“Oh… you ride a motorbike?”
That sentence – accompanied by the raising of eyebrows and a thinly-veiled expression of judgement – is invariably the response I face when people find out about this pastime of mine.
People also throw around words like “butch” and “masculine” when they hear of my motorbike, apparently figuring I must have persisted with this most macho of hobbies because I want to be a man. Sometimes, I also get brownie points for being a “tough-as-nails” woman who’s too much of a thrill-seeker to be satisfied with sitting on the back of the bike.
And very occasionally, I’m asked why I have a death wish and persist with a hobby so dangerous.
Don’t get me wrong – I know the statistics. I know that motorbike riding is roughly 30 times more dangerous than driving a car. I know that last year in Australia the motorcycle fatality rate spiked with 72 riders losing their lives. I also know it’s pretty damn unusual for an inner-city girl with a penchant for baking, writing and yoga to cruise the streets of Sydney atop a Suzuki GN250.
But what most people don’t know about me, is that I never got to meet my grandfather. And while motorbike riding isn’t the reason his life was tragically cut short, it sure was something he lived for.