And I think it has been a long time coming. Getting on a scooter in 2007 was just a part of it. Living 2 miles from a Harley store in the city for 10 years fueled the longing as well.
Now I am finding myself lingering and looking on line at more and more motorcycle blogs and am encountering, in real life and on-line, women riding motorcycles. And many *gasp!* at my age! Heck, some older!
Then I find this crazy Canadian from Scooter Diva is actually sitting upon, and riding, the exact same motorcycle that I rode in 1985 when I was a "budding youth" and it's got me thinking all over again about where I am heading within, or beyond, this scooter/ridin'/motorcyclin' love of mine.
Now I sit out here in the sticks and think a lot like this and even though I am in the process of buying a bigger scooter to give me "more power" and longer range, I know it is because I want to "go somewhere" and the emphasis is on the "go" part. I want to spend whole days out here riding and exploring. I want to plan trips. I am a solo rider for now but that doesn't stop my dreaming about over-nighters, or week-enders, or week-longers, or more.
And then I know from this that eventually I will add a second "more power" machine, even though I am on a budget, I know I will scrape that together like I scraped this bigger scoot together, because I know that riding is my identity and my life now and I want to do more and more of it whenever I can.
I also know that I am not getting any younger and I want to do these things NOW. I read about these other women doing these things and I think, wow, I've wasted so much time here, so let's get on it NOW.
But I digress, as usual. My "stirrings" are about making that second machine a motorcycle, not a maxi-scooter. Then I think back to 1985 when I got this craziness in me at the age of 29, and after the death of my mom in 1984, and went out and bought (cash, in those days I had money to spend freely) a brand new, Candy Apple Red, 1985 Honda Shadow 500cc motorcycle.
What it was is that I had never forgotten that TV show, "Then Came Bronson" with Michael Parks about that guy who walked away from corporate America and headed across country on a motorcycle. That stuck within me since it had aired in the '70s. I always longed to have that kind of freedom.
And also, now here with death having taken my sweet mom from me, I was challenging death and not wanting to "not live" life, so I jumped on my dream, so to speak, and got myself this bike.
Now if you are a fan of "political correctness" you'd better dive now because the rest of this story is so unbelievable (to me now, anyway) that you might get crazed on me. So be warned-
So here I was, single, in the Navy, and had moved back home to care for my mom who was gravely ill. After she eventually passed away I believe that some of the things I did were out of grief and such, like buying this bike.
Another one was I painted her house, totally by myself, inside and out. That took all summer and I worked at it day and night.
I was also known to mow the lawn, by the riding mower head lights, at 2 am, while drinking a tad too much Coors Light. Lots of bugs, that hobby.
But the wildest thing was that I bought this motorcycle in the spring of 1985. I knew absolutely no one who rode a motorcycle. All I had ever heard was how dangerous they were, how so-and-so got killed on one, etc.
None of that stopped me. I was so goofy that I walked into a local Honda motorcycle shop and, liking the pretty red one, bought it. Never sat on it, did not know a thing about how to drive it, nothing!
I had the good sense to also buy boots, a full-face helmet, and a leather jacket and gloves. Choices were slim in those days, but it looked totally cool to be decked out in black leather. Or so I thought!
The bike was delivered, the guy spent 10 minutes explaining how to shift and going over the bike with me in the driveway, and then he drove off. That was it.
At age 29 there is little that I did not think I could do. I had not one shred of doubt or fear. I "suited up", climbed on board, and started it up. I accelerated and did not give it enough oomph and immediately dropped it in the driveway!
No harm to me or it, but I was such a weakling that I had to go and get a neighbor to help me pull it back up. He laughed at me and headed home and I got back on the thing and took off on a 20 mile ride. Never dropped it again, never worried about dropping it. I just rode and thus began the year when my motorcycling "self" was born.
I was like a crazy woman and I knew no fear! I was cruising at 70mph down twisting 2 lane country roads and I was gone out the door every moment I was not working or doing necessary household chores.
Nothing kept me off that bike. In those days there was no motorcycle safety instruction. I learned to shift by trial and error, and it was a wonder I did not kill myself!
But oh my goodness, I had a blast! I got to where I not only rode for pleasure but I also commuted 45 miles one way into the city. I was working then as a member of the military and several of the men I worked with rode Goldwings. I was the only woman at this little duty station and they were amazed that I would ride that bike into work. I was embraced as "one of the guys" and felt a comradery that was just so cool.
No one around me was saying, "Oh, you shouldn't do that. It's just too dangerous, etc." but sometime in the late fall something clicked in me and I was afraid to get back on it. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. I just stopped. Within months I sold the bike and that was it.
Oh I still longed for the experience of riding. I just hit a wall within me or something. I was also in the process of getting out of the military and moving to another state, so maybe that was part of it all. I really don't know.
Time passed and I got too busy and wrapped up in this and that and then 10 years later I found myself living 2 miles down the road from a huge Harley store and I saw them coming and going all the time. It became a "little torture".
They had rallys and big runs and I'd see them all out there. But a Harley was way out of my budget and though it was cool, all that rumbling was really not for me. I was buying their shirts and their key chains and stuff and still thinking about the summer of 1985, but I never acted on it.
It's hard sometimes to know why we do the things we do. I think I just "got busy" with my career and family and my partner did not ride or have an interest, so I rode bicycles instead. I lived in the burbs then and went on rail trails and tooking up hiking with my dogs and golfed more and that's what I did mostly.
Then in 2006 we moved out here to the country. More and more I'd see motorcycles and remembered the wonderful rides along country lanes during the summer of 1985. Soon my lust got the best of me and I dropped by a Honda Powersports store and looked around and saw scooters there and began to think, "Well, maybe this would be a great alternative to bicycling. Almost like a motorcycle without the shifting. Almost like a bike but without the pain."
We've got dirt roads up here as well and the Honda Ruckus scooter seemed like a great choice for those as well as exploring some back roads at slow speeds. And that is what I bought in June of 2007. It got me back out on the roads and feeling some of the same freedom and joy that I felt in 1985.
Then as time went on I have come to want more speed, more power, more range and I am "bursting forth" from my scootering ways and want to GO SOMEWHERE.
I've got "scooter" in my soul, but that "summer of 1985 motorcyle part of my soul" is awakening afresh too. I think something is going to come of that and I think I will realize that my true destiny is still calling to me:"Come and REALLY ride, you crazy ol' broad!"
That "crazy 29 year old girl" is not done with motorcycling yet. I don't think so...