I am so pleased my next guest stopped by the blog and left a comment! Another female motorcyclist to profile!! I’d like you to meet Juju from the Florida panhandle and she is on Twitter @Juju821.
How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Scooter since 1980, motorcycle since 2006.
How did you learn to ride? With the scooter, I just hopped on and figured it out. You know—you think you can do anything when you’re in your 20s. But when I wanted to get started on a motorcycle, I took the basic riders’ course at the local Harley Davidson shop, at the tender age of 53. Then my husband picked up where that left off, since, as they say in the class, this qualifies you to ride your bike in a parking lot. So there was lots of practice afterwards until I felt comfortable.
What was your first motorcycle? A used Suzuki 800 Intruder. It was 13 years old when I got it, and it was a great first bike for me.
How many have you owned? Two, including the trike I have now, plus the Garelli scooter when I was in college.
Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? My husband and I rode his Kawasaki together when we were dating, but then we didn’t ride much after we got married, bought a house, etc. Then in the late 90s, he got another bike, and he was having SUCH a great time riding. But as we’d gotten older and grown into our own personalities more, we found that neither of us wanted me riding pillion behind him. But I told him that if he was going to ride as much as he wanted to, I was going to have to be involved somehow. By the time I’d finished the basic riders’ course and got the motorcycle endorsement on my license, he had hunted down the Suzuki for me to buy.
Tell us about your riding. Pretty much everything but racing.
I commute to my teaching job at a small state university on my trike whenever the weather allows—my students seem to love it that I ride, though I’m not sure why. Maybe just the novelty of it.
We do a lot of day rides: Sunday brunch rides, beach rides, rides to dinner, rides to visit friends.
But my favorite is our now-annual ride to the Blue Ridge Mountains in June for the Trike Talk Rally, sponsored by TrikeTalk.com. Of course, it’s mostly trikes, and it has grown in its five years from a handful of trike-riding friends meeting for lunch to a four-day event attended by several hundred riders. We do allow a few token two-wheelers for diversity’s sake. 🙂 There doesn’t seem to be a bad road to ride in that area. We like the Tail of the Dragon for a fun challenge, and the Blue Ridge Parkway of course is gorgeous. My favorite road in that area, though, is the Cherohala Skyway, and I’d ride it every day if I could. There’s also the Foothills Parkway, Sweetwater Road, and as I said, I don’t think there’s a bad road for riding in that part of the country. The four days of rides and the fellowship with other riders cannot be beat, and it’s become a highlight of our summer activities.
What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? I think you could not do better than to take the basic riders’ course sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Spouses can be great teachers, but they can’t always be as objective, unbiased, or patient as a rider coach can be.
And be of good cheer! When I was in the course, I thought, “Clutch, shift, friction zone, head and eyes, rear brake, front brake, watch out for nutty drivers…There’s no way I’ll be able to remember all this, AND enjoy myself out on the road.” But you know what? I did learn it—and now I love it. Just be willing to put in some good practice time even after the class is over.
Another thing: if you EVER decide that you want a trike, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not a “real” motorcycle. So, what, it doesn’t have a motor, or it’s not a “cycle”? Just laugh in their face and ride off to have fun on your trike.
What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Last year, we extended our trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, riding on up the Blue Ridge Parkway into Virginia, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. For an occasion like that, some people go to Paris, some go to Rome, but not the Youngs—we took a motorcycle trip! Between getting there, all the riding we did on the gorgeous, twisty mountain roads, and getting home, we covered roughly 2500 miles. We visited with old and new friends, discovered the North Carolina wine country, scaled the upper reaches of the Blue Ridge, and were treated to some of the best scenic views east of the Mississippi River. What a ride!!!
Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? TrikeTalk.com is currently the only riders’ group to which I belong, but it is the best. I’d encourage anyone who is interested in trikes, either as a current rider or a potential one, to visit the site and have a look around. It’s one of the most friendly and supportive Internet sites I know.
Do you have a favorite riding story? It’s a short one, but a good one! Last summer, we had stopped overnight to visit the lovely Sheldon Vineyards in North Carolina. We’d toured the winery and had the most delicious and graciously but simply served dinner at the vineyard restaurant, overlooking the chef’s huge and copious garden and behind that, of course, the vineyards. Full of delicious local wine and melt-in-your-mouth veal porterhouse accompanied by the chef’s fresh greens, we wandered back to our bikes for the short ride back to our hotel.
But a storm was clearly in the offing—we could smell the rain already. So instead of rooting around in my trunk for our helmets, we just saddled up and headed out. We virtually flew back along the narrow country road (only a couple of miles), hoping we wouldn’t get caught by either the approaching storm clouds, and hoping we wouldn’t get caught
What do you do when you’re not riding? I teach English at the University of West Florida in the Florida panhandle, I read a lot, spend time with my husband and our dog, travel as much as I possibly can, and love to bicycle, 50-90 miles a week. Yes—it’s all about the wheels!
Juju and her trike!
P.S. Ladies I’m still taking names for profiles! Just leave a comment letting me know you would like to join in on the fun.