Janice is on the right, on her 2011 Road King standard.
Tessa is on the left, on her 2007 Sportster.
Both of these bikes are Janice's, or at least they were at one
Janice got the "bug" to ride her own Harley after more than 15
years of riding behind me, her husband, Joe. So, at the young age of 55, (we won't say how old Janice is now, but let's say
she's been riding her own bike for more than a couple of years now), she decided to get her own Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Janice had actually learned to ride a bike 15-20 years earlier
on a 250 Honda Rebel and then stepped up to a 500 Honda Rebel. But not being satisfied to ride a Brand X bike with a bunch
of Harley riders, Janice gave up her own bike and started riding with me again.
Around her 55th birthday, Janice expressed a desire to start riding
her own Harley. So, as a birthday present I bought her a brand new 2006 Sportster. Just a few months later, Harley came out
with the 2007 Sportster model with the electronic fuel injection and so Janice traded up to the 2007 that Tessa is sitting
on in this picture.
Even though Janice had learned to ride a motorcycle many years
earlier, that first day trying to get her to ride that new Sportster was like pulling teeth! In an industrial business park
area, on a weekend, with no traffic on the streets, we tried to get her to ride the bike. After a few hours of her never letting
the clutch all the way out, never getting her feet completely off the ground, and after many a "tear of fear" was shed, we
The next day, we trailered the bike to an empty school parking
lot out in the county. In this large, empty parking lot, we again attempted to get her to actually "ride" the bike. After
nearly an hour of repeated attempts like the day before, she finally let the clutch all the way out, put her feet up on the
pegs and rode the bike in a straight line from one end of the parking lot to the other, where she stopped!
I ran my big butt down there and found her sitting there on the
bike with the biggest grin on her face, she couldn't believe she had actually ridden it! I turned the bike around for her,
then she did it again. After I had run myself to death, up and down that parking lot several times to turn the bike around,
I told her she was going to have to make a turn-a-round at the end of the parking lot and keep riding!
Eventually, Janice did actually turn the bike around and that
day she rode in large circles, figure 8's, and even learned to stop and take off while making a turn, like she would do at
a corner. The whole time, she had the biggest grin on her face that didn't seem as if it would ever go away!
For the next couple of months Janice and I rode together while
I watched, critiqued her techniques, and gave her pointers. We both knew that she was going to learn a lot more from a professional
teacher than she was from me, so she signed up for a Harley-Davidson sponsored, Rider's Edge Course.
The weekend she took the course the heat was BRUTAL! 100 degrees
both days! But Janice took it like a trooper and after getting frustrated with some of the exercises, and even crying from
being yelled at by the instructor, she made it through the course.
I noticed that her riding techniques were immediately, vastly
improved! I even watched her one day as she went through a curve on a road near our house and she leaned with the bike and
turned her head to look around the curve, "where she was going", in a picture book perfect posture. I told her later that
they could have taken a video of that and used it for training material at the Rider's Edge Course because it was perfect.
In that same curve just a few days earlier, she sat straight up on the bike, didn't lean it, actually tried to "steer" it
more, and now she was actually riding like a real "biker"!
Over the years, Janice has ridden that Sportster all over the
southeastern U.S. in all kinds of weather, on all kinds of roads and traffic conditions, day and night.
The last year, or so, Janice has been insisting it was time for
her to move up to a "big bike". She wanted the convenience of hard saddle bags, and a cruise control, but she didn't want
a fairing, so she decided she wanted a Road King.
Recently, Appleton's H-D had the a black, 2011 Road King on the
floor and she insisted she wanted it! So, we traded her "cute little Sportster", with all the extra chrome, in on the Road
Janice's Sportster was only on the sales floor for a week, when
Tessa bought it!
Tessa is 38, a former GI, with a couple of kids, the youngest
is 11, and a GI husband. Tessa didn't have any motorcycle riding experience, and her husband had some, but no professional
training. They both wanted to "get in the wind". So they shopped around for a bike. Her husband got a Brand X sport bike and
she didn't like riding with him on that. Then he got a Harley-Davidson Sportster and she liked riding with him on that "better",
but she still felt like she wanted to be the one behind the handlebars. Tessa wanted to learn to ride, so she got a 250 Honda
Rebel, (sound familiar?). That's how Tessa got her initial riding training.
Although Tessa's husband had motorcycling experience, he
had the commonsense to realize he could use professional training, and Tessa definitely wanted training before she got on
her own "big bike". So they both signed up for, and took together, a Rider's Edge Course.
After completing the course, Tessa walked into Appleton's H-D,
saw Janice's old Sporty sitting on the showroom floor, and fell in love with it immediately! She purchased it, and the same
day, she and her husband came to their first Tuckessee H.O.G. Chapter meeting. Tessa's husband had purchased a new bike and
so he had a complimentary one year membership in National H.O.G. Tessa joined up for National H.O.G., and now she and her
husband are both members of the Tuckessee Chapter!
Since Tessa bought Janice's old bike, Tessa and Janice have become close
friends and have gone on several rides together with other Chapter members. As I write this, they have plans to make a one
day bike trip to Memphis and back, to Graceland, just the two of them.
I thought the story of two women, both making the transition from
backseat rider to riding their own bikes, and the fact that they did it in similar manners and on the same bikes, was an interesting
story worth telling.
This is what Ladies of Harley, (L.O.H.), is all about! Ladies
passing on the enjoyment of riding to other ladies, whether they do it from the backseat, or the front!
You go girls!