Ride To Work Day

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From Friction Zone July 2001
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From the Editor

Ride to Work Day - July 18th

Amy Holland

Before I could drive a car I knew I wanted to ride a motorcycle. When I was about 15 I started getting motorcycle magazines on a regular basis. For the next two years I'd look at those magazines and dream about owning a bike. Then it happened - when I was 17 I took a basic motorcycle class then bought a 1982 Suzuki GS450LX. If you've read my articles before you might know that I rode that thing all over the place. I had to be at work at 6 AM and work was about a half hour away. I'd leave extra early so I could take the long way through Schenley Park. When I got off work at 2 PM, I'd ride home, change my clothes, then go for a ride before dinner. There wasn't a time when I didn't want to ride my bike.

Soon I became known as the girl who rides a motorcycle. I started going to night classes when I was about 18, and of course I rode my bike there. When I changed jobs and moved, I had to take my bike because my employer rode a Moto Guzzi. What more could I ask for? This all happened back east, so I had to store the bike during the winter, but one year I managed to ride the bike all the way up through February.

The only time I've been without a bike since I started riding was when I first moved to California back in 1984. My mother drove out here with me when I decided to move and since I did have a few possessions to bring I left my bike at my parent's house. It was terrible! Each warm sunny day in southern California was like torture to me - how could I have left my bike back east? Once I became employed I started checking into used bikes at the local shop. The only problem was I was living with my older sister, and she was definitely anti-motorcycle. You know the story - as long as you live in my house you'll abide by my rules.

So I lived in despair for a while, but not for long. When I finally hooked up with a job that turned out to be pretty good, I arranged to have my bike crated and shipped to where I worked without my sister's knowledge. What a conspiracy! My father shipped the bike, and when it arrived my brother helped me get it down to his place in Long Beach. He helped me get it back up to snuff, and by the time it was running again I was living by myself and going to school in Santa Barbara. It was finally time for me to ride again - and it was great. Parking a bike at the University was much cheaper than a car, and I could park a lot closer to my classes. Every day that I could I'd be riding to school, to the mountains, to the beach, anywhere and everywhere. I was once again known as the motorcycle girl.

When school was out for the summer, I lived with my sister in Los Angeles again, but this time with my bike. That was 1987, and ever since then I have never let anyone tell me that I shouldn't ride my motorcycle. My first big job after graduating from school was working for the Department of Defense on a military base. Even though I had to dress for an office atmosphere, I rode my motorcycle on Day One. At all the jobs I've had since then people have known me as the girl who rides a motorcycle.

The 10th Annual Ride to Work Day is on Wednesday, July 18th, and I think that's a perfect time to get into the habit of commuting on your motorcycle. Organized by Aerostich/Riderwearhouse founder Andy Goldfine, the object of Ride to Work Day is to support the increased use of motorcycles for transportation. Riding your bike on July 18th will help show others that motorcyclists are from all walks of life. How many people at your job know that you ride a motorcycle? It seems that co-workers know if a man rides, but don't always know that a woman rides. It's really surprising how some people react when they find out that you're a rider. Some will tell you horror stories about their cousins, who didn't know what the heck he was doing, yet somehow it's made the person relating the story very afraid of motorcycles. Or they react in a more positive way, and view you with a little more respect.

Have you ever really looked at the people around you? Many of them just follow the herd and do what's expected of them rather than what they want to do. Maybe they've always wanted to ride a motorcycle, but have family members to convince them not to. Besides a family like the Haydens (Nicky, Tommy, and Roger Lee Hayden have been involved in motorcycle racing for years), there aren't many people who expected to ride a motorcycle. And look at you- you're riding and I hope you're surprised at how different you may feel once you start doing it. If you're already a moto-commuter the more power to you.

So make July 18th, 2001 the day you change your life forever. For more information on Ride to Work Day visit www.ridetowork.org.

Amy Holland

Editor/Publisher