Riding Right: Why People Ride a Motorcycle

Top 10 reasons (you may be surprised!)

By Susan Rzepka Orion, MSF RiderCoach

Why do you want to learn to ride? How can you convince a friend to learn to ride? There are nearly as many individual answers to that question as there are individual people in the world. I conducted an unscientific poll of students in new rider courses and came up with the 10 most-commonly cited answers to the question: “Why do you want to learn to ride?”

1) It looks like fun!
Gliding down the highway on two wheels, cruising through traffic, bending the twisties on a country road. Not only does it look like fun, it is! Chances are, if you enjoy driving, youll enjoy riding, too. Some people claim riding is the closest thing to flying. Most people agree that the excitement, exhilaration and total freedom just cant be beat!

Why People Ride a Motorcycle
A rider on a Suzuki Boulevard S40.

2) It looks cool!
The cool factor associated with motorcycling is real. Whether its Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Sandra Oh (who can forget the beating she gave her boyfriend with her motorcycle helmet in the 2004 film Sideways), people who ride not only look cool, they are cool!

Why People Ride a Motorcycle Smile
Its hard not to smile when you know you look cool on your motorcycle.

3) Im tired of being a passenger.
Many women who learn to ride have spent a lot of time on the back seat of a bike. They love motorcycling, and theyre ready to ride their own ride. Wanting to move up to the front seat is one of the most common reasons I hear from new women riders.

Why People Ride a Motorcycle Passenger
After a certain amount of time in back, its only natural to wonder what the views like upfront.

4) I received a motorcycle as a gift.
Believe it or not, this reason to ride comes up fairly often. One new rider told me how winning two Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a raffle propelled the decision to learn to ride. More often, I hear how a bike has been given as a gift, usually by a spouse or significant other, but sometimes from parents to children or vice versa. Hey, nice gift!

5) My husband/boyfriend/significant other wants me to learn to ride.
Im always a bit skeptical when I hear this reason. It sounds too much like my husband/boyfriend/significant other wants me to lose weight/quit smoking/stop drinking. There may be true desire on the part of the guy to share the sport with his woman, but beware—sometimes its just an excuse to get the woman co-rider off the back, or give her the old bike so a new one can be purchased without guilt. Learning to ride should be ones ownchoice, not undertaken because a person feels she has nochoice.

6) My son/daughter/father/mother wants me to learn to ride.
Same as above, but in a parent/child situation, the relationship dynamic is even less balanced. Ive seen one too many father/son and mother/daughter teams where the poor kid, usually a minor, is under intense pressure to keep up with the parent. In one case, the child was petrified and Dad couldnt figure out why. Maybe it was attributable to Dads 110 mph sprints on the highway with his son on the back, holding on for dear life. While riding can be a great shared parent-child activity, make sure youre not pressuring or being pressured to participate!

7) My boss/friend/coworker wants me to learn how to ride.
Same as above, but add a healthy dose of peer pressure. When you perform a task you dont really want to do because you think youll look bad to your peers, youre ripe for disaster. Yes, its fun to share experiences with friends, but true friends respect each others boundaries, too!

8) I used to ride a long time ago and want to get back into it.
Returning riders who left the sport years ago usually suffer from rusty skills. If you dont use it, you do lose it. As life situations change—your kids grow, you divorce, remarry, reach mid-life, retire—you think about returning to motorcycling. Its great to retrain to get back in the saddle again.

9) Its been on my bucket list.
Some riders have dreamt of riding a motorcycle all their lives and as theyve gotten older, with time ticking away, the desire to ride a motorcycle eventually makes it to ones bucket list, things she or hed like to do before dying. The kids are gone, age 50 passes and still no motorcycle. Making it a bucket list prioritizes it, and often pushes people to start the process of learning, buying, and becoming a skilled a motorcycle rider.

Why People Ride a Motorcycle Smile MSF Course
The MSF Basic Rider Course in session.

10) I want to save money on gas!
More and more, I hear this reason to ride. Most motorcycles can offer double or triple the gas mileage available by cars. And with the rising price of fuel, its easier to swallow $15 at the gas pump instead of $50 or $75 for a full tank of gas. In addition to saving money, you get to do your part for the environment, too!

Why do you want to learn to ride? You can add your reasons in the comments after this article.

About the Author:
Susan Rzepka Orion is a certified MSF RiderCoach and Riders Edge Instructor who loves to ride, write, and help others who want to do the same. You can find her on the road on her BMW F 650 GS.

