Friday, December 2, 2011

How and Why I Got Into Motorbikes....

Gary over at Flies in Your Teeth put forth a question this week:

"I have read a few motorcycling blogs recently that I haven't seen before. With almost all of them, I was left wondering how the authors of those blogs initially got into biking, and why?............ I would like to know your reasons, so if you want to participate in this, then write something on your own blog about 'How and Why I got into Motorbikes'."

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I can sum up how I got into motorbikes in three words:

"It's Troubadour's fault".

All kidding aside, I do have to say he is the reason I started riding. Without his love, support and encouragement I probably would not be riding today. So thank you Troubadour, there is a homemade vegan pumpkin cheesecake cooling in the kitchen with your name on it.

Prior to meeting Troubadour I'd only ever ridden pillion behind my mom. When I was a kid I'd ride behind her on her Honda trail bike. She made a cushion to fit over the luggage rack on the back of the bike for me. I am pretty sure I have posted a pic of her bike before but here it is again.

Later she moved on to a larger Honda and then a Harley Sportster. I only rode on the back of the Harley once (and it broke down mid-ride) and I don't think I was ever on her other Honda.

Somewhere along the way I developed a healthy dose of respect for motorcycles. I don't know if I'd go as far as to say fear, but let's call it respect.

I find it odd that so many moto-bloggers have documented that after they got married they sold their bikes or didn't ride for many years. Odd to me because Troubadour did not own a motorcycle when we met back in 1994. He didn't buy one until after we were married.

I believe that I had such a high level of trust in him that after getting over a bit of hesitancy I enjoyed riding on the back. I learned the proper way to "sit down, shut up, and hold on" and it has served me well for many many years of pillion riding.

Learning to ride a motorcycle had always been a goal for me. It was something that I wanted to do, but again, without Troubadour and his encouragement and patience I don't think I would have ventured it.

We moved to Oregon in January 2001 and in the spring/summer of 2002 I took my written test for my motorcycle learner's permit. We went out to the local high school two-up on his 1976 Kawasaki KZ900. It was there that he taught me the basics. A lot I'd picked up from riding on the back for several years. I knew the controls and their functions. He had me doing circles around the parking lot before too long and I was grinning like crazy especially the first time I shifted into second gear.

(Me and the KZ - sorry it was before ATGATT)

I was apprehensive, but I took the Team Oregon Basic Riders Training Course that fall in the pouring rain. After taking the course on such small, forward control bikes I felt uncomfortable getting back on the KZ. (and by small, I mean for my long legs toilet seats are taller than those bike seats) After those bikes, the KZ felt top heavy and too big, whereas before taking the course I was perfectly comfortable on it. I found this very frustrating.

Through it all Troubadour has repeatedly asked me: "What would you do if you weren't scared?" I chanted this in my helmet during the class and I still repeat it to myself any day that I am trying something new that I am not sure of. (I think I even said it as we were riding around Crater Lake this year.)

The following summer we bought our first house. After 3 years of renovations and landscaping we sold it in 2006 and bought the house we currently own. After a complete bathroom remodel and a complete kitchen remodel (100% of the labor done ourselves) and buying Troubadour his new America, we had some extra funds to look for a used bike for me.

In May 2009, we purchased a used Honda Nighthawk 250 for me. You can read about the bike and see pictures on this link (<--- click link).

And that is how I got into motorbikes. From that day it has only gotten better. It took me a few bikes to find one that suited me and to find my groove, but I love motorcycling and love that instead of staying home or riding on the back all the time I get to ride my own ride. In fact, I think riding my own motorcycle has made me a worse passenger; no handlebar to hang onto, no heated grips, etc.

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WHY I RIDE A MOTORCYCLE: Well, that's easy:

"Life is better with a motorcycle."

Every year we ride a little further and more often, and I still look forward to all the touring we'll do together in the future.

In our case "a couple that rides together stays together."

- Au Revoir

"It takes more love to share a saddle than it does to share a bed." - Author Unknown


  1. Aweome story Trobairitz! We both have good motorcycle men!

  2. Interesting that you mom took you riding and you didn't get the bug.

    Like you I spent many years riding pillion but for different reasons. I always wanted to ride, but the worries of the parents and later a limited budget prohibited me from doing so.

    When I finally got it, I never looked back. But pillion or front seat, life is better with a motorcycle, indeed.

