Women Riders Speak is an interview series about women and motorcycles. Through their stories, they illustrate the transformative role motorcycling has played in their life.
Bridget Greer, from Burlington, Ontario, started riding on cottage roads, in bathing suits and bare feet. Times have changed but not the adventure!
I first started buzzing around cottage roads on a variety of mini or dirt bikes during the summer of ’68 or ’69. We rode in bathing suits and wrapped a piece of cloth around the shifter so it didn’t dig into our bare feet. In the evenings we sat around the campfire and picked the gravel out of our knees, and sprayed on some Bactine so we would be good to go the next day. The old photo is from the summer of ’72. At least we graduated to wearing pants and shoes, but still no helmets!
Changing circumstances and priorities in my late teens led to a hiatus in riding which came to an end thanks to my son. At 16, he went to Paris on an exchange and fell in love with the Vespa scooter. After working and saving madly all summer, he bought himself an ’85 200cc retired Italian Postal Service Vespa. He was just having way too much fun, and both my husband and I got the bug to get back into riding.
We now own a variety of BMW’s, including two classic 70’s bikes, and three dual-sports. Most days I ride a 2002 F650GS, but I also ride a two-stroke Vespa scooter on occasion. It’s very stylish!
What was your biggest challenge when you were learning to ride?
Learning to deal with traffic. Riding on the road is very different from being on private dirt roads and properties. I took the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) rider’s course to relearn how to ride, and to drop some bad habits. Once I got back in the groove, I was comfortable on the road quite quickly.
I’m a very focused rider and that carries over to driving too. I’ve avoided some serious rear-enders in my car because I’m constantly checking mirrors.
Where have you traveled on your motorcycle?
I commute on my bike for about 10 months of the year. Otherwise, I’ve been west to Wyoming, the entire east coast from Meat Cove,Cape Breton to Florida, primarily riding dual sports. I like to play in the dirt too.
Although I ride in groups to rallies and events on occasion, most of my traveling is just with my husband, and our son joining us on occasion. I like riding on my own and keeping my own time and schedule and groups can be too much work. It’s fun to go out and get lost somewhere.
The next step is to ship a bike to Europe. My son works and studies there, so it would be ideal for him to use it and then I could pick it up to tour on when I visit.
What impresses you most about another woman rider?
I love the courage than some women have to quit their jobs, sell everything, and travel the country, continent or world until they run out of funds. I keep telling my kids not to plan to come home after I retire, because there won’t be a home to come to. I’m buying a good tent and leaving! I also love the spunk of the senior riders who keep on riding well into their 80’s. That’s something I aspire to.
What is your greatest joy from riding?
Riding is very cathartic. I can totally let go of everything in my mind and just focus on the ride. All of the daily troubles disappear. I “see” so much more too, like a caterpillar trying to cross the road; things you would miss in a car.
How do you look back on yourself as a beginner rider now?
All the gear, all the time! I shudder to think how we made it through back then!