Reader Story: No More Dreaming—Just Do It!

No longer a passenger in the ride of life

By Fran Mayko, Milford, Connecticut

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When I turned 54, I dyed my hair fire-engine red, pierced my ears with a second set of holes, and obtained my motorcycle license. Friends and family chalked it up to a mid-life crisis; I looked upon it as throwing abandon to the wind.

When I was younger, it never occurred to me to change my hair color or to double-pierce my ears, but I always wanted to ride a bike. Of course, that never happened because life got in my way. As job and family demands increased, I put off getting the license until two years ago.

Fran bought her 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD on eBay.

When I announced my decision, my mother questioned my sanity, my coworkers rolled their eyes, and my husband harped on the dangers of motorcycling. All were quick to point out every local news report involving a motorcycle fatality or injury. But as an AAA employee, Im well aware of the inherent dangers of motorcycling.

But Im also quite conscious that with every action you take theres a certain level of risk, whether its getting out of bed in the morning or driving a motor vehicle. And if properly trained, I truly believe motorcycling could be one of the most invigorating pastimes Id ever experience. So as a birthday present to myself, I signed up for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) class to master the basics of operating a bike. Upon completion, my instructor handed me my certificate, along with a piece of advice thats forever etched like a VIN in my psyche: “Just remember… youre only getting a license to practice.”

With my licenses new motorcycle endorsement, I was now in hog heaven. But I faced my second obstacle: I didnt own a bike. Cautious by nature, I decided I wouldnt make such an investment until I gained more riding experience. But I was in a catch-22: How could I get that much-needed practice until I had something to ride?

Fran is passing along her love of riding to 10-year-old son, Michael, who gets to ride on the back with Mom.

To skirt this problem, I signed up as a MSF range aide where I set up cones for training classes, picked up litter along with dropped bikes, and performed your all-around go-fer duties in exchange for a small stipend and the opportunity to ride battered, state-owned 250ccs in parking lots during class breaks. More important, however, I picked up riding tips from instructors and learned from other students mistakes. And by the end of the season, I proudly announced I had 50 parking-lot miles to my credit.

During these sessions, I considered my next move: to buy a used bike that fit my short frame, my scant experience, and my limited budget. But again, my cautious nature took over. “What if I feel vulnerable in rush-hour traffic? What if I freak in a tandem trailers wake? What if an errant SUV clips me at an intersection? What if! What if! What if!” I knew I needed to face my fears. For me, the real test to press on was clear: I needed to ride on the back of a bike before buying one.

Recognizing my dilemma, a friend offered to take me on a “little ride” that ultimately knocked me over like a dropped bike. On the back of an Electra Glide one gorgeous weekend, I was mesmerized by the wide-open expanse of road and sky. I was amazed how different life looked from the back of a Harley!

As we raced along back roads, over dams, and under bridges, a mixture of sights, sounds, smells and feelings galvanized me. The sensuality of the ride floored me! Leaves sparkled like fireworks. Pungent odors of cedar and freshly cut grass mingled into a robust urban perfume. The resonance of ratcheting gears, whining engines, and revving throttles enveloped me. The sounds of traffic bombarded me on all sides.

Fran says shell no longer procrastinate on doing other things shes always wanted to do in life.

That night I couldnt sleep. I was wired. I was pumped. I was revved. I emailed my friend a thousand thanks, vaguely aware I sounded like a straitjacketed lunatic. When I arrived at work the next day, I smirked, I giggled, I bounced off walls. One colleague, himself a former rider who set aside his passion for marriage, kids and work, took one look at me and exclaimed, “You went on a ride!” My emotions burst like oil from a blown gasket. Through my joyful tears and hysterical giggles, I recounted my feelings and observations. “Where have I been all my life?” I shrieked.

