Blog Archives - Women in Motorcycling
Today was my first ever charity ride. I went on the Big Cat Ride with Woodstock Harley Davidson to Valley of the Kings Sanctuary.  The Furies were out of town, so this was a hangers-on adventure and we had a blast.

We met up at the Mobil across from HD... I had at that point already ridden TO skating practice via 90 and 190 and out by O'hare all by myself and then skated and ran and all that jazz and then hopped back on the bike to take 290 and 90 ALONE to Woodstock. GO ME!!!

The rest of the gang had just pulled in to the Mobil, so it worked out perfectly. We headed over to HD got all registered and had lunch and then shopped. I might have fallen in love with a bike that I can't afford-- a 99 Soft Tail that is so pretty i could cry. Seriously..

At this point we had Monique, Jean, Kitty, Suze,Joanna, and Me, but Jean left us as the ride started and headed to prepare for her canadian adventure.

Then there were door prizes-- Joanna won a t-shirt and then our safety briefing from our road-captain-- a gentleman named Wayne from TopCats. He was awesome. And then omg...we were off. There were 100-ish bikes (probably more) and it was AWESOME to be riding with that many bikes-- hand signals getting passed back, watching the rows of bikes go up and down and around the curvy hilly roads. It was fantastic. We encountered dead things, gravel, crazy stops, and hills and curves and roads with no lines.

Finally we made it to VOTK-- and then there was more gravel-- the parking lot. But we managed to get the bikes parked, at which point Kitty had to leave us to deal with a family situation so we were down to 4.

Then we saw the kitties! They really do roar for's amazing. Some of their stories are so sad-- Charlie especially. The cruelty of people just amazes me. Some people brought raw chicken legs and fed the tigers. It was pretty awesome to watch and to hear the crunch of the bones.

After some quality big cat time, the 4 of us headed down 14 to make our way home. Monique led, Suze and Joanna were in the middle and I swept. We stopped for a cold-water and non-stinky-portapot (clearly not a purple potty) restroom stop before heading back out and making our way home.

It could not have been a more beautiful day. The temperatures were perfect, the breezes not to breezy and the roads were awesome.

On a personal note, I had a lot of firsts today-- first time really riding any distance alone, first time on 90, 190, or 290. First big charity ride. First state other than IL. And today was my Longest ride ever clocking in at about 180 total miles once you add in getting to practice. I even got a patch to commemorate my big day. It was truly fantastic!

We had a great day together and an awesome ride. Thanks to each of the ladies who came out and celebrated firsts along with me!

Oh and total miles is now up to 423 with 2 states colored in!

Here are my pictures from the day.

So, yesterday when it was a million degrees outside, MJ and I thought it might be brilliant to go for a ride.

It was not brilliant.

We rode about a mile to get to IHOP and were DYING from the heat in that short amount of time. We cooled off with breakfast and then rode about 4 more miles to go to Target.

Seriously-- riding in the heat? Not so smart. Spent the rest of the day rehydrating!
_So... today is one of the few days i'll get to ride this month thanks to a couple of minor surgeries and my crazy schedule, so I would not be thwarted in my desire to get some miles under my butt. I set out on an adventure with MJ (my riding mentor) and Nora (one of my time share buddies) that took us to my favorite place-- the ravines! Except-- the first time through we got behind a cage going- i kid you not- 10 miles per hour. so yeah-- not so much on the fun that time. Then we turned around to do them again...and a biker coming the opposite way tapped his helmet... SIGH slow way down, and no fun. FINALLY the third time through we got to ride at a more comfortable speed and it was fun fun fun!!!

Then we played musical bikes.

Then, it was time to get over it and get my butt up on the interstate. So...on we went. And i was doing ok! I was up to speed (kinda) and not freaking out and all was great. I was singing hymns in my helmet and having a grand old time. (yes, I sing hymns in my helmet...i don't know why)

And the distance the sky grew dark...and then it grew darker. And then the hymns in my helmet started getting new words... "no that's not a big old rainstorm coming" and "please oh God don't let it rain on me on the interstate my first time or I'll completely lose my mind" and "is the sky supposed to be that color" were popular lyrics at the time.

Good news? It never did open up and pour. What it DID however was scarier...seriously the wind was insane. Trees were bent in half, branches and leaves and god only knows what else was flying across the road, trucks were blowing around, cars were bouncing and there we were...on bikes. It was at that time that I stopped singing and started screaming into my helmet. "OMG GET ME OFF THIS INTERSTATE" and "PLEASE MJ TAKE THE TOUHY EXIT" and "WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING IS THE WORLD ENDING" were common phrases, a few might have had some expletives mixed in as well.

MJ led us off and we pulled into a parking lot and waited it out. It never did open up and pour, but MJ did get some pictures of our dramatic reenactment of the wind.

Once it passed we high-tailed it home, which was good because then there was lightening.

But hey-- my first interstate ride would not be thwarted! I DID IT!!!


Thanks to MJ and Nora for the support and courage!