I’m a female biker and in 2016 I rode 10,118 solo miles across the United States on my Ducati Monster and I photographed 40 survivors of domestic sex trafficking. I partnered with a national organization that mentors survivors and together we raised nearly $60k. I was in a lot of pain from leaving an emotionally abusive marriage and I had a question in my heart... “can you heal a broken heart through helping others?” So I got on my bike and didn’t look back. The journey took eight weeks.

I camped mostly but also stayed on couches and got a few hotels. I rode by myself.

I’ve since gone on to found Ride My Road, a “national collective of bikers raising funds for anti trafficking”. I’m hosting two major events this year. May 11th in SoCal and August 7th at the Sturgis Rally. Our motto is “Ride Your Motorcycle. Make A Difference.”

AmA!

Lots of love, Lauren

https://www.ridemyroad.org

https://www.instagram.com/ridemyroad/

https://m.facebook.com/ridemyroad

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC5hWt50bCr8sSZpx4qMjZnA

Comments: 934 • Responses: 128  • Date: 

croatianscentsation753 karma

What does modern day human trafficking look like in the US, and how do you effectively incorporate bikes into the solution?

Ride-My-Road769 karma

Trafficking in America looks a lot different than in other countries. Here less than 5% of trafficking victims are kidnapped. The Polaris Project has identified 25 typologies of trafficking in America.https://polarisproject.org/typology

Bikers are truly passionate people, are really giving and they are big supporters of charities and social justice issues. I think it is so cool how we can use our passions for a purpose. I am using bikes to fight human trafficking because that's what I know and it is a culture I am really familiar with. Ride Your Motorcycle. Make A Difference. I chose this motto because we can all make a difference! We just do it by riding our bikes, raising awareness and funds!

StercouraceousZeugma139 karma

Just to follow up on it, what do you think of the stereotype that bikers are tough and inconsiderate folk, and what's the real truth?

Ride-My-Road426 karma

I think it’s getting really out dated. At one time that was true but not anymore. There are dozens of subcultures too. For example, The BMW adventure riders are the nicest, the enduro crew only care about adventure, the cafe racer seen is all young people who want to learn to wrench. And of course we have female bikers which is the fastest growing subculture with a leap from 7 to 20% of the market in just the past 5 or so years. That out dated image is fading, you can even see it in the marketing from Harley Davidson, it’s all about highlight every day people who just love to ride!

fizzlefist146 karma

Can confirm. My old boss was a radio engineer by day, and an old-school hippie biker by night. Every year he and his wife put together a huge toy drive so that poor families could give their kids christmas presents. The biggest part of it was a little bike ride around town, with hundreds of bikers.

I worked hand in hand with a bunch of volunteers from the local chapter of the Latin American Motorcycle Association and they were some of the nicest guys.

Sadly, the old man passed away a couple years ago (fuck cancer), but they were able to put on at least one more run afterwards.

Ride-My-Road53 karma

See, that just warms my dang heart so much! Thank you for sharing!!!!

ArtemisIsFoul71 karma

I’m sorry, but what about the outlaw bike groups? A huge source of income for outlaw bikers IS human trafficking.

Ride-My-Road118 karma

Yes, that is true. I am about to hold an event in Sturgis and I am partnering with a local survivor led organization with a survivor who was trafficked at the rally by the HA. However, that is really not representative of the motorcycle community as a whole.

Retlaw8375 karma

However, that is really not representative of the motorcycle community as a whole.

That's why some outlaw bikers call themselves 1%ers.

Ride-My-Road42 karma

Oh yeah exactly!

ArtemisIsFoul29 karma

I’m glad you’re aware of the problem and addressing it. Sorry if I came off strong, it’s just that where I’m from outlaw groups are huge and they’re a problem.

Ride-My-Road36 karma

That sucks, I am really sorry. Gangs trafficking in general is a problem, beyond the biker gangs. Scary stuff.

nitrocuban5 karma

Do you mind shedding some light on the H.A for me? I feel like these days I only hear good things they do (most recently is vowing to protect mosques across New Zealand). Are they still considered an outlaw organization?

Ride-My-Road11 karma

Honestly, I know very little about them. I believe they are still considered outlaw orgs.

therealestbitch11 karma

That is so insightful!

Ride-My-Road24 karma

Thanks for reading!

d3gu6 karma

This is good to read - I'm a 31 year old lady who just got her first bike (Honda CBF) last week, and I'm already in love :)

Ride-My-Road3 karma

Awesome!! Thats great! Ride safe!