Since that ride, Ive resolved Ill no longer go on hiatus from doing things I simply imagined. Instead of deferring my dreams, Ill give greater thought to experiencing new adventures, savoring unusual ideas and learning new skills. It may sound trite, but life is too short. That “little ride” amazed me and changed the way I view my existence. I was astonished how totally free, how utterly unrestrained, how absolutely liberating it is to be on a motorcycle.

Since then, Ive bought my first bike, a 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD, on eBay, no less. Ive continued to be range-aide where I still accumulate parking lot miles practicing stops, starts and turns. But Ive also accumulated nearly 1,000 miles traveling along Connecticuts back roads and scenic routes, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend. After that first ride, I decided this: with or without a bike, Id no longer be just a passenger in the ride of life.

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51 thoughts on Reader Story: No More Dreaming—Just Do It!

  1. Hey Ms. Fran,How awesome it was to see your picture on this website. It is even more awesome to have had you as my instructor at the Safety class and for your help in getting my baby (2012 Harley SuperLow) to my house. Boy after reading this article you are an inspiration to me, not just because I have met you and befriended you, but because you took the time to share with all of us the real fears that I’m sure we all experience when seeking to fulfill a dream. Thank you for being you and being my instructor and friend. It is an honor to have met you and to get to know you.

  2. Beautifully written! Although I rode my dad's dirt bike, I always rode on the back of my husband's. Until he started having atrial fibrillation and I thought, “I'd better get my license so I can get the bike home if he has trouble on the road.”

    That was five years ago, I'm on my third bike. I took the class, couldn't wait to get one and am so glad I did! I insisted on a little 250 for my first, I loved to lean and she was so nimble and forgiving – the dealers want you to go bigger, but you need to make all those mistakes on a little girl!

    I swapped her out for my “Second Sister,” a 750 Shadow that I love. I hope to get double the miles this year! I bought a third bike, a 98 600 Shadow to learn to work on. While she's a little older, she's just as beautiful as her paint is like new and runs great. I'll try an oil change, a tune up and just generally learn to take her apart and put her back together. Fortunately for me my husband is a mechanic so he can “supervise” and show me where I go wrong!
    So if you're holding back, get off the back, take the class and ride!

  3. I love your “get up and go” as I have just bought my first Harley Sportster at 50. I need some encouragement here in Ireland. There are not so many woman riders and my family thinks I am mad but life is for living and I hope to spend many happy hours riding my Harley.

  4. Fran,
    You rock! You really do!
    What a great story, and how inspiring I found it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Ladies, just do it.Take those lessons, get that motorcycle, and live the dream!

  5. Wow! Fran, your story had me smiling from ear to ear. I know just what you're talking about. I'm 43 and started riding a year ago. When I'm riding it's hard to contain the joy I feel and there really are no words to explain it. My family was concerned about me at first too but now they just think it's super cool. Isn't it funny how the fear that comes with learning to ride is one day replaced by excitement! I'm so glad to be a part of this new world.

  6. Fran,
    Your sentiment was expressed from your heart. I, like some who have written here, began to ride at age 50. I took the MSF twice before I could fit into my husband's budget for a reliable bike to get saddle time. When I finally did get into the budget, my inspiring neighbors took me to pick it up and my husband found his Infiniti outside the garage and my 1999 Honda ACE in its place. I had ridden that bike for two seasons for 7000 miles. October 08, I purchased a VTX1300R and my beloved husband rides the ACE. Go girl!

  7. Wow! I'm very humbled by the number of comments. Thanks for all of your very kind thoughts on this story.

  8. I love Fran's story! Ride on and ride long. After childrearing years (age 40), I bought a Softail Custom and rode the heck out of that bike — 120, 000 miles! Sold it, and I am now riding my fourth Roadk Kng. I'm 62 years old and I guess I don't know when I'll quit riding. Why would I? My grandchildren and great-grandchildren think I'm cool. My kids think I'm in demetia. Oh well, if I “have to explain it to them, they wouldn't understand,” right? See you on the road — in 2029.

