WMT: What’s your name and how did you get into motorcycling?
OS: My name is Olivia Solero and on a beautiful June morning in 2014, I woke up with a burning question: Why is it that I don’t I own a motorcycle? By the end of that week I was enrolled in a motorcycle safety course and riding around cones in a parking lot at Fordham College in the Bronx. I had my license the following week.
WMT: What age were you?
OS: I had just had my 47th birthday.
WMT: What type of riding do you do?
OS: I live in New York City, so dirt or track riding is not so easily accessible, and I stick to the roads. And while I don’t mind riding in the city, the subway or a bicycle is a faster commute. I like to go places on my motorcycle, whether it is for a day, a night or a multi-day trip. I like to plot out routes on beautiful roads, find a view, or a great place to eat or stay, and just ride.
WMT: Is motorcycling a physical, spiritual or emotional experience for you? (or all three?)
OS: Of all the activities I do, motorcycling is the least physical, though it’s fatiguing in its own way. It is certainly an emotional experience for me. A motorcycle is nimble, and there is freedom in that. I also feel more connected to the environment than if I were in a car – I am more exposed to the elements, I can smell what is around me, I feel closer to my surroundings and that creates feelings of adventure for me. It can also be quite meditative, and I view that as spiritual. Riding takes much more concentration than driving or a number of other activities I do. If you are focused on riding, what is going on in front of you, to the left and to the right, what is happening in your mirrors, what is happening with the road, your mind is clear. You really can’t hold two thoughts in your mind at the same time.
WMT: On Facebook I see you here, there and everywhere. How do you decide where to go and how do get to travel so much?
OS: I have a lot of freedom in my life. I work for myself and my work is not location dependent; I live in an apartment, so there isn’t much for me to look after. I don’t have a spouse or children, so I can pretty much go and come as I please — limited only by financial resources. Some of my travel is me just being able to take advantage of my schedule and an opportunity – an event, a friend to visit, a friend’s desire to visit a place. But many of my trips are planned in advance, however, I generally don’t overthink it. There are so many places to go… if you sat and considered every option, you would never get anywhere. I would rather go on a trip that was less than perfect than stay home and plan the perfect trip.
WMT: If a woman came to you thinking about riding a motorcycle, what words of wisdom would you have for her?
OS: I would pretty much say the same thing as I would as to a man if he came to me with the same thoughts: Do it. Absolutely. No reason not to. Don’t buy your dream bike as your first bike; buy something more manageable knowing that you will quickly outgrow it; you will be able to develop your skills on a bike you don’t intend to keep. Who knows, your dream bike might change as you become more experienced.
Find your tribe. Riding is much more fun in a group, and while the motorcycle will take you places, some of your best memories will be the people.
Be open. A motorcycle will introduce you to people outside your regular sphere – you will meet people you would have probably never met if it wasn’t for your common interest.
WMT: What’s the biggest lesson motorcycling has taught you?
OS: Hmmm… I don’t know if motorcycling has taught me this, but it certainly reinforces this lesson: I am capable of doing anything.
WMT: What’s the best part of traveling alone?
OS: As much as I like riding in a group and love the shared experience, and I am far from shy, I end up having more interactions with people I meet on the road – at gas stations, rest stops, restaurants, than when I ride in a group.
WMT: What are you up to next?
OS: A German friend I met through motorcycling lives in Berlin and we are planning a European tour for next summer.
WMT: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Olivia!