As a child growing up in the suburbs of Long Island, NY I was always fascinated with motorcycles. Not because there were many around me, my next door neighbor being the only person I knew with a scoot, but because the notion of me on one fit with my rebellious nature. To say I was a handful to parents was an understatement. My mother refused to let me have a moped or dirtbike due to my reckless behavior and other such wonderful characteristics I displayed throughout childhood – broken bones at 3 different times and stitches all before I was 12. Thus, I was left to fantasize as I watched biker movies, which were fairly violent and raunchy, throughout the seventies and eighties.
In my early teens my neighbor, Love Smith, took me for a ride on his Harley Davidson. It was black, loud, huge and I was enthralled. I knew one day I would own a motorcycle. Maybe not the one he had but a bike nonetheless.
I finished school, went off to college, had my first child, settled into life in Harlem, NY and began my professional career. Then I turned 30. I felt that I had done all that was expected of me, from my parents standpoint, and had been a good mother to my daughter. It was now my turn for something special. New credit card in hand and off I go to purchase a motorcycle.
I didn’t know anyone who rode other than a few of the guys from the neighborhood who knew how to ride or were riding dirtbikes – none owning a motorcycle. I took one of these guys and to the bike shop we went. I purchased my first motorcycle, sportsbike, and had him ride it back to my block. My lessons consisted of going up and down the sidewalk, around the block several times and then I was on my own. With many mistakes to come I had to self teach myself other skills, leaning in a turn and not drifting into another lane being a very important one. I was a natural on a motorcycle.
I’ve owned two sportsbikes, Kawasaki ZX6 and ZX10R, and currently own a Harley Davidson Fatboy Lo. The sportsbike provided an adrenalin rush never before felt. I remember when I hit 100mph for the first time on the 6. I remember topping out at 187 on my 10. The rush from white lining between tractor trailers going into curves shook off most men who attempted to race with me. Yes, in the streets of NY I was that chick. Then I moved on to my Harley, Mr Dirty Dirty, and was provided a different type of rush. When I step off my hog I am as bad ass as they come, in my mind of course.
Now I’ve ridden all across the country, on my 10 and on my hog. My tires have touched the 48 continental states of America. I have ridden into Mexico. I had to rent in Hawaii. Alaska will be my next big journey. Solo cross country trips are becoming a staple of mine so I no longer count them as accomplishments. Just another road trip.
However, as I’ve been riding for the past 15 years, the reason I ride has taken on a different meaning for me, a metamorphosis so to speak. I used to ride for the thrill and excitement. I’ve always been a passionate rider. I was given Biker status, after my first solo cross country trek – 30 states in 21 days that included the Iron Butt challenge of 3000 miles in 72 hours. I thought I had arrived. But I began to realize something far greater than me – the inspirational women I came into contact with.
I know women who have physical ailments, such as Lupus, who ride. I had the honor of riding with a woman who had 12 brain surgeries and rode with a neck brace to keep her head steady on a trike – she could no longer ride any of her 2 wheeled hogs. I know women who can not enjoy the life on a bike such as we do for a variety of reasons. And I ride for each and everyone of them. I have seen women buried because of their love for riding and I lost a very close and special friend, Brown Suga, last year. They can no longer ride in this world, only in spirit. I ride for them knowing they are the wings beneath my tires. I ride for the women who can’t take the time off or have spare money, to traverse the country as I have done, because they are the primary care givers of their family and that comes first. The little girls who come talk to me as I sit on a curb by my scoot eating lunch in an unfamiliar state. I ride for them. All the women who give me the thumbs up, wave or take a pic as they see me and Dirty Dirty, fully packed, on the highways far from home. I ride for them. The women, young and old, who have been told they can’t do something, that’s a mans thing and any other type of put down to keep a woman in place and secluded from the world. I ride for you.
I RIDE FOR US