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67 thoughts on Riding Right: Why People Ride a Motorcycle

  1. I am single mom of two boys. My oldest is 13 years old and my little one is 3 years old. I have always gone out for rides as a passenger, but a few months ago a guy I’ve been talking to for about six months bought a motorcycle and we went out riding. I absolutely loved the feeling of total euphoria it gave me, with all the daily stress just being able to exhale and feel relaxed and free was addicting. But it sucked having to depend upon on him to go out riding. He had nothing else to offer and I had to be honest with myself, and move on. But ever since our first ride out I already started doing my research to learn how to ride my own bike, what gear I would need, the do’s and don’ts, etc.I have always done everything for everyone else, but after the horrible end of my last relationship my therapist, who truly helped me with years of shit and gave me the tools to work through, grow, and become a better me, asked me a simple question; “What makes you happy?” Of course I answered with all the things I do to make everyone else happy. She replied, “That’s great you always think and do for everyone, but again, what makes you happy? What do you do to make you happy?”Honestly, I was stuck and confused. She then asked me the simple question, “How can you truly make anyone around you happy if you don’t do anything to make yourself happy first?” I responded, “isn’t that a selfish way of thinking?” She made me realize there is nothing wrong to think of yourself first every now and then, that my happiness counts just as much as the happiness of my kids, family and friends.I am always putting everyone before me, but I need to make myself happy before I can make anyone around me happy, and I honestly I stopped caring about others’ opinions. I live one day at a time; yesterday is gone and I can’t change it, tomorrow is unwritten, but today is my day to be a better version of myself than I was yesterday and to carry over to tomorrow.With that being said, I am going to do what makes me happy — I enrolled for a beginner’s course to get my endorsement. I figure if it is meant to be, then it will be.I want to ride because of how it makes me feel inside. I want to exhale and truly smile because I know I’m happy. Even better when I have my own bike to go out on whenever I want to. I really love my independence! No more drama and definitely no more stress. I’ve got one life to live, I’m sure gonna live it to the fullest!

  2. I ride because when I do, there’s nothing else in my mind. It’s peaceful.

  3. I have always wanted to ride, but put it off because of having a child and a busy life. Always loved riding with my husband, and we had talked about it in passing. Finally when my daughter was old enough I took to two wheels on a small scooter. That made me want to go on bigger adventures, so I took a motorcycle course. I never dreamed how much I would love it!I decided during my novice course I would eventually become a motorcycle instructor to share the dream with other new riders. I waited three years to become a fully certified instructor. I love mentoring new riders and watching their skill progression and see them blossom into safe, competent riders. I am also selfish because it is my one thing I do purely for adventure and self discovery. I love it—it truly brings me zen.

    1. Thank you for the generosity of your time and effort to mentor new riders! As a RiderCoach myself, I share your love of being able to share the experience when new riders discover the joy of motorcycling.

  4. Because once you ride your own motorcycle you feel like the world has opened up to you. It becomes your best friend and happy place—it’s just awesome!

  5. I rode as a kid with the neighbor boys on mini bikes (hoping Mom wouldn’t catch me) and my brother’s motorcycle in the backyard. As an adult, I rode a scooter until I was five months pregnant. My sons are in their mid to late twenties and my youngest loves to ride and has had several bikes. He was thinking about selling his 2008 Harley-Davidson Rocker when I got to thinking about riding it. He wouldn’t let me ride it though until I took the safety course. He then decided to keep it and customize it. I started searching for another Harley. Nothing else has my interest at this time. I purchased a 2009 Harley Sportster XL1200L with low miles, windshield and sissy bar. It’s the perfect size for me. A bike I’m comfortable on and affordable at $5,000. Acquaintances tried to convince me to buy something bigger but at 54 years old I want to feel confident with riding and with my purchase. My son and I have been on several rides and it has given us an opportunity to spend time together doing what we both enjoy … connecting with nature, enjoying the weather and feeling the breeze as we glide down the road.

  6. My wife gave me an ABATE motorcycle class certificate in May of this year. I’ve always been a passenger and wanted to know what being in the drivers seat would be like and I love it! I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to pass the class however the instructor was amazing and I passed! I purchased my first bike and have already put more than 2000 miles on her. It’s so liberating and empowering! After riding 168 miles today, the only thing that hurts are my cheeks from smiling so much! Keep the rubber side down ladies and ride on!

  7. I ride because I didn’t think I could. For the longest time I had been harboring this dream of riding a motorcycle but I had it in my mind that I could never ever learn how to manage the clutch and throttle levers. Then one day I was looking at the MSF courses offered and I couldn’t believe that the only prerequisite to take the basic rider course was knowing how to balance a bicycle! Well I could do that! So I took the MSF course thinking I would never pass it anyway But that I would get closure on my dream.On the first day of riding on the field, I was stalling so many times that I thought of giving up and not showing up the next day for the evaluation tests. The assistant instructor pulled me aside and proceeded to give me a one-to-one instruction on releasing the clutch slowly and feeling that friction zone, and thank goodness for that! I got my confidence back and needless to say, I passed that course without ever having any prior experience of even starting a motorcycle before taking the course. That was three years ago, and now I am so glad I learned how to ride! it is such a thrill.

