"Adventurous" is a word I'm pretty sure was never used to describe me. Though I’m known to have something of a potty-mouth, I’ve always been a stereotyped and, eventually, self-proclaimed “girly girl.” I was the one who was rarely seen without some sort of high heel or platform shoe, refused to sit on any public toilet seat and I wasn’t into the outdoors. After going through about 3 years of some pretty rough stuff in my life, I sought out healing. The typical avenues for healing were extremely helpful but there was a lingering need for something…more. Around that time I was invited to try riding a small 80cc dirt bike with a few other women. I admit I was terrified, yes, terrified of what now feels like this tiny little dirt bike. Surprisingly, I loved it. So, I joined a women’s riding group, which was comprised of mostly off-road and some street riders at the time. We began with weekly wrench nights where I learned more about the inner workings of these mysterious machines. We built relationships and camaraderie tossed with some wine and elbow grease. Less than 5 months later, to the surprise of most who knew me (including myself!), I earned my motorcycle endorsement and bought my first dual sport, a DR 200. That was a little over a year ago and it has been the most amazing time of my life! I began this hobby knowing absolutely nothing about riding and even once having another rider literally turn off my bike to show me how to use my clutch while walking me down a small hill in my panic. But I’ve since progressed to discovering that creek crossings are my favorite, ditching my DR 200 for a CRF 230L and now catching air on ramps.
I believe my skills are just beginning to cross the line from beginner to intermediate. But that feels like a massive accomplishment for me because this hobby was something I never imagined I could take on. Every time I got on my bike I had to battle 30-plus years of a loud shitty committee in my head that told me I was too girly, not brave enough, I would never get the hang of it or I just didn’t belong out there with the big dogs. At one point, I even found myself secretly about to give it up completely. But the couple people who knew that secret wouldn’t let me quit. I’ve since found healing by overcoming the fears and challenges I face each time I ride, as well as the genuine friendships formed with those women I ride with who encourage and support each other. I love that riding has ignited my sense of adventure and that I feel I can just be myself around the riding community. I especially love that, through watching me challenge myself and face my fears, my 11-year-old daughter has been inspired to brave her own fears and learn to ride with me.
Through online forums, day rides and exciting weekend rallies, the riding community welcomed this obviously terrified newbie with open arms and no judgment. It has and continues to bring me belly laughs and exciting memories, stunning natural surroundings, great friendships and has even surprised me with a wonderful man who quickly became the love of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that I’ve got a lot more to learn and that shitty committee in my head is still there. But it has grown much quieter over the last year. It’s been calmed by a newfound confidence and talented, positive riders around me who continue to (very patiently) share their experience to help me and many other riders challenge themselves to improve their skills. But, let’s be honest, I’m still not gonna sit on a public toilet seat, ok?