“Somehow twenty-five years have gone by since I got my license. How did that happen?? In high school, my boyfriend had a motorcycle. I rode with him a few times, but his goal was to scare me. I swore I’d never get on another. Then I fell in love with a life-long, third-generation motorcyclist. Through him, I found the glorious freedom of riding. It took only a couple of times on the back before I got the bug to ride my own, and have been doing so ever since.” Lori Bentley Law
Why do you ride: I have no deep philosophical answer to this. I ride because it’s fun. Because all of the senses come alive. Because it brings me pure joy.
Run us through the bikes in your life: Oh boy. This could get long. I still have every bike I’ve owned, except for the bike I learned on, a 1974 Honda XL175. I love vintage, so started with a ‘66 Yamaha YM1... that never wanted to run. I got a ‘77 Triumph Bonneville... that I had a heck of a time kick-starting. A ‘76 Honda TL125, a fantastic bike in the dirt. A ‘69 Triumph TR25w project bike. A 2004 Triumph Bonneville. Plus, a garage full of EVO Harley-Davidson that the hubby adopts and we share. But the motorcycle that truly has my heart is my Chromester, a 2004 Harley-Davidson 1200R, a bike I’ve had since new, and one that has taken me on the grandest adventures.
Funny thing, I had to be talked into riding a Harley-Davidson. Vintage Triumphs had my heart. My hubby kept saying I needed to ride a Harley-Davidson to understand, but I was stubborn. Finally, he surprised me with the 1200R for Christmas one year–whether I wanted it or not—and it sat in the garage untouched for months. Finally, he planned a 100 mile ride to Joshua Tree and said, just ride it. To appease him, I did. About twenty-minutes down the highway, something clicked and I was hooked. We stopped at a gas station and I walked over to him and said, “Yep. I get it now.” No other motorcycle has the iconic, visceral feel that a Harley-Davidson does. That V-twin engine pulses through your body in a way that can’t be described, only experienced.
From the moment things began to click with my 1200, I knew it was the right bike for me. Everything about it felt right. It fit my body, fit my personality, fit my style of riding. Over the years, hubby has suggested I get something new, with less miles, but my Chromester and I have a bond of shared adventures that can never be equaled. Will I have other bikes? Sure. But I will have this Chromester forever.
Tell us what its life to ride the Chromester: Magic. Yep. That’s what it’s like. The throatiness. The solid feel. That magical vibration while idling and the way it smoothes out on the road. The power. Here’s the deal. Every touch-point on a Harley-Davidson feels like quality. They may be heavier, but that’s because they’re not made of plastic. The fenders are metal as are all the mounting hardware and the mirrors. While my ‘04 Bonneville is fun and zippy, it feels like a toy in comparison with my same year H-D.
Why the sportster? I didn’t choose the Sportster since it was a gift... but if I were shopping today, I’d still chose the Sportster because of the timeless design. In the sixty-plus years since the Sportster has been on the road, very little has changed stylistically. Quite simply, the design works. There is no mistaking a Sportster. They look tough and yet elegant in the clean lines and simplicity.
Tell us how you modified your bike to make it your own: A friend joked once about what I have against paint. My truck is paint free and so is my Chromester. The checkered flag emblem is from one of my favorite cars, a 1955 T-Bird, and below it, we added classic-styled tank-pads. We also added fork gators, a fat laced front wheel, solid back wheel, Race-Tech suspension, Lyndal Racing floating brake rotors, Magura hydraulic clutch, a rare H-D headlight nacelle, H-D performance rear suspension, Screaming Eagle hi-flow air cleaner, Dynojet Thunder Slide carb kit, Screaming Eagle slip on mufflers. Even after fifteen years on the road, this thing still runs like a champ.
Favorite trip to date: Three-weeks searching for the oldest Route 66 alignments with my best feller, riding from California to Chicago—both of us on Sportsters—and then up to Milwaukee. No windshield. No saddlebags. Just miles of pure joy and exploration.
You’ve been coming to Babes Ride Out for quite some time. Tell us about your personal experiences there: I’ve been to four Babes Ride Out events and I swear, it never gets old. BRO is truly the best weekend of the year. I’m not a rider with a pack. I tend to be a loner or ride with my feller. BRO gets me social. Every year I’ve ridden to BRO with someone different and each time had the most amazing experience. Every year I make new friends, get silly, laugh, go on adventures, bond, and reconnect. There’s no judging, no posturing, no cattiness. BRO has this incredible purity that can’t be matched. There’s no way to accurately describe what the weekend does for my soul. Last year was particularly meaningful since it fell just before I left a career of 24 years with NBC. Being with my pals was the perfect way to usher in my new life.
Any advice for ladies looking to take on two wheels? Put aside your fear, go to a class and learn the right way, and then get on your motorcycle and take a hundred mile trip. Seriously. No little jaunts about town. Put some miles under your tires in one day. Guarantee by day’s end, you will have connected with your machine and the road and you will fall in love.