Here at Moto Femmes we are so proud to support women in the motorcycle community so when we heard from a woman who has been made redundant from her job, and decided after only ever riding a scooter previously, to do a month long trip on a motorcycle around parts of Australia as a clear the head and live a little mission, we couldn't wait to meet her!
We had the chance to sit down with her and find out more about her, her motivations, her goals and her challenges. Meet the Crazy Lady on a Motorbike, Laura Conti.
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CRAZY LADY ON A MOTORBIKE
What is your background Laura?
I am a Finance and Commercial Manager in the digital/online space, working the past 15 years mostly in a large corporate in Melbourne.
How did you get interested in riding?
I had a motorbike licence in my early 20's, but let it lapse after I broke up with the boyfriend who had encouraged me to get my licence. I took it up again in my early 30's and bought a Vespa when my husband and I came back from London and couldn’t afford a second car (we spent all our money seeing the world, as an aside, something I highly recommend). It was a cheap nasty little red scooter called 'Ruby Scooter' who has a ridiculous amount of km's on her, and is about to fall apart. My husband thought it was a phase, and I'd fall off and then go back to public transport. Six years later 'Ruby Scooter' is still ferrying me to work every day even though she is on her last legs/wheels.
Tell us about your epic solo adventure!
I had the opportunity to take a redundancy from my corporate job, something I never thought I'd do, and it gave me a jolt. The previous six months had been hard, mentally and emotionally, I felt drained. The redundancy gave me the opportunity to take some time away from work over summer and clear my head of 'corporate land'. But how exactly do you 'clear your head'? I was worried that I’d waste the summer and not enjoy this gift. So, I thought, I need an adventure! Something different to push me outside my comfort zone but completely different to my career. I decided to buy a motorbike and travel around parts of Australia. Just me and a motorbike, exploring some little towns, catching up with friends in the country, visiting country art galleries etc. and meeting some new friends.
I had no concept six weeks ago that THIS would be the adventure. I thought I'd probably sit in the backyard on a deckchair and drink espresso martinis for three months, brainstorming business ideas, or doing marathon ocean swims in Port Phillip Bay (another hobby of mine). After I’d written a list of all the things I wanted to do it occurred to me that I could achieve all those goals AND MORE on a motorbike.
Where exactly will your journey take you?
I head off from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road down to Warrnambool, then up to Halls Gap to then follow the new Silo Art Trail to Mildura. From there I head up to Broken Hill and on to Bourke and Brewarrina. Two weeks in I will head back to civilisation into the Blue Mountains for a few days to meet my husband at Katoomba, then I ride back out again to the NSW/QLD border and follow the border along to Byron Bay.
I love Byron Bay, so I’m sticking around there a few days whereas every other day I move along at least 300kms. Finally I slowly follow the NSW coast home for two weeks back to Melbourne going inland a few times to Canberra and Cooma for instance to enjoy the highly recommended high country roads.
How much planning has it taken you to actually hit the road?
About six weeks. Despite being adventurous and fairly relaxed about details my husband knows travel planning isn't my strength and encouraged me to wait a little. He’s lost count of the number of traveling stuff-ups I’ve made over the years so he has good reason to slow me down a little. I was stuck in an airport in Paris once. I decided it was my day to return home, tried to check in, but it wasn't the right day or even the right airline. Guess who spent 24 hours crying in Paris? I'm pretty sure he made me stay here for six weeks planning to ensure he doesn't get a screaming call from me from some outback hotel out of petrol and unsure where I am. Thank god I've got him! I’d have headed off five weeks ago with no tent or itinerary and probably riding 'Ruby Scooter' instead of buying a motorbike. He has tolerated me obsessing over my motorbike choice. I couldn’t decide between the Triumph Tiger and the BMW GS. I went BMW as they are quiet and smooth and weirdly feel more feminine to me than the Triumph.
What do you hope to get out of this experience?
A fresh perspective on my career, to return to it with more enthusiasm and energy, to conquer some fears (for example I’m terrified of the dark which is ridiculous at 36 years of age) and I’d also like to be at LEAST an average camper at the end because I’ve secretly admired women who can camp, I’m terrible at it.
What is in the future for you?
Career wise I honestly don't know, I'm keeping my eyes wide open and my heart ready to embrace whatever comes at the end of this Crazy Lady Adventure. I know I’m ready to embrace something more adventurous and entrepreneurial, although I suspect I will need to blow the corporate cobwebs out somewhere on the highway before I can really make that call. I might end up back in a corporate after all.
Do you have any advice for other women out there looking to conquer a road trip?
Do a defensive riding course. I've done two of them each time I re-sat my licence and have not regretted it. It teaches you to be more visible on the road and builds your 'biker chick' confidence. Then from there it’s about hours and experience on the road. Ride often in all kinds of conditions and push yourself onto roads you aren’t familiar with. Admittedly I don't ride in the rain very often but it’s worth doing occasionally as it reminds you how much the roads and hazards change in the wet.
How can people follow your journey?
I can be followed at my blog www.crazyladyonamotorbike.
wordpress.comor on instagram @crazyladyadventure. I try to approach my adventure with a sense of humour, so hopefully you can laugh along with/at me as I follow the highway and learn to camp!
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We thank Laura for chatting with us about her adventure and wish her all the best! Laura is sporting one of our LightMode Kits on her helmet for the journey so if you see her coming down the highway or in a campground be sure to give her a wave!
If you have had a wild adventure or are planning one please do get in touch with us via our Contact Page as Laura has done, as we would love to share with other women looking to learn about road trips, the planning and ideas of where to go.
Thank you and happy riding!