  9. Absolutely love your article! I'm a seven-year breast cancer survivor and once I was through with treatments said that “life is too short” so at age 47 I went out and bought a 2005 HD Softail Deluxe, took the MSF class and got my license – then got a tattoo. My husband thought I was crazy, then also bought a 2005 HD Softail Deluxe so we could ride together. Learning to ride was the best thing I've ever done. I still get that feeling of euphoria at the end of a long day of riding – and get completely exhilarated after completing a really twisty road! I never thought I would hit the five-year mark, but just completed my fifth summer of riding (I rode more than 8000 miles this year, all on evenings and weekends). I'm planning on rolling over 100,000 miles on my Deluxe.

  10. Congrats to all the women who have taken that step to become a rider! Safety is always the key!

    I rode dirt bikes as a kid and finally got my own Shadow on September 11, 2001 after taking the MSF course. I decided then and there, life was too short! I logged over 24k miles on that bike. Then I saw the bike of my dreams in September 2003, the Honda Rune, and hung a poster of it in my office.

    In April of 2004, I bought one! I just finished my first Iron Butt Saddlesore (1000 miles in less than 24 hours) this weekend! I now have more than 64,000 miles on my Rune and can't wait to get back on the road again!

  11. I absolutely loved your story Fran! What a great inspiration you are to all women. I am 54 (will be 55 in March) and have been playing ping-pong in my head trying to decide rather to pursue my desire to ride. You have helped me finally make that decision! I also have been suffering from the “what ifs” syndrome. But I'm not getting any younger and know that I should pursue this now.

    My husband did buy me a Honda Rebel (I know that Genevieve discourages this) to practice on. He felt that the more I knew/know before taking the MSF course the better. I mostly just ride around our home (we live in the country) and try to do parking lot practice. Which I know I need a lot more of…especially the turns. I love the idea that you are helping out as a range aid. What a great way to get in practice and learn more from the instructors.

    I also wanted to tell you that I love your hair color! Maybe I should go red too…seems to give you a lot of confidence! Thank you again for being such a good example to us!

  12. I loved this article! I am 51 years old and just got my license last month. I always wanted to ride, I grew up on the back of my Dad's Harley, I loved it, spent my 18th birthday with him on that bike (it was his birthday too). I have had some misadventures with my bike, dropped it and bent my clutch my second time out, then today I was finally brave enough to go on a busy road, doing about 45 and it died, just cut off; I thank my MSF training for my being able to pull over and perform a quick stop (my rider coach would be so proud). I got it started back up, reached 45 again, thought I was in the clear and it did it again. I didn't panic, pulled over again, called my new mechanic and I was on my way.

    I love riding, I think of the “what if's” too, but I am not going to dwell on them. A nurse I worked with, same age as me died suddenly while standing at her kitchen sink. Is there any safer activity than doing dishes? I'd rather take my chances doing something I love. Not everyone that gets on a bike crashes, we need to remember that. The joy we get to experience riding is worth the risk. The MSF course teaches us so many techniques to help decrease the risk, I don't think I would have ever gotten on my own bike without that class.

  13. This is truly great to read about ladies who love to ride! I'm happy to see there are so many of us over the age of 50 that are enjoying the high of riding. It's like we are finally free! I'm a grannie of six, age 57. Took the Riders Edge Course last year and loved it. My first bike was a Vulcan 500. Then moved on to a Softail Deluxe given to me from my son-in-law for babysitting my lovely grandsons. It doesn't get much better than this kids!

  14. Fran – loved your story. I've been riding for about 15 years but it completely took me back to my first experience. I had never ridden. Never ridden on the back of a bike. really didn't have friends who rode. But when I finally decided to take the class, got my license, bought a bike and went for it, I had that same crazy, insane, exhilorating feeling that your described. And to this day, when I ride I still get those feelings.

