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RC woman gets first — and second – motorcycle ride

August 10, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Years ago my husband rode a 650 Triumph motorcycle.

It had a windshield, so he didn't get bugs in his teeth even when he grinned. And he grinned a lot, I think, because riding made him happy.

"I never should have sold it," he says often. But he bought a house on Lake Wissota near Chippewa Falls, Wis., and he wanted a boat. A motorcycle doesn't move well in deep water.

After we were married, I kept urging him to buy another motorcycle, and offered to buy one of my own to keep him company on the road. He didn't think that was a good idea, and bought me a bike. A big, blue Huffy that my daughter has now.

I love riding a motorcycle. I rode around Iowa City late one night behind Russell Bode, of Algona, I think. I think he lived in Algona, not I think it was him. That was many moons ago when I was going to school down there. That seems like the last time I saw Russ, too. If I remember rightly, he was visiting his brother, Allen. Or Alan - I never saw his name written.

Riding a motorcycle - whether behind someone or on my own (though I've never ridden on my own) - seems to be a lot like standing on the bow of a boat out on the ocean without the threat of salt water on my camera. Dirt and stones, maybe, but not salt water.

There's a freedom that's too sweet to ignore.

Anyway, I still think of riding a motorcycle, but I seldom say it aloud. It's hard to hear myself think when everyone around me is laughing hysterically.

A lady in Rockwell City likes the idea of motorcycle riding, too, and she'll be 90 years old on Sept. 14.

Bernadine Gentry has taken two rides in the sidecar of her son, Dave's, Harley. They rode from Rockwell City to Webster City. For the second trip, Bernadine even bought a pair of leather gloves so she didn't have to borrow gloves from her daughter-in-law, Lynne.

Her daughter, Jan Hartley, of Laurens, said, "She really loved the ride and told my brother that she now has something to write in her Christmas letter."

Doggone it, I should write a Christmas letter, but I don't have a son to take me out on a Harley. Maybe my daughter could bring my old Huffy back so I could haul my wobbly self around the neighborhood on that.

Nope, that's not gonna happen. I'll bet money on that.

But I can dream - just not while I'm riding. Maybe that's why my husband refused to buy another motorcycle. He was worried I'd fall asleep behind him.

Yep, that's what I'm telling myself. It sounds so much better than him thinking I'm too old and too unsteady to stay upright on a motorcycle.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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