Dennily Lerner: Rider of the Month July 2017
Dennily Lerner: Rider of the Month July 2017
Some of you will understand this right away. When a person grows up with little motorcycle contact in a household that fears riding and the motorcycling community, then cruising on a motorbike seems like an impossibility. Taboo. Verboten. So close and yet so far away. For Dennily Lerner, our July 2017 Rider of the Month, the fruit of motorcycling was just too much to ignore. And as she’s discovered, forbidden fruit is the sweetest.
Dennily’s path to getting on a motorcycle wasn’t a direct one. Her family is in the medical field and warned her of the downsides to motorcycling. Yet, the thought of riding was always there in the back of her mind. She watched other women do it; surely, she could too. Eventually she dated a guy and rode on the back. But she wanted more. In her own words:
For me, motorcycling was a catalyst to self empowerment. In choosing to ride, I was initially confronted with a sense of overwhelming fear and self doubt. I would observe other motorcyclists out riding and they appeared comfortable and relaxed. But the thought of myself operating one of those machines with no prior riding experience sent my heart tempo to the beat of a frantic double bass pedal. Getting on a bike became more of a necessity in facing life and myself because I was tired of staying in the shadows of it. If other people could ride without fear so could I and made it my mission.
Heady stuff. Not the easiest thing to beat our perceived threats. We’ve evolved to listen to our spidey-senses; our self-preservation is at stake. To go beyond our most basic human functions, we have to gain a peace with what we’re about to do.
EASING THE CLUTCH OUT
When faced with a large task, like learning to ride a motorcycle, breaking down the larger task into smaller, more achievable goals may be just the trick. Have you ever heard the saying, “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”? For Dennily, this approach worked brilliantly:
Riding is an evolving process of skill and comfort. I would set small goals for myself daily. I would ride up and down the street until I got bored and felt a new challenge was needed. A month later I took the plunge by getting out of my neighborhood to have my first experience riding with cars on the street. My fright reflexes have always been strong in fearful situations and my body has a tendency to lock up. This is when I began to experientially understand that I could trust myself because I knew if I stopped piloting the bike, or let fear take over, I was going to crash. I knew right then and there I had to stay present with myself and tell my body to relax which allowed me to sit back and have the following thought, “Wow, I’m doing this, I’m actually working through this sensation.”
Eventually, my nervous system calmed down and I started to have fun and began to see the road as a game and not an obstacle. It is our instinct to survive and until you test your instincts you will never know your capacity to thrive. A new feeling came over me from riding, one of increased confidence and love for myself and life. I also noticed a changed in how I approached people and situations after that day, by being more willing to confront conflict rather than shy away from it.
Revelation. We think Ms. Lerner could give Robert Pirsig a run for his money. As coaches we love to see people gain a sense of accomplishment from their efforts. When the light bulb goes on, and it can happen on multiple levels and in many ways, the rider will never be the same.
BEING ONE WITH THE BIKE
We all ride motorcycles for very different reasons. We may start riding for one reason but then find riding fulfills another area that wasn’t revealed until we put a few miles under our belts. Gaining total freedom can be contagious:
Initially, I started to ride in order to prove to myself that I could do something unimaginable. From that, riding morphed into a technical and thrilling experience as well as a very satisfying sense of accomplishment. It is total freedom when you hit that sweet spot in being one with the bike and start to connect with everything else around you. There is not more sense of self or thought of “I” I guess they call that Zen. It is total freedom , extremely contagious and a I have a heck of a good time pulling back that throttle!
I used to describe myself as extremely nervous, a second guessing and reactive person; riding gave me the opportunity to change my self portrait. Through effort I’ve been able to progress. The positive experience of challenging myself to do something difficult, like riding, provided me with an unparalleled sense of achievement and satisfaction. I guess you can say I’m hooked!
Wow. A lot of life lessons relayed in a very small amount of text from Dennily. Isn’t that the beauty of motorcycling though? It can reveal who we are, and maybe more importantly, it can reveal who we are not.
Riders, we want to honor YOU! Do you know someone who should be TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month? Entering their name is SIMPLE.
- Email Bill ([email protected] )
- In the subject line, type “Rider of the Month”
- In one paragraph, tell us why this rider deserves the title TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month!
Let’s have some serious FUN with this gang! There are some great stories out there and we don’t want to miss them, so tell us about yourselves!