So Anya, tell us about your home life or day in the life: WHAT DO YOU DO ON THAT MOUNTAIN!?
Well, I live in the mountains about 1.5 hours outside of LA. It’s not far but it feels like a world away. I am lucky enough to get to work from home so my days during the week are spent in my home office running the “behind the scenes” of Babes Ride Out, Babes in the Dirt, and Atwyld. Each day is different as I toggle between, but the majority is spent at my desk on the phone. All things Babes Ride Out/Babes in the Dirt consist of emails, updating the website and social channels, interviews for our blog, working with our partners, and long calls with my BFF and co-founder Ashmore Ellis. My duties for Atwyld change wildly throughout the day from accounting to art direction for a photoshoot to technical product design to packing orders. I do it all and so do my co-founders Corinne and Jaime. I like to start and end each day by walking my dog through my neighborhood or in the forest. In the evening when my life partner Evan gets home from work we like to eat dinner together out on the deck and unwind. Weekends have been spent on my dirt bike a lot which I am so grateful for. Running two businesses does not normally allow you much downtime or free weekends so quarantine life has meant lots of dirt bike life for me. I can ride right out of my driveaway to a bunch of awesome trails. Life is good in the mountains.
Riding history: break it down for us/ how did you start, have you taken any continued education classes?
I first started riding a 1980-something 50cc dirt bike when I was 7 years old. I was the only one out of my two other sisters that really fell in love with riding motorcycles. Both my parents had bikes at different points in their life so I guess it was kind of meant to be. My mom and I rode dirt bikes all throughout my childhood, riding trails and racing motocross all over the central coast of California. I gradually upgraded from a 50cc to an 80cc to a 125cc bike before I ended up taking a break from riding during my late high school and college years. It is not easy to afford a motorcycle when you’re going through college or starting a career, so I didn’t get a bike again until my early 20’s. Dirt bikes progressed to street bikes pretty quickly and riding became a central part of my life again. Since then I have had some pretty epic times on a motorcycle! I have trained in Supermoto and advanced rider training. I have ridden a motorcycle through the Sahara Desert in Morocco and on the black sand beaches in Bali. Some of the best times in my life have been on a motorcycle!
What bikes do you have in the garage currently? Any names or significant history associated with them?
- 2020 Husqvarna FE 350s Dualsport bike is the one that gets the most action.
- 1977 Yamaha DT 400 I have raced this bike many times in the local vintage race series. He kicks over every time!
- 1991 Harley Sportster that my Uncle Kris gifted me when he found out I got my M1.
Photo by Drew Martin
Tell us about the type of rider you are / what you love about riding street & dirt:
I am the type of rider that is mostly in it for the thrills and how clear and quiet my mind gets when I ride. I love to push myself and try new things and work on my skills. When it comes to dirt bikes, I love to be able to get way out in the wilderness and enjoy the views but I like a bit of a challenge on the way there. The technical single track is my favorite as long as it mixed with some fast and flowy trails. Riding on the street can be insanely fun and thrilling for me, especially on these fun mountain roads. After a really severe accident that I was in 2 years ago, street riding has become less interesting and less enticing to me. That may change over time but for now, I like to stick to the remote backroads.
Photo by Mike Pham for Atwyld
You most embarrassing moment on the street and dirt, SPILL IT, SISTER!
HAHAHA, I am laughing just thinking about it. The only person that saw was Ashmore and I am sure she is laughing as she reads this too. We had just finished with being extras in a video shoot that really neither of us were that stoked to be involved in but we were helping out a friend. We were headed home and ended up getting lost. I was mentally exhausted at this point already so I hopped off my bike so I could set up my maps to give us turn by turn directions. I ended up having no service, so I started to get frustrated and when I went to get back on my bike I tipped over. I was so annoyed at this point and once we popped it back upright it just tipped over the other way. Yes, I tick tocked my motorcycle. It was stupid to be that frustrated but luckily no damage was done. The moral of the story is: don’t ride your motorcycle when you are in an irritated mood. That’s when you end up doing dumb stuff.
Can you recall a favorite moment from a street or dirt trip?
My favorite moment on a motorcycle of all time happened earlier this year. I was on a weeklong off-road adventure in Morocco and we were ripping through the sand dunes. We turned to face the largest dune at 400+ feet tall. As you climb, you want to let off the gas just before you reach the peak of the dune so that you don’t launch over. You want to just get your front tire over the peak so that you balance on top of the massive dune. The feeling was one of the most thrilling things I have ever experienced and the view out over the sea of dunes was incredible. The visual is burned into my memory forever.
Photo by Jenny Linquist
Can you recall a moment that is/was funny from riding street or dirt?
You know what’s funny is when 50 awesome women signed up to meet a bunch of strangers to ride motorcycles to an undisclosed location in the California desert. ( Babes in Borrego/our first event) haha, That is truly hilarious to me because I honestly wonder if someone presented me with that idea today if I would say yes or no haha.
What motivates you to grow/produce the events on street and dirt?
There are so many things that motivate me to grow Babes Ride Out and Babes in the Dirt. I see so much joy come from women getting to experience motorcycling. I get so much energy and fulfillment from helping to bring like-minded people together. When I really dig deep and think hard about what is at the crux of that motivation, it is female empowerment. Shocking, I know. I grew up idolizing so many male figures in my life; movie characters, musicians, and friends. It just always seemed to me like all the fun stuff that I was in to was geared toward dudes. All the great adventure stories are about dudes. All the major athletes and sports figures are dudes. Boy scouts seemed so fun to me as a kid but it was for boys. I really was not exposed to a lot of female idols to look up to that were “doing things” that resonated with me. They were out there, but their stories were not amplified in the same way. I am now surrounded by the raddest bunch of female artists, entrepreneurs, makers, musicians, adventurers, motorcycle riders, bosses, and leaders. I don’t know what it is about riding motorcycles, but it certainly brings together some insanely admirable people and I really like that I get to play a small role in amplifying that and bringing them together.
Photo by Genevieve Davis
How do you measure personal success?
Personal success to me is measured by how much time I am able to dedicate to myself and the things that I personally want to do. So much time needs to be spent on trying to survive and keep up with life. Whether it is working to make money or maintain your household or whatever adult stuff you have to do. I feel most successful when I am comfortable enough to unplug and do what Anya wants to do without having to answer to anyone. I think someday that “me” time will be greater than the “working to survive” time and that is when I will feel most successful.
Photo by Michael Beck
What can you not live without besides me?
I cannot live without feeling part of a team. That is just the kind of creature that I am. My partner Evan is such a crucial teammate as well as my family and close friendships. I think that if I lost everything and I still had my core team I could live through anything.
What makes you the happiest besides (2) wheels?
Having no agenda, no one to answer to, no one that needs anything from me and just being able to do whatever I want with my days. True freedom. I feel that the most when I am camping way out of cell phone service with just me and Evan and my dog. Being in nature makes me feel the most comfortable being human.