Two articles on a woman’s point of view on riding ATVs appeared in this space in the Standard Examiner on April 19 and August 9, 2018. Since then, I have heard from more women who wanted to weigh in on the subject. I have also observed much, the thought of which, makes me smile. Not all of the characters I have met on the trail have been men.
Judith Ipsen of Willard, Utah shares a thought that I have found to be a common thread among female riders – they are more interested in riding the machine than they are in maintaining it. When there is a man to fix it, the need to learn seems to fade.
She finds their Polaris RZR more fun to ride than an ATV. Riding with her husband, Frank gives her a chance to enjoy the scenery. Ipsen said, “The biggest drawback is that I am a control freak … he has the wheel while I don’t have so much as a brake.”
When she sees a steep hill coming or a drop off a sizable ledge, she has just time enough to scream, “Oh no Frank! Don’t – oh! That was fun!” She has learned to close her eyes and go to her happy place if she is not sure about what is coming.
LaRaye Sheriean of North Ogden shared a Tote Gote with her husband until they got into riding ATVs. She said, “I rode on the back with my husband, Mike. I thought he went over every bump he could find. It was hard to see around him so I missed seeing a lot of things.”
Six years ago they bought a RZR. “I really enjoyed it,” she said. “Now I can relax, enjoy the scenery, and take pictures. I tried driving a few times, but I got yelled at, so it is better to be a passenger.”
Joan Powell is the Mayor of Wellington, Utah. She prefers to ride a trail than to drive on a road. She has been instrumental in developing the Arapeen Trail System between Manti and Ferron.
She is grateful for a patient husband, “who stood by me when I thought a six-inch drop was too big for me to get over.” That was then, and now I have ridden with her and from a man’s perspective – it is hard to keep up with her.
She is now involved with the Badlands Trail System in Carbon, Duchesne, and Uinta Counties. Her goal is to have an access point from Wellington that will connect with this new system.
Having been on a couple of rides with Larry Urry and his wife, Mary, of Layton, I have found Larry to be the timid one. They got into riding with the purchase of a Yamaha YXZ 1000r.
This is no entry level machine. It is a powerful sport machine that he drives like a grandma. I’ve watched Wild Mary get behind the wheel. She doesn’t care if her husband yells. She has the time of her life while Larry hardly opens his eyes during the entire ride.
Robin Belnap of South Weber is a skilled rider and a dresser. She is the only girl I know who wears high-heeled tennis shoes.
Robin drives a pink 800 RZR named “Pinky.” She loves to ride with her husband, Greg, but in separate machines. I asked her if she will let her husband ride with her and she said, “Oh, no, not with me. He is too critical of my driving.”
She blames him for a broken axle on “Pinky.” Thinking he was improving the performance of her machine, he upgraded the tires to 32-inches. She thinks the larger tires put a strain on her drive train when they were riding the slick rock in Moab.
My wife, Gayle, will go for a ride with me, but the weather has to be perfect, the timing has to be just right, the trail can’t be too challenging, and beautiful scenery is required. With those requirements, I have to pick the trails carefully. However, I have learned that if our kids want to go, she is in.
When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and viva la difference.