JL I currently live in Aliso Viejo, CA. I’ve been in the greater Los Angeles area for the past 10 years, in large part for work, but also for the weather.
SA What bike(s) do you own?
JL I have two bikes right now: a 1995 Ducati M900 and a 2014 Yamaha FZ-09.
SA Where is your favorite ride and why?
JL My favorite ride? That’s a tough one. All my current favorites are strictly pavement, since I’m super novice in the ADV world. I love to ride Hwy 1 between San Luis Obispo and San Francisco. Since I’m originally from the Bay Area, this ride gives me the best of everything: tight twisty roads with gorgeous vistas, leading me home.
SA What or who inspired you to ride a motorcycle?
JL My first motivation to get on a bike came from my ex-husband’s influence and encouragement. But I have to give a lot of credit to one of my favorite riding buddies, Marck, who has not only been like a brother to me, but my most influential motorcycle mentor.
SA Are you a part of a women’s riding group? If so, which one(s)?
JL Though I’ve been riding for the past 11 years, I am a fairly new member of the Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists. I’ve been involved with various unofficial women’s riding groups off and on throughout my riding career. I was a control rider 2 years in a row for the now-defunct women’s track days, Femmoto. I attended Babes Ride Out and Femmewalla for the first time this past year. Aside from this, I’ve been a fairly regular AMA member, as well.
SA Why do you ride or want to ride on 2-wheels?
JL I ride for the thrill and the freedom motorcycling brings me. I love the feeling of gliding through a corner, carving through the hills, with such a strong sense of flying. I find the recent women’s motto “Lean In” particularly appropriate, as motorcycling gives me a more intimate experience of the areas I’m travelling through, more so than a car, in part because I engage with the turns in the road, instead of being pushed to the outside. I can feel the differences in temperature and smell the fragrances of the nearby countryside. I’m simply more in tune with the environment around me on a motorcycle than in a car. I love how small and maneuverable a motorcycle is, whether on pavement or on dirt. It takes up less space, uses less fuel, and is so much more fun to travel on than any other form of transportation. In short, motorcycling just makes me happy. It doesn’t just bring a smile to my face, but laughter to my belly, and even a song to my throat. It’s simply magic.
SA Have you always been driven to explore adventurous activities?
JL I have always been driven to explore adventurous activities, most definitely. I was camping before I could walk. If there was a tree to climb, I would climb it, even while wearing a frilly dress. If there was a river to cross, I would boulder to my heart’s content. My mother took me on my first backpacking trip when I was 10. I was jumping my mountain bike at 12. I was never satisfied with the stereotypical feminine activities. I just wanted adventure, and more of it.
SA What would you like to see more of when it comes to the women’s riding world?
JL Honestly? Less pink gear. Kidding! (sort of). Really, though, I think the gear manufacturers are all male-dominated, and think they know what women riders want, based on limited research and old ways of thinking. I would like to see more variety in gear, but I realize that requires more women riders to be out there, purchasing gear to justify the volume it would take to give us the same variety men enjoy in their gear choices.
SA What gets you out of bed in the morning?
JL My alarm. Connecting with the people I love. Doing the things I enjoy. Trying to make the most of my life, if for no other reason than to show gratitude for life itself and all the opportunities I’ve been given.
SA If you could ride anywhere next year, where would it be and why?
JL I would love to ride around New Zealand. I’ve never been there, and keep seeing photos, and hearing about what a beautiful country it is. Combining that with one of my favorite forms of travel sounds heavenly.
SA What was your worst day on a motorcycle?
JL My worst day on a motorcycle has also become my favorite motorcycle trip story. It was my first year of motorcycling; in fact, it was within 2 months of getting my license. My ex-husband, our friend Marck, and I were doing what would become an annual trip from Santa Barbara to San Francisco via Hwy 1, in the first week of April. If you know anything about the weather along the coast and up north towards the Bay Area that time of year, you know that’s a sketchy venture.
We started north from Santa Barbara, with clouds on the horizon, and a chill in the air. By the time we reached Cambria (the beginning of the fun twisties,) the rain started. I was in a borrowed set of leathers, and did not have any proper rain gear. We stopped at a gas station to get heavy-duty trash bags to wear over our gear. We were not going to let the rain deter us, so we ventured on.
Being such a novice motorcyclist, at one point I was tip-toeing so slowly through the tight twisties of Hwy 1 in the downpour, I had to pull over to let the cars pass me. I was terrified. We made it up to Monterey without any incident, only stopping to dry off (within reason) and warm up at a restaurant in Big Sur.
After we passed Monterey, as we were riding through Watsonville, the hail started. The wind had already been bad coming up the coast, but in that particular area of artichoke and strawberry fields, the wind blew with such force, that the three of us were leaned over at about 45 degrees just to go straight. Marck was leading, I was second in line, and my ex was behind me.
At one point I noticed that my ex was no longer in my mirror, and I didn’t know what to do. We were on the freeway, visibility was poor, but I could still see Marck ahead of me, so I stuck with him. The two of us pulled off the freeway, and eventually my ex joined us. He was very upset with me, yelling “Why didn’t you stop?!” I was so freaked out by the weather, and not knowing exactly how to handle it, I simply responded to him “Well, I figured if Marck could do it, I could do it!” At that point Marck came over to the two of us, and simply yelled “I thought… I was going… to die!”
We continued on to our destination later that evening, where we were able to dry off, warm up, and laugh about how stupid and crazy that day was. It was probably my worst day on a motorcycle at the time, but ironically it’s one of my favorite motorcycle memories.
SA Favorite motorcycle book?
JL I haven’t really read any motorcycle books, so I’ll say the Haynes Manual for 600, 750, and 900 2-Valve V-Twins, and the companion book to Long Way Round. I clearly need to read more motorcycling books.
SA Have you ridden internationally? If so, where?
JL I have ridden in the Canary Islands and around Valencia, Spain. I would love to go back to the Canary Islands, as it seems to have a ton of twisty roads to ride.
SA Favorite food?
SA What age did you learn to ride a motorcycle?
JL I was 24 when I learned to ride a motorcycle.
SA Favorite post-ride beverage?
JL I’m a big fan of water or coconut water, honestly. I know, so boring. If we’re talking alcoholic beverage, I’m a fan of Moscow Mules. But that usually involves a DD. 😉
SA Funniest thing that ever happened to you while on a ride?
JL See the story of my worst day on a motorcycle.
SA What is the most important advice you have ever received?
JL The most important advice I’ve ever received when it comes to riding is “Look where you want to go. Don’t focus on the rock in the road, but the path around it.” I use it as an analogy for obstacles in life, too.
SA Name 3 immediate things you would like to accomplish in the world of riding.
JL a.) Improve the quality and variety of women’s gear (including better color choices than just pink.)
b.) Increase awareness of notable women riders in all niches of motorcycling.
c.) Provide more input from a woman’s perspective to the moto-journalism world.
SA Name 3 long-term things you would like to accomplish in the world of riding.
JL a.) Increase the number of female motorcyclists, so we represent closer to 50% of riders!
b.) Remove the negative stigma surrounding motorcycles, motorcyclists, and riding, making other drivers less antagonistic towards us.
c.) Make lane-sharing (splitting) legal in all 50 states!