I was “older” when I jumped on a bike after not riding for most of my adult life. Sometimes I think I am crazy, shouldn’t I be sitting back and taking it easy in my golden years?
Well, I have never been one to go with the status quo, as is true with most women who ride I suppose.
Let me tell you something about learning to ride a motorcycle when you are a woman, I suspect it holds true for a woman of any age. Learning to ride will help you realize that you can conquer the fear that lives inside that binds us from living our life on our terms.
Learning to ride a motorcycle set us up for many unexpected situations and by navigating those situations successfully we learn we can work through any problem we encounter with the same logical and methodical practices.
You will find nothing more effective to get you out of your self-imposed box than a motorcycle.
Learning the technique and finesse of riding a motorcycle is absolutely related to overcoming other personal obstacles in life.
It didn’t take me long to learn that my motorcycle is an extension of myself- my mind, my body, soul and most certainly my hopes and dreams.
Time in the saddle can produce revelations that can be joyful or painful but revelations that can be won nowhere else. In just a few short miles (or a few long miles) I can experience joy, peace, fear, happiness, sorrow, and a personal sense of power and freedom that I have not found elsewhere.
I am a fairly traditional gal, I love God, my family and all that means. Yet I chose to ride a motorcycle, is that a contradiction? I hear, as we all do I suppose, that I am putting myself in danger, that I must have a death wish and that I am too old to be riding. The weary old dogs-new tricks theory I suppose. I have come to believe however that a life lived in constant fear of losing it is hardly living at all.
We that ride, challenge a lot of the social stereotypes without really meaning to. We push our personal limits and most certainly are getting out of our comfort zones. Riding as a woman is thrilling because it is unexpected and exciting. More than that however, riding is taking our destiny into our own hands and shaping it the way we want it to be. We are living life on our terms.
Life should not be only about getting older, but it should be about getting better and wiser and doing it in a way that makes us happy. My motorcycle makes me happy, but even more so the things riding my motorcycle has taught me makes me strong.
In riding, I have discovered a courageous, adventurous, independent, powerful and self-confident woman.
…………………….and so I ride
Contrasting learning to ride a motorcycle with learning to trust God.
I know, you are thinking, WTHeck?????
But wait, bear with me here, I think I can connect the dots for you. You will have to read the whole devotional and connect the part about the motorcycle with the part about God.
I started riding a motorcycle in my early teens but then I grew up and life interfered. A husband, kids and a job will do that. I do remember the exact time motorcycles entered my life again, that is what I want to talk about.
It was a huge decision to take up riding again. Did I want to step outside my comfort zone and get into something so strange and new?
Then there was the consideration of safety and oh gosh, what would my friends and family think?
With the help of my husband I first made the decision to ride with him. I was hooked at first ride (both the man and riding but we won’t go there.)
The wind in my hair, the strange comradery that only bikers experience, the incredible freedom. But most of all the feeling of being one with creation.
Soon however I felt a stirring in my soul, I loved riding with my hubby (except the crazy entrance into one gas station parking lot but again, that is another story) I wanted this experience on my own bike, in my own way and when I chose.
I took the Motorcycle Safety Course, bought a new bike and set out to follow what was in my heart.
Learning to ride my motorcycle was not quick and it took some courage to climb in that saddle and go it alone. It was one thing to ride pillion and quite another to go it alone. I studied books about safety and technique, I talked to other motorcycle riders and watched tons of You Tube videos about riding motorcycles. Although all that was beneficial NOTHING worked as well as simply gathering my courage and climbing in the saddle and just riding. That is not to say that a mentor is not valuable, it is, but it won’t work unless you finally gather the courage to climb in that saddle and ride!
I remember my hands shaking so bad because it was so scary, but I kept on riding. I remember dodging those stupid suicidal packs of turkeys and other animals in the roads, but I kept on riding. I never felt so good as when I rode. I remember learning to navigate the gravel, learning to park (uugh), learning to ride in a group. It was unnerving at times but I kept on riding.
I can honestly say that I have found something in riding a motorcycle that I can find nowhere else. It has become a part of who I am and a part I cherish.
My Dad and Mom took my brother and I to church every Sunday. It was a part of our life but I have to say quite honestly that it was not a big part. Maybe the best way to put it was that it was another part of our social life in our small community. I certainly was not serious about a relationship with God at that point but it was fun to go see my friends.
