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Returning to Motorcycling on a Honda CBR300 Sportbike

How riding refuels this self-professed adrenaline junkie

By Jean Cordalis, Carmichael, California

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When I was a kid growing up in the desert, my two brothers and I had dirt bikes. In my early teens I had a green and yellow Honda 100 dirt bike that we named “John Deere” after the iconic tractor of the same colors. I never had a license or rode on the street at that time. Then I went off to college and entered adulthood and riding motorcycles was ancient history.

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Five years ago I had a bad ski accident, and during the long and monotonous recovery, in order to give myself something to look forward to, I hatched a plan to go to a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) class and get my motorcycle license. I was on the north side of 50 years old.

returning to motorcycling on a honda cbr300 sportbike jean
When Jean returned to motorcycling she bought this Honda CBR300R sportbike.

Throughout my life I have made an amateur career of adrenaline-rush type hobbies such as scuba diving, spearfishing, riding horses, mountain bike racing, driving performance cars at the track, rallycross, downhill skiing, and long-distance triathlons, marathons, and bicycling. So it wasn't such a big stretch to think about returning to motorcycling.

When I started dating my now-husband (a long-time friend from a bicycle club) 10 years ago, he had a vintage Norton. Eventually we got a big Triumph touring bike and started riding two-up. So after all those years my latent love for motorcycling erupted to the surface.

returning to motorcycling on a honda cbr300 sportbike mv augusta
Jean’s beloved red Honda CBR300R sits behind her hubby’s MV Augusta on a glorious day in the California foothills.

The Motorcycle Industry Council’s most recent survey states that only 10 percent of women motorcycle owners ride sportbikes.


And although I believe all motorcycle riding is good motorcycle riding, I’m firmly in the sportbike camp.

We have lots of wonderful twisty roads here in the Sierra foothills and carving the turns satisfies a primitive place deep in my brain. Something about the combination of exhilarating freedom and intense concentration makes it my favorite type of riding. When you get it right, you’re one with your bike, and you are dancing on the road. I'm lucky to be married to a man who supports my motorcycling so wholeheartedly.

As an older woman (and a physician), when I first started riding again I felt like I should conceal it from friends, co-workers, and acquaintances to avoid disapproval. But I have since decided that hiding my essential nature from my friends and family is foolish. They’ve probably already got a pretty good idea that this is the sort of activity I would choose, anyway.

returning to motorcycling on a honda cbr300 sportbike jean riding
Jean lives in a motorcyclist’s paradise in Northern California. This shot was taken while riding to Napa Valley testing out the new Akrapovic exhaust Jean’s hubby bought and installed on her Honda for her birthday.

When I first got my bike I was out riding one day and pulled up next to a woman on a big Harley-Davidson at a stoplight. She looked at me and gave me a big smile and a nod. An electric rush went through my body. I got the same feeling when a little girl in the back of a minivan made eye contact with me, got a big grin on her face, and started jumping up and down in her seat.




Yeah, her parents probably hate me.

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