Like many things in life, Biker Chick Gone Crazy started in an embryonic fashion. A few friends expressed interest in following my 2000 mile bicycle ride up the Mississippi River in May of 2012, so I created the Biker Chick Gone Crazy blog as a way to write about my ride, post pictures and share my experience. However, fate was cruel. After only four days of riding, I aborted the trip in Natchez, Mississippi because of three very painful bulging discs in my neck. I had no other choice but to fly home and seek treatment. I was devastated! A full recovery took almost a year. After what seemed like the longest three months ever, I climbed back on my bicycle and went on short, flat rides. I reconfigured the handlebars on my carbon-fiber bicycle, which enabled me to sit upright so as to reduce the pressure on my neck and shoulders. During my recuperation, writing became effective therapy for me, and over time, Biker Chick Gone Crazy evolved into a blog that now has more than 57,000 page views and hundreds of followers and subscribers.
My writing muse, and one of my dearest friends, is Helen Cassidy Page, a working writer, who has published many books and articles over the years. She also edits the work of others and consults with authors about the world of self publishing. Helen read and critiqued some of my early work, and while her comments were mostly positive, her constructive criticism turned my writing around. She made me see that if I was to put myself out on the Internet as a writer, I needed to take my craft seriously, polish my skills, and write good stuff.
You are reading my last post writing as Biker Chick Gone Crazy. I have gained a better sense of my writing self and have, as I said above, established a new website pamperkins.com. This was not easy. After acquiring my domain name from GoDaddy, a website that sells domain names, among other things, I was not quite sure what to do next. I fiddled around with this and played with that, talked to friends who said it was easy, bashed my head against the wall a few times, and finally decided that it would be far easier to learn Greek than build my own website. I knew I needed help, so I enlisted Joyce Cimbalista, a Virginia-based web designer, who created an impressive site for a poet friend of mine. She and I worked together remotely for a month or so, and now I finally have my own website to showcase the same kinds of stories and photographs I have published in the past. Now I will write as Pam Perkins and no longer confuse readers who think that biker chick smokes weed and rides Harley-Davidson motorcycles on the weekends.
For the last couple of years I have been writing mostly about travel and personal experiences rather than escapades on my bicycle because travel has been my primary focus. Since 2001 I have been to 73 countries and seven continents, and we are still going strong. In addition to writing about travel, I'm apt to go in other directions when inspiration strikes, and write memoir-like stories about what it was like growing up in small-town New Hampshire and living a fish-bowl life in a motel that my immigrant parents owned.
Some times my personal stories are funny, but more often they are insightful and cathartic, since writing has helped me shed guilt, recover from losses, and forgive those who have hurt me in the past. I seldom have the courage to publish painful words, so I often hit the delete key and erase complete sentences until the entire page is blank again. But some day I'll get up my courage and rewrite stories about circumstances long ago, when things were different, tougher, and life was more stressful. These are the times that helped shape the person I am today.
It took a few years of biking before I felt comfortable calling myself a cyclist, but I eventually did because I was. Now I call myself a writer, even if I'm just publishing stories on my own website, although recently one of my pieces on Antarctica was published on a website with international exposure. My experiences in Antarctica will also be featured in the expedition company's annual catalog. I am close to calling myself a photographer too, so I'm working hard and learning more than just clicking the shutter. It's not fame that I'm looking for, just constructive or positive feedback from my readers.
Yes, writing and photography are new passions of mine, but they don't burn the same calories as riding a bicycle 80 plus miles a week. I hope, however, that these creative endeavors will help carve a new groove in my aging brain, so I can stay mentally sharp until I no longer am. At the same time, I will continue to ride my bicycle, as fresh air and contact with nature buoy my spirits. Pushing myself physically keeps me strong and energetic. I tell people that riding a bicycle is an anti-oxidant for the heart, mind and the soul.
In closing I want to thank you -- my family, friends, followers, and subscribers -- for your past support, helpful comments, and encouraging words. It is my hope that you will continue to follow me on my new website, so that you can receive posts via email as you have before. You can see my new design, read my first post and peruse my photo gallery, which I will update regularly. I also hope you will give me honest feedback, which will serve to make me a better writer and photographer. Please go to my new website by clicking on this link. www.pamperkins.com .