MuricaPersonified5 karma

I taught several of my girlfriends to ride dirtbikes, but only one progressed to street. Worked with quite a few to boot. About the same percentages as men skillwise when they actually get down to it. That mold has pretty much been broken.

My concern is how much of the new generation are in their 20's and still don't drive.

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Right, that is such a crazy trend! Get your licenses kids!

ishootpentax4 karma

In my experience, the friendliest riders with the best stories tend to be the sport touring riders.

Ride-My-Road3 karma

When you travel you get nicer so that makes sense!

kharmatika2 karma

Adventure riders are some fuckin cuties, I’ve met them at meetups and they just are always excited to talk to other bikers. My husbands a Kawasaki Calimari, I’m saving up for a Ninja 400 right meow, so I’m excited to join that last group,

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Awesome! Ride safe!

shitdickmcgre54 karma

Seems strange to assume everyone that rides a bike is an amazingly kind and giving person. Like with any Group of people there's a fair share of assholes.

Ride-My-Road33 karma

Like any group yes for sure!

HyenaGoddess25 karma

Isn't a lot of trafficking done by biker gangs, even today?

Ride-My-Road10 karma

I have never seen any statistics on this. My guess is it is a low % but regardless that's why we are a national collective of bikers taking a stand against this.

Huitzilopostlian12 karma

Bikers are passionate because it takes a special kind of crazy to put a framed engine between your legs and just gas that thing up.

Ride-My-Road6 karma

I know right, crazies!!!

Spiwolf7219 karma

What are some easy ways to notice someone is a victim of exploitation? How should you confront the individual, especially if they are underage?

Ride-My-Road177 karma

Hi Spiwolf, here is a link to a brochure that is put out by The Rebecca Bender Initiative. They have compiled a list of red flags to help in identifying a victim. https://rebeccabender.org/store/brochures-red-flags/ In my opinion, it is not always best to confront someone you think is experiencing exploitation, it might make things much harder for them and they may not be in a position to accept any help. Instead, I recommend calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline. They can take your statement and provide resources on what to do and who to contact. https://humantraffickinghotline.org

antwan_benjamin166 karma

Hi Spiwolf, here is a link to a brochure that is put out by The Rebecca Bender Initiative. They have compiled a list of red flags to help in identifying a victim. https://rebeccabender.org/store/brochures-red-flags/

This link is asking us to spend $15 just for information on how to spot possible trafficking victims.

Ride-My-Road243 karma

Ooooh, thank you. Wrong link. That link is if you are wanting to buy them pre-printed in bulk. Here is the correct link for the free downloadable PDF. Thank you!!!

https://rebeccabender.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Red-Flag-Brochure-July-2017.pdf

polic185 karma

This list literally describes every rapper in Toronto. This described drake at one point lol.

I thought a huge chunk of human trafficking in North America is Chinese girls being brought over for a better life, then having their passports taken and forced to do sex work in in massage parlours and seedy motels/ apartments. The traffickers being other Asians that sound nothing like this list.

Ride-My-Road63 karma

That technically falls under labor trafficking first then Sex Trafficking. But yes, massage parlors are a huge issue in our country and growing fast. I hear it is all Chinese mob stuff. Crazy

polic16 karma

When I say massage parlour I mean the happy ending ones. And the sleezy hotels I mean the ones they book to see clients out of.

Ride-My-Road23 karma

Same

klip_twings176 karma

I hitchhiked around NA and EU back in the 90s, and I certainly had some scary moments, but more often I had my faith in humanity restored. Would you agree? Can you maybe tell us about a scary moment and a moment that restored your faith in people?

Ride-My-Road237 karma

Oh this trip was incredible at restoring my faith in humanity. First, I met and photographed so many survivors of human trafficking. Many of them shared their stories with me and they were all horrific. However, each one of them survived! Each one of them had a story of triumph to share. Each one of them reminded me that everyone is worthy of love. The survivors changed my life in this way. Also, I broke down a few times and I never had any issues because everyone I encountered was incredibly helpful!

EntropyKC34 karma

Can you explain how you met so many? Did you see them and instantly realise? Meet them in bars or something? I can't really wrap my head around the premise of this thread

Ride-My-Road44 karma

I partnered with an organization called The Rebecca Bender Initiative. They mentor survivors online through their Elevate Academy. They have over 400 survivors gone through their 16 week intensive. They connected me with their network so everything was mapped out and scheduled before I left.

