This past weekend I joined 1,500 other women at the 7th annual Babes Ride Out. Two days of riding motos on back roads, along the coast, and camping out under the stars. Women came from all across the country to meet and ride together, forming new friendships and a bond over a love for motorcycles.
The event took place at the Santa Margarita Ranch, just 10 miles up the 101 from San Luis Obispo. It was a full-on camp vibes weekend and you could choose to either pitch a tent or bring a trailer. Luckily my guy followed me up to camp and dropped off my tent and camp supplies at the gate, but for those without a chase or a tent, there was an option to rent/ reserve a tent that would be ready when you arrived. Women rode in from all over the U.S. Some making the long journey from as far as Virginia. As you walked through the campgrounds it was awesome to see all the different style bikes and it was a really rad feeling knowing this whole campground was set up by ladies.
Inside the venue, there was a Moto Show you where could enter your bike, a workshop where you could learn to weld, a tattoo station, a place to test ride Harley’s, Biltwell helmet painting, beer and whiskey tastings, and karaoke. I met a few ladies while waiting in line for the Whiskey Train on Friday evening. Conversations weren’t started with the typical “What do you do?” but rather “What kind of bike do you have? And where did you ride in from?” We quickly found out it was each of our first-times at the event and we had all showed up solo. So we planned to all go for a ride all together the next day.
We met at one of the gals campsites for some cowboy coffee in the morning and it was kickstands up at 10am. There were five of us, four had come from Southern Calfornia and one gal had made the 1,000-mile trek down from just outside of Seattle. We chose to take a route that took us from the back roads and wineries of Paso Robles out to Highway 1 and down into Morro Bay and Los Osos. The ladies decided since I was familiar with the area having gone to college in San Luis Obispo that I was somehow qualified enough to lead the ride. So in a matter of a day, I went from showing up solo, to leading a group of ladies on a 100-mile tour of the Central Coast. Talk about a step outside of my comfort zone. I had only been riding on the street for the past year, and before that, only ever on a dirtbike. As I was leading the group through the hills on Highway 46 I felt such a rush. I was proud of myself and I knew I was growing and gaining confidence. This whole weekend was something I had been looking forward to attending for years. But I had been nervous about going alone, showing up with my old blue spray-painted ’75 Honda XL250, and entering into a sea of skilled riders with big, amazing bikes. But it turned out all this anxiousness and intimidation was in vain. It ended up being a super welcoming environment where ladies were admiring each other’s different style bikes, and I even ended up getting a few compliments on my little rust bucket bike. Gals were open and honest about their skill levels, places they had ridden, and terrain they felt comfortable with. It wasn’t a contest of the fastest or most skilled. It was a celebration of women with a common interest, celebrating each other’s hobbies and passion this space and time.
Saturday night my friend Brooke, who lives just down the road in SLO, came up to join in on the fun and we sent the weekend off in style. A thousand women dancing in a barn, sipping 805 beer, and singing along to a Fleetwood Mac cover band, helmet hair and all. An immediate sisterhood and such good energy. As I looked around the room at all the different women, each at a different phase of life and rocking a different style, it just made me realize there are so many ways to embrace your femininity. Not in society’s preconceived way, but to each her own balance of hard and soft. Whether she was rocking a vest with flower patches, tattoo sleeves and purple hair, a trucker hat and a tutu, a leather jacket and glitter pasties, or redwing boots and bright red lipstick. One thing was for sure, it was a high energy room full of badass women not afraid to be themselves.
Heading down the grade on Highway 101 on Sunday morning, in the midst of all the other groups of babes riding home, was empowering. I had crossed another item off my bucket list and was proud to have been apart of this movement of female riders. I left the weekend on a high note, thankfully with no injuries or broken down bikes. Pumped to continue riding and keep exploring.
To those of you on the fence about going next year, just buy the ticket and take the ride. I promise you won’t regret it!
See you next year!
To learn more about the event head over to babesrideout.com.