Badass Motorcyclist Shares Her Story of Overcoming Adversity 

Wife, mom, grandmother, motorcyclist, and blogger.

Have you ever met another female motorcyclist a.k.a. badass motorcyclist and just wanted to learn more about her and her story? I connected with Leslie on Instagram and separately picked up her book, “The Zen of Learning to Ride a Motorcycle: How I Faced My Fears, Shifted Gears, and Found Healing From Anxiety, Codependency, and Depression,” without realizing she was the author. I read her book, and I was really touched by Leslie’s honesty and courage to share her struggles and triumphs and how they related to her learning to ride a motorcycle. Lucky for us, Leslie was kind enough to answer a few questions about her journey to become a badass woman motorcyclist. 

Leslie Shares Her Story

Badass Motorcyclist and author, Leslie Reyes -

First name or nickname: Leslie “Lola”

Location: Northern California 

Instagram: @lolaleslie66


How long have you been riding a motorcycle? 

Since 2020

How did you learn to ride?

I took the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course. 

Have you had to overcome any obstacles to become a motorcyclist?

I had to overcome an anxiety disorder in order to learn to ride. Riding a motorcycle helped me overcome so much fear in my life that I wrote a book about it! 

Leslie Reyes and her Honda CTX - Helmet or Heels
Leslie with her Honda CTX700N

What was your first motorcycle?

A KX85 dirtbike and a 2021 Zero Electric Streetbike

How many have you owned?

Three! Now riding a 2015 Honda CTX700N

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle?

It was a bit of a tradition on my Filipino side of the family, but my fear always won out. After I heard my cousin tell a story at my uncle’s funeral about how he taught her to ride motorcycles and how those lessons on the motorcycle changed her life, I decided to try to learn to ride a motorcycle after my 50th birthday.

Tell us about your riding. Commuter, pleasure, vacation, racing, or?

I ride for relaxation and fun. My favorite rides are through the hills in El Dorado County, California, and meeting up with friends for good food.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?

  1. Take the MSF course!
  2. Wear all the gear!
  3. Learn to respond on the motorcycle, not react. 
  4. Look in the direction you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. 
  5. Buy the drop bars, learn how to pick up your bike in case you drop it.
  6. Go at your own pace.
  7. And don’t give up! 

It took me 8 months to get out of a parking lot and onto a public road. The first time I took my motorcycle out, I dropped it twice and ended up on the sidewalk. You are in competition with no one, so live your life the way you want to and respect where you are on your journey. 

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle?

My longest trip was about 200 miles roundtrip. I have plans to ride to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite in California.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online?

I ride with the Placerville Litas, a motorcycle collective in Northern California.

Lessons from a Badass Motorcyclist

Leslie Reyes, author - The Zen of Learning to Ride a Motorcycle - Helmet or Heels

My motorcycle became the guru in my life that I needed to learn to live in the present and overcome a lot of insecurities about doing things by myself. I wrote an entire book about learning to ride because it was so life-changing, a memoir called “The Zen of Learning to Ride a Motorcycle: How I Faced My Fears, Shifted Gears, and Found Healing From Anxiety, Codependency, and Depression

The things I practice on my motorcycle, I now practice in life:

  1. Respond to situations instead of reacting to them.
  2. Understand and respect your limitations, and go at your own pace.
  3. Be prepared: Take care of your “future self” by thinking and planning ahead. 
  4. If you break something, fix it.
  5. If you don’t know something, learn it.
  6. If you fall down, get back up.
  7. Look in the direction you want to go, not where you don’t want to go.
  8. Practice mindfulness and being present.
  9. Practice good habits often and commit to the learning process.
  10. Enjoy the ride!

Badass Motorcyclist Shares Her Story -

What do you do when you’re not riding?

Reading the stars! I’m a former psychiatric nurse, a full-time astrologer, and an author. I also love hanging out with and hiking with my husband and our two dogs, Luna, a Labradoodle, and Baxter, a Border Terrier.

Leslie, thank you for inspiring us with your motorcycling journey! Her list of 10 things she practices is worth taking note of for life on and off a motorbike! Pick up Leslie’s book if you want to learn even more about how she overcame life’s obstacles while learning to ride.

Ladies, I would love to share your story of motorcycling no matter where you are on the journey. It will inspire other women to join us in experiencing the thrill and joy of motorcycling. Whether you are looking to start riding solo, a casual motorcyclist, a seasoned rider, or enjoying riding pillion you are all welcome to join in the Helmet or Heels community.

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