TheThirdRum3 karma

This inspires me to do this before I enter l enter but law enforcement or some type of career where I can contribute.

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Wow, that's great!

SonarsPTA157 karma

I looked at the typology site you listed earlier and I'm a little confused. Are we now calling ordinary prostitution "human/sex trafficking"? Are we calling pimps "traffickers"?

I can certainly understand where we see people being kidnapped and trafficked, but you said in America less than 5% are kidnapped. So what are the other 95%?

If we're calling prostitutes "victims of sex trafficking", why are we changing the nomenclature here? Doesn't that hurt the movement to legalize prostitution? How do you respond to the criticism that calling ordinary prostitution "sex trafficking" does nothing but gives lawmakers a scarier boogeyman to violate people's rights?

Ride-My-Road90 karma

Yes, in the eyes of the law, if a "pimp" is controlling the finances, setting quotas, controlling the where-abouts, and enforcing "rules" through physical violence that is the international definition of human trafficking and therefore they are traffickers. Force, fraud or coercion. It's not that they just decided one day to "call prostitutes victims of trafficking" it has been a really long journey of understanding what actually occurs in that life. Sex work is different but the moment you add a "pimp" to the equation then it fits the definition of one person sexually exploiting another person for financial gain. Here is an interesting video from Exodus Cry where they address the issue of legalized prostitution. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVYUMefUgVU

SonarsPTA172 karma

So I watched that video you posted. I think the most succinct thing I can say about that video is: citation needed. It makes a lot of claims about prostitution and legalization with literally no substantive data or citations.

I think what we're seeing with the change in nomenclature is much more insidious than you've led on. Prostitution is literally the worlds oldest profession. Society has never, and will never stamp it out. I think changing the name and calling it 'trafficking' puts legal sex workers and people interested in moving the US towards a more sex-positive place at a disadvantage. Not even two weeks ago I saw the local police department with a press release of "100 arrests for human trafficking!!!" Upon closer inspection, they had arrested 100 prostitutes and johns (and some pimps). How does that help the true victims of trafficking?

Edit: thanks for the gold!

Ride-My-Road17 karma

https://exoduscry.com/legalization/ on the bottom of the page is the source and report for which this video was based on.

Ride-My-Road4 karma

Its not the oldest profession, its the oldest "oppression". I understand that not everyone agrees but the reason these changes are being made is because this is a real issue. Taking the attitude that we can "never stamp it out" is a little disappointing. We can certainly do our part. Again, it is not the case that they just "changed the name". This distinction has come from decades of actually studying the issue. This is the best brains and survivors coming together to identify what it means to be truly victimized. Prostitutes are typically victimized, they are controlled by their traffickers and they are living in a cycle of extreme abuse. I can recommend a lot more literature for you to check out... I would start here and listen to all these stories from actual survivors, I just please ask that you keep an open heart about this issue. I have met hundred survivors who were all considered just "prostitutes" until key people started to really look into the situation.

https://thelifestory.org

SonarsPTA76 karma

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating that we ignore human trafficking. Nor am I advocating that we not help people who are oppressed and want to exit that sort of lifestyle, or are being forcibly turned to prostitution. I very much appreciate your work in reaching out to those people and helping them in the best way possible.

I'm merely suggesting that calling run of the mill prostitution "human trafficking" might have a significantly negative effect on poor people and people just trying to survive. To me, this looks like yet another way for the government to start imprisoning/controlling poor people. By changing the name, they have made it nearly impossible to argue with. Who wants to be the person who voted against harsher penalties for human trafficking?!!? When in reality, we've just voted in harsher penalties for prostitution. Again, I point you to the board with 100 arrests for human trafficking that were merely prostitutes and johns.

Furthermore, I have to fundamentally disagree with the assertion that legalization increased demand for sex work. The demand was always there (and will always be there), legalization just provided a way for that demand to be met.

I understand you might not have come to this AMA wanting to discuss this issue, and I harbor no ill-will if you are done with this conversation, I was genuinely interested in your point of view on the matter. Thank you for the discussion so far.

Ride-My-Road11 karma

I think we probably agree on more that we realize. I understand your point! I do want to mention that yes, they may have arrested the "prostitutes" but they laws are changing so that after the arrest they are not convicted of a crime but offered support. The crack down is happening with the traffickers and they buyers. There is a big movement towards "decriminalization" and this is different than legalization but it still offers prostitutes services instead of sending them to jail. Does this make sense. I think decrimialization would be a better route. Prosecute the traffickers, prosecute the buyer who show up to pay for sex with an 11 year old. You know what I mean. I am really impressed with a few orgs that touch on the issue of economic empowerment for survivors, I agree with you that one of the root problems is poverty. We need systems in place so that if a woman is in that situation where she needs to provide for herself and her family that she has other viable options that prostitution. I also thank you for the discussion!

