SA Where do you currently live? Why do you live there?
AO I currently live in Spain, in a small seaside village on the Catalonian coast. I live here because I love it. In Spain, I can ride my bike all year round and while the winters feel cold here too, there is light and the sun is warm, unlike Sweden were I’m originally from.
SA What or who inspired you to ride a motorcycle?
AO I had a boyfriend who was a very dedicated biker. I started riding pillion but quickly got bored and decided to get a licence and bike of my own. Everything I’ve done in my life since then has revolved around motorcycling.
SA What bike(s) do you own?
AO I own a Kawasaki 650 Versys. It is cheap to run and reliable. While it is good for most things it isn’t great for anything. Still, I love it.
SA Are you part of a women’s riding group? If so, which one(s)?
AO I’m a member of WIMA, Women’s International Motorcycle Association, and I’m currently serving as International President.
SA Where is your favorite ride and why?
AO I love riding in Spain, that is why I live here. The contrasts between mountains and coast, plains and forests is amazing. I’ve been living here for many years and I never seem to get enough time to ride all the roads I want to.
SA Why do you ride or want to ride on 2-wheels?
AO It makes me feel alive and part of the world. I’ve never had or wanted any more wheels.
SA Have you always been drive to explore adventurous activities?
AO I don’t think of motorbiking as adventurous activities, for me it is a way of life and I cannot imagine living without a motorbike. I’m never as happy as when my bike is packed up and I’m going somewhere, near or far is less important, I love the feeling of being on my way.
SA What would you like to see more of when it comes to the women’s riding world?
AO More friendship and less competitiveness.
SA What gets you out of bed in the morning?
AO Oh, many things do. Apart from motorcycling and travelling, I also love running – especially when I can combine it with my long-distance motorcycle journeys. I love reading too, but I preferably read in bed.
SA If you could ride anywhere next year, where would it be and why?
AO I do not have dream destinations as such, but I would like to go back to Japan and be able to spend a longer stretch of time riding all over the country. It is one of my favourite countries along with New Zealand. The latter especially because of the combination of fabulous nature and very scarce traffic.
SA Do you personally operate or work at a women owned/operated moto related website, blog or business that you would like to tell folks about?
AO I blog about motorcycling and travel, also a little bit about running, although since I became International President of WIMA I don’t have time to write as much. If anyone is interested this is the address: http://forza.greynorth.net Forza is Italian for strength, it doesn’t make sense at all now when I ride a Kawasaki, but I used to ride a Ducati 695 Monster. I started my blog when I planned to ride from Spain to Sweden and over to England covering 8500km and people said it wasn’t possible on such a small bike. Apart from last year, when I lived on my bike from June to January, it’s my longest trip so far.
I would also like to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit about WIMA. The organisation started in the USA in the 1950s with the purpose of supporting female riders and has now spread to 25 countries. WIMA holds one or sometimes two official rallies per year and countries takes turn organising. It is a week full of activities and I always plan my summer travelling around it to make sure I can attend. WIMA also works as a network for female riders who can connect and meet at other times and places. The purpose is the same now as in the early years, to support female riders. You’re welcome to visit our webpage www.wimaworld.com or find our page on Facebook.
SA What was your worse day on a motorcycle?
AO My worst day on a motorbike was when my ex-boyfriend and I were on our way to the Swedish Ducati Club’s annual meeting. En route, the car in front turned across our path without indicating and he couldn’t stop quickly enough and collided with it. He spent a month in a coma and after that followed many months of rehabilitation before he could resume a normal life.
SA What is your favorite food?
AO I love eating and I eat and enjoy almost anything as long as it is vegetarian. I love to eat a tin of “top case warm” baked beans in a beautiful spot, but equally appreciate a home cooked meal when it is possible.
SA What age did you learn to ride a motorcycle?
AO I learned to ride when I was 23.
SA Funniest thing that ever happened to you while on a ride?
AO I once did an involuntary wheelie while crossing a road, with my partner on the pillion seat. It is only funny in retrospect, quite terrifying at the time. It was a busy road and I wanted to pass as quickly as possible so I revved the bike a bit too much, especially as I was carrying a pillion, top case and full panniers.
SA Favorite post ride beverage?
AO Beer if it is a hot day, soup if it is cold.
SA Name 3 immediate things you would like to accomplish in the world of riding.
AO I have no immediate things I would like to accomplish, I just want to spend time on my bike exploring new roads and seeing new things. Time is always a factor, as next year I’m plotting how I can combine wanting to participate in the FIM rally in Lithuania and the WIMA rally in Finland, while having time to see friends, family and relatives back in Sweden.
SA Name 3 long term things you would like to accomplish in the world of riding.
AO I would like to take an advanced riders course, learn to ride off road and set out on a year-long journey.