My Path to Babes Ride Out
Featuring Photos by Monster Rally
Five years ago, two strong women, Anya and Ashmore, met and organized an all-female moto-campout in the desert. Fifty women showed up, and from what I understand - it was a magical and life-changing experience.
I did not ride a motorcycle at this time, nor did I live in Southern California. I started seeing posts on Instagram of beautiful women, joyously riding motorcycles together. I was living in the midwest, and deep in a dark addiction - unable to realize my dreams, let alone achieve them. Riding a motorcycle was a distant fantasy, something I figured I could only fall asleep imagining through an alcohol and drug induced haze - but not something I would ever be able to do.
In 2013, I moved to Southern California and got sober. By this time, that little women's weekend had turned into Babes Ride Out. The number of attendees had more than quadrupled, and the event had grown to include other activities besides camping and riding (raffle, food, live music).
As my sobriety matured and I learned how to be an upstanding human (by my own standards), I soon met some women who rode motorcycles, and had attended the events. I made a friend in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous who had been riding for decades, and upon realizing my dream to ride - taught me how to ride. I soon bought a ratty old Sportster and began to putt around the mean streets of Pasadena on it.
My first Babes Ride Out (BRO) was the 3rd one, in 2015. I had only been riding for a year, and was immensely intimidated. I sat on the sidelines a lot, and let other people tell me what to do - but in 2016, I worked for Harley-Davidson at the time BRO took place. I organized a breakfast meet-up and ride from our dealership, and spent the weekend with some of the most incredible women I had ever met, slipping into a depression when I got back to reality/came down from an emotional high.
THIS YEAR, I thought I would ride out alone, on my own time/terms/whatever. This is super contradictory to our "No Pack/No Chance" design and motto, but hey - I get anxious and jaded. Female friends and acquaintances start texting me, asking me where I was riding from . . . I began to tell them that I was riding from my house, and that if they wanted to come, to be there by 10am on Thursday morning. WELL, this was one of the best decisions I have made to date. Seriously, without our pack we have no chance.
The women that showed up did not know each other, some I barely knew, and all rode different types of bikes. The energy was so golden and perfect, we rode smoothly out to Joshua Tree without any real hiccups. Everyone's heart was caught in their throats as we pulled into the unreal scene - women everywhere, setting up camp, hugging, laughing, and in one of the most beautiful places I have ever laid eyes on.
In AA, they tell us that we will have a life beyond our wildest dreams. My wildest dreams included a motorcycle - but I could not imagine beyond that. BRO5 was beyond that. I am almost speechless at the comradery, the strength, the respect, and the growth that I experienced with these women at this event.
I got to participate more than ever this year, I led many rides, I donated an item to the raffle, even got on stage to announce it! More importantly than anything, I feel like I awakened this year.
I made uncomparable connections to other women who ride and share this passion with me. I learned how to be a better leader, and a better follower, I learned a lot about setting boundaries and taking care of myself. I was given courage to speak up, and power to be silent. I had a couple breakdowns, and trusted the women I was with enough to let them see those.
I have never felt so safe and supported as I do at this event. Men are not evil, and I certainly don't hate them, but my trauma and paranoia run deep. To walk through a dark campground full of bikers and not have to "pack," or send glances in each direction is a sigh of relief. I am absolutely beyond grateful to have been part of this for the last 3 years - and to Babes Ride Out for being part of ME.
All photos by Monster Rally