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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST" (continued... for the last time)

first (adj.) being number one in a series; earliest in time; foremost in importance.

MORE! MORE! MORE! I'm not a greedy person by nature, but darn... I was burning through so much fun... that I just had to have MORE!! Within 6 months of becoming the owner of a Suzuki 800 Intruder, my restless road spirit began to exhibit a bad case of growing pains... again.

Our his and hers chariots await...
When you take off on a Saturday morning, and don't come home till dark... before long you realize your therapeutic day rides are averaging around 250 to 300 miles. Your mind and you can cover a lot of inventory during a ride like that. Shuffle around priorities, redirect some goals, discard trash that's weighing you down, and get some serious sensory stimulation with the scenery that surrounds you. You would think in a world like that, a gal would be happy.

Six months turned into a year and unfortunately, I couldn't shake this nagging idea that I was ready to step up and move on, to something bigger, something better, and yes... more powerful. Was I asking for too much? I didn't think so.

Funny thing was, I didn't realize this at the time, but Harley's restless road spirit was kickin' around in him too. I guess after listening to me ramble on and on for weeks about what bike I wanted to get next... how big... which style... what color... blah, blah, blah. It seems he was getting hungry for more too. Rut roh! (I'm sure you know where this is going!) Unbeknown to me... Harley had an ulterior motive in mind, and amusingly, he carefully put his well thought out plan into place.

One typical summer day, coming back into our neighborhood area after cruising some of our beautiful Alabama highways, Harley took a detour into a large parking lot, just a few blocks from our home. Not sure what was up, I just obediently followed (as I always do) and pulled up next to where he had stopped and was getting off of his Glide.

I turned off my motor and asked what was wrong. He just said, "Nothing", and motioned for me to get off my bike, which I compliantly did. His next statement set off a sudden explosion of butterflies in my gut as I digested his words... "Get on the Glide and ride it."

Yikes! "Are you serious??" I stammered. Harley reminded me of what I've been talking about for months. "Something bigger... more powerful... ride it." he repeated.

I stood there for a moment and nervously studied the controls trying to absorb any differences. While I kept scanning the massive dash, I started to feel overwhelmed and told Harley so. After all, my bike was very open up front and only had one gauge! Once I sat on this much larger (and much heavier!) bike, the fairing blocked a lot of my downward view and I wasn't sure I liked that. He told me to relax and just ride it, reminding me again, that I know how to ride... so just do it.

Thanks to Harley's confidence in me, and his extreme bravery for proposing that I try out his ride for size, I found out I should have never doubted myself or my abilities. Once I eased out the clutch and gave it just a little throttle, my fear was quickly replaced by cautious enthusiasm. It felt like I was riding higher, kind of like that feeling you get when you go from a small, low riding car into a large SUV. It was very exhilarating and euphoric as I experienced the difference in the power and weight that the Glide possessed over the Suzuki. I putted around the parking lot making very large circles, moving up and down in gears, achieving just a little more speed with each repetitious lap.

After several minutes, I steered the Glide back over to the parked Suzi, where my hubby was watching (probably somewhat apprehensively) and exclaimed, "Holy Cow! I could get used to this!" I was too excited to look in the mirror, but I could tell my grin was plastered from ear to ear. I told him... "stay here... I'll be back!" He just laughed at my silly ass as I putted off for some more rotations around the lot. Being able to sit upon such a large and powerful machine, and maneuver it successfully gave me such an accomplished and proud feeling. After a few more minutes of big circles to the right and big circles to the left, I rode back over to Harley and asked if he just wanted me to ride it on home for him. He gave me his trademark smirk and replied... "I don't think so." Darn! Can't blame a girl for trying!

I'll never forget my "first" solo ride on that big black beautiful Electra Glide and that very afternoon was the beginning of yet another fabulous chapter in my life as a lady rider. During the next several weeks a lot of things transpired in our household and, to make a long story short, I'm happy to report that I accepted the '98 Electra Glide as a hand me down upgrade to the Suzuki, and we purchased a new brand new blue 2007 Street Glide for Harley.
(yea... he knows how lucky he is!) But I wasn't complaining much... I was just as happy to be sitting on my own "first" Harley Davidson motorcycle. In a mere 15 months, I went from the smaller more forgiving Suzuki, right on up to the grandaddy of bikes. How's that for progress?!
To be truthful... when the idea was first posed to me (as far as the Electra Glide becoming my bike) I wasn't sure it was what I wanted. Due to the fact that two big ol' hard heads owned this motorcycle before me, it was hard for me to see it as a ladies bike. I had several encouraging conversations, however, with other riders who assured me that if they were able to have the chance at this beauty, they would take it in a heart beat. Besides, they reminded me that you can make any bike your own. It took a few days to wrap my head around the idea but when I did, it felt good. I started with some small changes and now I'm keeping a long, long list of things I still want to do.
By simply removing the tour pack, horizontal chrome saddle bag guards, and exchanging the big pillow seat with a Harley Davidson Sport seat, it gave the bike a refreshed sportier look. My goal was to sleek her down a little while still being able to enjoy the comfort that you get from a large touring bike. I would like to get a new paint job and possibly powder coat all her chrome black. I think that would look awesome!
I don't really have a name for my bike, other than I like to refer to her as my "ol' girl". I feel like we are both just a couple of ol' pals that found each other late in life and only we can appreciate our new found friendship as we cruise along through it. I'm always joking with Harley that my ol' girl talks to me and tells me how much she appreciates the fact that it's my ass she's under these days. She's had her fill of the testosterone filled rides and she's ready to enjoy her retiring years being playful yet reasonable.
I'm pleased to announce that this saga of "first" experiences is going to be an ongoing one. I have a bucket list as long as my arm and even though the funds to fuel my desires are slow to materialize, the hopes and dreams of checking them off, one by one, still remains. Hubby and I plan to continue on with our weekly therapy rides sprinkled with large doses of rowdy fun from time to time as we search for new ways to spread our wings.

