Do you have a story to share? Please send it to us, but follow these submission guidelines.

I’m 56 years old and just started riding a motorcycle last July. I had been a passenger on several different bikes while growing up. In fact, I only started dating my husband 22 years ago because he rode a motorcycle!

Filling the Empty Nest with Motorcycles Triumph ATGATT
Despite some other pictures that show me posing on my bike without gear, I am an ATGATT girl.

When my husband and I married and had our son, we quit riding for 21 years. But the minute our son left for college, I suggested to my husband that it was time to get back on a motorcycle. So, we bought a BMW F800 GT that he still rides today.

Filling the Empty Nest with Motorcycles Mazda Miata
I enjoyed riding as my husband’s passenger, but decided to get my own mid-life crisis toy—this fun little red convertible Mazda Miata.

While I love my little Miata, it just didn’t quite satisfy my wanderlust. With our only child off to college, the empty nest and thoughts about getting old got me thinking that I really needed something new, exciting, and challenging in my life.

On a whim, I asked my husband if he thought it was a crazy idea for me to learn how to ride a motorcycle. To my surprise, he thought it was a great idea and supported me completely.

I signed up and took the MSF Basic RiderCourse in early July. I did not pass though; I quit during the next to last exercise. I was simply overwhelmed and overstimulated with this particular exercise, an intersection with sharp right turns and U-turns with eight bikes coming and going at the same time! Yikes! Anyway, I stayed for the end of the class to watch my classmates take their test, then I departed.

Filling the Empty Nest with Motorcycles Honda Rebel
My first motorcycle was this Honda Rebel 300 purchased right before I took my class.

I spent the rest of the summer riding with my husband. We also spent time practicing the exercises I learned in my class. My husband has been a rider since he was young, so he enjoyed practicing the exercises on his bike along with me.

My permit is good for a year, so I felt that I could wait until next spring/summer to get my license, but not having my license was like a black cloud over my head. I wanted it, and I wanted it now! So I scheduled my license test at the DMV for mid-October.

I was so nervous I barely slept for the two weeks leading up to my scheduled test. I had a wonderful lady instructor and she helped me to relax. I did great and passed! I was so excited!

The little Honda Rebel was an awesome learner bike for me and I feel 100% that it was the right decision to start on. I’m 5 feet 3 inches and weigh 125 pounds. I wanted a bike that I could easily flat foot, and maneuver around the garage. The Rebel provided that for me, and was easy enough to ride that I gained confidence quickly.

When I bought my Rebel from a woman who had also used it as her first bike, I was thinking that she moved up to another bike rather quickly. After one summer with the Rebel, I was also ready to get something bigger.

With our future riding plans and travel in mind, I started researching my next bike. I selected a Triumph Street Twin. It is a 900cc bike, and I was a little afraid that it would be too much for me.

Filling the Empty Nest with Motorcycles Triumph Street Twin
When I test rode the Street Twin, I fell in love! It is such an easy bike to ride, and it fits me perfectly—not to mention how beautiful she is. Yes, I’m smitten.

Sadly, I live in Ohio, so my beautiful bike is now all “settled in for a long winters nap”. Spring/Summer cannot come quick enough for me!

As other women have stated this in their stories, I too wish I had learned sooner! My husband and I are talking about getting a trailer so that in the near future we can plan trips and take our bikes with us to explore and ride. I was devastated when my son left for college, wondering what I would do with myself. Well, now I know!

Have you customized your motorcycle a little or a lot? No matter what you did, we want to show off your bike and you on WRN! Find out how to submit your bike photos here.

Related Articles
Beginners Guide: Motorcycle Training Classes for New Riders
Beginners Guide: Motorcycles to Get Started On
More Reader Stories

7 thoughts on Filling the Empty Nest with Motorcycles

  1. Elaine, I can relate to so much of this article. I, too, got off the back of my husband’s bike at 50, failed my first class, then took the test again and got my endorsement at 51. We’re also empty-nesters. I live pretty close to you in Aurora, OH. I started on a Sportster 1200 but one year later moved up to my current bike, a 2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Custom. I’ll be 60 next summer and still enjoy riding. Maybe we’ll see each other one day!

  2. Great job sticking with it! You won’t regret it.

  3. Please keep sharing these stories. I’m passing 60 years old. I am a disabled veteran and have Parkinson’s but I try to do it all…key word, “ try”. My husband has a few Harleys and he is also a disabled vet. I don’t want to ride with him. I want to ride myself. I know that whatever bike I choose, modifications will be needed in order for me to ride. First, I need to learn. I enjoy the encouragement I feel after reading other women’s experiences.

  4. I love reading WRN’s stories. I am taking a rider’s class in March and am so nervous … but ready. I, too, have been riding on the back seat for a long time. I am looking forward to the day when I can jump on my own bike.Keep the stories coming…I need all the encouragement I can get!

  5. I had a goal to have my first bike before I turned 50. I did it and I’ve got five years to go! I’d only ever ridden scooters so it was something I wanted to do right. Helmet, gloves, jacket, boots, class, bike.My daughter was married in September 2018, 3 or 4 weeks after I purchased my beautiful Kawasaki Vulcan 650s. I can flat-foot it and she (my beautiful Vulcan) fits like a glove! I puttered around the neighborhood waiting for my MSF class to not be cancelled due to weather. I practiced slow maneuvers, stops, shifting, starting from a stop, etc. I never went faster than 20 mph and stayed in the neighborhood. It took a bit as Colorado weather can be persnickety.Finally, the first weekend of October I took the MSF BasicRider class. I passed and got my endorsement. I was ecstatic! It still took a few weeks to get out of the neighborhood to try the low traffic roads in my tiny town. I have gotten out on the Vulcan multiple times every month (only a few times this February as it has been a bit cold). This month I finally got the confidence to head out of town and conquered that nervousness.Both my husband and his brother admit that my Vulcan is sheer fun and I couldn’t agree more. Yes, I said my hubby is right! We’ve gotten saddlebags and are ready to install. I am super stoked to have more adventures to come. I am glad that I didn’t wait until I was 50!

  6. Good on you Elaine! My husband and I are in the same boat. The kids are grown up and largely left home (we have one that keeps coming back). I found that sitting on the back of his bike wasn’t really doing it for me anymore. So at 51 years of age I scared my 70-year-old parents and signed up for my pre-learner course. It took two times but I got there. It’s much more fun doing it for myself.

  7. I’m glad to see that she took a rider’s class! Very important. Also, learning on a small bike is very good, but you soon see how quickly you outgrow that small bike.Our women’s motorcycle club donated a bike and money to rider education and our bylaws state that in order to join the club, you have to take a class.I waited until my kids were in school full-time, then took a rider education course. I rode from age 49 to 74 but sadly, due to arthritis in my hands, had to give it up. I still almost droll when out in the car and see a group of bikes go by. I’m so grateful that I rode when I could. I enjoyed it so very much and have lifelong friends because of motorcycling!

Scroll to Top