  8. Mister and I used to look at motorcycles next to us on the road and I’d say, “Look at that guy!” or “Look at her! That will be us, someday.” Then, after three decades away, Mister bought a Harley. One day, while I was riding with him, a man looked over at us with *that look* in his eye. I told Mister, “Hey! You’re THAT GUY we always said we’d be some day!” Now I have my own motorcycle, too. Next we want to be one of THOSE PEOPLE who travel on their bikes. Someday…

  9. In my MSF Safety course we had a gal who was 78 years old learning how to ride. She stated she had been a passenger on her hubby’s bike for about 30 years and now she wanted to go solo on her own bike. She was quite petite and you would think that physically she couldn’t handle a motorcycle. However, she went through the whole course giggling and having so much fun…and she passed with flying colors!

  10. I ride for the independence and freedom. I ride for the smell of the balsam and pine trees and the smell of a campfire burning. You just don’t get that in a car!

  11. I ride for many reasons: it resonates in my core, my spirit, my being. Feeling the wind around me on the open road, I’m free. I like all the causes bikers support and am proud to participate in many of them. I am a part of a much larger entity that takes care of each other. I can breath, be still, clear my head and thoughts when I am scooting about. I enjoy reading all the great articles and comments about them. Our common bond unites us!

  12. My Dad rode motorcycles when we were growing up. He bought my brothers a Black Widow mini bike. I was born without fingers on my right hand and he always thought I would hurt myself if I did what the boys did so he never let me ride it. He did take me for rides on his Ducati though, and I loved it. Growing up in the military we used to travel every few years. I would see the “bikers” riding by and knew I wanted to be part of that lifestyle when I grew up. I worked in the medical field most of my life and asked an orthopedic doctor one day if she knew of anyone who could make an adapter for me so I could ride a motorcycle. She pointed me in the right direction (against her better judgment) and soon I had a throttle adapter that allowed me to clamp it on a throttle and fit my hand into the opening in order to use it. I’m on my third motorcycle now, a 2014 Heritage Classic, and absolutely love the freedom it provides. I know I was born to be a rider, and when I got my first bike I asked my husband, “Is first gear up or down?” He replied “Down” and I put it in gear, took off and never looked back. Riding a motorcycle gives you the utmost freedom and control of your own life. It’s so much more enjoyable traveling now than it was in a car. I’m planning a two-week road trip with my daughter this summer, riding up the coast of California. Don’t let anything stop you from the things you really want to do.

  13. I am 63. My wife Debbie is 56. We love riding, just got back on two wheels after 30-plus years. Mine is a Honda VTX 1800S. Hers is a Honda 750 Ace DeluxeWe have put 5,000-plus miles on our bikes since February 2014.

  14. Like many women, I turned 50, realized I wasn’t getting any younger, and if my dream was going to become reality I’d better get cracking. Twisted my husband’s arm (OK, I didn’t have to twist that hard) to buy his brother’s old Harley and I enjoyed riding pillion for a couple years, but I got bored. Now he’s my biggest cheerleader and we finally have an activity we can enjoy doing together or independently. Nothing relieves my bouts of depression like a good ride. I hope I never have to give it up. I think I’d go crazy if I couldn’t ride.

  15. My dad wanted me to learn, but it wasn’t pressure. He’s always believed in me and still worries about me even though I’m in my 40s. “You have to get a full helmet so you don’t wreck your pretty face!” “Wear your gloves so you can keep your fingers and keep getting manicures!”I grew up on the back of his bike and he’s one of the safest riders I know, so I already had a feel for riding correctly. I joked with my best friend that I became one of those midlife bikers I used to jokingly mock, and she said, “Nope – you just took your rightful place on the seat.”

  16. I rode on the back of motorcycles as a child and teenager. Loved to ride. Then when I was 42 I decided I needed a mode of transportation that was more full efficient than my pickup. I researched scooters. In the process I stumbled across the WRN site. I realized I would need the M endorsement to ride the scooter, took the WRN advice and enrolled in the MSF course. My husband and middle son thought this sounded like a great idea and enrolled in the same course. I passed the course on the first try. I remembered how much I loved riding during that course. I bought a 2004 V Star 650. I rode that bike for a year, dropped it a couple of times. I picked it up by myself too. I now ride a 2009 Victory Kingpin. There is no greater feeling than being on the open road on two wheels. Why do I ride? The feeling of freedom!

  17. I am in my 50s now and have always wanted to ride. As a kid I rode in the dirt and thought riding in the city streets would be the next step. My number one requirement was that my feet will have to be flat on the ground. Well I found the right bike, a BMW G 650 GS. I am going to the safety course and look forward to it very much. The young boy next door saw my scooter and the new BMW and told his mother “Mom, Leslie has two motorcycles and she is a girl.” His mom is impressed with the bikes and is looking into learning the right way to ride. Keep on riding. I know I will.

