"Is a women's only event a mistake?" "Aren't you cutting down your chances of attendance by half?" "I don't know any women who would go to something like this on their own." These are just a few of many comments I heard as I was launching Over And Out.
I wasn't sure how many women would find a way to get to the first event, but 73 women showed up hauling their own bikes in trucks, vans and trailers - some for the very first time! Each girl's story about why they came was unique and inspiring in it's own way.
We'll be spotlighting some of the rad women who came to the first Over And Out, to show exactly how they made their journey happen, and to show the world that a women's-only event isn't a mistake; it's a life-changing experience and a damn good time! -Kelly
MEET LISA DAVISON, Framingham, MA
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT OVER AND OUT?
Back in December of 2017, my friend in Queens, NY texted me about it! She and her husband went to the International Motorcycle Show where they saw a female speaker talking about it! She sent me a photo of the presenter, Kelly McCaughey, and the website URL. I immediately subscribed to emails on the website so I wouldn't miss a thing!!!
DID YOU ALREADY HAVE OFF-ROAD RIDING EXPERIENCE?
Yes and no. At the time I learned of this event, I was on a 2013 Kawasaki Versys 650 and had a good 7 years riding experience previously on a Suzuki GS500, and a 1981 Yamaha XJS550. While I had ridden some dirt roads on my Versys, I wasn't really confident in my skills and I found it challenging to experience more and improve with a bike of that size.
I knew if I scaled back in size I could improve my skills which could also translate to how I rode on my Versys. Once I received more details from Over And Out about the terrain options and requirements, I had a better understanding of how I planned to improve my off-road riding experience.
SO WHAT WAS YOUR PLAN AS YOU LOOKED FORWARD TO OAO?
I decided to get a lower-to-mid-range cc dual-sport, and my riding partner and boyfriend Seth helped me do that. Seth rides a KLX400, and together we found a 2006 Kawasaki KLX250 that seemed perfect for me.
The bike needed some maintenance of course, as well as some upgrades, including: knobby tires, sprocket & chain, spark plug, carburetor modification, fluids changed, and replacement of some parts and painted plastics.
Every day I'd get a package with new parts, and every free moment was spent working on the bike. During winter we'd bring the bike inside to work on it, a common occurrence for our house that doesn't have a garage!
We also decided to add a steering damper to help cut down on deflecting. I then ordered a single hitch-hauler and ratchet straps and did a couple of trial runs loading my bike and driving around the block.
Lastly, I ordered some new gear! ;) I bought a new jersey, pants, chest protector, elbow and knee guards... and Seth even surprised me with a new dirt bike helmet for my birthday! :-)
SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAD IT ALL ON LOCK! ANY LAST MINUTE SURPRISES?
Only the good kind! About a week out from the event, Kelly (the event producer) contacted me. Someone in my area was looking for options to catch a ride to the event, and Kelly reached out to see if she could bridge any connections.
I offered to help, and to my surprise the girl that needed a ride was Erika Tango Bean, one of the REV'IT! women's team riders who'd come out all the way from Arizona to Boston.
I had an empty seat in my JEEP and room for her bags, so Erika's husband dropped her off with me, and we drove to the event in NY together! It was great having the opportunity to meet someone new, to have great company on my way to the event and to start my journey this way.
Once we arrived it was time to briefly part ways, get our campsites set up, check in and start socializing with the other ladies! As the day turned into night it was so cool to see so many other ladies arriving with their bikes, setting up camp and meeting one another!
HOW WAS YOUR RIDING EXPERIENCE AT OAO?
It was great! I took advantage of every opportunity I could, and in the morning at the riders meeting I was able to meet other ladies who were interested in riding the same things as me, so it was easy to grab a buddy or two!
I started on the easiest, roughly 1-mile, woods loop. It rained pretty good that morning and, whoa!, that made for some slick riding! Having never ridden in muddy single track before I was apprehensive at first, but the positivity of the other riders kept me pressing on!
About halfway through I hit a muddy rut and fell. A sweep rider came up to make sure I was ok - and I was! Still laughing and smiling! One of the girls helped me pick up my bike and the sweep showed me how to get it started after dropping and flooding it. And we were on our way again!
WHAT ELSE DID YOU RIDE AT OAO?
I rode the grass tracks next. While the rain still made things a bit slippery, at least there were no ruts, rocks or roots to contend with for a little while. This allowed me to go a little faster and relax a little more!
Then I took a 1-hour lesson with the MSF-certified coach, Mitch. I learned more about throttle control, sitting and standing, counter-balancing and performing tight circles. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to take this free lesson!
And, finally I joined a 3-hour guided Dual Sport ride on an AMAZING route planned by guide Victoria Z! The perfect blend of a little street, some dirt and lots of back roads, winding through stunning landscapes and small towns. Thankfully the rain had ended and we enjoyed a great group ride with 7 riders and a sweep.
SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAD THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!
I loved the experience of a Women's Only event. It was inspiring to meet and see other ladies who have a love of adventure like I do. They were all so open-minded and easy to talk to. I bonded with ladies by sharing a trail, sharing a bench at lunch time, roasting s'mores, and laughing together a LOT! I made so many new friends. I can't wait until the next Over And Out!
Until then...a big THANK YOU to everyone involved! xo