Women Riders

Inspirational Women: Diane Landis Gracely

Written by  November 29, 2014

A lot of women biker pages are springing up on Facebook, and through them, I have been able to connect with a lot of very interesting, funny and down to earth women, who make no apologies for their love of riding. It seems that this common bond has pulled them through tough times in their lives, and in the process, made their lives meaningful and complete.

One such woman is this month’s Inspirational Woman, Diane Landis Gracely of Ocala, Florida. Diane and her husband, Keith, own Bikers Buzz, their online company of handmade wood art and motorcycle accessories.

Diane suffers from Charcot Marie Tooth disease; an inherited neurological disorder that affects both motor and sensory nerves. The name comes from the three physicians who first identified it in 1886. It can affect speech, walking, swallowing and breathing. Although Diane knew something wasn’t right at the age of 5, she wasn’t diagnosed until the age of 15. She became wheelchair bound by age 32, and because the disease had deformed her feet so bad, she could no longer walk.

An orthopedic surgeon in Hershey, Pennsylvania said he could do surgery that would get her walking again and relieve some of her pain, but held no guarantees that it would last. He also told her the recovery would take a long time because he would have to do one foot at a time. Diane agreed to the surgery, and it was during this time that she began working out of her home. She started with “Diane’s Creative Bookmarks” in 1997, sold it in 2006 for a profit, began a second business making custom knitted golf club cover sets, won multiple awards for her business success, and then sold that one as well at a substantial profit.

In 2012, Diane and her husband Keith who is also disabled, created another home business "Bikers Buzz." They design custom motorcycle accessories, gifts for bikers, and custom wood products. They enjoy working on a wood lathe and turning a piece of wood into something both beautiful and useful.

Since she was 16, despite her difficulties, Diane dreamed of owning a motorcycle one day. In 2012, she finally realized her dream. At first she tried riding on 2 wheels, but could not balance or hold the bike up at stops. She traded the 2 wheels for a 250cc with a trike kit, learned to ride it, and eventually traded up to her current Yamaha V-Star 650 with a trike kit.

In Diane’s words, “Let me tell you, if you want to ride, don't let your disability stop you from getting wind therapy! It's the best thing in this world. I've heard hardcore bikers say "When I can no longer hold up a bike, I'll just have to quit riding because I'm not riding a trike." WHY NOT? Living here in Florida, there are many, many trikes on the road. Why give up something you love when you can buy a trike, or have a trike kit put on your bike? I am so glad I did not let my disability stop me from riding a motorcycle. Even though I need what I call "training wheels" on my bike, I am so glad I did it. It is my stress reliever, and I need my wind therapy. It's the only thing that keeps me sane these days. There is not a thing wrong with riding a motorcycle with three or four wheels if it keeps you in the wind. It doesn't matter if you are disabled. Don't let your disability keep you from riding a motorcycle.”

Diane is also a tireless advocate for the legalization of medical Marijuana, as well as a volunteer for a local organization, “Florida Bikers Helping Florida Bikers." They help downed and sick bikers and their families, by hosting fundraisers to raise money to help the families with medical expenses and household bills.

Diane says, "Our business “Bikers Buzz by Keith and Diane" is not just about earning a living from making and selling motorcycle accessories and cremation urns; it's about giving back and helping our local biker community here in Central Florida. We enjoy what we do."

You can’t keep a good woman down!