Beginner’s Guide: Anne’s Story

For more stories like Anne’s, visit WRN’s Reader Stories section.A common reason why some women put off riding their own motorcycle is because they’re comfortable in the passenger seat. Well, sort of. “I love being on the back,” said Anne Benner of Colorado Springs, Colo. “But I’m envious of the girls who are riding. They look like they’re really enjoying themselves.”Like many women involved in motorcycling, Anne became exposed to the two-wheeled lifestyle through a male partner—in her case, her husband, Jim. “He just decided he wanted a bike and was at a point in his life where he could afford to get one,” she said. “We were dating at the time, so we enjoyed riding together.”

Anne, an insurance claims representative, said at the time of our interview that she would probably get her motorcycle license and her own bike if it weren’t for two reasons. First, she enjoys the experience of riding with her husband. Her second reason is one of the most common: finances. “I’m a conservative person, and the motorcycle is like a toy,” she said. “Jim has his toy, and I can enjoy it with him. I don’t necessarily need my own toy.”

Anne wrestled with leaving the passenger seat of her husband's motorcycle to ride her own.
Anne wrestled with leaving the passenger seat of her husband’s motorcycle to ride her own.

Anne says she has been mostly content riding behind Jim, but lately she’s been watching women riders enviously as they control their own machines. “I don’t like the feeling of not having control on the backseat,” she told us. “Sometimes it puts me in an uncomfortable position, like if we get too close to a car.”The 42-year-old suspects she’d love the independence that comes with being in conrol of her own bike. “It’s being able to do my own thing—ride, play, and take off with the girls and go to lunch. Just having more freedom.”

While riding as a passenger is a wonderful way to experience the motorcycling lifestyle, there are many women like Anne who wonder what the ride would be like from the front seat. Recently, after two years perched behind Jim, Anne felt the timing was right, so she signed up for the motorcycle training course. “I want to take the rider’s class first just to make sure I can handle it,” she told us. “I’m pretty strong for a gal. I think I should be able to handle it, but I wonder if I’m not too spacy. I don’t want to do anything to hurt myself.”

Anne predicts that after she becomes a licensed rider, she’ll still snuggle up behind Jim on occasion. And that’s OK. Riding in the back is a luxury women riders can enjoy when they choose to do so. “It will still be a great way for us to be together and have that closeness,” Anne said of switching to the backseat every so often. “I can kick back and really see the scenery and take it all in.”

A few months after we interviewed Anne, she told us she had passed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training class and bought a used Harley-Davidson Sportster 883. “I rode to Sturgis this year, feeling spontaneous on my 43rd birthday,” she said. “So I guess I am now an official biker chick!” Way to go, Anne!

Looking for more information on how to get started?

Return to the Where Do I Start? section of the WRN Beginner’s Guide

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