The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

July 7, 2011

Program hires first female


Clinton Herald

CLINTON — Harley-Davidson recently hired Diane Soppe as its first female Rider’s Edge Rider coach.

Since 2005, Clinton Harley-Davidson has trained more than 300 new and returning motorcycle riders through the Rider’s Edge New Rider course, with more than 47 percent of those riders being female.

“Given the large number of women who take our class, we felt it was important to have a female instructor on staff,” Timm Fuller, co-owner and general manager of Clinton Harley-Davidson, said.  “We have been looking for the right person and Diane is a great fit with the Clinton Harley-Davidson family.”

In the spring, Soppe completed the required training with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation conducted over three consecutive weekends.

“Training was intense, much more so than I thought it would be, but then you are talking about the safety of students,” Soppe said. “The skills I teach them hopefully will help them be safe and responsible motorcyclists; something no one should ever take lightly.”

Following MSF training, Soppe attended four additional days of training conducted by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.  Her final step took place in May when she completed a mentorship program that required her to co-teach during an existing New Rider Course class.  Soppe observed current instructors and taught sections of the class while being observed by a trained mentor.

Soppe joins the current Clinton Harley-Davidson coaching staff including, Mike Neels of LeClaire, Ric Pike of Clinton, and Paul Wolf of Fulton, Ill.

“I have two joys in life: riding whenever and wherever I can and my two granddaughters,” Soppe said. “Both are things that I hope will keep me young and active for many years to come.”

The Rider’s Edge New Rider course targets those who have never ridden as well as those who have been away from the sport for several years.  Iowa residents who pass the written and riding skills evaluations receive completion cards that may exempt graduates from the riding portion of the motorcycle license test, as well as possible discounts on insurance.  Lasting approximately 25 hours, the course features expanded riding practice as well as interactive classroom exercises. Class sizes are limited to eight students per two instructors.

To register for one of the final two classes this season, call (563) 242-1901. Information is available at www.clintonharleydavidson.com where the class schedule is posted.