From the Back Seat to the Front

A motorcycle rental, a supportive husband, and a desire to explore got the process started

By Jenny Satterthwait, Parker, Colorado

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

It wasn’t long ago that my husband, Ernie, and I rented a Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited for the weekend. We had been living in England for two years and experienced a lot of adventure, new places, and once–in-a-lifetime experiences with new friends. But when we moved back to Parker, Colorado, where we had only lived for a year before we left for England, we really didn’t know anyone outside of work. And after being on such a high for so long, we were wondering what to do with ourselves.

Women Riders Now E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on all things motorcycle! Latest gear, bikes and products reviews. Travel ideas, great product giveaways, and more.

back seat to the front couple
Jenny and Ernie Satterthwait explore their relatively new state of Colorado by renting a Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited. Later they would purchase their own Ultra Limited, in green, shown here at the Taylor Reservoir in Gunnison, Colorado. And a few months later, Jenny would get her own bike, an Ultra Limited Low, here in red, after riding on the back and loving it.

My husband had been talking about getting a motorcycle but I had never ridden. One Saturday in August 2014, I decided to make it an “all about him” day. We went flying early in the morning (he is a pilot), shooting at a local gun club, and finally test-riding several motorcycles. We rode a BMW, Honda Gold Wing, and then a Harley-Davidson Street Glide, which was really uncomfortable for me. Then I got on the back of a Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited and there was no turning back.

We rented that Ultra Limited for the next weekend with me riding as apassenger, found a twisty road on the map, and booked a hotel. We had terrible traffic getting out of Denver on a Friday night (no surprise there), ran into rain, and Imistakenly leaned against the turnon the first few tight turns. The next day brought glorious sun, beautiful scenery, 40 mph winds, torrential rain, ice pellets, and more sun. Even with all these challenges, I loved it!

back seat to the front ultra limited low
Exploring their home state of Colorado on two wheels allows Jenny (shown here with the motorcycle she would eventually transition to) and Ernie to take in epic mountain views, like this one in Gunnison, as well as spend time together as a couple.

I know now that Colorado has some of the most fantastic motorcycle roads in the country. The twisty road I picked was Highway 34 through Rocky Mountain National Park (also known as Trail Ridge.) My husband did an awesome job riding that big Harley-Davidson even though he hadn’t ridden a road bike since 1979.

One week later we bought a 2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited to ride as a couple and joined the localHOG (Harley Owners Group) chapter.Riding was fun! When Ernie asked me if I would like to learn to ride, I responded with, “No, I’m just fine riding on the back with you!”

Fast forward to the first week in November when I had a big change of heart. I ended up getting my very own Yamaha V Star 650. We were invited to ride with two other couples the weekend I got my bike and I will be forever grateful that they “adopted” us. Three months and 1,700 miles later and I was hooked (even though I had been riding all winter with no windshield, no heated gloves, and very little cold weather gear.)

After riding for a few months, my husband asked me if I wanted to ride locally or tour. I really didnt know, but answered, “tour!” On February 14th (yes, Valentine’s Day) Ernie bought me aHarley-Davidson Ultra Limited Low, the lower version of his bike. Since the trunk was more than a little daunting to me, we bought the kit necessary to take it off and together we transformed it into my bike. She is beautiful!

back seat to the front harleys packed
It didn’t take long riding behind Ernie for Jenny to catch the “riding bug.” As much as she enjoyed it, she was destined to ride her own. Jenny’s red Ultra Limited Low has the top-heavy trunk removed, but a bag on the back seat and attached to the sissybar offers more storage and back support without compromising handling.

I put more than 6,000 miles on my motorcycle in six months. We’ve been all over Colorado and have taken long trips through Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

back seat to the front harley davidson ultra limited low
Jenny enjoying a break from the ride in Conifer, Colorado, with her Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited Low.

back seat to the front pikes peak
Jenny with her Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited Low at Pikes Peak, Colorado. Surmounting this infamous mountain road is a challenge for any rider and one to be proud of!

back seat to the front kerr dam montana
Jenny and Ernie at Kerr Dam near Polson, Montana. The couple has been exploring together on two wheels for two years with no end in sight. Since renting that first Ultra Limited, Jenny says they’ve “had a lot of adventure, seen new places, met new friends, and had many once in a lifetime experiences. Life is good!”

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

Related Articles
Top 5 Touring Motorcycles Women Are Riding Now
Passenger Riding Tips
Reader Story: My Motorcycle Trip of a Lifetime
Passenger Friendly: Riding on the Back and Loving It!
More Reader Stories

5 thoughts on From the Back Seat to the Front

  1. I can relate, only I don’t ride nearly as much as I’d like to. My husband (after I relented—I knew I’d never win) got himself a used Kawasaki Vulcan 800. It’s not a comfortable ride for me, as he’s 6 feet 2 inches and I’m 5 feet 7 inches. I rode on the back for a year, but thought he was having more fun. The year after he got his bike, I found out I had incurable, but treatable cancer (neuroendocrine tumors), got laid off from a job I’d had for more than 12 years, and became a grandmother. So what’s a woman to do? Take the motorcycle safety course, what else? I’ll admit I was the oldest one there, but didn’t care. I got myself a Kawasaki Vulcan 500, which was a little big for me, then went to an Eliminator 125. Had lots of fun on that little thing for a year, then back to the 500 for two years, and now have a Suzuki Boulevard c50, which I love. Some days my cancer gets me too tired to ride, but on my good days, and good weather, watch out!

  2. I rode on the back of my husband’s Harley-Davidson for more than 10 years. We have done trips to Alaska, Michigan, Sturgis, and all over the Northwest. I never had any desire to ride my own—too scary! Then I sat on a Can-Am Spyder and thought, “I can handle this.” I know it’s not a bike but I like that I don’t have to lean and I can take everything with me but the kitchen sink. I’ve had my Spyder for two years now. I like the independence of riding my own bike and my husband likes having his own too. Now we are traveling even more.

  3. After years of dreaming to ride this is what I wound up with — a Harley-Davidson V-Rod with a Motor Trike conversion kit. It’s amazing and I love being in the wind!

  4. I went from the back of a Harley-Davidson Road King Classic when my best friend decided to go back to his ex-wife (which failed again.) I decided to take lessons and bought a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883XL Standard. It’s my first bike and she’s a wobbly little thing. I love to ride, but have dropped it four times since buying her when trying to park. Short legs are my enemy and my lessons for picking her up worked only at the store but so far not on the road. I shall persevere though!

Scroll to Top