Born To Be Wild

Learning to ride a motorcycle is an emotional undertaking. I don’t think that’s a chick thing, either. I think across the board if you can give yourself over to the experience then it’s going to give your confidence a kick in the rear. Especially the way the world is right now. All over-connected and socially mediated and all that jazz.

There’s really not much that gets my full attention any more. A few months ago I tried to take up knitting so I’d having something to do to quiet my mind (and my hands) when my brain felt fried from Internet Over-Exposure. I’ve been desperate for a hobby.

The thing about riding is it’s not really conducive to multi-tasking. FREE AT LAST.

I’m no stranger to motorcycles. Harley gear was basically on my baby registry thanks to Mema Emmy, Papa Barry and their bikes, and Scott’s got his license too. Still, after a run-in with a biker on the 405 last year I didn’t exactly have warm fuzzy feelings about life on two wheels. But when I found myself presented with the opportunity to go to Wisconsin c/o Harley-Davidson for what they called “Blogger Summer Camp” — which was going to include a hands-on riding experience — my gut screamed GO!!!!

There were twelve of us in Milwaukee – all ages, all stages, all varying degrees of NOT the “Harley type”. All pretty much drinking ALL THE KOOL AID. I got to know not only my fellow bloggers, but some of the ladies of Harley as well (gentlemen too — but H-D went above and beyond by making sure we were surrounded by crazy experienced female riders at every turn, all of whom could not have been more supportive of us learning to ride.) It really did feel like summer camp. In that “time of my life” “kumbaya” “I wanna make a scrapbook” kind of way. Only hard core and with much, much better food.

Recently, I met a new friend who shared a philosophy that really hit home for me. “Beginners never fail,” she says. In the last two years she’s learned to play guitar and paint and all because she’s not embarrassed to suck at it. I couldn’t help but think of Emily’s philosophy as I tried to envision myself riding a motorcycle. I was a bona fide beginner at this. Therefore, no real reason to fear.

Empowering became like the buzz word of my week, but I couldn’t help myself. Every time I heard an engine rev {“potato potato potato” my new friend Amanda called it} I felt myself standing a little taller. It’s almost too cheesy to type, but it’s true. Cheese and potatoes. I knew I liked you, motorcycles.

So now I start saving for my Sportster and enroll in Rider’s Edge so I can get my official big-girl motorcycle license. And then you guys should all go and learn to ride too, so we can go on a big cross-country motorcycle ride together. How awesome would that be? We should totally do it.

Clockwise from left: Heather, Michelle, Carmen, Missy, Mona, Deb (our teacher!) Sugar, Jillee, My Neck, Me, Susan, Karen, Stephanie, and right there in the middle, the lovely Kelly.

Want to learn to ride? Find a Rider’s Edge course near you.

Need more convincing? Go to a Garage Party and get on Jumpstart — it’s like a motorcycle on a treadmill (and it’s AWESOME.)

Need more convincing just to get off your couch? Watch this webisode, weep, and THEN go to a Garage Party.

{This post is sponsored by Harley-Davidson and BlogHer. I was both treated to an awesome trip and compensated for my time, but that has not swayed my opinion AT ALL. Also, I swear I’m not bragging, this is all a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo.}

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