Thursday, May 25

World Women Riders: Mary Heatley, from Indiana on her motorcycling madness

The series of World Women Riders is back on The new innings starts from biker girl, Mary Heatley, from Indiana.  She started motorcycling 4 years back. The very first motorcycle she owned was a 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R and currently rides the 2007 CBR 1000RR.

Click here to read more on motorcycling story of Mary Heatley.

Mary Heatley (14)

Riding is my therapy, it’s my stress relief. When I’m in a bad mood, or I’ve had a bad day, riding brings a smile to my face. It has become one of my greatest passions in life!

Q) Describe on how you got to where you are with motorcycling today?

A) A huge influence in my riding has been my husband. He would take me for rides on the back of his motorcycle, and I enjoyed it so much, but it was a bit uncomfortable being tall and riding pillion on a sportsbike.

When I decided to buy my own bike, he helped me out. He is a wonderful teacher. Riding with him and following him helped me progress much faster in my riding abilities than I ever could have done on my own. Finally got to ride on track this past year. I saw a huge growth in myself after just one track day as well.

Q) Why preferred motorcycle over scooter?

A) It has always been and will always be motorcycles for me. I’d ride a scooter if it was offered to me, but I don’t see myself ever buying one, and will always choose a motorcycle over a scooter.

Q) The first motorcycle you started riding/ learnt riding?

A) My very first motorcycle was a 2008 Ninja 250R. I learned clutch control and the basics in a large empty parking lot. After the 3rd day I decided to venture out onto the road! I was still trying to grasp the concept of leaning and focus on where you wanna go. I was fine until I came to a tight 90 degree turn and panicked.

Mary Heatley (5)

I went off the road and thought I was going to wreck for sure, but then I remembered that my husband told me I needed to look where I wanted to go. So I looked for him on the road and managed to get my bike back from the grass and onto the road again! I was so fortunate, and still don’t know how I didn’t wreck! But that little bike was the absolute perfect learning bike, it was so forgiving.

Mary Heatley (6)

I put close to 4,500 miles on the bike within the first 3 months of owning it, and I loved every minute of it! Also, I took the ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) Motorcycle Rider Course a month after I started riding my 250, and I am so thankful I did. I learned so much that weekend, and invaluable safety skills!

Q) Your ride now?

A) My current motorcycle is a 2007 CBR 1000RR.  I bought my CBR in July of 2012. It had some substantial cosmetic damage at the time. I decided to give it a couple of years before investing on a new fairing kit.

Mary Heatley

Last year I spent some time looking at different options, and I knew I wanted something that wasn’t really common. I saw an article on Facebook about a girl who used Sharpie markers to completely paint her husband’s Nissan Skyline. That really inspired me.

Mary Heatley (1)

That time, I decided on what Iwanted to do that to my new fairing. I bought an unpainted raw fairing kit, Sharpie markers in bulk, and began my project! The whole process took around 223 hours over the course of 10 months to complete, and it was worth every hour spent!

Mary Heatley (11)

I maintain and repair motorcycle on my own. I ask for my husband’s help when needed. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and prefer to learn how to do things on my own.

Q) Is there a local motorcycling event that you try and attend regularly?

A) I live in Indiana and have attended Indianapolis MotoGP every year. I was sad to hear that they are no longer bringing MotoGP to Indy after this past year.

Mary Heatley (8)

Q) How far have you ridden your motorcycle?

My bike is not a good touring bike. It gets really uncomfortable for longer distances, especially on highways and straights. I usually ride the twisties or track around my area.

Q) Do you have a motorcycling achievement that you take pride in?

A) I do take pride in completing my Sharpie bike and I was fortunate to have had my solo cowl signed by Valentino Rossi, Alvaro Bautista, Collin Edwards, and Bradley Smith at MotoGP this past year.

Mary Heatley (3)

I have so many influential and inspiring motorcyclists that I look up to and aspire to be. But I would mention some of the women at the top of my list : Melissa Paris, Jen Dunstan, Anna Rigby, Brittany Morrow, and MotoLady. But there are so many other amazing women out there who inspire me on a daily basis; I wish that I could list them all!

Mary Heatley (12)

Q) How are women motorcycle riders treated by most people and by male motorcyclists?

I would say that it honestly depends on the person. I’ve had some who are supportive and happy to see a female interested in riding, especially track riding. But then I’ve also had the belittling and condescending attitude from some because I am a female. But I don’t let it get to me, I will continue to ride, and enjoy the growth and progress that comes with learning and seat time.

Mary Heatley (22)

Q) Parents/ Friends- How do they feel of you riding a motorcycle?

A) Any special comments- I would say that my family is supportive of my riding, they know how much it means to me. I’m sure they worry, who doesn’t, but they also know that I do not ride without being fully geared head- to- toe. And I do have some friends who probably don’t understand my love for motorcycles, and are sick of seeing my posts all over my Facebook page and hearing me go on and on about anything with 2 wheels. But I also have some who have been supportive and happy for me as well, even if they don’t understand the love I have for motorcycles.

Mary Heatley (21)

Q) The motorcyle you wish / dream to see parked in your garage?

A) The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1M is at the very top of my want list, but I’d settle for the 2015 R1. 😉

Q) Message to other female riders?

A) I love to see other women getting into the sport of riding, not for the attention, but because they love it and have the passion for it as well. I have met so many incredible women riders through Instagram and Facebook, and it’s amazing to me how I may not have met some in person, but I feel such a bond and almost instant friendship with them. There’s just something about being on two’s that will bring people together and form a sort of “bike family”.

  • My message to other women out there is to be an encouragement to those around you, and support each other.
  • Don’t limit yourself, or your ability to ride.
  • Always be open to instruction from those who have the knowledge to help you grow as a rider, and further your riding skills.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks, and enjoy the learning process. Try not to compare yourself to those around you; there will always be someone who is faster, and someone who is slower than you.
  • If you have a Motorcycle Safety Course in your area, I strongly suggest looking into it! Even if you have been riding for a while, you will still learn so much about safe riding skills and proper riding technique.
  • Invest in some good gear, you only have one body after all!
  • And if you ever feel down about your progress, or you’re struggling, look back at where you were when you first started your riding journey. Think of why you fell in love with riding and all that you’ve learned to get you where you are today, and always ride for yourself, no one else. Ride smart, ride for life.

Mary Heatley (20)

Unedited and Posted by: Team Tnw

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