I met Heather last Fall as I was beginning my coursework to become a coach for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Heather is also a coach for MSF and has been for some time. I asked Heather what got her interested in riding and her response is simply beautiful. Here is what Heather had to say:
“I always thought that motorcycles were scary and dangerous my entire life. I never imagined in a million years that I’d ever ride one, more less teach others how to ride. A boyfriend convinced me to get on the back of his motorcycle to at least try it and see what I would really think about it. I was reluctant for probably 6 months before giving in and agreeing to ride down the street on the back of his bike. Funny thing is, it didn’t take that long for me to be absolutely hooked. I was scard when I got on but the second he took off and was moving it was magical. Magical like the freedom you feel when riding a horse. Magical like when The Holy Spirit moves you to sing. Magical like truly undescribable in words. It might sound silly to some, but it was as if I had been searching for that feeling my whole life and in a few short seconds found it.
After a while I decided that I wanted to learn how to drive a motorcycle and found Appalachian Rider Education Program in Kingsport, TN. They teach motorcycle safety courses that teach you how to ride. The first night I was introduced to our coaches, Martin Davis and Jim Cook. From the moment I met eyes with Mr.Cook I realized I found my other half. And after successful completion of the course I realized also that I found my passion in life, which is teaching motorcycle safety. I worked hard and passed the State Certification to become an MSF instructor. It is a blessing and an honor to teach the gift of riding to others. I still remember taking my class and learning how to ride and how I was filled with empowerment and accomplishment. I love being able to help others on their riding journey and see them also filled with the same kind of empowerment and accomplishment. Its also very gratifying to know that in a male-dominated sport, I’m a female showing other females that it can be done. I always encourage my students to continue their learning. No matter how long you’ve been riding, there is always something new and exciting to learn. Self reflection is sometimes the best skill you can learn. This is my 6th year teaching and I’m at 1,500 students. God’s plan is complex and beautiful. If I had never gotten on a motorcycle so many years ago then I may never have found a passion for riding, my better half, and my passion for teaching.
I enjoy riding for so many reasons; the feeling of understanding your machine and being able to become one with it. The feeling of freedom…when I ride its like I can breath for the first time. As if my lungs were unable to work fully before and in an instant they can expand to their fullest. Riding is honestly like my kind of church. Its when I have a kind of peaceful solitude that is difficult to get elsewhere. Its also when I have some of my best conversations with God. I’m able to just relax and let go of all my worries and troubles. ”