How Learning to Ride Changed My Life....
by Valerie Strimel
(Washington, PA (USA))
Riding the Tail of the Dragon
Hi! My name is Valerie and I started riding my own bike in 2004 at the age of 41. I had always wanted to learn how to ride, but never had the chance until after I was on my own after a divorce. I first bought a Honda 500 off of ebay and taught myself everything I needed to learn from where all the controls were to actually starting the bike. I applied for my motorcycle permit and soon I was cruising short distances by myself.
Shortly after learning to ride I met my husband...he was out on his bike with a group of buddies for a Sunday cruise and we happened to stop at the same bar for a bite to eat before returning home. It was fate that we met, because both of us had doubts about stopping in the first place. Luckily we did and we ended up closing the place down that evening.
After that we went on many rides together with me following his tail light on my little Honda ... until one day he pulled over unexpectedly and said "It's time you learn to ride a Harley." He was riding his 1995 Springer. I was petrified that I would drop his pride and joy right in the middle of the road. But I got on and took it for a short spin up the road and back. He said I looked so good on that bike that he decided to buy another Harley for himself and my Honda was parked in the garage. Shortly after that I bought my own Harley -- a 2001 Fatboy and still ride it today.
We have gone on many bike trips over the past few years ... ranging from 100 miles to over 1200 roundtrip. We've trailered to Sturgis to ride the Black Hills, went to Virginia Beach several times, got married on our bikes in Pigeon Forge, TN and afterwards rode the Tail of the Dragon, Cherohola Skyway, and Blue Ridge Parkway. We have so many good memories from our adventures on the road and I can't think of anyone I'd rather follow than him.