I learned to ride in the mid-90s on a 1972 Harley-Davidson Ironhead but didn’t know may other riders back then. Basically, I spent a few years operating a motorcycle. I gave up riding for a time when I become a mom. In 2015, I resumed riding, seriously this time, and became active in the women’s motorcycle rider community online and at women’s riding events. It was at one of these events I met Junie Rose. Junie has ridden every route of the 10-000-mile Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge since it began in 2010.
When the opportunity arose for me to ride the 2018 Hoka Hey, I saw it as a great way to inspire women riders to do more of what they love and challenge their limits. I’m grateful to the entire crew at Taboo Harley-Davidson in Alexandria, LA, my 2018 and 2020 HHMC sponsor, for opening this door to me and supporting women riders in general.
In 2018, online fundraising and BADASSpatch sales (see link on right-side margin of this page) covered ride costs and Feeding America donations to provide “10,000 Meals for 10,000 Miles.” Feeding America is a top-rated, national non-profit network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. After the ride, I mailed a BADASS patch to every female HHMC 2018 Finisher.
Riding the 2018 HHMC on stock 2014 Dyna Glide was a challenge in every sense of the word, but I finished. Yes, in 21 days. Let’s just say it hurt the Dyna more than it hurt me. And it did hurt riding all day every day, sleeping outdoors next to the bike, navigating the route (and getting lost) without the aid of GPS. I’ve since taken a hard look at everything I could have improved on that ride. Which was…ya know, everything.
In addition, Ride Texas magazine and J&P Cycles’ Countersteer blog have given me opportunities to share some of what I learned. When not riding, I’m writing about riding. Or obsessing over how I’ll make espresso on the HHMC.
This year, I will ride fully equipped and finish in fewer days. I’ll be on my ’19 Road Glide with, first and foremost, upgraded suspension and lights. Better windshield, lighter helmet, all-weather riding suit, waterproof boots. Better coffee setup.
For 2020, I doubled my charitable goal to provide 20,000 meals with Feeding America. Sales of BADASS patches, BADASS stickers, and BADASS magnets will launch February 2020 on Facebook and Instagram @womenridetheirown and @hokaheyrider942.
By my count, a total of 14 women have completed the 10,000-mile Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge (HHMC)– ever.* Four of these women have completed two or more challenges.
To give an idea of the magnitude of the accomplishment, 949 riders in all have made the attempt. Hoka Hey hosted challenge rides in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018. A rough sketch of the playing field over time shows: approximately 100 riders participate per challenge, and, although results vary from year to year, about one-third successfully complete the ride as “Finishers.”
To qualify as a Hoka Hey Finisher, a rider must follow a set of written directions provided at each checkpoint (about 2,500 miles apart) without the aid of GPS. The route is different every year, and riders do not know in advance where they will go. If the rider deviates from instructions, she must return to the point where she got off-route and begin again. In addition, riders must sleep outside next to their motorcycles for the duration. The total ride is approximately 10,000 miles.
The 2018 challenge began with 13 women riders, representing the largest number of women riders to enter a Hoka Hey Challenge. Seven women successfully crossed the finish line, and, of these, five were first-time riders. I was fortunate and honored to be counted among them.
Finally, the Hoka Hey is not a race. It is about finishing, no matter how long it takes. How long did it take? Well, as one of the last to cross the finish line, it took me 21 days. The fastest to finish the route did so in 10 days (with little to no sleep, I might add). But a fair average for time to complete the 10,000-mile route would fall in the range of 14 to 16 days.
Here’s a bit of wonky math: if 350 riders in total (give or take) have completed the Hoka Hey at least once, then women represent 4% of those finishers. And that is elite company.
The full list of past challenge participants and finishers is available on the Hoka Hey Challenge website. The next Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge will take place in 2020.
*Note: These are my observations and estimates only based on the information available. The are not official Hoka Hey Challenge numbers. Rider statistics were not recorded for the inaugural ride in 2010.
A few juicy details:
* We do not know the ride in advance. Nope. Nada.
* We are not allowed GPS. Gulp….h..e..l…p. LOL
* We sleep outside next to the motorcycle, every night.
* We cannot deviate from the route or speed. Yeah, they know! We have a personal tracker on us. Sigh.
I also hope to make this ride personally meaningful, with your help, by raising additional donations to @FeedingAmerica to provide ***10,000 Meals for 10,000 Miles***
That’s the Dream. Motorcycles, miles, meals. Hell, yeah!
If YOU can pitch in, or want to learn more, click below.
And THANK YOU. Because Women Ride Their Own!
P. S. Everybody asks, “Why?!” Because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It’s a chance to be among a handful of beautiful, strong women riders (out of 100 riders total) to represent … well, ALL of us beautiful, strong women riders! And it’s a chance to do Good. Can’t stop, won’t stop.