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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them

Freedom, Friendships and More on a Motorcycle

Learning to ride at 56 discovering joy along the way

By Jodi Judson, Smyrna, Tennessee

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I am 56 and new to riding. For the last five or six years I have been thinking about learning to ride and getting a motorcycle. In August I finally made it happen. I took a weekend course with an accredited MSF company and spent the two days riding a Honda Nighthawk 250. Keep in mind, I am 6 feet tall with long legs and I knew from the beginning that I had to have a larger bike. After getting my motorcycle endorsement, it was off to find my first bike.

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At 6 feet tall, Jodi found the Honda Shadow Aero 750 to be just the right size for her first motorcycle.

I understand the comments that some women have made concerning being "invisible" at dealerships. I spent more than 30 minutes walking around the sales floor of a local dealership (one of the bigger ones in the Nashville area) and finally got so ticked off because no one paid me any attention, I stormed out of there. Not a good first experience!

As it turns out, a guy that I work with had a very good family friend that works at another larger dealership south of Nashville and I went to see him. They treated me like a queen, answered all of my questions, and helped me decide on a brand new Honda Shadow Aero 750.

I went through a long weekend riding my new motorcycle around in my sister's quiet subdivision out in the country of dropping it three times, scaring the crap out of myself more times, and finally feeling comfortable enough to get out of the subdivision into a little traffic. I was exhilarated! My best friend, who turned 70 in August, has ridden bikes all her life and was right there with me all weekend. She gave me some good advice to overcome some of the issues I had.

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Since learning to ride, Jodi (far left) has enjoyed many day rides as well as a few overnight rides and has met some of the nicest riders she ever could have imagined, including this joyful group of lady riders.

I have put more than 3,000 miles on my Shadow and am just enjoying the freedom of the road and the new friendships I am making. I never dreamed that it would be such a positive experience!

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Like this vantage point of the river rapids, Jodi (in the red baseball hat) has discovered more of her beautiful state of Tennessee in just a few months of riding than she’d seen the entire 46 years she’s lived there. And sharing it with new rider friends makes it even more memorable.

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Jodi works on accessorizing her bike during the cold non-riding months. The Aero already had engine guards put on at the dealership when she bought it, and since has added a windshield, luggage rack, sissy bar, saddlebags, highway pegs, Cobra floorboards, and a Mustang touring seat that has great lower back support. She does most of the installations herself and is having a blast making the bike “hers.”

Do you have a story to share? Please send it to us, but follow these submission guidelines.

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