Tuesday, May 26, 2015


guest post by Deborah Nielsen
Photo by Deborah Nielsen
I’m a reader, motorcyclist, writer, and photographer.

In the order of my pursuits, this is it. Riding comes right after reading and just before writing. The three Rs - reading, riding and writing. And then there’s the camera. Or cameras. And lenses. They’re like potato chips; you can’t have just one. Same for motorcycles. They fill a two-car garage.

Motorcycling is my passion and motorcycles are my obsession. I love reading about motorcycles and motorcycling. I collect them. I ride them. I’ve been known to step into the garage on a cold, snowy day and run my hands over them, er, um, check on the battery tenders. 

And I really like photographing motorcycles. I’m drawn to the geometric lines and patterns in a row of dirt bikes and the overwhelming bursts of colors in a gathering of sport bikes.

Photo of Deborah & Senna, taken by a bicyclist
on a trip to the Snowy Range
What I really enjoy is riding a motorcycle on the open road. Across country, through the mountains, or along the back roads and two lanes, exploring places I’ve never been or revisiting favorite places. 

I prefer to ride alone most of the time. I have the freedom to wander wherever I want, stop whenever I want, or take whatever road beckons. 

The occasional day ride with a few friends is fun, too.  We pick a destination within about 100 miles and take the back roads. Somewhere along the way, we’ll stop for a leisurely lunch. 

Some of the best days are spent on a bike.

A few of my favorite places to ride are right here in my home state. WY 130 over Snowy Range; US 20 between Shoshoni and Thermopolis through the Wind River Canyon; US 26/287 from Lander through Dubois and over Togwotee Pass to Moran Junction. 

I’ve ridden through a cattle drive on Alt US 14 east of Powell, heading into the Big Horn Mountains. It can take me half a day to go from Cheyenne, over Snowy Range to Walden, Colorado, because I stop a lot in the Snowies to get off the bike and go exploring with my camera. Other times, I’m so enjoying the ride that I just want to ride. Stop? Only for gas.

Motorcycling has contributed to my independence, added to my education, and given me something to write about.

As a writer, I take classes and go to workshops to hone my writing skills. And then I write a lot, practicing the techniques I’ve learned in all those classes. As a photographer, I also take classes and go to workshops and then go out and shoot. A lot. Trying this technique or that, using one lens or another. Learning to see differently. 
Photo by Deborah Nielsen

As a motorcyclist, I take classes to become a better, more skillful rider. Periodically I go to an empty parking lot and practice the riding techniques I’ve learned so that I have the skills when I need them. 

Riding is not for the faint of heart. I’ve also taken motorcycle maintenance classes because I want to be able to deal with the trials that travel can throw in the way of a good trip. Who wants to be stuck on the side of the road waiting hours for a tow truck because of a flat tire? 

I’ve also taken some women’s self-defense courses over the years. Just knowing how to be aware can keep you out of bad situations.

Somehow all of my enthusiasms, for reading, riding, writing and taking pictures, seem to work together even if they sound like they’re worlds apart. I like a good challenge. I like to have fun. And I enjoy being creative. 

Lately, though, it’s been a challenge to get any riding in. This cold, rainy weather has stymied my fun. 

I think I’ll wander out to the garage and check the battery tenders.

Deborah is an avid motorcyclist who occasionally tears herself away from the bikes long enough to write or take photographs. She’s a member of Northern Colorado Writers, GWRRA, the AMA and a charter member of Front Range Riders. She lives in the land of howling winds (and cold rainy Mays) aka southeast Wyoming.


  1. Deborah, I really enjoyed this. I can sense the passion and joy you get from reading, riding, writing and photography. Great photos, too. I totally get the rainy weather problem. It's put a damper on fun outdoor activities for us all.

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Luana.

  3. These days, when I see a group of motorcycles or even a single one on a back road, cruising to somewhere or nowhere, I wish that at some point I had gotten a motorcycle and ridden. At about that time in my life, however, I was flying in the Air Force, and I think the feeling of freedom is probably akin to Deborah's. I do read and I do write and sometimes take photographs though and enjoy them.

  4. Very cool! It's great that you can merge four things you enjoy together so perfectly! I love your bike pics. Riding looks like so much fun!

  5. Hi, Art - I always wanted to learn to fly but it's always been out of reach financially. Maybe if I wouldn't have spent all my money on motorcycles. They're a way to fly low. :)

    Hi, Chere - Thanks! Riding is fun, and hopefully I'll finally be able to get a bike off life support and on the road this weekend.


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