Tag Archives: dirt bike

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Sarah

This is another post that makes me want to vacation in California because we’ve met so many wonderful women riders from this state. Today I’d like to introduce you to another, Sarah from Sacramento.

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Six years pillion, five years pilot

How did you learn to ride? I took the MSF course, but the bulk of my learning happened while eating mile after mile in the saddle! Being able to talk to my dad (a.k.a. riding buddy numero uno) over the radio helped a lot too.

What was your first motorcycle? Suzuki VStrom DL1000

Suzuki’s on the track!

How many have you owned? Only one has been registered to me, but I have enjoyed long term use of four or so – the aforementioned VStrom that was my first, the Suzuki SV1000S that I own now, the Honda 230 dirt bike that made me realize trail riding isn’t really the type of activity one should take up after age 25, and the Suzuki VStrom 650 I share with my dad for commuting.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Because my dad couldn’t go any faster with me on the back. I wanted to go faster. Like, aren’t our knees supposed to touch the pavement or something? I’ve seen those guys on TV.

Tell us about your riding.  Commuter, pleasure AND vacation … and for the record, a motorcycle is about the only thing I’ve found that makes commuting pleasurable.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  Take the MSF course. Don’t buy a bike until you can afford good gear too.  Buying a brand new machine is for suckers. Make friends with other women riders (we’re all over the internet!). Never, never, never listen to any voices that say you can’t or shouldn’t do it … even the ones in your own head.  Don’t quit if it’s a little scary–it SHOULD be a little scary at first. Don’t let anyone give you too much sh** for dropping your bike because everyone has done it, and I mean EVERYONE. Start looking for a motel or at least take a rest if you’re really tired, there’s no glory in having a wreck because you pushed.  Stop and put on the extra clothes if you’re cold, even if you’ve only got a few more miles to go.  Drink lots of water and wear sunscreen, even in your full-face helmet, even in the winter. Accept that your buddies will laugh and take tons of pictures of you if you get pulled over by a cop or stung in the eye by a wasp. Treasure them anyway, because buddies are a wonderful thing to have out there.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Longest in a day was 700+ miles, home to Sacramento from Salina, Utah through Nevada on Desert Hwy 50. That was part of what was probably the longest trip as well … I tend to just tour around the west for a week or so at a time because there’s so much to see. I never get particularly FAR from home as the crow flies per se, but I cover tons of miles.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? Nothing official.

Do you have a favorite riding story? I think some of my favorites have to do with taking in local color on the annual Pashnit Girly Ride, but any details are strictly classified.

What do you do when you’re not riding? Hang out in my hammock, work on my yard, check out live music, and knit.

Lower left: Sarah and her dad riding!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Tyler

I “met” Tyler when she stopped by the blog and left a comment. I am so glad she took me up on the invitation to share her story here. Tyler is from Santa Clara, CA and has an incredible come-back story that changed her life forever. I cannot begin to express my appreciation to her for sharing some of the lessons she’s learned. Tyler, you rock!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Four years as pillion, 12 years as pilot.

In June 2009, on a long distance trip to Wyoming, I was involved in a near fatal motorcycle accident. In Carey, Idaho, I made one of those split second decisions that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but it was and it changed my life forever. I thought the driver of the semi had seen me as I pulled up alongside of him. He didn’t see me and started his left hand turn, knocking me and the bike to the ground and ran over me.

Yup, I got run over by a semi. I was wearing full gear but when you’re run over by 150,000 pounds of load, I don’t think it would have mattered if my gear was made of titanium! I had a crushed pelvis, internal injuries, and severe degloving injuries on my legs but no spinal or head trauma or broken limbs. They didn’t think I’d make it through the night, but I did. They weren’t sure they would be able to save my legs, but they did. No one thought I’d be able to walk again, but by the grace of God and a whole lot of earth angels, I am. I was in the hospital for four months, endured many grafting surgeries, a month in rehab, and then back home after about six months. I never thought I would ride again.

