Melissa Portella came to Babes Ride Out having never sat on a motorcycle. She walked away with a new found passion and is now a licensed motorcyclist. We can’t wait to see her come back next year on two wheels. Hear the full story in the video below by Harley Davidson.
We are thrilled to welcome Karen Davidson of the Harley-Davidson family to Babes Ride Out 7 x Central Coast. We had the pleasure of meeting her several times and can honestly say she is a genuine motorcycle riding enthusiast that is easy to talk to about any and all things two wheels. We are thrilled for you to meet her at the event, but until then, get to know Karen and what she does to push the Harley-Davidson brand forward, it’s pretty impressive!
Karen Davidson was born to ride. The great-granddaughter of Harley-Davidson's co-founder William A. Davidson, daughter of industrial design legend Willie G. Davidson, she degreed in fashion design, schooled in couture, joined the Motor Company in 1989 and was one of the original co-creators/visionaries of the Harley-Davidson MotorClothes line of apparel and accessories. She has been instrumental in the launch of high-level performance riding gear for men and women, and has been involved with the design, brand positioning and expansion of the Harley-Davidson apparel collections in the US, Europe and Asia. As Creative Director for General Merchandise Davidson gives direction for future development of casual and functional merchandise, which in 2018 was a $240 million business. Based in Southern California and Milwaukee, Davidson enjoys riding year-round.
What is your role as creative director for Harley-Davidson General Merchandise?
I assess macro forecasted and current trends and innovations on the casual side and the functional side of our business. On the casual side I’m really looking at macro apparel directions that involve emerging trends, fabric and silhouette proportion changes and opportunity for H-D to lead with our own uniqueness. I evaluate and choose new material, innovate function, and identify opportunities, build prototypes, everything to do with new ideas. I review apparel industry analysis and market evaluations. H-D has incredible brand strength and depth of meaning unlike other apparel brands and deserves an approach that leverages quality and innovation. The design/production group in Milwaukee executes final product. On the functional side I can leverage my riding experience, my lifetime of riding, as we develop new designs and materials in riding gear that emphasize comfort in all elements, style and protection. Climate and conditions change when riding distance, so I value tech fabrics and innovation. I appreciate having great gear you can count on to be diverse, like our FXRG Collection.
What are your sources for inspiration? Also keeping relevant to growing diversity
We monitor trends specific to the apparel industry, casual and functional trends, current and future. I take a deeper dive into functional apparel and invent with new technologies, specifically at a start point of finding the right partners, creating new innovation that will improve protection and comfort. I also observe the custom nature of Harley-Davidson culture and our riders. I go to many events, from national US events to local events and events in Asia and Europe, and I come away from those events with clear inspiration. H-D inspires individuality and that speaks strongly throughout the world. There’s also an on-going dialogue with the motorcycle styling department on design language and color direction.
Courtney has been riding for 3 years and got her start by testing the waters on her own but soon found out the at the Harley-Davidson riding clinic was a great asset to help her develop much needed technique and help her build confidence. After that first class, she felt much more comfortable on her motorcycle and plans on continuing honing in her skills with additional classes. One of the many things we love about Courtney is open to answer any questions on how to get started and connect with new riders looking for advice. Hit her up on her instagram @cocoramaaa and she’d be more than happy to connect and share her experience. Before you do, get to know her, what she’s currently building, and why she decided on a 2018 HD Street Bob as her moto of choice!
What you do for a living?
Co-own a full service salon
How long have you been riding motorcycles and how did you get started?
I’ve been riding for 3 years.
Why do you ride motorcycles / What do you get out of riding motorcycles?
I was tired of only getting on the bike if my dude wanted to ride. I wanted to be in control of where I was riding & wanted to feel the freedom of two wheels riding solo. Being a part of the motorcycle community is like no other & being a Lita is even more empowering by being surrounded by strong, beautiful babes!
Run us through the list of bikes you have had in your past / currently own:
I started off on a 2016 HD Sportster 1200. I upgraded to a 2018 HD Street Bob because I was tired of stopping for gas on long rides haha I just recently purchased a 1966 Triumph and currently, building an HD Breakout chopper.
What first attracted you to Harley-Davidson?
I’ve been around Harley’s all my life. I can remember the smell of the first shop we had in Lancaster and being obsessed with all the leather and fringe!
How did you know it was the bike for you?
The Bob is fantastic. I wasn’t sure about a soft tail, but the sales person assured me it wasn’t like an old soft tail and I could enjoy a long ride on it... and I do!
