Need Mentor in SE Michigan May 2010

by Jessica Shear
(Monroe, MI)

Hi! I've posted here before - after my less than glorious experience w/ the Rider's Edge course, & after less than motivating parking lot sessions w/my impatient b/f.

Although my plan was to take the HD course for a 2nd time, unemployment dictates that I can't afford the $300+ again, so I'll take the much cheaper local community college course - hopefully in May (2010 sched. posts soon).

My boyfriend is experienced & had some good teaching tips - but he is impatient in all things, & this is too important to me to approach w/dread instead of excitement.

I'm hoping to find somebody who is willing to go w/me to a parking lot to practice things like turning - prior to my actual class. Before I stopped practicing last season, that was the thing the b/f & I were arguing about most. I know what I'm supposed to do - but his disbelief that I couldn't understand his instruction freaked me out & I can't do anything when I'm that flustered. What amazed me was just when I was having fun & felt I was doing well (shifting, going faster, figure 8s,) he commented that I wasn't improving & shouldn't keep doing the same thing over & over. He was wrong. I KNEW I was improving but also didn't like being pushed - & had only practiced maybe 4 hrs total outside of the course - so ... my thinking is if I practice w/him this season - the same thing will happen. Failure!

Although he has wonderful qualities, he's been riding since 10, knows many women who ride (so why can't I?) and has little patience for my need to do things more slowly.

Sorry this is so long! Again, I'm hoping to find somebody in or near Monroe, Michigan (near OH border) who would be willing to spend a couple hrs some weekend before my course. I want to go into the course better prepared. I have been strengthening my "grip" for months now!

If you don't hate my guts after the initial session, it would be cool if this person would also help me w/ some initial street rides after the course - so I'll be ready to ride w/ b/f by mid June.

Asking a lot? Probably...but I'm already getting an ulcer worrying about this. This time, I have GOT to get my certificate and start riding! Failure is not an option!

Anybody? Anybody? : )

Thanks -


Comments for Need Mentor in SE Michigan May 2010

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May 18, 2010
I passed the course!
by: Jessica

Hi all -

Since I last posted (and read your nice posts) back in February, I've lost weight, strengthened my clutch hand grip, started a new job, increased my confidence AND (drum roll please), took and passed my riding course. I have my certificate of completion and received my endorsement. I'M legal! WAHOO.

Not only did I pass the course, but my coach told me I had the best overall scores in the class (missed 1 on the written test, 2 on the course skills assessment test and only 1 on Michigan's skills test.)

Unreal! I can't believe where I was a year ago compared to today. Very few things in my 46 years have been as difficult for me but also as gratifying to accomplish. I was on cloud nine Sunday night when I walked away from the course.

None of it means anything if I don't get out and ride, and I admit to being a bit nervous about getting on my bike, which is considerably heavier to turn than the tiny Rebel on which I learned in the course. Still... I'm psyched beyond words - and I have all you great women to thank for the support you gave me when I screwed up the Rider's Edge course last year and when I needed to hear that it was okay to be a little uptight etc... You are wonderful people, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Feb 15, 2010
by: Lori

Hey Jessica,

Love your determination! If the offers you received fall through for whatever reason and you find yourself still looking... give me a shout and I'll ride with you. I live in your backyard in Toledo. You can contact me at hijnx@bex.net

Feb 02, 2010
Thanks a Million
by: Jessica

Nighthawk, Fancy, Marsha and all the rest of you


Fancy - what part of VA? I'm originally from northern VA (Alexandria).

Marsha - I would love to get any help available. If you are willing to pass along my contact info to the two OH women, that would be awesome. I'm right near the border of MI/OH. My email rainyagain@hotmail.com

NIGHTHAWK - I posted a message to you on the officers page. Look forward to hearing back from you (oooohh...Twilight Zoney...I just saw a message from you pop up on my screen - will go read it now).

To everybody else who has encouraged me to stick with you - thank you. It means a lot to me!


Feb 02, 2010
Don't Give Up!!
by: Fancy

I live in Virginia so unfortunately I can't help with a mentor... But I can tell you... DON'T GIVE UP!!! I am so glad that I took the course and learned to ride... When my family tells me that I am crazy to ride, I get on that bike and the troubles of the world go away... There is nothing like it!!! I took the course with a girl that didn't know how to ride a bicycle... She passed and so can you... Keep on trying, you will get it and then you will be hitting the road with the rest of us...

