Editor’s Note: Brittany Morrow is the founder of RockTheGear.org, with support from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. In 2005, she experienced a horrific and life-changing motorcycle accident as the passenger on a friend’s bike. While she was wearing a (borrowed) helmet, she had no other safety apparel. The result was a two-month hospital stay and skin grafts covering more than 50 percent of her body — but thanks to the helmet, she lived.
Inspired to use her story to urge riders and passengers to wear all the gear, all the time (ATGATT), she published her story in October 2006. Since then, her story has touched millions, and to this day, Brittany is still receiving emails from new readers applauding her for her efforts and encouraging her to continue spreading the message.
Three-and-a-half years after leaving the hospital, she became a certified RiderCoach for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to teach new and experienced riders alike the importance of attitude, skill, protective gear and lifelong learning.
Brittany was recently invited by Can-Am to join a group of women that were experiencing their first-ever motorcycle experience, the idea being that the three-wheeled Ryker would be a fun, unintimidating way to show these women how much fun motorcycles can be — and the unique bonding that occurs among female riders. Her recounting of the event follows.
When I first rode the Ryker back in October of 2018, I was immediately impressed. As a motorcycle instructor for the last 10 years, I have seen many different types of new riders come through the beginner course. However, I have never seen a machine as easy to ride — and learn to ride — as the Ryker. With that said, when I was asked to join a 3-day event to introduce women from all walks of life, many of whom had never ridden before, to the lifestyle that I love using the Ryker (rather than a traditional motorcycle), I was 100 percent on board.
(Read our riding review of the Ryker and learn more about it here!)
The plan was to begin with a day of training, which appealed to my cautious nature. I believe Can-Am’s desire was to give these women the best possible opportunity to feel successful, confident and accomplished after just a few hours of riding. That doesn’t happen often in a beginner motorcycle course, if ever. My theory, after my test ride last October, was that the Ryker was the machine that could smooth out the steep two-wheeled learning curve and be more fun than stressful. I wrote about it being the “best beginner bike” available, and how could bridge the gap to introduce more women to the lifestyle. This event was the chance to put my theory to the test.
When I received the list of women who would be attending, my mind was overwhelmed. I would be spending three days with some of the most accomplished women in their respective communities. To sum it up, Can-Am wrangled a group comprised of a neurologist who hangs out with celebrities; an app-developing Victoria’s Secret Angel; a fashion industry marketing CEO; a hip-hop journalist; an artist; a body-positive fashion blogger and influencer; a thriving model and actress; a museum exhibit curator and mother of two; a wing-suiter/brand model/adrenaline junkie; and an Olympic gold medal snowboarder. Only four of us had ridden the Ryker before, and the rest had little to no experience on any motorcycle before.
The event officially started on a Monday morning in a classroom in Inglewood, a Los Angeles-area neighborhood. Nothing fancy, no red carpet, no paparazzi — just a group of women in a classroom introducing themselves, just like the beginning of every other beginner motorcycle course. Can-Am nailed it when they hired Allison Wood (of SoCal Motorcycle Training) to teach the course, and they even used a training location owned and operated by a woman (Erika Willhite of Westside Moto). Immediately we began to bond over shared goals (“be brave” was the most common theme), new experiences, laughs and questions.
After two hours in the classroom, we made our way out to the range and started from scratch. We learned about our gear first and foremost, and got everyone fitted in the provided helmets, jackets and gloves. Then we learned about all the parts of the Ryker from Allison. And then the real training began! It was so interesting to watch the learning curve and see where the women struggled, what they were most concerned about and where they excelled from the beginning. One thing was for certain, everyone looked fabulous while training, regardless of their experience or skill level!
After training, we were encouraged to take a few hours to ourselves and recharge before meeting up for dinner on Melrose. Everyone knows that breaking bread is one of the most intimate ways to bond with fellow humans. We absolutely opened up to each other over dinner and drinks. We laughed, told stories, cried a little and encouraged each other. If we started the day as strangers, we certainly ended the night as friends.
Tuesday was the big day! We started with breakfast together on the patio of our hotel and talked about the events to come. Top women from Can-Am (Josee and Julie) joined us, and it was really great to have corporate representatives attending and bonding right alongside us. We jumped into a shuttle and headed towards Santa Monica beach, where we were greeted by the entire production team, Can-Am staff and the full Ryker fleet. As we geared up, our ride leader, Natalie Paladin, gave us a safety briefing and a ride plan. Then, as if we were all seasoned pros, we jumped on our Rykers and headed out into Santa Monica traffic.
Our ride on the Pacific Coast Highway (or “the PCH,” as the locals say) to Malibu was like any other group ride through traffic. We got split up, cut off, joined back together, merged with cars, changed lanes a thousand times and navigated road construction. Every single woman took it all in stride with huge smiles on their faces. There was a lot of hand signaling, dancing at red lights and giggling. It was a joy to see how easily everyone transitioned from a small closed course to public roads, safely and without issue. Step one: Great success!
Our lunch stop on the coast started with delicious bowls from a private food truck (Bowled and Beautiful — lol) and ended with a 2-hour beach party complete with tents, couches, pillows and cold fizzy drinks. We all joked about living the “influencer life” on a Tuesday while we sun-bathed and discussed the morning ride. Surreal, and such a cool addition to the day because it sneakily incorporated real-life activities into a day focused on riding.
Then, it was time to hit the canyons. Natalie and I chatted about route options and we decided on a stretch of road that would offer scenic views, plenty of pull-offs and a challenge to the women to focus and push themselves. I wanted them to truly experience the independence a motorcycle offers, without a ton of stress. We split the group and kept the pace reasonable across the multiple skill levels that had already emerged within the group. Despite the rising heat, we all had a blast as we climbed up into the hills and away from the coast. Mission accomplished.
That evening we checked into our amazing ranch hotel and giggled like children as we toured each others rooms, swam in the private pool and did impromptu photo shoots by the waterfalls. We had dinner on the Malibu Pier and closed the restaurant down because we were having deep, exciting and enlightening conversations. We returned to the hotel to spend the rest of the night on the balcony sipping our individual beverages of choice and continuing our conversations. It felt like a true girlfriend vacation.
The next morning we shared a lovely breakfast before gearing up and riding to the famous moto destination The Rock Store for a photo op, and then to the Paramount Ranch for an impromptu tour. We returned to the hotel for a poolside lunch and a quick swim before we started to split off and head home. That day, I watched the women continue to open up, take more calculated risks and encourage each other to make bolder choices both on the Rykers and in life.
In the end, we had become fast friends despite our differences because we had connected on a level much deeper than usual. We had all risked our lives, together, and watched each other grow and learn. We shared our fears and our dreams without being prompted because that is what happens when you choose to take chances in front of strangers. It all centered around the riding and the experience Can-Am curated for us. The Ryker proved to be much more than a great introductory-level motorcycle; it became the catalyst for friendship, confidence and change.