Moto Miss Monday

Graphic designed by author

Bessie Stringfield

Race is definitely one of those topics that, like feminism, is considered a controversial and “hot button” issue. Nonetheless, I stand firm to my belief in equality – particularly the equality that can persist in a community as welcoming as the riding community is today.

Photo courtesy of The Miami Herald

With the recent announcements of both a black Little Mermaid and a black female Agent 007, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to emphasize my support. My identification with feminism is rooted in a knowledge of the history of inequality that has persisted in the United States – for all women, but surely for some more than others. A prime example being – while white women were granted suffrage in 1920, it was not until 1960 that some southerns states finally granted black women the right to vote. That was less than 60 years ago, and such injustice carries lasting effects.

While black women have undeniably been a prominently marginalized population throughout history, they have also been historically resilient. From Harriet Tubman, who not only completed 13 missions through the Underground Railroad and served as a general during the Civil War, to Bessie Stringfield, the valiant black female rider who toured through the Southern U.S. during the Jim Crow era – resilience has been a clear and prominent trait.

What makes me so excited about sharing Bessie’s story is that to her – she was a woman doing exactly what she felt like doing – riding her motorcycle. While what she was consequently accomplishing was successfully desegregating the riding community.

Photo courtesy of BessieStringfieldBook.com

In 1930, Bessie Stringfield became the first African-American female to ride her motorcycle across the United States solo. It was through this valiant adventure that a path was paved for fellow African-American motorcycle enthusiasts who wanted the freedom to ride everywhere and anywhere they chose.

Despite sleeping on her motorcycle at various gas stations through the night, having been denied access at various places to rest her head due to the color of her skin, Bessie made eight long-distance solo rides through the United States. She faced violence and harassment along the way, but that didn’t stop her from doing what she felt she had every right to do – ride her motorcycle.

Her hardcore attitude only increased when she started her work for the U.S. Army as a motorcycle dispatch rider during World War II – as the only female in her unit.

Photo courtesy of AMA Motorcycle Museum

Bessie’s resilience persisted through her life and stood out thanks to her passion for motorcycles. From disgusing herself as a man to participate in a Miami motorcycle race – only to be denied the prize upon removing her helmet, to eventually earning her rightful title as a Motorcycle Hall of Famer in 2002, it’s clear that her resilience seems to have an endless lifespan.

Bessie Stringfield rode her own ride while simultaneously trailblazing for the many women and women of color to follow the path she paved. Despite the struggles she was forced to overcome at the hands of injustice, it is thanks to her resilience that the riding community could morph into what it is today – a space for everyone to ride free.

Photo courtesy of Atlas Obscura

If you feel inspired to know more about Bessie Stringfield, check out the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame page. If you or a fellow lady rider are interested in being featured, message me via email or through Instagram and Facebook @feminist_motorist. A big thanks to @kcycle_chronicals for today’s suggestion! If you have any suggestions for future Moto Miss Monday posts, please feel free to message as well! Until then, Ride on, lades.

Image courtesy of Giphy – Empowered Women Empower Women
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Ride On, Chicago.

My family and I were scanning our menus at a restaurant in Downtown Disney. I was probably in middle school, looking for the food item that contained the most cheese possible. Our waiter came along and greeted us happily, and the minute we started ordering beverages he stopped us – “Lemme guess, Chicago?”

Photo by author

I was baffled. How was it possible this man knew we were from Chicago? My parents laughed, acknowledging the prominence of our Chicago accents. Our waiter jaunted away to grab our drinks and I stared at my parents with my eyes bulging out of their sockets. I had no idea us Chicagoan’s had accents. This blaring memory of insecurity was only temporary, as I have always been glad to come from a city with such rich culture and history.

My dad constantly likes to remind me, the morning after the Chicago fire, the city was up and about rebuilding and planning. Chicago had a Midwestern work ethic with a good mix of its own kind of crazy – it still does.

Photo by author

Growing up near the city left me with an exposure to all that Chicago has to offer. There is really something for everyone, including motorcycle enthusiasts. As a Chicago native, I want to pinpoint some of the best motorcycle related events, restaurants and shops in Chicagoland, while emphasizing some of the other hidden gems the city has to offer.