I grew up and life changed for me, marriage, kids, jobs, etc. God started to knock on my heart but I was hesitant, did I want to step outside my comfort zone and get into something so strange and new?
My life would have to change considerably if I was serious about getting to know God and what He offered. And oh gosh, what would my friends and yes my family think?
There was a church right beside where I was working at the time and one day I decided to stop in and see what the pastor had to say. After that visit I knew I had to dig further into the idea that God could offer an influential and life changing chance for me.
At first it was mostly getting to know the other members of the church and becoming accepted and slowly I started feeling at home. I was feeling the comradery that only other believers can offer and starting to feel one with my Creator.
Soon I felt a stirring in my soul and as much as I loved my new church family I wanted a one on one relationship with God. That would involve striking forth with just God and me. SCARY.
So I bought a good study Bible and scheduled daily time to follow what was in my heart.
Learning about God and to trust God was not quick and it took some courage to change it from a social function to a personal passion. It was one thing to go to church every Sunday and participate in all the fun gatherings and quite another to start to turn all my decisions, thoughts and actions over to God.
I studied, I talked to my pastor, I spoke with trusted Christian friends and although that was beneficial and probably necessary, nothing worked as well as simply saying, Here I am God, Do with me as you please.
There are times that I shake from fear and uncertainty, so I open my Bible and I pray. I dodge plenty of roadblocks but I open my Bible and I pray. I have navigated all the things that satan has thrown down in my road and yes it is unnerving but I keep on going to the Great I Am.
I can honestly say that I have found something in my relationship with God that I can find nowhere else, (not even my motorcycle). It has become who I am and a part I cherish.
So you see, my walk with God and my love of motorcycles came to me on similar paths. Not everyone will understand this sentiment and I am betting that anyone who doesn’t ride with have an especially difficult time grasping why the similarities are amazing to me. I love God with my whole heart and trust Him with my life. He let me know with absolute certainty that I need to get out there on my bike where just not everyone can go, and spread His words of life.
That is one command that I intend to fulfill.
…………………and so I ride
I ride a motorcycle. My husband rides a motorcycle. I have noticed there is a huge difference in how we approach riding. I cannot speak to the male version of riding for I have never been a man on a bike, but I can speak to my more feminine version of riding a motorcycle.
I ride because:
As I ride I listen to what is being said, the melody of the motor quiets all that is out of order. To ride is to relax my mind of the stresses that bind and to breathe in the beauty of the connection between the road and the soul.
When I take the time to discover and define what the road and my bike are telling me, I find it is God talking, not nature and not mechanics. He is whispering beauty and truth in every direction. He is wrapping me in the warmth and comfort of a road well-traveled, a road with a destination not found on earth. The only road I need to travel in fact.
It is called meditation on wheels.
It is called finding God in the surroundings He created.
What riding does for me does not end there however. God has allowed me to ride so that I can spread the gospel to those who are the same unique and unconventional individuals that I am. I have the privilege of sharing my hope with those who I probably would not cross paths with in any other way.
It is conventional evangelism in an unconventional way.
For me, riding is more than entertainment, more than stress relief and more than wind in my hair or pure joy and fun. Riding is a way to introduce Christ to those who are hurting and uncomfortable and are hiding from the light because they might not feel worthy. It is sharing Christ with those who might not be comfortable in a traditional church setting but they are comfortable with the freedom and solitude their motorcycle affords them. They are comfortable when they find a kindred spirit.
In the truest sense of the words, riding offers freedom, the kind of freedom that only Jesus can provide.
My ride is defined and exemplified by my desire to go where I am needed, not necessarily where I am comfortable.
I ride for freedom in the truest form of the word.
……………………..and so I ride
I am hearing that it will be motorcycle riding temperatures the next couple of days. Those of us who ride spend the winter counting the days until spring. We wait impatiently for a day or two of warmer temps so we can break the monotony of winter and fire up the bikes and ride.
We usually put the “Winter Wait” to good use, we plan our summer riding schedule, we work on our bikes if there are repairs that need to be done, pour through catalogs our browse our favorite motorcycle showroom looking for motorcycle accessories. We generally get our plans and bikes in shape and ready to roll as soon as spring rolls in.
I wonder do we take the same interest in seeing that the time spent on earth waiting for our Heavenly Father is a productive time. We know that time is short here on earth and there is no time to spare, but how seriously do we take that?
