Meet Mary Pang
Her goal to get her motorbiking license started with a conversation about a road trip to Glacier National Park. Even though biking wasn't initially a passion for her, she was determined to do this road trip on her own motorbike. Her first driving lesson was an 8-hour struggle, but she never gave up. Now, that goal has transformed into passion and she's loving every mile she adds to her Honda Rebel. She's convincing her whole family to get their licenses too, and she's building an amazing biking community. Mary proves to us that to discover your true passions and potential you have to give things a go and stick to it.
What bike do you ride?
2019 Honda Rebel 300
Why did you choose this bike?
I just fell in love with the Honda Rebel when I sat on it. I had sat on probably a dozen bikes before this, everything from the HD Sportster, to cruisers, to the Kawasaki Ninja, and nothing clicked. I knew as soon as I sat on it I wanted this bike. Aesthetically, I wanted a matte black bike. Practically, it’s perfect for a smaller frame. I can sit flat footed, and it’s light enough to push, pull, and pick up on my own if needed – this was important to me. It checked off all the boxes, even the ones I didn’t know I had.
What inspired you to get your license?
It wasn’t really inspiration, it was more of just a fun goal. My friend and I were talking about doing a road trip to Glacier National Park, and I said that I’d love to, but that I wanted to do it on my bike. That was almost 5 years ago. It took me 2 years to get my license, and 2 more years to get my bike. I spoke the goal into existence, and during that time, I fell in love with riding.
What were your biggest challenges?
Technically, learning the clutch and throttle. I struggled for 8 hours on the first day of my riding class, I couldn’t stop stalling. I struggled so badly that when I showed up the next day, the other people in the class were like “We didn’t think you’d show up today.” It became easier on the second day. Finding the friction zone is still the number one thing I’ve practiced. My second biggest challenge and also my biggest accomplishment to date was when I went on my New England road trip last fall. I traveled 750miles (1100km) in 3 days. This was the biggest trip I had done, and my friend who was supposed to join me wasn’t able to make it at the last minute, so it was just me riding solo. I was nervous and even thought about ditching the bike and just hopping in the car with my friends, but knew that I had to keep my commitment to myself.
The trip turned out to be a total blast, even though I ran into new situations and crossed a lot of technical scenarios off my list, the biggest challenge was the 4 hours ride back home after dark when it was really cold. I had to mentally brace myself for 4 hours of cold night riding, and it had everything to do with my mental attitude. I decided I was gonna finish strong after a successful trip, and when I pulled into my driveway, my body felt battered but I felt completely triumphant. That trip was a game changer for me. The mental high lasted for like 2 weeks and left me with an attitude of “what else can I do?
How tall are you?
I’m a solid 5’4”
What do you enjoy about biking?
What don’t I love about riding!? First and foremost, my bike represents keeping a really big promise to myself and experiencing the exhilaration and burst of confidence that comes with following through on a goal/commitment and keeping my word – I will never forget the feeling driving away from the dealership. It has taught me to trust myself and my body and to have a respect/appreciation for a machine that can throw me off at any second, but also carries me through some difficult physical situations. It has taught me what it means to really have mental strength, and be in the moment, and how to carry these lessons through to almost every other aspect of my life. I’ve always enjoyed spending time in nature, and appreciated a beautiful nature scene, but when I’m on my bike, I feel like I’m IN nature, as opposed to just looking at it. My experience on my bike changes with my mood, but every time, it’s just what I needed. I can go on and on and on, but I’ll stop there.
Are you the only biker in your family?
Yup! First in my family to ride. I’m working on convincing my family, my dad and brother are planning on getting their endorsement this spring, and I have two younger brothers who I’m persuading too, so when they’re old enough they’ll be ready
What advise would you give to people who want to start?
JUST GO FOR IT, and take a class. I don’t come from a family of bikers and didn’t grow up riding. I had never ridden a bike myself before, and had been on a quad only a handful of times. You can learn every skill you need to, you just have to be willing to put yourself out there. More often than not, I’ve found that if you take the first step, there’s a half a dozen people willing to help you and offer support and advice. Also, if you’ve always been curious, or felt like you wanted to ride, listen to that thought. Riding is in the blood.
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If you have any questions for Mary put them in the comment section.