    To Rhonda, keep trying to locate women to ride with in your area. Go to and see if there is a riding group in your area. Check out Women on Wheels or Motor Maids or any of the other national women's groups and see if there is a chapter in your area. I've also been known to walk up to women that I see on bikes at gas stations or grocery stores and ask them if they'd like to ride sometime and join our women's riding gorup and exchange emails with them. It sounds bold but it works and usually other women are delighted to find like minded friends to ride with!

  15. I love your article. I too have recently started riding. I have done parking lot miles also and have been on the road a few times but not comfortable getting out and about by myself and cannot find anyone close to me to be a mentor.
    Do you have any tips for just getting out and going by yourself? Do you have a mentor? If so, how did you find one? I have tried the H-D dealership with no luck, also joining a woman riding club but nothing there either.

  16. This is so similar to my own life. I raised my kids, worked, took care of my mom and finally at age 47, my husband and I both got the fever. We took the class together and now we ride together. After we took off, my three older kids went and bought bikes and got licenses. My 10-year-old daughter rides on my bike all the time and counts the days until she can ride herself!


  17. Great article and sooooo true! As women, we all need to give ourselves the right to pursue our joys!

  18. Fran,
    Welcome to our world! Congratulations to you on your accomplishment. You are going about it the right way. I wish you many happy miles. Believe it or not, it gets even better.

  19. As Amelia (aviator queen) said, “there is more to life than being a passenger.” I began riding at 50 after taking the Rider's Edge Course (a bit timid about the whole thing, even after being a passenger for a while) and passing with perfect scores, almost three years ago, and got four tattoos. I don't call it a mid-life crisis, I call it a Mid-Life Awakening! Go for your dreams – time waits for no one.

  20. Congratulations on your great achievement! Learning to ride a motorcycle does not come easy to everyone. It does not come easy to me. But reading your article keeps me inspired not to give up. Thank you!

  21. Love this article. I've been riding since I was 12 or so. I think it's great that more and more women are learning to ride. Off topic, I love the jacket that Fran is wearing, who makes it? Thanks, Go Fran!

    1. Looks like it's a Technic jacket. See the brand name on the zipper. I believe it's the Sequoia model.

  22. That night I couldn't sleep. I was wired. I was pumped. I was revved.

    Excellent story! I had many sleepless nights after getting my license. It was like having a new boyfriend – riding was all I could think about.

  23. Oh, wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I too finally decided at 54 to get my motorcycle license. Unlike you though, my husband had been riding for more than 40 years and I had been a passenger. In 2008 he bought a big new Electra Glide (The Beast) and jokingly said he was tired of carrying me as a passenger and I should go and get my own bike. Much to his shock, surprise and now pleasure, I did. So in 2009, I became the proud owner of a brand new 883 Sportster Low (Little Sister) and he took it upon himself to teach me how to ride. He is an amazing teacher.

    To make a long story short, I tried the Motorcucle Training Course available here in Alberta and my experience sucked so bad I didn't even try to get my license through them. I didn't get my license this season either (our weather this summer/fall was horrible) but I will be getting it in 2010. I have been out on the highways, I have been up to 110 km/h in traffic with semis and I have been out on the backroads with miles of open pavement, long sweeping curves, fresh air and my husband (my own personal pitbull) watching my back. I couldn't ask for a better riding companion and protector. I am truly fortunate. And I say to all those women out there, don't think about it… do it. Because if you wait too long you will only regret the time you could have spent riding. I know I do.

    1. Linda,
      Thanks for sharing your story. My only recommendation to those reading this would be to never learn to ride from someone other than a certified motorcycle safety instructor. Learning from a friend or loved one leaves you with a high probability of picking up bad habits and not learning to ride in the most effective way possible. I always recommend taking a motorcycle training course before even buying a motorcycle.