Fast forward a few months later and I’m missing riding … being with my friends, experiencing the world, meeting new people, finding new places … but I didn’t feel like I could take the risk of two-wheels again given the extent of the damage to my legs. I didn’t use up one of my nine lives with my experience … I used up about 8-1/2!

So I did some research and settled on a 2009 CanAm Spyder (3-wheels). It’s very different from riding two-wheels but affords more stability and I still have the wind in my face, the throttle in my hand, and 1000 cc’s between my legs!

Tyler on a photo shoot in Boise, ID for St. Alphonsus Hospital – she was featured in a Healing Story commercial!

How did you learn to ride? I got into motorcycling through a gent I was dating. When he planned to move out of state, I signed up for the MSF course on the guise of understanding the workings of the bike so I could be a better passenger. But I ended up loving piloting my own and it seemed easier to get my own bike than find a new boyfriend to ride with!

What was your first motorcycle? Suzuki GZ250

How many have you owned? Six street bikes – GZ250, Honda Shadow, Triumph Trophy, SV650, FZ1, CanAm Spyder;  one dirt bike – CRF230

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? The first time I got on the back of a bike, I was 22 and dating a guy with a bike. We hopped on (no gear laws at that time so jeans and tennis shoes only *shudder* to head for the beach. Unfortunately, we low-sided on some gravel but fortunately sustained minor injuries … the moto gods were looking out for us. After that, I was never comfortable on a bike so chose not to ride at all.

Fast forward 20 years later … I don’t know what changed but all of a sudden I got “IT”… the “IT” that is so difficult to describe to folks who don’t ride. When you ride a motorcycle, you are a part of the world rather than just plowing through it … the sights, the smells, the ocean, the redwoods, the sun, the rain, the perfect apex through a turn. And I love finding those gems along the way – the quaint towns or unusual sights off the beaten path that you miss when driving a car. There is an article written by Dave Karlotski called “Season of the Bike” that does a pretty good job at putting it all into words. If anyone asks me, I just tell them to look that up!

Tell us about your riding. Occasionally, I will commute but not often … it’s crazy around the Bay Area during rush hour! Mostly I ride for pleasure/vacation. I also lead what we call “newbie” rides for newer riders to help them meet other riders, gain confidence and skill, and show them some of my favorite local backroads!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  Definitely take the MSF to find out if riding is for you before investing thousands of dollars in a bike and gear. Do what is best for you and listen to your inner voice – buy whatever bike you feel most comfortable on not what someone else tells you that you should ride. Include the best gear you can into your bike budget. ATGATT!! [All The Gear All The Time] Most importantly, always, ALWAYS be true to yourself when riding. Go with your own pace and don’t get pressured into “keeping up” or doing something you’re not comfortable with. Listen to that little voice and go with what you feel is right for you.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? In October 2011, I did about 3500 miles on a Southwest Adventure visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon. In March 2012, I did a 2700-mile trip to Baja, MX. This summer will be to Canada!

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I participate in several online forums, am active in my local riding community with newbie rides, etc., and am also the President of Dangerous Curves, a local women’s riding group … although we do let the men come with us … as long as they behave!

I also started a women’s touring company several years ago, NorthStar Moto Tours. I was just getting things going when my accident happened but am hoping to see if I can get things going again in 2013. Had to focus on healing myself first!

Do you have a favorite riding story? Only one? Every ride has a story that goes along with it!

What do you do when you’re not riding? I love photography which I combine with my moto trips. I’m the office manager for a commercial litigation firm, mom to a fabulous 20-year old daughter, and also have a musical theatre background both choreographing and performing in musicals.

Tyler and some of her fabulous photography

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Nadine

My first contact with my next guest was last year when I did the collage of lady riders. Nadine from Porter Ranch, CA wanted to join in and sent me a picture. I still had her email address so asked if she’d like to be included in the profiles. Nadine graciously said yes so here is her story!


How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I have been riding a motorcycle for seven wonderful years.

How did you learn to ride? I always wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle, but no one I knew rode a motorcycle. Then, a fellow colleague mentioned that she was taking a motorcycle safety class. I found a MSF class, passed the written and road test, and got my license to ride a motorcycle. Prior to this class, I had never touched, sat, or rode on a  motorcycle, and now I had my endorsement!

