We connected with Nina over instagram before Babes in Borrego was even born. In fact, connecting with her was one of the reasons we thought maybe we should extend the invite to more women we were meeting on social media. From day #1 Nina has been an encouraging, inspiring, and truly awesome fixture in this community. Her passion for a life on two wheels is intoxicating and her positive state of mind and welcoming energy make you just want to be around her. Five years later we look back and are so thankful to have met Nina on that dry lake bed in the middle of nowhere at our first ever camp out. Read on to get to know Nina!
On October 5th 2013, 50 women rode out to an undisclosed location for a night of camping and camaraderie. What would follow could not have been predicted by anyone. The positivity, passion and enthusiasm for those 50 women has fueled the growth and exposure of a community that has meant so much to so many. We are highlighting each of those 50 women and sharing their stories over the past 5 years.
· FULL NAME NINA KAPLAN
· INSTAGRAM HANDLE @niinhellhound
· LOCATION Los Angeles
· OCCUPATION Occupational Therapist
How did you find out about Babes in Borrego and what made you want to be a part of it?
As social media connected more and more women on motorcycles in 2013, I became aware of Anya and Ashmore, via a mutual photographer friend. We sent some messages back and forth, and I was invited to scout the site in Borrego with them for the first ever BABES RIDE OUT. Due to work commitments, I was unable to scout, however I was intent on going to the event. I had purchased my first motorcycle in 2011 and found some women to ride with in the SF bay area. I was keen to meet a group in LA as I had just relocated south.
When you arrived at the meet up, what was your first thoughts?
When I arrived at the meet up at the Starbucks in Temecula I think, I remember thinking, there’s a lot of us ladies on motos here! This is going to be a great weekend adventure.
Did you know anyone there? Is going on an adventure solo like this something you do or was this a first time out of your element kind of thing?
I did go to the event with two women rider friends I rode in the Bay area with, one of whom had recently moved to So Cal as well. Via social media, I was also connected to a crew of women from Portland were making the trek down for the event. One can feel out of their element in a new group scenario, but I tend to thrive and seek out those exact types of experiences. I love the opportunity to do and be involved in something new.
To go to something like this and the destination be unknown is kind of crazy. What did you think of riding with all those ladies and of the destination?
Riding in a group is always tough, especially a group of unknown riders. I was fortunate to have some familiar friends with me, whom I stuck with for the ride. There were instances of passing, and going around riders who were inexperienced. We wove our way near the front, and I remember as we crested the hill and looked over into the Borrego Springs Valley, what an amazing view and feeling it was! The coordinates took us to a dirt road, which in reality was a mile or so of soft sand. The kind of sand that is like snow, it just so soft. It was wild to ride down that road together, going slow and helping others who had wiped out.
What was that one night like for you? Tell us about your experience.
I remember getting into the valley with the dry lake bed where camp would be. I had been speaking to a few other MOTO ladies from Portland and I was excited to connect with them and some friends that had ridden out from NY. As the sun set the ladies took to their bikes, and I remember them ripping around an oval on the dry lake bed in the golden hours of the day. I took a quiet moment by myself to take it all in. I thought here I am with the wild women, right where we belong. Off the grid, many of us not know to each other at that time, but sharing the common mentality of adventure and comradery, and even without knowing the other women well or at all, there was a sense that we were there to support each other. It was a powerful feeling to be immediately connected to so many like minded women.
Tell us about the ladies you met and have your friendships have evolved over the past 5 years. Do you keep in touch?
I met so ladies on this trip, many whom I developed deep and lasting friendships with. Friendships that have taken me across the country in the US and on adventure moto trips in Guatemala. The connections made in year one are some of most cherished. I return to the even every year to continue to make new connections.
How have you changed over the past 5 years?
So much has changed for me in the years since the first event, as life is ever-changing. Something I am most excited about developing in the years since the first event is my involvement in the BRO DIRT event. I have attended for 3 years and finally was able to bring a dirt bike of my own to the last event. I am excited to make the same connections and deepen friendships with the ladies that ride dirt.
Have you gone on any more camping / riding trips since that 2013 ride? If so, where and with who?
In 2015 I was lucky to go across country with Harley Davidson and Lana McNaughton of the Women’s Moto Exhibit. Other riders included Jenny Czinder of (strange Vacation) whom I met at year one BRO, and Imogen Lethonen (who I attended year 2 with), and Megan who I met at year 2 as well I think.
In December of 2016 I did a 12 day self-guided moto trip in Guatemala with Leslie Padoll of BH.and.BR and Kate Unver whom I met at BRO east coast.
I was also lucky enough to attend year one of BRO east coast, as so many ladies from the east coast come out to the west coast event, I wanted to do the opposite. I rode with Kate and Leslie on this trip and it was a great experience, I love the first year of an event, it always seems to hold the most magic.
What is it like coming back to Babes Ride Out as it has grown?
Initially the growth of the event felt foreign and a departure from the first year. However, as I have attended throughout the years, I have reveled in how many women the event attracts, and seen it as an opportunity to connect to a wider and wider group of moto women! Now the event is such an amazing production it feels like a moto festival and I love it!
What are your thoughts on the Moto community and industry as a whole?
I love being part of the women’s moto community, I feel that as the minority within the industry as a whole we hold a very valuable position and the ability to connect and bond with each other at events such as BRO is very important.