BlindPaintByNumbers57 karma

You're reframing the conversation he's trying to have though. I believe he's talking about the legal aged prostitute (woman) who chooses the profession, and is not being ordered around by a pimp, and the john who enlists her services. This class of crime is being re-imagined as sex trafficking, in many cases only to buff the numbers and drum up public support for puritan policies.

Ride-My-Road13 karma

Yes, I thought I addressed this but I am not talking about sex work. I am talking about sexual exploitation, especially of minors.

XXXlamentacion10 karma

You are so manipulative and frame things to benefit you. If the person was 11 sure but if it’s a legal age consenting person then no, the buyer should not be prosecuted and left alone.

Even when you talk about people in poverty you don’t even address the issue that with no education men and women have few options to make a living with the best being crime for men and prostitution & crime for women . Either way the lack of education or trades leaving these as the best way to escape poverty. Even if we used this as a solution with a saturation of people In those fields the would reduce their trade or career path salary so how beneficial it would be still would need to be studied.

Ride-My-Road11 karma

I am sorry that you feel I am manipulating. I have spend hundreds of hours attending conferences, talking with law enforcement, survivors, legislators, and people who know more than me and I am sharing what I know and what I have learned. It is ok that you do not agree with me. I am ok with that.

XXXlamentacion24 karma

Again that isn’t what I’m saying, when someone asks a question you redirect it like you did now and when someone asked about legal prostitution and you redirect it to a minor which doesn’t make sense as that would never be legal or decriminalized and you purposely disguise your intent to stamp any John as a criminal. You have a clear agenda and no education behind it but that just makes your position easier to bring down. Even your studies disagree with you and claim that legalization benefits outweighs any increase in human trafficking

Ride-My-Road7 karma

Again, I am very specifically against sexual exploitation. My guess is you are too? I do have an agenda. It is to support survivors.

littleleathers28 karma

I'm a woman rider and was so ready to support you until this. Sex work does not equal sex trafficking. Are you conflating these two things?

Ride-My-Road18 karma

No, those are different things. I am talking about sexual exploitation specifically.

SweetLenore12 karma

I completely agree that the addition of a pimp will take prostitution into victimhood. However, I'm curious if you are for the legalization of prostitution similar to what they do in counties of Nevada? Or are you against legalization of prostitution?

Ride-My-Road12 karma

I would advocate for the decriminalization. Support the victims, prosecute the traffickers and buyers.

Manicsuggestive24 karma

So even if it was a woman working by herself who's of legal age, you would still support prosecuting the buyer? The problem other people are having with your statements on the legality of prostitution is that you say you aren't talking about prostitution of a consenting legal age woman, but then in another comment you paint it in broad strokes where you advocate for prosecution of all prostitution, including that of a consenting legal age woman. You aren't being very clear or very commital in your statement.

Ride-My-Road10 karma

I am talking about sexual exploitation. That means when a person is "being prostituted" for the financial gain of a trafficker through force, fraud or coercion.

XXXlamentacion4 karma

Anecdotal examples are the easiest way to spot someone who doesn’t have logic, studies, or evidence behind them and instead relies on using and manipulating people’s heart into mindlessly going for those methods of no substance . Sadly for you it will never go away, has endured longer than any civilization, and will only continue to grow and evolve as it already has from prostitution, to porn videos, to cam girls, to sex toys, if there is a demand for sex from any of these mediums and more there will be people willing to sell it.

Ride-My-Road9 karma

Are you advocating then that we do nothing? I posted several studies, statistics, websites and sources. But it clear that you know best, so I will leave it at that.

BlindPaintByNumbers12 karma

No, but if you want to win the moral argument you better find a way to separate prostitutes who work of their own free will from women and children forced into it. Because there's quite a few people (and the number is growing) who don't stigmatize sex.

Ride-My-Road9 karma

Pimp controlled is how I distinguish and sexual exploitation must contain the element of force, fraud or coercion to qualify as trafficking. I am not talking about sex work.

VVoIand14 karma

On that note, are you fighting for the repeal of FOSTA/SESTA? That was one of the saddest dissapointments sex-worker rights in recent years.

Sweet monster! I've never moto-tripped in the US before. How do you avoid highways and less exciting roads?

