A feeling of independence
Blaine resident Jane Cross rode behind her husband until she decided to get her own motorcycle.
Getting away from cellphones, e-mail and other distractions, “There’s a feeling of independence,” she said. “I can space out and think of nothing and clear my mind.”
Even after a half-hour ride, “I come back feeling like I was on vacation,” she said.
“It’s just like they say: I’ve never seen a motorcycle parked outside of the psychiatrist’s office.”
Occasionally, she even rides to the grocery store, just to get the ride in. She also likes to ride to work on “casual Fridays.”
Cross, who is nearing 60, added, “I can’t wait to retire so I can go out and ride all the time.”
Being part of the Shift Kickers provides an opportunity to socialize with other women who are passionate about riding, she said.
Sharon Hall, who lives in Plymouth, has been riding for almost a decade. She often goes on excursions with other members beyond the organized meet-ups.
“I can call people up and say, ‘Let’s go riding,’ and they are there in a heartbeat,” she said.
Sometimes, she has a destination in mind, but other times, “I just like to jump on and go right or left, north or south, east or west, whatever my mind says to do when I get to a road.”
Amy Nordahl, the other co-organizer of the group who lives in Somerset, Wis., is a 23-year riding veteran. She said that among riders, there’s an instant connection.
“You can be at a gas station and start talking — ‘Where’d you come from, where you going’ — that type of thing.”
As for the Shift Kickers, “It’s a great group of women. They’re a lot of fun, and it’s nice to ride with just women,” she said.
Taking the scenic route
For Lamey, riding with the group has taken her to all kinds of places she never would have found on her own.
In the car, it’s about getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. But on a motorcycle, she always takes the scenic route, preferably roads that have a lot of twists and turns, she said.
For example, the woodsy, remote-seeming County Road 1, going north from Elk River to Zimmerman, is “a very nice road,” especially in the fall.