What was your first motorcycle? My first motorcycle was a 2004 Honda Rebel.

How many have you owned? Yikes … within my seven years of riding, I have owned five motorcycles and one dirt bike! I currently have two of the five motorcycles, and my dirt bike.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I have always been a bit adventurous and riding a motorcycle fits my need for adventure and fun.

Tell us about your riding. If I started riding when I was younger, I would have loved to race locally. But, this is reality, and I ride for sheer pleasure. I sometimes ride with groups, but mainly, I ride alone. Many times I have ridden over 100 miles alone. I leave the house in the morning, and come back 6-7 hours later. Riding on the less traveled roads alone can be very therapeutic.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? If you have never ridden a motorcycle before and want to, go for it.  You only come around once in life!

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest trip that I have taken was a weekend trip with a group. We rode about 600 miles or so.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I don’t belong to any motorcycle groups. If I do ride with a group, it’s through a Meet Up group.

Do you have a favorite riding story? I don’t have any favorite riding story at the moment. Every ride is enjoyable for me.

What do you do when you’re not riding? When I’m not riding, you can find me in a classroom. I am an elementary school teacher. My classroom is near the road, so when I hear a motorcycle go by, I’m thinking … wait for me!


Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Rachael

I’m going to start this post with a true confession: I have blog envy. My green eyes look at Rachael’s Girlie Motorcycle Blog and dream of the day I’ll have something so delightful! Not to mention she had a brush with greatness! You’ll have to check out that story here. Rachael or as she’s called on Twitter @FuzzyGalore hails from Long Island, NY. She did mention that she’s often referred to as Fuzz or Fuzzy. Sounds like there’s a story behind that nickname! Without further ado, here’s Rachael’s story!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? This is my 17th year on the bike. Not a whole lot of time in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like I’ve been at it my whole life. It’s such an all-encompassing lifestyle that I don’t remember what life was like without it.

How did you learn to ride? I learned to ride through an MSF course. The first moment that I threw my leg over the bike, I knew it was for me. Taking the MSF class was probably the biggest favor I did myself.

Then in my mid 30’s when I wanted to learn to dirt ride, I took another “dirt basics” class to get a very basic understanding of the body mechanics involved in that type of riding.

What was your first motorcycle? The first motorcycle that I bought myself was a firecracker red Kawasaki ZX6R. I can still hear my dad’s voice as he and I stood in the driveway looking at its sleek lines and shiny go-fast red paint, “Well? You gonna look at it or are you gonna ride it?”

Those first few miles were the most exciting and frightening miles ever. It was probably a good thing that most of my first year of riding was spent alone. I took it easy getting to know what it meant to ride a motorcycle without being pressured by anyone else. That bike was probably too much, too soon.

How many have you owned? I’ve personally owned 9 motorcycles. But, being one half of a motorcycle riding couple has put many more at my disposal. I’m pretty lucky that way.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I don’t know, really. Riding a motorcycle seemed like the most natural thing in the world to want to do. I come from a family with many motorcycle riders in it. You could probably say it was in the blood. I really can’t imagine NOT riding a motorcycle.

Tell us about your riding. Commuter, pleasure, vacation, racing, or ? Yes, Yes, Yes, No. 🙂

Over the years my riding style and what I want from riding has gone through many changes.

In the beginning it seemed like there was a constant desire to go fast, to challenge myself to be a better rider. I did some track days and stuck to riding sportbikes and hung out with folks who did the same.

As things in my life changed, so did what I wanted from riding. I started to have more of a hunger for traveling, for seeing more of the world. The desire to go fast became a desire to explore and so I began to slow down and wander more. These days I’m usually just poking along looking at the scenery and that’s just fine with me.

My travels haven’t been especially far flung but ::knocks wood:: I’m not done yet. Thinking about the “somedays” and the possibilities is always very exciting to me. My daydreams of riding through far off places keep me striving to make those “somedays” a reality.