  3. Trobairitz:

    I agree, somehow life is better with a motorcycle. I also agree --> "it's Troubadour's fault" . . . there, I said it too. You are also fortunate to live in an area of the country with the "bestest roads". You are also fortunate that your parents embraced the 2-wheeled lifestyle. Mine didn't

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. @Dar - Yes, we lucked out didn't we. Or should I say - they lucked out ;-)

    @Sonja - I think I didn't get the riding bug with my mom because when my mom and step dad split there was a ten year period where she didn't ride. Not until she got her bigger Honda and by then I was already out of school. And the one ride on her Harley when it broke down in Calgary in the cold weather just didn't do it for me, lol.

    @Bobskoot - We are lucky that we can ride year round in Oregon - for the most part. It is 27 F (-2.7 C) degrees with frost and heavy fog this morning so no ride to coffee. And I am pretty lucky my mom rides. She doesn't have a bike since the last Harley was stolen, but said she is proud of me for getting my endorsement.

  5. Hi Trobairitz, I noticed today that you're linked to my blog. Much appreciated. I've returned the favour and I'm following as well. Great post by the way. I came over from Bobskoot's blog, and I'm inspired to contribute a similar post about how I got into riding. I've been reading your blog for a while now. Keep it up.

  6. Thats a great story, welldone. these blogs have been great in understanding people a little bit more.

  7. That is a nice writeup. And like Bobskoot mentioned, it was great that you were brought up supporting motorcycling. My parents thought that it was really dangerous. All of the bicycling I did sort of mellowed them on that.

    It was great to see you and Troubadour at coffee this morning. A nice diversion. Thanks for the invite.


  8. I've picked up bits and pieces of your story before. Nice to get the total story. :) I can't imagine riding a 900 as a first time on the bike!

    Spouses, significant others, what have you, have a way of getting us into things. I don't think I'd be riding if Ron hadn't returned to riding all these years later. Not a fear thing so much as I really wasn't all that interested in motorbikes.

  9. This is a terrific story. While it is about motorcycling, it also speaks volumes about your relationship with Troubadour. Like bluekat said, riding a 900 as a machine to learn on must have been a challenge. I started on a 90cc bike and found that difficult enough! I can totally understand riding your own bike makes you a worse passenger. I look forward to reading many more of your touring tales.

  10. Nice read! I am with you on one thing: I am always surprised when I hear about people selling their motorcycle after they get married or after they find out they are expecting a child. As for me, I bought my last bike some time after I learnt that I would have been a father, because I knew that after the child's arrival, money would have been put somewhere else...once the bike was there, it was there!

  11. @David - Thank you for stopping by. I always enjoy reading rider's blog from other places. I've been to Montreal once in the winter, would love to go back in the summer to enjoy it to the fullest.

    @Raftnn - I agree, it is neat to see how everyone got started with the riding bug.

    @Richard - It was great to see you too on Saturday. Hope you didn't think we were all too crazy. Anytime you are in town stop on by for coffee. If it isn't a Saturday let us know and we'll go out for coffee or dinner or something.

    @Bluekat - Funny thing is the 900 didn't bother me at all until I took the course on a smaller bike with the forward controls. Brad sold it to a friend who pulled the motor and we found out it was actually bored out to 1100cc too. Yikes. It was just a matter of throttle control.

    @Gary - See what you started when you asked the question? If you read my comment back to Bluekat you'll note I didn't find the 900 daunting at all when I first was riding it. Now that I have experience under my belt it probably wouldn't be a problem. Troubadour and I are lucky we met and get along so well in this crazy mixed up world.

    @TuscanFoodie - Good idea on buying the bike before your child arrived and the funds get earmarked for other activities. Glad you still have the bike for riding and I bet your child will be an enthusiast too.

  12. Very nicely told :-) I wish my wife would have the same determination but I'm afraid she will be very afraid to ride, feeling unprotected, she's so afraid in a car :-(

  13. @George - thank you. I don't think motorcycling is for everyone. I think it helped to ride pillion for so long then make the switch. At least you can enjoy the ride. I am sure your wife has some hobbies you aren't keen on either.

  14. Yea, tending to the zoo I have at home :-)
    A dog, a cat, a cockatiel, a turtle, a fish in a bowl and a pond outside full of koi and other fish ;-)

  15. Cool background. My mother had a Honda 90 that she rode while she was pregnant with me. And that was the second to last time I rode it. :). So I'm glad you had longer exposure. Hehehe