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 the USA with Kayla Williams. Kayla tells us what it means to her to ride her motorcycle, and focuses on her trip on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. A great read which will make you want to hit the road.
We hope you enjoy her story.
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Tears, sweat, frustration, humility, belly laughs, pride, accomplishment, challenged and independence. All these things and more was what I was experiencing the first time I rode a motorcycle in April 2016. My husband and I saved our money and signed up for a 2 day beginners class @wildcatharley. It was one of the most stressful yet equally exhilarating situations I signed up for - willingly. Our instructors were an expert husband and wife team that pushed us and celebrated each of our successes. When I scraped my pegs I thought I blew it - instead I looked up to see both my teachers laughing and giving me thumbs up. I could see my husband’s wide smile through his tinted visor. I was the last one of our group to complete my road test. After I finished I had the best score out of a group of 5 men and 2 other women. I left that weekend knowing that this was my new passion.
My name is Kayla Williams and I am 28. I didn’t get my 2016 Harley Davidson Forty-eight until two months later and could not wait to get her on the road for the first time. And yet I was so scared, my hands wouldn’t stop shaking and my stomach did somersaults. But I made myself do it. And I never looked back. I have since taken my bike all over Kentucky and got to ride the Bourbon Trail with my husband, where we toured bourbon distilleries throughout the rolling hills of the Bluegrass and acquired my own taste for bourbon. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour consists of nine distilleries that allow you to dive into the history and making of Kentucky’s proudest and (personally) tastiest beverage.
Travelling through my home state to each distillery allowed myself to enjoy what is right outside my back door. Winding national scenic byways, rolling Appalachian foothills, picturesque bluegrass horse farms, and rich southern (bourbon) soaked history beckoned me to explore on my new motorcycle. We headed out on national scenic byway 68 on our way to Loretto, Ky. This is where Maker’s Mark Distillery is nestled outside of Bardstown in some of Kentucky’s rugged rural landscape and winding country roads. Surrounded by spring water and limestone, this distillery was the highlight of our trip. After finding our way through what felt like paved deer trails that left me white knuckled, we were greeted by the splendor of the Maker’s Mark grounds which was like finding a diamond in the rough.
Grabbing our tickets at the finely curated Victorian “Homeplace” which bespoke of the family times past, we were lead on a fascinating tour of the distillery and process that is unique to Maker’s, from the mash, to the hand cut labels, through the barrel aging, and bottling. After the tasting of four of Maker’s whiskies, we got an awe-inspiring look at one of the highlights of the tour besides the amber-goodness that is Maker’s Mark bourbon. Dale Chihuly’s “Spirit of the Maker” is 36 feet of hand-blown glass made for Maker’s 60th anniversary. Words cannot describe the Sistine feel of this breath-taking artwork.
Our next stop was at Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, with some time spent running down miles on the Bluegrass Parkway. Atop the Kentucky river, this distillery’s award-winning visitor center boasts of its history, pre-prohibition memorabilia, and it’s Angel’s room. The latter was received well by our weary bodies as much as our taste buds were to taste two Wild Turkey bourbons. The views from this room were just as splendid as the rest of our trip. Riding through the epicenter that is horse-country was relaxing and exhilarating. Both distilleries gave us top-notch tours and tastings, with each having their own take and spin leaving us both satisfied and full of expert bourbon knowledge.
I returned home that day so proud of myself and empowered to ride even more. We rode a little over 200 miles that day and for me that was a huge feat. I was able to lay down those miles, drive defensively, and slayed those winding curves. Since that initial summer day trip, I have continued to find adventures throughout Kentucky and have already clocked in a little under 3,000 miles on my new bike. I continue to be inspired by other women who are pushing stereotypes and their own limits on their motorcycles. It makes me want to keep building “my story” and challenge myself even more. I look forward to even bigger trips that will take me all over the U.S. and the lessons I will learn.
Riding my motorcycle has taught me that I can push myself to learn something new, even scary. When I push through fear, I can find my heart swell with new confidence that I never knew I had. Even with all the mistakes I have made and how embarrassed or frustrating it made me, I learned from it knowing that it makes me a better rider.
My advice to other women who are looking to start riding is that you almost have to force that confidence to go out there and get on that bike and do it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but embrace them as lessons to learn from. My motto in all aspects of my life is that you can’t not fail, if you want to succeed.
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Thank you to Kayla for sharing her story and if you would like to share your story with us simply go to the Contact Page of the website and fill in the form and we will gladly be in touch.