Biker Chick for a Day

©iStockphoto.com/giovanniortiz

Do you ever look back at something you did and think, “yeah, that wasn’t the best idea”? I’m having one of those moments. I mean, being a biker chick for the day while riding a motorcycle through the desert seemed like a good idea at the time… Now? I’m adding it to the “glad I did it once but never again” file. It all started when a friend of mine on a recent Saturday night asked me to go the very next afternoon. We had had a bit of a cold spell, and we were suddenly thrown a gorgeous, sunny weekend. “Sure!” I committed before really thinking about it.

I have a love/hate relationship with daredevil activities: I was recently the only person to chicken out on a pole-climbing challenge and barely made it down the bunny slope while skiing in Vegas. But I loved sky-diving and zip-lining, so you really never know with me. I am also up for anything, such as hypnotherapy, mini round the world backpacking or shaman readings.

One thing I am such a sucker for: fun, impulsive activities that require zero planning on my part.

I was sold.

The next morning, I put on jeans for the first time since about Christmas, a pair of ballet flats, a top, and my toughest jacket. When Ron picked me up, he was not impressed.

“Where’s your leather jacket?”

Um, you’re lucky I own jeans. He was also puzzled by my footwear. But since I don’t have any sneakers, we soon took off. I was somehow reassured by his pink, flowery helmut that his young niece usually wears. Well, if SHE can do this…

About 20 minutes later, while tearing down the freeway at 80 miles an hour and seeing how dangerously close my thin shoes and bare skin on the top of my foot were to roaring pavement, I learned why bikers are always covered head-to-toe in leather. My wardrobe is definitely not biker chick-worthy.

We ended up very soon after getting off the highway for a leisurely ride on backroads I never knew existed.

©iStockphoto.com/Pgiam

It turned out to be an interesting subculture to Vegas.

First, the scenery was gorgeous. I didn’t take a single photo, because my camera was in my purse in some holder I was sitting on — and I was holding on for dear life. But these backroads wind through the desert with unobstructed sweeping views of the mountains and desert. Motorcycle clubs really are a fascinating way to see the country!

Only bikers were on these roads, and they always wave. Not the military-type salute I see police bikers do… Instead, they put out their left hand really low in acknowledgement.

We made several stops along the way, including Primm. I get stuck in so much traffic driving on the highway from Primm to Vegas, that I was shocked at how fast we arrived there on the backroads.

I also saw the dirt bikers. Although I’ve long heard that that’s a big hobby here in town, I never thought about where they do it. Well, I saw! There was a huge area filled with cars parked randomly all over the desert. Apparently, the dirt bikers drive out there with their bikes and spend the afternoon riding.

©iStockphoto.com/ericfoltz

Our last stop was the biker bar Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada.

Did I mention that my coat had a ruffle on it?

Luckily, a triathalon of some sort had stopped there for some sort of post-race lunch. It was an interesting mix of people!

There was also a rough old lady wearing a chicken suit kicking up her heels to the live music. I ordered a beer, served in a mason jar, and took it all in.

©iStockphoto.com/lisafx

The saloon was built in 1913 and has a room dedicated to old press clippings and history. It was built during the mining boom that earned Nevada the nickname of the Silver State and is made of tin — one of the last metal buildings in the country that’s still standing.

Included in the Pioneer’s history: much dedication to Hollywood legends Carole Lombard and Clark Gable. In a devastating twist of history, Carole died in a plane crash in the desert nearby. Her husband, Clark, came rushing to the Pioneer, where he waited for news for three days before returning to LA alone and brokenhearted.

I can’t wait to return to the Pioneer! (Maybe next year for its 100th anniversary — who’s with me?) Although next time I’ll have my camera ready… and arrive in a car.

If you go:

Goodsprings is about 30 miles southwest of Las Vegas. Take 1-15 South, and make a right on Exit 12. It’s a few miles up the road.

(702) 874-9362

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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Comments

  1. Couldn’t be a biker chick myself. My uncle (well, ex-uncle), had a Harley. I rode with him a few times — I even inherited an authentic biker jacket (the darned thing is so heavy, it truly is half my weight!). But, the hanging on for dear life thing is not missed. I hated the turns. Sure, tried to admire the scenery, but when you’re thinking I could fall off this thing at any given moment — you know, that reality check — the scenery? What scenery? But a funny memory is, upteen years ago when I was still in college, we had an assignment. Can’t remember the exact details, but it was a small group assignment and we decide to do a perfume for women targeted to the biker community. Our perfume: Bike B**ch. Our tagline was tongue in cheek. We had to meet one afternoon with a group of bikers (we’re talking Hells Angels biker-types and not “I’m doing this on a weekend, it’s my hobby” types). All I can say was, that was some afternoon. Me with my too-small-and-left-nothing-to-the-imagination black top, black mini skirt (so inappropriate for a bike), black knee-length boots…Can’t believe I was there.

