Women Riders Speak is an interview series with female motorcyclists. Through their stories, they illustrate the transformative role motorcycling has played in their life.
Winter is no deterrent for Ivette. By day, she’s an administrative assistant for a NYC broker; by weekend, a Polar Bear Rider! When she couldn’t find someone to take her as a passenger, she decided at age forty four, to learn to ride her own. After almost giving up, she’s embraced it.
I’ve been a passenger most of my life. Three years ago, I wanted to attend a charity event but as fate would have it, none of my friends were going. I decided right there I was going to learn to ride my own bike.
An online search found me the right combination of model, colour and price. I took the class in June of 2009 at age forty-seven and aced it. Yet I told myself I would never learn to ride because it was so much work. I had it five months before I actually learned. By then it was November and I wasn’t riding winters then so the bike was put away until Mar 2010. I haven’t stopped since.
What was your biggest challenge?
I did not know how to shift and stop at the same time. I had never driven a manual transmission so the whole experience was new. It seemed like so much work to shift up, shift down, clutch, brake, throttle — so many different things to remember at the same time. But once you learn, it its no different than driving a car. Two weeks and three drops later, I had it!
A friend would run up and down my street behind me until I was comfortable enough to go around the block. He then got on his bike and each week would take me a little further. It wasn’t long until I realized I could do it alone. Now there is no stopping me.
I’ve been all over New Jersey, riding all year with Polar Bear Grand Tours. I’ve been to Americade in Lake George, Daytona Bike Week, Pennsylvania and New York.
Polar Bear Rides occur each weekend between October 31 and April 15, regardless of temperature, as long as the roads are safe. Destinations are set within an approximate fifty mile radius – i.e. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. You earn one point for every one-hundred miles from your beginning destination to the location. Riding your own bike gets you two points.
My favourites are the ones where we take the backroads back home through the New York mountains. There’s nothing like viewing wild turkeys, hawks, deer and geese from a motorcycle. Sure you have to be vigilant, but there is no comparison to seeing the beauty of God’s creation from the open air other than perhaps camping in the woods.
Ironically, my absolute favorite motorcycle experience was going to Daytona Bike Week in my 2nd year of riding. I trailered my bike to Kissimee before unloading it and meeting up with friends. Riding down Main Street is something you have to do at least once as a rider. The rumbling of motorcycles and their sheer number is an amazing experience. I love the heat. My friends still can’t believe I ride in the winter, since I don’t like the cold, but I have so much fun doing it!
Was motorcycling what you expected it to be?
I expected it to be just another motorcycle ride, but it has turned out to be an experience that I would never want to give up. At first I was scared — but determined. I am a single woman, I own my car, my bike and my house, did it on my own. Back then I thought about giving it up but no way. I love it!! My bike is an investment in me. I will continue to enjoy for as long as God allows me to.