Raised by a father who is a doctor, it was ingrained and drilled into me at a very young age just how dangerous motorcycles could be. Riders were referred to as “organ donors” in our house. Not that they were doing anything wrong, not that they were bad or stupid people, the ER was just a place where you see too much of the negative side of riding, one that my father just couldn’t imagine for his kids. It was just too dangerous a hobby from what he had seen. This was long before campaigns like ‘Start seeing motorcycles’ and honestly, helmets weren’t nearly as badass as they are now. Because of this background, the first time I actually rode as a passenger on a motorcycle, I was well in my late 20’s, my reckless days behind me, I was a mother and I was supposed to be responsible. I felt that heavy and deeply-rooted in my heart, you have an obligation to not do anything senseless anymore. You’ve done your share of the idiotic. But, this one ride invigorated me and sparked something inside of me, but it still wouldn’t be until my mid 30’s that I had the courage to ride one myself. Now a mother to 3 boys I was deep in the throes of motherhood. I only started riding a year and a half ago, my baby was just starting to wean and I needed something. Some days it was all I could do to keep from screaming and trying to crawl out of my skin. It is difficult to explain, if you aren’t a mama, but overwhelming and helpless feelings of being ‘touched out’ can come on strong at times. A desire to do something that was mine alone, with no kids pulling at me, climbing on me, grabbing for me, yelling for me, kissing me, caressing me, clinging to me. I needed something. This mama needed to do something that made me feel strong, empowered and in control. An outlet for recharging and a time to not be the nurturer, for just a moment. Parenting can feel wildly chaotic, and completely outside of your control at times. Something I am well suited for, something I adore and would never change, but it is intense.
I chose to learn to ride.
Nothing beats the connection you have to the earth, the elements and your surroundings when on a bike. The smells, the light and shadows, the temperature changes. You are connected to it all, you are part of it, and you are focused. It is mind clearing and centering. Making all the chaos of daily life unimportant, at least for the moment. For me, it is a reclaiming of self, and a soul lifting experience, every single time I get on my bike. It was empowering to learn something new and to push myself to do something a little scary. I hope to model these things for my kids, I want them to know they can do anything, to encourage them to go outside their comfort zones, and push themselves to approach their passions head on and always follow their dreams. (As long as they wear a helmet!)
Photos by Kirstin Roper click to see her series on Mothers who Ride!
Also check out Suicide Lane Cycles in Salt Lake City