Robin Ball of Kingston, Ontario has been through some very hard and difficult times but has found within in herself the strength to turn her life around – with a bit of help from a man with a motorcycle!
The story of Robin begins when she was at her lowest. By the time she was in her late twenties, she had lost custody of her four beautiful children to Canada’s Children’s Aid Society and to the family of her ex-husband. While there may have been many factors that contributed to Robin losing her children (in case anyone is wondering, it wasn’t drugs or alcohol), one of the biggest was probably centered in the reality that she never learned how to be a parent because she herself was raised in part by Children’s Aid Society. Now when she needed family more than anything, she had none; her mom had died in 1995 and her father in 2001. She had no one to turn to.
She knew she would have to better herself so at the age of 29, Robin finished her grade 12 diploma. This was 2003 and at about that same time she met Barry, the man who would become her husband.
Barry helped her turn her life around by helping her get a job and thus off of welfare and by taking her on several motorcycle trips, two up, on his 1988 Harley-Davidson Softail. Some of their favorite trips were to Laconia, Lake George, and Port Dover, Ontario for Friday the 13th. It was through these adventures that Robin fell in love with motorcycles even more than before!
Soon Barry sold his Harley and bought a 2005 Victory Hammer. Robin wanted him to get a cruiser type motorcycle so it would be more comfortable for her as a passenger. Perhaps he had something else in mind and was thinking that maybe she would one day ride her own. It was a minor accident, though, that prodded Robin to learn to ride.
In 2010, Robin and Barry were on their way to a visit with Robin’s daughter when she fell off the back of the bike, hurting her knee. Police, firemen, and EMS (yes, all three were called) tried to convince her to seek medical attention because of her diabetes and the fact that she could lose her leg if the injury was not treated. She, however, was afraid that if she didn’t get back on the bike right then and there, she never would. Commonsense prevailed and she did go to the hospital and discovered that her knee was dislocated; she was unable to ride with Barry for six weeks.
Barry was also concerned about her courage and knew that if Robin were to overcome any fears associated with the accident, she would have to take responsibility for herself. With the money that they were saving for a trip, he bought her a motorcycle – a black 1995 Honda Shadow 600. At first, Robin was scared. She thought she would not be able to learn to ride (after years of always being told she was stupid and that she couldn’t learn). But Robin took that first step and enrolled in a motorcycle training course at the local college. She prayed that she would pass the course and she did. She also found out something else about herself – she wasn’t dumb and that she could accomplish what she wanted even if it sometimes takes a bit longer than others.
Six weeks after learning to ride, Robin and Barry rode their motorcycles to Asheville, North Carolina and got married there at City Hall on August 10, 2010. For their honeymoon they rode the Tail of the Dragon and then rushed back to Port Dover, Ontario for another Friday the 13th.
Robin continues to improve her life. She went back to school and got her Microsoft Office Specialist certification in order to help with Barry’s business – a custom motorcycle painter. (This vocation of his is great in that he custom painted Robin’s motorcycle to look like pine wood with Native American artwork that she managed to damage when she dropped the bike once – he had it fixed up in just a few days.) Her Microsoft certification enables her to work for an employment agency where she enjoys learning how to do a variety jobs (and this from a woman who thought she couldn’t learn).
For their one year anniversary, Barry sold Robin’s 600 Honda with the radical paint and and with that money bought her a Honda Shadow 750 ACE. After riding it home that evening, she was grinning from ear to ear; a grin that stayed on her face for the next few weeks. Robin continues to ride that ACE everywhere as she does not drive a car. If she wants to go somewhere, she either must rely on Barry to take her or she jumps on her motorcycle. They both have come to the conclusion that it may be time for Robin to learn to drive a car – she does live in Canada!
So for a woman whose life was in turmoil just a few short years ago, Robin, through her own self-reliance and from the love and support of a wonderful husband, has indeed turned her life around. She enjoys sharing her story and experiences with other women riders, is willing to listen to and take advice from them, and is willing to share advice when asked including “take the motorcycle course and that will tell you if it is right for you or not.”
As the fastest growing segment of the motorcycling public, women are more inclined than ever before to move from the passenger pillion to the front of the seat and to grab those handlebars. In this series of articles called “She Rides Her Own” we will profile a woman motorcyclist, what makes her unique, and how she got started riding on two wheels. If you would like to share a story with our readers on knotmove.com, email to: [email protected]
Other She Rides Her Own articles:
- Meet Flo: motorcyclist, adventurer, crusader
- Meet Lisa: a motorcyclist who knows perseverance
- Meet Darlene: a motorcyclist proving it’s never too late
- Meet Ralyn: leaping head on into motorcycling
- Meet Cat: she really does have nine lives
- Meet Brittany: teaching us how to avoid being skinned alive
- Meet Linda: showing us that love endures
- Meet LeftLane: living a life that matters
- Meet Abby: she rode back from Hell
- Meet Pinky: she is passionate about motorcycles
- Meet Laura: enthusiast, racer, and mentor
- Meet Jackie: trading up and enjoying the ride
- Meet Lori: living a meaningful life
- Meet Leilani: finding a motorcycle that is just right
- Meet Karen: finding blessings in unusual places
- Meet Liz: Making my way to the motorcycle
- Meet Sharon: she overcame addiction to find passion and purpose