Chicago has a number of ideal restaurants for those who love to ride. Twisted Spoke is a favorite of my family’s and is easy to spot with its iconic skeleton riding a motorcycle.

If you’re looking for a rooftop bar with highly reviewed Bloody Mary’s, notoriously good food and a motorcycle theme – Twisted Spoke is the place to be. As for local gems, this restaurant is just down the road from Great Lakes Tattoos – a place that specializes in Traditional American tattoos with some of the best artists around. So, after you fill your belly, you’ll be all set to get some ink.

Photo courtesy of The Chicago Traveler

Another great choice if you’re looking for a moto-themed bite to eat is the Five Star Bar, which hosts Motorcycle Monday’s and leaves you ready to come back for Taco Tuesday’s. With some of the most reasonably priced meals available in the city, along with the excellent selection of drinks and motorcycle atmosphere, you will definitely want to check out the Five Star Bar.

Located in West Town, this restaurant is in one of my personal favorite areas of the city. From the outstanding sweets and Dark Matter coffee served at West Town Bakery, to the vintage motorcycle gear found at Tarnish – the best kind of thrift store for a motorcycle enthusiast. West Town is quaint and exotic in a way that only Chicago can accomplish.

Photo courtesy of Jet Set TImes

If you’re belly is full and you’re on the prowl for some motorcycle apparel and gear, Motoworks Chicago, Dainese Chicago and Chicago Harley-Davidson are all great options. Motoworks is where you’ll want to go if you’re searching for a new bike, and Dainese is where you’ll want to head for gear-centered options. Meanwhile, Chicago Harley-Davidson, located in Wrigleyville, is a great place to check out first thing in the morning. With Do-Rite Donuts just next door and a coffee bar inside the Harley dealer, it’s a great location to sit and enjoy the city while surrounded by motorcycles, riding gear and apparel.

Photo courtesy of Motoworks Facebook

If you’re a Chicago local or even a tourist to the area in search of a motorcycle event or ride, Chi-town has plenty to offer. From long-distance trips like a Route 66 Guided-Tour to the Progressive International Motorcycle Show held in Rosemont annually, there is always something motorcycle-related to do and see in the Chicagoland area. A little bit of digging, and you’ll be sure to find the right event or ride for you.

Many of these events are hosted by Harley dealers in the Chicagoland area. With the overflow of ongoings in Chicago, the best way to keep up to date with moto events is to follow your favorite dealers, restaurants and shops on social media – show your support while scoring memorable nights at outstanding riding events, that’s the best way to be involved in the riding community.

As a Chicago native, I can say with confidence that these suggestions are not exhaustive, as there is always something new and exciting popping up in the city. If you know of more motorcycle gems that I missed out on mentioning, feel free to comment or message me and I’ll be happy to write an updated “Ride On, Chicago” post in the future! Want to know of more exciting places to check out as a Midwestern motorcyclist? Keep an eye out for next Thursday’s post as I begin my weekend adventure to Milwaukee. Until then, as always, ride on!

Gif courtesy of Giphy

Moto Miss Monday

Graphic designed by author

Dorothy “Dot” Robinson

The more exposure I get to the women in the motorcycle community, the more excited and impressed I become. In an ambition to generate more consistency with my mission as The Feminist Motorist, I have decided to reformat the way my posts function to align with my intentions.

For this reason, I have decided to dedicate my Monday posts to individual women in the riding community who are doing outstanding work and are relevant to building the history and legacy of lady riders. These posts will vary week by week, but will be based on interviews with fellow riders, business owners, and even cover women in history who paved the way.

I am excited to start this writing feature, and given that today is Monday, I decided to begin right away and focus on the admirable adventurer and Motorcycle Hall of Famer – Dorothy “Dot” Robinson.

Photo courtesy of History By Zim

Dot was born in April of 1912 to a father who was an amateur racer and sidecar designer. By 1918, Dot and her family made the move from Australia to Michigan where her father ran a motorcycle dealership. It was through this motorcycle lifestyle that Dot met her future husband, Earl Robinson, who would stop at her father’s shop daily while the two were in high school.

