Starting Out & Staying Friends


How many of us hold back our excitement from our partners when starting out riding? 

Those of us who got into riding after our husbands, boyfriends, partners, lovers quickly work out that having them teach you how to ride can be a mine-field of death stares and arguments (usually having little to do with his/her delivery and more to do with how they forgot your mothers surprise birthday dinner… of which you’d been planning for months!). 

Unless you’ve got an authentic peaceful relationship where communication between you is flawless then you needn’t read on (but please email me because I have many questions!). For the rest of us, the best thing to do is to ride with someone who won’t tolerate your attitude, a girlfriend or riding group (of women) really helps! 

Starting out on two wheels is stressful. You rely entirely on yourself to stay alive, nothing is automated and your brain is on overdrive and sounds a lot like this; clutch in, gear down (wait am I in third or forth… oh shit?), OK it’s alright, gear down, set up the brake, but not to hard, look through the corner… look through the corner, lean with bike… am I hugging the tank? knees together, OK release the brake, not enough speed … throttle… my indicator’s still on… I’m gonna die… why am I doing this again?… Ok through the corner. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.  

The last thing you need is someone to become a target for your tension. What we actually need is someone who you’ll listen to in those moments, so you can hear them when they say “well done, you got through that corner nicely, just remember to turn off your indicators afterwards and knees in… let’s try it again”. You need someone who’s opinion you trust, but not too comfortable that you’ll chomp through any of their comments like a rabid wolf (I’ve done this. It’s not pretty). 

While I am specifically writing about motorcycling, from personal experience, I’ve no doubt this initial threshold of fear is experienced in all versions of gasoline culture, from flying, driving, and watercraft… most of us are terrified to start with, but excited at the same time. The best thing to get through it is to remember, firstly, it is a threshold and not forever. The more practice the closer you are to it all becoming pretty automatic and the feeling that follows is nearly impossible to beat. If you want to survive the threshold with your integrity (and relationships) in tact, be in the right company who will help you get the best out of the whole experience, and help you be your best when you’re most vulnerable.

Some social riding groups to look to join or seek inspiration from include The Scarlett Headers, The Venice Vixens, The Miss-Fires, The Foxy Fuelers, L'Equippe, The Throttle Dolls and if none these take your fancy, start your own (and tell me about it)!


Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.