HER STORY | Tamara Tusia

HER STORY | Tamara Tusia

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 interviewed Tamara, 34, from Naarm (Melbourne), Australia.
Tamara has spent the last 4 years building her Kawasaki chopper and is also the founder of a Facebook group that has become a large, inclusive community for womxn riders.

We hope you enjoy her story!


Please introduce yourself

Hi, I'm Tamara Tusia, 34yo from Naarm 
TamaraPhoto @klickher

When did you start riding and what/who got you into it?

Getting my moto license was always something I think I held as a bit of a fantasy in the back of my mind growing up, I knew that my dad had built his own bike when he was a teenager, but he hadn't ever owned or rode a bike during my lifetime, so there wasn't particularly any family influence there. I never considered truly doing it until my dear friend Ruth suggested we go and get our license together.
Tamara and Ruth on one of our first longer rides. Ruth and I on one of our first longer rides.

We went for our L's on the 22nd of October 2013, in the rain! That day was my very first time and experience riding a motorbike. I think at the time I knew a handful of women that had their own bikes and it sparked something in me that I suddenly couldn't turn away from.
Big shout out to Ruthie for being my partner in crime at the time. Long live The Mild Ones 🖤 Our totally badass biker gang that we formed as soon as we had bikes. We had patches and all, totally legit. 

What was your first motorbike, how was your experience in learning to ride?

I couldn't afford buying a bike right away, and didn't get that much practice until finally buying my first bike in August of 2014, a Honda Shadow 200cc named Sylvia.

I had been to see a few other bikes before her, and was sure that I wanted a cruiser style but really at that time still knew very little about bikes. I was purely going off looks and how it felt to sit on.
Honda Shadow 200cc Photo @klickher

I wasn't particularly confident starting out, and just took my time doing lots of small laps around my local area avoiding main roads until I felt a little more confident. Ruth had been riding for a little longer and helped show me the ropes.
Eventually it started to feel second nature and I began going on bigger and longer rides on unfamiliar roads and I was able to really relax more and enjoy the freedom and bliss of riding.
Support your local girl gang
Despite having had my license and riding for 8 years now, I still consider myself an ammeture rider with a very basic skill level. I've never done any advanced training or been to any track days or experienced any off road riding. I'm not really into riding fast or taking risks on the bike, I just enjoy cruising and taking in all the sights and smells.

What is your current ride? 

I still have Sylvia, she is my trusty ride or die that I can rely on, but I have also spent the past 4 years re-building a 1981 Kawasaki KZ440 that wasn't running when I got it, and the plan was to start a chopper project with it. Well, as these things tend to go, she's still not quite finished! (insert hysterical laugh and eye twitch here 

Tamara's custom Kawasaki KZ440 Photo @kustomkommuune 

Earlier this year at Sheilas Shakedown you won 'best bike' award, can you give our readers a little insight on how you got there? 

Haha! This story is a rather long winded, heart breaking tale of patience, persistence, tragedy and hope. To cut it reaaaaal short, the KZ now formally known as Ozma has seen many iterations over the last 4 years, she has been in the hands of many different helpers and has consistently dealt out wonderfully annoying, mind snapping problems and issues along the way.

1981 Kawasaki KZ440

Ozma has gone through an almost complete rebuild since the day I got her. From completely stripping down the bike to the frame and repainting, some brief modifications to the frame and then replacement of basically everything but the engine. Lot's of random little mods and purpose built fabricated parts along the way.

1981 Kawasaki KZ440  stripped down

Anyway, in the 6 month lead up to Sheilas, I was pretty psyched to have her ready to ride to the event and enter the comp (at this stage I had only just heard the bike turn over and run for the very first time since buying it), so I really wanted to push for the home stretch. As usual, there was an endless amount of hurdles and riddles and flat out fuckery right up until about 3am the night before Sheilas.

1981 Kawasaki KZ440 custom

Actually, the drama continued the morning of the ride with my gear shift lever falling clean off the bike! Bless his heart, Jimmy from Kustom Kommune really busted his ass to get her across the finish line, and Ozma behaved just enough to make it ALMOST all the way there, until she broke down on the freeway right at the off ramp to Sheilas!

Tamara working on her motorcycle at Kustom Kommune

The night before, Jimmy, Nina and I had practically performed an exorcism on her in an attempt to evict the many illusive demons she appeared to be riddled with. If I had to attempt to write a list and name all the things that went wrong I surely couldn't capture it all. Build a bike they said....

The morning of Sheilas Shakedown The winning bike at sheilas shakedown

Tamara at Sheilas Shakedown

For those who haven't heard of Sheilas, how would you describe it in 10 words or less?

Absolute pure heaven, freedom, acceptance, community and fucking powerful women.

Sheilas Shakedown

You started the Facebook group 'All Womxn Moto Riders Melbourne' which has become a huge community platform for local riders, can you please tell us about this group?

The page was really formed off a whim when Ruth and I started riding and were like, ummmm okay where are all the other boss bitches riding bikes?! I created the page with the hopes to find a community of women to ride with that was inclusive and safe, it started off small and very quickly took on its own force.

All female ride melbourne

With well over 1000 members across Victoria in the group now, the pages is still used as a safe space to communicate, learn, educate, share and support one another. As the administrator there have been some interesting developments over the years, any time I have tried to ensure more inclusivity and be intentional about how the platform is being used, it has led to some members leaving or kicking a stink. I'm fine with that!

All Female Rides MelbourneInternational Female Ride Day 2018 

How has riding impacted your life?

Honestly, the impacts have been greater than I can really sum up with language. When I am physically riding my bike, I feel so blissful and free. It has become a form of therapy for me certainly.
Then there are all the incidental gains that I never could have imagined or predicted. The community, the incredible people I have had the pleasure of meeting, knowing and loving. The skills I have gained from working on my bike (don't ask me for help I still don't know shit!), the confidence and joy I have felt at events like Sheilas Shakedown, the constant reminder that women are so bloody amazing and powerful and beautiful. Gosh, I could go on forever! 
Girls on bikes

What do you do with life when you're not on your motorcycle?

When I am not on two wheels, I work as a Counsellor and EMDR therapist and I also run a wildlife shelter called the Urban Pouch with my wife Tay in our home. Keeps me pretty bloody busy haha!
I love spending time with my community of friends and loved ones, going out dancing until the sun comes up once in a while and eating all the tasty delicious food my heart desires!
Tamara TusiaPhoto by @jakesimkinphotos

What advice do you have for new riders?

It's pretty scary at first, riding a motorbike is fucking dangerous and should be taken seriously. But also, there is so much good support and advice and love to guide you through it all, and I can only say that for me, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Don't put it off, don't get stuck in self doubt, just go for it and the rest will sort itself out! 

tamara tusia at dikes on bikes pride marchRiding with dykes on bikes for pride March.  Photo by Coal Photography 

Thank you to Tamara for sharing her story.
Follow her on Instagram: @tamskee and @theurbanpouch

We would love to share your story!
No matter where you're from, what you ride, how old or experienced you are, we all share the same love of motorcycles!

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No matter where you're from, what you ride, how old or experienced you are, we all share the same love of motorcycles!