After their marriage, Dot and Earl participated in endurance runs and races, eventually making a record transcontinental run in 1935. After such riding successes, the couple were approached by Harley-Davidson and opened their Harley dealership in Detroit shortly after which they ran until 1971.

Art by Donald Koehler

Despite these immense accomplishments for a woman of her time, it is not the dealership nor the endurance racing that drew my attention to Dot, it was her work with other women, like Linda Dugeau, to help pave the way for other ladies passionate about riding. Through the founding of the Motor Maids, Dot helped create opportunities and an organization pivotal in encouraging other women to ride.

After many busy years participating in the riding community, Dot and her husband sold their dealership and spent their retirement riding around the globe. By the age of 85 Dot had totaled a million and a half miles on her bike. She passed in 1999 at the age of 87, leaving a well-paved path for many future female riders to follow for years to come.

Art by Daniel Benayun

If you feel inspired to know more about Dot Robinson, check out the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame page. If you or a fellow lady rider are interested in being featured, message me via email or through Instagram and Facebook @feminist_motorist. If you have any suggestions for future Moto Miss Monday posts, please feel free to message as well! Until then, Ride on, lades.

The Grind

Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary – photo by me

For a lot of riders, summer means pulling the bike out of the garage from behind the snow blower and heading into the sun for some good old riding adventures. Summer means weekend road trips and spontaneous getaways with friends, riding and making memories to last us through long winter months. When I first started The Feminist Motorist a few months ago, that was my dream for the summer as well. It turns out, reality isn’t so appetizing.

In one of my first posts as The Feminist Motorist, I introduced myself. Today, I want to write more genuinely about who I am as the person behind this blog and this passion. I’m Bridgette Jasinski, a 21 year-old who comes from the wonderful city of Chicago, Illinois. During the academic year, I live in Champaign-Urbana, as I am heading into my senior year as an English Education major at the University of Illinois.

Sweet home, Chicago – photo by me

I can say first-hand that a lot of adults seems to have a misconstrued idea of what college life is actually like for students who don’t come from affluent families. This past semester, I went out to a bar once…with my mom who came for a visit and accurately holds the belief that I never go out and “live a little”. That’s because as a student, I do not have time.

Mom & I at the bar

Now, in my little head, I figured that after a semester of being a full time student with a job and a plethora of other teaching-related and extracurricular responsibilities, that I would be blessed with finding the perfect used motorcycle for my dad and I to fix up before the summer came to a close.

It’s summer now and the only bike I have operates with pedals and the use of my legs. I ride to work, and that’s pretty much the only riding I have had time to get in this summer. With the looming responsibility of paying my rent once the school year commences again, and with the lost cause that has become finding a used motorcycle in my price range, I realize that being The Feminist Motorist while also being a painfully broke college student is more difficult than I had originally anticipated.

College Life – photo by mom

But I think that’s part of why I want to continue talking about this journey.

Even if I spend the next year leading up to graduation without a motorcycle to call my own, there is still so much to discover and talk about. From the importance of waiting to find a bike that’s a right fit rather than leaping into a regrettable situation of fiscal irresponsibility, to covering the adventures I get to take with my dad and the amazing riders we encounter along the way – this is all part of my journey to becoming a rider.

I hope my determination to ride, having already completed the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy, will only encourage other young women interested in riding to keep their chin up. The grind really sucks, but when I’m at work kissing weekend after weekend goodbye from 2 pm to 10 pm, sometimes I stop wiping tables and imagine myself riding through the California Redwoods, or through Miami Beach, or even just down my own block.

Chicago Beach views – photo by me

I know I am still quite young and I have my whole life ahead of me to ride, and I also know I am fortunate beyond compare to be attending college – grind and all. I am blessed with a dad who takes me riding whenever we have the chance, and a family who supports my desire to ride. I am so lucky to have already met amazing people, like the ladies of She Wolf Moto Co, and The Litas who are supporting and following my journey as well – slow as it may be progressing.

Being a student is my main priority right now, and being The Feminist Motorist has to come as supplemental to the responsibilities being in this position has. A day will come when I throw my graduation cap in the air and simultaneously scrounge my remaining pennies for a bike to call my own, but until that time comes I have so much learning to do, plenty of motorcycle riding to experience with my dad, and more amazing female-centered businesses, and organizations in the riding community to cover.

