Her Story. A series of blog posts telling the stories of 'women who ride' from all corners of the globe. We hope that by sharing these stories we can help encourage other women to build their confidence, learn from others and inspire others.
This month we have a story from Laurie Daporta from France. Laurie loves riding motorcycles when she isn't being a Spacecraft Engineer and loves to ride with her Endurance Team.
We hope you enjoy her story.
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"Hey there! I’m Laurie Daporta and I’m French – but I don’t drive with a baguette in my hands! More precisely, I live in Blagnac, near Toulouse. Well, in fact it’s really close to Toulouse, in the « Occitanie » part of France (in the South West). So, about the weather, it’s windy most of the times, with great summers and rainy winters, snow is kind of a myth right there. I’m 25, but closer to 26. When I don’t ride, I’m an Engineer for Aircraft/Spacecraft and a wannabe writer. Yes, it’s kind of a busy life.
So please, be indulgent with my English, it’s not my native language, but I hope it’s not that bad.As far as I remember, motorcycles have always been a part of my life. When I was something like 6 years-old, my father used to take me and my older brother on his old BMW and give us a tour around the block. Yes, we were 3 on the bike, and no it wasn’t legal. It was some reward for being nice, and sometimes just because we asked for it. My brother or father was always behind me on the fuel tank, hands on the handle. Nowadays, we probably won’t do that again. But it was at that time that I knew someday I’ll ride a motorcycle on my own. I was maybe young, but yet a little stubborn.At the age of fourteen, in France, we can pass the « Brevet de Sécurité Routière » which is a kind of driver licence for moped. That was my birthday gift that year, with a moped that looked old and crappy but I liked it from the very beginning. I was also a « sand bag » for my father, as from time to time he drove me in motorcycle instead of car.Then, at the age of 16, I had my very first driving licence and my first real motorcycle. It was a Suzuki TU-X 125. I don’t know if it’s a France thing, but this licence is only valid for small bikes (under 125cc), so for bigger bikes, you need to pass another licence. And that was my birthday gift three years later.Back then, I worked on my holidays – I was in Engineering School at that times – to pay my bike, and finally had a Suzuki GSE500. Yes, I probably have something for this brand, I’m currently riding a Suzuki Gladius! But, more probably because I can’t affort the motorcycle of my dreams (dear students loans….).I ride most of the time to commute because of the traffic in Toulouse, but still, I sometimes go across the South of France, or elsewhere. No big trip for now – only something like 600km in a weekend to go to an Endurance Race, but I want to do a kind of Tour de France, and visit some friends I’ve made by the internet or the ones I know for a while. I don’t have a specific place to ride. I just need a road and some fuel. And also friends, because it’s always funnier to ride with friends.
But as I discovered on my trips, as little as they were, every biker you come across is a potential friend. I’ve made friends just by going to the beach on a hot summer day, only because we were both bikers.I’m also part of an Endurance Team, called « Poirsouille Endurance Team ». The first word in the name is a sort of joke, it came from Poireau (leek) which means beginner in slang and Arsouille which means race. So it’s a kind of « slow riders going fast » team, yes we have a big sense of humour.We ride in the 25Power championship, with a Honda CBR 125 and a CBR 166. For two years now, I’m in the staff, helping with logistics and pitboard, but for the next season, I’ll do a race in the « Junior Team », which is one of our projects. I had my very first race last September, and it was awesome. But I’m not really ready for a real race. I need more practice. I had a hard time – damn, I was really slow! But that just left me with the will to go back on the track and do better next time! I’m kind of a perfectionist so I want to practise a lot, even if it cost an arm. I think that learning to ride for a race can be helpful for riding at any time. I just wish I knew we can do that much sooner, because now I have to lose some bad habits.If I had some advices… That would probably be on first point : DARE. Some women think that it’s only a man thing, but no, if you want to, then give it a try! It may take time, or maybe not. Everyone goes at their own speed. I’m also the kind of person to recommend to ride with decent gear. Yes, it’s a real pain in summer… but it could save at least your skin.
Also don’t overthink! Don’t try to ride above your limits. It’s better to be slow and safe than fast and at the hospital. And also, ride. Don’t be afraid of the weather. But always keep an eye on the other users : we are less visible and more fragile. And, above all these : have fun. Enjoy your time alone in your helmet but in a middle of a pack."
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