You're Never too Old to Learn to Ride

by Jere Fredenburgh

     Well it is almost Christmas 2005.  Last Christmas at Cochise Motor Sports’ Christmas party I got to talk to Sandy Landers at some length about learning to ride a motorcycle.  My husband had faithfully followed me around the neighborhood for the prior 4 months, every day on my Yamaha TTR 125, teaching me how to shift, stop, start, turn,  look, listen, and how to pick up the bike after the occasional slow speed tip over!  Sandy encouraged me to take the next step, the MSF course offered at Ft. Huachuca.  I took her advice.

     In January 2005 I took the MSF course with Steve Paladini, and about 10 MUCH younger learners.  At 57 years of age I was the oldest student in the class, my compatriots were all 35 or younger.  I was extremely glad I’d learned the basics, I’m not sure I could have mastered the amount of information the MSF class provides had I not had a “leg up”.  It was seriously cold in January and I was seriously nervous.  Really wanted to succeed!

     I would recommend the class to anyone wanting to learn or improve on some beginner skills.  An instructor/coach can see things that a friend or husband cannot.  The instructor is standing in front of you watching where your eyes are.  I learned to REALLY look around turns, and keep my eyes up especially during stops; and I learned to try things, such as stopping on a turn and going over an obstacle that I NEVER would have simply tried on my own.

     I share these thoughts with club members as (a) a woman and (b) a 57 year old woman who got the bug to ride and has learned to ride and expanded on that learning.  I would encourage anyone interested in learning to do so, take the MSF course and then practice every single time you ride.

     Special thanks to Paulette and Tim, who loaned me Paulette’s 125 in Colorado August 2004; Tim her husband for “walking” me down the street and teaching me that I could “walk the bike” around a turn (previously I’d just head for the closest mesquite tree); my husband for immense patience; Sandy Landers for her encouragement and direction and Patti Hopkins for her inspiration.

     I now ride on dirt roads, the street and practice my dirt skills at Nomads.  Having a great time….ladies DO IT!


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