  18. I was in San Francisco, Calif., 2006 and rode one of those 3-wheeled tourist scooters and it all came back! I have always been infatuated with motorcycles since I was 3 years old (ya, I can remember) I was on the back of a neighbor's bike riding around in empty lots back in 1968 and leaned back and rested my little girl hand on the muffler. Ouchhhh! His dad was a motorcyclist and he was my first crush.

    While married for 20 years I mentioned to my now ex-husband I wanted to ride because the traffic jams on the exits were 20 minute waits and I sat there in 102-degree heat moving over to let motorcyclist split by. He said I was crazy, so I never went after it until after my divorce and my trip to San Francisco with my new partner and daughter in 2006.

    After we got home we went out and bought two scooters, rode them around town until we had to move up; we traded them in for Viragos, then a Yamaha FZ6. In 2007 took the rider safety course and we got our M class!
    Now 2009 I ride my favorite bike of all time, a Ninja 650 and my partner and riding buddy rides a Triumph 675 Triple.

    I ride because I love the feeling, the control, the pass and get out of traffic situations, the adrenaline, the money savings, save the earth, cool factor, the concentration it demands, the meditational state of mind, all of it, and all of the above! My ex has a new respect for me and still can't believe I ride a motorcycle. Ta hell with him! I'm a do-er and a survivor! I ride because it's gotten in my blood and in my heart and that's where it will stay. You either have it or you don't. Don't let anyone talk you into it or out of it. Listen to your gut!

  19. I have a HD Sportster 883. It was a birthday gift from my husband. He rides and I kept telling him I wanted to learn. Took a rider's course that was very crowded and had no riders without experience. I felt awkward and did not do well. I am 57 years old and want to ride so bad and am scared to death. Any suggestions? My husband has said he will get me a smaller bike if I think that will help. Email: kamc0852@yahoo.com

  20. I have always loved motorcycles since I was a young girl. My husband owns a Harley-Davidson Softail and I wanted to ride my own bike for a couple of year now. Last year, I took the riders safety course and got my M endorsement on my license. This past week, a year later from taken the course, I feel in love with a beautiful Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider. I just had to have it, and I did. I never pictured myself starting off on a Dyna Low Rider 1450cc. However, it was love at first sight. Now, I am terrified! I cannot ride it. I have had the bike for about a week, and I am so afraid of it! My feet are not flat on the ground when I am on it.

    I have ordered a lowering kit, however, I have been told by other riders that I should be okay with the way it fits me. I love my bike and love the outdoors and I love riding with my husband and I just don't know how to get this fear of riding this big bike out of me. Please advice!

    1. I hate to tell that you shouldn't have bought such a big bike for your first bike. You are the classic example of someone who thinks they can handle the bike because it's relatively low and/or they just have to have it, but in the end, new riders have not perfected the skills needed to handle a bigger bike.

      I'd hate for you to drop it in the learning process. Is there a way you could find a used 50cc dirtbike or 125cc or 250cc old motorcycle and practice on it for a few months? It's worth the investment to get used to the weight distribution and feel of a motorcycle.

      If that's not an option, try to find someone who can spend time with you teaching you to get over the fear of riding the bigger bike. Call your local rider training schools to see if an instructor can spend an afternoon with you privately teaching how to at least get over the fear. Once you conquer that, you're on your way.

  21. When I achieved my drivers license at age 16 I was asked if I wanted my bike license, too. Greatly daring I said I did. I had never been on a bike before and not until I reached the age of 59 did I suddenly get the urge to ride. I bought a 250cc and clocked 300 miles on it. Scary, but soon fun. Then I went whole hog and bought a Kawasaki Vulcan 900. Basically I learned to ride on this machine and what a great bike it is.
    I have had it more than years now. No regrets. I love heading out on a camping trip, just me and the bike. Best decision I ever made.

  22. Every time I get the chance to talk about biking, I cannot resist. This is a 40-year long dream come true for me. I got grounded back in 1965 because of my tone of voice while talking to my father about why he thought I should not and could not ride a motorcycle. My brothers rode, but that was for guys, not for girls back then.

    I was a passenger on very limited occasions up until 2007. I finally decided I needed my own so I would not have to wait on a guy. I took the MSF course – twice, actually, because I failed the first time. I finally got my permit and then my license. I was flying high but nothing like when I rode my own that first time, well, actually every time.

    I bought a gently used 2006 Honda Rebel 250 because I felt I could handle that size the best. Remember, I am 60 by now and just got my first motorcycle. I never rode, not once as a youngster. My friends brought it home for me in the back of a pickup on March 15. I live in Iowa and the snow and ice prevented me from even practicing right by my house.

    I sat in the garage with the door down so the neighbors would not think I had completely lost all my faculties, and went through the FINE-C over and over until it became second nature. Then I opened the garage door, started it, and rocked back and forth on my feet slowly letting the clutch out until I knew exactly where the friction point was.

