When Long Beach resident and Babes Ride Out Co-founder Anya Violet first sat on on a dirt bike at seven years of age, she was probably thinking of the freedom and joy riding a motorcycle can bring to its handler. Surely, she was not thinking about starting a brand and an event that over 1,200 female motorcyclists and counting, from around the world, would one day enjoy with unabated enthusiasm.
Three years ago, Violet had run into her friend Ashmore Ellis at the Born Free Motorcycle Show, an annual summer event in SoCal featuring vintage choppers, classic cycles and motorcycle culture, when the two voiced that they wanted to ride together soon. One casual text later, and a date to ride to Borrego Springs, they decided they’d open up the event to a handful of other female riders that they knew, what was then a small group of five other people.
“One shitty Instagram flyer later, we had opened it up to any women anywhere in an effort to meet more women who ride,” said Violet. “That was the one vision we had.”
Thus the first Babes Ride Out, titled Babes in Borrego, took off, a women-only bike ride and camping trip rolled into one helluva weekend getaway.
The 50 women who chose to attend that first ride started a wildfire that turned into 500 attendees the next year, with those 500 blazing into 1,200 attending Babes Ride Out 3. This year, Babes Ride Out has expanded to include an East Coast event, as well as an upcoming event in early August in the UK countryside outside of Cardiff. Friends and co-founders Violet and Ellis expect Babes Ride Out 4 in Joshua Tree to see growth, as well.
“Never in a million years did we expect this to catch fire in the way that it did,” said Violet. “I credit that 100 percent to the enthusiasm and positive vibes of the original 50 ladies who attended.”
Long Beach local and Ace of Hearts tattooer Christina Platis wanted to attend the very first ride and camp out in 2013, but didn’t have a bike at the time. Determined to make it to the second Babes Ride Out, Platis learned to ride an old Kawasaki 750. Although she was uncertain the bike would make it all the way to Joshua Tree, she set out on a Friday morning in 2014 with high hopes.
“A group of four girls from the Orange County area, three of us being beginners, had no problems getting to the secret location in Joshua Tree,” said Platis. “The experience then was pretty surreal. About 500 girls from all over the country, in the middle of the desert. There was no drama, just good times.”
Assuming there are more than a few women reading this story that are itching to learn how to ride, Violet was more than willing to offer her opinion when asked what advice she would give to a newbie. With an enthusiastic, “Oh, I have so much to say to her!” Violet emailed us the following tips:
- Take it slow and learn at your own pace.
- Start on a dirt bike before you go street. You will be a much better rider because of it.
- Don’t listen to your friends. Take the motorcycle safety course.
- Get a bike that you can lift off of yourself if you set it down in a parking lot (you will).
- Wear protective clothing and a good helmet!
- Never ride over your head and know your limits
- Make sure you are riding for the right reasons. Motorcycles are dangerous but also the most fun you will ever have in your life.
- Always ride as if the cars around you do not see you. Ride defensively but never get road rage. It’s not worth it!
“The goal still remains the same: ‘meet more women who ride,’ however, there have been a few new goals that have layered on top of that,” said Violet. “One being to encourage more women to become skilled riders and safe riders. As much as we love seeing more people hop on two wheels we also are hopeful that they are taking the time to learn about their bike and how to ride on the street.”
Violet is also determined to fill a major void in the apparel game, where stylish, technical motorcycle gear for women is difficult to find. ATWYLD, a “women’s motorcycle technical apparel brand," set to be launched at the HOWL Event Space in downtown Long Beach on Friday, July 29 starting at 7:00PM, was “inspired by the void, built for the voyage.”
Image courtesy of ATWYLD.
“I'll never forget the feeling of pulling up to the campsite, and being greeted by one of my closest friends, Anya,” said Platis. “I was so proud to see what her and Ashmore[...] had accomplished to get this event going. I was also just really excited to tell her, ‘I made it!’ Riding a motorcycle in the desert is one the most freeing experiences.”