Motorcycle Class Brings New, Old Riders Together – Each with a Story to Tell
February 24, 2014 | By: Kayleigh Pingel
Motorcycle riders each have their own history of how they ended up in the saddle, where their bikes originated from, and what drives them to continue their journey on two wheels. If you read my personal story in my first blog post, you’ll know that nearly a year ago I started riding my own motorcycle after completing a basic motorcycle rider course. But I feel that my story is far from the most interesting out there, so I’d like to share the stories of some of the motorcyclists who learned to ride alongside me over those few days almost a year ago.
Gathering for a motorcycle course in the middle of a cold March in Iowa may not be ideal, but we were all eager to jump on our bikes nonetheless. The group of people in the class with me was extremely diverse in age, gender, experience, and overall knowledge of motorcycles. We faced delays from ice and snow on the riding range, sick instructors, and more, which brought us surprisingly close to each other in a short amount of time – and for some it became an introduction to being included in a “family” of riders.
On our first day, the woman I sat next to had gray hair, but was youthfully energetic and had an impressive story: she had never been on a motorcycle, didn’t know anyone who rode, and generally had no familiarity with motorcycles at all… she decided to take the course simply to see if she could do it. Everything from the controls to the balance of a bike was new to her, but something drove her to jump onto the class’s Buell Blasts and give it a go. After our second day on the range she had to put her lessons on hold due to physical constraints, but her adventurous attitude really made a mark on me.
One man in the course was extremely quiet on the first day, but opened up quickly when we talked about our history with motorcycles. His eyes lit up as he recalled his days on dirt bikes, which seemed too far in the past from how he explained it; you could tell he was still experiencing the thrill of his rides through the memories as he talked about them. He already had his new Harley picked out and waiting on him to complete his refresher course.
Another woman, younger and wearing leathers that were just a tad big for her, became emotional when I asked her why she was taking the course. The jacket she was wearing belonged to her father, who had passed away suddenly. Their plans to tour the country together were left unfulfilled, but she hadn’t given up just yet. She was still determined to get her license and make the journey, wearing her father’s leathers and riding with his spirit. The extra pressure to honor her father by excelling in the course seemed to make her especially anxious, and early on she had some struggles. I wasn’t able to take the final riding test on the same day as her due to snow, but I saw her weeks later at the local dealership where she gave me a huge smile and proudly announced she’d passed (and picked out a nice new Sportster 1200!).
In the end, not everyone was able to pass the course. But we never stopped encouraging each other, and with the caring guidance of our instructor (thank you Hank!!), our little group grew into a family of motorcycle brothers & sisters.
I’d love to hear your own stories – please share them with us!