I grew up in Culver City, California and I’m a third generation Angelino. My family didn’t ride motorcycles; my dad actually grew up with boats and building race cars as a teenager. He ended up designing engines and made a couple of land speed records in 1965-66 in Bonneville. I grew up being a gear head, surrounded by gearheads, so when I went away to UC Santa Cruz and started working, I knew the first thing I wanted to buy was a motorcycle.
I didn’t know anything about bikes. I just knew that it was time for me to start riding. I signed up for a motorcycle safetly class and on my lunch break I opened up craigslist to start looking, and there it was. A 1969 BMW R 60US. My first bike.
When I started riding in 2009 I immediately started riding with clubs. I saw and appreciated the comradery these male motorcycle clubs had, but they didn’t allow female members and there weren’t any female clubs out there. I was like “ok, I guess I’ll have to start my own.”
I started a Facebook page and tagged women that knew how to ride. Right away I started having meetings and organizing events. Everything started to pick up around 2010 and little by little there were more and more female riders. I never thought of this as a job, my day job is in art and design, so for me it was a way to make events that were charity driven, awareness driven or just to bring women together. We are a small group still. It’s hard to be a strong feminist woman and have confidence in all of our ideas or our femininity. We’re still breaking barriers and breaking stereotypes. I think it’s really interesting that even though it’s 2017, there’s still women that are looking to find the courage to get on a bike.
Right now, the Eastside Moto Babes has a monthly meeting where we talk about our frustrations, about being marginalized and being disrespected. It is a sisterhood that gives unconditional support and inspiration, and helps us go on. I call it the “Sorority For Rebellious Girls.”
I still have my first bike and I’m never getting rid of it. I gave the bike a new life and the bike gave me a new life. It taught me survival, patience, and discipline of perseverance. It’s taught me how to respect and be respected. It has taught me to be grateful and as long as you have those things, you have everything.