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I’m in tears as I write this: I’m selling my Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. I know it’s old and not that special. But please allow me to explain . . .

My dad is a badass. No joke. He’s a Vietnam vet who’s as tough as nails. He always had a Harley. I went for rides on the back of Dad’s bike as a kid. As one of his three girls, it was a special time. Just Dad and me on the bike. Growing up, I knew I would own a bike. I do. And now I’m selling it.

I rode my red and black Ninja all over Montana in my white helmet and black and white jacket, open carrying my XD .45 on my right hip. To me, the combination was freedom squared. In fact, my love of my bike is inextricably linked to my love of firearms.

I’ll never forget people asking why I carry on a bike. I rode my bike to the range to teach a woman in Montana to shoot (she followed me in her Toyota Rav4). I rode it to gather ammo for a shotgun shootout with friends. I carried over 15 lbs. of ammo in a backpack as I rode my bike up a mountain.

I enjoy all things that allow me to feel free. I felt free on this bike. But I’m a mother now, with greater responsibilities that require greater caution. Some day I’ll buy another bike. If I move to Wyoming [ED: Sara meant to say Austin, Texas], I’ll open carry as I ride. Boom.

Guns and bikes mix. No matter where you stand on either, if you love one, you’ll at least love the idea of freedom emanating from the other. It’s a sad day for me but it’s onto bigger and better things. And I still have my guns.

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  1. My sister took up leatherworking as a hobby. My birthday present this year was a handmade side-saddle holster fit for my Marlin leverguns and my Triumph Scrambler. Guns and bikes are the best damn combination ever.

  2. Bikes is cool. But as we advance in age we realize we don’t heal as quickly or as well. SIGH.

    • I quit rock climbing when the vision of my face smashing in to that granite wall just got to realistic. In my 20’s, it was fuzzy and ignorable, but by my mid-30’s it was all Imax n shit.

        • I must be living my life in reverse!
          Started rockclimbing at 34.
          Got my LTCH and purchased my first firearm at 39.
          I’m now 46 and am giving serious thought to getting a motorbike.
          And, BTW, one of my shooting buddies is in her mid 60’s; her Doc had to tell her that because of a developing medical condition, she Had To give up her bike. She argued with him for a week before she finally decided; maybe he was right.
          We don’t stop exploring because we get old; we get old because we stop exploring!
          I’ve an older brother who is a Doctor; he says there is a reason why lots of Docs refer to them as ‘Donorcycles’.

        • Donorcycles… that term really pisses me off. Thousands of people ride without ever getting into a serious accident. Ride defensively, keep your head on a swivel, avoid stupid people, stupid places, and stupid situations…

          Sounds a lot like I’m talking about how to safely carry a firearm doesn’t it?

        • Chrispy, ride the freeways in the bay area. You cannot avoid stupid people doing stupid things. Just ain’t possible.

  3. I always hear the good ole “I’m a _______ and can’t ride anymore is too dangerous “. I mean its a choice and that’s great but the sport didn’t just randomly become more dangerous out of nowhere.

    It is good to weigh risk vs reward but let’s keep something clear, motorcycling will always be dangerous but with the right training, PPE, and situational awareness you can minimize the risk. Outside circumstance do not change the danger.

    • It’s hard to cart kids around on a motorcycle.

      One of the many reasons I will remain child free.

    • Not exactly.

      Your reflexes and reaction time slow as you age. Riding becomes more dangerous with time.

      • I can’t agree with that fully…I can still grab a fly out of the air and on the occasion when I fumble something I can catch it before it hits the ground. Not ALL the time but more likely than not. I will be 49 this year so go figure!

        I also plan on buying my first motorcycle (since riding them when I was 12 or so) within the next year. FINALLY got the kids settled down enough that I can afford a little fun BUT I am thinking side-car. So I can take my grandson with me on rides and haul the long guns to the range!

