I love hearing stories about how women (or men) fell in love with motorcycles. So many women talk about learning to ride as a kid or as a teen, and those stories make me feel a bit jealous because I wish I’d have been tearing up the dirt as a kid.
Every story is different. And while I prefer to tell the stories of others, I thought I’d share just a little of mine, so you understand why Woman Rider is so important to me – why you are all important to me.
Despite plenty of time on ATVs in my younger years, my love affair with motorcycles didn’t start until I was in my 30s. It took me that long to find the community I now call ‘home.’
At age 35, I suddenly found myself a widow and single mom to my step-son Ty, who has Down Syndrome and autism (more on this amazing kid later). No one plans to be a widow at 35, and it’s one of those life events that makes it feel like the sky is falling, like nothing makes sense, and like you’ll never truly breathe again.
Just a couple of months later I read Malcolm Smith’s wonderful autobiography (if you don’t know him, please go look him up) written with Mitch Boehm, who happens to be the Editor-in-Chief of our sister publication Thunder Press. In that book I read about the Bruce Brown’s legendary documentary On Any Sunday – which features Smith, Mert Lawwill and the actor Steve McQueen. I’d never seen it, but when I finally did something inside my very being changed that day.
In motorcycling I saw freedom, and I longed for that escape. I often tell people that it was motorcycles – and the people who ride them – that helped save me in the darkest moments of my life. As a widow, I no longer knew who I was anymore. I didn’t know where I belonged. But in a key way, motorcycles saved me. And beyond the bikes I found this community of people who took my son and I in, wrapped us up, and made us feel like we belong.
And then I learned to ride myself. Kickstand up, kickstart the engine, let out the clutch, twist the throttle…and freedom! And the pain slips away, the darkness can’t keep up, joy seeps into your soul, you can’t keep the grin off your face. You know, that feeling.
Along my journey I got the chance to write about motorcycles and the amazing people who ride them. I worked on the Thunder Press ‘Women in Motorcycling’ issue and was set ablaze inside by the women in this industry. It may have taken me a bit longer, but I found ‘home,’ and I want to share that with others.
In the past month I’ve put together an advisory group packed with some of the most amazing women in the industry, because I feel like we’re always stronger together. I have one main goal – to make Woman Rider feel like home to every woman who visits, whether you ride on two wheels, three wheels, or four.
We have so many exciting plans for Woman Rider in the future. We’re growing and looking for new ways to create community and offer you inspirational and helpful content.
What’s your idea of ‘home’ for women riders? What do you want to read about? How can we help you? Feel free to email me at JBurgess@epgmediallc.com with your comments, thoughts, or ideas. I’d love to hear from you!