    Finally April 23, the streets were clean enough to go. I had great friends that came over and cheered me on and taught me all the little things you don't have time to learn in the class.

    They accompanied me many, many times to experience different times of day, different weather situations, different traffic problems, riding with groups, riding long distances, driving a little on gravel, curves, etc. It has been so much fun I can't find the words to describe it. I have a decal on my tank that says “Entering Addiction.” That says it all.

    Love reading all the comments. My 11-year-old grandson told me recently “my friends think it is so cool that my grandma rides a motorcycle.” Makes me smile just to think about it.

  23. Having been a passenger with a couple of ex-boyfriends when I was younger I sort of forgot what riding was like. Now 47, I have a new boyfriend who used to ride years ago. After moving to Florida where you can ride all year, we bought a BMW LT. I loved being a passenger again and the bike was so comfortable. But it was just too much bike for me to handle in the parking lot if you know what I mean. He said if I was serious about riding to take the safety class, so I did.

    Then it was time to shop for a different bike, one I was comfortable with. He said just sit on as many bikes as it takes and you will know when it is the one for you. Well, after a couple of months of sitting, I found her on 10/28/2006! Everyone thought I was insane because my first and only bike is my 04 BMW 1200CLc. Of course I couldn't drive it back to Jacksonville from Daytona but there was no way my boyfriend was going to put the first miles on her. I told the sales manager that I wanted to ride around the parking lot by myself to put the first miles on her. He was a little nervous about it, as his face clearly indicated. But as I was determined, I did it, with both of them trying to run along beside me shouting words of advice. So funny as I think back, I just put it in first gear and cruised around the lot. Awesome!

    It has been two years and three months since that day. I have dropped her a couple of times and even had one unexpected lowside dismount, but we are both doing well together and she has 25,494 miles on her now and we started at 10. I look forward to the years ahead as a lady rider and would encourage anyone who has ever thought about riding to take the class first! Then you will have a better idea of what being in the first seat is all about. Thanks for letting me share.

  24. I rode in the early 1970s and my brother rides. My wife suggested I get back into riding and join a club. She suggested I take a Rider's Edge course to see if I want to return to motorcycling. Once back on a bike in the course, the old feelings came back–I had to have a bike. I rented a Harley and promptly dropped the bike (from a standstilll, no damage to bike or me). I was told in the Rider's Edge course that everyone eventually drops a bike so I figured that was my time.

    I bought a Harley Ultra and enjoy getting up on it. My riding is still a mixture of fear and thrill. Hopefully the thrill will increase and the fear decrease, but not disappear. Thinking about returning to biking? Do it! But take the course first and read books, watch DVDs, etc. on how to ride. They are extremely helpful in keeping you out of trouble.

  25. I ride because I wanted to be in charge of it all — the speed, the lean, the noise and the destination. I bought my Harley- Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom in July, took the safety course in August and got my M! I couldn't seem to get my boyfriend to practice with me as much as I wanted but he finally gave in last week. He rode around the neighborhood for a good while and I was stunned at how well I did since I started out being petrified. The next morning, I woke him up and his neighbors when I rode all the way to his house by myself. It was daybreak (less traffic) and I rang his bell and shocked him completely! I spent the rest of the weekend riding by myself all around my house and his.

    Ladies, it's normal to be afraid but the fear will subside and be replaced with confidence. It helps when strangers give you the thumbs up, too. My advice, take the safety course and learn how to operate a bike then take the plunge. You won't regret it!

  26. I rode dirt as a kid and had a bad accident. My mom told my dad she would kill him if he built another bike for me. Besides, being a girl it was frowned upon. When my son was 8 weeks old, my husband went dirt biking and I got the bug again. My husband and I stopped riding when I got pregnant three years later. Four years ago he bought a touring bike. Two and half years ago I decided I didn't want to be in the back, I wanted the throttle. Took the Motorcycle Safety Course and I haven't been a passenger since then.

    Ladies don't give up. Put on your safety equipment before you twist the grip!

  27. I was a passenger (my husband's head rest) for many years. I also rode horses and love being outdoors in the fresh air. Now 49 and a grandmother of four I decided two years ago to take the safety course and OMG I had so much fun! I went and got my license and bought a Honda 750 that night! Now (two bikes later) I ride a harley Sportster 1200L and love it!

    I am only 4 feet 9 inches tall and 100 pounds. I was told all my life I am too small to ride. Now 25,000 miles later, I don't think so! I encourage anyone who wants the freedom, and to see new places in a whole different perspective and love of the outdoors to get a bike. You are never to old or too small. That's why they make lowering kits for bikes.

  28. Because I bought a Harley Nightster 1200 without being a rider, my two sons and their wives got crazy about riding and we all took the MSF classes together and we all ride on weekends. They bought sportbikes. I am a newbie, 58 years old and still scared to ride. I love it but my stomach hurts only by thinking of sitting on the bike. Once I start riding I forget about nerves at all.

