From Car Racing to Motorcycle Riding

Born into a family of motorsports enthusiasts, this woman was destined to ride motorcycles

By Elizabeth Idell, Wrightstown, New Jersey

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Elizabeth was given her first motorcycle ride at age 55 on the back of a Harley-Davidson Sportster. Five years later, she learned how to ride. Today, she rides this awesome Road King Classic!

My family has always been involved in automotive activities. My father, father-in-law, husband, son, and granddaughter were all racecar drivers. We were heavily involved in all aspects of auto racing. I had family members who rode motorcycles, but I never had an interest because my life was full of car racing.

After my divorce and leaving the racing atmosphere, something new came into my life. After being single for quite awhile, I reconnected with a recently widowed friend who I’d known since we were children. He posted pictures of his orange motorcycle on Facebook and showed up at my house on a Saturday morning and invited me to ride with him to lunch on his newly acquired Harley-Davidson Sportster. The rest is history—or, like I say, the beginning of a new life!

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I quickly became the lady of a wonderful man on a Harley and after many trips on the Sportster and a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic that we rode to Sturgis on, I decided maybe I would try this riding thing.

For my 60th birthday, this great guy signed me up for a beginners motorcycle course to become a motorcyclist myself. I failed the first time, but went back and passed with flying colors. I joked with my instructor that I couldn’t make the sharp right turns because I’m a racecar driver—we go fast and only turn left! But it all came together and now I feel I’m a pretty good rider.

Just two weeks after getting my motorcycle license, I was riding a Honda Shadow Aero 1100 when I messed up while cornering and crashed. Luckily, I wasn’t badly hurt so I got back on after a short recovery and have been riding safely ever since.

With a lot of encouragement from my brother, I purchased a 2005 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic that I love very much. I put about 12,000 miles on it in the first year and plan to continue this pace for as long as I can.

Riding has become a way of life for most of my family; my son, niece, and brother are all riders. My brother is now my guardian angel who rides with us from heaven, having passed away just two weeks after I purchased the Road King that he so wanted me to ride.

Elizabeth’s only regret is that she didn’t discover the love of riding sooner. She says, “Learning to ride at age 60 was in no way easy, but I ride with a Harley-Davidson owner’s group (HOG) and the other riders are very helpful and patient.”

I ride as often as I can. I’ve rented motorcycles when visiting my son and his family in Florida. Last year, my guy and I took a long weekend road trip to Niagara Falls and enjoyed New York’s beautiful countryside, visiting vineyards and just relaxing. The future plan is to attend Rolling Thunder in Washington DC, then head down to the Tail of the Dragon where we will ride very carefully and experience the renowned 318 curves in 11 miles. For something that I never thought I’d do, riding has become a love—a way of life and total relaxation and excitement in my life.

I have much respect for my fellow women riders and for women like AMA Hall of Famer, Gloria Struck Tramontin. I would like to meet her someday, but for now, ladies, ride safe, ride for life, ride for laughter, ride for love!

Dedicated to the loving memory of my brother, James R. Scott (1952-2015).

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1 thought on From Car Racing to Motorcycle Riding

  1. I started riding just before my 57th birthday. I have my license and ride most every day depending on weather. I love it! I have a 2001 Harley-Davidson XLc. It is the most relaxing hobby I have! I took a motorcycle safety class back in 1982 and again in 2017.

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