55: Just Like Mom

55: Just Like Mom

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

Just Like Mom

If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.

~Maya Angelou

When I was in high school, people would give me a weird look when they found out my mom rode motorcycles. I would beg her to let me off her motorcycle a block away from school, so as not to be spotted riding on the back. Although it embarrassed me a little in my teen years, Mom’s passion for riding eventually became an inspiration to me.

In her day, it wasn’t as common for women to ride their own bikes. Mom didn’t care about what was “normal.” She took a small-engine repair class to learn more about motorcycles and was featured in the local paper.

Despite my teenage embarrassment, I secretly admired Mom for pursuing her passion. She looked great in her leather gear with her long brown hair blowing in the wind. Heads would turn when she rode by on her bike in the little Northern California town where we lived.

Twenty years later, I got the bug, and I confided in Mom. I had mentioned the idea to a couple of friends, but they thought it was silly, so I kept future discussions to myself. I planned to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class with another girl, but she backed out. I was so nervous I signed up three times before I finally went through with the class.

Learning to ride a motorcycle was a total boost to my self-confidence, and it fed my independent side. As a former motorcycle magazine editor, I’m often asked about motorcycles and how to get started riding. The best advice I can offer is this: “Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation class and learn the proper techniques from the start. It is much easier than trying to break bad habits later.”

Living on opposite coasts has proved challenging for Mom and me. We never really had the chance to ride together on our own bikes. But, a few years ago, while attending a rally in North Carolina, I was able to show Mom the beautiful Ladies’ Edition Kawasaki Vulcan 900 loaned to me by bike builder Scott Britt. It occurred to me then that this was the first time she’d seen me ride my own motorcycle.

As I reflect on my journey, I must give credit to Mom for setting me on the path to a wonderful and exciting life. Mom has since hung up her helmet and given her riding gear to me. It’s never too late to learn. You might even surprise yourself and have a great time like I did.

I am, in fact, my mother’s daughter.

~Teri Anne Conrad

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