Ahhhhhhhh... yes! My "Life is Good" t-shirt is getting worn pretty regularly these days... as I cruise along on two.

Lady R


dave said...

I remember my first ride after 25+ years of not riding (on an 850# Goldwing!),the first long ride with my (non-biker) wife, my first day long ride with my son in my mirrors. Firsts are great and the opportunity to dream of what comes next is a powerful stimulant :). Keep going-I for one am always looking forward to your next chapter.

Webster World said...

What a feeling for sure. I'd had a few bikes before I got a nice HD. I'd had a couple HD's and a hand full of Limmie's. But when I first got on the 72 Superglide. That great feeling when I first pulled out on the road. It was even snowing that April day. But I did not see it.

biker baby said...

I am very happy with my choice of bike too. I liked the sporty look with the sport seat but needed to be able to strap on for long trips so I added a sissy bar and luggage rack. I got the permanent ones because the detachable just didn't fit my budget. I have been thinking about a more comfy seat. Of course, I need a job first. Rich put a Mustang seat on his and he loves it. He used to let me ride it once in a while but since he boosted the motor up to something between a 107 and 110, he has been reluctant to let me ride it so I don't know what the seat feels like. I wonder if his reluctance about me riding his has anything to do with the fact that I caught some air going over a hill at 103 MPH. Now that was pretty cool. His bike has always been faster than mine…I just wanted to see what it felt like to be in front of him for a change. He did encourage it a little…he started it. I just got a little air! Just an inch or two. Still…very cool!

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Awesome! and I love what you've done to her to make her your own. Nice changes.

FLHX_Dave said...

I really loved the whole experience you put so well here. I felt all of it myself...and still do thankfully!

You are a true moto-mama. How could you not be. You ride, live, breath and write about bikes and bike related crap.

Thanks for the stroll...it was a good walk in the park! (no Harley, I wasn't holding her hand...she was holding mine! ;)

mq01 said...

ladyR, now thats love :)

Allen Madding said...

excellent post. I felt like I was right there with you for the your first ride on the glide. As I read, I could vividly remember the first time I rode a Road King after 2 years on a Sportster. You are right, it was like the world changed in a wonderful way.

I also like the black powder coat idea!


George F said...

Nice post, I can just imagine the first time you rode it. I also like what you doing to her ;-)

Rhonda said...

I thought I was riding a big girl bike with my Super Glide, but you got me beat. I don't think I'll ever be riding an Electra Glide, Doesn't really work for my squatty size but I love to see other women riding the really big bikes!

Lady Ridesalot said...

Dave... glad you enjoyed it. It was fun reliving the moments.

Webster... snow? What snow. LOL! It funny how invisible something becomes when were basking in a glorious moment!

Biker Baby... Woo Hoo! You go girl. I've gotten my Glide up to 100 myself a couple times, but I've not seen air! (Don't know if I want to!)=:o

Mr. M... Thanks. It's kind of funny to see her parked next to an Electra Glide with all the stock touring components still in place. She looks more like a Street Glide. Besides, I don't need all that extra storage... I got Harley to carry my bags! (tee hee)

Viking Dave... Coming from you (the man with the golden keyboard), I feel honored. Thank you my friend, and I sure hope I can continue my hospitality and grace you with another stroll someday. Say somewhere like... a museum??!!

Mq01... :)

Allen... Every time I mention the black powder coat idea to the shop manager at the HD shop, he discourages it... strongly. I've heard others say it's not a problem. Just not sure what to do without some more serious research. I think it would look so wicked all black though. ;)

George... Thanks!

Rhonda... Mines been lowered... that helped. And I have to always have my boots on... or I'm not as firm on the ground. It's amazing what difference an inch can make! :D (muwahahaha)

bobskoot said...

Lady R:

I've got to say that you are stronger than me. I don't think there is any way I could handle that HUGE Harley. I tried sitting on one at the bike show and it had such a long wheelbase. You make it seem so easy

Wet Coast Scootin

Lady Ridesalot said...

Bobskoot... thank you for such a wonderful compliment. True, the Glides are quite heavy, and the first time I pulled her upright I thought... I'm crazy! My hubby said something that made a lot of sense for me and it helped me get past the fear of her weight. He said... "There's not very many men who can hold her up once she gets passed the point of no return, but you need to quit walking it, and ride it." I know that might sound insensitive, but it cured me of my dropsies. After the second time I dropped the Glide while moving her around to park her, those words sunk in and I became very much more intune to where and how I was placing her when I park. BINGO!

Thank you again my friend, you've sufficiently stroked my peacock feathers today!

crane trucks said...

Fantastic adventures in your bike.A bikers life is full of dare devil adventures and thrill.