Story by Ellen Kocher
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published the June 2023 edition of the MSTA Florida Chapter newsletter, The Florida Gator Tale. The story has been edited to match the MSTA website’s style.
I learned to ride in the mid-1980s, mostly on shell rock roads in the town of Suwannee, Fla. My husband and I had a “fixer-upper” small house there, and we spent holiday weekends and often spring break weeks there with the kids for many years. Yamaha motorcycles (TT200 and XT250) were our bikes of choice in Suwannee where pavement was minimal.
After riding my husband’s Yamaha 650 in and around West Palm Beach, he said I should get a BMW so we could go touring on our motorcycles. Andrew also owned a BMW R 100 RT then. That’s when I acquired my own first Beemer, a 1986 R 65. While helping me put the first 600 miles on the R 65, Andrew decided it would be a good idea for him to have a similar bike. Haha! What an excuse to add another motorcycle to the stable!
I was hooked on motorcycle touring, as I found it a hundred times more enjoyable than riding pillion on the R 100 RT with my husband. That summer trip in 1987 led to another summer trip in 1988 that included the New England states again, as well as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In 1989, our R 65s took us to a number of national parks in the Southwest as we traveled in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and elsewhere.
Fast forward from 1987 to 2022. Thirty-five years of traveling on two wheels and attending BMW rallies (MOA and RA) and now MSTA and STAR events – how could I not enjoy the scenery, curvy mountain roads, and lasting friendships with other riders. Oh, yes. Let’s not forget a fabulous Edelweiss trip in 1990 to Germany, Austria, northern Italy, Luxembourg and a side trip to the races at the Nürburgring. Competitors back in 1990 included Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz.
Now it’s 2023, and I’ll never be taller than 5’2” (even with higher boots). I came to realize that a motorcycle with three wheels would be a major safety feature and eliminate all the tip-toeing I’ve done for the past 35 years when maneuvering in parking lots, stopping and starting on hilly surfaces, and even simply moving my motorcycle out of my garage!
I received some encouragement and advice from MSTA members Dennis and Dorothy Anderson when I inquired about their Can-Am Spyder. I knew the Can-Am was definitely an option for me. After searching online, watching YouTube videos, and reading various reviews, I was ready to head to the dealer.
Enter “Charlotte” — my new ride, a 2022 Can-Am Spyder RT that was delivered to me by Broward Motorsports. I’m still getting used to the differences in handling (no leaning in curves), but with each ride I know it was the right decision for me. I signed up for the three-wheel motorcycle riding course which required a five-hour online MSF eCourse and then two weekend half-days of riding the range to develop plenty of maneuvering skills.
Motorcycling has given me some of my finest experiences. With my 28” inseam, it has been a challenge through the years riding my Beemers (R 65, R 1100 RS, F 650 GS and R 1200 R). They have all been fantastic motorcycles, but I’m ready for new adventures on my Spyder now. I’m looking forward to future rides and making more memories!