Q & A with Open Road Girl Founder, Malinda Johnson

Everyone has a story, right? In this Q & A with Open Road Girl Founder, Malinda Johnson, you will learn hers and hopefully be inspired to share yours with the ORG community as well! Ready? Let’s burn rubber with Malinda!

Q: When did you begin riding Motorcycles Solo?

Malinda: “In 2005 at age 32 I decided to finally take up riding motorcycles.”

Q: What was the spark to begin riding?

Malinda: “Seeing two or three chicks on bikes looked totally bad-ass and cool. I lit something in me. I always liked the sound of a loud motorcycle, even passing by. My criteria for dating was always: No kids and must ride a motorcycle, even before I ever rode, and even after I had two kids.
In 2005 I was dating a guy who asked about buying a motorcycle. He said, ‘What’s stopping you from getting you one?’
‘I don’t know,’ I said.

“I bought my first bike brand new before I knew how to ride. I got a class included with the purchase on motorcycle safety. When I arrived, and ambulance was there, and it freaked me out! When I asked what happened, I learned a girl had flipped over the handlebars under-estimating the power the bike she was on had and she was not good with the shifting. I did the test on a 250 CC Buell. I asked the woman who checked people in for the class, ‘What if I don’t pass?’
She said, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll pass?’
‘But what if don’t?’
‘Don’t worry, you will,‘ she assured me.

“I can’t drive a stick shift car, so I was worried about how this would go. I didn’t know about the choke or anything. And I couldn’t believe how heavy my own bike was. It was a 2005 HD Dyna Lowrider 1450CC. Could not believe the power it had! When I first began riding, I was freaked-out whenever a car would get behind me. One time I was on my way to my sister’s house and I laid the bike down after hitting a patch of gravel to avoid a pothole. I was fully geared-up except for gloves. I fell face-first, hitting my nose on the face shield. My leathers and chaps got skidded up, and my hands torn up a bit. Boyfriend helped pick up bike but had $5k damage with only 55 miles on it.

“The next day at work the guys asked where my bike was. I told them I didn’t ride it because it was cold. I was not going to tell them I spilled it! Then my boss saw my hand was torn up and asked about it. I told him I did that rollerblading! I had to wait a few weeks for my motorcycle to be repaired. When I began riding again, my stomach was full of butterflies, but I sucked it up and made sure I got it together, even though I had two kids in 7th and 8th grade. I knew there was risk, but I really wanted to do this. Even to this day, I still get those butterflies.”

Q: When you decided you were going to get a motorcycle, did you have a “Dream Bike” you wanted to get?

Malinda: “No, I had no idea. I chose my bike because a boyfriend had a Sportster and he hated hit. It was too small and I didn’t want to make the same mistake and have to upgrade because of not being happy with it. I asked the girl taking people in for the classes, who was my size, what she rode and she said the dyna glide.”

Q: What was the hardest thing to lean as a new rider?

Malinda: “Right-hand turns and curves.”

Q: Do you have a favorite food for a road trip, and do you take it or stop somewhere?

Malinda: “I Like to stop at greasy spoon bars or restaurants with outdoor seating.”

Q: What is the fastest you’ve gone on your motorcycle?

Malinda: “105 mph – don’t like country roads because of the risk of animals running out. And I always prefer to stay under three digits.”

Q: What’s the longest road trip you’ve taken in one day?

Malinda: “440 miles in one day from Minneapolis to Wisconsin, and from Minneapolis to Kansas City, Missouri.”

Q: Do you have a Crazy weather story?

Malinda: “The scariest weather story I have is when we were in Hinkley, Minnesota in a group of eight, an hour and fifteen minutes from home and we had stopped to eat. We heard a news report of a tornado watch, so we started home. I was in the lead, speed limit was seventy on all free riding, I was going eighty-five to ninety. My husband Barry was riding his bike with me, as well as his friend Rollie. It was windy and rainy. When we got twenty minutes from home, and as we turned to another highway, the sky was black straight ahead of us. We drove over the Mississippi river on a bridge with debris was flying everywhere like on the Wizard of Oz! Cars were pulled over and I thought, ‘What do they know we don’t?’

“After the bridge I slowed to 45, Barry and Rollie passed me, and I wanted to stop under and underpass. I gunned it and passed them shooting for the first exit. Got off, took a right and pulled into a gas station. The strip mall was black without power. My limbs were like rubber from working so hard to stabilize the bike in the crazy weather. I could hardly put the kickstand down. We were five miles from home and Barry wanted to go for it. He had to talk me into going ahead and not waiting. I got my rubber legs onto my bike and as we got going. The rain was like sheets and I couldn’t see much at all. We kept going about forty-five mph. The rain stopped and the sun came out just as we got home – We could have waiting 20 minutes!!!”

Malinda on her 2017 Indian Chieftain

That’s Malinda’s story, what’s yours?