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Gina Hulbirt wanted to ride a motorcycle all her life, but she didn’t quite know where to begin. She felt that owning and riding her own motorcycle was a fantasy. “I can want it, but I’ll never get it,” Gina said of her thoughts on the subject. “It’s just like owning my own house. I didn’t think I would get a house unless I was married. All that responsibility—I thought I would have to have a man to be able to do that.” But eventually, Gina bought her own house.
The single registered nurse from Lake Worth, Fla., has always enjoyed fast cars and motorcycles. But until a few years ago, the only way she’d indulged her interest in motorsports was by buying herself a fancy sports car. To satisfy her passion for motorcycles, she would occasionally ride on the backseat of a friend’s motorcycle.
Eventually, Gina set a goal, something she says she wishes she’d done 20 years ago: she would take the MSF class for her 50th birthday. “I knew if I didn’t do it by then, I probaby would never do it,” she said. By age 52, Gina had taken the training class but had yet to buy a motorcycle. She felt her riding skills getting rusty and feared she might have to take the class over again.
Procrastination is a common reason for not taking the plunge completely. It isn’t typically lack of desire behind that procrastination, but lack of resources, both financial and emotional. Gina’s reasons for delaying the processs were emotional—as a single woman, she didn’t feel capable enough to own a motorcycle. She also cited financial reasons as an obstacle. “I didn’t think I could afford a bike. I already had a loan for my house and my car. I don’t have a high-paying job. A motorcycle is a luxury.”
For many women like Gina, the process of learning to ride a bike and then actually purchasing one can take several years. Certain mental, emotional and financial issues have to be worked through first. Gina eventually realized that her desire to ride and own her own bike was getting stronger and stronger. “I set a new goal: to have a bike within two years,” she said. “That way, it would become more of a reality for me instead of a fantasy or a dream that would never be fulfilled.”
Gina accomplished that second goal. She eventually went out and bought a used 1994 Yamaha Virago 535. “It was a beautiful purple bike in mint condition. I loved it,” she said. “I had the bike about a year, and when my friends asked me to go to Daytona, I was excited but also very scared. I had never been over 50 mph, never rode on I-95 or the turnpike. Needless to say, I was excited and scared, but it was wonderful. By the time we got back to Lake Worth, I realized that if I was going to be doing any long-distance riding, I would want a bigger bike.”
She rode the Virago for a year and then splurged on a new Yamaha V Star 650 Custom. “I put lots of things on it: saddlebags, footboards, a windshield, changed the mirrors, put new handle grips on and some chrome covers on the tail and front lights. It’s so beautiful, and the color is my very favorite: purple.”
Gina has been riding for four years now and says it’s an important part of her life. “I try to get out at least once a week, just to feel the freedom,” she said. “I hope to ride as long as I possibly can.”