Ride-My-Road6 karma

To be honest, this is a topic that no one can agree on, including me. Like a rock and a hard place.

I did not avoid highways, lol. I've ridden them all! On other trips I have done back roads but on this journey I was just flying through to get to where I needed to be!

bill_rr83 karma

What advice do you have for somebody who wants to plan a cross-country motorcycle trip?

Ride-My-Road132 karma

I would recommend getting really clear on what you want to experience. That will help you to decide your route. Then you decide how much time can you take. Then you figure out what is your budget! With a timeline, a general route and a budget you can plan everything from there! Let the adventure begin!

Samopal_Vzor5835 karma

That is so spot on. Picking a route, picking a bike, picking a time frame. It's all about figuring out the experience that you want to have. It's not a logical excursion, so don't treat it that way!

Ride-My-Road24 karma

Yeah bro! You are the master of your destiny!

ebad113 karma

I've been to a lot of countries by motorcycle and honestly... just get a bike and go somewhere. Don't get too caught up in the planning. The rest will become obvious as you go.

Ride-My-Road8 karma

Yes, normally I would plan a really rough route depending on what I wanted to see or do, like ride to the Grand Canyon it hit Mardi Gras for example. The rest is the adventure!

Devchonachko40 karma

What was the one thing you initially packed and didn't end up using and won't bring again

& what's the one thing you're *definitely* buying for your next long ride?

Ride-My-Road49 karma

I left Oregon and by the time I reached Ohio I had a decent little box full of stuff to mail back home! Mostly clothes! I pretty much had everything I needed. I got great luggage system from Giant Loop and adding heated grips before I left was KEY! I think if I were to buy anything before my next long ride it will be a new bike! Ha! An adventure bike, better equipped for long distance and a bit of off road!

KrystinThaBoSs36 karma

On your trip what was the scariest situation you were in or the scariest thing you witnessed?

Ride-My-Road98 karma

The scariest thing I witnessed was hearing the testimonials from the survivors. Hearing about how human trafficking happens in America shook me to my core. Luckily they also told me many inspirational stories of hope and triumph as well. In regards to the trip... I broke down in Florida right when Hurricane Matthew was making landfall. I thought I was going to be toast! I was really lucky that the Ducati dealer in Jacksonville had the part I needed in stock and they stayed open late to get my bike running. I rode out of there with the rain pouring down and black clouds rushing in.

KrystinThaBoSs12 karma

Wow girl. What you did on your trip was very inspiring! We need more people like you! I'm gonna check out your links! Thank you for sharing!

Ride-My-Road21 karma

Thank you Krystin, it was a really incredible journey!

KayakNate31 karma

If you did another biking trip, would you get something easier to tour on, like a cruiser, or did you get used to the long riding on a bullet bike enough you'd use the monster again?

Ride-My-Road71 karma

Hey KayakNate! I love my bike, I have toured the country on it several times but until this trip the longest was 5k miles. This one was hard on my body because of the pace and schedule. Riding the miles alone probably would have been ok, but because I did 40 photoshoots and media in almost every city with 7 major events I was really tired. To answer your question, I would not choose a cruiser but I would choose an adventure touring bike. Possibly a GS750, a Tiger Triumph or I would also love the new KTM 790 adventure. Something I can strap my tent too and also do a bit of off road. Gotta find those hot springs, ya know what Im saying!?

Kermut10 karma

I’ve always wanted a Monster...but the Triumph sounds cool as well. Bikes are awesome.

I used to ride a Speed 4 but sold it because I didn’t have time to ride, now I drive a Miata and have a kid. I will say that around the time I quit riding texting/mobile internet had really gone mainstream (circa 2014 ish) and distracted drivers were just awful. Does that ever make you reconsider riding?

Ride-My-Road9 karma

All bikes are awesome, I totally agree! Triumphs are so nice too. I have always been pretty aware that an accident can happen at any time so my attitude hasn't changed much, if that makes sense. I never take anything for granted on the road. I try to stay super alert. Congrats on the kid!

Samopal_Vzor5828 karma

How did you deal with maintenance along the way? Did you need a valve service on the way? Clutch mx?

Ride-My-Road37 karma

I had an issue about 3k miles when my new chain stretched out too far and I could not longer shift. I spend the afternoon at a Harley shop in northern Michigan as they beat on the rear end with a hammer! (they didn't have ducati tools, lol they were AWESOME!). After that I got an oil change in Kalamazoo. I had a battery alternator issue that they fixed for me in Jacksonville, FL at 4k miles. I got new tires in Albuquerque at around 7k miles, I cant remember what other services I got that day. But no, I didn't need anything done on the valves.

chuanrrr23 karma

Lol welcome to the club my friend!

