Karri Klein is an enthusiastic motorcycle rider, and for some reason, this revelation comes as a surprise to many.

“People often seem to be shocked and intrigued when they find out,” says Karri, who is a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based sales representative for The J.J. Shearer Company, a manufacturer’s rep firm in Minnetonka, Minnesota. “Probably because women are not in the majority of riders.”

Karri started riding a little dirt bike when she was 8 years old. Forty years later, she now rides a 2009 Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster Custom. It’s not her first “hog.”
“My dad gave me a 1976 Harley-Davidson 250 for my 13th birthday. I still have that one,” says Karri.

A mother of two daughters who are now in their 20s, Karri took a break from motorcycling while she was raising the girls.

“I was very active in my kids’ lives, and always said that when they were grown and out on their own, I’d start riding again,” she says.

Karri’s oldest daughter wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps, but her younger one is content to be a passenger. Karri’s husband is not a motorcyclist.

Last year, Karri purchased her current motorcycle the same day her dad bought a new bike. A week later, her brother Justin bought a new one, too. As a result, the family was asked to be a part of their local Harley-Davidson dealership’s annual calendar as the month of March.

“We’ve been to a few motorcycle events and people have recognized us,” says Karri.

For Karri, being on her motorcycle is a stress reliever.

“When I’m riding, I don’t think about anything else other than what’s around me,” she says. “It’s very therapeutic.”

Karri usually rides with her brother for up to five hours at a time.

“We rarely have a destination in mind and we just go where our hearts desire. For us, it is about getting out and enjoying the ride and the tranquility,” says Karri.

For the first time last year, Karri participated in the Sioux Falls “Hot Harley Nights”, a two-day event that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

“There are thousands of motorcycles that participate in the event’s parade. I was excited to be in the parade last year, because I had watched from the sidelines for so many years,” she says.

The season for riding motorcycles in the Sioux Falls area is typically May through October. But, Karri rides strictly in her free time, never for work.

“I could ride it on a business call, but if I did, my hair would be a little messy when I arrive,” says Karri.

Gretchen Roufs, a 25-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at Gretchen@GretchenRoufs.com.