Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"One of us"!



A lot of people come through our classes. The majority are new riders. These folks might be familiar with motorcycles through friends and family. Some want to ride with friends. Some have been passengers only up to this point. Now they come to class in order to explore the world of piloting their own motorcycle.

Most of them remain recreational riders. That's okay with me. One great thing about riding is that people can find what they seek. I don't always agree with some of the things folks are looking for, but I can accept that not all of us have the same needs.

Once in a while, though, a new rider comes through a class. They have that special soil in their hearts that lets the sown seed flourish. A deep love of riding blossoms. These are no recreational riders. They're full blown motorcyclists. In other words, they become one of us!

My favorite people are passionate and borderline crazy. It's been my pleasure to get to know such a new rider as she progresses down this twisted road. Literally and figuratively, both. From a new rider to a dedicated commuter, it's been fun to watch her take hold of riding.

The picture above is from a local newspaper. The rider's name is Stacy Brock. You met her here in a Sharin' the Road post. Click here to go back and see it again. I'm probably stealing some thunder from Stacy as she has this posted on her blog, bolty.net. However, her post is pretty low key. It doesn't her justice, at all. So I'm correcting that oversight!

Stacy's a member of Women in the Wind. The local group also happened to set a high mileage mark, 105,000 accumulated miles. Accident free miles, please note. You have just got to love that, don't you? If you click here, you can read the article.

The reason I'm posting this is two-fold.

Firstly, I'm proud of Stacy. I've seen her progressive approach to developing riding skills. It's exactly what you would expect from a serious rider. I want to express appreciation for, and point to Stacy as a positive role model. Not as a female rider. I'm talking about as a rider, period. No qualifications. This blog was started to encourage riders to use their motorcycles for everday transportation. That includes riding to work as well as the weekend fun rides. It's also why I'm listed on the Ride to Work (r) blogger community page. Stacy's helping the cause by showing that we're all real people who chose to do the ecologically responsible ( as well as loads of fun ) thing by using two wheels as much as possible.

Secondly, our efforts in this regard require us all to live in harmony with each other. Come on, isn't it really so much better that way? Women in the Wind is a group that promotes the same goals; responsible use of motorcycles for transportation. They support rider training. There's a red 250 Nighthawk around that was donated by the local group years ago to support our program.

Women have had a harder time being taken seriously as riders. Much of this is due to male-generated stereotypes. In spite of this, I've seen many female riders press on with a smile and unceasing good grace. Stacy's been such a one. She won't call attention to herself so I want to acknowledge her here. The Women in the Wind group is doing a lot to help women riders be taken seriously. That's a great thing.

Here's my hope that riders can some day all just be called motorcyclists. As in many aspects of life, our greatest strength comes from our common bonds. Our diversity should add the seasonings and spices that make for an excellent dish. Sadly, too many people choose to get indigestion, instead. Some day we'll hopefully be judged by our actions, not on how our body is built, what color our skin is, or what we ride. Until then I'm going to keep pointing out good role models in the hope that others will be inspired to reach out, too.

Miles and smiles,

Dan

10 comments:

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Congratulations to Stacy and her group for the accident free mileage!!

Irondad, I also went to Stacey's blog and read your comment on her post A Puckering Experience. Your expertise, knowledge, and willingness to share is the reason I read your blog.

I've said it before and I'll say it now, Thank You.

Stacy said...

Dan, I was going to say that you're far too kind, but that would make it the second time I've said it to you on your blog, so I'll just say this: thank you.

I did want to make a slight clarification. Our top five riders logged over 105,000 miles last year, while the whole group (17 riders) logged almost 150,000 miles!

My contribution this year was very small and was certainly not in the top 5, but that's what goals are for, right? :)

Hrishi said...

How do you distinguish between "recreational riders" and "full blown motorcyclists" :-)

Cheers!

Steve Williams said...

Congratulations to Stacy for the limelight here and in the newspaper. I went back in time and read the first post about Stacy and what struck me most was her admonition to practice. A great take away lesson!

And congratulations to you too Dan for training fine riders!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

irondad said...

Paul,
I'm honored you find things of value in my writings.

Stacy,
Face it. I'm not being kind. You are what you are. Which is a good role model. Live with it! :)

Hrishi,
First off, I mean nothing negative towards what I call recreational riders. My definition of recreational riders is those who ride just for fun and only at certain times under certain conditions. Like somebody who owns a boat and takes it out for a pleasure cruise when the weather is warm.

A motorcylist is someone who actually uses a motorcycle in a more practical way.

My own intrepretation, of course!

Steve W,
I can't take credit for training Stacy. She came through our program but I didn't have the honor of being her instructor. Although I trained one of instructors so maybe I can take some credit, after all!

Take care,

Dan

Stacy said...

Dan, wouldn't that make you my grand-instructor?

Bah-dum-bum-ching! Thank you, I'll be here all week.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dan:

I just started reading your blog and finf it interesting, straightforward, and entertaining. I have taken the liberty of adding it to my list of recommended blogs. I sincerely hope you do not object.

I ride with a club in south eastern Pennsylvania. Of our 250 members, about 5 are women. Two are Iron Butt riders, and the other three routinely choose destinations like Colorado, which they manage to hit in 2.5 days. No one ever refers to them as women riders, and I am always flattered when they talk to me as an equal.

I think you are quite right in differentiating between the causual rider and the "real" rider... Not in terms of skill nor style, but in commitment and passion. And neither can be defined by gender.
Thank you for taking a stand on this.

Fondest regards,
Jack
Twisted Roads

Rie21 said...

Hello My Friend...
I see Your Blog, and I think your post was so good. I like to read your article and photos. I wanna exchange My Link to You, have Your Link in My Motorcycle Relevant Links in My Blog. I hope You do same My Brother. Thank You before.

irondad said...

Stacy,
Don't quit your day job!

Jack,
I'm honored by your linking to my site. I know about commitment. I should have been committed long ago! Seriously, despite their different levels of riding, I don't mean to disparage recreational riders.

Take care,

Dan

Orin said...

Irondad, I have a motorcycle skills question for you: how should one deal with crosswinds? I have to ride over a couple of high bridges, and the winds can be very strong. My instinct is to slow down, but traffic moves rather quickly (well over the 45 & 35 mph speed limits) on these bridges, and once you commit to them it's a long way before the first exit.

My readers would love to know, too.

__Orin
Scootin' Old Skool