· FULL NAME: Sanna Maria
· INSTAGRAM HANDLE: @cylinderella
· LOCATION: San Diego, CA
· OCCUPATION: Managing Editor at Roadtrippers
How did you find out about Babes in Borrego and what made you want to be a part of it?
I saw the flyer on Instagram. This was in 2013, back when it was super rare to see motorcycle events targeted at women only, other than the occasional “Ladies Night” at the local Harley dealership. I had been riding for a few years and already knew a small group of women who rode, so a few of us decided to go.
When you arrived at the meet up, what was your first thoughts?
Arriving at the meet up spot in Temecula was pretty exciting. No one knew how many people were going to show up, and more and more ladies just kept rolling in! We were all just mingling and introducing ourselves to new people. I don't think I realized then how many of those ladies I would actually become friends with later.
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 went with two friends, Nina and Jess, so it wasn’t a solo adventure for me. Jess had only been riding for a couple of months at this point, and she was on a little 250 Virago, but she totally kicked ass through heavy winds on the freeway and twisty mountain roads taking us down into Borrego. My Sportster wasn't running at the time (which was not at all unusual for that particular bike), so I ended up renting a newer sporty just for this trip.
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?
I had so much fun on that ride. Everyone kind of naturally broke into three groups: faster riders in the front, slower riders in the back, and everyone else in the middle. It was a super empowering experience rolling out of Temecula 50 women deep, and then trying to keep up with the really fast, experienced ladies in the front. Arriving in Borrego was... interesting. To get to the camping spot, we had to ride through two miles of sand—and not the tightly packed kind. Girls around me were dropping left and right, but I somehow made it all the way through without incident. Good thing, since I was on a rental bike.
A few years later, when we returned to the same spot for the Babes in Borrego reunion, I was on a brand new Dyna that I had bought just a few weeks earlier and was still getting used to. That was even sketchier, but again, I somehow made it there and back without dropping my bike. Just the thought of riding that sandy stretch still gives me anxiety though.
What was that one night like for you? Tell us about your experience.
I can honestly say that the original Babes in Borrego event was one of the best experiences of my life. I wrote a fairly sentimental blog post about it on Red Rag Garage (a women’s motorcycle blog I run with my friend Katie) a while back.
My favorite thing about that night: A bunch of fearless women ripping up and down a dry lake bed as fast as their bikes would go, without helmets or a care in the world. That was one of my biggest YOLO-moments.
Tell us about the ladies you met and have your friendships have evolved over the past 5 years. Do you keep in touch?
Yes! I met so many amazing women that first day and night, and I keep in touch with many of them. Since I’m in San Diego and many of the other ladies are in the LA and Orange County areas, I don’t get to see them as much as I would like. But the San Diego people I didn't already know (Stacey, Stayc, Tasha, Dannielle) have now become some of my best friends, and we've attended every BRO since together. And it’s always like a mini reunion when we run into the rest of the OGs at other events all over Southern California.
I've also added a few Borrego-girls to my list of travel buddies, like Genevieve. We attempted to ride to the Grand Canyon together a few years ago, but got snowed in in Flagstaff. We also rode down to San Felipe in Mexico earlier this year with a couple of other friends.
How have you changed over the past 5 years? (jobs, relationship, location, family, feel free to tell us as little or much as you want here).
Oh man, what hasn't changed? In the past five years I’ve managed to meet the love of my life, land two awesome jobs, travel to 10 countries, ride motorcycles in three continents, own a total of five different bikes, and meet some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I also just started my dream job, as managing editor at Roadtrippers. Even if the world is falling apart around us, the past five years have been kind to me personally.
Have you gone on any more camping / riding trips since that 2013 ride? If so, where and with who?
Oh yes, I go on motorcycle road trips as often as I possibly can. I have a really awesome group of about 10 friends here in San Diego who all ride, and we travel together both on and off the bikes. Most weekends we’ll rip out to the desert or down to Mexico. Four of us just got back from a two-week, 4300-mile motorcycle trip from San Diego to Banff National Park in Canada and back. It was an amazing, bucket-list experience, and I’m already itching to plan my next trip.
What is it like coming back to Babes Ride Out as it has grown?
I’ve been to every west coast Babes Ride Out since the first one, and it’s been amazing to see it grow into what it is today. I just love how this one event has sparked a whole new generation of women motorcyclists. I know of so many ladies who started riding after seeing how much fun we were all having at Babes, and it’s such a cool thing to have been a part of. Representation matters!
What are your thoughts on the Moto community and industry as a whole?
I have a lot of thoughts on the moto industry, how much time do you have? No, but seriously, I feel like we’re in this moment in time where there’s a generational shift happening in this scene right in front of our eyes. There's still your stereotypical ultra-sexist macho biker dude who wants women to sit quietly on the back of the bike, but I think (and hope) they’re a dying breed. The people I know who put down the most miles on their bikes are all women.