    Did I made a mistake buying a big bike at first? Will I be enjoying riding without the nerves one day? Am I too old to learn? Should I switch to a smaller bike until I am fully confident? I will greatly appreciate any advice.

    1. No, Yes, No, and No. You'll be fine just give it some time and practice. Your nerves will calm down, but you have to practice and ride — a lot — to feel more confident.

  29. I am 46 and ever since I was 16 have wanted a bike. With the three kids grown up now — 27, 25 and 21, it was time to consider buying one. After researching for 1 1/2 years I knew I had to have one. I even read books on proper riding and surviving the city streets. I never in my life thought I could afford a Harley but one day when I got home my husband had done all the foot work and I got to go to the dealer and pick one out of three Sportsters. I choose the 2001 XLH 883. $5,000 and 3,600 miles on it.

    I took the MSF class in July two weeks after getting my bike. Since October I have rode to work everyday! Only rain keeps me off my bike and that has happened only once. Even cold has not kept me off! Everyone at work thinks it's cool. Wow who knew the cool factor was off the charts?! Some guys try to talk to me at the stop lights. It's funny. Now some three months later I returned the favor and bought my hubby an 2005 XL all bobber'd out. We have so much fun riding together! We just got back from the Harley Museum in Wisconsin, Now my son (27) the “Suzuki guy” has a whole new love for Harleys.

  30. I took the Rider's Edge class at my local Harley dealership this past April. I made it my dream to ride in an event in California called Amazon Heart Thunder. It is a ride for breast cancer survivors. Being a woman with metastatic breast cancer who had thought life was coming to its end, I hooked on to the empowering spirit riding gave me. After the class I rode more than 1500 miles with a few mentors. And then in September I was off to Calif. We had motorcycles provided by Harley-Davidson when we got to Los Angeles. I rode the V-Rod! Hot bike!

    Over seven days we rode from L.A. to San Fran. It was the most awesome experience. It is not enough for me to be a survivor anymore. Now I must be a thriver! So I have made plans to fly to Australia to participate in the same event this coming May!

  31. Loved reading all the comments!

    I took my DMV test in 1985, back when not many women were riding. I liked the idea of riding and no one was going to tell me I couldn't do it because I'm a woman. When I met my husband in 1989, he didn't ride so after a while I sold my Yamaha 400. Then two years ago, he got bitten by the motorcycle bug, took the course, passed his test and got me fired up again. Now he rides an 06 Yamaha Road Star Silverado 1700 and I ride an 05 Yamaha V Star Classic 1100. He usually rides ahead and always says how proud and happy he is to see me in his rear view riding my own.
    Sometimes we run into some women who “aplaud” me for riding. I tell them to go do it!

    Safe ride to you all!

  32. I have loved motorcycles since riding with dad when I was a young girl. At 35 I got the desire to ride my own and the rest is history. I've been riding for nine years now and on my third motorcycle, a 2004 Heritage Softail. My husband and I ride every opportunity we can. Since we live in South Carolina we ride 10 months out of the year. My advice to all the ladies out there is to go for it!

  33. A few years ago some friends told me they wanted to buy scooters. They were shocked when I said I wanted one also. I was 53 years old and started out with a 50cc scooter. The next year I bought a 80cc scooter. his year I bought a 660cc scooter. I took the motorcycle riding class and passed. I made up my mind I didn't want to shift all the time. I looked at automatic motorcycles and they were few and far between. My scooter meets all of my needs and I can go with my friends who now ride motorcycles. I am the one everyone thought I would not ride. I am the one who rides even in cold weather. only wish there were more articles on scooters and riding especially the large scooters.

    1. We are launching ScooterRidersNow.com in a few weeks. It is live, but we're still filling it with content. This will be source for news and reviews.

  34. I got my first bike 17 years ago and a friend taught me how to ride in the dead of winter. My husband chased me through a parking lot to see who that girl was on a motorcycle and we've been married for 14 years now. I had the bike before I had him and fortunately now have both! (He also has his own)

  35. The view! As a passenger since I was a teenager (now nearing 40) with boyfriends, uncles, friends, etc., the most amazing thing to me has always been how big the world seems on a bike. People who go for scenic drives in their cars have no idea how amazing the view is on a bike, where you can see everything around you and feel as if you are one with the environment. At 39 I decided that life was about being in the driver's seat and I took a riding safety course, got my license immediately and bought a bike. Two thousand miles later, I'm glad I did it and wish I would have years ago. Why wait?

    The view, the thrill, the rush, the cameraderie, the sun and wind in your hair…is there really anything better?

  36. I really enjoyed the article. I am an aspiring motorcycle rider. I plan on learning when my kiddos are a little older and we get some debt out of the way (main reason). I'm married, 38 years old with a 5 and 2 year old. It has been inspiring to keep up with the WRN articles, but the comments have also been a treat to read on this one! Thanks for sharing.

