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Hi – I'm Karen.

Like many young girls, I was obsessed with horses. I wore out my copy of Black Beauty from reading it so often and I begged to go to the hack stable, with apples in my pocket, as often as possible. As I entered my teens, I was lucky enough to have a horse of my own. She wasn't a show horse by any means, but she was all mine. I rode bareback for several months until I could save up money for a saddle and that was just the first of many lessons I'd learn along the way about responsibility.

While many riders were content to trace circles in a ring perfecting their trots and canters, I'd be out in the woods or fields, following the smallest trace of a trail that might have been made by a deer or even a rabbit, covering ground to someplace secret and wonderful. That horse was my ticket to freedom and helped me develop a spirit of independence.

College introduced new distractions and my obsession with hoof beats dimmed. Spending my junior year in Germany ignited a different passion by exposing me to a continent full of history, art, languages, and culture. The urge to travel expanded beyond those bunny trails I'd followed on my horse and has stayed with me to this day.

Along the way, I'd ridden pillion on a motorcycle or two, but it never dawned on me to move to the front until I was more than 50 years old. When a relationship ended and I was more put out about missing the motorcycle trip we'd planned than the man himself – it dawned on me that I could do something about that. As a birthday gift to myself, I signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class, passed it, got my 'M' endorsement and bought a little 250cc starter bike. One riding season and 5,000 miles later, I was ready to move on to something bigger. And without realizing exactly when it happened, along the way a different obsession was born.

Tens of thousands of miles under my belt and I find that riding a motorcycle constantly surprises me with it's endless gifts. It's instructive, therapeutic, exhilarating and inspiring. I've traded those rabbit trails for secondary, twisty roads that lead to places I haven't been yet.

Before I even took the riding class, I found the NJ Renegades from an internet search for women's motorcycle groups. My intuition told me that I'd need a nurturing source for practice and learning. I attended my first meeting before I actually owned a bike and my instincts were golden. When I had my horse, I learned how to keep her healthy and happy as a member of a 4-H club. And now that I've exchanged 4 legs with a mind of its own for 2 wheels and 650cc's, I've found a new family. I might be an only child biologically, but I have more sisters now than I could ever have wished for or imagined.

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