Time is so precious that God gave it to us in one second increments. How many of those seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years do we waste while piddling around here in our earthly home? Do we really take seriously the urgency facing us?
We can recoup a lot of things in our lives, with enough money and work we can usually replace almost any material possession we need to. That is not true with time that we should have been spending cementing our eternal home. When that time is gone…………………….it’s gone.
One day it will be too late.
I don’t think that God put us here on earth to waste time, I believe He put us here to prepare for eternity and to help others find the way too. I don’t know about you but when I finally meet Jesus I don’t want to be standing in His presence and have to admit that I found almost everything in my life more important than Him.
I don’t want to admit that I was too busy wasting time to prepare to meet my King. I am not sure how long I have left on this earth, none of us are. I don’t believe we have time to waste.
I do think I have a solution however, if you love to ride…………. you love to ride and you are probably not going to stop. I think one way that I shall prepare for eternity is by riding for Jesus. In all that I do I hope to bring glory to my Father that includes riding my motorcycle. So excuse me while I go work on my bike……..I have eternity to prepare for!
I think of the guy in the Snowy Range Mountains of WY who took our photo in front of Lake Marie. That beautiful photograph now adorns our wall. I think about the weary traveler who lost his sister to a motorcycle crash earlier in the week, I think about the lady who sought us out in a restaurant as we were waiting for a table, just to tell us thank you for the work we do.
You know the people I am talking about, the lost souls who somehow gravitated to you, the battered and beaten spouses who somehow found their way to you. The lonely widower, the spunky new retiree, the young man on his first bike, you know who they are and you remember talking to them.
Now, let’s switch gears here for just a minute.
You are a born again believer and you know that time in not on our side. You are anxiously waiting on heaven. There is nothing that can take that hope away from you. It fills you every day, it boils within you until it spills out in your life. It is seen in your every action, every reaction, every thought. Living for Christ is who you are and what you do.
Our bikes become a mighty tool, we jump on and go on a search and rescue mission for God.
But what if we rode our motorcycles just to ride, just to enjoy the scenery, just to feel the wind in our hair and to experience those glorious twisties and turns we all seek out.
My heart has never sang quite as joyous a song as when I saw a roadside sign last summer on a trip that said “Curvy road next 99 miles”!
We do experience all that (and love it more than a little) but if that is all we ride for we are stealing hope.
We are stealing the future and we are robbing unbelievers of the chance for the glorious love that fills our every pore. What if we are the only person to connect with a certain somebody and give the message of hope that Jesus Christ offers? What if our words are the only words that somehow get through the walls and fortress that so often are built around hearts?
We are robbing ourselves of knowing we made a difference. I doubt very much any one of us would give up what we experience every single day with Christ in our lives without a lot of kicking, screaming and an all-out war. How can we rob someone else of the chance to experience what we cherish so much?
Look what we go through to follow Christ. It is not easy but yet we are steadfast in our pursuit.
Finally we are robbing God of the glory that is ultimately and completely His as He adopts new followers into His family.
I want to offer hope, not steal it!
I remember when I bought her. It was the best day ever. She taught me things about myself that I didn’t know existed and she brought things out of me that had lain dormant for many years. I found courage, freedom, pride, independence, my voice and a love for the road. For that I’ll always be grateful. But it was time to move on, or ride on as it were.
Is it any wonder then that standing in that parking lot with my two bikes, knowing she might be going to a new home that very night, that I was hit with the most bittersweet feeling I have ever known.
When Mr New Harley Owner drew cash out of his wallet I knew my time with Glitter was over. I had a feeling just like when we leave the dogs at the kennel, you better take care of her “or else”! But my worries were short lived. His comment upon leaving was “I was always the short guy on the Honda, I have waited years for this.” At that moment I was thinking to myself, alright dude! This is a good fit, you are gonna love your new bike! Take her home and start polishing that chrome!
I turned around and headed for “Honey”. Her and I, we have a God given mission. Not that Glitter wouldn’t have gotten me down the road in fine style, she would have.
With motorcycles, if you are in your favorite Harley dealership just browsing and “she” catches your eye. Well forget it, you are going home with a new bike. Doesn’t matter that she was a tad bit more than the shirt that also called your name or the outrageously priced purse, call it the itch, call it spontaneous, call it destiny, call it crazy, it is what it is. You are ending the day with a new bike.
So to Glitter, thank you for what you allowed me to learn about myself and to Honey, get ready , we have a mission field to conquer, you,me and God.
