Women who ride motorcycles, what could be more badass than that? It is hard not to insinuate some sort of feminist agenda when picturing a group of women who ride their bikes out to the desert for an all-female camp out. However, the goal for this particular group of women is not to aggressively spread overbearing womanism, but rather to encourage women to ride motorcycles safely, for the right reasons and to provide a “really fun open environment for women to be more comfortable in the motorcycle community.”
Babes Ride Out, an annual all-female, overnight motorcycle adventure and campout, welcomes all ladies who ride or want to know more about riding motos. Traveling to one of California’s most beautiful destinations every October, the Babes Ride Out event is about “making friends and having a good time with those who share the same interests without any distractions.”
Founded in 2013 by two free-spirited, motorcycling renegades, Anya Violet, RVCA Women’s Design Director and Ashmore Ellis, Stance Socks community manager and copywriter, Babes Ride Out has already spread across the country like wildfire, with over 500 moto babe attendees at their third campout out last October 2015.
Live FAST revved up their engines and caught up with the two founders to chat about their motorcycle expeditions and their first-ever Babes Ride Out Zine release party at HOWL on Saturday.
LF: Where did the ideas for Babes Ride Out originate?
Ashmore Ellis: It started as a conversation about going on a ride together in the desert and camping, a “girls trip” if you will. A few text messages later, we (Ellis and co-founder Violet) decided to open it up to social media allowing all ladies to join if they wanted. Our first event attracted 50 ladies on motos, which to us was mind blowing. Women came as far as NYC and at that moment we knew this “thing” was special. Egos were left at the door, no distractions were present, and complete solitude were some of the factors of making the first event so much fun and became the driving force to keep it going annually. We organized Babes Ride Out for the sheer fun of it and to this day, that reason has kept us going over the past few years.
Anya Violet: It all started really small. Ashmore and I ran into each other, we knew each other through a mutual friend and really bonded over riding motorcycles. And we ran into each other at this event and we were like, “Let’s go camping! Let’s go for rides!” And we were like, ”Which weekend are you free?” And we picked a weekend and I was like “I know like three or four women who ride in Long Beach and we should invite them and make it like a girls weekend.” We started seeing on Instagram like these other female riders and we were like maybe it’s let’s make a flyer and see if we can just see who else wants to come. So we both posted it on our own Instagrams and it kind of just caught fire. Then all of a sudden it was like all of these people talking about it. So still we were like yeah maybe 10-15 girls will show up. Then the day of the meet up there were like 50 women.
LF: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
AE: I was poppin’ wheelies on an electric 3-wheeler at age two. Well, accidental wheelies and I think I got my hair caught in the wheels and never rode it again. It wasn’t until I moved to California, a decade ago, that I bought my first street bike. I eventually sold it to Anya and it became her first street bike. That little 350 Yamaha ruled and I think it’s pretty awesome we got to share that bike. It now belongs to one of Anya’s friends and I recently asked him if I could buy it back, he said no, and I don’t blame him one bit.
LF: After you both posted about the first camp out, what went through your head when you saw how quickly word spread about the organized ride out?
AV: Needless to say we were fully blown away, especially because we were literally like camping in a dry lakebed with no bathrooms, in the middle of the desert. It was super, super raw and everyone had the best time. Everyone was just like, “this is the coolest thing ever, we got to keep doing this.” It was just such a great energy and we all just have this common interest. The demand was just so high and everyone had just such a great time, we were like ok this is a thing now.
Of course in order to do it again we had to get more organized and the second year there were like 500 women all over the country riding all the way from Florida and shit. And then it just has grown so much since then. We had six different countries, huge responses, it was mind blowing, amazing. We were able to carry more sponsors and we had this really amazing event space in Joshua Tree that we partner with. It’s just really organically grown into this like global network.
LF: What was different about this recent Babes Ride Out 3 camp out than the first two?
AE: More ladies and more bikes. We are prepared for growth and make incremental adjustments each year to make the event even better. We work with some amazing brands like Biltwell, Stance Socks, 805 Beer, RVCA, Skullcandy, Stetson etc., to bring in an experience first and foremost. These brands truly give a shit about what we are doing and support it without any real gain. It’s refreshing.
AV: It was amazing. It’s always amazing. This one was really cool because we had this amazing new event space that we were able to use. It was just so cool.
LF: So Babes Ride Out is hosting their very first event this month on February 20, in addition to releasing their very own Zine. Tell us a little bit about the event, the Zine and what attendees can expect from the event.
AE: The zine and gallery show at Howl in Long Beach Feb 20th is our first co/ed event. It’s not a ride or anything but rather a chance to share what we’ve been doing the past three years.
AV: It is open to the public and so essentially, at all of our events we’ve always had so many amazing amateur and professional photographers or just girls that are riding that want to shoot the event, and all these beautiful images come through from the past events we’ve done. So this year, I thought how cool to kind of really showcase those photographers and kind of showcase the event through their eyes. Ashmore and I are so busy running the event and running around and we don’t get to see everything and experience everything that happens at the event so it’s really inspiring to see it all come to life through these photos. Prior to the event I had reached out to 10 photographers that had either been coming to our events for a long time or photographing our events recently and just loved their work. We asked them to shoot the event through their eyes, whatever they want, no restrictions and told them that we wanted to create a little zine and donate a percentage of the proceeds to Moto F.A.M., which is a charity organization that we are working with, and do like a little gallery show and just kind of have a little party.
We are selling the zine, it’s so beautiful. It won’t release until August 20, and a percentage of the proceeds will go to Moto F.A.M.
LF: What do you hope guests get out of the February 20 event?
AV: I hope that they see it for what it is. Just a bunch of women having a good time riding motorcycles in the desert and camping. I hope women who have been thinking about riding are inspired to learn, practice and get really skilled and talented at riding a motorcycle. You know if they want to, and I hope guys encourage the women in their life to learn to ride.
For more info on upcoming Babes Ride Out events, camp outs and Zine releases visit www.babesrideout.com.
Follow Violet and Ellis and their fellow motorcycle babes on all of their adventures.
Instagram – instagram.com/babesrideout
Twitter – twitter.com/BabesRide
Facebook – facebook.com/babesrideoutofficial