Otterbein University, in walking distance from the American Motorcyclists Association in Westerville, Ohio, was the scene of the first ever National Conference of Women and Motorcycling in 1997. I was there.
In an effort to learn about women motorcyclists’ issues and preferences, the AMA put this conference together. Otterbein University would accommodate us with dormitory housing, cafeteria meals, and classroom space for seminars and meetings. I loved returning to campus life for a few days.
It turned out to be a marvelous setting, where women riders from all over the country, regardless of their club affiliation, gathered to inform the motorcycling industry and to learn from each other.
|Donna Brown with her MVP award|
I remember calling in my housing reservation months before, and requesting to be placed in the same dorm, and if possible, on the same floor as Donna Brown from Michigan. The woman taking my information said, “You’re the fourth one who’s asked to be near Donna Brown. She must be a wonderful person.” The lady was correct about that. Donna is revered and loved by all who know her. And, as the first person to sign up for this first conference, Donna Brown received an MVP award from the AMA.
A big highlight for me was sharing this Ohio adventure with my sister Reenié. She rode the Greyhound bus from Detroit to Columbus to spend the last day of the conference with me.
|Outside Greyhound station, downtown Columbus, Ohio|
The next morning we put on our gear and saddled up for the 250-mile ride back to Detroit. Though she had ridden with me before, this was her longest motorcycle journey. By our lunch stop in northern Ohio, Reenié had her motorcycle swagger on. "You just feel different," she said, striding into the restaurant.
A few hours later, we were at her house. When we parked Big Red in the driveway and dismounted, my sister took off her helmet and said, “Now I understand why you love this so much.”
~ xoA ~