|23 years old and more naive than I look. Even 27 years later, I still find myself thinking like this silly little fool.|
In 1993 I entered a 12 Step Program for my drug addiction. One afternoon after I had attended a few meetings, an "Oldtimer" Big Phil took me aside.
"You sit over here next to me at tomorrow's meeting and don't let these sons-of-a-bitches hug you anymore. Come a few minutes early. We need to talk."
Big Phil was a large, gruff man, standing over 6 ft tall and certainly weighing over 300 lbs. He enjoyed telling newcomers to "Sit down, shut up and listen!" Big Phil was 71-years-old and in his 21 years of sobriety, he made it a point to be a mentor to the newcomers.
When I arrived I went straight to Big Phil and sat down, ready to be chastized.
"These assholes here just want to hug on you because you're hot. Don't hug those men anymore. Straight arm them and send them to me if they have anything to say about it."
I was flabergasted. In my 27-year-old naivete, it hadn't occured to me that I was just being groped.
"I thought people would be different here. What about the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions? Aren't we supposed to be treating each other better? I thought we all cared about each other."
Big Phil looked at me with a softness I had never seen him show.
"Assholes are assholes, sober or not. People don't change just because there are rules. If they are assholes outside those doors, they are assholes inside. Many of these assholes have ulterior motives for everything they do, no matter how long they have been sober. Don't trust someone until they've earned it."
I've carried that lesson throughout life and most of the time I remember it. But like any lesson, I can need a reminder now and then.
Babes Ride Out was held Oct 23 - 25 and promised to be a record setting event for women motorcycle riders. With over 1,000 women registered for the 3-day campout in Joshua Tree, CA, BRO3, as it came to be tagged, was intended to be a sisterly-bonding-experience for all who attended.
|As the riders filtered in from the Saturday ride, the heat and dust became nearly unbearable. Standing in long food lines and scrambling for shade was only tolerable because everywhere I looked was another woman rider who I was excited to meet.|
|Bren has been following my journey for the last year through social media. It was thrilling for me to meet another woman who was so excited to talk about motorcycling!|
I rode in with a group of other riders and two chase vehicles (one of them my husband's pickup truck) with a Utopian expectation of great sisterly love.
But the truth is, it hurt to be excluded.
|A lone rider, exhausted from the heat, takes a nap on the softest surface available.|
But after breakfast, they informed me that the least-experienced rider in our group, my friend Monica, was riding too slow for some of them. Monica had ridden less than 600 miles on her Honda CBR 250 in her riding career and was still tentative about her skills.They wanted to break up into two groups. As I understood it, a few were going ahead and a few would stay behind. One by one, every one of them blew past us with only a wave, including both chase vehicles.
|My friend Monica, a new rider, who was excited to meet other moto-babes. Her enthusiasm was contagious!|
In fact, Monica kicked ass so much, we beat the rest of the group back to San Diego.
Frankly, I was really pissed that these women ditched us. I thought it was a shitty thing to do. All Monica needed was a little coaching and encouragement; not be abandoned for being slow.
|Monica poses at the gas station after kicking some major ass!|
A few women reached out to me afterwards and told me they didn't realize we weren't keeping up. I appreciated that more than I can say. I think that says a great deal about them as people and as riders. We all live by our own interpretation of what is acceptable.
|Please give me your response in the comments to this question. . . I look forward to your feedback.|
But as Big Phil said to me 22 years ago, assholes are assholes. . . people don't change.
**I am certain I will get some backlash over this post. It has become UNACCEPTABLE to say anything negative about Babes Ride Out, due to the expectation that we should all be friendly and never bash another woman. I struggled with writing about this event (which is part of the reason I have taken so long to post anything!) because I couldn't write something sweet when that wasn't authentic. I don't think being truthful is bashing if it's done with some courtesy and fairness, which is why I've kept the women in my group anonymous.
Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!