Why I (almost) Started Riding
At Orlando Harley-Davidson® we live Harley 24/7. Our passion for riding goes beyond the dealership. We are on the road everyday with you. We wanted to share our riding stories with you. Every rider can remember their first encounter with a motorcycle and they never forget their first ride, most memorable rally and their favorite custom build bike along the riding journey.
This week we're featuring our beloved Marketing Director Dahlia Deida. Check out her freedom story below.
Growing up back and forth between New York and Orlando, I had a very diverse upbringing. At a very young age, I embarked on my “Adult Adventure” and moved to New York on my own. I lived with my older cousin Carmen for a few years and remember her boyfriend (now husband) rode a Kawasaki Ninja and used to ride me back and forth to the city from Brooklyn for work sometimes. Later on I would date a guy that rode a Suzuki GSX-R and remember riding with him to the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy. Zipping around the city on the back of a bike was a thrill. I was young and it made me feel like a rebel. Soon those memories would fade and I wouldn’t find myself on a bike again until some 20 years later.
Enter the world of Orlando Harley-Davidson. After years of working in the automotive industry, opportunity came knocking with some very loud exhausts. I was offered a position in Business Development with the dealer group and after some careful consideration and a meeting with the owners, I decided that this was something that I really wanted to do. Leave the world of automotive and transition into working with people that “wanted” the product that I represented, not just “needed” a way to get around. I thought to myself, this could be so much fun! One of the requisites of my employment was to become endorsed so during the brutally hot month of July in 2016, I found myself once again on a motorcycle, but not a sports bike this time, a Harley and this time I wasn’t riding two up, I was the one gripping the handlebars. “Wow, I am really doing this!” I thought to myself. “I am riding a Harley!” I remember in the midst of all that heat, geared up in jeans and a long sleeve shirt, I got goosebumps because I thought to myself “Look at me being the bad ass!” I was both terrified and amazed. It was a little overwhelming as I recall that I was in a class full of experienced riders also taking the course as part of their process to become Riding Academy Coaches. Although I did well in the classroom and even during some of the modules on the course itself, I ultimately failed due to my nerves kicking in full gear and not being able to master a sharp turn from a standing start. My coach Jim however invited me back to take some personal lessons and then a couple of weeks later I earned my endorsement. Then nothing. I never took my MSF card to the DMV to actually put my riding into action.
Fast forward to 2018, I am immersed in this culture. I walk past Harleys every single day of my life. I hear them revved up, I watch them get staged every morning. I attend rides and watch hundreds of riders taking off from our shops, I’ve have recorded stunt riders at events. I have attended Bike Nights at Ace, I traveled across the country to watch the unveiling of new models. I witnessed the launch of the first ever EV motorcycle and I think to myself “WHY the hell am I not a part of this party?” Everyone that I work with (co-workers, clients, riding groups, etc.) is so nice, I get encouraged to ride all the time. I make excuses, I live too far, these roads are so challenging and then I decide to enroll in the class once again but this time with my friend and colleague in tow. We take the class, we ACE the class and I find myself newly endorsed and run to the DMV as soon as possible to add “END: A-MTRCL Also” to my license and just like that! I am endorsed. Then just like that I don’t get on a motorcycle for months until one day, my significant other brings home this semi rusty looking Honda Shadow and tells me about a fellow thinking of selling it and asks me if I want to test my riding skills. So, here we are, one fine Saturday morning in November and I find myself at the entrance of my subdivision on this rattling machine and it takes me a lifetime to gather the courage to actually set loose into traffic. “I am riding a motorcycle amidst cars!” All of my training and wins in class fade from my thoughts and a single thought drones on in my head “Just keep going, don’t kill the throttle, just keep going…….” Some odd 30 minutes later, I am home. I survived and I am tingling from head to toe! This has got to be one of the single most thrilling moments of my life. I have not bought a motorcycle yet. I have not overcome my fear of riding the open road yet but the exhilaration of that one Saturday morning in November of 2018 continues to call to me. And so a Harley Rider is born. I am 42 years old, I work for Orlando Harley-Davidson and I am surrounded by awe inspiring, kick ass, motorcycle riding women and I will be one too!!!
Dahlia Deida – Marketing Director American Road Group, Orlando Harley-Davidson
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