Reader Story: The 27-Year Learner’s Permit

One woman's dream of riding solo finally realized

By Bobbie Tyler, Anton, Texas
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I knew I wanted to ride my own motorcycle after a cross-country trip in 1975 on the back of a 56 Harley-Davidson Panhead. I live in Texas, and in those days, you got the book from the Department of Public Safety (DPS), got a learners permit, learned to ride without much information, and took the test to ride solo. That was the plan, but I made it only as far as the “learner’s permit” part and spent the next 27 years dreaming every time I passed a motorcyclist on a road trip that someday I would be out there, too.

Fast forward to 2004. I was happily married and once again a passenger. That all changed when I took the beginner’s course and bought my first bike, a 2003 Honda 750. I was finally in the wind. I still remember the shocked look from the person at the DPS when I finally removed the “learners permit” from my license. For 27 years, every time I renewed my license they’d ask if I still wanted the learner’s code on it and I’d say yes, waiting for the day I would be able to ride solo. Now I finally was. I rode my Honda 750 for about 10,000 miles that year and then moved up to a beautiful, bagged-out HondaVTX1300. I knew I would ride that bike for a long time, and I covered more than 20,000 miles across 13 states on it.
While some folks are “city people” or “mountain people,” Bobbie considers herself one of the “rock people.”
Shes pictured on a ride in Utah in 2008 with her Honda VTX 1300.

There is something that riding solo completes in me. I love having my husband next to me while we tour. My favorite rides are through southern Utah. I believe there are “mountain people,” “beach people,” and “city people,” and I am part of the “rock people.” Utah is my heritage, and riding there I feel connected to my ancestors who made the grueling trip pulling handcarts to settle Salt Lake City. I feel the souls of the women that kept going, mile after torturing mile, determined to build their families, farms, churches and cities in peace.

Bobbies Honda VTX 1800 on her Arizona vacation.

In 2008, my husband bought a brand-new Honda VTX 1800—it was stout and built for the long road. A few weeks later, we were riding when I told him how much I liked his new bike, and he made the mistake of telling me there was another one just like it on the showroom floor. When you both ride, you buy two of everything. And what a great idea—twin “twins”! The first time I rode his 1800 was the night before we went to pick up mine. It was cold out, but I felt like that bike was singing to me.

Bobbie on a ride to the Grand Canyon in 2007.

Our bikes are evolving—his has hard bags, a new fairing, a bigger seat. My bike remains a solo seat, but it too is bagged out, chromed out and ready to go.

7 thoughts on Reader Story: The 27-Year Learner’s Permit

  1. I didn’t know if my story was still listed! Thanks again for posting it. I mentioned it on the WRN Forum. Thanks again for all your support to women riders!

  2. Loved your story! Thanks for sharing. I learned to ride last year at 42 and took the safety course. I started riding on a Honda Rebel 250 and recently bought a Shadow ACE 750. Reading stories like yours keeps me excited when I sometimes don’t ride for awhile and get to doubting myself.

  3. Great story and congratulations. Utah is one of my favorite riding areas. The entire state could be a national park. Hope you have many more years and miles cycling. Safe travels.

  4. Great story! And I know what you mean about “rock people.” Love the Utah area and riding there is absolutely breathtaking! Living in Wyoming we are neighbors! Thanks for sharing your story. It is an inspiration to all those “wannabe’s.”

  5. I can relate to Bobbie’s 27-year wait to get a license. Something similar happened to me too. When I started riding in 1968, only a regular driver’s license was required to ride a motorcycle. When the laws changed, I got the permit too, like Bobbie, but no motorcycle license until 2007! It is inspiring to read about women who are pursuing the desires of their heart…finally! Hats off to you Bobbie! Or maybe I should say, “Helmets off to you!”

  6. Just proves once again that it’s never too late. Congratulations for finally accomplishing your dream!

  7. Great story! A dream that is big enough to hold onto for 27 years is a dream that will come true and no doubt it did! What an inspiring story. We are always evolving and let it be known that once you put your mind to it, anyhthing can be done.

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