Monday, February 27, 2012

Bad Ass Motorcycle Mama

My bike and snazzy helmet
I wasn't always a Bad Ass Motorcycle Mama. In fact, it scared the hell outta me! I had to grow into it. Luckily, I did!
My motorcycle experiences began well over a decade ago. I was dating a guy who had a bike and I loved, loved, loved riding on the back. Bike Guy went away and took his bike with him. By the way, he's back in the starring role of The Husband, but that story is another post.

Since I enjoyed riding so much, but had no guy to ride behind, I took matters into my own hands. I was determined to learn to ride on my own -- no guy necessary! I took the motorcycle safety course and spent a HOT weekend in July (required clothing: boots, long pants and long-sleeved shirt. Trust me, it's waaaaay too much for a Texas summer). I dropped that little 250cc bike twice! Once when I was practically at a standstill. Soooo embarrassing (and more than a little painful to my body as well as my ego). But I'm a stubborn cuss and persevered through the class. My plan was to buy a used bike  (someone else was gonna ride it home), and I received lots of well-meaning advice from my biker friends about the size and type of bike I should get. My pea brain simply couldn't process it all and make a decision. If you're my age-ish, picture the robot from Lost in Space flailing his corrugated tube arms screaming "Danger, Claire Lopez! Too much information! Cannot process!"  (This is a super secret peek into the convolutedness-ness of my brain. You have been warned!) So I procrastinated. Shortly, the money I'd put aside went away -- poof! -- like extra money tends to do.

Fast forward a decade, more or less.....
Once Bike Guy, a.k.a. The Husband, was back in my life, it was time to re-up. I spent another weekend (in the summer again...what was I thinking?!?) re-learning the intricacies of riding a motorcycle. I was more comfortable on the bike in this session (I didn't drop it! YAY!) and passed with flying colors. We already owned a 750, so my next challenge was to make the leap from the 250 to the 750. BIG leap for me. Huger than huge. My feet barely touched the ground so we lowered the bike. I continued to struggle, but I gave it my best shot (stubborn cuss, remember?). I simply could NOT get comfortable on that bike. However, The Husband shared that it was his fondest wish to be able to ride alongside me....on my own bike. No pressure, right? Riding that huge, heavy 750 scared the shit outta me. I was ready to give it up and stick with riding on the back.

The Husband's solution, brilliant man that he is? Buy a used 250cc and ride it until I was comfy cozy on my own. I wasn't sure if it would take a week, a year or a decade but it was the perfect solution for me. Granted, when I was on the freeway, I was sorta batted around (they are relatively light bikes), but I continued to ride (mostly in residential areas). The Husband devised practice routes, with him in the lead, that became progressively longer. SUCCESS! It wasn't long before I was zipping around town on that little 250.

I ran across an old friend who was selling her bike -- my beloved 750 -- which I bought. It came with bags, my snazzy helmet, Cobra pipes and lots of other cool accessories. It's UT burnt orange -- not my favorite color, but since I'm a TexasEx, it worked. Go 'Horns!

Now I love to ride. I love the smells, the feeling of the air around me, the freedom! The BEST thing about riding my bike has nothing to do with my surroundings, the bike itself, or even my snazzy helmet. It's about conquering my fear and feeling empowered. It's about becoming more authentically me (even at 54, I'm still a work in progress). It makes me feel like Rose's alter-ego, Vicki. Invincible! Unconquerable! Self-confident and fully alive! Trust me, it's awesome!
Hey, you! I need a name for my bike. Any suggestions?

Rose a.k.a. Vicki a.k.a. Bad Ass Motorcycle Mama (me!)
Have you conquered a fear and reaped the rewards? How did you feel? Do you ride? Let's go!!

Have you been there?


  1. Yes maam, i have been there! A few years back i bought an 883 Harley Sportster off the side of the road in Bozeman, Montana. My brother was living there and he took it for test drive and made sure it was in good condition. I bought the bike- then brought it back to Dallas and i didnt know how to ride it. I took the course in July (we're crazy with this heat) and i had no other choice but to pass that class! My family are ALL bikers and i was so excited to finally have my own.  I sold it recently but just bought another one last wknd that my boyfriend and i will share. Ride On!

  2. Wooohooooo!! Let's ride sometime!!

  3. Hi Claire, I've popped over from reading one of your posts on the Goddess Circle :)
    I couldn't leave without offering you a high five for being a motorcycle mama! My ex-husband learnt to ride a bike & I loved it so much I wanted to ride one of my own too. Sadly I sold my last bike in 2005 after being knocked off it, but I passed my test in 1994 & had one all that time. I think it's now a case of 'when' I get another one really. 
    Riding a bike makes me feel strong & I passed my test on the 4th time, so it was a challenge to get there. Last bike was a Suzuki 600 Bandit. 


Yes! I've been there, Claire!