the journey

How it all began…

I was raised, and still reside, on the South Shore of Long Island, New York.  Since as long as I can remember, performing is all I ever wanted to do — especially singing and dancing in Musical Theatre.  After a short stint in a “practical career” (teaching high school English), I finally went back to school for my Masters Degree in Musical Theatre and began performing in Manhattan while working various day jobs.  I eventually apprenticed my way into Actors’ Equity and performed in many Off-Broadway productions, including with Light Opera of Manhattan.  I sang and tapped my way through several decades, while working as a legal secretary in Manhattan, as a leader of song at my local Catholic Church, and as a Living Light Reiki Master.

It was at this point in my life when . . . .

How I Became a Biker

Nicknamed “Biker Mo” by my newlywed husband, Curtis Damone, I’m not what you’d call your typical biker – if there is such a thing. Riding a motorcycle is not something I’ve always aspired to. As a matter of fact, I thought people who rode motorcycles were crazy!!

When Curtis and I first met in 2007 on the Nautical Mile in Freeport, New York, I was hardly looking to meet a biker. He, nonetheless, thought he’d impress me that night with his Indian Spirit, insisting that if I sat on it, I’d be instantly in love (at least with the bike). “Forget it,” I told him. “There is no way I’m getting on the back of a motorcycle.” That evening we spent a lot of time talking, and to keep him from pestering me about the bike, I finally agreed to just sit on it, engine off, for about a minute. (As he found out later, in the process of getting on, I had stepped on the gear changer and slipped it into first. He had a bit of a surprise when he later started the engine.)

I was surprised how many topics we could talk about; after all, what did I have in common with a biker! A couple of days later I agreed to meet him near his home and then go with him to the Jones Beach Boardwalk. I showed up in my car; he showed up on his bike. It was our first battle of wills (we’re both Tauruses). He let me win . . . this time . . . .

Eventually, Curtis charmed me onto his “passenger seat,” which was a little cushion stuck on his rear fender. I was terrified. My only “seatbelt” was my arms holding onto him for dear life. Every time he accelerated, I gasped. Every time I opened my eyes, I saw a car right next to me . . . with nothing in between it and me, and so, I’d shut my eyes again. Later that evening, knowing how much I love the beach, Curtis took me home the long way, along Ocean Parkway. There was no traffic on it that night. It was so quiet that all I could hear was the roar of the engine. So, eventually I got brave enough to open my eyes. There was nothing around us but the stars and the water. “Wow, this is beautiful,” I said.

That’s when he knew he had me.

two dates later

I agreed to go with him to a bike rally held at the Blackthorne Hotel in East Durham, New York. He had mentally prepared me for a long, long ride; so, I figured we’d be on two wheels the entire day. We got to Blackthorne in about three hours. I was kind of disappointed because I was really enjoying the ride, and wasn’t even freaked out about riding next to 18-wheelers on the Thruway. I said to him, “We’re here already?” He gave me a look that suggested he had just created a monster – which he kind of did because a few months later, I took a 3-day course and obtained my own license and a 2006 Honda Shadow Spirit (with only 278 miles on it). Curtis and his motorcycle club, Queensboro (a family club devoted to riding since 1910, and a long-time member of the American Motorcycle Association), taught me how to ride – a gift I can never fully repay.

 

Eleven weeks and 3 days after getting my license, I rode to Daytona. I could barely negotiate an off ramp, and there I was riding to Daytona – angels guarding me all the way.

 

I was 52 years old at the time. My then 81-year-old Mom claimed my newfound interest in motorcycles was simply a severe reaction to menopause — a phase, she said, like hot flashes, that would eventually pass. I’m now pushing 60 and have so far logged over 87,000 miles on my Honda (with only an occasional hot flash).

Although biking is a passion of mine, I know it’s not for everyone. Like I said, I had always thought bikers were crazy. In many ways, I still maintain that view – I have simply joined their ranks.

 

The Vest

To those of us who do not belong to a club, our vest is no less important to us.  It more or less defines who we are as a biker because we fill it with patches and pins from events we’ve attended, rides we’ve taken, and places we’ve ridden to on our bikes.  You can tell how long I was riding in each picture.  The picture above, in which I’m standing next to my bike, was taken during my very first ride to Daytona in October 2008, just a few weeks after I got my license.  There are no pins — only a flag with praying hands on the front and a patch on the back that reads, “Lady Biker.”  The picture of me on the Home page of this website, in which I’m riding the Tail of the Dragon, was taken in September 2015 when my husband Curtis and I were riding home from our cross-country honeymoon (notice the pins).