Get a taste of adventure in the year’s freest season…
The wind in your hair… a wild ride. To a prolific scaredy cat like myself, nothing seems more freeing (or terrifying) than leaving the world behind and hopping on a motorcycle. Your motorcycle… preferably a vintage one. One that’s all your own, where you’re not relegated to the backseat, but in full control of your destiny, hands on the bars, sun at your back. Journey… destination… whatever moves you. Maybe you’re riding alone. Maybe you’ve got a gang of like-minded ladies riding alongside you, sharing in the sisterhood that often comes alongside a unique hobby or shared passion such as this.
Sounds like a fantasy, yes? In fact, it’s reality for many women who’ve made a place for themselves at a table that all too often feels dominated by machismo and testosterone. They’re the ones working in their garages all winter, waiting with baited breath for the last storm to pass, for the sun to dry the roads and the winds to mellow. For that first bluebird day where she can rev her engine and get her first taste of the year’s freest season — summer. Scaredy cat though I might be, it’s inspiring nevertheless to see women gaining a foothold in this world, riding against the grain, forging a community bound by a shared love of adventure and gathering in celebration of it. This past weekend, our friends at The Selvedge Yard introduced me to just such a gathering: The Fox Run. A women’s-only ride through the Pennsylvania wilds culminating with camping and a weekend full of community-building and adventure. Kellie, the Sponsorship Coordinator for The Fox Run, was kind enough to provide a glimpse into this world and share just what it is about the road that makes it so irresistible. Read on for your own taste of adventure…
First, could you share a bit about yourself?
My name is Kellie and I live in New Jersey where I work for a finance company by day. I am also a mom to a great daughter, who makes me proud every day, and I’m married to a great guy who has ridden his whole life and inspired me to ride my OWN ride.
I wasn’t always sure who I was… I am a mom, a wife and a woman. But after picking up riding, I learned I was so much more than that. Riding has helped define me, and most importantly, it’s brought me closer to my spirituality and this beautiful country. Anytime I am riding, I feel so in touch with my inner core, my soul, I feel closer to my loved ones who have passed. Strange? Maybe… but it’s true. I can feel them with me when I’m riding, especially my Nana. Riding, to me, is being completely FREE of everything that holds me down, life’s day-to-day bullshit.
How long have you been riding a motorcycle?
I started riding in 2013. Went to take the course with a friend of mine and been non-stop ever since.
When did you first discover your passion for motorcycles? What drew you to it?
I met my husband, Greg, while tending bar. He rode up on his chopper and it was lust at first sight. We began dating and that chopper definitely paved the way to my falling in love with him. He purchased a Street Glide which was more conducive for a passenger. We rode often, I loved it. Greg knew how much satisfaction I would get from riding myself, and he began to suggest I get my own license and that’s all I needed! Now, riding for me, it’s more like a need to breathe. Winter truly sucks now! The urgency of the need to ride is immeasurable. Once the weather breaks, it’s on! The control I feel over my life, the excitement tinged with a bit of fear (always good to have)… it’s all I want to do in my free time.
The Fox Run seems like such a positive, encouraging event. How did you come to be involved? What do you love about it?
I found it on Instagram and immediately wanted to be a part of it. Lucy, the founder of The Fox Run, does an amazing job along with the team. What a great grassroots adventure, rain or no rain! Although, screw the rain, it sucked! (Editor’s note: it poured last weekend.) I enjoyed meeting a lot of the girls, and though we’re from all walks of life, we all had one thing in common: we all love to ride!
I’m also a member of The Missfires, a group that was formed out of Brooklyn, NY. There are about 100 girls from several different states who enjoy motos and cars. A great group of ladies who enjoy riding and wrenching. Although I am not that great at wrenching yet, I can do my own oil changes now. That’s a feat in itself! I was able to be with the Missfires girls at The Fox Run. Quite a few came out! I enjoy the camaraderie that comes with motorcycle riding and encourage all female riders to reach out to other female riders in their areas and online.
What was the route like? Any favorite stops along the way?
We started (me and six of my friends) from my house in New Jersey, rode to The Selvedge Yard in New Hope, PA where we waited for our BK, NY girls to come, than headed out to Philly to pick up the girls there. From Philly we took two different routes, one all country back roads and the other highways! It was a very long day, with a few mishaps along the way, but we finally made camp around 8pm that night. I probably enjoyed the madness more looking back than I did while it was happening.
Though I think perception is changing thanks to groups like The Fox Run, motorcycles and moto-culture are often stereotypically seen as hyper-masculine, with women filling more of a ‘girlfriend’ role. Did you find it difficult to forge your own path when you first started out? Was it intimidating in any way?
Statistically speaking, there is an estimated 30% growth each year in women riders, which is astounding! That being said, it is a different breed of riders than before. 20, 30 years ago, you didn’t see many women riders, most were seen as “property of”, or their “old man’s”, and allowed them ONLY on the back. I am glad that I wasn’t in that scene then — it wouldn’t have been a good thing for me. I’m not that way, I could never go back to “riding bitch”, giving up that control… nope, can’t do it. Although, the “1%’er’s” still exist, most new riders have no idea. It’s hard to understand that lifestyle for a woman in these days. I ride with some of the old school riders, I see the differences between us, and I am ok with that. So long as they’re accepting of me, than I am good with them… to each their own. I have never once felt intimidated by anyone I’ve met on the road. I think it comes down to giving and receiving respect.
Why do you feel it’s important for women to have their own space and have their voices heard in the moto world?
I do feel it’s important for women to have their voices heard. Events like The Fox Run and Babes Ride outdo that. Also, I see quite a few all-women social moto clubs that have formed over the last few years! When you get a bunch of women together riding — the closeness you feel, the camaraderie — it’s just so warming. We help each other along the way, we build each other up, we support each other, we coddle the new riders until they’re on their way to being more confident, safe riders. It’s amazing to be a part of this movement — all women, all motos, all the time! YES!
Any words of advice to pass along to someone interested in getting her motorcycle license?
Definitely, take the course! Then, ride around your neighborhood, by yourself, many times. Back roads as well. The more miles you get under your belt the better rider you will become. It’s a constant learning experience. Every time I ride, I ride a little better than the last time. Practice everything you were taught! The biggest piece of advice I could give though, is ride your own ride! Don’t let anyone tell you to ride faster. Don’t feel you need to keep up the with speed demons. Go your own pace, ride with packs when you are comfortable keeping up the speed levels. Until then, take your time, always allow a bit of fear to surface — it will keep you on your toes. Too much confidence will ensure you dump your bike, or worse. Trust me, I keep my ego in check when riding. I dumped my bike twice! I also learned on a Honda Rebel, then purchased a used Suzuki Marauder 805. Kept that bike for two years before buying my HD Softtail Slim Screaming Eagle. I just absolutely love my bike! You will love your bike too, trust me, you will learn everything there is to know about her — how she moves, how she responds to you… let that relationship form, but never get cocky.
How about for someone who might be a rider, but wants to connect with a female-driven community like The Fox Run?
INSTAGRAM! Reach out! That’s how I found Lucy, founder of The Fox Run. It’s also how I found out about Babes Ride Out.
Do you have any more trips or rides coming up?
I think I know the answer to this but… what makes you feel ‘free’?
RIDING! Only thing in this world that makes me feel free is riding.
Thank you, Kellie!
All images except for bottom left courtesy of The Fox Run
Lead image by @tiffanitruelove
Follow Kellie on Instagram