I can’t wait to keep writing about where this journey winds up taking me.

Inspired By Sailor Jerry

My original sketch for my dad’s design, inspired by Sailor Jerry

Every time I follow a fellow rider on Instagram, I always take a moment to marvel at the inevitably impressive ink they sport. Tattoos are undeniably interlaced with motorcycle culture. My personal infatuation with tattoos started with my own exposure to the inked-up individuals in the riding community, and thanks to my aunt who was the first member of my own family to take the leap and get a tattoo.

I remember as a little kid I would always run over and beg for her to lift the hem of her top so I could see her tattoo. I think that even as a small child, I knew I always wanted to join the fun and get a tattoo of my own. Given the amount of times I got scolded for drawing all over my arms with markers, I’m pretty sure my parents knew it was inevitable too.

My original sketch, also inspired by Sailor Jerry

This past year, when Harley-Davidson celebrated their 115th Anniversary, my dad and I rode to Milwaukee to celebrate. Through the whole weekend we were inspired by the Sailor Jerry bikes and tattoos that surrounded us. We were going to get inked up right there outside of the Harley-Davidson museum, but decided it would be in our best interest to figure out what designs we really loved.

Now, about a year later, we finally got our Sailor Jerry inspired tattoos. This past weekend, I celebrated my 21st birthday. Unlike most, I spent it with my family, including the part where I got my first tattoo. As usual, this was an experience I did alongside my dad. I sketched out both of our pieces, but it was thanks to the amazing work of Chip Douglas at Great Lakes Tattoo in Chicago that our visions came to perfect fruition.

The final product, Dad & I with our first tattoos

For those who are joining the riding community and feel inspired and in awe by all of the amazing tattoo artistry, but feel anxious, I can say that it was not nearly as painful as I had braced myself for. While everyone’s pain tolerance may vary, the best way I can describe the experience was a high degree of pinching or scratch-like pain for just the first few minutes. After, this faded into more of a hot sensation than pain.

So, if you’re looking to get ink, I say go for it!

The first of many to come

As for our decision to get a Sailor Jerry inspired design, our artist explained it perfectly – the design is timeless and classic. Even if it blurs and fades with age, you will always know what the silhouette is. The designs are considered a classic for a reason, which explains the appeal they have always had in the riding community.

Dad, flaunting his fresh ink

This is exactly why my dad and I felt so compelled to stick with this particular style, and why its existence in Western tattoo culture has remained a constant.

My dad and I can say with confidence that we love our new adventure buddies, permanent reminders of our riding adventures and the value of appreciating every moment. While tattoos are forever, they can be a reminder that forever really isn’t that long. Living with a little spirit and spunk is exactly what the riding community embodies, and that must be why so many of us sport a little ink as well.

Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder 2019

In honor of Memorial Day, I decided it would be an excellent opportunity to cover one of the biggest motorcycle rallies around – Rolling Thunder. Beginning in 1988, Rolling Thunder is an annual protest and demonstration pushing for accountability and raising awareness for prisoners of war (POW) and those missing in action (MIA) who have been left behind by the negligence of the United States government. Presently, there are 86,521 unaccounted for service members. As coined by SSG Arthur T. Foss,

“Unaccounted for is unacceptable.”

In light of this, it is a positive that this cause has garnered so much support. This ride draws in motorcyclists from around the United States and the world by the thousands. Unfortunately, this will be the last year the event takes place in Washington D.C. given the rise in costs and complexities of Pentagon security. There is still room for this to change, but for now, the event will become regional and split into many rides across the United States.

Nonetheless, veterans and supporters alike are crossing their fingers that the rally returns to the capitol – myself included. Last year, I was fortunate to have traveled from Chicago to D.C. for the rally with my dad. This year it was my sister’s turn.

Rolling Thunder 2018 – my photo
Rolling Thunder 2019 – my sister’s photo

What is so disappointing about the dispersal of the ride is that it shows how genuinely careless the United States government can be. When I was in middle school, I learned how politics works when my classmates and I sat through a six hour town hall meeting that went past midnight on a school day. We were there to protest the closing of the Teen Center in my hometown – a place where us latch-key kids could go for homework, board games, snacks and the like once school was out. Needless to say, after speeches from parents, teachers, staff, and countless middle school students – they closed the Teen Center.

