Oddly, I didn’t mind it. The plan with the next bike is to take multi-day trips. With my business, I have the flexibility to take an extended trip and notify clients well in advance. I’m currently savouring the process of dreaming, planning, and researching that first big trip.
Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I’m a member of the LIME (Ladies International Motorcycle Enthusiast) group based in Vancouver, but I tend to ride solo or occasionally with a friend.
Do you have a favorite riding story? One of my favourites is the time I refueled at a quiet gas station in Fort Langley, BC. Imagine a petite woman, solo and gassing up, as an older gentleman with grizzled white beard and tousled hair limps toward her with a crooked, toothy grin. His first words were, “That’s a really nice bike. I remember my first bike when I was 15…” His was a love story of his first bike and the impact of riding throughout his life. I leaned on my bike and listened to the whole thing – wasn’t in a rush. I soaked in his every eye-twinkle, chuckle, and gesture. That could be any of us x years from now. Everyone has a unique and beautiful story, motorcycle-related or not.
What do you do when you’re not riding? I run, mountain bike, and kayak… oh, so West Coast! My business recently launched an initiative called Moto Leadership which brings relevant leadership development to professionals who ride motorcycles, although it’s also open to non-riders. The first event is slated for June 2014 in British Columbia, so there’s plenty to keep things hopping. And, as always, there are extended trips to plan!