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 by Tânia Moreira Rato, from Sintra, Portugal. Tânia became a co-founder of The Litas Cascais not long after gaining her motorcycle licence, which then lead to many adventures with more female focused riding communities.
We hope you enjoy her story!
I grew up in Paço de Arcos, on the Cascais line, listening to my grandfather's stories that I loved so much! In the sixties, in Paço de Arcos, my grandfather and his brother were the only ones with motorcycles, they wore leather jackets and drove a Triumph and a Norton, without a helmet, with beards and hair in the wind, cute and stylish! So I imagine a Mods vs Rockers scenario, playing Elvis in the background and the local girls all in love with them (it was true)!
My grandmother used to spend holidays in a village in Alentejo and my grandfather, who couldn't contain his homesickness, would visit her on a motorcycle, I heard that he always arrived there with a beard full of mosquitoes!!
Oh and I heard that my mother rode a motorcycle a lot, in my grandmother's belly!
But my story begins when I was eleven years old, when I received a Peugeot scooter from my father for my birthday!
My mother was very afraid that I would have an accident and hurt myself and, therefore, I could only drive the scooter close to home! In the following years I couldn't take the scooter to school, no matter how hard I tried and at the age of 16, without my mother knowing, I took a license from a friend BW's scooter, hoping to convince my mother to let me drive it later and also go to school driving it like my friends, but unfortunately I had no luck!
With the twists and turns that life takes, this passion has become half asleep. Later I had a boyfriend who had a motorcycle, I rode a lot with him and when we broke up, the first thing I did was buy a motorcycle from a friend of mine! It was a 125, chopper style and it was here that I awakened my passion for two wheels!
With the 125cc, I joined The Litas community, where along with other women, I gained experience, rolled in a group, challenged myself and discovered a universe that I quickly identified with and never stopped!
I founded @thelitascascais with Pipa, in 2018, the same year I took the motorcycle license and while I was getting it, my mechanic prepared a 1993 Yamaha Virago 535, to my liking, which was ready for my birthday and I took the driving test!
I hadn't taken the driving test yet when I got a call from a friend I met at The Litas, whom I call the queen of motorcycles and who is an inspiration to me, Marta Garcez, to know what state my license was in of driving and if I was available to travel abroad by motorcycle! Without asking anything else, I just replied that in December I would already have a letter and with it, I would go everywhere!!
A few weeks later, I was invited to join a group of five women, all known to The Litas, to create the Dust Girls project and in April, we left Lisbon in the rain, heading to the desert in Morocco on scramblers, in a trip that changed my/our lives forever!
As soon as we returned from Morocco, we were invited to roll around Cuba with old choppers, in another unique experience, in which I find myself looking back, and sometimes it seems like I can't believe it happened!!
I cried many times inside the helmet on these trips, from emotion, happiness, pain, fatigue, but I never wavered, I never gave up, I drove km and km with numb hands, focused, looking at four women of different ages, with more experience than me, who never made me feel inferior, who always gave me strength and hugged me when I needed it!
With the pandemic, this project of ours was on standby, but I dream of the day when we will make the next motorcycle trip!!!
But here's the record made by Manuel Portugal's lens, of our adventures, with the short films of our travels and the brutal photos, which you can see on our instagram page @dustgirls.
I ride a motorcycle on a daily basis, but traveling is what I like the most, if I could, that would be all I would do in life! A motorcycle, backpack attached to the motorcycle, the right people and a destination, I don't need much more to have a smile on my face and be happy!
This year, I was challenged by another friend, Ny, to be a Petroleader of the @petroletteslisboa Rally.
Petrolettes is an international community of women riders, uniting women from all over the world, of all ages with different styles and engine sizes, but with a common passion!
The Rally takes place every year, where on that date, women from all over the world, roll at the same time, on a path defined by the Petroleaders of their cities.
Our Rally went so well, we had about twenty riders, some with little experience, who had never ridden in a group and were fascinated by the help, companionship, support that existed between all of them and since then, every month we hold a walk, where new Petrolettes are gathered, creating a place, an escape, where our Petrolettes can be themselves, that they feel safe, integrated, supported, in their differences and experiences and where no one is more or less, we are all the same there!
Motorcycles have brought a lot of good things to my life, like people, friendships, travel, unique experiences, love, collaborations with brands, the opportunity to try bikes from different brands and now this is my work too!
With the pandemic, I saw myself without my business and this year the opportunity arose to integrate into a project, which is Art On Wheels Garage, a workshop for customizing, restoring, maintaining motorcycles in Sintra, and here I find myself collaborating, since May, where I learn a little more about this world every day, between papers and surrounded by beautiful motorcycles... I'm happy!
I'm lucky and for those who want to start riding a motorcycle, I say what someone said to me when I started and that I bring with me whenever I take the motorcycle: "go, do it, be bold, but always take care!"
Follow her journey on Instagram: