It was Spring 2011. My marriage was falling apart, I was just a depressed mess. My best friend told me I needed to get away and invited me to an ADV motorcycle rally in West Virginia.
It’s there that I feel in love.
I fell in love with the people first. There was this group of people, a ridiculously diverse group of people, who had come together to camp and ride. They all had a keen sense of adventure and were really good at not taking life too seriously. It was a place that I felt I could truly be myself. I didn’t have to pretend to be a girl. Society’s pressures were just gone. It was magical.
I went back home and considered buying a bike. I decided it might be a mid life crisis and perhaps I should research and think about it. I had spent my entire life in the horse industry. This would be a massive shift. (or so I thought – it’s really not all that different. One is just made of steel. The more I teach, the more I see the same errors beginning horseback riders have.)
For reference, I’m pretty short. 4’11”, 27′ inseam. I found the Shorty Pants thread on advrider.com. There I found short ladies with a lot of bike suggestions. So I did what they said. Bought a very used TTR 125L on craigslist. I started riding. And with the help of Michael, I started to really learn what I was supposed to do. He also got me wrenching.
And I never stopped.
People often talk of the freedom associated with the bike. I think it’s actually the self awareness that you gain. You feel the drive to be self sufficient. You realize you can control this thing that is very sensitive to your mood and physical condition. It reveals your weaknesses quickly and you must confront those weaknesses and override them. You must adjust or stop. Or you will be stopped. This iron pony teaches you it’s OK to be uncomfortable. And you learn a lot about yourself when you are uncomfortable.
Fast forward to late November 2017, I quit my most inglorious office gig to devote all my time and energy to the motorcycle industry.
Katie – 2016 KTM 390 Duke. She has my heart. Working on an ADV version.
Itty Bitty One Fitty – 2009 Honda CRF150R. I have two of these, both with different mods in attempt to make a shortypants woods bike. It’s still a project. Suggestions welcome.
GG – 2006 GasGas 200 TXT Pro. My trials bike. Everyone who wants to be a better off road rider should own a trials bike.
Past bikes: Yamaha TTR125L (Paul Revere), Honda CRF230M (never named this one, felt like an appliance. Good 1st bike though), BMW G650GS (Max), KTM FreeRide 250 (Emma).