  37. I got my start riding a little later in life. I'm 51, and thought that I would never be able to afford a Harley-Davidson, and real sick of men's lame excuses for taking me riding. Well, after daily wishing, drooling, and praying to God, there it was on Craig's List. The best part is, I was able to afford the 89, Sportster with only 13,000 miles on it ($2500).

    I bought it in January of this year, and looked in the garage daily thinking, “God, I have a Harley in my garage!” I could not wait until the salt got washed off our streets in the early spring. I was told by all the biker's I know, “Take the riders course.” By the time I got there, I had 2000 miles already on the motorcycle. Now, after this summer, I have put 12,000 miles on it on my first season riding. Way too cool. And I thought riding race horses was fun. I just love being out in the wind.

    1. We recommend taking the basic riders course before buying a bike and teaching yourself to ride if you have no experience. The main reason is many people have a different idea of what type of motorcycle they want after they take and pass the class. You have much more knowledge and therefore make a more educated decision on your choice of motorcycle. Looks like you found a good deal on Craigs List so it was hard to pass up, but I wanted to just pass that along for those wondering if buying a bike first is the way to go.

  38. After being a passenger for a couple of years, I decided I would rather be in control of the ride. I was lucky. I had massive support from friends and family, and as far as the cool factor — huge. The fun factor — better. It's one of the best decisions I have ever made!

  39. I ride because I love to! The feeling is exhilarating. I used to be a passenger until a friend told me I should ride my own. “I don't know how,” I responded and he said “You can learn!” So I did and five years later, I have more than 30,000 miles on my Triumph America and am planning to send a picture to Triumph when I hit 100,000 miles. Yippee!

  40. Nice thought about saving on gas, except that I love riding so much I usually take the long way home from work! And since my husband and I both ride, we double the gas used with each trip. Better to consider it “entertainment” rather than a cheaper mode of transportation.

  41. Totally agree with the cool factor!

  42. I have riden since I was 5 years old. My first bike was a Honda 50 graduating up to a 125cc dirt bike. After getting married I was put onthe back seat of a Honda Aspencade, and a Harley Sportster. As with most passengers, the thrill of the open road was a little boring. I would find myself sleeping most of the time during the ride. (Dangerous.) It was time to get back in the control seat after I asked my husband if I could drive and he could be the passenger. It didn't take him long to see that two bikes were better then one. Have been riding again for three years now.

  43. From the time I was 17 and rode on the back of a boyfriend's bike, I just loved it! I always wanted to ride my own, but was either too nervous, didn't have money for a bike, spouse and friends didn't ride, and a dozen other reasons. However, the desire to ride never went away. I'd get a rush every time I heard and saw a cruiser.

    As I approached 40, I finally decided life is too short and I don't want to grow old saying, “I wish I had…” I want to say, “I'm glad I did.” This month will be a year since my husband and I took the class and have been riding and while I still get nervous, I do love it. I'm glad I did it.

  44. My husband initially asked me to take the Riders Course just to see if I would enjoy it and it would be an accomplishment — a building of confidence. Although I loved riding with him on the back of his motorcycle the thought of me riding my own petrified me. But I wanted to face my fears and do it. Not just because he asked me to, but because I wanted to know for myself that I could do this, even if I had to do it afraid.

    I passed the course, got my license and after a lot of praying, finding the right bike for me and lots of practicing around our neighborhood. I love it! Not only did I overcome a fear, but I gained a new passion.

  45. Getting back in the saddle on a steel pony has never been better. After a long break (for other life challenges like marriage and children), I am now back on a two-wheel adventure. It's my stress reliever and MY TIME! Life is good and there are some beautiful country roads waiting to be traveled.

  46. I've been riding for 1 1/2 years. I took the beginners course because I wanted know how to ride just in case something happened to the rider. But to my suprise I loved it and do not want to be a passenger again. My husband, a non-rider, was at first very upset with me and thought I had gone crazy when I bought my first bike before the lesson was over. I rode by myself for three months then he finally gave in and bought a bike for himself. We ride every chance we get. I just finished and passed the experienced rider course with my 03 Deuce. It was a wonderful learning experience.

  47. I used to ride with my husband. We got a divorce. I decided just because he got he Harley didn't mean I could not ride anymore. So I showed him and got my own and love every minute of it. I meet him on the road and just wave. I don't need a man to ride and don't have to be a passenger.

  48. Boy, I really fit categories 2 and 3! I get such a thrill out of being noticed when I ride, either alone or with my husband beside (in front, in back) of me! I rode as a passenger for more than 30 years with three husbands (twice widowed). Two of them would have never encouraged me to learn to ride let alone have my own bike. Taboo among that group. My new husband (and friend for all of those 30-plus years) is the exception. He not only encouraged me to learn, he got me a 2003 Honda Shadow ACE to prove he was serious.