MARCH EDITION OF NORTHERN ROCKIES RIDER, MY COLUMN
There were five of us sitting around the table in Applebee’s, all women and all motorcycle riders. Of course motorcycles dominated the conversation. Georgette, Mary E., Mary P, Cindi and I decided to meet to talk about the upcoming Sweeties on Wheelies ride (June 20-22) and ended up talking everything motorcycle and how it relates to the life of a woman. Now I know that a biker is considered to be anyone who rides a motorcycle. However, riding a motorcycle when you are a woman is a whole different ball game. Physically it is different, but perhaps the biggest difference is the emotional one. The fastest growing segment in the motorcycle world is women who
own and ride motorcycles. The five of us sitting around that table all understood why that is. Most of us view our motorcycles as extensions of our personalities; riding has given us a place where we belong. We agreed that women start riding for many reasons including empowerment, followed by excitement, freedom, self reliance and maybe even a little enlightenment.Riding has certainly made a difference in my life. Time alone on my bike is liberating and more often than not makes me define certain
truths and find a solution for certain questions.The five around the table were women who not only love to ride, but for whom riding is part of who we are, what we do and how we live.Some of us were first-generation riders, and some came from families who ride. Cindi’s mom rode 50 states in 50 days and celebrated her 50th birthday in the middle of the ride!
Cindi would love to repeat her mom’s ride on her own 50th birthday.I am cheering you on Cindi! You can do it. My friend, Georgette Hoffman, was there and she is such an inspiration to me. She grasps life as if there is no tomorrow (and we all know there are no guarantees). But she does it with grace and caring that is second nature to her.She rides with gusto and freedom of spirit that is a joy to watch. She has made epic solo journeys of thousands of miles.Control her you cannot, but you can count on her without hesitation.She is the first to jump in and help wherever she is needed and she takes the time to help me,or anyone who needs it, through tough times. She is also a police officer with the Gillette (Wyo.) Police Dept. and has 11 years in the law enforcement field.
“George” and all the women around that table are wonderful examples of women who ride. I have found that women who ride are special with an extraordinary attitude and a true brand of courage. We are women who create our own paths and shape our own calling. Eventually the conversation turned to the reason we were all there – to plan the 2014 Sweeties on Wheelies ride, for the first time to originate in Gillette, Wyo.
Known as Chick’s Run, then Chrome Cowgirls and now known as Sweeties on Wheelies, this is a group of women riders raising money for good causes. Mary England, Mary Pearson and Cindi Long from Casper are heads of the non-profit Sweeties on Wheelies and obviously love what they do.Georgette is heading up the event this year. The Sweeties ride has helped many different charities over the years: the Self-Help Center in Casper, the Humane Society, the Seton House, the Hemry Home and various other charities.This is an event for women, designed, implemented and run by women. We are your wives, your mothers, sisters and aunts. Our roles in life are greatly varied but we share one thing: a love of the open road and the freedom that riding affords. Each of us has found something inside that either we had forgotten existed or, in my case, didn’t know existed.A lot of the women who are involved in the Sweeties run are also Motor Maids, including me. Motor Maids requires an application and yearly dues. The organization is divided into districts so no matter where you live you fall within a Motor Maids district. To be a Motor Maids member you are required to own and operate your own motorcycle or the motorcycle of a family member and you are required to be an active rider. If a woman rides as a Motor Maid in a sanctioned event she must wear the Motor Maids uniform. There is an annual Motor Maids
convention held in a different part of North America each year and hosted by a different district.According to the Motor Maids constitution and by-laws, “It shall be illegal to pull your motorcycle on a trailer to or from a Motor Maid sponsored event.” That is an inspiration and a call to all women to ride! New members are encouraged to find a “MMM” (Motor Maid Mom).
This is a special member with some tenure within the organization who will help you form special bonds as a Motor Maid. I have become friends with Mona White who moved from Florida to Wyoming in January 2013. She left her bike in Florida and was trying to figure out how to get her bike to her new home. Various Motor Maids got it from Tampa Bay to Daytona, then to Mitchell, S.D., then Rapid City, then into the hands of Mona.
Rapid City is also home to another Motor Maid, Ev Straight. Ev is a Golden Life Member. To attain that status one must have 50 consecutive years of active riding membership with no inactive status, and 10 conventions attended.
