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 from Lauren "Wren" Maher from England. After going though some hard times and being pressured never to ride, Wren decided to turn her life around and jump back on the bike, read on to learn about how riding changed her life.We hope you enjoy her story.
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“My name’s Wren, I’m 26 and currently living in The New Forest, England.
My motorbike journey started when I was just 10. I was at a summer fete and was drawn to a tent that had a bunch of BSA’s and KTM’s lined up – they were me sized!
Seeing me captivated, my Dad signed me up to be a part of a children’s display team called ‘The Tigers’ and from there I was practicing every weekend, riding in summer shows and doing tricks for three years. Eventually it got to the point where I needed a bigger bike and so, my journey with them came to an end.
I hit 16 and I desperately wanted to get my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) but, my dad being a bike rider knowing all the dangers, forbid it.
Probably a good move on his part, as I had a habit of getting myself into trouble when I was a teenager - still do these days - but a bit more on purpose!
This ended up being the theme of my late teens- early 20’s. I’d think about getting on the bike again, but boyfriends I’d had at the time forbid it, and being the people pleaser that I am, I always put the idea back down and moved on. Unfortunately, in trying to appease others, it put my own mental health in a questionable state. This all came to head after a huge upheaval where I left my little Cardiff flat, my long-term relationship, my job and moved to the New Forest to start doing what I wanted to do.
I was going to start doing things for me!
I took my CBT in secret, but when I showed my Dad my CBT certificate his response was ‘Why have you gone and done that?’. No one around me was happy with it, but I carried on and got my full license in a one week DAS (Direct Access Scheme) course. I was ecstatic and it was time to look for a bike. Dad at this point knew I was stubborn enough about this, and helped me look for a bike. That’s when I found the love of my life – Bubba.
I wanted something with character, something I could learn about bikes with, and a ‘smasher’ of a lady owner Jane, sold me her beloved Royal Enfield Bullet 500. When I went to see the bike, no one could get it started initially, but after a bit of coaxing we got it going. I hopped on and tried to start it, and with instruction from Jane and one big kick, I got Bubba up and running, and I knew he was mine. No one else can seem to start my bike - and I love that. He’s my quirky agricultural beast.
Owning my Enfield has been the resurgence of my love for bikes. Bubba has a few ‘quirks’ shall we say, and I had a few months of him solidly being in the naughty corner. One pick up recovery trip home, one emergency ‘can I please leave my bike on your drive mister?!’ as my push rod gave out and a lot of mid-ride break downs, this bike taught me the high and lows are so worth it. Touch wood, Bubba hasn’t spluttered once after some cursing and a lot of TLC and I have enjoyed exploring the depths of Wiltshire and Hampshire.
This bike has also helped (or maybe forced!) me to come out of my bubble. I have people coming over to us wherever we go with huge smiles, telling me their Dad or Grandad used to own a bike just like mine and I can see the nostalgia it’s brought them. I started to upload pictures of the bike onto my Instagram, @Wreckitwren, and the messages I receive are always so positive. Owning a motorbike has helped me make connections all over the world as well as make some brilliant friendships on my doorstep. This has inspired me to pursue a new project, where I want the happiness that bikes bring to help other people too.
In 2019, I plan to start a not-for-profit organisation in New Zealand with my Dad to provide motorbike experiences for disabled ex-servicemen and veterans across the world. I want to lead groups through the most amazing country and help them rediscover their sense of adventure and freedom. These are the men and women who have seen and lived through some of the worst things in the world and if we can bring some happiness for two weeks to just one person, it will be a success. In February, we are heading over to Blenheim to set a route for the South Island and to find all the best parts to share with others.
My advice for any women thinking about learning to ride? Sitting on a bike provides such an awesome sense of freedom that I have never found anywhere else. As you ride, you sit inside your own head and learn to accept and love the person that’s in there, in turn discovering new amazing places and people.”
“Love what you can control, thrive on what you can’t”
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Thank you to Lauren for sharing her story.
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