This was a slap in the face to me as a twelve year old. Since then, the government has only continued to be a grave disappointment. Politicians are the pinnacle of what Rolling Thunder is not. The Rolling Thunder demonstration shows that there are individuals out there who actually care about those around them. Their fellow Americans, and fellow people.

Today, we remember.

The disappointment I felt in my local government’s failure through the closure of the Teen Center pales in comparison to the grandeur of what Rolling Thunder stands for – the lives of those who gave everything for the sake of preserving our nation. With nearly 90,000 service members still unaccounted for, alongside the blatant lack of care for veterans facing physical and mental health struggles that persists in the United States, it is clear the government is failing those who are most deserving.

Rolling Thunder 2019 – my sister
Rolling Thunder 2018 – my dad & I

This is why keeping Rolling Thunder alive is absolutely vital. There is an idea that has become prominent, and it’s that politicians are “leaders”. They are not. Their responsibility is to represent the voices of the American people and to enforce changes based on our needs and concerns. This is not what is happening, and this is why protests like Rolling Thunder, which bring to light the necessity for accountability, are so vital. If we cannot rely on politicians, we must rely on one another to take action.

This Memorial Day, we must remember those who served and have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy things like barbecues on weekends, riding motorcycles, and exercising our First Amendment right to call out the government on their B.S. – which may be the best way to pay our respects and ensure these individuals are never forgotten.

Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers – The Saluting Marine, Rolling Thunder 2019

The Harley-Davidson Riding Academy Experience

Here are some of the course materials, including the Certificate of Completion

Prior to Saturday, I had never ridden a motorcycle on my own. Dirtbike, yes. Passenger, yes. But I had no idea what “roll on the throttle” and “ease out the clutch” meant in action. I had no clue what it felt like to have control of the bike for myself. I had basic knowledge thanks to countless lessons from my dad while we sat in the garage, but taking ideas and putting them to action was something I had yet to experience – until Saturday.

I will absolutely admit that I was lying awake in strange mix of fear and joy Friday night. In all honesty, it wasn’t tipping the bike or even getting hurt that had me feeling nervous, it was the thought that I might not be fit for riding. The idea of being “coached out” of the class due to a lack of ability made me feel absolutely petrified. All my life I have dreamed of the day I get to ride next to my dad on my own bike. I could not shake the terror I felt for the idea that may never happen.

Needless to say, City Limits Harley-Davidson has some amazing teachers and an excellent program set-up for beginning riders. The step-by-step introduction to riding made me feel more at ease than being thrown into the deep-end as a self-taught rider. Taking the class and reviewing concepts from the Basic Ridercourse book on Thursday and Friday, and then putting those skills to action by riding on Saturday and Sunday with discussion breaks was extremely beneficial.

Was I perfect at everything? Absolutely not.

Did I successfully pass the rider course? Yes.

The bikes used are the Harley-Davidson Street 500, a super fun & comfortable ride.

Did I have a ton of fun? Absolutely.

The Harley-Davidson Riding Academy entailed two evenings in the classroom and two days of riding with discussion time during and after. The class ends with a practice run at the Illinois motorcycle license test – both written and riding. The instructors provide helpful feedback along each step of the process and the learning is extremely individualized.

While I definitely need more practice before I hit the road, I went from never riding before to weaving between cones, shifting gears, trying out counter-steering and genuinely riding on my own in the course of just two days. My mom, who took the class with me, also successfully passed thanks to the excellent teaching and curriculum Harley-Davidson offers. It just goes to show, whether you’re 20 or 50, riding can be for anyone.

Mom & I – So proud of us for beating the nerves and learning to ride!

Given the alarming statistics involving accidents and fatalities of self-taught riders, I would recommend this class to anyone looking to officially get their motorcycle license as either a beginner or experienced rider. Even if you have been on the road for years, you may be practicing some poor or unsafe habits without even realizing. If you have never ridden before, it is in your best interest to start out in with the safest skill set possible. The purpose of the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy is to get more motorcyclists on the road and to keep them there for many years to come by introducing safe riding habits and skills. I definitely feel confident in my ability to flourish as a rider in the coming months and years thanks to the excellent foundation I was given in this course.