You go girl!!!

Feb 01, 2010
Local Help Available
by: Nighthawk

You are in luck Jessica. The Motor City HOG Chapter is not that far from you and has some phenomenal female riders. Also has members that have volunteered to be mentors for new riders. Trying to learn to ride from a 'significant other' can sometimes damage a relationship - not advised usually!

Your situation is not unique and good help is local. Just don't get too much help that may give you bad habits you may need to break. You are on the right track mentally and physically to properly learn. That's a nice start.

Give me a way to contact you and I'll try to help your situation, or contact me through the MotorCityHOG.com website officers page.

Feb 01, 2010
Am Working on Finding You Some Help = Mentor
by: Marsha

Hi Jessica,

I have contacted two riding ladies I know, one's husband is a MSF Ridercoach in Detroit, he will ask the Monroe area folks to locate someone willing to help you - they have far more experience in this than not. Secondly, a lady in OH who is on Facebook on the " Women who Ride Rock" site as a "friend" - Lisa asked me if you are on Facebook? Also she & I are on the Delphi forum (free to join and write posts) "Women Who Ride" known as WWR , if you have heard of the "Ride Like A Pro" series of DVD's - the forum is run by Motorman Jerry Palladino's Wife Donna, those DVD's are invaluable & will help you greatly!! You can comment back here if you'd like to follow up on these two ladies offers of help, if you'd like. Best of Luck! Marsha in CT

Jan 31, 2010
Good Luck from Alabama
by: AngelVal

Hey...you hang in there....and tell the BF to kiss yer grits.

I second the finding a women's group to ride with. Ladies of Harley is a good place to start. I would get on that bike and be on the look out for other women riders...and strike up conversations with them. We have a new ladies riding group here called Dixie Diva's. Riding skills vary in the group. Some are old crusty's like me and some are newbies...we just take care of each other and ride as much as possible.

Good Luck!

Jan 31, 2010
by: Ann

See you can do this with just all the emotional support you get here. Don't be afraid to stop another woman rider and ask her what she did for practice!

Jan 31, 2010
by: Jill

Hey Jess, I also started on a Shadow VLX 600! My husband was afraid a Rebel 250 would be too small and I would need a bigger one early on. So I started on the 600. It was a great bike, now I'm looking for bike no.3 lol. Went to a Shadow VT 750. Now I'm thinking bout a Honda 1300. Yes, we're Honda people! lol Just remember it is possible!!

Jan 31, 2010
Re: Need Mentor in MI
by: bint Kitty

Hi! I really feel for you. May I suggest that you find out exactly what you need to do when you take your local practical test for your motorcycle endorsement and try to concentrate on that. I live in Mississippi, and all they required of my husband was to drive up the parking lot at the DMV, signal to go out to the street. Make a left onto the street. Drive to the end parallel the parking lot, signal to reenter the back of the parking lot, and drive back to the instructor. Then she had him back into a parking space and prove the headlights have high & low beam. It was not in the slightest bit difficult, and was a great boost to confidence. I sure wish you were closer to me; I would help you. I know there are lots of other helpful women out there. Guys can be a bit pushy and impatient like herd dogs. Even my delightful husband. Shhhh! Don't tell him I said that.

C'mon sisters, there must be someone to help this lady.

Jan 31, 2010
by: Judy

Check your local Women on Wheels. There are chapters all over the US. I am sure you can attend a local meeting without joining and that is what I did. You may even be able to find a local mentor.

One of my friends loaned her 125 cc Suzuki. I practiced at the local parking lot. It really helped with shifting, stopping, turning etc. That gave me confidence. However, I do ride a side car. I am 63 and feel that I have much more control with the side car and I can go off road. We all have our preferences. I guess for me if I would have learned at a younger age I would be riding something bigger and with more power. But do try Women on Wheels. Just go to the side pick your state and find a group. Not to worry about passing the class yet. Get a permit and go learn and then take the regular state test. That may be the least expensive for you. Men can be difficult sometimes and you do need to learn at your own pace.

This wise 87 years old motorcycle rider told me "don't do anything on the bike unless you are ready not what others think you should do."

Good luck and Keep the shiny side up.


