Digital Exhibition: AmyLynn Arrington
Name: AmyLynn Arrington (@WhiskyEye)
What motorcycle do you ride?
My daily rider is a 2016 Stage IV HD Lowrider S. I also regularly ride my 1983 HD Sportster 883. While I consider myself a loyal Harleyist, I have a love for pre-1985 Honda CBs, and have started a decent collection of them!
How did you get started riding motorcycles?
I can remember being a little kid in the back seat of my parent’s station wagon, driving down the highway, doing EVERYTHING I COULD to get bikers riding by to acknowledge me. I felt like they should be able to tell I was “one of them”, or at least wanted to be. I didn’t have anyone around me that rode - it feels like the need to ride has just always been part of me. In high school, I rode my friends’ dirt bikes every chance I could, counting down the days till I turned 18. My parents wouldn’t allow me to get a bike while I lived at home, so two week after graduating high school and turning 18, I moved out and bought my first bike, a mint-condition 1972 Honda CB200. The day I got it I hopped on, met up with a friend for a ride, and never looked back.
I rode solo for the majority of my teens & early 20’s. The most you could find online for community were forums, and rarely were there other women present - especially women my age. I did my best to form connections and find community in other ways. I got a job at a local tattoo shop, much in the way I’ve been able to get gigs at local bike shops - you just keep showing up until they put you to work! The owners there rode and welcomed me into the group. Around that time I also found United Bikers of Maine, and they taught me the ropes of group riding and general safety. Over the years, I joined a few different clubs, trying to find a crew that fit. I spent a short time with Women on Wheels, and then several years in Fire & Iron as a Road Captain, planning and leading events and rides all around Boston and New England.
I continued to expand my moto community by just getting out there and riding. I was a tiny kid, rolling up to Laconia Bike Week alone and camping in the rain. I attended rallies and swaps and shows, doing so mostly solo once I started college. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to form some strong friendships that way and many have lasted two decades.
What is your favorite thing about riding?
Choosing the best thing about riding is tough! When I’m on a bike, it’s a mindfulness activity. I’m so very present in the moment. To be an excellent rider, you need to be watchful not paranoid, relaxed but not careless, to have fun but not be too reckless. I enjoy always seeking that balance. I feel more myself when I’m on a bike than I do anywhere else. It’s an independent activity that allows you to see the world from a different perspective. You experience your surroundings in such detail; you know where the scent of flowers tend to linger in the spring, where the dip in the road always brings cold air, where the highway overpass always flings sand in your face. Those sensations are hard to explain to someone who doesn’t ride. I guess the best feeling is just opening up the throttle on an empty road at night, letting all your stress just fall away as you push the limits of your machine.
Do you have a favorite place to ride?
My favorite place to ride is the place I’ve never been. I enjoy traveling around the US and the world, exploring national parks and other out-of-the-way places. It’s the adventure I haven’t had yet that keeps me going. I’m doing a solo ride from Boston to Colorado and back again this fall and I can’t wait to explore parts of the country I’ve never seen.
Through the wonders of Instagram, I’ve been able to find and meet other women around my age that ride. Over the past two years, I’ve joined a close circle of 6 other women riders who I can count on for anything. We ride, travel, and have even started rebuilding a 1972 Honda cb175 as a winter project! One of those women and I have become very close, and after many late nights lamenting the lack of an inclusive moto community close to Boston, we decided to start our own. Babes Bikes Beards was born in June of 2018. A bi-montly Wednesday evening event, it grew from a gathering of about 75 to a group of over 200 in two short months. It spawned a hashtag for local rides, #B3BatSignal, a number of community catch phrases, #allbikesalltypes, #justshowup, and a wide circle of New England motorcycle enthusiasts from all walks of life that ride together, wrench together, and keep the momentum going over the winter via our public Slack team. Watching the community grow and take on a life of its own has been incredibly rewarding.
Babes Bikes Beards became a sponsor of a new podcast, The Lowlife Chopper Podcast, put on by some local bikers from New Hampshire. Their vision aligned with B3’s, to expand the moto community and find other folks who had a love for bikes and the desire to build them. It was the support from their community that led me to want to throw my hat in the ring as a builder for The Greasy Dozen. I was chosen as the Lucky 13th for the baker’s dozen and became a sponsored builder for the collective. Put on by Old Bike Barn, the aim is to showcase builders who do it for the love of the craft, helping everyone to remember that building and riding a chopper is something that’s attainable. You don’t have to be a fancy shop with a TV show to get it done! In the past (very short) 5 months I’ve learned so many new skills and have completed my custom chopper The Bug Out, built from an old rusty 1983 Honda cb650sc I had sitting in my yard for years. I’m excited to have it on the road this spring, able to show other women that you can ride AND you can build, if you have the passion.
I’ve done a lot in my 20 years as a motorcycle owner, but I doubt I’m finished trying new things. I love meeting other enthusiasts and will always have an open door for moto folks passing through.