Ducati.. turning riders into mechanics since 1946 ;)

Ride-My-Road8 karma

Ah haha funny!

Girl_you_need_jesus2 karma

What tires did you run?

Ride-My-Road2 karma

I have to check, I don't remember!

vuxanov19 karma

OP you seem to be dodging this question: are you for legalization of prostitution or against it?

Ride-My-Road20 karma

I am for decriminalization. It is different. I don't believe that legalizing will solve the problem.

adenosine6mg17 karma

How did you get into contact with the survivors of domestic sex trafficking? I would guess that they would be private about their lives.

How did you find couches to sleep on?

Ride-My-Road23 karma

I partnered with The Rebecca Bender Initiative, an incredible organization that mentors survivors online. They founded the Elevate Academy and they have had over 400 survivors go through their 16 week intensive course. The course is life changing. RBI put me in contact with survivors around the country who wanted to do a photoshoot with me. Once we got started we had to cap it at 40 because that was a lot for the 8 weeks. I met the most amazing survivors thanks to The Rebecca Bender Initiative and the work that they do. https://rebeccabender.org I only crashed on couches of friends or friends of friends!

adenosine6mg4 karma

Thanks for sharing!

Ride-My-Road6 karma

Thanks for reading!

Grizzant15 karma

okay when you said biker and it took me a bit to figure out which kind i immediately flashed back to this

Ride-My-Road6 karma

OMG, you just WON the internet! I should have said motorcyclist. Thank you I just laughed SO hard! Hahahah

jondthompson4 karma

As a cyclist (and one who's ridden 200 miles in a day to help raise money for your cause via Break The Cycle 200), I thought the same thing.

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Lesson learned. But daaaaaaaan that's impressive! I will check it out, thank you!

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Unknown_Wait4 karma

What was it like to be on the road for that long

Ride-My-Road13 karma

It was great but also hard. It was a lot of big mile days to cover all those states. My bike is not really built for long tours either. However it was totally great and really addicting! Thanks!

blondedre300011 karma

How do you know someone has a Ducati Monster? Don't worry they'll tell you.

Ride-My-Road8 karma

BTW, did I mention I have a Ducati Monster?

AlaRoS-8 karma

[removed]

Ride-My-Road33 karma

It's my story, it is who I am and what I did. Isn't that what Reddit AMA is about?

rational_faultline7 karma

Where'd you get the money to take a year off and bike across the states?

Ride-My-Road25 karma

It wasn't a year, it was 8 weeks. I am self employed and I keep my expenses very low. I used some savings and because I could work a bit from the road I still had some income coming in. I do have friends that do take years off and they all do it by working hard, spending no money and then traveling with their savings.

ShinyDeso6 karma

Did you learn how to fix your bike before touring? What level of technical knowledge you'd recommend before starting one?

Ride-My-Road12 karma

It depends on the bike. The fancy Italian sport bikes are really limiting in what maintenance one can do. It mostly computer stuff and I cant even change the spark plugs without special machinery. If you have a bike that is easy to fix that's a different story. Luckily, highway touring in the US is pretty easy and you are never too far from help for the most part. I broke down 4 times, all in places where I just rolled into a shop. Right now, I am rebuilding a CBR 600 F2 for charity and I am learning so much. Its really fun!

PolitenessPolice6 karma

How should one look into getting into riding? I've wanted to learn how to ride a bike for a while, but would like some advice (I don't know many bikers).

Ride-My-Road17 karma

Check out the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) https://www.msf-usa.org. They are located in every state and they offer weekend classes and provide bikes to learn on. At the end of the course you can take the exam for your license. Also, check out local Facebook groups. My city is small in Oregon and there are 5 Moto related facebook groups that I am a part of. Some are co-ed, some are women specific. I don't know your gender but if you are female check out The Litas. They are also growing in every state and they offer support to women to get going. I hope this helps! I think it is GREAT that you want to start riding. Shoot me a friend request on FB

PolitenessPolice4 karma

Thanks for your reply! I'm actually male and in the UK (should've mentioned, sorry), is there a British equivalent that you know of?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

Ok, thanks for clarifying that helps! I think the best bet is to think about what kind of riding you are interested in and start there. Do you have an idea if you want to ride just around town, long trips, dirt, etc? Once you get a type of bike in mind then I would just walk into a dealership and boldly ask, "where can I find friends that ride these bikes!" I find that when you really want something, you just have to declare it.

