PORTLAND, OREGON – Have you ever Googled yourself? Do it. It’s fun to see where you pop up, and it might even lead you to something interesting. It did for me. Last year I found my pictures posted to a Tumbler site called MotoLady, the shot of me on the Chromester (now my author photo)–where she tagged me a bad ass… Hee hee… Wait. Do bad-asses giggle?
And this shot on my ’76 Honda TL125 at El Mirage.
I was both flattered to be on such a cool site, and intrigued by the intense eyes of the MotoLady. Just who IS this enigmatic lady behind the helmet?
First let me tell you a little about the site. It’s a Mecca of all things Girl-Moto, a place to find fantastic images of girls with their bikes–and I’m not talking scantily clad models posing with some random bike. I’m talking girls who really ride. Somehow this mysterious maven peering from inside the helmet has managed to round up images from around the globe and gather them into one dynamic, visually inspiring, and very encouraging virtual gathering spot.
Over the last couple of years, the site has evolved from just pictures, to more content. And it’s good. Reviews on products. Stories about rides. Words to go with the pictures she so loves, along with her own projects and adventures.
And now… Let’s pull the helmet off the girl.
Her name is Alicia Elfving, a self-professed dork who, like me, is inspired by images. Her background in design and marketing is abundantly clear when you look at the site, started in January 2011 shortly after getting her first bike. Why?
“Because ladies were born to ride. And motorcycles were made for riding.”
Even though she’s been riding a relatively short time, it’s been a lifelong passion.
I’d lusted after them since I was a kid and just wanted to ride one. When I took the endorsement class through Team Oregon, I had a rad instructor (Joel Crawford, who I’ve become good friends with over the years) I immediately felt at home in the saddle of a motorcycle like I had in the saddle on a horse. That was probably seven years ago now? I didn’t have anyone taking me on rides as a kid, I just loved the way they sounded, looked, everything.
Her first motorcycle, a1980 Yamaha Maxim XJ 650, she rode until it “degraded into a pile of crap“–her words, not mine; a bike she bought at the encouragement of her then husband (who didn’t ride), a bike that helped her get over the demise of that relationship a few years later. Something about riding soothes a pained soul. And this bike did that for her.
So what’s she riding now? Look at her site and you’ll see she rides just about anything and everything she can get her hands on–Triumphs, Ducatis, BMWs, Hondas, mini-bikes.
If it has two-wheels, she’ll probably ask to take it for a spin. As far as her own garage, she dreams of a motorcycle trifecta: Monster, Cruiser, Dual Sport, and unlike some riders, her passion isn’t brand specific.
I’m really not super picky with bikes. As I learn more and ride more I have preferences, but I really do like a ton of motorcycles.
Like Dual Sports for instance.
The dirt bug planted in her head after the crew at Touratech invited her to attend their ADV Moto Rally in Plain, Washington, even giving her a bike to ride for her first real off-road experience.
It’s my nature to test my limits slowly and build skill and confidence as I go, so naturally I enjoyed myself more and more as the weekend went on. I ended up hitting single track for the first time on a 410-lb Husqvarna 650 Terra and kicked ass (at least in my mind). I honestly expected to wreck, at least dump it a couple times, since I couldn’t even touch with both feet.. but I didn’t. It was a huge triumph for me.
The Monster-fecta of the trifecta is partially realized.
Over the last couple of years, she’s been gradually putting together a wrecked ’98 750 Monster, not simply buying new plasticized parts, but fabricating pieces to make it truly one of a kind. It looks… AMAZING.
You can read the entire process on the MotoLady site, and of course, there are lots of pictures to illustrate.
Female riders are often asked by other women what it’s like to ride. You can see in their eyes both curiosity and fear. And honestly, that’s perfectly normal for both women and men, although women are more likely to admit it.
But Alicia says, you can’t let that stop you.
Remember that when you do it you’ll feel so awesome and able to overcome whatever else life throws at you- and if you end up not liking it or it’s just not for you- having tried it makes you a total bad ass. It’s a win win. I was really anxious when I first got on a bike- but I am stubborn as hell and had to try.
Hey! That’s my line when people ask how I carry my ridiculously heavy news gear! Maybe stubbornness is a common thread in motorcycle girlies.
Another thing we have in common is a strong belief in wearing protective riding gear. I tell ya. I love fashion. I love vintage. But there’s a place for it. Yes, I sometimes feel like the biggest dork in the world wearing my full-faced helmet and jacket when everyone else is in super cool vintage or open helmets and bare arms. But really? I want to keep my face. Not that it’s the best in the world, but it’s mine.
Alicia has a different, more self-confident take, one more people should embrace:
When I gear up with armor practically head to toe, the last things I feel like is a dork… I feel like a bad ass, confident in my capabilities as a motorcyclist because I’m prepared. Maybe it’s the fact that the Mad Max series are some of my most favorite movies, but I love looking like I’m ready for the apocalypse when I get on my bike all geared up in a full face helmet, knee and shin armor, big boots, etc. You might not be able to see my face in a 3/4 helmet but I’m not riding so people look at me. Although I will say it’s a bonus that I enjoy the riot-ready appearance of full gear.
But Alicia doesn’t force her opinion on people. She encourages riders to understand the importance of wearing safety gear, and make an educated decision for themselves.
Everyone just needs to know why they shouldn’t ride without a good helmet, but they shouldn’t be told they have to wear one.
Okay. Safety lesson over.
Rumor is, Alicia is moving to the SUNSHINE AND LAND OF OPPORTUNITY otherwise known as San Diego! How cool is that? I’m sure she will be welcomed with open arms. Heck! She practically knows everyone already anyway! Welcome, MotoLady!!
If you’d like to keep up with her and never miss a MotoLady post, go join the other 30,000 plus fans on her Facebook page. Yes. 30,000! And of course, follow the MotoLady blog. Oh! And be sure to check out her “awesome freaking swag shop!”
Until next time…
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