If you’re looking to get into riding, I cannot recommend this course enough. It is thorough and comprehensive, but still extremely individualized. What’s more, it will give you a feel for the supportive nature of the riding community. My mom and I grabbed lunch with one of the other ladies in our class, we were congratulated by random people walking around the dealership, and others who had taken the class before were absolutely thrilled to see we were learning. While it was a little nerve-wracking, taking this major step in learning how to ride only makes me excited for the journey to come.

Out to lunch with fellow classmates. If you’re in the Chicago area, check out Alley 64!

As my instructor explained on Sunday, the class is meant to be a “celebration of knowledge” by the end of the weekend. Overall, they’re teaching you the steps it takes to ride safe and smart while ensuring you “enjoy the ride”.

If you’d like to hear more about the learning experience, feel free to message me on Instagram @feminist_motorist or through email at FeministMotorist@gmail.com.

Cannot wait to continue this riding journey!

Tips & Tricks for Riding Trips

Riding with my dad, Rolling Thunder 2018

With the very last Rolling Thunder Rally just around the corner, I can’t help but reminisce on the outstanding adventure my dad and I took last May. From Chicago to Washington DC, starting at 4 am and riding all the way to hit a weekend surrounded by fellow riders and bikes as far as the eye can see.

Traffic is terrible, unless you’re in motorcycle traffic. Then you feel like you’re in an electric sea of rumbling noise and happy people.

This year, my little sister is taking the long journey with my dad, but I will save the details of our adventures for Rally Day.

What I really want to address is how we prepared for a trip that would last 5 days when we rode the whole way. Unlike flying, your motorcycle doesn’t come with overhead storage. Taking a long trip on a bike is a stellar experience, but it shouldn’t be totally spontaneous or you may end up sorry, or terribly unprepared.

Lincoln Memorial with my Dad

Based on our adventure, there are a few tips and tricks I have for anyone looking to take a long, worthwhile, haul on their bike.

Water

US Marine Corps Memorial, Washington Monument, US Capitol Building

If you are going to ride long distance, especially in the heat, you need to get water. While I usually avoid plastic bottles like a disease, these types of trips offer an exception to the rule. Since stops for gas are relatively frequent on a motorcycle road trip, while you’re at it, run inside the station and grab a bottle of water too. Chug it down before hopping back on the bike. Don’t worry about the bathroom trips, odds are you are sweating and heating up on the bike enough to last until the next stop just fine. Staying hydrated means maintaining focus, avoiding fatigue and headaches, and just taking care of your body during a long journey. Once you’re done, recycle the bottle. No clutter or extra weight on the bike needed.

Rain Gear

Washington Monument

Our ride to Washington D.C. was like a movie montage. The sun was warm and welcoming, the flowers were blooming, the grass was lush and green. It was truly a gorgeous day. The same was not true when we were heading back home. In fact, we made a pit stop for gas in Indiana and watched as within two minutes of making it under the gas station canopy, dark and angry clouds rolled in and released a torrential downpour. Our phones were bleeping weather warnings, the wind was bending the trees. We yanked out our heavy-duty riding rain gear, dressed up and hopped on the bike. Needless to say, it felt like my legs were being pelted by rocks the rain was coming down so heavily, but we stayed nice and dry thanks to proper gear and preparing adequately.

Shipping

Rolling Thunder Lineup at the Pentagon

FedEx was truly our friend for this trip. Since Washington DC is a busy urban area, we had a plethora of shipping options. We still packed light in order to keep the package price down, but with a backpack each, the cost to send our bags to Washington DC from Chicago was about $20. Once we made it to DC, we broke down the boxes and put on our backpacks until we made it to the hotel. Same thing heading home, only we re-packed our bags and sent them off. Using this option meant we had plenty of extra space on the back of the bike during the ride for rain gear, emergency tools, and a set of spare clothes in case the package arrived late, and the like. This was an excellent option for us, but be sure to only pack what you will definitely need and use. The lighter your bag, the cheaper this shipping.

