Motorcyclists have complicated relationships with their comfort zones. On one hand, they’re where we feel safe and in control. But on the other, they can also make us complacent and lazy. Eventually, we take those comfort zones for granted, and maybe even avoid them. In this episode, I talk with someone who’s never had that option. Jessica Stone learned to ride on some of the world’s most difficult roads, and for all the wrong reasons. Her story reminds us all that being comfortable on a motorcycle is something we earn, and that the only judge who matters is the one in the saddle.
Here’s a link to Guy Arnone’s vlog, Meat & Motorcycles. Thanks for the shout-out, Guy! I am really enjoying Jon DelVecchio’s book, ‘Cornering Confidence.’ You can buy a copy of your own here, and get to know more about Jon’s school here.
If you haven’t read Hunter S. Thompson’s “Song of the Sausage Creature,” you owe it to yourself. You can find the full text here. And here is a great background story on how the piece came to be, by the Cycle World editor who commissioned it. While you’re at it, do a Google image search for the original article, and gaze in awe at Ralph Steadman’s illustration.
Their business is called Ruff On The Road, and it works with indigenous Guatemalan artisans to produce handmade dog apparel. You can learn more about Ruff On The Road here.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I found this article about traffic in Monrovia from roughly the time Jess first learned to ride. I don’t know about you, but this looks a lot like the deep end to me.
In our conversation, I mentioned an article Jess wrote for AdventureMotorcycle.com. It’s very much worth the read, and you can find it here.
Jess also hinted at the particular challenges women riders can face. I didn’t dwell on this theme in our interview, because I didn’t want to frame anxiety as a gendered thing. But that doesn’t mean motorcycling – and especially the motorcycle industry – doesn’t present some barriers for female motorcyclists. As it turns out, an army of female fellow riders are doing something about that. You should check out an initiative called the Women Riders World Relay, planned for 2019. You can learn more here.
Matt Epp’s music is available on iTunes, among other places. He also maintains a great YouTube channel, which you can find here. Here’s a video of Matt performing “Learning to Lose Control” acoustically.
And, coincidentally, here is a profile of yours truly that ran last fall in Colorado Rider News. My thanks to them for their interest in this podcast. I’d love to see more of my fellow podcasters get this kind of attention from the motorcycle media… the creativity and passion that goes into what they do – often expecting nothing in return – is a testament to the strength of the motorcycling community.