Susan West is best when it comes to training new riders

Susan West of Lake Oswego has been described as a “ray of sunshine and joy,” and she really looks like it when she puts on her mega-colorful uniform for Team Oregon. by: VERN UYETAKE - Susan West attracts a lot of attention whenever she wears her colorful Team Oregon uniform. It suits her sunny personality.

But besides being cheerful, West is best as an instructor of novice motorcyclists, and that is why she was recently given the Rookie Instructor of the Year Award by Team Oregon.

The demure West has gotten so excited about being a motorcyclist instructor that she has even learned to talk loudly so her voice can be heard over the roar of motorcycles. Nothing gets in the way of her goal to train safer motorcycle riders.

“It has been fun seeing that I have the skills to do this,” West said. “I’m a people person, so it has been fun meeting so many people. I am really happy about getting this award. There are over 200 instructors in Team Oregon and to be acknowledged this way is like ‘Wow!’”

West’s decision to become a motorcycle instructor has been extremely fortunate. She not only became an outstanding teacher, she found romance. West’s cycle saga began in 2007 when she decided she wanted to have the skills to ride her motorcycle in the streets, not just go roaring around open fields.

“I took the Team Oregon beginner rider training. I passed,” West said. “My instructor at the time is now my husband (Ken West).”

One day during class West overheard someone saying they wished there were more women instructors for Team Oregon. “That got me thinking,” West said. She took the teaching plunge in 2011.

West said, “Somebody told me, ‘You’re out here enough. You should just teach class.’”

Now, as an award-winning instructor, West says, “Not everyone is meant to ride a motorcycle. I try to weed out the ones who aren’t. To be a good rider you have to have the interest and you must have the awareness. When you’re riding a motorcycle you’re often invisible to drivers. You have to be confident in yourself.”

After putting in 11,000 miles on her bike and teaching hundreds of students, West has loads of confidence.

“I want to do this as long as I can,” West said. “I definitely want to influence people to be safer motorcycle riders.”

To find out more about Team Oregon, go to the group’s website or call 800-545-9944.

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