Motorcycle Lawyer Blog: A lot of life is taking risk. Stepping out beyond our comfort zone, facing some fears and accomplishing something you can look back on and tell yourself “well done”. Brenda Taylor shares how riding motorcycles has offered her opportunities to do just that.
Name : Brenda Taylor
Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida
Occupation: Self Employed – Out of the Box Cabinets by Brenda Taylor – Cabinet Design & Sales
Currently riding: 95 Dyna Low Rider
When did you start riding and what got you involved in motorcycles?
I started riding December 30, 2011. My dad had a bike when I was little and I really enjoyed it. Over the years, I’ve ridden with friend occasionally. But my ex-boyfriend and I rode 95% of the time we went anywhere for 5 months! We wanted to go to Daytona, but I wasn’t riding his Honda VTX1800 all the way up there, around Daytona and back. So we went out and bought a Harley Ultra Classic with the “Princess Bitch” seat! He finalized the purchase at 10:30pm Thursday night and we packed up and was on the road by 1pm Friday. We rode for the next several months A LOT! Anytime we were going anywhere, I’d say, “Can we take the bike?” When we broke up, I was devastated by the break-up, but also to not be riding any longer! So as soon as the weather got cooler, I took the course in October. I then spent the next couple of months talking with friends trying to find the right bike for me! My dear friend Pete Peco took me to check out a bike my ex-neighbor and friend of a friend was selling. He rode the bike and said it was a good fit for me. I bought the bike on December 30th, 2011. Pete passed away January 8th, 2012 riding his bike!
How has riding motorcycles impacted your life?
I love to ride! It’s been a major exercise in facing and overcoming my self-imposed limitations and fears! See the next question. 😉
What has been your biggest challenge with riding?
Well this is likely going to be more than you bargained for… J
I was planning to ride “bitch” with friends in San Diego, California, on Friday, February 3rd, 2012, the day before my 2 day spiritual seminar, which was my primary reason for traveling to San Diego. On the Wednesday before, I learned that the person I was riding with had injured his foot and was not riding. That left me not riding or renting a bike. I was vehemently opposed to renting a bike, deciding I was far too inexperienced to “rent” a brand new Harley!
On the Friday morning, I woke up with everything in me screaming, “Rent a Harley!” So I did my usual morning spiritual contemplation, which includes reading material. When I opened my reading material, 3 words jumped off the page at me – “Seemingly insurmountable obstacles!” TRULY?? So I put it out to the Creator that I was going to rent a Harley, feeling it was Divine Will for me to do so, but if it’s not Divine Will to please put an obstacle in front of me! I needed to buy riding boots and I needed to find a bike that was comfortable enough for me and my 36” legs! I got the boots on SALE!! And I rented a brand new 2012 Dyna Switchback and after a few deep breaths and another consultation with the Divine within, off we went!
Within 15 minutes we were on the freeway – my first time on the freeway – riding along about 65 to 70 mph. A curve was coming up in the road and we had a cross wind. I drifted from the center of my lane towards the left a bit as I approached the curve, but remained in my lane. The car in the fast lane to the left of me however, drifted into my line. As I saw us coming together, side by side, I simply said, “NO NO NO!” It was as if she and I were being pulled together like a magnet! The side view mirror touching her car first and folding in… followed by the rest of the bike until I was literally pressed up against this car going 65 to 70 mph going down the freeway for probably about 10 seconds, which seemed like a minute! I tried to steer away from her, but it was like I was stuck to her, and I was very conscious of the danger of over-steering and ending up in front of the car to the right of me! I remember thinking, “This is different!” LOL
Finally, as we came out of the curve, I was able to steer away – just as gently as we came together, we came apart! I wobbled a little bit, but kept the bike upright! I thought, “Ok! I’m ok! That still counts as an accident and you still need to pull over!”