Jan 31, 2010
You Can Do It!!
by: Debbie

Girl you can do it!! Take the class, and then practice, practice, practice. I have only ridden for three years and spent most of the 33,000 miles by myself. Just ride at your pace, an whatever bike your are comfortable on. Start in the parking lot, then work your way to back country roads. Ride on roads that you are familiar with. Have faith, you will be having fun and enjoying your own ride. I do live in Ohio near Sidney, would love to ride up one day and meet you for lunch.

Jan 31, 2010
Such Great Posts! Thanks Again
by: Jessica Shear

I so love this site! Thanks again for the posts to my "Mentor" issue. I wish you all lived closer also. You are so reassuring.

Some things I didn't post earlier... I have a 1993 Honda Shadow 600 VLX Deluxe. Used that for practicing & found the forward pegs far more comfy than the mid-pegs on the Buells used in the Rider's Edge course. Also like my own clutch better than that of the bike I had in class. My grip was so lame last summer (made friction zone practice a b*tch!). I'm 5'2" and FAT...but have lost 19 lbs since Thanksgiving and hope to have lost an addl 25-35 by June. Am hoping a 40-60 lb loss will make me more comfortable in general.

B/f just came in and told me he's ordered a lowering kit for my Shadow. Yay! (after my 1st season actually riding - I want to paint my bike black - can't wait!)

None of that is important -but I'm getting amped again instead of just nervous. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!

Jan 31, 2010
by: Vickie

I wish I lived close by but I live in Alabama. I took the Basic course along with my daughter in law. I learned to ride at 62 years old on a HD 1200L Sportster. I love my bike and will keep it always. My husband helped me about two months riding in the church parking lot. He was super patient with me and my daughter in law. It really helped before I actually took the safety course. We learned to ride at our own pace and was encouraged to not ride outside our ability. I have over 11,000 miles on my sporty and have gotten much better at riding in the last two years. He is still very patient with us with our riding. Too bad all the guys that have ridden all those years can not remember what it was like to learn. We have also learned to group ride.

Good luck!


Jan 31, 2010
Good Luck Finding a Mentor
by: Anonymous

I wished that I was closer also to help you out. Most guys just don't understand at all. I have been riding for 30 years now, and had to teach myself how to ride cuz I refused to let a guy teach me how. Did a lot of reading and a lot of parking lot riding initially.

Keep on trying girl and see if there any Women in the Wind Chapters or Women on Wheels Chapters close to you.

Jan 31, 2010
by: Jessica Shear

Thanks for the encouragement everybody. When my b/f bought his HD NightTrain last year & I signed up for the Rider's Edge course, one of the sales women signed me up for their "Leather Divas" club, but when I didn't finish the course (such an embarrassment) I never followed up.

I suppose I could contact them and see if anybody would be willing to help. I just feel so ashamed by leaving the course mid-day the 2nd day of riding (didn't want to be a quitter) that I didn't want anybody associated with the dealership to work with me -- but I suppose that's immature and ridiculous. Still hoping somebody nearby reads this and has the time and patience! But I'll definitely contact HD if I get no bites.

Again - thank you all for your support, advice and stories!


Jan 31, 2010
by: Jill

I wish I lived closer, sorry, down by Dayton. I took the safety course given by Honda, $25. Didn't see giving Harley $300 when your paying for the name. It was 2 days and I had ALWAYS ridden on the back of a bike. I was 40 when I got mine and went in cold. I love it now, not that I'm aggressive because I'm not, very careful! You learn at YOUR pace, don't be pushed. That's how you get hurt. Just have fun! and again, wish I could help!

Jan 31, 2010
You Can Do It
by: Anonymous

Aww yes, my ex-boyfriend drove me nuts too, I did much better when he wasn't making me nervous. That was 5 years ago... You can do it!!! I live too far away or I'd go with you, good luck girl prove him wrong :)

Jan 31, 2010
by: Gail

That is a good idea...I have passed the BRC but still do not feel my skill levels are where I feel comfortable riding on the open road..Had a 650 V-Star custom that I bought right after I passed my course in 2008, however, after a few mishaps I opted to sell her and now own a 25o Honda Rebel which feels more comfortable for me at my current comfort level....Hope you find that person to help tighten up your skills, I am also looking for someone in the Albany, NY area as well..Good luck, have fun, and enjoy the ride!!!


Jan 31, 2010
by: Anonymous

Check with your local HD dealership, almost all have a women's group..Ladies of Harley. One of them I am sure would be more than happy to help you out and maybe be a little kinder. Good luck.

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