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Riley Ridd

The first time I rode a motorcycle was during the breaks of my ex-husbands motocross races. I’d get on his tall bike and rev up real fast on a straight shot, totally stoked about the pick-up on his souped up engine, then get all nervous and tippy-toe my way around corners.

We bought a little Honda Rebel when we moved to Hawaii for cheap transportation and I figured I’d learn how to really ride (and turn corners) on that. I had to unexpectedly get to a job interview one day before I’d had time to practice and just had to wing it. I remember arriving safely, halfway across the island, and walking around with my hands in a high V with “We are the champions” playing in my head. That was a pretty triumphant moment. Unfortunately that bike was sold after one of those good-lesson-learning unavoidable crashes with a 90 year old man in a car when I was three months pregnant. I didn’t get hurt too badly, but my husband was rightfully pissed, totally done with me riding a bike, and I learned the good lesson that there’s only so much defensive driving you can do on a motorcycle. (Gear up!!)

I kept holding off on getting another bike until I had a friend talk me into “adventure riding” and saw all the incredible backcountry camping trips and exploration he and his friends were going on with motorcycles. I figured it wouldn’t be too irresponsible of a choice, as a mom, to buy a bike, pad up, and start doing some trail riding.

My most memorable trip (and one that everyone’s probably sick of hearing about!) was going to Mexico with a totally badass crew of guys (and one super tough girl!) who were google-earthing their way through Baja. I have no clue how I was lucky enough to go on that since I was in way over my head, as far as skill level went. My group had some serious patience with me, helped me pick up my bike after wreck 10 of every day, and I’m still apologizing to Mother Earth for all the pristine landscapes we mowed through. Somehow I was riding a fully loaded motorcycle through miles of sandy washes, dunes, and tiny towns in the middle of nowhere, trading American t-shirts for gas and weeping piteously into my goggles at least once a day.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I blew up my little Honda crf250x engine one evening mid trip, trying to assuage my wounded ego and going too hot and fast on a long day of an actual dirt ROAD! What an incredible trip of crazy adventure (and lots of Tecate!) though. I gained some heroes and personal goals in the riding skills and mechanical prowess I saw on that trip.  I highly recommend that sort of a thing as a crash course in dirt riding. If you can con a group that advanced into taking you on as their project. (;

My current bike is a mish-mash of everything I want out of a bike- it does everything only “sort of” well but is extremely reliable for the long trips and  varied terrain I like to go on. I’ve discovered that I definitely need TWO bikes. A little dirt one for technical riding and Baja-style trips and a heavier road bike for highway mileage and Lita’s photo shoots. (;  I’ve been riding @projectsunday’s Triumph quite a bit lately and fallen in love with how that thing leans and corners on pavement. Not to mention how loud it is when it starts up. So my motorcycle goals include acquisition, trip planning (is there ANYTHING more fun to do with a group of humans than moto trips??) and getting smarter about motorcycle mechanic-ing, because I do love the freedom of being out there solo, but feel bad keeping people on call or impatient with staying near truck friendly roads for when a possible rescue is needed.

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