Jump to content
  • Sign up now

    Registration is quick and easy 

Babes Ride Out Central Coast


Admin
 Share

Recommended Posts

Babes Ride Out attendees and contributing artist Nicole Andrijauskas taking in the jaw-dropping view along California’s central coast.
Babes Ride Out attendees and contributing artist Nicole Andrijauskas taking in the jaw-dropping view along California’s central coast. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

It’s a rare event that encourages attendees to take the longest possible route there and leave nearly immediately upon arrival. You might expect to see a natural ebb and flow of riders at a typical motorcycle weekender, but here female-identifying motorcyclists swirl around in a constant state of activity. If you’re looking to get lost in order to find a good time with great humans, Babes Ride Out (BRO) may be your ticket. For eight years, the guiding principle of this good-times-only event has simply been “no dudes, no ‘tudes.”

Since its inception, Babes Ride Out has maintained a grassroots feel hearkening back to its meager beginnings in Borrego Springs circa 2013. That first year nearly 50 women met up for a short ride to a very primitive, slightly illegal camp on a dry lake bed in the heart of the Anza-Borrego Desert in southern California. The bonds formed by that inaugural group, which now refers to the event as a family reunion, can still be seen and felt here in the Los Padres National Forest.

A separate peace with a few friends far away from the main camp area.
A separate peace with a few friends far away from the main camp area. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

That brings us to the present day where I, one of the aforementioned Original 50, have embarked on my annual pilgrimage to the event via the most indirect and scenic route known to Google Maps. Limited to tarmac by the recent national forest fire-safety closures, I planned a path to BRO 8 that changed a mundane 45-minute ride up the coast into a four-hour sojourn down some of California’s premier motorcycling roads. As my riding companion and I set out from Ventura, the greatest surprise came in the most unexpected way; Highway 33 had been freshly repaved. Now you know. Thank me later.

After whizzing through three other counties, we made our way into Santa Barbara County by way of highways 33 and 166 and the ultratechnical turns of Tepusquet Canyon. Our arrival at the event space was perfectly timed as the sun dipped behind the ridge and its twilight rays illuminated the grounds through a magical orange haze. With approximately 900 attendees, there seemed to be movement everywhere with no particular gathering point.

This weekend’s weapon of choice: the author’s 2003 Triumph Bonneville, affectionately dubbed “El Trineo,” Spanish for “The Sled,” in homage to its dirt-bound predecessors.
This weekend’s weapon of choice: the author’s 2003 Triumph Bonneville, affectionately dubbed “El Trineo,” Spanish for “The Sled,” in homage to its dirt-bound predecessors. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)Bagged and tagged. Attendees check into the VIP motorcycle camping area at BRO 8.
Bagged and tagged. Attendees check into the VIP motorcycle camping area at BRO 8. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

Simultaneous offerings like the Real Deal Bike Show, self-defense demos, and an 805 happy hour kept crowds to a responsible COVID-conscious minimum. Porsche Taylor, the founder of Black Girls Ride magazine, held a Long Distance Riding workshop where she advocated that “preparation alleviates anxiety.” After nightfall, familiar faces began to emerge from the glimmering moonshine as small groups of friends sat together to talk story, retracing their rides over cold cocktails. With a fire ban in full effect, the air was crisp as the camp became quiet fairly early in anticipation of Saturday’s ride.

“Frida Bike 2021” painted by Nicole Andrijauskas (@chicken_in_a_biscuit) and entered into the Real Deal Bike Show at BRO.
“Frida Bike 2021” painted by Nicole Andrijauskas (@chicken_in_a_biscuit) and entered into the Real Deal Bike Show at BRO. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

When there’s a two-wheeled fun machine parked 3 feet from your tent, no alarm clock or wake-up call is needed. First light was greeted with a deafening roar of tent and sleeping bag zippers ripping open as campers raced to gear up and ride out. Inside my tent, I reviewed a meandering figure-eight route through the central coast backcountry while coffee began to boil on a small camp stove outside. There has never been anything more perfect than that exact moment.

