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Thread: Is what we do really so shocking?

  1. #1
    Rapunzel NewEnglander's Avatar
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    Is what we do really so shocking?

    Yesterday at work I was doing some tasks in a common area and one of our administrative assistants who was also getting some work done stopped what she was doing and came over to me and said "I hear you went on an adventure."

    "What? An adventure? I took two weeks of vacation if that's what you mean."

    "Well, I heard that you took a trip on your motorcycle," with a little awe in her voice.

    "Oh, yes, I went to Missouri."

    "All the way to Missouri?"

    "Yes."

    "On your motorcycle???"

    "Yes. I went to a BMW motorcycle rally out there."

    "By yourself??? All that way????"

    "Well.... Yes. I had a great time."

    "By yourself? I mean, weren't you nervous? All that way?"

    "Well, you do have to exercise some common sense in your dealings with people and other drivers and always be alert to what's going on around you. But, no, not nervous. I've been out west twice before."

    "By yourself?????"

    "Yes."

    The conversation went on from there and I ended up explaining a little about the MOA, the national rally, and how it's held in a different part of the country every year. Etc., etc. She was just incredulous that I went off to places hither and yon on my bike and by myself. Everyone I interact with at work knows that I ride and have been riding since 1981. I had no idea that this activity of mine was fodder for the rumor mill as I tend to not get involved in the rumor game and the water cooler conversation. This woman has known forever that I ride. So, I've come away from the conversation sort of surprised and bemused. I mean, is it really such a shocking thing to others, especially non-riders, that as a woman I ride... alone... and go on long trips? What is so surprising about this? It's just an activity I enjoy doing - like reading and snorkeling. Albeit, I'm a bit more passionate about the riding these days, but to me it's just a normal thing to do. So, I'm curious, what other conversations have you women had regarding being a motorcyclist and how have you been made aware that what you do, ride, is such a surprising thing? What totally off-the-wall things have you heard and had said to you?

    Just wondering... Louise

  2. #2
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    She has led too sheltered a life. What you do is an achievement, no doubt, but her reaction comes from her own inner fears.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  3. #3
    ABC,AMA(LIFE),MOA,RA,IBMW MANICMECHANIC's Avatar
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    If I may be so bold, but does anybody remember when people going on a cross-country journey on a motorcycle considered it an adventure? Beginning with the preparation of the bike, getting your gear together, departing with some anxiety about whether you'll "make it" or not. The challenges along the way that were dealt with, the weather experienced, the scenery encountered, the adversity met and surpassed. Indeed, it was an adventure. Nowadays it seems that just anybody can climb on a bike and expect to arrive wherever in utmost comfort with utter reliability, and only be able to complain about the weather being too.....uncomfortable. It appears that there are too many who are unwilling to deal with the challenge. The trip's success must be a foregone conclusion. Where is the adventure and concomitant satisfaction in that?
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    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    My wife and I left home on our motorcycle (Can Am trike) last year and headed for Glacier National Park. We got home about 2 1/2 weeks later, having faced heat, rain, roads under water, the need to be towed to a dealer and some fabulous rides through beautiful country. We considered it an adventure when we left and even more so when we got home.
    Dan

  5. #5
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewEnglander View Post
    "By yourself? I mean, weren't you nervous? All that way?"
    I've had people ask me that and I am a guy. Cripes, do people live in a glass bubble or what!

    "You mean you don't have any accommodations booked?"...."Nope...not for the first night nor the sixth week".

    "You mean you don' have any part of your tour planned?"..."Nope...why would I? I plan when I am at work...this is a vacation!"

    And that is overseas, sometimes in countries that I am not even fluent in. Worry less...live more!

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    +1 Feisty Women

    It's STILL AN ADVENTURE to travel by motorcycle, as previously pointed out. Especially on an Airhead, but still an adventure even on a spanking-new 1600.

    And, there is a very, very special place for the very, very special women out there doing it.

    I've had this conversation so many times that it no longer surprises. . .often at a gas/rest stop:

    "WOW! Nice bike -- is it new?"

    "No, it's a 34 year-old BMW."

