“I wanted to regret the things I did rather than the things I hadn’t done.” That quote was the culmination of a light-bulb moment for Brit, Rachel Redshaw, as she headed towards 50 and saw the years building a career and bringing up children slipping by fast.
Now, just four months after deciding to do something about it, she’s stunned her husband into silence, amazed her friends and left her children’s classmates in awe.
Quit your comfort zone
“I wanted to challenge myself, so, learning to ride a motorcycle was the obvious thing. I’d always been a bit of a petrolhead and I just got on with it without telling anyone, even my closest family,” she recalls.
“The test was surprisingly straightforward to pass. The reaction from my husband, whose jaw dropped when I rocked up outside the house on my new bike in my leathers, was something I’ll treasure forever.”
Freedom, individuality and fun
Within days of passing her test she bought a Speedmaster named Betty and the pair are now inseparable: “I love her and the freedom she gives me. The reaction I get when I turn up at places on her is great but it’s the sense of freedom, individuality, never say never, fun, escapism, community and power she gives me that makes getting her the best decision I ever made.”
Rachel spent 20 years in communications roles in the global chemical industry. When she had her two children, a boy and a girl now aged 15 and 10, she was doing consultancy work. She’s never been one to rest on her laurels, a fascination in keeping fit leading to a love of triathlons.
A perfect storm of comfort, weight and power
“It wasn’t a midlife crisis because that implies something bad. It was a midlife realisation that I could enjoy everything that goes with riding a Triumph, such as the camaraderie, the exhilaration and the scenery, and then just getting on with it,” she says.
“The Speedmaster gave me the perfect storm of comfort, weight, power and ease of manoeuvrability that I needed. I’d been a cook and a taxi driver to the children, so I also wanted to do something that was just for me and no one else.”
Expect the unexpected
The moment Rachel realised she’d achieved that came when she roared up at her son’s school cricket match on her bike: “The players and crowd turned to look at the bike and when I took off my helmet you could almost hear people saying ‘oh, I wasn’t expecting that’ when they realised I was a woman and a mum. Now my childrens’ friends reckon they have the coolest mum, which doesn’t do me any harm.”
Rachel is based in Chester in England’s north-west and escapes work with rides through nearby Wales to Harlech: “It’s only a couple of hundred km round trip but it recharges me and gives me time to think. Whenever I stop I’m always surrounded by people. The older generation coo about what a classic bike it is and its heritage, while the younger ones just say how cool it is.”
The Triumph bug is now spreading though with Rachel’s 15-year-old son looking to get a 125cc and her “jealous” husband eyeing a Thunderbird Storm: “They were thrilled for me when I got mine but now they’re thinking ‘we need some excitement in our lives, too’.”
Rachel’s not the only one who loves the Speedmaster, see what others think of Triumph’s all-new Bonneville Speedmaster.
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