Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Am a Biker Chick

I am a biker chick. Do you have a picture in your mind of who I am, what I look like? I bet you’re wrong. I am a retired trial attorney, mom to three girls, and wife to an awesome guy. I don’t have any tattoos. I prefer Pinot Noir to beer.

Motorcycle riding isn’t just about Harley Davidson and Honda Goldwing anymore. The new breed of rider prefers dual sport motorcycles designed to perform equally well on the highway or on a bumpy off-road trail in the middle of nowhere. We ride ATGATT, all the gear, all the time. My bike of choice is a BMW F650 GS. Riders have taken this bike literally around the world, from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. From Shanghai, China to Cape Town, South Africa.

My lifestyle at home is typical suburban American. I drive my kids to and from school in a VW Jetta, sit at the computer most of the day, go running or work out at the gym, then hang out watching television with the family in the evening. Life on the road is where things change. Everything I need for days and even weeks on end has to fit on the back of my bike. At home my closet looks like most women’s. I like clothes, and I like shoes. On the road I only have my riding boots, and room for one pair of shoes. In summer I take sandals, in shoulder seasons I take a pair of Dansco clogs. Since packing room is limited, my non-riding wardrobe is paired down to two pair of pants, and three t-shirts.

A typical day on the road from a recent six week tour of the Western United States might include waking up in a primitive campground with a river behind our campsite, and redwood trees and giant sequoias all around us. Making coffee with our Jet Boil French press attachment then packing up the tent in the rain. Heading out and finding a dirt or gravel road to explore, seeing the less traveled side of the Redwood Forest, or Death Valley, or the Grand Canyon.

We try to find a local out of the way spot for lunch, like the unnamed cowboy bar we stopped at in New Mexico where chickens roamed around the dirt parking lot and even inside the little general store, the place where everyone in the place stopped talking and looked at us like we were from Mars when we walked in wearing riding gear and carrying motorcycle helmets, or Fat Mama’s in Natchez, Mississippi where they advertise “knock you naked margaritas.”

Our afternoons we spend either continuing the morning’s explorations or riding secondary roads to the next area we want to see. Sometimes we ride miles where the air feels soft and warm and smells of pine needles or freshly cut grass. Other times the wind blows us around the road, rain bouncing off our helmets, or snow building up on our windshields making riding slick and challenging. But no matter the weather, riding a motorcycle makes you feel alive. In a car your mind can drift away, on a bike letting your mind drift can kill you. Every sense is focused on your surroundings, experiencing the feel of the road, the tingle of adrenaline always keeping you in the moment.

In the evenings we decide if we want to camp rustic, or in a KOA Kampground, or maybe treat ourselves to the unimaginable feeling of luxury a hot shower and clean sheets bring after a long day in the saddle. Do we feel like cooking over a campfire and watching the stars come out like we did in Death Valley, or going to a world-class restaurant like we did in New Orleans?

I’m a biker chick. I love riding the twisties, feeling the power of my bike as I lean into the curves. I love the thrill of riding a muddy road full of potholes. I live for the joy of experiencing nature, rather than just riding through in an air-conditioned car with the radio on. Yeah, I’m a biker chick, and I’m loving every minute of it.


Janet said...

Glad to have found your blog - keep it goin' please, more bloggin' biker chicks needed!! Great stuff... Janet @ bikerchicknews.com

Willow said...

Yay for all lady riders! I just bought my first bike Dec 18th, 2007. Merry Christmas to me. I'm still reacquainting myself as it's been 5yrs (almost) since I've been on a bike but I'm sooo excited. Have fun everyone!