Ev joined in 1954 and for many years a motorcycle was her only means of transportation. Ev’s daughter, Terri, has memories of riding behind her Mom when she was only three years old. Back then, after work on most Fridays, Ev would put Terri on the back and head the 150 miles to her family’s home in Lovell, Wyo. They would arrive at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains late in the night and Ev and Terrie would pull the bike over, spread a blanket on the ground in a barrow pit and sleep until daybreak.
That is the kind of woman Motor Maids consists of and the kind of woman I strive to be. The Motor Maids Annual Convention 2014 will be in Texas. I will not be able to attend but I will be at the 2015 convention. It will be in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada in July. I will be reporting on it and I will see you there! As special as is one woman who rides, you bring a group of rider women together and you have an extraordinary and unique group that won’t be held down, won’t be held back, and you can bet that you won’t miss us! As a school principle I see a lot of different people and see many different attitudes and experiences.However, nowhere do I see the same thing as I see in women who ride. They are exuberant, successful, spiritually inclined, tenacious, risk takers and creative. We are a diverse group but mostly we are a community. We are a growing nationwide force to be reckoned with and we are here to stay. There is an unspoken camaraderie, an unspoken code of support that just isn’t found elsewhere.I am proud to be a card-carrying, hard-core woman who rides.
……………….and so I ride
I don’t mean to sound condescending, I really don’t but I am a woman who rides a motorcycle. Either you “get it” or you don’t.
In all honesty I wish I could give all women what I have found on a bike. My baby is a 2011 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic and her name is Glitter. It might sound like I worship Glitter but I don’t, I firmly believe God have me the wisdom, courage, and tenacity to climb on and ……………..ride.
Once I did, I was hooked, I won’t ever look back and I will ride as long as I can. I am a member of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Motor Maids, National HOG(Harley Owners Group) and am thinking of starting a Christian Riding Club for women in my town. I write for a motorcycle magazine so I ride a lot of miles in a year. I love to ride, I love to write, seems like a good mix to me!
I have to say that I am most partial to my CMA membership, I am proud to wear those yellow patches that identify me one with Christ, that let others know I am out there working to further the Kingdom. I cannot tell you the times we have been honked at or sat at a stop light, a window will come down and we hear, praise God brother and sister!
I have ridden all over the state of WY, the Black Hills Scenic Byway, The BearTooth Highway (I got my a** and my bike over the pass!), the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, the Bighorn Scenic Byway, the Cloud Peak Scenic Byway, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, the Wind River Scenic Byway, the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road in the South Dakota Black Hills. We have ridden Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California(Highway 101 was pure heaven), and Nebraska.
I have learned a whole lot since I started riding.
Those were the lessons on the road, the other lessons came about inside of me as it does I imagine for most women who ride.
What does gender have to do with riding a bike, we all ride in the same wind right? Well I’m not sure but I know that even though we ride together a lot, we have totally different experiences when we do.
I think it has to do with the nature of being a woman. I know that now I think of my bike as an extension of my personality, but it took me awhile to grow into it.
Women start riding for many reasons but the first word most women use to describe the experience is empowerment. This is closely followed by excitement, freedom, self-reliance and maybe even a little enlightenment.
By its definition empowerment is the process of increasing your capacity to make choices and transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Riding makes a difference in my life, it is liberating and makes me get out of my self-imposed box. Riding helps me define certain truths.
Women who ride are a special breed of women, we are your wives, your mothers, sisters and aunts. Our roles in life are greatly varied but we share one big thing. We have a love of the open road, we crave the freedom that riding affords and we have found something in the saddle of our bikes that nothing else with the exception of God,gives us.
It is safe to say that women who ride are exuberant, successful, spiritually inclined, tenacious, risk takers to a certain extent and creative. We are a diverse group but mostly we are a community.
We ride even though we never thought we could, perhaps the hardest (but most rewarding) thing I have ever done was to learn to ride my motorcycle. My bike weighs in somewhere around 850lbs and if she goes down, I need help to pick her up. Parking can be special torture but I am getting better at it. It has a lot to do with the weight of the bike, the slow speed and the fact that hubby picks the darndest places to decide to park.
Where does God fit into this rough and tumble world of motorcycling? Well quite honestly, He is where I am whether I am on a motorcycle or not. My husband and I belong to Christian Motorcyclists Association and are dedicated to our motorcycle ministry and are striving to live the CMA motto, changing the world, one heart at a time in the highways and byways.