I am so happy that it is finally riding season here in Minnesota! And I am happy that I have another woman rider to feature here on the blog. I met Janis via Twitter a.k.a. @PerfettoJanis. She is an avid motorcyclist from Perry Georgia, but her heart is in her hometown of Tampa, Florida. And she is a blogger on MySphereIsYourSphere writing on many things including motorcycling, cooking and eating … some of my favorite subjects! Without further ado, here’s Janis!
How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Longer than I will admit – gives away my age. Let’s just say I was 12 years old the first time I swung my leg over.
How did you learn to ride? Funny you should ask, and I do not recommend this method. At the age of 12, I took my first ride on a Honda 125 with my very sadistic cousin who was about 14. I can remember how bad I just wanted to ride that thing for myself. After listening to me whine and beg for what seemed like all day, he relented. He got on the back with me and showed me how to pull in the clutch and shift the gears. We took off and while still in first gear, he hopped off. He failed to show me how to brake, or even where the brakes were. I rode around the block over and over. I was having the absolute thrill of my life. My older sister saw me go by on about the 20th trip and freaked out. She came running after me, demanding for me to get off that thing. Of course, I had no idea how to do that. I don’t remember figuring out how to stop, but somewhere along the way, I got stopped safely and from that point motorcycling was in my blood for good. Flash forward many years, I took the MSF course!
What was your first motorcycle? When I was 15 years old, my dad bought me a Honda 125, just like the one I “learned” to ride on. Unfortunately, I only saw it once in the back of my dad’s truck as he changed his mind and decided he didn’t want to put his little girl on a motorcycle.
My next first motorcycle was a Buell Blast. I put 1500 miles on and took it straight back to the dealer demanding that they sell me a real motorcycle.
How many have you owned? Five – including a Suzuki Hyabusa with 205 horsepower. It was just plain stupid fast.
Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? From my first experience to my own first motorcycle, I cannot remember ever wanting anything more than to just ride. I love the sound, the smell, and most of all, the thrill of the ride.
Tell us about your riding. Commuter, pleasure, vacation, racing, or ? I ride for every reason you can name and probably some you cannot.
What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? I have often been asked for advice from women who want to ride, and I always tell them that riding is something that will provide them with an independence unequaled to anything else in life. Riding will touch you to your very soul. For me, I can solve my problems while riding. I can create a “think tank” that will provide me with the quiet time necessary for my deepest, innermost personal dilemmas. I get in touch with God, as well as myself. If I am stressed, and who isn’t, I can get on either of my motorcycles and within a very short period of time, my stress is gone. My advice is just do it!
What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I take an extended trip every summer. Two summers ago, I shipped my bike and flew to San Jose, CA. I rode back from San Jose, CA to Perry, GA. I intended to do the whole trip solo, but got stuck with another rider to Grand Junction, Colorado. So from Grand Junction to Perry, GA, I was solo. I wanted to make a coast to coast trip out if it and travel on to the coast of Georgia, but by the time I was near home, I found the extra eight to ten hour round trip a little more than I wanted to do at that time. I rode almost 5,000 miles that summer as I criss-crossed my way across the states. In June, I will be taking off for Montana and hope to travel to Oregon and maybe Washington too.
Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? I belong to Women On Wheels, a fantastic organization for women who love motorcycling. We accept all women who love motorcycling regardless of the make of their motorcycles and which part of the seat they occupy. We have real life meetings, rides and events as well as an online forum. I also belong to AMA.
Do you have a favorite riding story? One of my favorite stories is about a trip to West Virginia from Florida with friends, a married couple. We were about two hours from our destination when we were hit with a deluge and soaked to the core before we could manage to get off the road and into rain gear. Not wanting to unpack my whole bag for dry clothes for such a short distance, I decided I could just wear my Frogtogs rain suit. My friend’s husband was horrified by that prospect and let me know that if I should “go down,” I would expose everything my mamma gave me to whomever would be witness. Well, we were only another hour away and I would be fine. Off we went. I was getting pretty tired of the circular tan on my hands from the cutouts of my gloves, so I took them off and stashed them in my bags. I will say that I never ride without a helmet, but saw no concern for my skin. We got to within a half mile of our destination and had to ride on “Loop Road.” Loop wasn’t quite accurate for this road’s name. It was a loop with switchbacks, it was also a steep climb up, and it was slanted at about a 30 degree angle. Half way into the arc of the switch-back, I froze. After a berating from my friend’s jerk-husband, I attempted to proceed. It is a very difficult task to take off in the middle of a circle going straight up at a slanted disadvantage. I dropped my bike. I rolled down the road which meant I was rolling down a mountain in West Virgina – the mountain state. And I had zero protection for my body, especially my hands! My Frogtogs ripped, but thankfully only at the knee, and my hands, which I instinctively put out to break my fall, were gouged full of gravel, dirt, and mud. My hands were bleeding and so was my knee, but hurt most of all was my pride. The lesson I learned was to never ever ride without gloves, and a Frogtog rain suit offers protection only from the rain!
What do you do when you’re not riding? For my career, I am a high school English teacher. I just completed my Master’s in instructional technology/media specialist, so I am hoping to land a job next school year as a media specialist (librarian). For pleasure, I am an avid reader, and currently writing the next great novel!
P.S. Ladies! Let me know if you’d like to share your story too! Email me at: pamela(dot)court(at)gmail(dot)com < Trying to keep the spammers at bay!