Why do you ride?

I’m serious. I want to know. I want to hear from every woman who reads this column. I want to know why you ride.

And if you are still riding on the back (or if you don’t ride at all), I want to know why you are still NOT riding.

Don’t misunderstand me. I have no judgment for those of you who still ride on the back. I have been there – well three times, anyway. The problem was, at least with the first two times, I didn’t really like it.

Those two rides were in my teens. Those were my insecure years when I was afraid to assert who I was and terrified of making a mistake or getting hurt. Being on the back of a motorcycle felt risky.

The first time it was just transportation, the cheapest way available to get me to my work project in the outback of Honduras during my stint with Canada World Youth.

The bike was probably a 250 something, and we putted along the dusty dirt road for most of a day travelling less than a 150 kms.

The second time was a year later when my big brother took me for a spin on his 750 Triumph Bonneville.

The ride in Honduras had been too slow to really teach me how to be a passenger and my brother did not think to give me a lesson. When he took a quick corner with a lean I freaked out and leaned the wrong way.

He took me home and didn’t offer again.

So much for motorcycles … I thought.

Then I met another friend who invited me out to dinner, at Braeburn Lodge, on his bike, on the back.

Being a wise person, before we even got out on the highway he took me up and around a few side streets, slalomed a little at low speed till he knew that I knew how to lean into the turns with him and off we went.

An hour or so later, as we got off the bike I was totally buzzed, with a grin on my face that could not be wiped off. My friend laughed and casually commented, “You should get your own bike. It’s more fun on the front.”

He was right. The next year I had my own first bike. I continue to ride to reinstall that grin. On the back was a transition, a short one for me, and a place to be inspired.

I also love a challenge. I back-country ski, climb (ice and high altitude), bicycle and, of course, ride motorcycle.

Unlike driving a car, when you are riding your motorcycle you are “all in.” Like in a poker game when you push all your chips forward and bet it all, your entire focus is on what you are doing. There is no half way.

I don’t ride on the back because that would be like being “half in” in a poker game – not committed. If I can’t be 100 per cent in, I’d rather do something else.

If you are still on the back, ask yourself “What is the real reason I don’t ride?” Answer the question, honestly.

If you do ride, why do you ride? If you are “all in”, what keeps you there?

I’d love to hear from you on this, but even if you don’t let me know your answers, at least tell a friend. You might find some riding buddies.