Digital Exhibition: Jacqueline Brandt
Name: Jacqueline Brandt (@jacqubr)
Vehicle: 2014 Harley Davidson Sportster 883
How did you get started riding motorcycles?
I grew up riding with my grandfather and father who have ridden Harley’s since before I was born. My grandfather has owned many different bikes, both bought and built, which sparked interest in me as a child. I’ve grown up loving motorcycles, being around them, and having a fascination with them for as long as I can remember. It was only natural for me to start riding them myself.
After going on a few rides with my father on some sunny Southern California days at the beginning of 2017, I decided it was time. At 19, I signed up for a riding course, started browsing through Craigslist, and found the bike I’ve loved for two years. We bought my Sportster from a woman in my hometown, making it a female-only owned motorcycle. Learning to ride a motorcycle on the treacherous freeways of So Cal was interesting and intimidating, but made me the strong rider I am today. In the past year, I’ve ridden my bike mostly solo through 13 states on back roads, highways, dirt roads, and everything in between.
After many miles in summer 2018, I decided it was time to make my bike “mine” which commenced the total makeover. In the past few winter months, my boyfriend and I have completely overhauled the black and grey bike I bought off Craigslist. Now my stock Sportster is more of a Sportster “chopper” with its extended front end, baby blue and daisy paint job, and too many customized parts to list. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to have a hand in every modification to your own bike and to know it inside and out.
What is your favorite thing about riding?
My favorite thing about riding is being able to sense the world around me while on my bike. To smell the smells, to feel the sun on my skin or the bite of cold air, to hear the sound of my engine mix with the wind, and to be one with the road and nature. In May 2018, I spent a day and a half “planning” my first solo, long-distance trip on my motorcycle. I rode from Long Beach, CA to Wichita, KS and back in 16 days, zig-zagging throughout Southern UT and CO and Northern NM and AZ. That decision, that trip, changed my life and perspective on so many levels. I’ve learned that you meet the nicest people on a motorcycle, that the most pleasant and, frankly, the only enjoyable way to travel cross country is on a motorcycle, and that the thing that brings me the greatest happiness in life is riding.
I think it is so amazing how many women are breaking this mold and becoming mainstream in the realm of motorcycling. Thanks to how small social media makes the world and how easy it is to find people to be inspired from, there are so many women to look up to. In reality, I am considered “just a kid” by many at just 21, but through riding, traveling and experiencing the world, I feel like I have learned so much in such a short amount of time. I am grateful to motorcycles for so much in my life.
Do you have a favorite place to ride?
A favorite place to ride for me is more of a state of mind rather than a physical place. I’ve ridden in so many beautiful landscapes and on so many beautiful roads it would be impossible to choose. I love open roads with little other traffic. I love riding through the vast Utah desert and winding Colorado mountains, riding along the coast of California, through the hill country of Texas and alongside the green farmlands of Kansas. Riding anywhere long distance on my bike will always represent my favorite place to be.