Meeting Her Next Husband Leads to a Love of Riding Motorcycles

Finding love and motorcycling later in life

By Charlie Houmes, Fox Island, Washington

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Meeting Her Next Husband Leads to a Love of Riding Motorcycles charlie darrell
Charlie and her DNH (Darling New Husband), Darrell, with her engagement present, a Honda Shadow VLX 600. Charlie settled on the VLX by researching good starter bikes and reading WRN’s Beginner’s Guide: Motorcycles to Get Started On. Photo by Tahoma Photography/Jim Wilkerson.

Following the passing of my husband in 2017, I met my wonderful new love through an online dating service. I now refer to Darrell as my DNH (Darling New Husband). He had also lost his wife to cancer. After facing devastating loss we were thrilled to find love again. I was also thrilled to discover he owns two motorcycles: a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide and a BMW S 1000 XR. I became a willing a passenger but the love of the road tugged on my heart for more.

Meeting Her Next Husband Leads to a Love of Riding Motorcycles wedding
Charlie and Darrell on their wedding day. Falling in love with a motorcyclist was just icing on the cake for Charlie.

While DNH, a commercial airline pilot, was away completing training on a new jet, I secretly enrolled in motorcycle safety school. I had two goals: learn to be a better passenger and ride a small motorcycle safely (for vacations). I had not ridden on the front of a motorcycle in more than 45 years.

At 58, I was the oldest in my safety class, which included four women and eight men. We gals supported and encouraged each other and we all passed on the first try. My safety instructor mentioned that every time I rode by him during the course I had a big grin on my face—I had rediscovered a love of riding!

Needless to say, my DNH was surprised and thrilled when he learned about my accomplishment. He had already decided to ask me to marry him, as we had both fallen deeply in love. When asked what kind of engagement ring I would like, I asked for my own motorcycle instead. He responded with, “How about both?” I said, “Yes!”

I devoured everything I could read or watch on the internet regarding motorcycle safety, gear, and selection of a first bike. Women Riders Now is my primary go-to for information. I read every article several times. The information it provides for women is extremely valuable and tremendously appreciated.

After months of day rides on my Honda VLX 600 around my neighborhood and through the small town of Gig Harbor, I started to venture out for longer trips, mostly solo as my DNH was gone days at a time for work. The freedom and the learning experience on my rides was challenging and fun. My first bike was great to learn on, but I soon realized I wanted a few more amenities such as heated grips, gas gauge, and slightly longer fuel range.

Meeting Her Next Husband Leads to a Love of Riding Motorcycles BMW F 750 GS
Charlie’s second motorcycle, a BMW F 750 GS, is a tremendous Christmas present, and in Charlie’s words, her “ticket to adventure.”

My DNH came to the rescue again with a wonderful gift of my BMW F 750 GS. This bike is a pleasure to ride and fits me perfectly. The factory offered a lowered version which made a tremendous difference in my ability to reach the ground, as did the change to a riding boot with a heel and lifts. I also appreciate the safety features of the bike’s ABS brakes and Automatic Stability Control.

We are fortunate to have some beautiful roads and scenery here in the Pacific Northwest—riding the Puget Sound waterfront and Mount Rainier are among my favorites. We are also close to both the Washington and Oregon beaches for more great riding.

Meeting Her Next Husband Leads to a Love of Riding Motorcycles Group Ride
Charlie’s first group ride with the women’s motorcycle club, Warrior Angel Riders.

My confidence and skill are continuing to grow. I have joined a women’s riding club—Warrior Angel Riders—based out of Tacoma, Washington. We participate in local charity rides, rider’s education, and entertaining activities. They have welcomed me into their club and helped hone my group riding skills. They are a “classy all-womens motorcycle riding group whose core values are beauty, empowerment, strength, and trust. We strive to always bring our best to the world of lady riders and to our group.”

As a couple, my husband and I plan many adventures after he retires. We recently purchased a small motorhome and trailer to take our bikes around the country to explore and visit family. We also have group riding tours planned for New Zealand, Europe, and South America. With my new riding skills I will be able to ride my own bike instead of being a passenger.

There you have it–two love stories in one.

Thank you to Women Riders Now and all the great readers for your comments, suggestions, and tips to assist us newbie riders.

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

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