First-time motorcycle owner Judy Weatherley rode her new two-wheeled mount home to Bangs on a chilly January day and called her cycling mentor.
"Lesson number one learned," the 44-year-old Weatherley told Patrick Tharp, general manager of the House of Wheels Yamaha motorcycle dealership in Brownwood.
"What's that?" Tharp asked.
"It's too cold," Weatherley responded.
A couple of days later, Weatherley called Tharp again.
"Lesson number two learned," she told Tharp.
"I didn't learn lesson number one very well."
Speaking at the House of Wheels Wednesday morning, Weatherley said she intends to be on her recently purchased 2007 Yamaha V-Star 1100 "every chance I get."
But no, she wasn't riding the motorcycle, which has been converted into a three-wheeled "trike," in Wednesday's bone-chilling 27-degree weather.
Weatherley had brought the Yamaha to the House of Wheels on Tuesday, when the weather was nicer, and left it overnight for some minor maintenance. On Wednesday, she drove with her daughter, Jessica Kline, to the dealership.
Weatherley is a widowed mother of five, and her journey to two wheels has been a remarkable one: she once weighed nearly 600 pounds and was confined to a wheelchair, but has lost a great deal of that weight thanks to weight loss surgery.
In an interview in September, Weatherley said she'd had "a hard life" growing up, and she had to overcome health issues including her excessive weight.
Weatherley grew up in Coleman and lived for a time in Brownwood. Her husband, Charles, a Kohler employee, died in 2000.
Weatherley had decided a short time prior to the September interview that she wanted a motorcycle, although she couldn't quite say why. She bought the Yamaha through House of Wheels, where an addition was installed onto the back of the cycle to convert it into a Trike. Tharp helped her through the process of learning to ride and obtaining a motorcycle classification on her driver's license.
She bought the large V-Star to make sure she has a motorcycle that's capable of the lengthy cross-country trip she's planning — to Montana and back.
Nearly two weeks ago, Weatherley obtained a motorcycle classification for her license. "Patrick, I did it!" she told Tharp, who presented her with a small trophy to commemorate the accomplishment.
"She hasn't been quiet sense," Tharp said.
Weatherley has started riding the Yamaha around— when the weather permits — and several people she's encountered have recognized her as being the woman featured in the Bulletin in September.
"I love it. Oh, my gosh … I feel like I have won the lottery," Weatherley said of her new mount. "I feel like there's nothing that can knock me down now. You're on the road and you're sailing and it's awesome. I feel like I've won the lottery a thousand times over."
Tharp described Weatherley's venture into cycling as "a complete success. She was an easy-to-teach student — a little shaky at first, but we got her taken care of. She's an inspiration."
Tharp knows about overcoming adversity. A multiple sclerosis diagnosis had him down and nearly out, but he found new life as general manager at House of Wheels.
"You can be faced with some challenging stuff, but don't ever stop doing what you love to do," Tharp said. "If you want to do it bad enough — don't stop."
House of Wheels, meanwhile, recently achieved one of its goals: certification as a Yamaha Pro Dealer, "which is, basically, a five-star dealer," Tharp said.
Achieving the certification, Tharp said, is based on factors including increases in sales and the dealership's customer satisfaction rating.