Reader Stories: Life is Short—Take the Wheel!

Two readers seize the chance to ride their own

By Caroline Lewandowsky, Kanata, Ontario; and Shirley M. Good, Circleville, Ohio

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Editors Note: After losing loved ones, these women realized that “someday” had become now or never. Rather than be content in the passenger seat, both chose to go after their dream of owning a motorcycle. Read their inspiring stories and share your own in the comments below.

A New Adventure Among Many
I am 46 years old and very happily married to Jim. We have two children in university. For me, learning to ride a motorcycle was something I wanted to do before I retire.

Jims mom passed away from battling cancer nine years ago, before she saw her retirement. My brothers wife passed away three years ago when she was 45. My dad lost his battle with cancer one year ago, which took up his newly retired life. I have always loved to try new and adventurous things, such as downhill skiing, snowshoeing, and off-roading in our Jeep. Just after we had our babies, we took up whitewater kayaking. We camped and went on whitewater trips that were outstanding. We just love the outdoors. Of course, my close friends and family always thought we were crazy for trying “extreme” sports. When we decided to go bungee jumping over the Ottawa River, I didnt dare tell my mom for the longest time!

Caroline with her 2011 Harley-Davidson SuperLow.

Jim and I bought our 2009 Harley-Davidson Super Glide in the fall of 2008, and I was thrilled to be a passenger on it. He had always wanted to ride a Harley, and we had just become mortgage-free, so we decided to go ahead and purchase one. We rode it for as long as we could before storing it for the winter. During my dads last Christmas with us, he got to see our new bike parked in the garage. His hope was to see us riding in person when we came to visit him.

Last year, I took the local safety course with a girlfriend. A week later, I bought a 2011 Harley-Davidson SuperLow, and now I ride every chance I get! I love every minute of it, and my mom got to see Jim and I ride up to her place on our bikes recently. I know she is happy that we are loving life and having more adventures together.

Caroline Lewandowsky
Kanata, Ontario

Carrying On A Family Tradition
I got a late start with motorcycling, starting at the age of 55. I got tired of waiting on a man to drive the motorcycle every time I wanted to ride. I said the heck with that, took a couple of riding classes and got my own bike.

Shirley with her 2010 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Trike FLHXXX.

This is my new 2010 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Trike. I traded in a 2008 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe due to its heavy weight and some medical issues with my hip and knee. I still have a Honda Shadow, which is a great deal lighter. I have been riding for a couple of years now. My 83-year-old father passed away in 2009. He still raced dirt bikes up until the year he died. My father was such an inspiration for me to start riding, along with three other generations of my family who also rode.

Every time I take off on my trike, especially on a sunny day, I can see my dad smiling. With each roar of the pipes, I hear his voice telling me to have fun and be safe.

Shirley M. Good
Circleville, Ohio

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13 thoughts on Reader Stories: Life is Short—Take the Wheel!

  1. I loved reading all these stories but I didn’t see my story. I rode on the back of my husband’s bike for 30 years until one day he left me for someone else who is now riding our bike. I miss riding I think more than I miss him. I have decided to learn to ride. Do you think it’s possible for a 52-year-old woman to learn to ride on her own? I have been working out at the gym to get in better shape. Any other suggestions or should I put away the dream I’ve had for years.

  2. Love the personal stories here! I just signed up for the MSF course here in Vegas and I am totally excited. I have always wanted to ride across country on my own motorcycle and taking this class is the first step in my journey. I was a passenger on my ex-husband’s bike, but soon grew tired of not being a driver. I feel like now is my time to take hold of a lifelong dream and make it reality. Finding this site has given me the strength to go out there and do it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. I love reading all the stories about women learning to ride and women who have been riding for years. It’s very exciting and inspirational. I can’t wait until I’m able to learn to ride and purchase my own bike. I wonder why we always wait until we lose our loved ones to realize life is short and we need to live everyday like it was our last. I’ve lost family to cancer, my oldest brother at 35 to a heart attack and know how short life is. I am working my butt off to be able to purchase myself a bike. As we all know this is an expensive hobby but will be well worth it once I get on the road. My goal is to be able to purchase a bike in 2012. I want to be on the road before the riding season ends. Wish me luck. Be safe out there. Hope I see you in the wind soon.

  4. I started riding at 17, 40 years ago! I meet all kinds of gals on the road who tell me, “Oh I wish I could ride,” or “I want a motorcycle so bad!” I always tell them, “Do not wait, do it now.” Life is short and we are not promised tomorrow, as your stories present. Riding opens up a whole new world — relaxation, pleasure, adventure and socializing. If I didn’t have a motorcycle, I would just be another mom/grandma. Ride ladies! Follow your dream.

  5. Some day is truly here and now, and nothing gives you the now-wow like riding a m’cycle. I didn’t think I could do it, and 15 years and 10 bikes later, one fabulous 5326 miles trip to the Grand Canyon last May really cinched it. My mom who passed away in April was with me all the way. Parting the clouds and lighting our path.Thanks gals for sharing. Safe travels.

  6. I love reading all the article. I have been riding for 10-plus years. I lost my riding partner two years ago to cancer. She rode every day she wasn’t doing treatment. We left our husbands one day for two weeks riding the states. It was the time of my life. Miss you girl.

  7. I love reading about the determined women. It gives me such an inspiration to persevere. I had a stroke in May and my doctor seemed more concerned about me getting on my bike too early. I knew that my determination to ride again was my spirit to heal fast, and beat the recovery. I went out in the garage everyday with my cane, drooled over my bike, started it up once weekly. Told everyone that my goal was to overcome this stroke and ride in the spring of 2012. I am now back to good health. Strengthen the right side more with weights, able to practicing lifting and parking my Honda 750 ACE, and I know I will ride in the spring. I count myself in as one of those determined riding sisters.

  8. I love these stories. Keep riding gals. I’m 59 and riding a trike kit on my Honda Shadow. Love it. My partner is 70 and I have her on a trike kit on her Yamaha V Star. Love the stability of the trike add-on kit. Works great at a much lower cost.

  9. I love the articles. Ride on girls! Before I turned 50 my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said at this point of my life I am now looking at my bucket list and number one is a motorcycle. He was so shocked! I giggled and told him I wanted a Harley for my 50th birthday. We found a used 2005 Softail Deluxe until they came out with my dream color in 2010 and then traded the 2005 Softail Deluxe for my dream color 2010 Softail Deluxe and I have been in heaven ever since (sort of speak). I love riding and wish I would’ve done this sooner, however, I can’t turn the clock back so I’m enjoying every minute when I am able to ride my bike! I love reading these inspirational articles and I can relate with the women when they express their love for riding. Sweet passion! Ride safe ladies and enjoy the wind in your faces!

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