    "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles." (I usually let that one go.)

    "Where ya headed?"

    "Washington state."

    "You mean -- on a motorcycle? THIS motorcycle?"

    "It's the only way I like to travel."

    "But where do you stay?"

    "Well, I either camp (huge pile of gear on the rear seat) when I'm solo, or we stay in motels along the way."

    "So you actually TAKE TRIPS on a MOTORCYCLE?"

    "Yes, frequently, and it's a lot of fun."

    "Well, my brother-in-law's cousin got killed on his Harley."

    "WHAT? You mean this is DANGEROUS? Golly, I didn't know." (I don't always do this smart-ass stuff, but the older I get, the more I do it. My bad.)

    * * *

    Bottom line: It's just not on the radar screen of MOST people that going places and overnighting on two wheels is even possible. The public seems to think that all two-wheel riding is similar to running down to the 7-11 on a 50cc Chinese scooter wearing flip-flops and a tank-top; after all, two-wheels are only good for riding a few miles at a time, right?

    Yet another reminder that most people don't know the first thing about motorcycling. Not the first thing.

    Walking Eagle

  7. #7
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    With my Texas license plate traveling in NewFoundland I'm not surprised people are amazed. But I've had people wonder out loud at being so far from home when I stopped for gas 100 miles from home! In the same state!

    Keep expanding those people's horizons! Who knows? They may even dare a little more because you do.

    Voni
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    Louise, I had this similar conversation with at least five different men at the Four Winds rally this past weekend! Not the part about just traveling on the motorcycle, but about traveling alone! (And of course, the reason why alone and how I got into the bike in the first place.) And commuting every day on the bike! And on and on...yes, some people are still in the dark ages and think that we are better off left at home cooking and cleaning!

    Personally, I think it is their inner jealous voice actually coming out when they ask those questions!! We are doing what they want to be do and they are in awe...I'm learning to love these questions!
    Tonya
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  9. #9
    Registered User Rod Sheridan's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not female howeve I often ride with one..........

    People often ask riders that question, and then are surprised when you've ridden all that way on a motorcycle.

    In 2007 Diann and I went to the RA rally at Biltmore, and we decided that we wanted to ride part of the Blueridge Parkway on our way to Ashville.

    We took two days to ride to Fancy Gap where we stayed at a motel just off the parkway. We we riding two airheads, mine a 76, Diann's a 77.

    As we were sitting on a chair outside our room enjoying the evening sunset, a few riders came over to talk.

    They noticed our Canadian flags on the bikes and asked me where our trailer was, me being not too bright responded that we didn't have a trailer, we just shared the camping gear between the two bikes.

    More conversation resulted in me learning the following from the 3 riders with much bigger and newer bikes

    - it's too far to ride from Toronto in 2 days so you need to trailer your bike to a closer spot

    - it's too far from Fancy Gap to Ashville to ride in one day

    I will admit that Diann often gets the "did you ride all the way on that motorcycle?", to which she replies "Of course, it's too far to push it".

    As has been said, riding a modern bike across the country isn't that daunting, yet many non riders seem to think it is.

    I have to admit, that having ridden for 38 years, it's a lot less daunting with modern riding gear and vehicles, however it is still an adventure.

    The adventure may not be whether you can fix your bike with a piece of beer can and wire, it is more the personal learning type of adventure.

    I remember stopping at a highway rest area and as we were getting dressed to leave an older gentleman came over to talk about his motorcycling adventures in the 40's and fifties. I was wanting to leave however Diann was in conversation with him so I took a deep breath, took off my jacket and helmet and went over to join the conversation.

    Half an hour later this man had limped back to his motor home, returned with two ice cold bottles of water for us, and bid us farewell. It was the sort of tale that makes a trip an adventure, you just have to take the time to embrace it.

    If we hadn't spent that time talking to him, it wouldn't have been an adventure, yet it was, and I have written proof of it, as this event occupies an entire page in my bike diary.

