I have always been a bit of a tom boy with a need for speed, adventure, a rush or whatever. If someone wasn’t getting hurt or dirty we weren’t having fun! Bikes weren’t a part of my childhood unfortunately. I had to discover them on my own. After I graduated college and started earning real money in my home city of Syracuse, NY, my desire for more adventure continued. It is here In my early 20s I discovered motorcycles.
I owe a lot of thanks to my friend Pat, he turned me on to the idea of riding. He took me out to the lake and taught me the basics on his cafe 1977 Yamaha XS400. I dropped it instantly, we laughed, and I picked it up quickly, literally. Not long after I had him come to a local motorcycle dealer with me for tips, and I bought a 2012 Honda rebel right off the sales floor. I wasn’t crazy about all the details of the bike, but that would come at a later time after I learned how to ride it correctly.
I feel fortunate to have grown up is upstate NY where I could practice on abandoned country roads of green rolling hills. Pat took me on many rides on these windy roads where I fell in love with riding. Bikes weren’t very common in our area, but before we knew it, we started a small community of riders. These became my best friends. Mostly guys, but some ladies too!
Two summers came and went and I grew out of my home town. The job opportunities for my chosen career path, Interior Design, were dull or non-existent and the riding was well, extremely limited. If there wasn’t snow on the ground for 6 months it was raining every other day. I began furiously job hunting and landed myself in Long Beach, California. I had visited the area a year prior and fell completely in love.
There was one thing for damn sure I couldn’t go to SoCal with, and that was my stock Rebel 250. I had three weeks before I had to start my new job, but that didn’t deter me. My community of bike friends and I started quickly transforming my bike into what I call my “baby bobber” and we shipped her off. It was very emotional leaving this group of people not to mention my family. These people became family too. I only had a few acquaintances in SoCal, and no family. I worried how I would find “my people” but I knew I would, somehow.
A month after I landed, Born Free 6 was happening. I was like “Yes! This is my first chance to find where all the moto babes are!” Sure enough one of the first tents I noticed was miss Lanakila’s. I had been following her account for some time so I figured she would know where the babes were. I introduced myself and explained how I just recently relocated here and she told me about the “Babes Ride Out” I was beyond stoked. I went straight home and signed up. I was planning on going solo but I discovered via Instagram an acquaintance that recently moved to San Diego, and I knew that she had a bike.
We had only hung out once before on the east coast but she jumped at the opportunity to join me. Despite her bike not being ready for the event, and tragedy striking her family not long before the camp out, she still came. It was a great escape for her. All of the girls were so welcoming. I instantly felt like I had a family. Because of this event and the help of social media, I instantly DID have a family of moto babes, and a few dudes too. I can’t imagine my life here in my new home without motorcycles or this community of people that I have met, because of a machine.
I take weekend trips often with my new found friends, and they have also introduced me to riding in the dirt. I am completely hooked. These bikes have allowed me to live the life that I enjoyed as a child. Getting a little dirty, a little hurt, feeding my need for speed (yes 80 mph on the 250 is enough) adventure, and that feeling of a rush when I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the new places I explore in California, one recently being the Salton Sea.
I can’t wait to continue to make new friends while having fun out there in the world, as we all should.