"Is a women's only event a mistake?" "I don't know any women who would go to something like this on their own." These are just a few comments I heard as I was launching Over And Out, but 73 women showed up to our first event, and each girl's story about why they came was unique and inspiring in it's own way.
We continue spotlighting some of the rad girls who came to the first Over And Out, to show exactly how they made their journey happen, and to show that heeelllll-no a women's-only event isn't a mistake; it's a life-changing experience and a damn good time!
MEET MEGAN BABINEAU @alluneedisluff
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT OVER AND OUT?
I am lucky enough to have a partner that works and is active in the motorcycle industry. He follows Kelly (the girl that runs the event) on social media, read about the event in one of her posts and mentioned it to me. He thought it would be a rad thing for me to attend, he was rather persistent as the weeks went on! He knew an all-female event would help me gain confidence in my riding.
SO, YOU FINALLY CAME AROUND! WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO ATTEND?
First, I did want to ride with other women. While I knew we wouldn’t all be the same level, the fact that we are all women would make a big difference alone.I felt that surrounding myself with gnarly women who are just as good, if not better, than men at riding would help me get over feeling sidelined in a male dominant sport.
I’m also always down for an outdoor adventure and wanted to push myself to attend a riding event without the men I usually ride with. It’s truly a personal accomplishment being able to say I traveled 4 hours away into the woods, on my own, not knowing anyone there.
DID YOU ALREADY HAVE OFF-ROAD RIDING EXPERIENCE?
I did. Besides taking the motorcycle course I actually only have off road experience. I ride in a handful of North-Central Pennsylvania locations.
WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT ANYTHING PRIOR TO ATTENDING?
The “what if’s” were endless! I own a Yamaha TTR-125 that I am very comfortable riding.. I wasn’t trying to be anything I wasn’t or ride a bike I couldn’t handle but I was nervous about showing up on what might be thought of as a beginner bike. Socially, I thought it might be cliquey and worried people would be judgmental.
Then there was the travel and transporting my bike! I am certainly not helpless, but I don’t usually load or unload my bike on my own. I always have the assistance of the guys I ride with. For OAO, I loaded my TTR, had to FaceTime someone and Google to figure out how ratchet straps worked (because I wasn’t listening when I was told how)
Then there was unloading the bike once I arrived. Dreadful! But, not anymore. I’m the one that loads the bikes now. ;)
HOW WAS EVERYTHING ONCE YOU ARRIVED?
It was insanely easy. I’m foolish for psyching myself out prior to the event. People are friendly. It’s not high school. I drove right in and introduced myself to a few people. They introduced themselves like kind human beings do, and helped me unload my bike.
After that, another woman pulled up and we helped her unload her bike too. All four of us were at completely different riding levels, but as the event went on, we rode together, rode with others, stopped and took breaks together, ate lunch together, roasted marshmallows and BAM! Two of us are planning a riding date together for September.
WHAT TYPE OF RIDING DID YOU DO AT OVER AND OUT?
I am most comfortable in the woods, so I started out on the beginner woods loop. After a couple loops I hopped on over to the grass tracks with some ladies I met and we gave those a whirl.
Once we got more comfortable, we went on to the intermediate woods loop. It was incredible terrain. The property was amazing and plenty was offered.
DID YOU LEARN OR EXPERIENCE ANYTHING NEW?
It rained all weekend so that in itself taught me plenty about riding in the rain.... It’s cold and wet and slippery and WET. You can easily get inside your head after wiping out half a dozen times within the first hour, so it taught me a lot about keeping myself together mentally. Mother Nature can be tough, but learning to move with what she gives you is pretty rad.
I realized that I can go faster than I think, after following someone in the grass and watching her movements. She was gnarly in the grass and I had some speed on her in the woods so we bounced ideas off one another and laughed and joked while slipping in the mud. The sensation of doing something as fun as riding bikes with another female that loves it as much as I do was something completely new...and very cool!
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANOTHER GIRL WHO MIGHT BE THINKING OF JOINING IN?
GET OUT THERE! The motorcycle community is a very welcoming and warm one.
For 3 years I saw how much fun my hubby and his friends had when they all got together and rode bikes. 2 years ago he gifted me my Yamaha TTR-125 and now I know what the hype is all about.
I drove home from Over And Out and the very next day I rode on the street for the first time on his Yamaha WR250R.
I have dreams of riding cross country, entering races (which she has since then!) and expanding my mechanical bike knowledge all because of the unexplainable experience I had at OAO. My interest in bikes didn’t come from OAO, but my understanding and love of the sport grew substantially.
I can’t say attending this event by myself is something I never would have done, but events like this, exclusively for women, don’t happen very often. Rather than hear about the cool stuff other people do, be the person doing cool stuff!