Motorcycle Mamas

You might love it—riding a motorcycle, that is. I started riding in the 1970s when women motorcyclists were unheard of, especially on a track racing Harleys.

In 2011, women account for 23 percent of all Americans who ride motorcycles, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. That’s 5.7 million women that caught the riding bug like me.

Once infected, few recuperate because the bug that you catch is pure joy. It’s like riding your bicycle as fast as you can and opening your arms wide. At first you feel out of control, but in that childlike moment, when it seems you are lifted on the wind, grace suspends fear. Your power within awakens.

I helped my friend, Deb, overcome her fear of motorcycles. A career woman, Deb wanted to join the ranks of wives and mothers that take to the road atop freedom machines.

The first step required that she trust my skill as her chauffer. Safety is foremost and anyone interested in the sport should review the safety tips offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at The website also provides a listing of local rider courses.

Second, Deb suited up for protection in my fashion leathers—pants, jacket, gloves, boots—and donned a helmet. Transformed into a superhero, Deb climbed aboard Maya, my 883cc Harley Davidson Sportster, a beauteous lady of chrome and flawless paint.

We started slow, but as soon as Deb felt the wind on her face, her head fell back and her arms spread wide. Deb’s smile lit up Maya’s mirrors. We wound along Sheridan Road finally parking at Evanston beach, where Deb hopped off and perfectly expressed what every rider knows: “I feel peace, joy and power, all at the same time.”

You’ll never pass an angry motorcyclist. There’s no time to think of work or life’s stresses when you’re exposed and vulnerable. A rider must be completely present to be safe. That forced presence brings an awareness and passionate connection to everything around, from the sweet blooms to the lakeshore breeze.

When you step off a motorcycle and back into your life, you take with you a confidence in who you are, how far you can go and when you should stop. Your personal power has been awakened. You are a superhero and you’re smiling.

Interested in things that move fast? Check out next month’s article by WTTW personality Geoffrey Baer on the Race to Mackinac.

Inspired to ride? You can, and give back at the same time—read more about Ride Janie Ride.

About the author: Maggie Wilkins guides individuals to awaken to their personal power. She credits her insights to beloved teachers that Maggie brings to Chicagoland from around the world.  Talk, workshop and event information can be found at

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