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  • March 01, 2024 2 min read

    Having been asked by John @LAM for a small contribution towards the ‘International Women’s Day’ edition in Progress magazine it got me thinking …. What has a 65 year old female motorcyclist have to say of any relevance or indeed interest to anyone? But as I was asked, here goes..

    I’ve been riding since the age of 16 and went straight from a two wheel pushbike on to a brand new Yamaha DT175 and have had a love affair with riding ever since. Although I had been riding for years, I joined LAM in 2013 and there started to improve my riding under the tutoring skills of the many talented observers.

    I passed my test but the real learning curve came later as I started to relax and apply what I had learned to my own style of riding. Most of the older members will remember ‘Stan’ my beloved RT1100 which looked and rode like a tank. Most would balk at riding such a lump especially not scoring high on the looks front but I felt comfortable and we enjoyed many years together.

    After a nasty tibial plateau fracture in 2016 (not the bike’s fault but aging bones) I had to swap to a lighter steed and ended up with a 1200GS. At least I could use my weak left leg to push it up off the stand! I started with a 2012 air cooled GS and now have a later 2015 liquid cooled model. I am not your usual rider in the sense I don’t worry about having the latest bike nor indeed matching gear. My bike is my workhorse and is usually filthy dirty as I live in central London with my bike parked outside to the elements. I take it shopping (lots of pannier space), day trips and of course touring.

    I’ve just covered around forty thousand miles in the last three years and that includes my most recent trip, a solo ride down through France and Spain, along the Spanish and French coastline then looping back up. I found campsites along the way and covered 3000 enjoyable miles, some challenging, especially a storm that hit in northern France and I was caught out in the middle of nowhere, high up, no shelter in sight and with torrential rain and the strongest winds I’ve ever encountered. All vehicles stopped as they couldn’t see ahead so I had to do the same and just hold on for dear life. Suffice to say my bike and I survived and that memory adds to my many adventures. Riding for me maintains my mental health. My moto is you’re never too old to have an adventure and don’t worry about the ‘what if’s’! Nothing beats the feeling and sense of freedom and adventure but jumping on the bike, loading up my gear and taking off down roads less travelled. I might be getting older but thanks to my bike, I still have plenty of fun ahead. My next trip is to Norway.


    Sue Rallinson

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