Not much pains me more than when I cannot locate the words to properly describe a situation, however now may be one of those times. Though most of my experiences at this event were glorious in nature, there were a few that really rubbed me the wrong way. Believe me, all of me really wants a totally glowing review if this incredible event. All women, all motorcycles, all weekend, yes please. Lets start with those of you who don’t know what this event is. Babes Ride Out was started in 2013. This will save me trying to word it better than this ( http://babesrideout.com/about/is ) which to me, is already perfectly worded. They have put on two on the east coast and they just embarked on number five in Joshua Tree State Park. The east coast event was thrown in the tiny town of Narrowsburg, New York, nestled right on the edge of the Delaware River, on a breath taking bend, with cliff side views on the Landers camp grounds. I ride with a group called the Litas, they are all over the world, now listed as one of the fasted growing motorcycle groups in history. Our buffalo chapter decided to take off of our jobs, time off from our families and ride down from our fair city, about 300 miles. Once the beautiful roads began to bend and sway it was apparent that each passing bike you threw a hand to was piloted by a woman. More and more motorcycles would pass and weave through the turns, more and more women. The catskill roads continued to gently sway us. It was extraordinary and fucking empowering beyond explanation.
As the towns got smaller, speed limits lessened and the streets began to narrow, there were lines forming to get in. It took us about 8 hours total between gas, food and stretches so we were rather weary upon arrival. I had ridden the smallest bike, to my knowledge, at the festival. I was still on my beloved Honda CB360T at the time and getting there riding side by side with a 1200cc Harley Davidson and its screaming eagle screaming at me, was a challenge for me to keep up, for sure. Once you enter the camp ground there was a windy path that lead to the gravel entry. Vested, friendly babes there to sign you in, bracelet you/your bike and have you sign a waver. My bike would not go into neutral after being hot, so I had to hold in my clutch and have the woman drape the clip board over my left arm to sign away my life. My signature looked like a child practicing their future famous scribble, in their notebooks over and over again. Upon receiving my patch, I was free to enter the campgrounds. The first sign you instantly pass is a gigantic banner that says “Ladies Only Beyond This Point”. The power in that sign. It was incredible. We wove through the windy gravel trail, hundreds of bikes and tents displayed in the tall, shaded trees. The sound of the engines echoing up the lengthy trunks gave me chills and had my heart racing. Driving over roots and stones, my poor tired vessel was chattering and steaming. “Turn me off, turn me off, turn me off!” was what she grumbled on her way into the grounds. After circling once and not being sure where to camp, we found the perfect spot right along the edge of the cliffs. As I pulled up I saw a women camping alone, little did I know that would be my new friend Amy. I greeted her through my helmet and asked her if she minded if we camped by her side. I asked her what her name was and then introduced myself “I’m Mallory! It’s nice to meet you”. She replied with “Get out! That’s my bikes name!”
The meeting of the Mallorys commenced with the setting up of hammock tents and the drinking of beer. The first night was a tad overwhelming. It was easy to spot how far folks were coming from based on how much gear they had in tow. People came from the West Coast and all states in-between. It was lovely to watch the diversity of women and their bikes. Though I didn’t see anyone else with my little gremlin on wheels, she seemed to slip through the cracks a bit. I was very proud of her and myself. After wandering the campgrounds for a bit, seeing the vendors and the fanfare and recognizing a few folks from my Instagram feed. I felt like I had this “relaxing” life they all seemed to embrace. I saw people I’d ordered handmade gear from. Friends and local Buffalo riders selling merch and showing off the raffle prizes. There was a bit of home there. After purchasing my Babes Ride Out official jacket and donning it as the sun went down with hundreds of other riders, karaoke began and lasted long into the night. Tattoo booths were set up if you were lucky enough to get your names in early and grab a few little choice beauties to pop on your flesh, before the weekend came to a close.
Everyone seemed to have their own group, which is pretty common at every event however with women, it starts to go little deeper than that and for me personally and I began to feel really out of place. I spent a lot of the time chain smoking around the fire. Amy was great company, along with the women I rode down with. Some animosity in our riding group was prevalent and parts of the childishness began to make me question what our goals were. Womndering if these had been the similar issues other branches had come across, that ultimately lead to their demise. I really enjoyed everything about that first night beyond my own worries. After a good night sleep literally on the edge of a cliff, I awoke ready for some day rides through the Catskills. We woke up later than everyone else, most bikes gone and had started their day rides. The campsite felt eerie with the soft rumble in the trees. We chose “The Threesome”. It wound through three states (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania). We rode through the Hawk’s Nest, which was a challenging bucket list item for me lined with photographers and other riders. Once we hit Mildford PA we stopped to grab a bite and as we left, my back end sputtered out behind me and my tire went flat. I was expecting anything besides my newer tires to be the thing that went wrong. Never the tires.
