Women and Motorcycles: Kelley Dietrich Speaks
Women Riders Speak is an interview series with female motorcyclists. Through their stories, they illustrate the transformative role motorcycling has played in their life. In this interview, read how Kelley Dietrich strongly questioned whether she could manage it physically – and if it was even responsible to start riding as a single mom of an eight-year-old.
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A seed was planted. after meeting a couple of riders in the fall of 2002 and becoming entranced. Several months later and well into a marital separation, I began to seriously think about whether I could learn to ride, whether I was truly interested in it and was I capable of managing it physically and financially. In retrospect, I was going through a personal transition and needed something fun to focus on during a difficult time. I attended my first motorcycle show and was hooked! I completed the course in the Spring of 2004 on an incredibly rainy weekend. All of this and I did it alone!
In 2005 I met a rider who became my partner and rode as a passenger for the rest of that season. I’m now 47 and have been riding my own bike since May, 2006.
What was your biggest challenge when you were learning to ride?
Knowing I had no experience in operating a motorcycle, I wavered between fear of not passing and excitement for when I did. Other than being a single mom of a wonderful son, passing the course was one of the greatest challenges and achievements in my life.
I focused on the skills that I needed to practice on and the fears that I absolutely needed to overcome. A few traumatic near misses kept that fear healthy and never let it stray too far. To this day, and with more confidence I still expect to be challenged on the bike and experience the variances the road trip may bring.
Where have you travelled on your motorcycle?
Most days out on the bike are local, within an hour of my home in southernOntario. However, I’ve ridden to Wiarton, beautiful roads to Elora, and exquisite scenery and roads up north such as Muskoka, and Algonquin areas. I wish to challenge myself to a lengthy road trip withinCanadaand possibly theU.S.
What impresses you most about another woman rider?
I’m totally impressed and cheer on them on. Observing the sheer enjoyment and sense of determination when operating a motorcycle makes me feel proud. It is so totally cool that we share the experience as a rider, not based on gender. Still, there’s a special bond between women and I love to meet and talk with them. .
What is your greatest joy from riding?
Definitely the feeling of space, peace and inner accomplishment. I love to glance up to the sky, say hello to my sister and pray for friends and others everywhere who may be riding. Meeting and greeting other rider. Just waving in passing. That my face lights up and my heart sings when I talk about riding. Riding is my “natural medicine! ”
How do you look back on yourself as a beginner rider now?
I think back to the fears I had. I questioned whether I was capable, was it financially responsible, could I find the right bike, should I be doing it as the mother of an eight-year-old son? I also had to regain confidence in just being on the road after a car accident in 2006. It cost me a season of riding and I had to modify my bike because of physical limitations but I got back out there riding! I’m thankful to be alive and to still be able to ride.
Riding is my passion and I am so blessed to experience such immense pleasure. I will forever take in the sights, smells, and still learn something worthy on every road trip. I’m proud of my riding accomplishments!