CC: Valerie, what is your occupation?
Valerie: I’m a private investigator.
CC: Why do you ride?
Valerie: As a kid, I always liked the idea of riding my own cycle because you could go where you wanted, even if no roads were available. Bikes have been good to use for surveillance purposes so you can get through traffic, jump concrete islands in the street, or turn your headlight off to be more discrete, unless you are observing another coy biker.
CC: How long have you been riding?
Valerie: I have been riding, WOW, about 25 years, and hopefully I will always be able to enjoy riding.
CC: What was your first bike?
Valerie: My very first bike was a 1970 Honda 350cc. I paid for it with an income tax refund check for about $300. The first night I had the bike, I was going up the street and learning how to turn around and the Gladstone police stopped me. I didn’t have my operator’s license with me, no identification, and certainly no motorcycle license, although they didn’t give me a ticket. I also discovered that most bikes don’t have a reverse on them.
CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Valerie: This is my eighth motorcycle. I have owned many models, including Honda, Yamaha, Harley-Davidson, Suzuki and Kawasaki, and have liked tham all except the Harley-Davidson.
CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Valerie: I have two bikes. Besides my best-loved bike, I presently have a Kawasaki Vulcan that I call my “spare” bike and ride it when the other bike is in the shop.
CC: What is the year, make, and model of your current 'primary' bike?
Valerie: It’s a 1998 Suzuki Marauder. The custom paint was completed by Bill Young of Cyco Graphics in Claycomo, Missouri and I really like the yellow paint with the varying shades of purple. And of course, a girl must have matching accessories, so I have a full face helmet painted to match for the winter, and a regular helmet painted to match during the warmer weather.
CC: What do you like most about your current 'primary' bike?
Valerie: Everyone always alters their bike to their own special desires, and I have done just enough to this bike that I really like it. My Barbie doll rests on the sissy bar facing backwards and that is always recognized..
CC: What is your dream bike?
Valerie: Even after viewing countless bikes at many shops and shows, I have yet to determine the bike I would ultimately like to have. Last year I even looked around and did not find any bike that I would like to start over and make changes to again, so that is my unique bike. After all, who would truly appreciate my bike with a pink neon license plate frame?
CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Valerie: There really isn’t a special ride other than I enjoy just getting away from business and the telephone. As far as memorable, I can’t forget the “wreck” over 20 years ago when colliding with a vehicle. After waking up a couple days later, it took some time to become mobile and I still can’t believe that in a month I was out buying a new bike and am very thankful for every day.
CC: What is your least memorable riding experience?
Valerie: There area rides and sometimes complete days you would like to forgetk, and I do like to have some funny things that might happen that you can laugh about later. One time a semi-tractor trailer began to back up and I had to abandon the bike just as the back wheels were running over my front tire. The driver saw me rolling in the street and stopped in time. That is one that I can’t forget either. What veteran biker doesn’t have a few stories! I have ridden through extreme rain, hail, lightning, ice and snow.
CC: To what motorcycle clubs or organizations do you belong?
Valerie: For the first time, I joined a group with a local chapter; the Southern Cruisers Riding Club. Members are from many areas across the country. These are real people, who enjoy riding and one big priority is stopping to eat at a good restaurant. If you lead the group and don’t find a good place to stop, you might be in trouble.
CC: Which motorcycle rallies & events have you attended, and which is your favorite?
Valerie: I have attended several charity rides through the years and I remember when the Ride for Janey was a smaller one, beginning in Liberty. The City Union Mission ride is enjoyable and the March of Dimes Bikers for Babies ride is a good one later in the year. I was at Sturgis about 12 years ago on business. It was really disappointing to be working there, driving around in a small rental car and not be able to appreciate the entire week.
CC: Do you have any tattoos?
Valerie: There are no tattoos here. My preference is to not have a tattoo. I always laugh at the criminals who are discovered because of their unique tattoo. They should have made a better career move.
CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Valerie: Up until a couple years ago, I had always ridden alone. I had taken trips to visit someone across state and people thought it was not reasonable or that it was strange for a “girl” to ride that many miles by herself. I have always had good luck on the road and have even stopped to help other bikers on the interstate.
CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Valerie: Most people are too busy to ride on a regular basis and I know that I still want to spend time with my daughter. I just ride with the Southern Cruisers for weekend rides.
CC: Just for fun, which of your riding buddies is the best rider?
Valerie: Don Hutton is one of the most skilled riders on curves. He enjoys riding the curves fast and hard
CC: Just for fun, which of your riding buddies is the worst rider?
Valerie: Anyone who falls over and you know who you are! Now that I think of it, I really don’t know anyone that hasn’t fallen over at some time.
CC: Are there any other topics of interest you would like to share with your fellow riders?
1) I was recently on TV on the local news about a different topic. They saw the motorcycle there and wanted to take some video of me riding. I didn’t know how they were going to use it, but they creatively implemented that video into the segment. The camera guy wanted to get on the bike, so he got on with his camera and continued videotaping. At that time I was thinking about how much trouble we would both be in if the camera was damaged, and the fact that we weren’t riding with a helmet in Missouri.
2) My daughter lasts for about one hour on a ride and then her interest level changes.
3) Everyone should find an intriguing interest they can pursue in life. My interest of riding has sustained many changes during my life and I have always appreciated it.
Information and Photo submitted by Valerie Dutro.