My riding buddy Tyler Risk was a major influence on me when I first started riding 11 years ago. She had met my husband via the internet and he suggested I try to get ahold of her so I might ride with her. I did and was thrilled to meet another female rider with as much passion for the sport as I possessed as well as some more experience. She served as not only a mentor but we became fast friends. She introduced me to other riders and so began my sojourn into the sport of motorcycle riding.
Tyler has been a mentor and an inspiration to many. After several years of riding, she had a devastating accident which would have kept many from ever riding again, but she not only persevered but pushed her boundaries in new directions. This is a conversation we recently had that I thought I’d share with my readers.
Demen: How many years have you been riding and how many have been on a Spyder?
TR: I rode pillion with a gent I dated for about four years. After he moved back East to be closer to his family, it just seemed easier to get my own bike than a new boyfriend! So I took the MSF course and started out on a little Suzuki GZ250. From there it was a Honda Shadow, a Triumph Trophy (1200), an SV650, and the last one was an Yamaha FZ1 which was my favorite. I rode those bikes for about 12 years.
When I was a new rider, I wanted to find a women’s riding group but most had some sort of prejudicial aspect about it – gender-based, brand-based, sexuality-based, had to ride your own (no pillions), absolutely no men allowed, etc. So a couple of like-minded ladies and I started Dangerous Curves (you can find us on Meetup or Facebook), a women’s riding group where men are always welcome as invited guests, as long as they behave… 😉 We do several rides each year from 2- to 3-day trips, shorter local trips, newbie rides, and parking lot drill days.
In 2009, I had a life altering accident when I was run over by a semi resulting in a broken pelvis and severe degloving injuries on my legs. They didn’t think I’d make it through the night and they didn’t think I’d ever walk again but I did and I am. HA! While the accident itself and subsequent recovery was difficult and challenging, I was also the recipient of some of the most amazing energy and love and spirit and I truly believe that is a big reason that I’m still around to tell my tale.
About 9 months later, I realized that I missed riding, exploring the world, meeting new people, and spending time with friends. I had a lot of damage to my legs and my balance has been comprised so 2-wheels was no longer an option. I had seen the Spyder at motorcycle shows and at local motorcycle meet spots and was intrigued so I went to the dealer in Livermore and took one for a test ride. A few weeks later, I had my first one in the garage. It was red and when I asked my daughter if she could think of a name for it, she said right away, “Clifford!” And so it was named.
(Clifford, for those that don’t have access to kids or grandkids, is a Big Red Dog in stories)
Demen: Since you have now ridden two Spyders, what are the two models and what are their differences and what is quite nearly the same?
TR: There are currently four models:
RS – sport model
RT – big touring model
ST – sport touring model – kind of a blend of the first two retaining the sport look but adding in a lot of the touring features such as cruise control, GPS, hard cases, heated grips, and floor boards.
F3 – their newest model looks kind of like a hot rod… more of a show stopper type design.
My first was a 2009 RS which I rode for two years. In July 2013, I took the RS in for a service and while I was waiting, they offered a test ride on the 2014 ST. Big mistake… I loved it!! They reworked the chassis/frame so the handling was much better. The RS was also manual controls (like a motorcycle) where the ST had the thumb shifter which is really nice especially in rush hour traffic… and I got the limited edition which had all the farkles I’ve always wanted – cruise control, floorboards, hard bags, heated grips, and GPS. It’s a fantastic touring machine.
Demen: Do you feel you have the same amount of freedom riding three wheels as riding two?
TR: Yup. I can go anywhere that 2-wheels can go and even more places because I don’t have a stability issue in gravel or dirt. I’ve put on almost 60K miles in the past four years and have ridden to Baja, Canada, all over the US, and recently in New Zealand (renting).
Demen: What is your most favorite element of riding a Spyder?
TR: Stability… I feel completely confident when riding it and, given my balance isn’t what it used to be since the accident, I really appreciate the fact that I’m not worried about tipping over or low siding on gravel, etc. That and the “Whoa!” factor… I get stopped all the time by people who have never seen one or seen one in person… they are fascinated by it for the most part… even the most grizzled veteran riders… allows me to meet lots of people.
5. Do you feel the Spyder is a motorcycle and why or why not?
Well, in one sense, yes – throttle in my hand, wind in my face, and 1000 cc’s between my legs. Lol On the other hand, it is a completely different ride than 2-wheels… there is no counter steering involved… it handles more like a quad or a snowmobile. Two-wheels is like a waltz… the Spyder is like a polka… but I’m still dancing!!
(Gawd, I love this woman!)
Demen: What best describes a Spyder rider? 😉
TR: I don’t really think there is a difference between riders based on brands. Either you’re a rider or you’re not. I don’t ride with people because of the type of bike they ride… I ride with them because I like being around them and it makes no difference whether it’s a BMW or a Harley or Honda or whatever. Sometimes we even have friends join us on a weekend trip at the end destination via their car due to injury or recuperation from surgery, etc. I don’t care how they get there because they are the most important thing to me. They are not defined by WHAT they ride/drive!
Demen: Describe your current motivation for riding?
TR: The Spyder allows me to pursue many of my passions – traveling, photography, and spending time with beloved friends, meeting new ones, and creating new memories that always put a smile on my face.
(how one usually sees Tyler)
Demen: Can you name a single road that is your absolute favorite ride and why?
TR: One road?? Nope… can’t name just one because there are so many!! We are blessed here in California with a plethora of choices – from smooth sweeper roads like 299 to tight and twisty roads like the Pacific Coast Hwy between Carmel and Cambria with incredible ocean views and of course the Sierra passes (Ebbetts, Sonora, Monitor, Tioga)… I could go on for quite a while and I’m still finding new roads after 17 years of riding in the state not to mention exploring in nearby states like Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Colorado. The world is just ripe for exploration and there is always something new around the next corner… go out and live life!
Well said, my friend, well said! 😉
I should have asked her where her next adventure was taking her, but that we’ll save for a follow up post! If you desire following one of Tyler and my adventures, we traveled the NW into Canada in 2012. The adventure begins here.
And man, did we have fun, fun and more fun! 😉