The Valkyrie Rocker C

Gayle is a living, breathing example that you’re never too old to fall in love with riding a motorbike.

I’VE BEEN a journalist working for The Courier Mail, and I’ve been a teacher for many years and I have recently been a Deputy Principal in schools near Brisbane. People don’t believe it when I tell them I ride a Harley.

I’m still learning riding techniques and I enrol in Q Ride courses regularly. I believe getting an open licence is just the beginning to learning to ride. I used to be scared of bikes and never imagined that I would love riding my Harley like I do now. I think more women are learning to ride and I admire women who seem to be able to park their bikes with effortless ease. I’m still working on parking my Rocker quickly and smoothly.

I love cornering and highway riding. Cornering took me about 18 months to master. Now I’m confident to ride in most conditions.

I have learnt to keep my packing to a minimum when we go on long trips. I enjoy travelling to all the new places that we ride to and meeting new people along the way.

About four years ago, my husband bought a Springer. I was pillion on the back of that bike for about six months. I had never been on a motorbike before. I’d always liked the look of them but thought they were too dangerous to ride. I loved being a pillion. However, sitting on the back watching the world go by, didn’t look like it was as much fun as riding your own bike.

So I went to Q Ride and two great instructors spent about 14 hours training me to get my open licence. They were so dedicated that they even stayed out in the rain watching me go round and round practising my cornering in a carpark area.

Finally, I went for my licence, and to my relief and excitement, I passed. I was 45.

I went riding on a 650 Suzuki for about six months. No problems.

Then my husband bought me my first Harley, a 2007 883 Sportster for Christmas. Before you could blink, I had a Race Tuner and new air cleaner and pipes fitted. It rode like a 1200. It was great. I rode about 12,000 km on that bike. I soon became a member of Brisbane HOG.

In 2008, I had my first look at the new model Rockers. I fell in love on sight. The Rocker C Custom became a must have. So I bought the blue and chrome beauty.

Not too long after that, I started to bling it up. Thanks to my wonderful husband, Billy, and friends, Aden Jacobi and Skinny Mick, I was able to develop a bike that I’m really proud to ride. I chose a female Viking theme, a Valkyrie. My husband has Viking ancestors and he has a CVO Springer that is his Thor bike. So I thought it would be neat to do a female version so that that we had a themed pair.

Billy pulled the bike apart and put it back together for me. I had the painted oil tank chromed. I had lots of other bits and pieces chromed as well. Kunda Park Electroplating did a wonderful job on all the chroming.

I had leads replaced with braided leads. New mirrors with LED lights were wired into the bars. I sent the wheels to Melbourne to Huntingdale and had them chromed. I had a Race Tuner kit installed. Billy fitted a Screamin’ Eagle air cleaner kit which he had taken off one of his Springers. This cover flows with the ribbed oil tank. New Vance & Hines short radius pipes were added. The result was awesome.

Skinny Mick and Aden began the paint job. The back fender has my Valkyrie. On the left side of the petrol tank, there’s a Viking ship with the Viking souls going into Viking Heaven, Valhalla, and Valkyrie’s Viking sword.

On the right-hand-side of the petrol tank is all of my Valkyrie’s jewellery. I love the way Aden has incorporated the Harley-Davidson badges into the artwork.

On the left side, the badge is part of the sail of the Viking ship.

On the right side the badge is turned into a bangle.

The front fender has a Viking designed cross. Along the centre console is a black rose — the symbol of female riders for Harley-Davidson.

There are lots of little extras like chrome toppers and painted blue flame covers.

I left the seat the way it was. I actually like the seat set-up on the Rocker C even though most people ‘bag’ it as being too bulky. I think the Rocker C’s pillion seat is really innovative and one of the more futuristic features of the bike. I like having the pillion seat handy when required and I’ve had a luggage rack made to fit.

The colours are all cool colours to work in with the blue frame. It is classy and not too overdone. I think it looks fantastic. I now have a unique Rocker — a one of a kind.

So at nearly 50, I’m having the best time of my life. I’m not scared to ride anymore and I’m proud to be a lady rider. I hope I’ll be riding my Valkyrie Rocker in my ’70s.

Photos by Jules @ Top Gun; words by Gayle Williamson

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