Nothing says Minnesota Mom like… motorcycles? The sound of a motorcycle engine revving up is as familiar to me as the microwave ding or my coffee pot rumbling to a start. When I was younger, I watched my dad roll into the garage in his mid-80’s Yamaha Maxim, a light bike that he rode to work on nice days. I have memories of tipping my uncle’s Harley Davidson over in their garage during a family gathering, after playing around on it with my cousins (sorry Uncle John!). Then, my older brother started in. First, it was dirt bikes, but it wasn’t long before he had a street cruiser of his own. I got a few rides from him and his friends, and I knew I was hooked.
It wasn’t before I started dating my now husband that I stepped out into the riding world on my own. We took a two day safety course, as a date weekend, after we had both taken the written test for a motorcycle permit. We spent a day in a classroom, learning about the rules and regulations around motorcycle riding, driving, and interacting with traffic. Then, we got on a bike. The safety class provides light, smaller engine motorcycles that are easy to learn on. We spent a full day learning how to operate the motorcycle. At the very end, we were tested for our licenses, and we both passed with flying colors. I was the proud owner of a Minnesota motorcycle license.
It wasn’t until 7 years later that I purchased my own motorcycle. Life with small children got in the way, but it was always in the back of my head to return to a life of riding at some point. When my good friend moved in next door with her motorcycle, I knew it was time. I found a great first bike, with enough power to make riding fun.
I’ll admit, we don’t ride often. When we do, it’s exhilarating. It takes both hands and both feet to operate a motorcycle. When I am riding, I am focused. I can’t reach any distractions. I can’t shut out the sights and smells of the world around me, as there are no windows to roll up. There is no phone to answer. There are no children in the backseat. I am free to focus on my thoughts or block them out completely. When we ride, we don’t go far, but we enjoy the time on the road. We usually make our way to the Mississippi River, and amble up or down the Wisconsin side, stopping for a bite to eat. It is truly a time just for me.
Keeping each other safe on the road
Some people are terrified of motorcycles. Others are oblivious. But the fact remains that we all share the road. I try to be a good steward of motorcycle moms (and dads) while I am riding. Most of us who ride are your neighbors, your hairdresser, your bus driver. If I am on a busy road, I am constantly checking my position to make sure I’m not in a blind spot or blocking faster traffic. When I am driving my car, I am conscious of the bikes on the road, and always use my turn signal and check those tricky spots to make sure I’m not cutting anyone off.
Want to ride? Here are the steps!
- Study the rules and get your motorcycle permit
- Take a safety class (highly recommended!)
- Buy a HELMET
- Find the motorcycle that is right for you.
So, maybe it’s not the conventional way to meditate or get some alone time, but it works for me. It feeds my need for adventure, and I enjoy the company of my friends and family who also ride. We spend few days each summer enjoying the sunshine behind the windshields of our motorcycles, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.