    I took the Rider's Edge class at the local Harley dealership and now ride every chance I get. We ride together often and when that's not possible, I ride alone. I can't thank him enough for the gift of freedom and coolness! Can't wait to trade up to a Softail Deluxe!

  49. I ride to “get away.” It seems like every time I strap on my helmet and start the engine of my '06 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200C, all my worries, concerns, obligations, etc. melt away and it's just me and the road.

    I also find it funny how people can't believe that I ride and my husband doesn't! Sure, he has his endorsement, but he sold his bike this summer and, as of right now, has no desire to purchase another one quite yet.

  50. Three and 8 were my reasons. My husband urged me to get my license when I was 21, and I rode my own bike for a few years, but then life got busy. I passengered with him for a long time after that. In my 50s, the bug bit again and I kept taking over his bike, so he told me it was time to get my own. I love leading sometimes and following sometimes.

  51. I can't believe I didn't see freedom, independence, and self confidence. These are the gifts my riding experience brings me. Every woman should find what it is that gives her strength, makes her feel great about her self and just do it. Many women riders I've met have said their bike “saved” them, gave them confidence or empowered them in some great way.

  52. It all started in Deadwood, South Dakota, where I was visiting friends. Two women pulled up on motorcycles and I admired them. I had always been a passenger and loved that, but these women encouraged me in their independence, confidence and that they were just having so much fun. When the Black Hills Rally began there were so many women riders I thought, “I can do that and I want to.”

    I've ridden horses all my life, there are many similarities so why not try the iron horse? So began my journey with the encouragement of my fiance and my dear friend Sasha Mullins who is in my eyes the ideal image of a woman motorcyclist biker chick. Today I ride a 2007 Honda Shadow Aero and I'm having a blast!

  53. I've always been a big girl, kind of clumsy. The bike gives me grace and speed beyond compare. I'm not ordinary anymore. I'm a biker!

  54. Excellent article! Coming from a family of riders, both on motorcycles and horses, I learned so I would not get left behind. Besides, I moved into town and no longer had room for my horses, so next best thing has been wonderful for more than 30 years now. The simple pleasure of being able to go, “where” I want, “when” I want, and “if” want can't be beat!

  55. I think this article is FANTASTIC! I also am a woman rider (riding 40 years now) and it is the second love of my life. My grandaughter is my frist. She is 6 years old and loves motorcycles, too, and can't wait to ride her own.

  56. I rode many years ago, and five years ago I decided to buy a Harley Heritage, I now own a 2006 Fat Boy. I am now 70 years old and I feel like I did years ago. Just to feel the wind in my face and riding the mountains in N. Alabama is so relaxing. I rode to Oklahoma City last year. I want to go to Sturgis this year. So go for it girls. You'll be glad you did.

  57. I had a goal to learn to ride by 40 years old. This is my year and I passed the course and love to ride. Amazing the network of people and the feel of wind in your face. My kids have grown used to the idea that their mom rides a sportbike and not they want to learn to ride as well.

  58. My biking started at age 52. I wanted a cheap form of transportation just to tool back and forth in my local area. We went after a scooter, but ended up with a bike.
    Once we purchased a bike, several made comments that I would never be able to do this. My brother's comment, “Are you nuts!” This only pushed my Irish temperment into learning to ride or die trying. I had only ridden behind when I was a teen once or twice.

    A week's trying in a nearby field with a DMV manual telling me how to ride, eight and 10 hours a day on a Honda 250, and I was ready to ride real roads. That was in July. The rest of that summer I put almost 8,000 miles on that little 250. By the end of the summer trying to keep up with traffic riding up a mountain in our area, I knew I was needing a bigger bike. I also passed and got my operating license in September 2002.

    We got me a Suzuki Volusia 2003 the following spring and I've never stopped riding since. I also took the MSF Course in 03. In fact that's all I want to do now –ride. My life is scheduled around the next ride date, and making up excuses to ride almost every day. I wore out the 03 Volusia with 80,000 miles on it, purchased another Suzuki last fall. It now has 19,000 miles on it.

    I've been fortunate enough to have joined two women's bike clubs, Women on Wheels, and Motor Maids, made a lot of biker friends, and now visit places that I would have never seen. I honestly believe biking has added years to my life since I'm no longer just sitting in the house waiting for my husband or at least it has saved my sanity.

    My husband is planning on retiring soon so we can ride to my heart's content. He started riding right after I did. So now I'm praying I'll be able to ride into my 80s keeping up with many of the Motor Maids.

  59. Like some of the others I, too, want to get off the back, but maybe for a bit of a different reason. The fact that I love bikes has been a factor in getting/keeping me in more than a few bad relationships. Now I don't need a relationship/man just so I can ride. Sad but true and I know I can't be the only one?

  60. Here is one for you. I alway wanted to ride. My 14-year-old son convinced my to learn. He started to teach his 42 year-old Mom to ride. I then took the MSF course and passed on the first try. Made my son proud.

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