After reading over 60 submissions, we narrowed our entries down to the final four. From the final four we had to make our decision. This was a tough year, as usual, but it appears the contest is growing and the submissions are piling up. Leah’s story of overcoming challenges while riding alone touched all of us. It’s one thing to deal with these challenges with your group of riding friends, it’s an entirely different scenario when traveling solo.
Unfashionable and Unsafe- B.A.B.E
An adventurous soul and bucket-list goals lead me to some serious touring across the United States; and ultimately my need for a biker makeover. I bought a brand new motorcycle and headed into the great unknown. The roads took me from coast to coast through high winds, forest fires, hail, tornados, and many thunderstorms. In the 17,000 miles I turned this past year; I literally wore holes through my riding gear. My worn out gear is unfashionable and unsafe which is exactly why I need a biker makeover, especially after the events on Lookout Mountain…
My rain gear was essential weathering many storms. One storm in particular made me realize how much I needed a biker makeover. I suited up for a forecasted day of rain and riding. Zipping up my rain gear; my zipper broke. Just my luck! As I continued down the road sprinkles fell from the sky and I felt my right leg dampen. Oh no, I burnt a hole through my rain gear onto my muffler! My shiny new muffler was now decorated with pink rain gear. ‘What else can go wrong today’, I muttered to myself.
Perforated rain gear doesn’t do much good so I stopped at an under-pass to made a quick repair. Improvising in the situation, I rolled my pant leg up to keep the loose pieces from burning further onto my muffler. I took electrical tape from my saddle bag and wrapped a few loops around and around my leg to secure the loose ends. As I pulled back onto the road I looked a little B.A.B. (Bad Attire Biker). My jacket flapped like bat-women in the wind and I wore an electrical taped garter around my leg as I continued down the road.
When I reached my hotel I patched the hole in my pink rain gear with a higher quality patch; red duct tape! I was now upgraded to B.A.D.T.B. (Bad Attire Duct Tape Biker). In that moment I wondered if I should be concerned with my appearance. As a solo women rider traveling thousands of miles across the United States people frequently stop to ask me about my travels and gear. My duct tape gear wasn’t fashionable, but they were functional.
My fashion issues turned into a safety issue; which is why I need a biker makeover. After a fresh drizzle of rain on Lookout Mountain I slowed to stop at an intersection to make a descending right turn down the mountain. I lost my center of balance when I crossed the slick white paint. I put my foot down to stop, but the worn out treads were too slick and my foot slipped from underneath. I laid down my new motorcycle spraining my ankle. I took off my boot and realized I had a hole worn right through the sole of the shoe. ‘No wonder I lost my footing, I could have prevented if I had functional gear’, I thought to myself. My head hung low, I looked at my new motorcycle with scratches running across the pipes decorated with pink rain gear.
My gear is not only unfashionable but unsafe which leads to my biker makeover needs. Appropriate riding gear is a MUST in riding safe. In 2014, over 92,000 injuries resulted from motorcycle accidents. Functional riding gear is essential to prevent accidents and keep motorcyclists safe. I’m asking for a new pair of heels to get me back on the road and keep me safe. Please help me be a B.A.B.E… ‘Better Attire Biker Eventually’!