As I looked over my right shoulder to make my way to the shoulder of the highway, it was as if every car had seen what had happened and had drifted back, leaving all lanes clear for me to make my way across. As I headed for the shoulder, I could see, in my now turned in side mirror, the other car was 90 degrees from the medium wall facing the shoulder of the road and spun around to face the oncoming traffic. I quickly got to the shoulder, stopping just prior to an on-ramp, found the kickstand, turned off the bike and dismounted.
As I got off my bike and started walking back, a man stood on the side of the road asking if I was ok! I literally fell into his outstretched arms and as he hugged me and asked if I was ok, I did a mental inventory of my body, starting at the top of my head, noticing a bit of pain in my left pinky knuckle, and then assessed down to my knees, feet and toes. “I’m ok! I’m ok!” He said he had seen the whole thing and that the other car had drifted into my lane. I asked where the other car was and if everyone was ok. He pointed to where she was and we walked back together. She was ok, but clearly very shook up. She had a flat tire and some minor scratches to the wheels.
WOW! What a miracle!!
My friends, who were on an Ultra Classic ahead of me, noticed I was no longer behind them. I had beeped the horn several times as I was making my way to the shoulder, but they hadn’t heard me. They returned back to find me and emergency vehicles everywhere. Once reports were taken and it was established that everyone was ok, I was free to go.
My friend Carl asked if I was ok and what I wanted to do, did I want to go back? I said, “Hell no! I want to ride! Let’s go to Julian and get some pie!”
Throughout the experience, I was completely calm! I remember holding my hand up in front of my face and questioning why was I not shaking in the slightest little bit? EVERY TIME I had gotten on my own bike at home I would shake like a leaf from nerves. This was extremely not normal for me! I immediately went through the events of my morning and knew with everything in me that the entire experience was an experience I was meant to have – Divinely designed!
When I started talking about riding, many people would express concern about being careful. My answer has consistently been, “I have taken the course and I endeavor to apply everything they taught me! I listen to what seasoned riders tell me and take on board their advice! I wear all the safety gear! I endeavor to see every vehicle out there as a potential problem for me and I try to be prepared for any one of them to move into my way! I will not live my life in fear! At some point, I must put it into the Divine’s hands and accept that whatever happens is an experience that I am meant to have!” That very morning I reminded myself of that very statement and said to myself, “Time to live up to what you’ve been saying and put it in the Divine’s hands!”
I told my friends Carl & Sarah, “Not that I needed proof, but I certainly never will again! I do not ride alone! I am never alone!”
What do you like most about your model motorcycle?
She came already customized. My favorite part of her is her PIPES!! She looks good!
What modifications have you made?
None. I plan to change out the handlebars as I find the Elkhorn handlebars she came with challenging for me physically. My plan was to ride her to get experience before buying a newer bike. She’s had quite a few mechanical issues and unfortunately, she’s been not running more than she runs! I’ve rode more miles on the two bikes I’ve rented. (San Diego we rode 175 miles and then June 1st I rented a Street Glide in Albuquerque and we rode 250 miles.)
When you’re not riding motorcycles what are you other interest?
Sailing! I love sailing and have taken on riding as a pacifier until I can afford the boat I want. I also love listening to live music!
What advice do you have for other women riders?
Recognize the mind’s tendency to live in fear as just that – the mind creating limitations. Stay out of dirt! (Another story.) Get a bike that suits you and you feel comfortable on. Protect your hair! J
How tall are you? 5’10” with 36” of that, legs! Not easy to find comfort on a bike!
What is your weather like year round?
South Florida, we have beautiful weather, but you have to be ready for rain this time of year! I don’t ride in rain if I can avoid it! We have great weather, but not great roads – too much traffic and not too many curvy hilly roads! That’s what was so fun about riding in San Diego and New Mexico!
How is riding therapy for you?
Riding moves my attention away from other things that might be stressful and puts it into just riding! When I’m away from traffic, I love just riding and feeling the wind in my face and smelling the smells, especially when I ride along the ocean!
I always loved the Dyna Low rider bike, love hearing about fellow women rider sharing her story and I love that we are upgrading the pavement one hot moto mama at a time!