My Journey to Freedom
By Jenny Eve
H.O.G. Gold Rand Chapter Manager and Road Captain
"The age of 50 dawned with the big D! My BFF, Kate Rheeders saw me through this difficult time and thus so began the adventure of a lifetime.
Kate decided to re learn how to ride a motorcycle and I decided to merely tick it off my bucket list as I had never ridden before. Roto Rookies a local riding school spent the day tutoring us on off-road Scramblers on their plot in High Road, Benoni. Kate took to it like a duck to water, me, not so much! But, being impulsive and adventurous, we started to look at buying motor bikes. Within a week, we purchased ourselves a Big Boy 200cc and 250cc then started to ride up the road and to the shops. Our first real out ride was 30km to Que Se Ra.
Well, I have never been so terrified in my life! My teeth were gritted, shoulders and hands aching and when a truck came past, I thought I would die for sure.
My immediate thoughts: “That’s it, I am selling the bike tomorrow, what a dumb thing to do at my age!”
Persuaded by my friend, I decided to persevere and the following Sunday we rode to Harties. It took most of the day with many smoke break stops, coffee and encouragement. Taking one look at the gravel entrance was me finished! We spent the night, due mainly to exhaustion and rode home the next day in icy wind and rain.
Kate’s friend became our training wheels and had our backs while doing short rides to visit friends. Stalling at traffic lights and dropping the bike in car parks became the norm! I dropped my bike more in my own driveway than anywhere else! With three left and one right hand mirror later, I started to get the hang of this. Great excitement when I made my Dad ride alongside me on Great North road to check my speed – a whopping 75km per hour had been achieved!
The Caxton Amazing Race
We decided to enter the Caxton Amazing Race themed “Ekurhuleni Heritage” the accommodating picture to our entry form of the two of us sporting our motorcycles clutching the Benoni Museum sign earned us the opportunity to represent Benoni. For the next seven weeks we explored Ekurhuleni and raced against the best, as eventual winners we received a trip to Mauritius for four!
My Harley love affair
With confidence growing and now at a top racing speed of 90km per hour; our interest in the biking world grew rapidly. Around this time we heard an advert on one of the local radio broadcasting stations, for the new Harley-Davidson® 750 Street® advertised at only R750pm.
WOW! We could actually own a Harley?
We placed our orders with five other friends and waited patiently to receive our bikes. Above all wonders my feet could actually touch the floor with this one! I requested my motorcycle be delivered to my residence as there was no chance I could ride off in front of “those people”. New Owners evening arrived and we were greeted by friendly faces at H.O.G.® Gold Rand Chapter. Oh my greatness, these people were clad in leathers and bling, now that totally blew my mind! I had to of course, custom my ride as I am not too fond of black and henceforth the retail therapy continued!
I completed the required Pack Rider Training but didn’t ride with the pack for six months!
My first ever ride was a nightmare. After 70km I wanted to cry and leave the pack - that was way too long a ride. My head was pounding, bum numb and no ways I could ever be a part of this muscle bound group.
I would only participate in the short rides thereafter yet after a sneak adjustment in the grips, which enabled me to reach better, I was slowly improving. Fellow riders continued to encourage me to build saddle time and I closely followed their advice and stuck behind the as Pack Leaders so I could keep up.
Africa Bike Week in Margate, Big Five Mojadji, Gold Rand Swazi and Bloemfontein’s Greystone the Toy Run and Rally of the Legends were just a few adventures that occupied my weekends.
The rest became a blur of activities as I joined the Marshal Core as a Biker Buddy, accepted the appointment of Marshal Secretary and Ladies of Harley Officer. By then I was hooked on Harley with a passion! Buying clothes and bling at every opportunity and unconditionally loving the friendship and socials. The best part is that my sister and brother in law became involved, and we spend that much more quality time together. I am away from the office on a Sunday getting lots of fresh air and found riding an amazing de-stressor.
S.R.S.T. (Skilled Rider Safety Training) made me a skilled and confident rider but the boys insisted I needed a bigger and better motorcycle. Make no mistake, that little 750 STREET is the greatest and can keep up very well. My progression within Gold Rand was to complete all the safety courses and to put to good use what knowledge I obtained.
Fatal mistake. I sat on a Harley-Davidson® 1200 Custom Sportster® and a new love affair began!
Speaking of love affairs, I also met the man of my dreams at the Gold Rand Chapter and am now happily engaged to Brian Jameson, Head Road Captain! By now I had stopped trailering my bike to rallies and threw away the Trailer Trash patch! Don’t feel bad, girls, I never find long rides my favorite and there is a limit to saddle time and a sore derriere on a small bike! The latest long ride was to White River and the Big Five Rally, riding all the way and the feeling of achievement is huge! Rob Brooker gave me tips for cornering Long Tom Pass and slowly my confidence was increasing, with no major breaking as I see a curve!
With the encouragement of hubby to be, I became probationary Road Captain and Head Safety Officer. Now the only female marshal within Gold Rand Chapter, I am proud to announce that today, I am the H.O.G. Gold Rand Chapter Manager and full Road Captain!
So, the moral of this story, Ladies, is if I can, you can – promise you will never look back! Wishing you all many safe and happy miles ahead.
Since writing this article, my best friend Kate Rheeders passed away 21 November 2017 and this is a tribute to her, with grateful thanks for starting my riding career.
- Article Submission: Jenny Eve
- Photographs: Direct submissions by Jenny Eve
- Editor: Angelique Dermit