So for the last couple of years, I’ve made it a personal goal to try and have as many new experiences as I can. I’ve long stopped collecting things and started collecting memories; memories are amazing because you carry them with you forever, but more so because they shape your personality and mind. I actually learned this from my husband’s aunt before she passed away some years ago; I remember her stressing how important it was to travel and collect experiences. At the time I didn’t realize how it would shape me, but now I am so grateful that I’d received her advice.
As far as life experiences go, I still have a long way to go, but the journey has been started and now I’m always open to a new adventure. So when just several months ago, Mo from EagleRiders of San Francisco reached out to me with a proposition I was very excited to accept.
The scope of the project entailed a two-day road trip from San Francisco to Santa Cruz through some beautiful twisty Northern California terrain. The goal was to fly out and experience what EagleRiders had to offer in their self-guided tours, all along documenting the experience. This type of trip was exactly something I was wanting to add to my bucket list but had no idea how to go about doing it. I’d never rented a motorcycle and honestly didn’t really know what style to go with and where to even get started. So having Mo reach out to me at the beginning of the season was quite a blessing.
Let me preface this with the fact that I am not a terribly outgoing person. As a matter of fact, just 3 years ago I was still battling severe social anxiety. Back then the thought of jumping on a plane to meet up with complete strangers and put my well being in their hands would have absolutely terrified me. But if life has taught me one thing lately is that if you do something enough it becomes second nature. So I gladly accepted the invitation with the hopes of having a great adventure.
Fortunately, I would not be alone in my travels. The Redline Ravens — a group of SoCal local girls would be traveling with me as they already worked with Eagleriders on several projects. The all ladies riding group consists of Annette, Mizziel, and Keerati whom I had the pleasure of briefly meeting at the Dainese store re-opening in Orange County back in 2015. Ever since then I’ve been chatting with the girls online and keeping in contact with them. Along for the ride came my dear friend Min, who is actually from San Francisco but now lives on the East Coast by me. Together, us girls and a couple of others set out on a route that Mizziel had planned out.
I won’t lie, I was nervous. I would be riding a completely new to me bike — a lovely Ducati 821 Monster — in completely unfamiliar terrain. I don’t consider myself a very skilled rider and I struggle on technical roads. But I pushed all that out of my mind as I wanted to have this experience. Surprisingly I took to the bike right away and found it perfect for our trip. The upright positioning and low center of gravity made the bike very maneuverable in super tight situations. I’m not sure I would have been okay riding a supersport on some of the roads we took. I even had a total freak out moment when we got lost! Somehow we ended up on a very hilly one lane backwoods road that was covered in wet pine straw. I remember coming up to the crest of the downhill slope that curved it’s way down so aggressively that you couldn’t see ahead at all. A moment of sheer panic swept over me and I remember coming to a stop uttering the words “I can’t do this” all the while trying not to hyperventilate. Obviously “I can’t do this” wasn’t an option, and I very well knew it. I must continue. Thankfully I had an awesome support team as my new found friends talked me off the ledge and gave me the mental support I needed to get up and over this hurdle. In the end, I didn’t die nor dump the bike lol! I did however get to experience some crazy ABS going to work on the Duc.
So aside from getting to experience the stunning scenery that Northern California has to offer atop a motorcycle, I got to spend quality time with the girls and get to know them better. It was very cool to get to room with them and ride along. They are all very skilled riders and totally blew me away! On top of knowing their stuff, they are extremely kind-hearted and really awesome individuals each in their own special way. My time with them was short unfortunately and so I hope to be able to get some more girl bonding in soon!
I can’t tell you how awesome it is to meet other women that are passionate about something and want nothing more than to support each other. Even though we all come from very different backgrounds never once did I feel alienated or judged. I have to attribute that to self-worth and inner strength though, I could tell that we are all strong-willed and know our self-worth. But instead of butting heads or comparing one another we all worked together and supported each other. I think that camaraderie is probably the single most important thing I look for in people these days. It’s an amazingly uplifting quality and something we all can benefit from.
So while my journey wasn’t as crazy as traveling through Africa on a dual sport, I did get to step out of my comfort zone and experience something new. We traversed through tight twisty roads, dealt with all types of temperatures (at one point my teeth were chattering so hard I thought they would crack), and rode through pouring rain at night (did I mention I’m night blind and had only a dark visor?). There were moments I got scared and moments where my smile was larger than life. All in all my short weekend to Northern California was a success and I couldn’t have done it without the kindness of both old and new-found friends.
I salute the many amazing women that have walked into my life and inspired me to push myself in this challenging sport. From my riding buddies to ass-kicking female racers, I thank you all for making me feel less alone and helping me see what I am made of.
A special thank you to my sponsors for this trip… EagleRider Rentals & Tours, who facilitated the trip and provided us all with motorcycles. Sport Touring Gear for providing kevlar leggings. And Dainese and AGV Helmets for outfitting me with safety gear.