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"Our lives are a book that has already been written. The brilliance of the plan is that we are only given a chapter at a time..." ~A. Drayton Boylston

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Driven to Ride....A Biker Chick's Dream

Since 1998, the number of women riding motorcycles has grown by 36%. More and more women seem to be taking the initiative to do something for themselves, and get over the mental hurdles involved in choosing to ride motorcycles. Particularly at an older age.... the average age of a female motorcycle owner is 43.

As a female growing up, I was told it was too dangerous, that women don't ride or shouldn't ride motorcycles, that it was meant to be a "guy thing". Women who do ride motorcycles were always portrayed as loose and irresponsible..."tough cookies" and manly women. At the very least, a woman's place was considered to be the BACK of a motorcycle.

For me, biking was always a fantasy of mine. Instead of the classic romantic tale of a woman being swept off her feet by a handsome prince on horseback..... my leather-clad hero would whisk me away on a motorcycle. As a little girl I was fascinated by motorcycles and bikes in general. I would draw them, touch them (I used to get in trouble with my neighbor for touching his motorcycle), and later photograph them. To me motorcycles symbolized freedom and the enjoyment of life. They were also a bit naughty!

I was always attracted to "bad boys" when I was younger, and all of them had motorcycles. To my dismay though, all of them had the attitude that women shouldn't even get on a bike. I dated a professional motorcycle racer, Dave Arkle, who also loved fast cars and was a mechanic. Although he was the first boyfriend I had who promised me a ride on his motorcycle.... I never got it. I STILL have never been on the back of a bike, holding on to my sweetheart and enjoying a long journey (I would even settle for a short trip to the local convenience store for a six pack!) with the wind at our backs. I have written about it, but it is still a fantasy of mine.

I did however decide to take the initiative myself and learn how to ride a motorcycle at a school in Manchester NH in Spring 2010. Without telling my husband, my family or most of my friends. For me that was a significant and difficult step. Everything I was ever told about my love of bikes...all the negative jabbering....filled my head and cautioned me. I had to fight hard not to listen. I learned more than how to ride a motorcycle on those weekends... I learned more about myself and how to push my limits. It was the best $350 I ever spent, and I could not have been happier and more proud of myself than when I got my motorcycle license.

Unfortunately, I have not been on a motorcycle since I got my license. Although I took the courageous plunge into learning.... I didn't think about or plan financially for actually owning a bike. It didn't occur to me that the process of choosing and purchasing the right bike can actually take several years. At the rate I am currently going in my life....I sometimes wonder if I will ever actually own a bike. Purchasing such a high ticket item had to be put on the back-burner for me. Being upside down on my mortgage has been a month-to-month struggle and paying the mortgage has to be the priority. What's worse is that my current home has no place for a motorcycle.

Instead of the biker chick fantasy dissipating though, it has definitely gotten stronger. It no longer includes just the love of the ride.... but an interest in the mechanics and maintenance of the bike. The motorcycle is a fierce symbol of personal freedom to me, and when I get to the point where I own a bike and am traveling on it.... I will have succeeded in something important to me. I will be free. And since I learned to ride, I've already tasted that freedom and it drives me to not lose hope. I know that once I get on a bike, my troubles melt away for a little while. I love the feeling I get when I mount up. Biking is an amazing confidence booster and a tremendous healing experience. I love the control I feel over the strong steel between my legs. The thoughts, the sights, the smells.... everything I experience while riding is still sharp in my memory. I will get out of it exactly what I put into it.... pure joy.

The dream lives on.

"The Ride"
By Carrie-Ellen Batcheller (Witchy Blog author)

Rev your engine
Take to the sky
On the back of your bike
I get a natural high
Feeling the throttle
And the wind at our backs
The smell of the sea breeze
Our speed to the max
Not a single thought
for the mundane
So fucking crazy
Yet totally sane
All I can think of is you
And how happy I am
Sweet escape
Its all part of our plan
Our dreams run wild
Through our veins
Changing our minds
As we're changing lanes
Not a care in the world
The sky is the limit
Life is more exciting
With our love in it

And then I awaken
feeling my tears as they stream...
It wasn't reality
Just an incredible dream.

"I feel like Thumbelina coming out of the Mole Hole into the sunshine with the promise of sun and the wind in my hair. When NH turns green the Emerald Isle has nothing on us. I bathe my eyes in all the feathery shades of spring and heat my bones to human once again. I feel a part of the breathing of the earth when I ride, the sighing of relief, the healing of the winter's damage...I love my gifts of health and strength and I cherish each day and thank God for each ride as I get older..." - Unknown

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