On an everyday level, I often find that there aren’t enough daylight hours to be able to sneak out for a pleasure ride. Commuting to work on my motorcycle gives me that little kick of fun that I need. It falls into the better than no riding at all category.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Gah! I am terrible at giving advice. I see myself as more of a pep talk type, really. So, with that ~You, yes you – are capable of more than you will ever know.

Whether you are just thinking about maybe riding a motorcycle, already riding and thinking about your first big road trip, learning to wrench your own bike or maybe thinking about trying a different type of riding like say – dirt: Whatever it is – You. Can. Do. It. The only real obstacle in front of your progress is you. You just have to be brave enough to take that first step of trying.

Above all else – your gender is not a handicap unless you make it one.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest single trip I’ve done so far was riding from Long Island toYellowstone National Park with my soon-to-be hubby, Kenny. The trip was a little over 5,000 miles in 10 days. In hindsight I wish we could have squeezed in more time but that is the ultimate commodity.

The trip came about because I wanted to see Mount Rushmore. Since we were in the neighborhood, we thought we’d work Yellowstone in as well. I had no guarantee that I’d ever be in that area again so it seemed like we should go for it.

It was wonderful and exciting and though taken at a faster pace than I wanted it to be, I wouldn’t change it. Those types of experiences teach you things about how you really want to do the next trip. Every journey is valuable.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? No, not really. I mean, I am an AMA member but that’s the extent of my “membership” in anything.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Not so much a story per se, but I do have some favorite motorcycle-related moments. The top of my list would have to be watching my daughter Chloe who was 10 at the time, go from some tentative wobbling on her dirt bike to riding with a confidence and effortless grace that I greatly admire.

There is an absolutely joy that overwhelms your heart when you watch your children triumph. It is so full, so all encompassing it’s like your body can barely contain it. Watching the person I love most enjoying and progressing at something I love deeply – it just doesn’t get any better than that.

What do you do when you’re not riding? My biggest and most important job is being mom. As every parent knows there are a million things that go into that so it takes up the majority of my free time. But, since I have the most awesome kid ever, we’re always having fun doing whatever those million things are.

On a personal level, I love to ride bicycles, explore the world around us with my family and am working on learning to appreciate the small pleasures in life.

Rachael a.k.a. Fuzzy

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Kharon

My next guest is a friend of Donna’s and left a comment on her profile I posted. I was thrilled to read she wanted to join in and share her story (hint, hint ladies)! I’d like you to meet, Kharon a.k.a. Bibendum from the San Francisco Bay Area. I love the advice Kharon was given over the concern women have on the weight of motorcycles, but you’ll have to read that below!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Off and on for about 29 years, lots and lots since 2000.

How did you learn to ride? I have been riding as a passenger since I was old enough to hold onto the tank. When I was about 12 my Dad got me a dirt bike for Christmas and taught me how to ride (boy was my Mom pissed!). Started street riding in 2000 after completing the Motorcycle Safety Training Course.

What was your first motorcycle? Honda XR200 dirt bike

How many have you owned?  Four – Honda XR200 when I first started out. Harley XL883C after getting licensed in 2000. Traded up to a BMW R1200RT in 2006 and I currently own a 2009 BMW R1200GS.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? Not to sound glib, but because it is fun … pure and simple. It also opens up opportunities to meet people and to really be part of the surroundings not isolated from it. I am always amazed how many people will approach me to ask questions and talk just because I am on a motorcycle; you are not hidden inside your car and it makes people feel more comfortable talking to you. I have met and talked to so many interesting people when riding, just because the conversation all started with a question about my bike, or where I was headed to.

Tell us about your riding. Commute frequently, always for pleasure and definitely for vacations as often as possible.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Get the proper training and just do it! I hear so many women say they want to ride but are afraid because the bikes are so heavy. The best advice I ever got was when a friend told me, after I voiced the same concern about weight: “You’re not gonna carry it, you’re gonna ride it!”

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Nine days through the Southwest, covering five states and approx. 2600 miles. It was life changing.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? No groups, although I did belong to the local HOG Chapter when I first got my Harley. I am on some forums, albeit infrequently; Pashnit, South Bay Riders, various BMW group forums, lurker on ADVRider.