    • No matter how good you are, there is always “the other guy”. And when a bike meets a car, it’s usually very bad for the bike and the bike rider.

      • Yep.

        Riding motorcycles in general make living near a high-level trauma center worthwhile.

        • False analogy.

          The weapon is inert until you elect to draw and use it.

          On the cycle, the danger is there the moment you start to ride it until the moment

          Now if I was walking in a bad part of town gun in hand and finger on the trigger…

    • PPE and awareness isn’t going to do sh*t when a Buick runs a red light and plows into you at 55mph.

      Motorcycle accidents rarely end well for the rider.

    • Hey Andres, I agree with you. In spirit. I’ve ridden multiple motorcycles for over 15 years. On a ride back from Austin, TX to Orange County, CA, a piece of metal that I couldn’t see at night smacked into my left foot. I had blood and bruising all over. I didn’t go down, but it certainly could have happened. That’s technically an accident.

      An experienced rider can ride for decades without and issue. Or an experienced rider, such as your truly, can get hit by a van while putting gas in his tank by some idiot lady who isn’t paying attention. It’s was my left calf muscle that got it that time, as the force of the impact pushed me into the big box that holds the fuel nozzles. I didn’t go down, but got a decent bloody laceration from the left side foot peg when it mashed my leg.

      While I don’t like the doom and gloom “you’ll die if you ride a motorcycle crowd,” it’s tough to get around the facts that the mileage death rate for motorcycles is about 20 times higher than for passenger care and trucks.

      Anyways, I still have a motorcycle and I still ride. I ride because it’s awesome, not because it’s safe. If the safety crowd really got going, they’d make a serious effort to ban motorcycles. Just about anyone can plunk down 5-10 grand or so and get a bike that can exceed 180 MPH.

  4. You can open carry while riding in Nevada. Lots of nice roads here too, once you get outside Vegas that is.

  5. If you like the free feeling of a motorcycle, try a horse with a Marlin 30-30 in a scabbard under the fender of your saddle.

  6. I sold my Harley recently for some of the same reasons.

    But I kept my guns and when I get my finances better settled, I plan to get another one.

  7. Texas is too hot to ride a bike wearing all that get-up anyway. Texas Summer runs from mid-June right up to the end of October. The peak temp happens between June 30 and Sept. 15 – Every. Single. Day. Freedom can be enjoyed while sitting in an air-conditioned pickup.

  8. I’m with you, Sara. I gave up bikes for 10 years when my kids were really young. Risk management won out.

    The thing that got me back on was a friend dropped dead one day. She was 47. No hint of heart trouble. She had plans to ride again. She never got the chance.

    My wife and I talked it over and came to the conclusion that it was worth the risk. “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.” That was 13 years and six bikes ago. My current ride – Like yours, 500 Ninja. Keep it and ride it once a week, just to keep you and it in shape.

    • That is the reason I will not stop riding. My decision to get a motorcycle was the best decision I ever made.

      If you wait for the right time to do everything you’ll live your whole life and have done nothing.

  9. Haha, my wife told me just the other day she wanted me to take her on my bike with her (very, very, I mean seriously) pink AR.
    Unfortunately my bike is in the shop, and her AR is a range queen with no way to strap it to her body.. so that probably will not happen anytime soon.

  10. “But I’m a mother now, with greater responsibilities that require greater caution.”

    Keep the bike, give your children the same wonderful memories your Dad gave you. We can’t wrap our children in bubble wrap. Life should be lived and not watched. You can do it responsibly.

    Good Luck!

  11. I tell you what, as a native Montanan, there is nothing as hot as a sexy woman packing a side-arm on horseback.
    Coming in a close second, sitting on a motorcycle. May I sit up and say ARF!

  12. I sold my Ninja a few years ago…and bought an 800cc BMW, which I just traded in on a 1300cc BMW on Saturday.

    If you do come back to the world of motorcycles, buy some better pants, because those jeans in the picture look like they’d last about five seconds in a slide on pavement. And check out BMWs.

