The history of the Diana Motorcyclist Foundation started in 1986 when my Mother, Diana L. Marafioti founded the American Motorcycle Driving School, Inc. It was a milestone in an evolution that began in 1913 when her grandparents first embraced the ride. Diana’s Granddaughter ushered the family into the 5th consecutive generation of avid riders.
In 1913 My Great-grandparents Zeoli’s
In the 1920’s My Grandfather Sather, and Great-Aunt Zeoli
1940’s My Mother, Diana L. Marafioti
1960’s Me, Christine Marafioti-Firehock
2000 – My Daughter Amber and niece Gabby
Diana loved riding and being involved in the motorcycling community. In 1981 she became the first female president of the co-ed Lost Wheels Motorcycle Club, based in NY’s Hudson Valley. During her tenure, she saw a multitude of aspiring and untrained riders line up to join the club. Diana’s passion and love of the ride flourished as she went on to become a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) motorcycle instructor in 1984; a position in which she could promote awareness and safe riding habits…as well as spread her enthusiasm! In 1986, Diana blazed yet another trail by founding New York’s first motorcycle-only driving school.
Diana’s business thrived due to her philosophy “to embrace every individual’s desire to glide on the wind” and by fostering a personal relationship with each of her students. She used her vast knowledge and experience to customize and perfect an intricate training program that met the needs of all the students. In her 20 years as a professional motorcycle instructor, she never gave up on ANYONE! Her program has become known internationally as the KickSTART Motorcycle Training Series.
In 2000 Diana was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which she characteristically and fearlessly battled. She amazed her doctors by continuing to ride while undergoing chemotherapy. Not only did she continue to ride but—in 2002, after two years of suffering and at the age of 60—rode with her husband to Sturgis, ND and back to New York. Diana’s courage was nourished by her strong faith and the love and support that she received from her family and the motorcycle community.
Diana received many titles, awards, and recognitions, including being nominated to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. One of her most prestigious was the 2004 American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) MVP Award for “Outstanding 20-Year Commitment and Contributions to Her Students and the Motorcycle Community,” which she received a month before her death. Her frail face was illuminated by her humble smile as she read those words.
Why it is so important for the Diana Motorcyclist Foundation to Give Back with Rider Aid?
One of Diana’s proudest moments as President of Lost Wheels MC was when she set up the first Lost Wheels Poker Run in order to raise money in the name of founding president Fred Peters who had recently died of Leukemia. Some of the money was donated to the Leukemia Society in the hopes of finding a cure while the balance went to the children of Fred Peters. Today both Fred and Diana receive recognition as the presidents that made significant contributions to the organization and the motorcycle community at large. To this day, thirty five years after the first Lost Wheels Poker Run its participants still take pride in their charitable contributions. Many of these same members of the motorcycle community never miss a chance to show their support. The motorcycle community has been there for me too in all my successes, and in all my darkest moments…