Women and Motorcycles: Linda Yorke Speaks
After learning to ride as a child, motorcycles were put away for years. Until a friend showed up on one.
What prompted you to get into motorcycling?
I first started riding in the mid 1960’s. My pride and joy was a Raleigh moped. My brother Paul and I rode the little bike until parts started falling off. Paul graduated to a 250 Jawa. I took every opportunity to jump on and take a ride. Eventually, Paul learned not to leave the keys laying around. I continued to ride for the next 10 years off and on. Time passed, I moved to the city found a job, had expenses, rent turned into mortgage payments, you know the story. Motorcycles were not in the equation.
In the summer of 2005, my friend Rose dropped by for a visit. She had just gotten her motorcycle license and was riding a 250 Virago. We walked around the bike… the chrome was gleaming, the sun rays reflecting off the paint… I sat on it, the handle bars felt great in my hands. It was beautiful! As Rose rode away that day, I had made a decision. I was getting a motorcycle!…
That summer, I bought a 750 Shadow Spirit. It was a great bike to get back into riding. The following summer, I traded the Spirit for the DL 650 VStrom which I still ride today.
What was your biggest challenge when you were learning to ride?
The biggest challenge for me was my self confidence. Maybe, it was the twenty plus years that had elapsed since I last rode. Maybe I was foolish to start riding again after all these years. Everything was so mechanical, the clutch, the brake, the gas, stalling… I couldn’t remember it being so difficult. I knew in my heart it was something I wanted to do and I just had to persevere. Persevere, I did. I’ve travelled the Outaouais, (Gatineau area), Calabogie area, Perth/Ottawa area, the Adirondacks and around Lake Superior.
What impresses you most about another woman rider?
I’m amazed how many women riders I meet on the road. They are all ages, career women, house wives, you name it. Sport bikes, cruisers, adventure touring, scooters. These ladies are making a big impact on the motorcycle industry, just drop into any motorcycle clothing store and check out the ladies section. I also believe that women riders will continue to impact the industry and government legislation in the future.
What is your greatest joy from riding?
I love meeting people and talking to them. When it’s time for a coffee break, I always look for bikes in the parking lot. I love to hear their adventures. Where they have been, where they are from, where they are going. You always get great tips from other riders, great restaurants, places to see, places to stay.
How do you look back on yourself as a beginner rider now?
I think back to that young girl riding her Raleigh moped and think wow! I would never have believed at 59 years of age I’d still be riding. I have so many places I’d like to visit, so many roads I’d like to travel. What an adventure! See you on the road.
PS: By the way, I still ride with my brother Paul. His present mount is the ZX14 Concours. Happy Trails!