Life Rolls at 50 for Bad-Girl Biker Mom

Motorcycling can come late to some of us, perhaps approaching with a need to escape stress and workaday woe, or simply as an economical alternative to whatever massive gas sucker parked in the driveway. For others, it comes none too soon.

Mary Martella, a single mom, is a former biker bridesmaid, never a biker. But after years of thinking about buying a motorcycle, her moto virginity was finally about to expire.

Just as her odometer rolled by the first AARP milepost, Martella, 50, donned leather and helmet, zipped up secondhand chaps and slid on fingerless gloves to show off nails painted to match her candy apple red Suzuki. After a meaningful encounter with an MSF Course, she has become a bona fide motorcycle momma, and one of us.

“I’ll tell you, it drained me,” said the busy half-a-centenarian, part-time massage therapist, full-time business owner, and student pursuing a masters in Psychology. Martella is tough, but she met her match in motorcycle basic training.

“The MSF course was exhausting, and I think the most exciting thing I’ve ever done—so far. It was run by these two Vietnam vets and it felt like boot camp. It was two days of three hour classes and five hours in a hot community college parking lot, maneuvering around traffic cones with these guys screaming at us.

“I dropped the bike when one instructor was yelling three commands at once—I got confused, slowed down and fell over.

Martella said she let the clutch out early and bumped tires with the bike in front of her. “Oh, it was silly,” she said, “it was just a tap, but hitting another bike was grounds for automatic failure,” she said with a shrug, “Funny, no one would line up in front of me after that.

Martella, personable and quick-witted, looks at least 10 years younger than the number on her new AARP card. “Having my own motorcycle license is such a thrill; I just love it. I always thought motorcycling looked really fun, but I didn’t like riding on the back of my ex’s bike. It looked a lot more exciting to control my own bike than just sitting back there looking pretty.”

The proverbial seeds of discontent were sown. “After having a couple of biker boyfriends where my only choice was to ride “bitch,”— as they enjoyed saying—or stay home, I decided, Screw that, I’m riding.”

Martella said she wanted a real bike that would take her places fun and funky and maybe a bit dangerous.

“At first, I thought about buying a cheap, used bike for basic transportation. But then I found that beautiful Intruder 800 and it changed everything…

“The Intruder had some high mileage on her, about 60,000, but then the same could be said of me. So for $1500 bucks I changed my life! And I just love the color, don’t you? It’s so freakin’ sassy.”