This is beautiful and inspiring! A reader shares her story of biking as a meditative way of freedom. She made me think of Bessie Stringfield, a motorcycle riding pioneer for women that we wrote about a few years ago. Awesomeness..
I’m the Sacred Bombshell of Bikes by Lindsey Waldorf
It was a T-shirt that finally convinced me to get my own bike.
For years, I had been riding on the back of my husband’s bike, and I loved our shared hobby. Whether we were winding through the vineyards of Napa, biking across the country on a road trip to see relatives or just heading out for an afternoon picnic, I loved our time on the motorcycle. My arms around my honey, it was always a comforting experience.
A couple of years ago, though, we were at the Rally in Sturgis, and I saw a guy walk by with a T-shirt that read, “If you can read this, the b**ch fell off.” Although some of our buddies laughed, my husband knew better than to laugh at a shirt like that, and for me, it was life changing. I decided I didn’t want to be in a position like that. I was a real woman, not a nasty name, and I was ready for my own bike.
Even though I had spent years as a passenger, I wanted to brush up on my riding skills before hopping on my own bike so I signed up for a New Rider Course offered by Harley Davidson. Made just for women, these courses helped me bridge the transition from passenger to rider.
When I was ready to hit the road, I decided to get a used Bonneville — I loved the look of these roadster bikes and their reputation for reliability. When I bought mine, it was 10 years old, and five years later, she still has a lot of power and life in her. If you’re thinking about riding and not sure which bike is the best, Women’s Adventure Magazine has a great review of the best bikes for women — I wish I could have found something like that when I was starting out. From Harleys to sporty models, they discuss them all. I also love shops like BikeBandit, so I don’t have to sacrifice my sense of style for safety when I’m on the road.
I still take rides with my husband, and I absolutely love our time on the road. I truly believe this shared hobby has given our marriage and our relationship something special. It’s helped us to survive. Whenever we feel an argument coming on, we know that we need a little space so we jump our bikes and take the conversation elsewhere. Usually, by the time we get to our destination, we’ve both cooled down, and talking is easy.
On the weekends when my husband has to work or when I just need a little “me” time, I love hopping on my motorcycle on my own. I even have secret routes I don’t share with anybody. This year in December, I have my first solo trip planned. I’m heading out to Riverside California to see the Women’s Motorcycle Exhibition — a photograph exhibit of women bikers by Lanakila MacNaughton. Next summer, my husband and I are going back to the Sturgis Rally. It has been five years since I’ve been there, and it’ll be the first time that I’ve ridden in on my own bike. I’m so excited that I can’t wait.
A man walking by with a derogatory T-shirt could have been a nonevent in my life, or I could have let it irritate me. Instead, I took it as a challenge, and I couldn’t be happier about the fact that I dominated that challenge.
About today’s blogger: Lindsey Waldorf. Lindsey is an engineer for a major tech company. She loves writing about tech and mobile trends, when she is not busy playing piano at her local jazz club.