Debbie Johnson aka “Wings2fly” a name given to her by her fiancé’s motorcycle group is flying in style with her 2005 Yamaha V Star. Let’s get to know her a little bit better …
Location: Currently Redondo Beach, CA but lived 30 years in Colorado
Occupation: Owner of National Turf Supply (sales of artificial turf)
What bike you currently ride: 2005 Yamaha V Star 1100 Custom
When did you start riding and what got you involved in motorcycles?
I rode my first dirt bike at 10 years old and my first road bike at 14 (Triumph 125). As an adult I rode on the back until my 27 year marriage ended. I was 47 at that time and I decided I was going to learn how to do it myself (my ex used to tell me you can’t ride on your own).
How has riding motorcycles impacted your life?
It gave me confidence, a feeling of freedom and accomplishment I had never had. I love going to rallies and meeting new people. I was amazed how nice the people were and how I could let my hair down and not be judged. When I would travel to new areas I would put out posts on biker sites to meet women to ride with. A man contacted me from one of those sites and he is now my fiancé – we are getting married in October with a biker wedding. We also put on a motorcycle rally in support of our troops, for several thousand people for 2 years in northern CA which was a blast.
What has been your biggest challenge with riding?
I took a two day course and bought a bike an 800 Suzuki (I knew nothing about what I was doing) so I fell over a couple of times and then had to learn the curvy roads in Colorado. I then bought a new bike (the one I have currently) brand new and loved the way it handled. I always road with men Harley riders so I had to learn to keep up. After 30 years in a small town in Colorado I sold my home and bought a 40 ft. motor-home (I had never driven one of those either). I found a way to hook a full size truck on the back and a special ramp so I could load the bike in the back of the truck. It was a huge challenge to get the bike on and off the truck by myself. The entire process really taught me volumes about myself and what I could accomplish if I put my mind to it.
What do you like most about your model motorcycle? The naturally low height so I reach the ground great and the center of gravity. I have ridden lots of long distance rides and it is very comfortable.
What modifications have you made? I think a bike should say something about you. I have a custom “Mae West” paint job that is awesome. I remade the seat into a single seat. I have a hyper charger and custom pipes. I also have a handlebar set up with speakers and GPS so I don’t get lost on the highways of CA and I can listen to my music (country and oldies). I also make myself custom helmets with ponytails glued on. I want to look like a woman going down the road.
When you’re not riding motorcycles what are you other interest? I work a lot of hours and I am currently planning my wedding but I enjoy side trips to casinos, cruise ship vacations and time with my family and of course going to rallies – Sturgis is my favorite.
What advice do you have for other women riders? If it is something you desire you can do it. Take a class (much better than being taught by someone you know). Ride with other women (they ride different than men). Don’t think because a bike is big and heavy that you can’t handle it. If your feet can touch the ground you can ride it. Everywhere I would travel on my own I met women divorced later in life that were frozen with fear on what to do with their life. I would tell them I am no one special and if I can do it you can too.
How tall are you? 5’7’ and now 56 years old and feeling very young
What is your weather like year round? Pretty nice in Southern California, can ride most of the time but I still love to go back to the mountains of Colorado – such beautiful scenery. I figure if I can ride the highways of Los Angeles that I can do most anything.
How is riding therapy for you? It is awesome – nothing like it. The wind in your face (have to admit I prefer no helmet law in Colorado).
I love the photo of her with the Triumph 125. It was given to her by her dad so I knew she was raised right!
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