    • “If you do come back to the world of motorcycles, buy some better pants, because those jeans in the picture look like they’d last about five seconds in a slide on pavement.”

      No kidding.

      In fairness, they could be something like ‘Draggin Jeans”, Kevlar-lined jeans:

      Around 125 USD.

      They also make a Kevlar-lined jeans jacket, 190 USD.

      If a picture is worth a thousand words, see their ‘See The Proof’ owner submitted pics section.

    • My 2005 BMW K1200S and 2004 BMW R1150RT were the least reliable motorcycles I’ve ever own. The maintenance was also ridiculously expensive. I sold the K12 back to BMW because it wouldn’t stop stalling. It had multiple “service bulletins.” The 1150 battery would die if it wasn’t riden every 2 weeks. Those issues never affected my Hondas, Kawasakis, and Suzukis.

      I’d like to enthusuastically recommend any brand that isn’t a BMW.

      • “I’d like to enthusuastically recommend any brand that isn’t a BMW.”


        And if paying through the nose for maintenance isn’t your cup of tea, I’d steer clear of Harleys as well.

  13. Ah yes, as Slick Willy used to say, ‘I feel your pain’. I’m about to trade off my Yamaha R1 on a brand new Triumph Speed Triple. But in my case the pain is mostly coming from my left knee and hip that were injured in a motorcycle accident 22 years ago. Back in the day they used to sell t-shirts that said ‘You don’t stop riding because you get old, you get old because you stop riding.’ Well, I’m getting old, but I’m not going to stop riding. My days of tripling the speed limit are probably over though. BTW, I ride with a Ruger GP100 strapped to my hip. Life is good.

      • As her name is Sara Tipton, it could be ‘The Truth About Sara Tipton’, but I could be wrong…

    • +2

      The recent flood of Sara Tipton posts seems an awful lot like attention-seeking, LOOK AT ME I’M A GIRL, nonsense. Yeah, great, you have a female gun blogger. We get it. How about you ask her to focus on guns instead of including them tangentially in posts about herself, complete with lots of pictures of herself. Looking at her posts:

      I see LOTS of pics of her. Looking at Robert’s or Tyler’s or Jeremy’s etc posts, I see a lot more pictures of guns, gear, or something gun or gear-related. I dunno, maybe you found that trying to reach a more female demographic requires women writing fluff articles about themselves with lots of selfies. If so, then kudos and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter. But these LOOK I’M A GIRL selfie articles get old after a whole. Er, got old. Surely there are more female gun bloggers out there who have actual useful knowledge that could pull in the female demographic while not littering your website with selfies and fluff, no?

      • “How about you ask her to focus on guns instead of including them tangentially in posts about herself, complete with lots of pictures of herself.”

        Exacto, TTAG’s ‘Mission Statement’ reads:

        “Robert Farago founded The Truth About Guns in February of 2010 to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.”

        Not just gear and gun test reports.

        The pics of an attractive women are a ‘bonus’, and rather popular with a lot of readers…

      • Couldn’t agree more… I posted a reply very similar in tone and content to yours to one of her previous posts, but it got deleted as being a “personal attack” against the site and the author. I have nothing personal against Ms. Tipton. But her writing is terrible from a technical/grammar point of view. And her content is terrible, for all the reasons you mention. this one takes the cake though. Its literally an attempt for her to sell a motorcycle… and an excuse to show a picture of herself on a bike. Oh, I’m sorry, she mentions a gun ONCE in the article, and the picture has a gun in it… so I guess it slides. I LOVE this website, like REALLY love it. But these articles are getting oooooold.

    • I think TTAG could use some more female writers, and when she sticks to guns, I generally like Sara’s articles. But the last couple days have seen some pretty weak material, with “also, guns!” added as an afterthought. This one in particular is particularly egregious in that regard.

