What: "Driven to Ride," a documentary by Boulder-based filmmaker Michelle Bauer Carpenter, featuring five local female motorcycle riders
When: 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24
Where: Colorado Public Television Channel 12
The song of the motor stills my thoughts. It mutes the chaos around me. I push forward, and with focused relaxation I eye the ground beneath me. The rumble of the wheels gliding across it feels like an act of love. Of silent connection.
All that matters at this moment are my tracks. I'll just do one more round. Again. Then I'll turn it off and rejoin society. Maybe two more rounds.
This pattern feels so familiar.
Oh, yes. This used to be the love story between my motorcycle and me. I called it "moving meditation." She instantly thrust me into a perfect Zen state, where I was focused, yet not thinking; alert, yet not tense.
I sold that girl. I traded her out for a vehicle with four doors and car seat when another sweet baby girl arrived four years ago. That's OK; my Camry knows our fling is only temporary.
Today, I find refuge in a different, infinitely more pathetic moving meditation: the loud hum of the vacuum cleaner. One more time around the living room. Just five more minutes of white noise drowning out "Dora the Explorer's" map jingle. Then I'll return.
Every woman has her reason to ride - or not ride. The latter is usually fueled by fear. Which, interestingly, was my very reason to start riding; I went through a recklessly satisfying Conquer-All-Of-The-Fears phase. But the freedom from my own thoughts was what kept me atop the hog for years.
Boulder resident Masyn Moyer rides, in part, for camaraderie. Weekend adventures with other women riders.
"I ride because it reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to," Moyer says. "I ride because I feel strong, beautiful, independent, unique and incredibly rebellious. I ride because I like to do the things that society says I can't or I shouldn't. I ride to inspire other women to be their best selves - whatever that is, be courageous and let your light shine."
Debra Conroy, of Denver and Steamboat Springs, rides to make the most of the long distances she travels for her profession, as a lawyer. For Julie Graff, of Boulder, riding is about family. Her family rides in a specific order, with more experienced riders in the front.
Michelle Bauer Carpenter, of Boulder, is 62, and she's gearing up to learn how to ride for the first time. She's inspired by her aunt, and the six women - three from Boulder, two from near Boulder County and another from California - whom she featured in her documentary, "Driven To Ride."
Carpenter is an Emmy-winning filmmaker and assistant professor of digital design at the University of Colorado-Denver.
The broadcast premiere of her documentary airs at 9:30 p.m. Nov. 24 on PBS. It also was chosen for various film festivals around the country.
The film is designed to capture the diversity of women motorcycle riders.
"Lots of people have preconceived notions about what people are by looking at them, and I wanted them to break down the stereotypes of women riders," Carpenter says. "They are entrepreneurs, amazing business women, some of the strongest women I've ever met."
In fact, one Boulder resident, Erin Doherty-Ratay, broke a Guinness world record for the longest partner riding tour around the world. She and her husband rode 101,000 miles for 4½ years.
She is also a Realtor with Re/Max Alliance.
"I ride because it makes me feel free. I know that sounds really sappy, but it's that feeling of release when I'm out on my bike. It's really good for the psyche," she says. "I've ridden since I was little, maybe 8 or 9 years old, when my dad taught me how to ride a 50cc Honda dirt bike. Then when I was living in (New York City) in my 20s, it was a way to escape the city and get into the beautiful, peaceful countryside."
Another rider in the film, Graff, says she began to ride at age 4. She remembers her mom dropping her off at preschool in a 1969 Harley Sportster.
My own baby girl turns 4 in February.
Dear Santa, can you take a hint?
My floors are simply too clean these days.