People often ask me how I got into riding motorcycles.
Most are quick to make assumptions about how I would have gotten myself onto these two wheeled machines.
Most commonly people might think that I grew up with a strong male figure in my family that rides. On the contrary, I did not grow up strapped to my dads Harley. In fact, I can’t remember ever seeing one family member of mine on a bike.
Some then ask if it was a boyfriend. “Oh did your partner teach you to ride?” First, to that I might reply, “what partner?” Haha But the truth is that although I’ve briefly dated guys that were into bikes, getting on one myself was a process that I went through entirely on my own crazy willpower. And here’s how:
The desire to get onto a motorcycle came so suddenly it was if someone came in the night and planted the idea deep in my phsyche like some lost scene from the movie Inception. I quite literally woke up one day and thought, “it would be so fun and liberating to be on a bike right now.” I worked the idea over in my mind for a few months and like a seed, the idea grew and took root, until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. One day I went out to start my car, an old Toyota Camry that I had been slowly driving into the ground, wouldn’t start. And I knew, this was it, the time was now. I sold my car for scrap, cashed in a couple tax returns and began the process of learning to ride and buying my first bike. I booked in for my compulsory two day learners course, got my license and purchased a brand new Sol Invictus Mercury. A bike I chose because it was brand new so I knew it would run, I could afford it, and it looked good. I really didn’t have much help in that process either. I was living in a foreign country in a place where I knew no one that rode. I was actually so nervous when I did purchase the bike that I had it delivered to my house. I was afraid I’d stack it riding out of the showroom. Up until that point the only motorcycle I had ridden was the bike I was taught to ride around cones in first gear on in a parking lot in the western suburbs of Sydney. I was terrified. But I was also invigorated and empowered.. I knew that I was right where I was supposed to be.
In fact, the first motorcycle event I went to was a disaster. After only riding for a week, I was invited by an old flame to an event at a local garage where the promise of free booze, art displays and bikes had me convinced this would be the right environment to meet my new people and make some friends that rode. When I rolled up, I didn’t even park my bike at the actual venue. After passing by and seeing loads of people on big bikes oozing cool, I was too nervous to ride in. I sheepishly parked my bike down the street and out of sight. When I got in, I faked enough confidence to put myself out there, but no one introduced themselves to me. Everyone stood in their cool little groups of friends, and I felt so peripheral to their world. My old flame that invited me? Barely spoke to me and even worse, was spotted making out with one of those uber cool chicks in the corner. I excused myself, walked out, and within a few steps my eyes started to well up. “Is everyone that rides like this? Am I a complete idiot for thinking I could do this?” I ducked into an alley and let it out, choosing to cry there rather than attempt to ride home with tears in my eyes.
But I’m one determined little cookie, and within a couple days I was invited to an event hosted by The Litas and The Foxy Fuelers, two amazing groups that connect female riders in Sydney and around the world. Was I nervous? Hell yeah. But I went anyways. I showed up. I shook hands. I made myself get uncomfortable. And I’m so glad I did. Within a few weeks I was invited to events and rides, and I started to make friends. Within a month I joined in on my first group ride, Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. I dressed dapper, we raised money for a cause, and I ended up in a seedy bar drinking schooners and eating burgers with people who would soon become friends and my favourite people to ride with.
Now, not even a year later, I’m on my first solo ride exploring South East Asia and doing things I only dreamt of (and cried over) just a few months ago. It wasn’t easy. But this dream ticked away at me for so long that I just became so determined that I wouldn’t let fear stop me. So are you nervous? A little bit scared? Hands a bit clammy, feel a little out of place? Good. You’re probably exactly where you need to be too.