      RF, can’t you send her a damn gun to review or something? Sara, how about a review of that snubbie you’re holding in the picture from earlier today. Taurus 85, I think?

      (Also, you don’t have to put “Sara Tipton” in the title of each article, her name’s in the byline… We don’t see titles like that from any of the other contributors.)

  14. Trade it in on a trike or on a touring bike to which you can add a sidecar. That would be a Harley or a BMW. (My wife was a neurosurgery nurse when we met and she said no motorcycles. I agreed and we are still together. But I always wanted a big touring bike!)

  15. I am confused.

    I went for rides on the back of Dad’s bike as a kid. As one of his three girls, it was a special time. Just Dad and me on the bike. Growing up, I knew I would own a bike.

    Doesn’t jibe with this.

    I enjoy all things that allow me to feel free. I felt free on this bike. But I’m a mother now, with greater responsibilities that require greater caution. Some day I’ll buy another bike.

    Was your Dad wrong? It’s your choice to make but hopefully you realize that you are depriving your children of the very memories that you cherish.

    Regardless, carry on. 🙂

  16. Another Vietnam Vet, and one of the best days in my life was riding my bike to the airport, parking next to a Piper Cherokee, getting in said Piper and flying around for a couple of hours, then getting back to the airport and playing on the bike for a couple more hours. Sadly both the bike and the license are gone.

  17. I got paid to ride a Harley for 7 years, and I had to carry too. Winters were harsh, but riding while it’s snowing? Totally mesmerizing!
    Save up for a dual sport and take the kids for rides when they get a bit older.

    • “Winters were harsh, but riding while it’s snowing? Totally mesmerizing!”

      The thought of a motorcycle hitting black ice on an overpass in winter sounds a lot less like mesmerizing and a lot more like terrifying…

      • tom plays in the bush with buff and man eating crocs and bullet proof waterbucks. He has a whole other take on dangerous than the rest of us.

        • “He has a whole other take on dangerous than the rest of us.”

          Yeah, but he chickened out on eating the native-eating croc… 🙂

        • Eee-yew. That’s just nasty. Funny, in a warped kind of way. But nasty, still. I think I would have had veggie pizza flown in after that discovery, at least for a couple of nights.

  18. Sorry to hear. I had to sell my on and off-road bikes and i started riding when I was 10. I feel like part of me was lopped off. Sux.

  19. Hope you’re making the right choice. Bikes can be dangerous, but I think it’s more of a matter of how you ride them. Take my family for instance one brother has a gsxr 2 kids and after riding with him I think it’s quite a risk for him to ride but my other brother has 3 kids and his own bike but he rides it differently so I don’t see that much risk involved with him riding. If you ride like the first (weaving through traffic at double or triple the speed limit on the rear wheel only) it’s a good decision if you ride like the other (somewhere close to the speed limit with good situational awareness) then giveing it up might be unnecessary. Ok, I was exaggerating a little, he keeps it on two wheels at least half of the time.

    • There’s only so much that’s under your control though. Three weeks ago my wife was leading a group ride and came around a blind corner to ~100+ yards of road covered in diesel. She went down and slid 40 yards – her bike wedged itself between the guardrail and the road and was totaled. I happened to catch a glimpse of her standing by the side of the road through the trees as I entered the corner, so I slowed quite a bit but still went down as soon as I hit the spill. Being fully geared up allowed us both to walk away with relatively minor injuries, but it was just luck that there wasn’t a car coming the other way when she went down, and that she managed to slide without hitting the guardrail herself. You do what you can to ride safely, but you never really know what’s coming around the next corner. The fact that riding is such a big part of our life is part of the reason we don’t have kids yet, so I can totally understand Sarah’s impulse to stop riding – but I’d say she might want to consider switching to dirt, as that’s generally safer and something she could get the kids started with too.

