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Three things I’ve learned

Added November 17, 2016
DeAnna on motorcycle

A Rider’s Journey: This is the ninth in a series of blog posts by DeAnna DeCaluwe about her journey to recreate her father’s last ride.


Since I began this journey, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about clutches, foot peg styles, safe attire, how to ride—and I’ve made several new friends along the way. Here are the top three things I’ve learned, which I thought others might be interested in:

Everyone—and I mean everyone—knows someone who’s been in an accident (even if they don’t)

The minute I would mention learning to ride a motorcycle, people would cringe. Everyone seems to have a “sister-in-law’s brother’s best friend from college” who was seriously hurt in a motorcycle crash. People either seem to love riding or are scared to death of it. Me? I’m now somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

While some stories actually do scare me and make me question my decision to ride, I also think they help to make me a safer driver. Training, practice, proper gear, and staying alert can help reduce risks on the road—no matter if you’re on a motorcycle or in a vehicle.

Motorcyclists have their own language (and it’s awesome)

From “keep the shiny side up” to ATGATT (all the gear all the time), to the motorcycle “wave” (which is still very much alive in central Wisconsin), motorcyclists have their own amazing—and welcoming— culture and verbiage.

One of my favorite sayings that I learned early in this crazy adventure (which I heard from multiple riders) is “loud pipes save lives.” All these years I thought that loud pipes were just kind of, well,  annoying. I never actually knew that loud pipes are actually used as a safety measure. If other drivers can’t see you, they can hear you, and that could mean all the difference in the world.

The best things in life are not things at all

The best things are the people you share them with. While this may be an old cliché, I found the truth in this saying throughout this journey. From the time I announced I would be learning to ride through the day of the re-creation, I was surrounded by an unbelievable support network of family, friends, and co-workers. All of them listened patiently to my stories and gave me support and encouragement to move forward. I’ve appreciated all of it greatly—and likely more than any of them will ever know.

Along with my amazing support network, my story has played out online as well. Those who do know me realize this was also a big and difficult step for me. I’m an introvert, so it wasn’t only learning to ride that pushed me out of my comfort zone during this journey. I want you all to know that I have read every comment and all of the words of encouragement written in every post published. It amazes me how many total strangers followed my journey and encouraged and supported me along the way. I’m so greatly appreciative, and I feel blessed to have had this experience.

Thank you all.

Thank you Dairyland Insurance team, and everyone who helped me make memories that will last a lifetime. This is an experience I will never forget, and something I will treasure forever. More than anything, I am happy to be able to do something that my father loved. I’m excited to see what the future holds.




Woman Smile Motorcycle Outfit

DeAnna DeCaluwe, a married mother of two boys, is the newest member of the Dairyland Cycle family. To recreate her father’s last ride, DeAnna is learning to ride this summer. Join her as she takes a rider’s journey.