Coffee and gasoline, proper ways to start any morning.
Coffee and gasoline, proper ways to start any morning. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)The marine layer sat thick above the Los Padres mountains in the early morning as campers began readying their machines for the day ahead.
The marine layer sat thick above the Los Padres mountains in the early morning as campers began readying their machines for the day ahead. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

As I meandered around the grounds and the chilly morning fog burned off, the true nature of the main camp area was revealed. Each site was its own ecosystem, a microcosm of tents with similar bikes circled around each other. Choppers grouped with choppers, baggers grouped with baggers, modern classics with modern classics; you get the point. Naturally there was a strong Harley-Davidson presence, due to its partnership with BRO. There was, however, one noteworthy outlier stashed way off in the back forty: a lovely BMW R80 G/S Paris Dakar. I slow-clapped for the gal who rode in on that magnificent machine. It’s increasingly rare to see vintage motorcycles at this event. But regardless of who rode what, the ambiance was nothing but smiles and caffeinated giggles.

Tell me you’re at Babes Ride Out without telling me you’re at Babes Ride Out.
Tell me you’re at Babes Ride Out without telling me you’re at Babes Ride Out. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)Harley-Davidson is a key sponsor of Babes Ride Out, which is no surprise for the many, many years the Motor Company has supported women in riding.
Harley-Davidson is a key sponsor of Babes Ride Out, which is no surprise for the many, many years the Motor Company has supported women in riding. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)Although most riders arrive on modern machines, this prime example of a BMW R80 G/S Paris Dakar stole the show.
Although most riders arrive on modern machines, this prime example of a BMW R80 G/S Paris Dakar stole the show. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

For those who are newcomers or otherwise unfamiliar with the area, Babes Ride Out provides a bevy of maps. In past years, routes have been printed on cardstock for distribution at the event only. Thanks to technology and the altruistic nature of founders Anya Violet and Ashmore Ellis, these routes are now available to all on the Babes Ride Out blog.

The central coast has anything a rider could possibly ask for, from sea to sky and everything in between, including a pit stop at an ostrich farm. As previously mentioned, the bulk of the time at BRO is spent with your knees in the breeze out there on the open road. Avoiding most people as I often do, I coerced two fast girls to ride with me on a route of my own design, meandering down the coast to a somewhat undiscovered out-and-back stunner of a beach called Jalama, snaking around wine country and zipping through tree tunnels for a few hundred miles before ending up at an ice cream shop in the small Dutch town of Solvang. Is there any better way to end a ride than enjoying a sweet treat under a large windmill?

The author with a scoop of a very appropriate ice cream called “Motor Oil.”
The author with a scoop of a very appropriate ice cream called “Motor Oil.” (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

We returned to camp just in time to catch a small group gathering around the stage as Anya and Ashmore presented the Dunlop Furthest Ride Award. Several girls had rolled into the event with upward of 3,000 hard miles under their belts just so they could join a two-day campout. The winners, a group from the Florida Keys, took the win with a one-way total of more than 4,000 miles. Now that is dedication. The evening culminated with DJ’s Porsche Taylor and Ry Toast taking the stage for some late-night dance party vibes.

Anya Violet and Ashmore Ellis, the event’s founders, as they present the Dunlop Furthest Ride Award.
Anya Violet and Ashmore Ellis, the event’s founders, as they present the Dunlop Furthest Ride Award. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

High on good vibes and female empowerment, I packed up my gear and decided to make the winding trek down the 154 in the cover of darkness on Saturday night. The quiet, contemplative night ride through Santa Barbara and down the Pacific Coast Highway let me reflect and gain perspective on what I’d witnessed over the last few days. It’s truly remarkable how this event has progressed over the years. Yet Babes Ride Out retains the ability to profoundly inspire riders of all different backgrounds, ages, identities, and experiences to do the one thing that brought us all together in the first place: Just get out there and ride.

“El Trineo,” the author’s modern classic Triumph, at Jalama Beach.
“El Trineo,” the author’s modern classic Triumph, at Jalama Beach. (Tamara Raye Wilson/)

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fair play to any group enjoying the scenery but I fear some of the more slope browed people of that continent making "Dykes on bikes comments".

Mind you the long mileages in that scenery certainly appeal to me.

Cheers

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Guidelines We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.