I’ve met an interesting and diverse group of people since moving to Warrenton in October 2011. One of those is Dottie Gillman.
Hubby and I had dinner with Dottie and her husband, Jim, back in September/October. That’s when Dottie asked me about my motorcycle, told me she’d grown up on dirt bikes, and told me how much she’d love to ride again.
So, after Hubby and I enjoyed a lovely Fall Saturday of riding, I invited Dottie to join me on my bike on Sunday for a tour of the Virginia countryside.
She didn’t hesitate a second before saying yes. I showed her some of my favorite roads, we had a nice lunch together, then I showed her even more cool roads. It was such a pretty day, we just meandered around aimlessly for several hours.
Saying she enjoyed it is probably a slight understatement.
When I invited her to ride along with me during my now-annual Santa ride, she quickly agreed to be my elf.
Since she’d already had the motorcycle “bug” before riding with me, it’s only natural that she started thinking about a bike of her own. Her husband, Jim, doesn’t ride. But he knows how much Dottie enjoys it.
Just before Christmas, they settled on a 2012 Honda Rebel.
The Rebel is the perfect size for Dottie. In case you didn’t notice in the pics, she’s pretty tiny. She says it’s a re-entry bike, but I’d be surprised if she ever feels like she needs more. Especially since I don’t foresee much highway riding or long-distance travel in her future. I could be wrong, though…
Of course, as soon as she started talking about riding again, I started preaching about the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) safety course. Whether you have never ridden or are getting back into the saddle after a hiatus, their basic rider course is a must. It’s required in some states.
I also stressed safety gear. I started on that even before she rode with me.
Hubby and I used to ride in t-shirts and jeans. We’ve always worn helmets, of course. We just didn’t think we needed armor and protective gear.
We were both very lucky that we never experienced a crash, because riding like that is just dumb. Now we are much smarter and subscribe to the ATGATT philosophy… All The Gear, All The Time.
Dottie bought a helmet and gloves first-thing, but she still needed pants and a jacket. So I suggested we go to the International Motorcycle Show (IMS), which was this past Saturday in Washington, DC.
I like the IMS because all major brands are typically represented and they usually have a bunch of vendors selling riding gear and accessories. What I don’t like about the IMS is the number of people it draws. It was crowded. And LOUD. And crowded.
Did I mention the hordes of people? Yes, that bugs me. It’s also the reason I don’t have many images to share. It was very difficult to get clear views of anything. But, back to Dottie.
I tried talking her into pants instead of chaps, but she had her heart set on ass-less gear. Initially, she was looking at leather, but then we saw some nice, lightweight textile chaps. Although they had textile jackets to match, there were none in the size and color she wanted, so she opted for a leather jacket, which is very cool.
It all fits her very well, too.
Initially, she was going to get the gear trimmed in light pink (pants shown in the picture), which looked great, but also looked “cute.”
No real female rider wants to look cute. It’s hard enough to be taken seriously!
Ultimately, she opted for purple. Which me and some other female shoppers agreed was the perfect choice.
While there, she also talked to some folks about scheduling the safety course.
She even got some snazzy patches added to her new jacket.
I keep telling Dottie that poor Jim probably rues the day she met me. I’ve got to be her most-expensive friend.
Oh, I forgot to mention the best part… as we were approaching the ticket booth, two men said, “Hey, are you getting ready to buy tickets? We’re military and got four free tickets, but only needed two. Do you want the extras?”
As it turns out, Dottie, through Jim, is military, too. (Jim retired from the Navy.) We thanked the guys for being so thoughtful, accepted the tickets, and went in, smiling widely at our good fortune.
We milled about some, looking at stuff. I did manage to capture a few worthwhile images…
I captured the winch shot to show Hubby. Not because I think we need one, but because I thought it was a nice accessory to have for solo journeys through remote areas. You ever tried lifting a fallen bike? I can’t imagine being alone and having to pull one out of a river or ditch. He still thought it was stupid.
I would’ve liked to capture more images, but there were too many effing people milling about. Did I mention the crowds? LOL.
I did manage to get a half-decent shot of this nice Can Am Spyder touring rig.
The trailer is HUGE. It would hold way more stuff than a standard car trunk. There were also side bags and dual trunks on the bike for storage.
What I like best about the trailer is that it opens on the front as well as the top, for easier access.
I was disappointed that there weren’t more vendors offering gadgets for sale. All I left with was a new set of Rokstraps. But, in my opinion, those are a must-have for any rider. You know, in case I decide to buy anything BIG during a journey.
It was a fun day, but I was exhausted afterward. Which is why I didn’t write this post until today.
Jim was happy about Dottie’s purchases. He wants her to be SAFE, as we all do.
I’m looking forward to seeing Dottie on the road. Aren’t you excited for her, too?
It’s always cool to see women take the plunge, but it’s even cooler when the woman is a grandmother and is not the least bit afraid to start riding.
Way to go, Dottie!