    Mere trips don't rate a page in the bike diary that I carry in my tank bag, so I guess I'm wrong, even a modern trip on a modern bike on a paved road can be an adventure if you make it so.............Regards, Rod.
    Work is the curse of the riding class

  10. #10
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Eagle View Post
    Yet another reminder that most people don't know the first thing about motorcycling. Not the first thing.
    That's true ... but the people that run motels, do.

    Probably moreso than most folks' car trips, there's fun in the ride as much as fun in the destination. Geez if they've ever been out of town they've seen bikes on the road and if they've ever stayed in a motel they've seen bikes there. Heck, if they've ever paid attention they've seen a woman drive an 18-wheeler. Maybe even--wait for it--by herself.

    Displays of ignorance are not flattering, but many try for sympathy and approval in this manner. This does NOT reflect on us and we shouldn't think we're "shocking" anybody.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
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  11. #11
    Rapunzel NewEnglander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnevling View Post
    Louise, I had this similar conversation with at least five different men at the Four Winds rally this past weekend! Not the part about just traveling on the motorcycle, but about traveling alone! (And of course, the reason why alone and how I got into the bike in the first place.) And commuting every day on the bike! And on and on...yes, some people are still in the dark ages and think that we are better off left at home cooking and cleaning!

    Personally, I think it is their inner jealous voice actually coming out when they ask those questions!! We are doing what they want to be do and they are in awe...I'm learning to love these questions!
    LOL! Yes, I've experienced the same and I continue to be surprised when I encounter this from the men in the MOA. I've assumed, mistakenly, that these fellow riders would at least understand. So, why is it such a surprise that us women are just as enthusiastic (sp?) about riding and rallying? Now if I could just find a guy who likes to ride as much as I do. But that's a whole 'nother conversation. As soon as i can figure out why I can't get online thru my regular computer I'll register for those next rallies... I'm pecking away using my Nook tablet right now. Thank goodness for the wireless router!

    Louise

  12. #12
    Rapunzel NewEnglander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    That's true ... but the people that run motels, do
    Yes! To the point that the ones out west supply towels to clean off your bike! Until my last trip out west I had never encountered that.

  13. #13
    Rapunzel NewEnglander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voni View Post
    With my Texas license plate traveling in NewFoundland I'm not surprised people are amazed. But I've had people wonder out loud at being so far from home when I stopped for gas 100 miles from home! In the same state!

    Keep expanding those people's horizons! Who knows? They may even dare a little more because you do.

    Voni
    sMiling
    I really hope that this woman at work that expressed such surprise to me for my vacation adventure does dare a little more in her life. As has been expressed in life and here, we've come a long way, baby! We need to keep going, too!

  14. #14
    Rapunzel NewEnglander's Avatar
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    Adventures

    Quote Originally Posted by manicmechanic View Post
    If I may be so bold, but does anybody remember when people going on a cross-country journey on a motorcycle considered it an adventure? Beginning with the preparation of the bike, getting your gear together, departing with some anxiety about whether you'll "make it" or not. The challenges along the way that were dealt with, the weather experienced, the scenery encountered, the adversity met and surpassed. Indeed, it was an adventure. Nowadays it seems that just anybody can climb on a bike and expect to arrive wherever in utmost comfort with utter reliability, and only be able to complain about the weather being too.....uncomfortable. It appears that there are too many who are unwilling to deal with the challenge. The trip's success must be a foregone conclusion. Where is the adventure and concomitant satisfaction in that?
    Of course the trip is an adventure. That is why it is so much fun! Before each trip I say to myself, usually just after I've finished packing the bike, a line from The Lord of the Rings said by Bilbo as he boards the ship for 'the West', "I believe I'm ready for another adventure!". The other thing I do as I'm sitting on the bike and the garage door has closed and I'm ready to roll is that I take a couple of minutes in thought/prayer to find the calm and confidence within to make and enjoy the coming trip.

    Since the catastrophic failure of the clutch on my bike last fall, I no longer assume that my steed is infallible so that element is now part of the adventure. In all my years of riding I found out on Labor Day that the Anonymous book really works!

  15. #15
    Rapunzel NewEnglander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    She has led too sheltered a life. What you do is an achievement, no doubt, but her reaction comes from her own inner fears.
    Which makes me wonder, are there still such timid women?

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