Thursday, September 11, 2008

You've Come a Long Way Baby

AMA Cover October

Back in April I received a request from a Flickr member to use one of my Alps photos in the AMA. Unfortunately I do not own that photo, the tour guide took it. The writer said he'd pass my information to the editor of the mag, who might be interested in doing a story about my travels with Lisa. 6 months later and we are on the cover.

In reality, getting on the cover has been a 10 year journey.

In 1999 my now ex husband told me I shouldn't get my motorcycle license.
In 2004 friends told me I was nuts to ride my bike across the country.
In 2007 I listened too no one's advice and planned a trip across the country with my daughter.

My first bike, my K75 1999

Telling me I can't do something is a powerful motivator. I got my license in 1999, then my bike, then a divorce. But I was not all that sure of myself. I dropped my bike a lot. I worried that maybe he was right, maybe the bike was more than I could handle...maybe I should stay home with my daughter...maybe...maybe I should start thinking for myself.

You gotta go where you wanna go,
Do what you wanna do
With whoever you wanna do it with.
Mama's & the Papa's

On the Road 2004
Gail Glacier stitch

Fast forward to 2004, I'm making a good living, I can afford to pack my 9 year old daughter off to summer camp for 2 weeks. I turn and face the open road. I've read about people who traveled so far, but could I be one of them? It took a couple of days on the road to shake the fears and turn the corner to self confidence. I am out here, and I am doing it on my own. My well meaning friends did not know what they were talking about. The indelible lesson learned: I can accomplish anything that I set out to do, I am the only one holding myself back.

Camping 2003
Gail & Lisa Wacky Hat 2003

Yet I still balked at taking Lisa with me. My priorities were changing. I needed to share the road with Lisa. Everyone will tell you that it can't be done. You can't ride with children, they will be bored, you can't take a month off from work, it's a dangerous world out there. But I relied on my lessons of 2004. My well meaning friends did not know what they were talking about. We were going on a road trip.

Glacier National Park 2007
Lisa & Gail

What did I learn in 2007? The motorcycle is not the center of my world. My daughter is. I have so much to teach her and she is an eager learner. The motorcycle makes for a fun and interesting vehicle of learning. But sometimes we go by car, sometimes we go by foot, most importantly we go out and explore the world together and learn about each other along the way. I can not tell my daughter to be an independent thinker, I can only show her. I am convinced that it's a lesson that will take her far in life.

New Brunswick 2008
Mother & Daughter Ready for the Rain!

Thank you AMA for letting us spend a month representing the American Motorcyclist!


Anonymous said...

Ms. SheRidesABeemer,

Just to cool! Having just found your blog a few weeks ago I've enjoyed your adventures. A big plus that you get to share them with your daughter. I've made print a couple of time but they were just candid shots at some rallys. To make the cover would make my head swell to were my Shoei would never fit again.

So way to go! You should be very proud of this and what you have done with and for your daughter.


The Vintage Advantage said...

Hello Gail!
Thanks for checking in on my adventures this summer....What a great cover for the AMA, Congrats!

Jacqui Van Ham

Stacy said...

Congratulations on your cover!

Rev'it and Joe Rocket should give you both a fee for modeling their gear so nicely. :)

ducktourer said...

Gail & Lisa,

I have been mesmerised by your motorcycle travel images on Flickr for quite a while now. What constantly gets me when I see the road through your lens is that there just *isn't* enough women on bikes with the tenacity and passion you have obviously got! When I see the the pair of you on all sorts of roads and in all sorts of conditions, from driving snow, my jaw just literaly drops on the keboard with a "how about that" simultaneously uttering from my lips.

After reading your blog, I can honestly say that here is a woman (and her intrepid daughter)who dances to the beat of her own drum. Like they say, "you've just gotta do what you gotta do"!!!

Keep the shiny side up.

Becky said...

That's really special! That's a great cover photo. Your daughter has grown up alot. You've shown her how to be an independant


Nikos said...

I love reading your blog - you are a beautiful person (as is young Miss SheRidesaBeemer).
Congratulations and keep riding safe!

Gene said...


And, to think, I can say "I knew you when..."

Gene said...

Here's another picture:

And the article on the AMA site:

Doug Just Doug said...

Hi Gail; a fellow "Rounder" and moto-blogger here. I was leafing thru the pile of mail yesterday and who do I see smiling at me but you and your daughter. I enjoyed reading about your awesome trip and of the amazing adventure the two of you shared!

Unknown said...

How awesome! Congrats on the cover shot!!

irondad said...

I echo the congratulations. It's something that will probably never happen for me. Weirdly enough, I just got the magazine and the thought crossed my mind if it was you. Not that I recognized the photo right off, but because of familiarity with your blog. It was top of mind.

You deserve all the good things that have come your way. Mostly because you do things the old fashioned way. You work for it and earn it. In the process you're passing it along to your daughter who, hopefully, will do her own passing along. Here's a heartfelt salute with honor!

Anonymous said...

AWESOME cover shot! :) I love it, (Internet is so dodgey on this trip, this is my first time over here in a while).

And I am super impressed you went on your first trip alone. This trip has been amazing for me (and friends say the same things to you even when you are going with another male partner) but I am not so sure I would have had the courage to go alone for my first big trip. (I have only just stopped dropping my bike a lot, 2 weeks without a drop! well one – but that was offroading and shouldnt count!). ;)

But it takes guts to go at all, let alone by yourself. And I am so impressed you are teaching your daughter not to be afraid of the world!!!! Girls are alwys told we cant, when we should be told we can! Congrats!!!

xobule said...

Great trip! Congratulations!

Big Red Dawg said...

My oh my - who are those pretty ladies on the cover of that magazine?
Makes me ALMOST wish I had joined the AMA just so I could get the magazine.
Well done you two - enjoyed Lisa's contribution to the story. Told Ella about you two and your trip and her jaw dropped.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying reading your blog...just found it recently. I am a fellow rider, on an old model beemer. CS650 that I bought here in Italy so I can truly enjoy their roads! I had a similar experience as you...where friends told me not to get a bike. Too dangerous etc. I was in the States at the the divorce first, then the bike (A Suzuki Savage 650, that my ex helped me to choose...funny as he was one who didn't want me to get the bike). It is about following your own dream, which makes you truly free. For me, that freedom is exemplified when I ride. It is an experience that energizes me and makes me truly feel alive. I think you feel the same and above all, I love that you are showing your daughter that life doesn't have to fall in traditional categories. Once again, glad I found your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gail - I recognize you from the AMA cover... mag is sitting on my kitchen table for perusing... I'll have to make a point of doing it sooner than later. I totally agree with you about what you are sharing with your daughter. I took my 16-year old girl with me this summer on a week long ride through the Alps as well. What an adventure and lifetime memories! I hope to do more with her too. Look forward to perusing more of your adventures!


Anna said...

That is so cool, congrats on the cover! That is a wonderful photo of the both of you.

I love hearing the different stories of how women got in to riding motorcycles. 1999 was also an important year for me, the year I became hooked on bikes with the purchase of a new Suzuki GS500. That was so many years and so many bike ago :)