Bay Area Artist Karen Ide’s 1996 Ducati M900 Monster | ME & MY BIKE

The right shade of yellow!

Karen Ide is a graphic artist who was riding an RD400 until a Moto Guzzi LeMans sparked her affair with Italian machines.©Motorcyclist
  • NAME: Karen Ide
  • AGE: 57
  • HOME: San Francisco Bay Area
  • OCCUPATION: Graphic Artist

I am an artist, a painter naturally drawn to vibrant colors. When I first saw a yellow Ducati on a dealership pedestal, it was love at first sight. A couple years later I got my M900. It came from a member of a wayward club called "When Pigs Fly," a bunch of Ducati-riding cops from the Bay Area. My bike has some high-performance mods: a 916 front end, Marchesini wheels, flatslide carbs, an Öhlins shock, and Remus pipes, to name a few. Plus, it was the right shade of yellow!

When I was 17 I told my mother, much to her horror, that I was going to get a motorcycle. My first bike was a Yamaha RD400, a boy-racer with BUB pipes, rearsets, low bars, and black spray paint to make it look cool. A blue RD followed, and then I graduated to a Moto Guzzi LeMans CX100 that sparked my love affair with Italian motorcycles. It wasn't just visual attraction but also about the sound. I went from riding down the road buzzing like a bumblebee to setting off car alarms with that unmistakable low rumble. Viva I'Italia!

Two years ago, a driver talking on a cell phone rear-ended me while I was stopped at a red light. Thankfully I was in my car and not on my bike, but I was still seriously injured, and my hands are just now able to ride—and to pick up a paintbrush—again. I was lucky enough to check the Isle of Man TT off my bucket list recently, and that has changed my life and refueled my passion for bikes.

I’ve also started a series of paintings of my dream bikes, in oils. While I may not be able to own all the handsome bikes out there, I can still render them on canvas. The artist René Magritte once said, “Life obliges me to do something, so I paint.” To that I add: “And I ride.”