Olympic Thunder rolls into Kitsap

Shonnie Carson, center, had a few last comments fpr the Olympic Thunder motorcycle club before their  run Saturday, Jan. 18. The newly formed group met on Bay Street in Port Orchard for an impromptu ride. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Shonnie Carson, center, had a few last comments fpr the Olympic Thunder motorcycle club before their run Saturday, Jan. 18. The newly formed group met on Bay Street in Port Orchard for an impromptu ride.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

“The sensation is like flying and dancing at the same time,” said Shonnie Carson as she describes the allure of hitting the open highway on two wheels.

“It’s glorious. It’s like you’re in what’s around you, not riding through it in a box.”

An avid motorcycle rider (what other kind is there?), Carson has led the charge to get more women interested in the best kept secret on earth.

The newly formed Olympic Thunder, which met this month in Silverdale, offers all women that chance.

The group formed in November and by December became an official chapter of the national organization Women on Wheels, which is based in California.

There are 29 members in the Olympic Thunder group with lifelong riders and others who have yet to purchase their first bike.

Mary Cooper, the club’s treasurer, said she joined so she would have people to ride with.

“I’ve just always loved it for as long as I can remember,” she said.

Over the years she has seen more and more women get into riding motorcycles but “It used to be that women thought they wouldn’t be allowed to,” she said.

Cooper, of Southworth, has been riding since she was 15 years old. Her neighbors had dirt bikes, which they would ride through the fields. Now she rides a 1000 Goldwing.

“My bike’s my baby. I take care of it,” she said. “If you don’t take care of them well they won’t treat you well.”

Renee Welker of Key Peninsula, has been riding since 1996. Her inspiration came from a woman she met who had traveled across the country on a Goldwing.

“I was impressed with her ability to jump on her Harley and go across country on her own,” she said.

That free-spiritedness was infectious.

While her husband was serving in the military in Bosnia, she sold the family car, took a course on bike safety and got a bike. Her kids supported her decision as evident by her daughter’s attendance at the meeting.

Welker joined Olympic Thunder and attended its meetings for the past couple of months.

“I guess I have always wished for more adventure in my life,” she said.

“It’s really nice to twist the throttle and go fast,” she said wrapping her hand around an imaginary throttle.

The rebel appeal of the motorcycle isn’t the only reason she rides, Welker also enjoys the people.

“They are just very generous with their time and they’re very charitable,” she said.

As far as picking up and going cross country herself, “I would like nothing more than to do that,” she said.

Carson, who started the original Washington Women on Wheels chapter, the Evergreen Road Riders, said there is a need in this area for a group like this.

“I’ve always been fascinated by bikes,” she said. There’s a certain fellowship among riders that car people just don’t have.

“It’s like this secret club and you all know how much fun you’re having,” she said.

But it’s been one dominated by men.

“Most men grow up thinking (motorcycles are) an option for them. Most of the women I know, it has never even occurred to them it was an option,” she said.

The club meets 6-8 p.m.the third Thursday of the month.

For information about the club contact Carson at (360) 769-8467 or e-mail shonnie@mybodywprks. com.

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