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Linda Joseph – Why I Ride

Linda_Joseph-wir257I was first introduced to motorcycles during the late 1970’s when some friend of ours had a motorcycle and my first husband bought a Honda 550 bike. At that time I was a passenger and during our rides, I looked around at other riders and wondered what it would be like to drive my own motorcycle. After a couple of years, we decided to sell this bike to buy a larger Honda 750. Shortly after that purchase, I got pregnant and that was the end of my riding days.

As everyone has experienced, life goes on and things change during that time. Money becomes tighter and I focused on my family. Several years went by and my life changed. I was now a single mother, raising two children on my own, working full time and trying to have a social life. During those years, some of the guys I dated had motorcycles and that was the time when my focus changed from passenger to driving. As I sat behind the driver, I pictured in my mind, shifting the gears, turning the corners, braking and accelerating. I repeated this scenario over and over until I made the decision to get my motorcycle license which was now on my “bucket list”. There were many times when I would hear motorcycles driving around on a beautiful sunny day and thought: “I can do that”. One year, I didn’t have the opportunity to get on a bike, but hearing all the motorcycles drive by got me thinking.

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A very good friend taught me how to drive a motorcycle during my permit phase. This motorcycle was small, but I could handle it. During that time, I signed up for and completed the PA Motorcycle Safety Course. That was the perfect way to get my license because all I needed to do was show up. The course was great and I was one of three women in the class. I felt a little intimidated, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Everyone there was there to get their license and most of them were older men who renewed their permit, but never passed the test. Once I passed my test, I was on the lookout to buy a motorcycle; but, I needed some help.

At that time, my boyfriend, now my husband, Roger offered to lend his expertise with finding a motorcycle for me to buy which would “fit” me. Since this would be my first motorcycle, I wanted a buy a bike I could afford, handle and liked because they always say “start with a reasonable bike”. We found a Yamaha V-Star 650 and it fit me and my budget. This bike had most of what I needed at that time, was big enough for me to handle and the power was enough for now. I drove that bike for four years before I moved up to my current bike, a 2010 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Limited. During those four years, I learned a lot. We went on a few long rides, but nothing too long.

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During that time, Roger didn’t have a motorcycle so we rode two-up on my bike. After a few rides two-up, we realized he needed to get his own bike because we had different styles of riding. We were both happy when he bought his own bike. Again our rides weren’t too long, but really enjoy-able because I was learning new skills each time we went out. We joined our first HOG chapter, Coopersburg HOG, to meet new people and go on rides after one riding season of “waiting for friends to call”. I won’t do that again.

After the dealership closed down, we wanted to join a HOG chapter and we had friends in the IV group. So off to IV HOG we went. Ever since that time, we have had a great time meeting new people, being a part of a large group with the same interest. Between both HOG chapters, we have met some wonderful people and enjoy getting together with them. Every time I get on my bike, I’m improving my skills and learning new ones. I observe other experienced drivers and ask questions. I hope to ride my bike for a very long time. Riding in comfort will allow me to go on longer trips.

I feel so good knowing I’ve accomplished a skill and I truly respect other motorcyclists. I always en-courage any new person to the motorcycle world to get involved and learn new things. One of the great-est things is that we all support each other. We are always lending a hand to our fellow friends in the motorcycle world.
I plan to continue riding to feel the wind in my hair and to be free, and that is why I ride.

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