  24. Loved reading this! I didn't start till I was 51. Can so relate! You go girl!

  25. I really like her story. I find myself listening to others who don't believe that I should own a bike. An ex-boyfriend taught me to ride in 1992. After leaving him, I always wanted to ride but was afraid because I felt I needed him to be there if I fall. I decided as well to do what I always wanted to do. I just recently completed the safety class. Now I would like a bike and have no clue how am going to afford one. The longer I feel I will not get to ride, I am afraid I may forget how to ride. Her article really help me realized I can do it too.

  26. Way to go, Fran! I've been riding for five years now and absolutely love it. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and my bike has been a great friend to me. When I'd start feeling down I would just jump on my bike and go. I would think of nothing but how beautiful the day was and I would take in all the sights and smells and really feel part of this great universe of ours. No worries.
    I feel like you do. “Go For It.” Life was meant to be enjoyed!

  27. I too have always wanted a bike. When I turned 51, I bought my first bike, a 650 V Star, brand new, and took the 3-day course to learn how to ride. Since then, I have covered my bike in chrome and love going out on my bike. To all the ladies, don't be afraid to follow your dream of riding your own bike. I wish I had done this years ago. Good for you Fran.

  28. This is so inspiring. I just completed my MSF course too at the age of 52. Still looking for that first bike with some fear of anything above 250cc.
    Thanks for sharing your positive attitude to cycling and life. No more procrastination for me either.

  29. I loved your post, it brought tears to my eyes. You captured the feelings that I have been experiencing as a “late bloomer” in the world of motorcycles. My friends and family think that I have slipped a cog. I wonder, “What else have I been missing?”

  30. Wow! You go Fran. Atta girl!
    Being a rider coach for Harley Davidson's Rider's Edge and I hear your story all the time! As the nature of us women, we tend to put other things first, family, work, home, and the things we “want to do” are saved on the back burner, waiting for that “when the kids leave home,” or “things settle down at work” perfect time. When that time finally arrives, is when I hear “why did I wait so long, this is so fun and empowering!” So to all you who say “I've been thinking about this,” don't wait!!=

  31. Fran's story sounds familiar. I signed up for the MSF course three years ago, a few months after my 55th birthday. I completed the course on August 22, 2006 and two weeks later my best friend took me 60 miles on the back of her Yamaha FZ1 to pick up my first bike, a 1984 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD I'd found on Craigslist.

    I put more than 10,000 miles on that bike before I upgraded to a 1999 Kawasaki ZRX1100 a little more than a year later. Now I'm president of the Sirens Women's Motorcycle Club of NYC. I do several long distance rides of three to 600 miles every year and this past summer I rode the ZRex from New York City to Keystone, Colorado, for the AMA Women's Conference returning by way of Deals Gap, 4,600 miles on the road in one trip.

    I also have two track days under my belt as well. Now, with the cold weather setting, in I'm scouring Craigslist for an affordable 'track-only' bike and counting the days 'til I can get back on the Thunderbolt racetrack in New Jersey or back to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

    In some very real ways riding has not only changed my life, I think it has saved my life. At 58 I'm more active and feel more alive than I have in many years. The friendships I have made with other women riders are bonds that will last a lifetime. I could dwell on all the “if-onlys,” if only I'd started riding when I was 20, if only I hadn't waited so long — but they're not worth the effort. I ride now, and that makes all the difference.

  32. Thank you for that insightfully written article. It was extremely inspirational and I hope other women who are thinking about taking the next step feel the same way. I really like the end antidote, that you'll no longer be a passenger on a ride to life, here, here.

  33. What a wonderful article! And very nicely written, too. If I hadn't already discovered my own passion for motorcycling, it definitely would have inspired me, too! Thanks for sharing such an exciting time in your life, Fran!

  34. Good for you, Fran! I started riding at the age of 52 and got the same negative responses from people. It's tough to get past that, but you did it. Have an awesome time on your Vulcan!

