Reader Story: Learning to Ride, One Motorcycle at a Time

If you think you can, you can!

By Pam King, Boerne, Texas

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Learning to ride Honda Shadow Aero
Pam King with her Honda Shadow Aero 750.

It all began 4 years ago. With the children grown and out of the house, my husband, Neil, said, “Its time to start riding again.” I said, “Have fun”! I had never ridden on a motorcycle, except for once when I was 18, and that ride was enough for me. I also once rode on the back of Neil’s motorcycle and didn’t think it was that much fun. But, for my 50th birthday, Neil somehow managed to have me take motorcycle lessons. I did well—I didnt drop the bike, I didnt get sent home, so I thought, OK, I can ride a motorcycle!

Learning to ride Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Pam with her Kawasaki Vulcan 500cc, the motorcycle she felt was too much for her. This bike is actually pretty powerful for its size boasting a 6-speed transmission and a physical size and styling resembling a that of a much bigger motorcycle.

We had already purchased a Kawasaki Vulcan 500 for me to ride, so when I got home I jumped on and proceeded to lay it down at every stop sign. Neil decided I needed to start with a smaller bike so he bought me a used Kawasaki Eliminator 125. I loved that little thing! I rode it everywhere, but my top speed was only about 50 miles per hour. We decided I should move up to a Buell Blast 500cc for a little more power.

During spring break that year, Neil and I rode the Twisted Sisters in Leakey, Texas. I thought I would never do those “twisties,” but I did. That same week he decided it was time for me to take the advanced riders motorcycle course. It was a womens only class and all the women there were about as big as my little finger and riding large Harley-Davidson Softails, while I was on my Buell Blast. I told Neil after the class I wanted my “big bike” and I again began riding the Vulcan. The next September, we purchased a Honda Shadow Aero 750, and then I moved “up” to a Honda VTX 1300. Two years ago, I purchased a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.

Learning to ride Buell Blast
Pam really connected with the Buell Blast.

With riding, some women just “get it” and then there are those like me, who have to start small and work their way up. I have now logged approximately 50,000 miles on the numerous bikes I have owned over the last 5 years. Since the beginning of my motorcycle “career” we have been organizers of the Hill Country Motorcycle Riders of Texas where we lead rides throughout the hill country. We have made life-long friends doing what we love—riding our motorcycles! Fortunately, living in the Texas hill country we have the weather to ride almost every weekend. Today, I have moved up, once again, to a 2012 Harley-Davidson Red Ember Street Glide, and I am also the road caption for my local HOG chapter (Harley Owners Group). A few years ago I retired from working as a school counselor. One of my favorite things to tell students is that you can do anything you want to do, if you put your mind to it. I actually use my story of learning to ride a motorcycle as an example for my students. In the words of Henry Ford, “If you think you can do a thing or if you think you cant, youre right.”

Learning to ride Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic
Finally, after trying many bikes, Pam gets her “big bike,” a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.

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3 thoughts on Reader Story: Learning to Ride, One Motorcycle at a Time

  1. Great story! I turned 40 last year and have always wanted my own bike. I decided before my 40th birthday that the one thing I would accomplish off my bucket list, before I turned 41, was getting a Harley. I looked and couldn’t decide on what I wanted for sure but was in love with the Street Glide. Being my first bike, my husband and father were reluctant to think I could actually handle it and pretty much told me I couldn’t. Well, call it motivation, or crazy… I bought a Street Glide and I have learned to ride it!! I have set it down a few times but practice makes perfect!

  2. Pam: I live right down the road from you (in Texas terms, anyway), and I love your story. I am gearing up to move from a Vespa 150 LXV to a “real” bike (don’t know why I bought it, really – as fun as it is, I’ve always wanted a motorcycle, not a scooter), and stories like yours, and those of the other gals on this site, just give me more and more confidence that I am making the right choice. I am 52 now, feel much younger, and happy to know that I am not alone; that there are plenty of us “fall chickens” out there on the roads. Maybe someday I cross paths with you out on Old No. 9! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Loved the story. I can definitely relate to starting smaller and working up. After our youngest was in his last semester of college,I gave my husband the OK to by a bike again. In spring of 2000, for his birthday, he picked up a new Yamaha V Star 1300. That summer I rode as a passenger. The next spring I told him I thought I could ride my own again. I had not ridden for 30 years and back then it was on a small 125. So, in June of 2009 I purchased a use Honda Aero 750. After 6000 miles that summer, I was ready for a different bike. I had my eyes on a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 LT. Bought it in November and put 17,000 miles on it by the end of the next summer. Keep in mind that we live in Iowa and our riding months are shorter than some areas. Understatement! I told my husband if I was going to do that much riding I felt I needed something with more power. I started researching the Victory models and headed to the dealer. In October of 2010 I purchased a Victory Crossroads and rode it for 25,000 miles. In August of 2012 I purchased my second Victory Crossroads to get the ABS and have 28,000 miles on it. I truly love the bike and absolutely love the large storage capacity of the saddlebags. I am now thinking about the new Indian Chieftain but hate to give up the storage but who knows, I think I will be doing a test ride when the weather permits!

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