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 the amazing Noémie. The special thing about Noémie's story is that two years ago she wouldn't have been able to write it in English. She has built her confidence in all aspects of life, taught herself English and has learned to push through boundaries and build confidence within.
An amazing read from an amazing woman.
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"My name is Noémie and I am 28 years old. I live in Toulon in the south east of France. I recently started to ride an 80’s 400cmt Honda motorcycle. I have been a product designer for six years in a luxury lighting fixtures company and I also am an illustrator in my spare time as a freelance activity. My love for motorcycles is relatively new, but my love of riding dates back to my childhood, when I lived in Arles with my family, in the region of Camargue.
As I was a little girl, although all my girlfriends were playing with pretty blond dolls, I, on the contrary, preferred drawing and playing with boy’s toys. Well, truth is, I rather enjoyed dismantling my toys just to understand how it works. A sign of a mechanic’s curiosity which probably was a lead-in to my future profession. I loved to play with my younger brother’s toys, Enzo, in particular with his green electric dirt bike (and its two laterals rollers that I removed as soon as possible!). We were always bickering over who would ride on it! I already dreamed of taking the road and going on a big adventure with it (just along the street behind our house…) But it was too dangerous then, so I simply used to go up and down the cul-de-sac in front of my door and I enjoyed it!
Later on, I remember that a couple of good friends of my parents were managing the only motorcycle concession in Arles. My Dad and his friends went every Sundays to ride dirt bikes in Camargue, I cried so much begging him to go with them. I remember that, just one day, on a sunny weekend in the Drôme with my parents and my little brother, my dad sat me on a tank just behind him, he then put my tiny hands at the center of the handlebar and we went together for a ride across the vinyards of Nyons. A very good souvenir.
Not only motorcycles appeal to me, I also like cars, 4x4, quad bikes and others vehicles as long as it has an engine and wheels! In fact, it is the sensation of riding that was already appealing to me. Keeping control of an engine, moving and carrying myself, alone, aimless... It is still true today.
When I turned 14 (legal age to ride a 50cc in France) I had my first very own two-wheeler: a black and white Yamaha Chappy. I loved it so much because it looked like a little motorcycle. Liberté! It was so nice to ride with my girls across the city every weekend and to go to high school with it. It was stolen only three years after. Bye bye happiness. After this nasty event, I went to high school ...by bicycle.
Later, my studies brought me near Toulon. I moved in with my boyfriend Julien in 2005. I had a red Yamaha BW’s for my daily travels. I did a design internship at a jewelry which was 11 miles from my home. I did this journey 4 times a day for 10 weeks, and it did mean that I surely loved very much this internship! Two days before the end, I had an accident. A furious driver stuck me intentionally between his car and the sidewalk. And it is a bollard that saved my life! I caught it between my legs and I turned like a spinning-top around the bollard while my scooter crashed the car just parked in front. Just some scratches and a big fright!
Then Julien had a Yamaha xmax 125cc that I did not have the right to ride but we had good times together with it, every weekends, summer to winter, until the day we decided to pass together our motorcycle license in summer 2014. We passed the exam the same day. This sunny Saturday when we had the positive answer, I picked up our “pink papers” at the driving school and I picked up Julien during his lunch break and we went to the H-D Carqueiranne dealer to order our first motorcycle: a sportster 883 Iron.
We had the chance to be able to each try our own motorcycle and ride it for a long hour along the sea, with the perfect weather. For the first time, we both felt what an amazing experience it is to ride a Harley…So many sensations: big excitement shivers and thousands of butterflies, you know? Above all, this was our first ride together and I believe that this will be one of my favorite memories. A few months later, we picked up our one and only first motorcycle.
Very soon, we started to be frustrated by this joint custody. We needed to be able to ride again together, side by side.
Two years later I ordered my own motorbike to Dual Mano atelier. It is a motorcycle builder specially celebrated within the east-south of France. Manu and his team have costumed my Honda cmt400 specially adapted to my little size. She's not really finished and she has not been named yet but I love her just like that. Today I rode my vintage Honda with Julien on the most beautiful roads of France (or maybe of the world??).
Personally, getting my driving license gave me real confidence. It has allowed me to feel able to do big things. I opened up to the world and to people. I am no longer afraid of facing difficulties. Before, I considered myself as a shy person, always fearing to disturb. I only felt comfortable with my friends and family. From now on, I am not embarrassed to meet new people and above all, I dare to show my work to others. At the Design School, we were taught that “you are designers, you are not artists”, but now I finally realize that I can be very proud of my artworks. Rides gave me a feeling of freedom which I need to represent in my illustrations. Since I do not feel comfortable with words, I prefer to communicate and share my emotions with my pencil and my hands: with art.
Today, the motorcycle takes a real place in my work; it has become a current theme. I particularly love trying to represent the emotions of women with their motorcycles like the embodiment of pleasure, frustration or combativeness.
Another of my dreams is to build up something I draw with my own hands. So I have been learning the leatherwork for the past two years. I want to design and make a series of robust leather goods for motorcyclists, men and women of course! I strongly believe that we need more equipment and goods specially designed for women on motorcycle.
Since I ride, I look at life in a different way: simpler, fresher, more enthusiastic. I understand that we need to fully live each moment. That’s why Julien and I decided to celebrate our wedding in August; and I will exhibit my illustrations for the first time in the course of two motorcycle festivals in the south of France in September, “Royal Cambouis” and “Dandy Riders Festival”. I hope to see a lot of ladies on motorcycles to represent our community. Just come or ride in!"
Facebook page: @noe.barr.art (Noémie Baracco-Scherer)
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Thank you to Noémie for sharing her story and if you would like to share your story with us simply go to the Contact Page of the website and fill in the form and we will gladly be in touch.