  2. Oh my gosh I loove that story!! You were more inappropriately dress than I was lol.

  3. I grew up in a biker family and LOVE to ride (though I don’t have my license yet). I’ve ridden through several states on the back of a motorcycle and absolutely love it. Totally liberating (though a bit wet if it’s rainy).

  4. I didn’t know that — I love it!! I had a great day, but I was not dressed safely!

  5. It’s an entirely different culture that I know very little about. Sounds like such an interesting experience though. :)

  6. It sounds like a fun adventure! I love the feeling of riding on motorcycles and our scooter, but I definitely haven’t had any experience with the motorcycle culture…not sure I’d really fit in.

  7. Ahem, where are the photos of you!

  8. I’m with Ayngelina! Photos?!?!

  9. No photos — that’s why I need to go back! In a car, I’d have access to my camera…

  10. It’s a shame you couldn’t take any pictures of you ! Irt would have been great looking at them to get closer to your cool experience! In my turn I like motorbikes…welll I get used to as ny boy is a biker! It’ s a particular worls and it’s sometimes so hard to get part of it, but it’ very interesting and charming!

  11. Scott owned two motorcycles when we lived in California, and would you believe that I’ve never been on the back of a bike (unless you count a Vespa)?!

  12. There were many times I wanted to take photos — but there was no way to get my camera! Sigh…

    Really, Kristin?! That’s so funny!

  13. There’s several big biking events here and several of our friends are into the whole bike culture… I’m not – terrified of it, but I’m a parent wuss… It’s pretty disconcerting to follow the big bike events (seriously, like 200,000 Harleys – it’s LOUD) and how the media follows the number of deaths and injuries over the weekend. That said, I do think it would be a great way to see the world… and I would definitely seize the moment to get some kick ass boots :)

  14. Fun times! Did you wear leather chaps ;-)

  15. I now anxiously await your next report – Live from the Laughlin River Run…complete with photos of course.

  16. Leather chaps would have been more protective than what I was wearing!!

  17. Great story — good for you for trying it! If you’re gonna ride a motorcycle, Vegas is the place to do it!

  18. Haha. You crack me up. I love that you wore ballet shoes and a coat with a ruffle. I may have felt like I was on acid if there was a lady in a bar wearing a chicken suit. Awesome. :)

  19. Sounds like an awesome adventure, if a bit terrifying due to lack of protection. Still.. you made it to tell the tale, and that’s what matters. Next time.. take a film crew ;)

  20. Sounds like you had a a fun day. Interesting bit about Clark Gable, too. Didn’t know his wife died in a plane crash. Come to think of it, I didn’t know he had a wife at all…

  21. LOL a film crew is a must next time! Not even sure I’d feel comfortable taking photos… Yes, the history there is incredible!

  22. I grew up where there were so many bikers. And where it “was” once legal to ride around with no helmet or shirt on. I always found their lack of safety equipment and behavior on the road to be awful, which is why I never really cared much about motorcycling. But sounds like from your post that it was an absolutely fun experience. As long as I’m not the driver, I’d give it a try, too. And the saloon was definitely an added bonus.

  23. I’m impressed that you did it. I’ve been on a motorbike several times, but never felt comfortable – a moped on the other hand, I’m OK with!

  24. After reading your post… well, I think I will give up on my dream to be a biker chick. :)

  25. It’s a fun dream though!

  26. I always enjoyed those biker movies and admired their outfits but I never realized that they wore those for a reason. I thought it was just a fashion statement. I’m glad your shoes survived the ride!

  27. You go girl! I’m scared of motorbikes but the freedom and romance of the imagery is very appealing. Love the sound of the Pioneer Saloon and the story of poor Clark & Carol.

  28. It was quite the experience! The history really was incredible….

  29. Hahaha, oh Abby I love that you don’t even own sneakers and barely wear pants. You are such a princess. I’m actually not down with motorcycles. I blame it on a mini bike accident I had as a kid when I got pinned under a bike as the hot oil burned my leg. In my defense, I tried again as a teenager and did not love it! I’m glad you had a good time though!

  30. What a fun day! The saloon sounds like the most fun–a woman in a chicken suit? You can’t make that stuff up, can you? Ah, how I miss Nevada. :-) My ex had a motorcycle, and I went out riding with him sometimes, and it was fun…but I couldn’t be a regular rider. I’ve seen the results of collisions between bikers and cars, and it’s not pretty.

  31. Haha sounds awesome! I love the comment that he was lucky you even owned jeans!! I just bought my first pair of jeans in over a year, and im not sure why. LOL

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