The Perfect Vehicle -

About Kathy Gill

keg christmas 98I’m an inseam challenged rider and own a 2000 Ducati Monster900, a 1990 Honda TransAlp, a 1981 BMW R65, and a 1967 Honda CT90. (Note: only the CT90 is “short”.) A native of south Georgia, I live in suburban Seattle.

Height: 5′ 2″
Inseam: ~27″
Photo: circa 1998 (like much of the content!)

Although I was around motorcycles while in graduate school, I spent most of my time riding pillion. I was not exposed to motorcycles, per se, growing up. My passion at that time was horses. Family rumor is that my first word was not “momma” or “daddy” but “horse”!

Through junior/senior high school, I rode and showed horses — western class and rodeo-type events such as barrel racing and pole bending. I owned an Appaloosa mare named Beyond and her son, Mr. Bo Jangles (dating myself here).

When I left for college, there was no time for the horses. I gave my parents permission to sell them while I was in graduate school. “Just don’t call me and ask for a final OK.” Still didn’t stop the tears the Christmas I came home and they were gone.

While in graduate school (Virginia Tech), I was introduced to motorcycles by my then-beau, Ralph Semprevio. We bought and restored a BMW R69S. I was most displeased in 1998 when I phoned Ralph to talk about motorcycles and learned that he had sold that bike – without giving me the right of first refusal!

Ralph: I’ve sold the R69S

Kathy: Why didn’t you tell me?!?

Ralph: What would you have done with a bike that has no electric start, only kick-start?

Kathy: Who knows? I might have started riding sooner!

I think there must be a similarity in the love for riding motorcycles and the love for horses. Both can be risky sports; both are very individualistic, although they may be practiced in a social setting. Both can be competitive. And both allow you to feel the wind in your face!

In 2000, I became a certified Washington Motorcycle Safety Instructor; I teach for Evergreen Safety Council and Washington Motorcycle Safety Training. I put 6,000 miles on my 2000 Ducati Monster in the July 2000 PonyExpress fundraiser for breast cancer; I also rode in the 2003 event to Los Angeles.

Professionally, I’m a communicator and jack of all trades, with a specialty in web development and user advocacy as well as the social media and its impact on politics and journalism. I teach at the University of Washington; I also maintain a blog, WiredPen, which focuses on issues of communication and technology; you can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.

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