Tell us what it is like to ride your particular bike:
I definitely couldn’t maneuver the bob like the sporty while parking. I ended up putting an air ride on it and absolutely love it. I added a fairing and little blue tooth speakers inside and now I’m off and riding in the wind! I put an air ride on the breakout as well. It’s still getting some work done on it, but I can’t wait to rip around town on the chopper.
What made you choose your model over the other H-D models?
It’s not as small as the Sportster, but still slim and badass! It’s definitely the bike I will keep forever even if I upgrade. I love my bob.
Any modifications? Tell us about them if so:
Air ride, fairing, exhaust, speakers, foot boards and brass accessories.
What has been you favorite adventure you have taken on your bike?
Babes Ride Out 6 by far! I cannot wait until this year!
Do you have any fun road trips planned?
A group of us are going to Babes in October!
Tell us about your experience at Babes Ride Out?
EPIC! I swear I was on a high the whole week after we got back... ask my co-workers (haha)! I was all smiles and couldn’t stop posting all the fun times my friend and I had!
Any advice for ladies who want to get started on two wheels?
My first answer is: go to your local Harley-Davidson and sign up for the class. I was riding 6 months before I took the class and I cannot stress enough how confident the course made me. The afternoon that I finished the class I drove home and got straight on my bike! It’s amazing and I can’t wait to take the intermediate course that HD offers.
Click HERE to find a class near you!
After getting her first motorcycle, Cait found it really hard to find womens riding gear available for her to try on. She knew that there were some great companies out there but could not find it in stores anywhere. This inspired her to create the California Moto Market! What started as a local womens motorcycle gear shopping event has been growing into a multi destination roadshow that has making its way across the USA. She has pop-ups planned in Denver, Chicago and Seattle and much much more in 2019. Read on to learn more!
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, spending every winter on snowmobiles (which is practically required there) and vaguely remember my mother telling me never to get on the back of a motorcycle! I have been a hairdresser for nearly 10 years now, and will probably always keep that up. I almost don’t remember what it was like before motorcycles came into my life, and I think I’m really ok with that!
My first bike was a 1980 Honda Hobbit Moped. I might have bought it just for the name.. But the second I took off on that thing, the whole world shifted. About a year later, I sold it for gas money to get to California and once I was out here, I picked up a mint 1976 Kawasaki KH100. I found a helmet off Craigslist, a leather jacket at the thrift store, and set off learning how to shift in my neighborhood. I learned how to clean and tune a carb, rewire turn signals, and clean rust out of a tank. I even hauled that thing out to Babes Ride Out 4 ! It didn’t like being away from sea-level and mostly didn’t run.. But that definitely lit a fire in me. A month later I borrowed my friend Jayme’s Yamaha SR400 and after a quick 2 months and 2k miles.. I sold my car and bought my first Moto Guzzi V7. Might as well go all-in, right?
Somewhere along the way I started looking for riding gear, figuring that with the large amount of daily-riders in SoCal, it should be relatively easy to find some decent options. Oh boy, was I wrong. Here I was in motorcycle Mecca, and my only options are overly branded Harley jackets or sportbike-style track leathers, or even worse: riding gear designed by men who have only been described what a woman looks like, but has never seen one in person.
Now, there were definitely companies making awesome women’s riding gear back then.. but was it available in local retailers? Hell no. Were they interested in stocking it for us? Also hell no.
This was the inspiration behind starting California Moto Market.. Bring together all the companies making women’s motorcycle gear in one place, so women can try things on in person and leave with the gear they love. [It’s not a new concept.. Stores have literally existed for centuries.] The side effects we’ve seen in the 3 years we’ve been running this market have been numerous.. riding groups started, brands created and launched, connections and collaborations everywhere.. we didn’t start the fire- but we sure as hell fanned the flames.
Our goal has been the same from the beginning: Get the gear to the ladies. One thing has shifted though, and that was how far we are willing to travel to make our point. Last year was the first time that the Moto Market has ventured outside of California, and it was interesting to see the reactions. Here we are bringing Stellar Moto Brand and Tobacco Motorwear to states that aren’t even used to wearing helmets… It’s been incredible seeing these women finally find something that fits them well, looks great, and offers all the protection they need while riding.
And this year.. Well we’ve set our sights even further! We’ve checked San Rafael, Austin and Orange County off our list, with Denver, Chicago, Seattle and Las Vegas ahead of us! We’re so excited to work with local makers and share our favorite SoCal brands. The best way to find out where we’re going and who’s coming with is to follow us on Instagram: @californiamotomarket or check out our website www.californiamotomarket.com.
2019 Pop-Up Schedule
Sunday July 28th, 11am-6pm
Triumph of Seattle
7409 Aurora Ave, Seattle, WA
More dates to follow, click HERE to stay updated