  35. Nice piece, Fran! Though I was only 24 when I took the Motorcycle Safety Class and learned to ride, I felt like I'd found the true love of my life. I found my first bike, a 1984 Honda Shadow 500 in the New York Times' Classified section, and rode that thing everywhere. I always looked for excuses to run errands for other people, just to get more seat time.

    Now, 15 years later, as a RiderCoach myself, I get to share in the excitement that I felt during those first days of riding, every time I teach a class. Besides the proud satisfaction of knowing that I'm passing along information that will save lives, this is why I teach the MSF classes — to share in the excitement. My happiest moments teaching, are when I see the change on a woman's face, when it transforms from worry and self-doubt, to sheer exuberance and confidence.

    I see so many women who say they “never thought they could ride” a motorcycle go through this amazing transformation during the classes. It is almost as wonderful as riding itself. I just hope that your love of riding the CT back roads doesn't take you away from being my favorite range aid!

  36. This article really struck a chord with me! I learned to ride at 52 while listening to my family refer to my new-to-me Sportster as my mid-life crisis. Well, this may be mid-life, but there is no crisis! I knew from my first ride as a passenger at age 49 that I would have a bike of my own. The hard part is getting the experience, especially without experienced riders to ride with. But with each mile, I gain a bit more confidence.

    Fran is right – don't just sit around and think about it. Do it!

  37. I jumped back into street riding with a 2003 Vulcan 500 just like yours. It's a beautiful bike and a great one to start on.
    I know just how you feel. I've been back into riding for four years now and I get that same giddy feeling after each ride. Yesterday I rode straight through town on the busiest streets (something I usually avoid) and was so disappointed when I got home that no one asked about my ride. So I spent the rest of the evening interjecting little snippets about my ride into every conversation no matter how unrelated. My family thinks I'm crazy but it's something you can be really passionate about.

    Keep riding girlfriend and keep the rubber side down and the smile on your face.

  38. I have Fran beat on the age thing, though active all my life (horse trainer, race flat and steeplechace, hunters) I never rode a bike. For me it was rising fuel costs, and feeding my F350 diesel was a killer. So I saw my options as go “Amish” or get a bike. Since I had a long commute and even in Ocala, Floria, where I was living at the time it was hard to park a horse.

    I took myself to CFCC (Central Florida Community College) and took the MSF course. The instructors were great, calm and confidence building. At the end I asked my instructor what I should buy. His response was anything 250cc to start. I found a great used 2006 GZ250 by Suzuki and rode it for six months then decided I needed a little more power. It sure would be nice if someone would design a more powerful bike that didn't weigh so much. (If I drop it I will never get this bike up by myself.) But I moved on to again a Suzuki '02 Volusia Intruder 805cc (it is the predesessor of the now popular Boulevard c50).

    I love the bike after adding pullback risers. (Women's arms are too short for cruiser comfort as they come.) It is a kick when people can't believe a woman rides it or to see them when you start loading your groceries in it. I even carried a bag of alfalfa cubes home to the horses with the 250 now; the look on the boy's face as he was loading hay was priceless, and oh yes. I was 56 when I started riding.

  39. I took the MSF class and got my motorcycle endorsement about a month and a half ago. Bought my Yamaha V Star 950 about 3 weeks ago. It sat at the dealers waiting for accessories. I had my trusted friend take it on its maiden voyage home for me and it sat in the garage for six days of me staring at it and procrastinating on my first solo road ride.

    Well today I did it. I had to pick up some medication for my cat from the vet clinic about a mile down the road. I live in a rural area so there are few vehicles on the road and no traffic lights. I made it to the vets office, even practicing moving up and down through the gears. When I got back on the bike to make my way back home a funny thing happened. Instead of turning left I turned right, and off I went on my ride around the valley. For some reason every stop sign I encountered was on a slope and I was grateful for the reading I have done here for the tips that helped me get moving.

    I practiced tight turns at the State Park parking lot, and stopping and starting smoothly. I made a fool of myself taking a turn way to wide on to a side road. I partially dropped the bike on my own driveway trying to get it down the gravel, and got it up on my own using the technique I learned here!

