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Dream Rider - A Review

This article is a review of a book called Dream Rider: Roadmap to an Adventurous Life, by Rosemary Carstens. This book is available through Black Lightning Press.

It's a fast read about Ms. Carstens' determination to learn to ride a motorcycle in her fifty-sixth year. This 113 page paperback traces her life as she gets the motorcycle bug, learns how to ride, gets her first bike, and sets out -- sometimes with friends and eventually alone -- to match wits with the elements on various roadtrips through the western states. Her story of achievement could be written around any personal goal and thus could serve as a general motivational vehicle. Anyone who has gone through the trials and tribulations of becoming a motorcyclist will immediately identify with Ms. Carstens' journey.

Chapters in the book include: Falling in Love with the Dream; Learning to Ride; Finding My Ride; Rain, Sleet or Snow; Solo; Biker Bars and Convenience Stores; Seasons; and Roadmap to Your Dreams.

Here's a quote from the book as she began her MSF training course to learn to ride a motorcycle.

    "Let's face it -- most people of either gender do not take up motorcycling at the age of fifty-six. The fear of breaking bones and incapacitation in general has set in; we are well aware that we are, indeed, mortal, and that good health is truly a blessing not to be taken for granted. By this age most of us have at least one or two little glitches in the hardware and they are beginning to manifest themselves. For me, the vision of myself dressed in sexy black leather, wind whipping through my blonde hair as I downshifted through a curve on a beautiful mountain road was enticing and dazzling. The reality would prove to be a long time in coming."

Her first bike was a 1994 Yamaha Virago 750 that she named Sinbad.

    "Although no one could have made me believe it at the time, Sinbad and I would travel over 11,000 miles during my first year as a biker babe. Motorcycling would become my main recreational activity, and Sinbad my main traveling companion, through good weather and bad, in the mountains, the desert, and across the flatlands and rolling farmlands of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and South Dakota."

The author then sets out to expand her motorcycling horizons. She practices more and more. She takes short trips with friends who are more experienced. She then starts to ride solo and ventures out to places farther and farther away. She rides to California. She immerses herself in motorcycling, learning more with each day.

    "Riding a motorcycle is not for everyone, nor is it a vehicle to self-awareness for everyone who does ride. The deeper experience comes from choosing any goal or activity that really interests you, in which you can immerse yourself completely and gain a measure of competence while still pressing the envelope."

If you are a recent beginner in motorcycling, you will see yourself in her adventures. If you are a complete novice, read the chapters carefully for the steps you will be taking soon.

The author mentions an informal advisory group of women riders she met while researching the book. These women, referred to as Dream Riders, had all learned to ride after they were 50 years old, many after they were 60. We are fortunate to have two of these women associated with the About.com Motorcycles site and forum: Joan Jennings and Gloria Zimmerman. Joan was part of our recent forum rally, BuRP 2003 held at Maggie Valley. Gloria submitted a picture of her current motorcycle for the Motorcycle Trikes Gallery.

Dream Rider is witty and inspirational for both men and women riders. I recommend it.

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