Hair Care

Chilling on Capitol Hill

This one is for the lady riders. I know that by the time we made it to Washington DC after riding for 14 hours, my hair was basically one giant knot. If you have long hair and know how to braid, definitely take that route. French braids will keep your hair tame for most of the ride and keep it from getting in your way. Be sure to wear them a bit loose so you don’t have headaches or pain. For those of us with shorter hair, packing a little collapsible travel brush is a great option. Travel-size dry shampoo also doesn’t take up space and was my favorite during this trip. Helmet hair makes my hair look, admittedly, gross. Using a spray or two of dry shampoo was perfect before heading into a restaurant. You’ll also find that headbands and bandanas are your friend on trips like these.

Fuel

Dad & Uncle chilling with their Harley’s at the Lincoln Memorial

My dad and I had the joyous pleasure of running out of gas. We had to foot the bike a mile with my Uncle and a highway safety patrol following behind us until we made it to the gas station. Again, just a mile away. What would have been really great in this situation is a fuel bottle or two. Most of these come with holsters as well, making them easy to travel with. Unfortunately, with all of the highway construction happening in Ohio last May, we were unprepared for the large gaps between stops. Preparing for even the most potentially unlikely situations is a good call when it comes to riding, especially on long trips like these. Don’t learn that the hard way.

Ultimately, if you want to have the best riding road trip experience, know what’s best for you and definitely take the time to prepare. There is nothing worse than hindering an amazing adventure with a lack of preparedness that could have been easily avoided.

Keep an eye out for more posts as we continue the countdown to Rolling Thunder 2019

She Wolf Moto Co.

Happy International Female Ride Day!

With the celebration of this excellent occasion, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about a female-owned motorcycle company that is doing some outstanding work – She Wolf Moto Co.

Photo by Isaac Larios

Founded by Nina Marin and based in Orange County, California, She Wolf Moto Co. is a collaboration passions and interests into a cohesive and well-meaning company. By intermixing veganism, motorcycles, vintage and horror – the business has certainly gained well-earned attention and support.

Unlike many riding products in circulation today, She Wolf Moto Co. advocates for raising awareness around animal cruelty and seeks to educate the community on the intricacies of these issues in a proactive and polite way. While the motorcycle community is leather-heavy, Marin’s belief is that there is plenty of space to make the riding community as ethical and cruelty-free as possible. In her eyes, everything helps.

Photo by Isaac Larios

On top of their ambitions in advocacy, She Wolf Moto Co. stands by their mission through donating a portion of their profits on a monthly basis to various organization that advocate against animal cruelty. As the business grows, their goal is to start fundraising rides for charities and to volunteer at events, such as those for animal adoptions. In the future, they also hope to have curated the perfect vegan material for safe and sustainable motorcycle gear such as gloves, jackets and other accessories. Beyond these localized ambitions, She Wolf Moto Co. hopes to continue expanding, as they are accomplishing with She Wolf Moto Co. East Coast, in order to assist more charities and reach new bounds.

The outstanding work of this female-owned motorcycle-oriented business does not stop with animal activism. She Wolf Moto Co. also provides a spotlight for local artists by collaborating for their apparel designs. Stacey Newmayer created their Logo Ringer Tee. Their Ride Hogs Pet Dogs tee was created by Tokyo Hiro. Proceeds from this shirt also support the Rock and Roll Rescue shelter, run by Hiro’s wife. She Wolf has also featured work by Howlin’ Wolf Tattoo Co. artists.

Photo by Isaac Larios

The more I learn about She Wolf Moto Co. the more excited I am to see this brand flourish. I could not have found a better business to feature for International Female Ride Day. Marin firmly believes that there is a necessity for female-oriented moto brands and is ecstatic at the positive response her business has garnered from women in the community. It is a reminder for how badly these types of organizations are needed, and she is thrilled to be a part of such an empowering community and movement.

Marin explains this connection to the riding community in the perfect way

“I’ve seriously found my pack”

Frankly, when it comes to women in the riding community, I couldn’t agree more.

Go follow She Wolf Moto Co on Facebook and Instagram. Support their cause by checking out their website as well. Ride on today, ladies! And May the Fourth be with you…

Photo Courtesy of Giphy

Feminism. Let’s Talk About It.

