Motorcycles & Molecules – What’s the Connection?

In 1989, I began my teaching career as a Chemistry Professor at San Diego Miramar College, a two-year community college in San Diego, California, USA.  In 1990, my boyfriend (now husband), Frank, introduced me to his 1987 Ducati 750 F-1.  It was love at first sight, although I had to wait until after my dad passed away in 1994 to get on a motorcycle.  (Dad lost his cousin to a motorcycle accident at 19, and just couldn’t bear seeing his only child on a “death machine”.  I had to respect his wishes.)

In the late summer of 1994, I rode behind Frank on the back of a Harley Sportster that we rented while on vacation in San Francisco.  It was great fun, but I decided almost immediately that I needed to learn to ride.  We were planning to marry and start a family in the next 4-6 years (before I turned 40) and I wanted to learn to ride before then!

Within a year I signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation riding course and the instructor told me that I was “a natural”!  I passed my written exam with 100% correct and my riding exam the next week with flying colors!  I was hooked; I was a “woman on a motorcycle”; woot!

I have loved every minute of riding, but have not had as much seat time as I would have wanted ideally; first, due to my pregnancy and the birth of our son; second, due to a herniated lumbar disc.  I have not ridden much in the last 8 years and have been living vicariously through televised or Internet viewing of every racing series that I can find time to watch, attending as many live racing  events as possible, and following numerous racing series and racers (especially female racers) on Twitter and Instagram.

One of my goals for 2017 is to develop the upper body and core strength to be able to ride my (new to me, last year) 2009 Ducati Hypermotard (currently being kept “warm” by Frank when he’s not riding his own Hyper or my Suzuki DRZ400SM).  Another goal for 2017 is to continue posting to this blog, “Motorcycles and Molecules”, that will interweave my passion for bikes and chemistry.

Stay tuned for my next post about carbon fiber and how a motorcycle enthusiast/organic chemist can appreciate it from two different perspectives.

Ride within your limits; enjoy every ride as if it was your last; and live to ride another day!


Daphne — Twitter/Instagram (@d_figuer)

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