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 Rachel Askett of Ontario Canada. She needs no introduction except for a line from her story "Riding also means being unafraid to ask questions about mechanisms and mechanics to truly understand the machine I'm riding and admitting my naivety while striving to gain knowledge."
We hope you enjoy her story.
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"My name is Rachel Askett, I am 24 years old and from Ontario, Canada.
My favourite book is 'A Room of One's Own' by Virginia Wolfe. A statement of a woman's independence relying on the fact that she has the ability to have 'a room of her own'.
Being a female rider for me is a statement of independence - you're the only one in control.
I wear a white leather jacket and braids fall out the back of my helmet, everyone on the road knows I'm a woman. I am able to communicate with the cars and people on the road with a look or a ... gesture (haha).
All of this communication is based on being in touch with my intuition and totally tuned into the place and time I am in. I am not worried about laundry, work, cooking, relationships - it's all about me and aside from athletics, the motorcycle is the only place I can find that.
I've been around motorcycles my entire life as my Dad is an avid rider and my idol. He sent my brother and I to get our M2 together. It was a weekend course and the second day - test day - it was snowing! Both my brother and I passed and went home with a 'hell yes' kind of attitude. Learning something new beside my brother was unreal, obviously on the bike you're the only one in control but I could depend on my brother to understand this feeling, the nerves and the excitement all at once. We shared a Kawi KLX 250 for a couple of summers but slowly I let life distract me.
My only hesitation was thinking that I didn't have enough cash, but with months still available to save a little extra I made it my priority to purchase a motorcycle and get my M. I couldn't let my illusion of not having time or money stand in the way of achieving my goal. I often get the comment of how young I am to be riding, I ask them how they got so old without wanting to ride. They're usually quiet after that one.
I spent July and August meeting my Dad all over Ontario looking at various motorcycles. These are the best memories I have with him, and further fuelled my drive to get a bike this year. I need to get out on rides with my Dad. This is what's important to me. It was a red 92' Kawi Zephyr 550 (one year older than me!) that was my soulmoto. I saw it one weekend and told my Dad I loved it, but needed his approval, of course. The following weekend I was racing a triathlon with my Mom and as I left for home, they left to go see the bike - I got a text later that night that it was sold.
My Dad had purchased it (thank god for parents and affordable loans!)
I paid for my M test the next day and the bike made it to my house in the next couple weeks.
In early September I walked into the local Harley Davidson for the M course, the only women in the room and when asked who was here for the M2 and the M myself and one other man raised our hands for the M and only I got an 'are you suuuuure?' look from everyone around me. I gave the 'don't ask me twice' look back and proceeded to handle the course like a pro - I made friends, had a blast and got my M.
I did it - I worked hard and had this new found state of independence the key part is I did it with the support of family. I can depend on family while being independent, a fragile balance I've had a hard time balancing in the past, often feeling guilty or ashamed that I need help. My Dad bought his Hyabusa up in the following weeks and I led him through the changing foliage and twisting roads of Northern Ontario under a crisp, blue sky. My helmet may have gotten a little foggy on that day.
Becoming a rider has helped me drop my fear of being judged or 'embarrassed', by removing this weight I let my natural reflex take over and have never had a problem on the road.
I have a complete confidence in my own abilities and my machine, I make the decisions and I am responsible for myself.
Riding for me means being able to handle my left mirror breaking off and heading to Dollarama for duck tape and zip ties to fix it in the parking lot with my key chain knife.
Riding also means being unafraid to ask questions about mechanisms and mechanics to truly understand the machine I'm riding and admitting my naivety while striving to gain knowledge.
Be independent and ask for help, you can have confidence in your own ability while depending on your family (genetic and adopted moto-family).
Riding for me is about having a 'Vroom of my Own'.
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Thank you to Rachel for sharing her story and if you would like to share your story with us simply go to the Contact Page of the website and fill in the form and we will gladly be in touch.