All of the other bikes were so loud, they couldn’t hear my measly horn. The only person who knew anything was wrong was me and Amy, who was riding behind me. I swung my neck back and saw my tail end low and the tire flat. In the parking lot that we had just come from, there were heroin needles scattered about, I thought, maybe it was one of those. I rolled it up the hill as the other riders realized something was wrong. There was a tire shop at the top of the hill. Using all of our resources we pooled together. The men at the sop said they didn’t work on motorcycles, but there was a shop down the street. Two fellow Litas hopped in their car and headed to the sop down the rode. Even temporary fills of air flew out the second I mounted the bike. I wasn’t going anywhere. A local who hung around the shop got involved. Venturing down the street to a small general store, the old man offered to store my bike over night if it was possible to get it back to camp. I orchestrated with a few fellow Buffalonians back at the campground thirty-one miles away. Though I was able to find an empty truck headed back to Buffalo to load into, I had no way to get it to the campsite. No one was able to drive out, I assumed no one wanted to miss the games, later learning they were working their own magic back at the grounds to sober up and get the truck out. The communication just hadn’t been connecting back to me. Four of the coolest bitches I know sat with me in the blazing sun while I called every tow company, tried to apply for AAA, tried to used other people’s AAA, AMA but to no avail. The sun was melting us and the other girls were eager to get back to the grass races. I felt shame and anger towards the turn of events. Thankful for the gals who stuck it out and help from what seemed like the whole town of Milford, PA, a local decided to run home, empty his truck, pick up his wife
and return with a ramp to load in ole blue.
With only Amy remaining we loaded up the bike, I loaded up onto Mallory and hit up the gas station so the town helper could fill up his truck. Tossing him $40 and a million thank yous, we were on our way back to camp. Once we arrived at the top, Amy ventured back to camp and I stayed with the truck to unload at the top of the hill. The annoyance within the group was already apparent. There was a clear feeling that my tire mishaps was somehow a bigger issue than I thought and somehow more of a pain in everyone else ass then just my own, it being my only form of transportation and all. Little did I know the dispute was between the girls in the group and I was simply caught in the middle. I walked with my helmet in hand like a lone cowboy without his horse, walking down the long dusty path towards the rodeo where you were no longer welcome. The lawns were covered in women doing slow races and other relays.
I walked towards camp to unload my grief and gear. Hopping over the nearby train tracks there was a pizza place and a market. The girls I camped with and I decided to walk over there and grab a pizza and some snacks, I wanted to try and make something to thank them for waiting with me and being so amazing. As we headed back to eat, me being emotionally exhausted, end up of course running into some of the other Buffalonians who would help me get the bike home. At the time the conversation was awful for me. It felt blunt, rude and belittling. Even the tone of disgust with me having a pizza in my hand, taking priority as though I wasn’t taking the situation seriously opposed to trying to not pass out from being stuck in the sun all day without food. I attempted to eat a slice of pizza after my long, stressful day and eventual drama. This conversation has since been discussed and the lack of communication had lead to us seeing two totally separate sides, which was unfortunate.
While we were loading the bike turned into more shit that was building for me. Even things as simple as teasing about my cheap ratchet straps, though in all fairness hers were much better. I just felt like there was going to be no way to thank them properly without them disliking me for the burden of the situation. Everything made me feel so obstruent. Back home I knew what was waiting for me, a ruined ending relationship, now a lack of transportation and me being aware of an inner circle rift I had nothing to do with. Needless to say I was annoyed and wasn’t feeling like I had anyone to talk to. Everyone had their own internal squabble. They were all dealing with their own personal tragedies. After a brief correspondence later, I was surprised to hear about the hustle that went back at camp to help sober up and wrangle folks to help me with the bike, I had been confused by how I was treated at the moment and having not formally discussed it until I first published this. Again, this is how I felt during the situation, not the view of anyone but myself as honest as I can remember it.
I spend the remainder of the night eating mushrooms and sitting around the fire. Amy was an amazing being at this event for me, we still talk often! The other girls sat around the fire and we got each other to smile through recent loss and hardship, ones that were inevitable in the near future and attempted to make and burn jiffy pop. We even tried to invent contraptions to not burn our hands in the fire while trying to shake the tin, like children at overnight camp. Giggling and dirty, with our trusty (or un-trusty) steads parked by our sides, or in local trucks nearby.
The women invaded the tiny town of Narrowburg, NY and hit up the bars, challenged each other to dance competitions ad drinking contests. Every man in town caught wind of this and met them their with pockets full of cash. After the day I had, the lack of camaraderie I felt at the time and the forcefulness I felt I had to use to get it, left me weary and quiet. I chose to spend the time cleaning up the campsite and chain smoking enjoying the quiet of the grounds. Returning home the next day, through the rain, watching and documenting our lone rider, forced now to deal alone (like a fucking badass mind you). A few days later my bike was delivered with a hug and a smile. Thankful and weary at the work to be done, Blue was home safe due to some awesome folks and my mind was bent on where I fit into the puzzle as a whole.
This whole trip was an eye-widening look at the women’s moto world. Though I’m sure in the reality of it, many women felt total comfort taking selfies with each other and feeling as though they were part of something bigger, however on the flip side of that reality is that some of us felt the total opposite of this. Feeling removed and hidden, unwanted and shabby in comparison. Everyone goes into situations with a different head space. It’s important to know what direction your emotions are coming from. This season I will be returning to a lot of my usual solo riding, planning more groups rides and hopefully experiencing new bikes. Though the fall has brought some incredible group rides that I will surely get into down the line.
Would I go again? Yes. Would I try and come into it with a different mindset? Absolutley. My attempt on revisiting the East Coast Babes Ride Out, would be to make an effort to go outside of my bubble and try to talk to many more groups than I did last time. Try and focus less on the intimidation factor of the event and have the confidence I do when I ride solo and connect with the surroundings. Hone into the gift of a feeling and let it ride.