PolitenessPolice2 karma

Y'know, I've actually just done that last part. Hopped on facebook, found a dealership, got talking to the guy and he's just given me the rundown on it.

I'm looking for more just riding around town and a day-to-day vehicle right now, and it looks like I need to get a CBT (which looks easy as pie), then get an A2 license which allows me to ride up to 400cc.

I'm definitely going to take a more serious look at it! Thanks for your advice, and especially for everything you've done for RideMyRoad!

Ride-My-Road5 karma

That is so rad! You are going to make so many cool friends through riding, it is the best. Such a great community! Keep me updated!

sandrews13136 karma

New monster or classic? If it's a classic 900 imma do a swoon.

Ride-My-Road10 karma

I'll swoon with you! But my monster is the rare S4RS 998 so also VERY swoon-worthy!!!

edboris5 karma

What those victims have in common?

Ride-My-Road9 karma

Victims come from all walks of life and every race, gender, socio-economic status and back ground. Unfortunately, there is demand for all types of people when it comest to commercial sexual exploitation. The one thing that they do have in common is some sort of vulnerability that traffickers exploit.

Slayer_Of_Anubis4 karma

Do you not think "good men" is condescending?

It reads like "men gotta learn how bad it is so we teach them" "women fight for empowerment!"

Ride-My-Road4 karma

No, I don't think so at all. Good men are all around us we just invite them to ride with us. I think it is important, especially now to recognize men as protectors. We celebrate that and I have so many incredible allies in this movement who inspire me every day.

Darlordvader4 karma

This is awesome!!!! Thank you for all you do. I don’t ride a bike but want to know what i can do to try to help stop the sex traffic locally. Do you have any suggestions?

Ride-My-Road4 karma

Where are you located? You can check out my website, we have a couple of events this year and in July I am running a national campaign and you can participate no matter what state you live it! Its called the Pledge Rider program, you can read about it on my home page! www.ridemyroad.org

Lytre4 karma

What is the most challenging ride that you ever had so far?

Ride-My-Road8 karma

Hi Lytre,

I have been riding for 15 years so I have had my fair share of challenging moments. The hardest times have been in the cold when I am riding and have no feeling in my hands. It's hard to maneuver the bike when that happens. I have had many great trips in Africa and South America too but the cold wet and freezing rain rides are the worst!

I_Cant_Alphabet2 karma

I ride quite a bit and losing feeling in your hands is by far the worst part! You're 1000% right.

Ride-My-Road5 karma

Luckily, my bike has almost no vibration so the only time I do lose feeling is if they are straight up frozen! Lol! The worst!

Supermoto1124 karma

I’m glad you made it back safely. You are an inspiration. How many rear tires did you go thru and what brand/ model is the best for stacking up that amount of miles?

Ride-My-Road5 karma

I just did one tire change at around 7k miles. Mostly because I did a burnout for a photoshoot in the New Mexican desert and woke up the next morning to a flat! Lol, it was time anyways. I'll have to check what tires I started with because I cant remember!!!! My bad!

Supermoto1122 karma

Wow..1 tire, 7k..that’s incredible. Lol..I love the burnout story.

Ride-My-Road3 karma

I was like, "oh dang, my tire is flat.... why?" and then 10 seconds later.... "oh. the burnout" hahaha

i0_0u4 karma

Ohhhh. Biker. I’m an idiot. Seriously though, did you ever encounter people that made you feel unsafe?

Ride-My-Road9 karma

Sometimes, its especially creepy when men just stare like you're a tasty snack. But mostly no, I met soooo many great people and I never felt unsafe on this trip.

i0_0u2 karma

I am so glad you met awesome folks. That what makes traveling so inviting and memorable. I am anxious to see your photos. There was an Annie Lebowitz exhibit back in 2005 or 2006 that was just absolutely powerful. Same subject. Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

Ride-My-Road3 karma

Oh, the world is such a wild and beautiful place, even with the hard stuff. I will have to check out that exhibit thank you!

alexbgoode844 karma

Quickly read your story and had to at least tell you that you seriously rock. Thank you so much for adding such positivity out there. And please be very proud of yourself for getting out of an abusive relationship. That shit is hard as all get out.

So, what's your favorite animated show or movie?

