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 Ana Bribiesca from LA, California.
Ana did not grow up around motorcycles and was discouraged by others when she decided to go for her licence, however after riding pillion she decided that it just wasn't enough. She has now discovered a new meaning to freedom after getting her bike and joining an all female motorcycle community.
We hope you enjoy her story.
My name is Ana Bribiesca. I am 29 years old, from Los Angeles, California. The first time I rode a motorcycle was just two years ago when I was 27. It was a 1996 HD Sportster Iron 1200. My mission was to rock the bike back and forth while it was in neutral, but of course, as soon as I started moving, I fell to the ground and so did the 500 pound machine. The worst part was that the motorcycle wasn't even mine! I felt deeply embarrassed and afraid to try it again. I thought riding a motorcycle was not for me; after all, I am 5' 2" and weigh roughly 115 lbs (52kgs).
After the incident, I rode that bike for a couple of times as a passenger. While it was exciting at first, the more I got on the bike, the shorter and less exhilarating the rides felt. Suddenly, the pace was not fast enough, I could hardly feel the wind, and the motorcycle would not follow the way my head would turn. I wanted more, but no one in my family had ever had an interest in motorcycles. I realized I had no one to guide me and no idea where to start.
So I went online, did some research, and decided to take a riding course. I won't deny it, I was nervous at first, but once my riding gear was on and I heard the sound of the engine, I knew I could do it.
The moment I started telling people around me that I was going to buy a motorcycle, learn how to ride, and be part of an all-women motorcycle community, I was bombarded with all possible clichés: "Women don't ride motorcycles", "You are not strong enough", "You are too small", "You are too weak", "You have a death wish" "Motorcycle People are mean and vile", "You are so sweet, why are you trying to be a bad girl?." Yet, I let none of that stopped me. I was determined to reach my goal, and I wasn't going to be manipulated by other people's insecurities or imprisoned by all that negativity.
On August 18, 2019, I passed the course and became the first person in my family to learn how to ride a motorcycle! 13 days later, I registered my 2014 Harley Davidson Iron 883.
Deciding to ride a motorcycle has had an immense impact on my life. A lot of the lessons I've learned on the road have translated into my daily life. It's easier for me to make important decisions and to stand up for myself. I feel more confident and in control of my life, and even find myself appreciating the simple things I took for granted before. Hearing my exhaust when I ride soothes my soul. I have never in my life felt such freedom.
What came next was joining an all-women motorcycle community, The Litas LA. My parents were so nervous their little birdie had an 883cc engine now; that the first time I went to meet with other riders, my Dad drove behind me the entire time. When I arrived at the Guardian Bell Exchange event (best way to begin your motorcycle journey if you ask me), I felt so intimidated by all those motorcycles and confident women around me. Little did I know that they were the most loving, kind, friendly, inspiring people I have ever encountered in my life. I was so surprised to be welcomed with open arms. Every woman I've met has taught me something about life or riding. Most importantly, they have inspired me to push past fear and break stereotypes. Motorcycle women are incredible, and I am proud to call them my second family.
You might think that communities like these are exclusive. But I am here to tell you that is not true, and if you find yourself in a situation like this, why not be that person who creates a community that welcomes and nurtures ALL riders. It doesn't matter where you come from, how old you are, or the color of your skin, I genuinely mean it when I say that anyone can ride a motorcycle. This reminds me of my younger sister, who was also super scared to start riding, but she accepted the challenge, and now we ride together. I am so grateful she said yes. Now more than ever, we have each other's backs; She is the best riding partner.
I feel proud to be part of the motorcycle community. Seeing the look on people's faces when they see over fifty of us all riding together is thrilling, especially when I hear them say, "Look! They are all women."
I want to encourage everyone to be the change they are seeking, to try, to get knocked down (with a 500 pound machine), and get back up because the reward IS worth it. The freedom you feel on the road is beyond compare, and there is nothing like lowering your left hand to salute a fellow rider knowing that they are not strangers, but part of the ever growing family that you have yet to meet. I hope you read this and know that you will find incredible new companions to ride and share your joys with as well.
I will never stop riding, so I'll see you on the road.