I was honored to be a part of the first ever Babes Ride Out, which had yet to be called Babes Ride Out and began as a simple campout out amongst a large group of friends called Babes in Borrego. Little did Anya and Ashore know, what they were creating would soon grow into the most empowering event for women, and not only the ones that ride motorcycles.
Article by Ashmore Bodiford, featured in Show Class Magazine, Issue 16
It all started with a conversation. I ran into Anya Violet at a moto event and have always loved her. She is one of those people who is genuine and enthusiastic about everything she does. I met her a few years ago when I sold her my first moto and we have been friends ever since. Most of us have a habit of saying “let’s get together soon” after running into friends but Anya and I meant it. A few back and forth texts that week and we started planning a girls only moto camp trip. I remember thinking “I bet at least 10 girls would want to ride out”.
I’d been going out to Borrego a few years and loved the route. It’s simple, quiet, and beautiful. The dark sky community is 55 miles away from the closest city lights and is surrounded by Anza-Borrego State Park. After we agreed upon location, Anya and I picked a meet up point and drove out searching for the perfect campsite for 10-20 people. We drove out to a dry lake bed that was next to my friend’s property and dubbed it the “Babes in Borrego Campsite”. Planning and organizing kicked off right away. We both put up an instagram with the dates for “Babes in Borrego” and the response was immediate. I quickly bought the url www.babesrideout.com and started organizing online while Anya set up a shared email.
To build up enthusiasm and persuade girls from all levels of riding to come out, we encouraged everyone to email us their “Roll Call” which is a short story of who they are with a few pictures. Emails quickly flooded in and I have to say their stories were all so well written and inspiring that a few of them made us tear up, laugh, and smile. Some girls had ridden cross country while others had not left their streets. Some girls wanted to learn how to ride but never been on a bike and some girls just wanted to come out and see what this was all about. I don’t think they realize how much they inspired each other with their stories. Before we knew it the site was getting hits everyday with all sorts of viewers from all over the world. To all the girls who contributed, thank you. You have made an impact on more people than you think.
We had no idea that Instagram would be so effective spreading the word. All of a sudden we had girls coming from Portland, Arizona, Nevada, San Francisco, New York, and all over southern California. I will never forget standing in some gas station on the Gypsy Run in upstate New York about 4 weeks prior to Babes in Borrego when a girl walked up to me and offered me her hand warmers. We started talking about where we are both from and she suddenly smiled and said “I am going out to California next month to go to Babes in Borrego!” The size of my smile hurt my face (or maybe it was still frozen) but regardless, this amazing girl named Rachel had heard about it through Instagram and committed herself to going (and she did, and even brought a friend). The enthisiam was the most incredible thing I have ever seen. Girls were tagging their friends and even tagging girls they never met but are friends with through instagram. The whole event was now viral. I remember texting Anya “ What if 30 girls showed up?!” with an emoji of the girl in the red dress dancing with hearts.
The girls started flying in and my house turned into a mini Portland. We scurried to get bikes lined up and rentals picked up. Chase trucks were loaded and last minute updates were made to the site. On Oct 5th the sun rose like any other day but I had been awake all night and so had Anya. We were excited and it was the excited you felt when you were 6 on Christmas morning. Anya was leading the LBC crew to the meet up and we were on our way from San Diego.
So there were more than 30 girls… way more…. 51 bikes were scattered around the parking lot. Chase trucks, vans, campers, and one huge RV were gasing up and waiting for further instructions. There were Dynas, Sportsters, Hondas, Triumphs, Yamahas, and various choppers parked side by side. It was such a amazing site to see that many bikes but even more impressive that the riders were all smiling ladies. Instagram friends were meeting for the first time while old friends hugged. I am not going to lie, a small tear went down the side of my face. I was happy.
After a quick riders meeting we gave out route maps courtesy of Biltwell. The wind was really blowing hard that day but hell, it’s a moto ride and every inch could have unknown variables which is the “fun part”. We were “leaving in 10 minutes exactly, make sure you have a full tank of gas”. Everyone started getting on their bikes and lining up. Looking back down the pack line and seeing 51 girls on motos is truly an amazing site. Que single tear down face #2. I pulled out and said a prayer that everyone made it to stop 1 safely.
We stopped at a major turn off which has plenty of parking space. We all got off our bikes and laughed about the wind gusts while everyone (including chase trucks, vans, rvs) pulled in to re-group. One more quick rider meeting about the next part of the ride which includes decent turns while you go down the grades into Borrego Springs were everyone would stop for gas before the group met at Carlees for lunch. As everyone jumped back on their bikes I said prayer #2 and before I knew it we were zigzagging our way down into the Anza desert to have a celebratory beer at Carlees.
Carlees was packed. We had made it safetly and we felt pretty damn good about that. Across the street girls who had packed all their items on their motos bought wine, beer, and liquor to stuff into chase trucks for the night’s festivities. Now for the next part, the part not on the map. We had to go 10 more miles to get to the camp area and 2 of those miles were offroad and mostly sandy. “Try not to grab the front break and power through it” was the only advice we could give. Some girls heard us, some did not.
Have you ever been on a slip and slide? Sand sort of reminds me of that. A few girls got worked a bit by it but every single one of them was fine and got their bikes back up with no problem. Scenery made up for the sand because shortly after the last sand trap there was a football field sized dry lake bed that was moto and camp friendly. I began handing out patches to everyone who rode. We were there. We had all made it safely, let’s party!
This is where I am going to stop. Not because the story is over but because the best parts can’t be told by one person. I encourage you to let the photos tell the story and scroll through the 460 Instagram photos tagged #babesinborrego. We all walked away with so many more friends from the camp trip and was what it was all about from the beginning. Thank you to each and everyone of the girls who came and also to everyone who shared our Instagram, tagged a friend, shared the website, and shared our flyer. Anya and I can’t thank you all enough for supporting the first ever Babes in Borrego.
Stay tuned for dates and info for “Babes in ______2014” on www.babesrideout.com . We hope to see everyone next year.