Frequently during interviews I’m asked if motorcycling has influenced or changed my life. Questions asked to me namely by women, not men. Women aiming to link or underline the psychological benefits motorcycling may affect in one’s life. This change is often defined as an “empowerment” women experience once learning to ride and embracing motorcycling.
“Motorcycling for me was out-and-out THE answer for my need to be thrilled. The activity provided me an outlet from my corporate life and one that equally challenged me”.~ V.Gray
I’ll be hones, it was never was “empowerment” for me. I always had a “no limits” approach to life right from a young age. And as a girl I think it was this attitude which on its own, propelled me outside so-called gender boundaries. I enjoyed sports, building rafts, climbing trees – all that fearless stuff that the boys seemed to embrace! On top of that, I’m a pilot’s daughter. I’d spent my childhood speeding down farm-field runways lifting off to the pleasures of being airborne – in two or four seater aircraft’s with my father.
Motorcycling for me was out-and-out “the” answer for my need to be thrilled, an activity providing me an outlet from my corporate life and one that equally challenged me. And getting back to this often asked question if “motorcycling has influenced or changed my life”-there is something that motorcycle racing opened my mind to. Something that I’ve been able to bring to daily life – and that is the understanding that just about everything in life can be altered or adjusted to make it fit for you; make it work for you.
It was racing which enlightened me to the fact that slight changes affected better performance. Just tiny transformations made for hugely powerful outcomes! Perhaps this sounds ridiculously simple. But trust me if you’re like me, one that’s never dabbled in custom bike or car building, or building wooden cabinets for that fact –this common sense is the furthest from your understanding.
It wasn’t until the end of my first supersport race season, I started to alter, fit and adjust not only my motorcycle, but my riding style. I had great resources within the race community to help me (and later years the full Ten Kate Honda team). I recall the success of simply repositioning my motorcycle rear-sets (foot pegs) a few centimetres higher and forward resulting in a better body position to manoeuvre control. Then there was my decision to add a “quick throttle” to reduce the amount of travel my small female hand needed. I accelerated quicker with less wrist movement-this worked like a charm! Of course adjustments in racing are eternal and take into account the unique characteristics of each different circuit you’re racing on. You can understand why it’s so tough to become good at this sport-the constant adjusting is much about trial and error, experiments using up many dollars, on limited track time.
Sounds Simple Doesn’t It?
So it’s thanks to motorcycle racing I’m a better solution seeker. No matter if I’m loading up my trailer, finding extra space in my kitchen cupboards, improving students circuit riding techniques or working on personal relationships. I seek out the small alterations and nearly 100% of the time I get huge results needed!
As you look forward to the year ahead and contemplate your plans and goals, try focusing on the simple and minute changes and alterations. These are easy and I’m certain you’ll find just as I have – a little goes a long, long way!