I’ve done two things in the past two months that I never thought I would do in a million years. First, I got a tattoo, and second, I learned to ride my own motorcycle. Yep….turning into a total biker chick.
I’ve ridden with my husband for the past few years with suggestions from him and others that I would probably really enjoy riding my own. I was content with my husband. I didn’t have to think too hard, had little responsibility, and could close my eyes and enjoy the sun and wind on my face.
It happened one beautiful fall day while we were out riding. We pulled into a convenience store to take a short break and two women riding their own Harley’s were preparing to leave the store. Hair tightly pulled back into braids, sun kissed skin, riding glasses, boots, jeans; one was checking messages on her cell phone – the other yelled, “Get off your phone and let’s ride!!” And they took off. Cupid’s arrow pierced my heart and the desire to ride my own bike took hold.
“Get off your phone and let’s ride!” It was the phrase and how adamant she was that caught my attention. My interpretation… “Unplug and live life!”
I passed the motorcycle safety course (an excellent course I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn how to ride a motorcycle); my husband found a beautiful, sunset red Harley that fits me perfectly. Ideally this is where the story ends with me effortlessly riding off into the sunset. But life is rarely as idealistic as the fairy tales would have us believe. There has been a sharp learning curve, particularly since I haven’t driven a manual transmission since I was 15 years old (and then not well). I had a few minor mishaps which shook my confidence and I started to feel I had made a huge mistake. But I kept hearing that woman’s voice, “Get off your phone and let’s ride!”; I persevered.
With lots of encouragement from other female riders, great coaching from my husband, and the use of our fairgrounds parking lot (I needed some remedial help in the beginning), I started to find my confidence. The next step was riding on the streets, then the highways, and now I’m riding the twisty curves of the Black Hills. There is still much to learn and I’m definitely a novice, but each time I ride I set a new goal for a skill that I want to figure out or master.
The turning point was a 102 mile ride to Hot Springs and back. I hadn’t been “in love” with riding up to that point. That trip set me free. It is difficult to describe the experience of riding your own motorcycle. Some call it freedom; I call it exhilarating. For me, riding in a car is similar to experiencing the world in standard definition. Riding a bike is like experiencing the world in high definition Technicolor (my son would say 4K). All senses come alive: the feel of the sun and wind, the smell of the prairie (alternating with road kill and exhaust), the sound of the highway noise and wind, seeing the bright colors, and allowing your mind to be totally uncluttered. It is another version of completely unplugged. I’m hooked!
Charlie’s Wisdom is about living with passion and authenticity while following the heart’s desire. I had the desire to ride my own motorcycle and overcame the fears that threatened to hold me back. There is passion in my desire and it is something new that I have not experienced before. I now get why Charlie loves to stick his head out of the car window at any speed (rain, snow, or hail). It is absolutely exhilarating.
“Get off your phone and let’s ride!” My new motto for unplugging and living.