Marian Nathan gleefully blames her passion for riding on pop star Pink. It was in the latter’s music video There You go. Pink gets a call from her ex-boyfriend asking for a ride. She gets on her sports bike, zips through the streets and rides to the top of a multi-storey carpark overlooking her ex’s apartment. She speeds up her bike towards the edge, jumps off at the last minute and watches the bike fly through the window and crashes into his apartment.
Marian was only a preteen then, but that image anchored her love for riding. The RSAF regular was dead set on getting her Class 2 license despite protest from her then-boyfriend now husband. “I was only 18. My boyfriend insisted on accompanying me to the Driving Centre. He was trying to convince me to take Class 3 instead. So I relented,” says Marian.
Once she fulfilled his condition of getting a Class 3 license, she went on to enrol for Class 2B. Not being able to stop her, the boyfriend signed up as well despite not liking motorbikes. “If he can’t stop me from learning to ride, he wanted to convince me to just be his pillion. He didn’t understand that I never wanted to be a pillion. I wanted to be a rider,” says Marian.
Ten years later, Marian and her husband share a passion for riding. “He goes for cruisers while I go for sportier bikes.” Her first motorcycle was a Honda CBR 150. She has owned seven bikes over the years. Marian currently rides a blue Honda CBR 1100XX Super Blackbird but claims Honda CBR 400 as her top favourite. “I had that bike the longest. I have gone for many long trips to Malaysia with it. So there are many fond memories.”
One of her most memorable moments as a rider was when she was hit by a car while queuing for a U-turn. The driver was on his handphone and distracted. “It was a gentle hit, but my bike dropped because I wasn’t holding on to it,” says Marian. The driver was very concerned. He helped me push it to a nearby carpark and apologised profusely. He offered to send me to my destination. It turns out that we were both going for the same course, and he was my classmate! He had to explain to the lecturer why we were both late.”
Every now and then Marian finds herself explaining to others that women who love riding are not necessarily manly. They are just as feminine as any other women. “The only difference between a male and female rider is the height,” she quips.
Currently, she is a mother to two lovely kids. So, practising safe riding habits is now more than just common sense. “I always wait for the light to turn green before proceeding. This might seem obvious, but I have seen too many riders riding off in anticipation of a green light with very near misses. I also always look out for pedestrians who like to cross the road in between stationary cars without looking out.”
Marian has only one advice to other ladies who are thinking of getting a bike. “Go for it! You only live once. You don’t want to be older and look back on your life with regrets.”
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