Initially when I began writing this piece, I got deep with it. I got into the pivotal moments throughout my life that led me to my journey on two wheels. And although the stories were deep and touching, the reality is, I ride because I am an a$$hole. I love the freedom that comes with the wind in my face, and the middle finger to all those that don’t feel I should be doing it. The more society frowns on something that has no logic behind it, the more I embrace and seek it.
Society does this great job painting this picture of what we should “look like” and how we should carry ourselves. They give us this book of “norms” and tells us, “live your life this way and end up successful and accepted in society”. Problem is most of it lacks logic. And if it lacks logic. I defy it, making me an a$$hole.
I hear men often say a woman needs to know her place. It burns me because I personally believe my place is any where I chose to place myself (within reason and logic). Riding a motorcycle is no different. Motorcycles start and ride without testosterone, so hearing so many males amazed that women ride and ride hard, baffles me. Hearing people say a women can ride a motorcycle, but she will never have male genitalia annoys me. Hell, I have a vagina, have carried a child for 9 months, endured 36.5 hours of labor without an epidural, and suddenly something like getting on a machine is something I can’t do. Whatever….
If there is no moral dilemma or code broken, and it make no sense in its existence, I will challenge it. I challenge it primarily because societal norms typically exclude the ability to advance certain classes of people. Women and minorities have all been held back by societal standards. So I chop away piece by piece at the foundation of any standard that does nothing to empower and instead creates a “faux” glass ceiling.
Early on in life, I had an infatuation with fictional characters. Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days, Batgirl on Batman, Christie Love on Get Christie Love and Foxy Brown from her many Blacksploitation films. I had an infatuation because these women were opposite of what society dictated women should be, yet empowered and strong. I always wondered why any woman would want to be a Damsel in Distress when there were so many notably strong competent women kicking ass in the world. My studies of African American history as a child revealed other monumental strong and historical women and people of “color”. The accomplishments of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Angela Davis were so much more intriguing than the June Cleavers and Mrs. Cunningham’s of the world. So why would I ever want to settle for “pin curls and pumps”?
Besides all of what I stated, my parents also taught me that there was nothing I couldn’t do. They instilled in me to never allow my gender or race to block me from getting what I knew I could. So my entire life has been built on taking challenges and winning. That spirit infused with my first experiences riding on the back of a motorcycle created the woman rider I am today.
Although my first encounters on a motorcycle were typical “riding b!tch” to a man, feeding his ego, I soon understood out there were real live Pinky Tuscaderos and Batgirls. They were real women riders that had just about as much passion for riding as men. Suddenly I felt empowered to take on riding.
My first experience riding on my own came after I had returned from an emotional “b!itch” ride to Myrtle Beach the year my father died. His death triggered anger in me. I had anger that no one could stop. I literally had over 30 fights that year, had been arrested numerous times and lived in courthouses fighting Assault charges. I had men and women trying to knock me down to make a rep for themselves because my reputation was “That b!tch is crazy. She straight doesn’t give a f#ck about consequences.”. I had been shot at, a gun place to my head for refusing to back down and sliced with a razor. And no matter I went through, nothing seemed to phase me. Nothing was enough to scare me.
But I saw my mother grew weary. She had lost her husband and was widowed at 45. My then boyfriend scooped me up and took me on a 10 hour ride to Myrtle Beach, and that changed my outlook. When we came back he taught me to ride. I couldn’t afford a bike, being that I was a single parent. So whenever he came around, he let me ride his motorcycle. He was killed the next year and that put a halt on my riding.
I went on through life, living a life that was “acceptable and successful” based on societal standards. I had a 6 figure job, a husband ,a house and luxury autos. We had a great marriage. He didn’t cheat on me, but I did. I wasn’t happy. My life was “vanilla”. He knew I loved motorcycles but assured me that as long as I was his wife, I couldn’t own or ride a motorcycle. So eventually, I asked him for a divorce. I couldn’t live a lie any longer. I craved everything society said was no, tattoos, motorcycles, and traveling the roads.
We separated and I bought my first motorcycle in 2005, a few months after we separated. It was a GSXR 600. Once I got back on the saddle, I felt free. My violent tendencies minimized. I found peace and serenity on the open road, often alone. Singing at the top of my lungs on back roads in the Poconos and most scenic roads Pennsylvania offered. I soon began getting up on a Saturday and riding further and further alone. One Saturday I rode solo, to Myrtle Beach, checked into a little dive hotel and turned back the next day and rode back.
So why do I ride, I ride because I know it pisses folks off, it challenges everything society says I should be, but most importantly it is the “music” that soothes the savage beast in me.