  20. Back in the days when I was riding, nobody ever heard of a Ninja, or any other Nip bike for that matter.
    You were either a “Hog” man or you road Limy machines. I had several, English Indian Trailblazers, and a couple of Norton’s. Then I saw a BMW that came over with a guy from Germany. Beautiful machine!

  21. Where should Sarah Tipton live?

    Sarah Tipton is selling her bike.

    What will Sarah Tipton eat for breakfast tomorrow?

    How many times can Sarah Tipton get her name in the article title in a 24 hour period?

  22. Some folks need to lighten up. RF may own TTAG, but it’s made up of the people who contribute to it And right now Sara just happens to be on a hot streak. Last year it was KJW and next year it’ll be someone else. So enjoy the variety while you can, I say.

    I ride a Kawasaki ZRX1100. It’s easier for me because I’m single and not used to anyone telling me what to do regardless. Of course the LCP rides in my jeans anytime I’m on the bike, but I’m looking into getting a few shoulder rigs for my G20 and 1911 as well. Concealment will be no problem under my FG Kilimanjaro textile jacket, either, and should I have to take it off, Georgia is an open carry state anyway.

    Hope you get another bike again as soon as possible!


  23. My wife sold her Ninja ex250 and I sold my R6 when our son was a toddler. We feel your pain.

    We still haven’t bought a new bike; but we did buy an AK last year while think about buying another motorcycle.

  24. At least we’ve got Codrea’s work to read now. Every cloud has a silver lining.

  25. Full disclosure-Fifty plus biker who makes a living with a gun. I have been biking for over thirty five years, thanks to my father, a 1975 PUCH and a Sears parking lot in Brooklyn which happened to be closed on Sundays then. Life has carried on and now I am a married father of a soon to be 15 year old young lady. I have had mishaps on bikes over the last three and a half decades, some of them severe enough to make most people think twice about getting back on a bike. I was asked by my wife as I recovered from my last brush with quickly rising asphalt, as I moped over the astronomical repair bill that I knew I would face, “Will this make you hang up your boots?” I just smiled and said nothing, as I knew the answer would not be one to make her smile. You see, we are ALL capable of change, but capability does not necessarily transfer to desire. I cannot give up bikes, the same way I find it undesirable to forsake guns. Both of these have made me the person that I am today. I am not a person who owns guns or rides bikes. I am a biker and a 2nd amendment supporter full heart and soul. I know that I shall age progressively , and accept that I will weaken and My eyesight and coordination will suffer as I grow frail. That does not mean that I will give up my passions, but I will adapt as need be. If as I age I find it difficult to keep the Harley upright, I will switch to a smaller bike, or ad training wheels if need be, trikes keep older guys and gals on the road, as well as bikers who suffer other handicaps. As far as firearms are concerned, I can always move on down to lesser guns and/or weaker ammunition. The point is I enjoy what I do, and hope to continue enjoying and sharing with my daughter as she grows. I know the numerous risks associated with riding, and while I understand and respect the choice of those who choose to forgo the ride and embrace the safety of the caged vehicle, I choose to take the risks that come with motorcycling. Ride safe, be safe. Moleon Labe.

    • There’s no shortage of articles and all are gun related in some way. Told in context makes the articles interesting and easy to relate to. No one makes you read an article. If it bores you, go on to another.

  26. Everyone is texting now, it’s just that more dangerous now. I sold my last bike when I had kids. Damn, though, I miss riding.

    • Finally someone gets it. I loved my old SV650s when I lived in rural wi. Moving to a metro in another state where people can’t not look at a phone, not so much. I miss riding but I do not miss worrying about dying for someone who’d only get a slap on a wrist. Texting and driving deaths need an automatic 15 year sentence.

  27. I can not recall ever having read a comment on TTAG that claimed the path to preservation of our 2A rights was limited to increasing the number of elderly, portly and pale gentlemen in our ranks. As the shooting sports, and gun culture, attract increasing numbers of people who are not equipped with man parts, and people who are anything but elderly, portly and pale, we are going to be exposed to other ways of thinking about things and other things to think about.

