Her Story. A series of blog posts telling the stories of 'womxn who ride' from all corners of the globe. We hope that by sharing these stories we can help encourage other womxn to build their confidence, learn from others and inspire others.
This month we chat with Lee Dawn Hershey from Texas, USA.
Lee is a model, actor, creator, producer, athlete, Wipe Out champion, and of course a strong moto devotee! From the ripe age of four, Lee set out on two wheels and to this day, motorcycles are still a fundamental part of their life and mental wellbeing.
We hope you enjoy their story!
How long have you been riding? Who got you into it?
I’ve been riding since I was four years old. I grew up on a farm in Texas and my father and grandparents had a major influence on my riding. They were all very mechanical and took the time to show me the mechanics behind everything that was on the farm. From tractors to trucks to mills, you name it. It just intrigued me, mechanics in general. I started on a little 50cc dirt bike that we had on the property, then it grew from there and I started riding larger dirt bikes & motorcycles.
What was your first motorbike?
When I was twelve my Dad gave me his old dirt bike which was a 1980’s Honda 125 and got to work on it with my Dad. It was a challenge to ride at times because I was smaller. I used to take my best friend Amber with me all the time. So if I ever laid it over or stalled out I’d have them to help me. We would tear up that neighbourhood and leave the boys in the dust!
What are you riding right now?
Right now I’m riding a 2001 Dyna Low Rider. It’s my pride and joy, I absolutely love it. I picked it up during the pandemic and it saved my mental state so very much. I’m a lover of all bikes, the bike you ride does not reflect your status. It carries your soul.
Indian featured you in a campaign, can you tell us a little BTS?
It was an absolute dream. It felt like I was at the coolest camp I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ve been on a lot of commercial and tv/film sets and this one just felt so different. It felt like I was just hanging with my buddies adventuring and discovering new terrain. They even featured my voice on the final product. I’ll never forget it honestly.
How did that project come about?
I was shooting a commercial for T-mobile and I met this incredible human by the name of Jolene Van Vugt. They completely changed my perspective on other women motorists. I used to watch them on Nitro Circus as the first female to do a backflip on a motorcycle. I was a little star struck. Fast forward one day Jolene text me and said she had an incredible opportunity with two major companies, Indian Motorcycles and Iron & Air; and wanted to see if I was interested. I was pinching myself. They linked me up with the director and producer and the rest was history.
How have motorcycles impacted your life?
When I’m on the bike everything makes sense. Yes I still carry my worries and my trauma, but it’s not as loud. The one thing that is the loudest is that I’m OK. I’m capable of keeping those two wheels on the road and the weight of the bike up. My dyslexia is almost non-existent. I’m grabbing gears and I know what’s next. It’s the best form of therapy I’ve ever had.
What advice do you have for new riders?
Ask yourself, “Why do you want to ride? What is fueling you?” I suggest patience and communication with yourself and your bike. Always look twice and never assume that someone is going to look out for you. As quick as it is to lose a life on a motorcycle, it’s just as easy to gain life and find who you really are. It’s just you and that machine. Cherish every moment, even if it’s a quick rip to the gas station.
What is Big Little Moto Co?
It’s a motorcycle club that my friend Jess Reid and I created after our first One Moto Show together. We’re both Virgos and we both really strive to push equality in anything and everything we do. With both of us being Queer we want inclusivity. We wanted to create a group of people that show up for each other and for themselves. It’s not about gender or what you ride. It’s about why you ride and what fuels you. We really want to work with the youth and show them that you don’t have to be a male or an outlaw to ride motorcycles. We want to teach them how to ride at an early age and break through the barriers and stigma around motorcyclists. It’s a movement, we want to see people grow and shine and be the best version of themselves.
As an Actor what other jobs have you done as a rider?
I’ve shot a commercial for Harley Davidson and that opened my eyes to a whole new world of communication and skill. I’ve done a commercial for Cross Helmets which was really neat, they made it more of a cinematic/music video commercial. We got to shoot that at Jim Henson Studios which was insane. Oh my gosh! I was a kid in a candy store. Canyon carving with drones and cranes through Los Angeles Crest was pure gold. I’ve also done some work in film which is soon to be released. Getting sent out for auditions and getting paid to ride my motorcycle on camera is mind blowing. I dreamt of this as a kid and now its coming full circle and my dreams are becoming a reality.
What’s your dream motorcycle adventure?
A cross country road trip and stopping in Texas at my families property in Spring Branch. Floating the river, riding all day and camping out with only what we can carry.
What are five essentials you take on an adventure trip?
First and foremost a blow up pool floatie for your air mattress. Then a warm sleeping bag, tool set, CBD is a must. A mini Theragun is definitely essential. There’s nothing like a massage on your neck and shoulders after a day of riding.
Ride like the wind is filling your sails, onward and upward!
Thank you to Lee for sharing their story.
You can follow Lee's journey here > @leedawnhershey
You can follow Lee's journey here > @leedawnhershey