Last summer when I checked out the current electric scooter craze, I was reminded of my wild and crazy days as a motorcyclist. Yes, that’s right, during my mid 30s, I used to own my own gorgeous purple Honda 750. I love showing Z old photos so she can see that, once upon a lifetime ago, her mom was a biker bad@ss – at least the suburban, safe version!
How it all began
Way back in my 20s, I was a big fan of motorcycles but only as a passenger. In a former life, I loved the feeling of wrapping my arms around a dreamy someone and riding like the wind. Long ago, I once rode all the way from the Americade biker rally in Lake George, NY up into beautiful Vermont on the back of a BMW cruiser – and then back to Lake George again on the back of a Harley! Talk about a sore butt for days afterwards.
Yes, riding was fun as a passenger, but I always secretly harbored a dream of one day learning to ride myself. It seemed so out of reach that I set it as one of my “before 40” goals and then forgot all about it. Until one day when hubby and I were talking about goals and dreams for the future, and I happened to mention it. He instantly responded with enthusiasm, “yes, why wouldn’t you ride your own bike? We should totally both get bikes!” and that set the dream in motion.
Taking the Motorcycle Ohio basic rider course and learning to ride was one of the scariest, most empowering and most challenging things I’ve ever done. I absolutely loved it – so much so, that I ended up taking that course a total of three times over several years! It’s a great way to spend a weekend and gives you a really good foundation for staying safe on a bike. There is nothing like learning to ride a motorcycle to make you a better driver overall – and to make you much more aware of motorcycles on the road.
Back in 2006, hubby ended up getting a big silver Honda VTX 1800, I got a gorgeous purple-with-purple-flames Honda 750, and we spent the next two or three years tearing up Ohio’s scenic highways and byways every chance we got through spring, summer and fall. It was a blast! I am so glad I got to experience the sheer GRRL POWER of riding my own motorcycle – what a rush. Riding was truly empowering and satisfying like almost nothing else I can think of. Still, from the moment I found out I was pregnant in June 2009, I knew I could never hop on my motorcycle again.
Riding was ALWAYS scary on some level for me – I was ALWAYS aware of the risks. The moment I became someone’s mom, those risks simply became too heavy to bear.
Ultimately, E decided he didn’t want to ride either if I wasn’t riding, so we sold our bikes and closed that chapter of our lives to embrace parenthood. I’ve never regretted it!
My favorite Ohio rides
In honor of spring and motorcycle season coming again at last, here are our top 3 favorite rides in Ohio. Bear in mind I only had a bike for about three years, so I’m sure there are many more cool rides out there to discover.
1. Ride east on 161 from Columbus to Granville, then head into historic downtown Granville, cruise up Main Street and turn left onto 661. You pass the lower hillside of Denison University on your left and then suddenly you’re cruising up and down the biggest, most beautiful hills you’ve ever seen. Is this really still Ohio? you’ll think to yourself as you give The Wave to all the other bikers you pass (yes, I still miss doing this!). It’s a superb, curvaceous ride in both directions and you can catch a nice meal or some ice cream in Granville on your way back through.
2. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the gorgeous Hocking Hills area – basically all of the roads in and around the Hocking Hills state park. Just head southeast from Columbus to Hocking Hills and you’ll know when you’re close to the good riding roads because suddenly you’ll realize you’re having a lot more fun. They’re tricky for a novice rider, but even experienced riders find these twisty, hilly roads to be a challenge. It’s definitely a rush and you’ll find yourself grinning inside your helmet!
3. Riding through Amish country – nothing on the road but our two bikes and the horse-drawn buggies. I love it! We would usually head east on 161 from Columbus, then northeast on 62 all the way up to Berlin. The area up there is so pretty and picturesque, with enough Swiss chalets and cheese factories to make you think you’re in Europe. Once you’re there, there are lots of opportunities to get off the bikes and stretch the legs while you pet farm animals, taste cheeses or shop in quaint little stores. It’s a good time.
Ohio is a fantastic place to ride. There are some great sites available to help choose a route. And who knows – one day, maybe I’ll be back out there myself on two wheels again. If you’re a rider, safe and happy riding to you this season! And if you have suggestions for other great Ohio rides or drives, yes, they are still pretty and fun by car – especially hubby’s hot rods, I’d love to hear about them.