READERS RIDES: Finding Your Way to the Right Bike

Three women share their path

Selecting the right bike is a very personal decision that can help each rider learn more about their abilities and about themselves. Three women share details about their path to the right motorcycle.

Moving Through the Motorcycle Ranks

Kathy Richotte sitting comfortably on her Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200.

I started riding as a passenger on my fiancé Norman’s Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail in 2005. On all our rides we were seeing more and more lady riders, and I started to think, “I can do that too.” I had never ridden a bike before, so I signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Course with the hope that I would determine if I liked it or not.

After passing the course, I knew I would need to get a bike to ride. I looked at some different makes and models and decided on a Honda Shadow 600 VLX. This was a great bike to get started on. I am about 5-foot-1 and 120 pounds, so the bike fit me very well.

In the summer of 2007, I purchased a Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Low in the Black Cherry color. This was a big step up from my Honda, and I was devastated when I dropped my bike while backing out of a parking space. I knew then that I had to make some changes to achieve a better fit. Since then, Ive modified my seat and changed my shocks. I even added an inch of rubber to my riding boots. While it was trial and error trying to make it happen, my bike now gives me the fit and feel that I need to be a more confident rider.

I never thought that at 46 years old I would own my own bike and be out there riding. I’m so thankful that I gave it a try.

Kathy Richotte
Warwick, Rhode Island

100,000 Miles and Going Strong

Bonnie Cousins on her 1982 Honda Gold Wing 1100 with her husband at her side.

I am 76 years old, and I’ve been riding since 1955, or 31 years. I started out on the back of my husband’s bike, but I always knew I wanted to take control. After taking rider’s education in 1975, I did just that!

My current bike is a 1982 standard Gold Wing 1100 that I bought new in 1985. I chose this bike after returning from a 30-day trip around the western states on a smaller bike. Need I say more? I have been to California twice on this machine … so far.

I now have more than 100,000 miles on my three bikes. I’ve had both shoulders replaced and still look forward to the coming riding season. Over the years I have received many awards, but now about all I can garner is the “Oldest Female Rider” award.

Bonnie Cousins
Lombard, Illinois

Benefits of Riding

Gloria Dorn on her 1999 Harley-Davidson Sportster.

I got my first bike,a Suzuki 185 Enduro,when I was 17. Since then, Ive worked my way through other bike brands, including Hondas, until I purchased a 1999 Harley-Davidson Sportster for my 38th birthday. I am a single parent working as a carpenter, and I originally purchased the bike to help with my commute to San Francisco. Little did I know what a positive life-changing decision it would be. Since then, I have met some of the greatest people among my fellow Harley riders. I have joined a motorcycle ministry group through my church, and they have become my extended family. My daughter, Autum, likes to go on some rides, but sometimes she would rather hang out with her friends—kind of how I like riding with mine!

Gloria Dorn
Livermore, California

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