Needed my own wind!
by Kelly Bonistalli
It all started in the early 80s, my dad borrowed his brother's bike, and took the kids all for a ride. I wasn't shy, I was bouncing around and excited to get on this majestic machine, get my turn and GO! After what seemed like hours, it was finally MY turn! I instinctually put my left foot on the peg, and grabbed a handful of my dad's jacket and hoisted myself onto the seat. No sissy bar for us, we had to hang onto his pockets to stay on. (no helmets either, but hey, we ate lead paint and survived!!!)
OFF we went to the Baskin Robbins, I was HOOKED! He took the highway right away, knowing I wouldn't be afraid like my little sister, and I remember feeling the wind in my face, my eyes squinting, watering, ears ringing with the steady whistle as we rode, the WIND felt so good! We parked at the ice cream shop, my dad chatting with other guys who came over to admire the bike. I ate my bubble gum ice cream cone and dreamt of the day *I* would ride the bike myself. Alas, I was forbidden by my mum, who insisted there was NO WAY I would be responsible enough to be a safe rider. (I was 8 at the time... Pretty sure she was right...)
Fast forward to the teen years, dated the bad boys, and of course, the GOOD bad boys had bikes. We'd tear off down the road, the butterflies in my stomach on the curves, the rush of being pressed against my current squeeze, the WIND!
Life happened, met a guy, made babies, "Mom's don't ride motorcycles unless they want to have ORPHANS!" Practical and paranoid me said "ok,.... No rides for me... *sigh*" But every time I'd hear that rumble, I'd imagine the wind in MY face and dream of the day...
The day I'd find a friend willing to say "HEY! Wanna take a ride?!" (Ok, truly? Was more like "PLEASE take me for a ride! Please? PLEASE?! C'mon, please!?!?!?!") I hopped on the back of his bike and we were off. (Helmets this time!) I felt that pressure against me as the beast we rode brazened his way over the road, and tucked my head to the rider's shoulder, picturing my own hands on the handgrips, my own feet on the pegs, my own ride, my own WIND. And this friend was such a good friend, no "oh, mom's don't ride!" No "it's too dangerous!" NO "Women don't ride their own!" He said "Why don't you get your own bike?" ...Well... why not?! Oh yeah, mom's also don't spend a few thousand dollars on an impractical vehicle when there's braces and wardrobes and soccer fees to pay...
And then? The day my husband said "Get your bike. Here's the cash, spend it on a bike, or put it in the bank to spend it on a bike later, but either way, it's yours, you've freakin earned it baby!" Boy did I find a bike FAST! February 13, 2012 I brought home BLACK BETTY, my 2007 V Star 650 Midnight Custom. I did it legally, practically, and took the MSF course so I'd KNOW how to ride, I found a mentor who let me ride his bike in a parking lot as I mastered low speed turns, accelerating and braking, I waited until she was tagged, insured, and I was licensed... and then, OH AND THEN!
Most people go the safe route, they do the neighborhood rides, the getting on more trafficked roads, working their way up to 40-50-60 mph gradually! I (ok, now I admit was probably rash) rode up to the DMV, got my Class M added to my license, and took OFF down the road, 55 mph, up and down hills, the WIND WAS MINE!!!
Since then, I've got 5000 miles under my pipes, and thousands of miles per hour of wind in my cheeks, I love the rush of being in control, I love being alive in the elements, aware of everything, and responsible for my self and only myself. I ride safe every day, I ride well every day, and I ride aware every day. I know my limits, and don't bite off more than I can chew, and I always put my safety as priority number one. However, I accept the dangers inherent in riding, accept the responsibility, and still catch that wind!
Ride safe sisters (and brothers), keep it shiny side up!