    And you know what!? I can't wait to get out and practice again. I am hooked. I also am no longer a passenger in the ride of life.

  40. She is my hero. She wrote my story, however, I did take the MSF riding course for my 52nd birthday, and I purchased a second hand 250cc Yamaha, which was plenty big enough when I tipped it over on myself about my tenth ride out, but I got back on the motorcycle and rode it even though I was shaking. I was able to put
    250 miles on my motorcycle even due to cold summer wet days between work and family events on weekends. I got my motorcycle in August 18th.

  41. I love your story. I started riding at age 48, but wanted to since I was 8 years old. I too had to listen to all the negativity until I finally started telling people to keep it to themselves as there is risk with everything. Our the worst enemy is negative thoughts. “Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right.” Too bad the season in CT was so short this year! Maybe I'll see you on a back road in CT.

  42. Way to go! I am also a late learner and have had my license since the age of 54. I have put 7000 miles on my bike that we purchased in November with the thoughts of getting used to a “little” (650cc) bike before I graduated to a bigger one. I remember it took me seven practice days in a parking lot before I had enough nerve and confidence to get on a road with “cagers.” Now I ride my bike to work when I can and take day trips with my hubby. Our dream is to tour the US after we retire and this was the first step. I wish you many more safe miles and journeys in your life.

  43. I was enthralled with your description of going on that first ride on the back of a Harley. It is so amazing and rewarding to experience the outdoors from a new perspective. I made the decision to ride approximately years ago. Bought hubby's bike first. Mine came soon after. Now with eight years of riding under my belt, I still love it every time! Congrats on becoming another “lady rider.” Enjoy it, love it, savor the feelings, make the most of your experiences, and celebrate those feelings of freedom. Most of all, have the time of your life!

  44. Thanks for the very inspiring story! I am a “Want-a-be-biker” myself, tired of waiting for a boyfriend that has a bike to be able to ride one. I am scared to sign up although I have been saying that I would for several years now. Unfortunately, my income and job situation will not allow extra expenses but I am dreaming of the day that I have the money to sign up for the course and see what kind of biker I am. Thanks, Fran, for the inspiration and congratulations on having the courage and drive to take ownership of your life!

  45. While I was reading your article my heart began to pound. I feel exactly the same way you did and thought it was just me. I too, am 54 years old. I also went to the course and have my MC license. I have been trying to ride for almost two years. I start, I stop, and start all over again. I get so far and then I stop. People tel me you either like it or you don't. How can I answer that question when I am not comfortable yet.

    I have bought and sold two motorcycles figuring it was more the motorcycle than it was me. The third one I bought I love. I am not afraid of it at all and can ride and walk it quite well. But when it comes to taking it for a ride I am too “what if” also. The only difference between me and you is that, I have ridden on the bike of my husband's motorcycle for years and just love it. I have to say that my husband has been a great mentor to me. A couple of times I have taken a long ride on the bike and did fine. My husband cannot figure out what my problem is. I think I just need some “girl power” to go with on my own. It is all about the confidence level. I am so very glad that you have reached that. I haven't given up though. The cold weather is here. I will try again in the spring. All my best to you!

  46. Congrats! I too started late in life riding a motorcycle and love every minute of it! I was always the passenger and two years ago decided enough was enough – had to have my own bike – it was one of the most liberating moments of my life. I wish you great enjoyment and success fulfilling all your dreams!

  47. I really enjoyed your story. We have things in common – I'm 50, a woman, a short woman and I bought a Kawasaki Vulcan 500 on eBay too! You do an excellent job of describing the feelings and the sensations of being on a bike. I love all the smells along the way and the beautiful views of upstate New York. Good for you for not letting the term “mid-life-crisis” deter you from this desire. Who cares what others want to label it! Be safe, and welcome to the club – I'm sending you a “bikers wave!”

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