Rally Against Rape Culture – Spring 2019

In my past few posts I have worked to diffuse stereotypes surrounding motorcyclists and riding culture. There are many negative ideas floating around about what being a rider really is, and obviously, the same applies to feminism. As “The Feminist Motorist”, I feel obligated to address the stigmas surrounding the other facet of my title – Feminist.

So, what really is the deal with feminism?

To a lot of people, “feminist” elicits the same response as “biker”. From blunt responses of disapproval to awkward facial expressions – I have experienced the works when it comes to my love for motorcycling and my passion for feminist activism. More often than not, people don’t like either of these identifying factors and that, has a lot to do with incorrect stigmas.

My identification with feminism stems from personal experience, my work as an advocate, interactions with individuals of all genders, research, and a drive to combat forces of injustice.

I remember in third grade I was up late, writing fervently on a stack of notecards to the light of my nightstand lamp. My mom came into my room, flustered with the fact that I was somehow just finishing homework. “It’s not homework. I’m writing a speech.”

My mom was puzzled. I proceeded to explain that I looked through my entire school calendar and we did not have a single national holiday listed in honor of a woman. I was mad. Furious. So, at age nine, I decided to write a speech about it in protest.

Follow my fellow feminists, Indira and Crystal for more feminism. PC: Shayna

Go ahead, bring on the “angry feminist” tropes, but I think nine year-old me had the right idea. Feminism means equality, and I was not seeing that applied to who gets recognized in national holidays, in my school books, in movies, or in office. Heading into 5th grade I carried this experience with me, dreaming to become the first woman to ever walk on the moon. To the disbelief of my peers, I would constantly recite how unjust it was that “24 men had been on the moon, but no women!”

While my aspirations of walking the moon halted with my progressing distaste for mathematics, my feminist ideals never faltered. It was not until my sophomore year of high school, however, that I learned there was an identifier for these feelings I had towards injustice. I finally learned about “feminism”, the radical notion that women are people and should consequently be treated as such.

Feminism means that catcalling and objectification are unacceptable.

Feminism means that men can cry if they are suffering emotional burdens.

Feminism means that girls can play football and boys can try ballet if they want to.

Feminism means that dad can do the dishes and cook while mom mows the lawn.

Feminism means equality. Not superiority. Not “women are better”.

Us feminists – being so aggressive and stoic. Follow Crystal and Indira for their take!

I have carried this identifying factor with me since being enlightened to its meaning. This also means I have faced excessive amounts of dissent for calling myself a feminist. People believe they are creative when they tell me to “go back to the kitchen” or “know your place” or “FemiNazi” or, a personal favorite “If guys and girls are equal that means I can hit you.”

That last one. That is where my activism comes in. My identification with feminism is not something I let linger in the open air without a basis or purpose. I am currently the President of Students Against Sexual Assault at the University of Illinois. In this position, among many responsibilities, I advocate for survivors of sexual violence, educate the community, and push for change in legislation and perception. When individuals joke around that equality means women can be hit, I always turn around explain that women are already being hit plenty. In fact, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetimes.

With factors like these in mind, I also emphasize the way these issues impact both women and men. My work in this activist field all began with a high school research paper on sexual assault in the armed forces – a drastic problem that impacts the lives of both women and men who serve our nation.

Feminism means equality. It means injustice pervades the gender binary and must be addressed as such.

Rally Against Rape Culture – Spring 2019

I am a Feminist. I will never change my mind about identifying this way. I find this platform is an opportunity to emphasize and highlight the amazing work of women in ways I never saw as a little girl.

Feminism is not about burning bras and smearing period blood in random places to make a statement, just as motorcycling is not about getting in bar fights and organized crime.

My father recently told me the greatest compliment I have received in light of my passion for this form of activism. He said: “I saw a quote that reminded me of you the other day. It was…”

Photo courtesy of YourQuote.in

I was raised, not to be a feminist, but to raise hell. I like to think I’m getting this done, muddling through a swamp of stigmas. I am The Feminist Motorist. Loud and proud.

Feminism included.

Follow Indira’s Inner Beauty, A Write in Shining Armor and Shayna’s Diary for more female empowerment!