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 Cassie Galati, 43, from Melbourne, Australia.
Cassie's love for motorcycles developed instantly after a holiday in Thailand. This devotion towards two wheels became her therapy to fight breast cancer & travel solo around Tasmania.
We hope you enjoy her story.
It all started in Thailand with my bestie Carla at the helm of a rickety old scooter. We spent months exploring the island on a two wheeled accident waiting to happen. But loved every second of it!
Two bikini clad babes giggling at all the potholes and near misses. We were dubbed 'the pixie fairies' by the locals because we would zoom around with big smiles, having the time of our lives. On the plane ride home I casually told my brother that I was going to get my motorcycle licence. He looked at me with wide eyes and said, "Sh*t you really are", knowing that when I decide to do something, I just go ahead and do it.
So a week into arriving home, I found myself sitting in the classroom of a licence testing centre. I was with six blokes who all had previous riding experience and were completely chilled. I reminded myself that although I'd never ridden a motorcycle before, or heck even a manual car for that matter, I had loads of bicycle experience and was a master at balancing from all the years of yoga.
'I've totally got this' said the little voice inside my head. So as I tried to channel the divine biker goddess, I released the clutch for the very first time in the yard of the compound for the initial exercise, which was to ride in a straight line. Feeling the power of the Kawaski Z300 beneath me was exhilarating! 'I'm doing it, I'm doing it, Yes, Dear Lord, I'M DOING IT! Okay, approaching the fence line, I need to stop, stop! STOP!' (Boom, Pow, Crash). Yep, straight into the fence.
That wasn't the last time I dropped my bike during testing. I was eventually moved away from the others into my own secluded area as I was deemed a hazard. The instructor even declared with pitiful eyes, "Cassie I just don't think you're going to get your ticket". Little did he know, I had the tenacity of a bulldog on a lead pulling towards a poodle on heat. So in the end, I did pass, and before I knew it was out and about on my Yamaha MT07!
It's fair to say, I became addicted to riding, like, immediately. I spent the entire summer on two wheels and put my car on trickle charge. I wondered how I'd cope not riding for five weeks after setting off to Nepal at the end of that Summer.
Well, turns out five weeks off the bike turned into twenty two months, after I smashed my leg into smithereens during a hiking expedition (slipped off a mountain whilst chasing monkeys with a bunch of Nepalese children, but that is an entirely different story).
Once my leg recovered, I wondered if I would even remember how to ride but it was like second nature and I was straight back into it. I organised a trip to Tasmania right away with a group of buddies. We had to load our bikes into a cruise ship and sail over. It was literally the most exciting thing I had ever done!
There were raging bushfires in Tasmania at the time so we had to avoid those and stuck to the east coast, which was stunning, but not as thrilling in terms of the twisty roads the west coast had to offer. I vowed to return!
I spent the next year travelling all over country Victoria and even up to Canberra. I clocked up over forty thousand kilometres on my little MT that year. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was such a surreal time but riding is what helped me through it. I was back on the bike five days after surgery and would ride to the hospital every day for a month during treatment.
I'd divert off to the curves of a quiet road, nestled in parkland along a riverbank. I'd spend hours doing laps, focusing on leans and trying to edge my knee closer to the ground. It was my therapy and so cathartic during that time. When treatment was over and I was declared cancer free (yay!), I packed a puncture repair kit, a huge paper map of Tasmania and headed over on the boat to explore every inch of that west coast, just as i had promised myself.
I rode through some of the most remote areas and national parks, sometimes not passing another motorist for hours. I travelled through sections of forests that were devastated by the fires. I'd pull over to the side of the road and sit there soaking up the landscape. Many trees were burned, a lot completely dead, some miraculously still alive, and regrowth all around.
I've never felt so connected to nature and myself as I was in those moments, alone in the wilderness on my motorcycle with no one and nothing around. Friends would ask how I wasn't frightened out there by myself. It was actually the most liberating experience of my life. Just me and the open road.
My advice to anyone who has fallen in love with riding is to never let fears hold you back. I was 39 years old when I got my L plates. Believe in yourself and trust your motorcycle. Be persistent in the face of set backs and obstacles. Focus on your dreams and always follow your heart.
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Thank you to Cassie for sharing her truly inspiring story.
If you would like to follow her journey you can follow her on Instagram here.
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