Do you have a favorite riding story? There are many, but a recent funny one happened while on a five day group trip earlier this year; half way through our first day, and after going down Highway 1 to Cambria, the group stopped to see the seals along the coast. As I got off my bike and removed my helmet, I heard a guy from our group say to me “Wow, I have been following behind you and I had no idea you were a chick! You really know how to ride that thing. I should have known when you showed up on a guy’s bike this morning that you could ride that thing!”

What do you do when you’re not riding? Construction Project Management at Stanford University to pay for fun things. Other fun things: kayaking, fishing, photography, hiking and camping.


Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Andrea

We’ve read a few stories similar to mine of ladies who started later in life when we learned to ride. Not our next female motorcyclist, she had a passion early in life! Ladies and gentlemen, meet Andrea from southern California. Find her on Twitter @ChickThatRides also check out her blog, Wrapter (gosh, I wish I had hair like that) and she has a YouTube channel Chick That Rides!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I started riding when I was about 5 years old.

Andrea started earlier than most women!

How did you learn to ride? Originally, I think my Dad must have taught me. I did however get real professional training from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation when I got licensed.

What was your first motorcycle? 50cc Suzuki Quadrunner. Thank you Santa!

How many have you owned? Five of my own.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I really didn’t know any better. We rode quads throughout my childhood and later it became dirt bikes. I did ride pillion with my husband for about a month or two. That was difficult for me, having known what it’s like to ride my own, I got licensed to ride street right away.

Tell us about your riding. I ride both street and dirt but my favorite of the two is dirt. I love the adventure off-roading has to offer. I love the desert and all its secret places. The challenges that come from unexpected obstacles; sand, mud, gravel, whoop-dees, trails, hills, burms, ruts, all of it. I even like falling and am really good at it! But what I enjoy most about the dirt vs street, is that I can ride with my whole family. My son has been riding since he was 3 and now at 11 years old, I find myself trying to keep up with him.

I enjoy the street too, long distance touring with tons of twisties to play on.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Just do it! And of course, buy some decent safety gear and take the MSF class.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle?  On the street we took our son to Yosemite it was about a week long bike trip and a great time with the family. In the dirt, I just did a 500 mile roundtrip last year from Ocotillo Wells, CA to San Felipe, Mexico (Baja). That was an awesome ride!

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I do have a group of friends that I ride with, but nothing “organized.”

Andrea and her Ninja

Do you have a favorite riding story? I dodged a bullet once. [What?! Andrea this sounds like another story to share with us.]

What do you do when you’re not riding? I like to run. Like how a motorcycle ride can ease your mind, I get that same therapy when I run.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Madeleine

Madeleine from Worcester, MA is our next lady rider! She has taken some long adventurous trips. You can find Madeleine on Twitter @mvelazquez57 or on her blog Miss Rider which is filled with stories and pictures.

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Around 25 years

How did you learn to ride? Chasing my son around the trails riding dirt bikes. Love motocross!!!

What was your first motorcycle? Street bike, Kawasaki Vulcan 500 (hated it). Dirt bike, Yamaha 125 something, don’t remember any more.

How many have you owned? 9 including dirt bikes

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? The thrill, fresh air, freedom, excitement (too many fun words to describe why)!

 Tell us about your riding. Commute to work, mostly on a 50cc scooter now.  Pleasure riding.  But mostly, long distance touring, like coast to coast alone.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Get on two wheels and ride, ride, and ride some more so you can get so tired and sleep at night.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? Coast to coast alone.  (Check out her blog for the story.)

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I do not belong to any one. I am a member and ride with the Latin American Motorcycle Association. This is our International site, we are the largest motorcycle association in the world. This is our USA site, Latin American Motorcycle Association USA.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Yes, read about it here in my blog. (Check out the pictures too!)  I have so many wonderful riding stories, but this one is my favorite because it involves the animals.

What do you do when you’re not riding? I ski in the winter and professionally dance salsa.