Her Story. A series of blog posts telling the stories of 'women who ride' from all corners of the globe. We hope that by sharing these stories we can help encourage other women to build their confidence, learn from others and inspire others.
This month we have a story from Tanya Black who is 53 years young and lives in Queensland, Australia.
Being raised by Harley owners, Tanya had absolutely no interest in riding, or owning a bike. It wasn't till later on when life threw a few curve balls, that Tanya & her hubby realised what amazing therapy you can experience on two wheels.
We hope you enjoy her story.
My name is Tanya Black. I am 53 years young and live on the beautiful Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. After reading and enjoying so many fellow riders’ stories, I’d like to share my story with the hope of motivating anyone who is deliberating whether to go for their licence at a well-seasoned age.
Although my parents have been avid Harley owners and riders since the ’90s, I have never had much interest in bikes. Instead, rebelling against everything they stood for and opting to backpack around third world countries, on a shoestring. However, it wasn’t until I travelled around India for nine months on a Royal Enfield, that I came to understand why my parents loved to travel with others on bikes, throughout New Zealand (my native country).
New Delhi, India in 1991. We travelled for nine months around India on that Royal Enfield. I've never been through so many clutch cables or, ended up being pushed off the road as I did, back then (it's called karma, the smaller you are....)
While replenishing the coffers in London, my partner and I owned a BMW (ex-Police Bike). I experienced my first and only accident, in London, and although badly shaken up my partner insisted I hop back on. In hindsight, it was the best thing he ever did as I doubt I’d be on one now. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t referred to riding a bike myself. At this stage, I had fooled around with attempting to ride, however I was content to sit at the back and enjoy the scenery. There is nothing like experiencing a dose of loss and grief to trigger the need to re-evaluate life.
When my husband bought his Breakout, it changed our world for the better. The reason for buying his bike was due to his heartache after losing his Dad to cancer. Around the same time, I had been made redundant. After seeing his world rocked, we used my redundancy money to pay for his bike - the best spent money ever. After six months or so of happily riding pillion, I noticed that the meds I was taking for my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were not helping my extremities, specifically my hands.
Not sure if anyone reading this knows much about this disease; however, it doesn’t discriminate and being in pain becomes ones’ norm. I decided that before my hands got any worse, I wanted to experience riding a bike.
My riding journey started with my husband buying me a moped so that we could see if my hand could handle it. I lasted four months on this and found myself complaining it wasn’t fast enough (the final straw when a cyclist overtook me).
From this we bought a second-hand Honda 250, I was honestly sold on riding by this stage due to the sheer happiness it brought me. Unfortunately, my hands weren’t happy, with my left hand suffering the most. Not one to give up, we decided to trade in the 250 and stretch the budget to buy me a brand-new Honda Rebel 500.
Riding something new helped alleviate some of my pain. Moving along, after being on my ‘P’s for two years and three months I’m now booked in to go for my class R licence (unlimited engine size). Unfortunately, a week after this, I am booked in for surgery (replacing two of my finger joints) on my left hand. I don’t believe riding has caused this although I am frequently asked why riding of all things? My answer is when I ride, my disability is unseen, the pain fades into the background, and the feeling of helplessness dissipates.
The Kawasaki was what I rode on the day of sitting my 'open' licence. Pleased to say I got it a week before my hand surgery ( sadly, haven't ridden since).
Instead, I feel empowered, strong and physically glow, after a ride. The happiness riding gives me far outweighs the pain afterwards. Riding with my husband has brought a new level of bonding and love. I don’t think I could ever sit on the back of his bike if I have the choice. Funnily, I hear my Mum admonishing my Dad with “why didn’t you encourage me to ride? Instead of being the biker b@#ch on the back!”.
As for the future, my goal is to own a Harley, but this will depend on the success of my surgery and the course my RA takes. I have made some awesome memories and thankful that I choose to live the life I love. Remember “The only thing better than a street bike… is a woman riding one.”
Thank you to Tanya for sharing her story. We wish you the best of luck and a quick recovery from your surgery. Happy Riding xo 🖤
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