    Does anyone remember the debut of Colion Noir’s show? The comments by our elderly, portly and pale compatriots on his hip and stylish format were not exactly welcoming. Be prepared for lots more WTF moments as we see more contributions from people who do not look, act or think exactly the way we do. This is what diversity looks like (new fangled ideas). This is what the future of firearms freedom in our country depends on.

  28. Don’t worry, they’re just like guns. Once they’re in your blood they’re there to stay. You’ll be feeling that void soon enough and find another one to buy

  29. Cool! Glad TTAG can be used as a personal market place. I’m having a yard sale next weekend and I’m selling boondoggle key chain at our town marketplace the next weekend. Can you post that up for me? Thanks…

    Really, TTAG. Stick to news and gun related info. Sale your used shit on EBAY like the rest of us. If you go the Craigslist method, tool up. There’s crazies out there.

    • I didn’t see it as a craiglist ad so maybe I need to take some of the pills you have to visualize it.

  30. I feel you, ma’am. I would probably have bought a bike by now as well, but parental duties call. Maybe someday, though.

  31. I too would ride and open carry if I could in Florida.

    I totally understand the risk though. I’ve had two accidents so far on my Ducati Monster. Luckily I’m young and you do heal way better when you’re young. I recently had to explain to other why I still want to ride when it is dangerous. It is freeing and I do everything I can to mitigate injury. I’ve got just as much into my gear as firearms… good gear is like a good gun, it may save you.

  32. Sara,

    I’ve ridden cruisers since ’73 when a girlfriend showed me how while I was stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA. I’ve ridden ever since.

    The only time I didn’t ride was when my kids reached the age where most excursions included one or both of them. I got tired of feeding my machine new batteries every year from lack of use and sold it.

    Once my kids grew weary of being dependent on their parents and wanting more ‘freedom’, and I saw I didn’t always need four wheels any more, I went out and bought a bigger, better new machine and resumed riding most every dry day. In San Diego, that is almost all year long.

    Once the freedom of riding is ‘in your blood’ you never lose the urge to ride. I’ll ride until I physically can’t. Keeps you sharp. Reflexes may not be as good as when I first started in my 20’s, but experience and wisdom fill the gaps.

    I read an article a while back about an 85 y/o dude who was still riding. I follow my blood lines which have been generally healthy, have aged more slowly than average, and live long. Like that 85 y/o dude, I’ll ride until I physically can’t.

    Open carrying; I wish. This is CA; ’nuff said!

  33. Good For You! You will ride again. Being a Vietnam Vet and a Motorcycle rider I quit riding while children growing up, did buy a small 90 Honda so kids could learn too ride!
    After Youngest left the nest! invested in another Motorcycle and I always carried, Even in a Nasty Accident {carried a Mouse gun in Inside jacket pocket} gave the First responders quit a start while cutting Leather Jacket off
    Hi way patrol, asked my kids if they knew that I carried a gun, all said yes, then asked if they knew it was loaded my son then asked if the patrol mans gun was loaded with round in chamber?
    Teach Kids both and how too be safe, you then enjoy the Best of Three worlds!

  34. If my spine would take the vibration I’d be in a friends plane in a second. The big thing here is 49cc scooters/mopeds since no insurance or a real license is required. I miss my triumph, but you will recover.

  35. maybe I overlooked something, but I didn’t see where Sara posted a price or contact information, this would lead me to believe that she is not using TTAG as her personal Craigs List market place. appears she is sharing one of those many life changing situations, where we do what is required , not what is desired. if anyone is offended by her numerous posts, I believe robert f would post their articles if they were worthy of consideration.

  36. Life is like a chess game: Sometimes you have to sacrifice a piece to advance.

    “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!”. – Gunny Highway

    Keep your eye on the goal. The end game is all that matters.

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