Got a questionnaire from Old Biker Hen….

she’s compiling info for a book – Here’s my answers…..

Karen aka WyzWmn©

Nickname? And if there’s a story behind it, would you share it?

I am called WyzWmn….an anagram meaning Wise Woman although I have close friends that continue to pronounce it Wiz as in Wizard (I’ve never been able to figure that one out) Wyz started out as a nick name given to me as a joke – because it was opposite to the person I was as a very young woman – originally I was called “PMS365” and that evolved to “Aunty Kranky” by family….although why anyone would name me cranky is beyond me *snicker snicker*

However…as time went on I became the “older more mature woman” in my group of friends, the person everyone went to for advice…I developed a reputation for a kind of advocacy work amoung my friends and WyzWmn began to evolve. That coupled with the fact that I am a practicing Wiccan with a lunar lien and a generational story teller (descendant from a long line of women story tellers)…so get comfy…I’m long winded!

When did you start riding? Or how old were you? And why? (There is no need to give your age, or a year that would give away your age, if that makes you uncomfortable.)
I think I originally started riding as a means to piss my father off…he was an Ontario Provincial Police officer (OPP) for 30 years and as regimental as the day is long…so my version of rebellion became motorcycling…when my means of rebellion became fine-tuned that is…

I went for my first motorcycle ride on the back of a 450 Honda with my Uncle Ron…He is my mother’s youngest brother and only 10 years older than I…at 51 that’s not a big age difference but at 10ish it’s massive…I thought Ron was cool and sexy and all those illicit things that my father disliked for his little girl. At the time, we were on holidays in Merritt BC (from Perth ON) where my Mom’s family lived and Ron had got stuck babysitting me (in those days 10 yr olds had babysitter’s now days they have boyfriends and shop at the Rubber Rainbow…but that’s another story)

Anyway Ron took me on this long ride around Merritt, a here to fore unknown to me and we ended up at the drive-in with a bunch of his friends where by he got horrendously, gutter puking drunk and I had to walk home by myself in the dark…it was a smozzle…my father roared my mother and grandmother shrieked like fishmongers…my grandfather just smacked his lips and drank beer as was his wont.

Quite the scene….but all these years later the thing that sticks with me is that feeling of exhilaration…that elicit thrill. I can still close my eyes and see him in his chino’s and baby blue short sleeved cotton sport shirt, penny loafers and white cotton sox (sheesh, how schmaltzy eh?) and I can see me holding on for dear life more afraid and out of my element than I ever had been before…but still exhilarated, the kind of exhilarated that kids feel when they are first discovering their sexuality…those naughty and nice ingredients that in later life define us. (No helmet either…my my my we were brave and stupid in those days…)

Long story short – we went back to ON and I was riding my own in the bush around Thunder Bay by the time I was 13. My Dad didn’t forgive my uncle Ron until I was in my 40’s…well at least he said he’d forgiven him – but who knows?

What was your first bike?
My first bike was a 2 stroke dirt bike. It was so beat up it was always a wonder when it kicked over (and in those days I had the knees to be able to kick it!) I’d leave the house in the morning and not return until I ran out of gas or darkness descended.

I stopped riding for a while when I discovered boys. Then I discovered men and rode as a passenger for a while. I rode an old triumph chopper that was mostly held together with baling wire and luck. I then graduated to a chopped Sporty with a real 50’s version back rest that looked like it had been stolen from the iron fence at the cemetery along with a coffin tank and fish tail pipes. I was young and thought I was smokin!

Over the years, I’ve had many bikes and I’ve been involved in many accidents, from dropping the bike myself, to spinning out on a lawn and flipping, to cresting a hill on a dirt road in first ride of the season in spring to find that the road had washed out. (I landed on the coffin tank and flattened the damn thing with my butt!) But all in all the greater majority of my accidents were as a result of riding as a passenger with someone who was not in “good control of his machine” so I went back to riding my own.

I rode without a license until I was 40 (shhhh – it’s a secret) and at 40 decided that I would impersonate an adult and take the Canadian Safety Council MC course so I could get a discount on my insurance. I discovered instead that my riding skills were comprised of a clabbering of bad habits and the course gave me a healthy understanding of the need for me to be accountable to my actions while operating a motorcycle…and an understanding that I was not immortal and could in fact die if I didn’t start paying attention.

What has been your best experience?
There are too many experiences to have one single “best experience”.

The phenomenon of truly amazing people from all walks of life coming together under one theme….riding.

All the years I spent volunteering for the Ride for Sight, culminating in 4 years as BC’s Ride for Sight Chair. Riding in the snow, the first ride of spring every year, the first time I had a riding story published, dealing with many years of health issues and not being able to ride for both health and financial reasons culminating in a move to Vancouver Island and the purchase of my current ride (a 1974 VW trike called “the Pickle” as in my motorpickle)….becoming a member and then a “core member” and then an officer of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club(SCRC) here in Victoria and discovering another “family”. Having members of my club work tirelessly and at their own expense to restore my old trike to beauty and safety, having perfect strangers approach me to talk about my ride!

The people, the places, the people, the parties, the people, the road, the people the weather, the people, the wind in your face, the people, the events, the people, the fun, the people, the agony, the people, the love and of course, the people.

Even after all these years – the feeling of the open road and no specific place to go…but going.

What has been your worst?
I broke my back in the early 80’s and then was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I wasn’t able to ride for a long long time. I was miserable…and probably earned “Aunty Kranky” during that period…stayed in touch with many of the people but didn’t actually ride for reasons of health and finance.

Anything else you might want to share.
I write, have a couple of blogs and write for the Busted Knuckle Chronicles.

Why do you ride now, or what does riding mean to you?
Being a business woman and spending my days dealing with administrative issues, I find more and more all the time that the only time I really feel “me” is when I’m riding…even when I’m riding in traffic I feel so much more “liberated” than I do at home or in my office. So much so that my family will often tell me – “you need to get out for a ride…yer like a bear with a cut butt!”

I have found the largest group of truly honest, loving, respectable, trustworthy people in the riding community. For every person I have come across that is a boor, or un-integral I have found a half dozen really wonderful people to counter the negative pull…with odds like that – one can’t go wrong

Words of wisdom, or lessons learned.
My wisdom is nothing more than repeated practice. I am able to “sound” wise because I have (without bragging) had some truly serious trials and have come through…not always on top but come through….I have retained my sense of humour through it all – only because of an undying need to laugh and love.

Only because: “Ya gotta laugh or yer hair falls out!”

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