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Thank you! Animated.... I don't watch many. But I love all kinds of movies, especially spy stuff!

kaed34 karma

10.118 miles. thats really amazing. let alone on a ducati monster. do u plan to do it again in 2019? if yes would it be with the same monster?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

No, I won't do a big trip like that again for a bit, it was pretty hard on my body. For now I am hosting one day events and rides around the county! If I do I would need a better bike for touring.

televashekra4 karma

How can I get involved with your organization? I have a personal experience with trafficking and I’m getting my moto license this summer!! This story is amazing!!! Thank you!!!!

Ride-My-Road4 karma

Yes, you can shoot me an email from my website! I have several ways to get involved and I love that you're getting your license. email me! www.ridemyroad.org

typicaltimetraveler4 karma

Did you plan thoroughly before your trip? Did you know the trip will be 8 weeks long?

Ride-My-Road10 karma

I had to plan fairly meticulously because I was meeting the survivors in their cities and we had 7 major events so I definitely had places to be at specific times. I knew it would take 8 weeks based on everything we had going on for the campaign. It definitely was not a leisurely trek!

LawHelmet3 karma

Next time you're in DC, will you come by Dunn Lewis and give a talk?

Ride-My-Road2 karma

What is Dunn Lewis?

LawHelmet3 karma

It's a motorcycle store that provides a community centered around their DIY facilities, regular classes on maintenance, and regular screenings of MotoGP and I think flat-track. They just had a special night for women bikers as well

Ride-My-Road4 karma

Awesome, yes I would love to. I don't have DC on the schedule right now tho :(

BaggyHairyNips3 karma

Did you have a windshield on the bike? I can't stand riding faster than 50 for long without a windshield.

Ride-My-Road8 karma

There is one on there but it is tiny. I think it may be ridiculous to even call it a shield, its more for aerodynamics. I have never ridden long distances with a windshield so I don't know any better! lol

D_the_grouch3 karma

How tall are you and can your feet touch the ground flat with that motorcycle?

Ride-My-Road5 karma

I am a giant 5'2. Lol. When it is weighted down with all my gear and I have my boots on I can almost get flat with the Monster. Most bikes are tip toes for me though.

TheReinsofFullnight3 karma

You are amazing! I’m actually taking a human trafficking and slavery class right now and this week is on the US! (So horrific btw as you know). My question is how did you get into biking?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

My dad and my grandad! I started riding with my dad when I was 21 and we toured a bunch together. He has been riding since he was 5 and so I had a good teacher.

xDh203 karma

Is it rude of me to ask how you earn a living wage?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

I am an entrepreneur. I started my first business at 21. I prefer to work for myself and from anywhere.

golfmade2 karma

Thanks for sharing your stories and the work that you and so many others do to make a difference.

My question:

What country/countries would you like to visit to have more epic motorcycle trips?

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Argentina!

morgueanna2 karma

Where is the SoCal event? If people don't have the money to donate, what other ways can they support this cause?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

It's in Temecula. Sharing the social media posts and helping us get the word out is a big help! Thank you so much!

dao2562 karma

Did you photograph any men on your trip?

Ride-My-Road6 karma

Yes, men get trafficked too. It is definitely under reported.

Warrior_of_Weekends2 karma

Are you going to take part in the Women Riders World Relay happening this year?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

Hell yeah, I am picking up the ripple relay baton in Northern Cali in a few weeks and bringing it up a short ways!! SO excited for the big one in October to come through Oregon!

Funkydiscohamster2 karma

So are you exposing every massage parlour in the US? Every nail salon?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

I'm not in the lane of exposing. I am a fundraising organization. And I was referring to parlours where trafficking happens.

DairyToothpaste2 karma

Hi Lauren,

I think it’s awesome not only seeing more women riders out there but the stigma around bikers shifting from the outlaws to humanitarians. Thank you for helping with this effort.

I’ve been riding an XSR900 for a while but struggle to find fellow bikers that fit the same niche. Any tips for meeting like minded people as you trek cross country?

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Love that bike! Where are you living? There are some really great biker groups on Facebook too. You should follow @fingerscrossed4moto on insta, that guy has the best Xsr900 pics!

Chief_Joke_Explainer2 karma

How did the ducati suspension hold up ?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

It went fine, no issues. I only weigh 110lbs though so it doesn't move much lol

AlienTurtleZ2302 karma

What's it like riding for that long, and I assume mostly on the highway? Does it get boring?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

Not boring because you gotta stay alert. I have a Sena bluetooth so I listened to music. But yes, it was a lot of highway riding, which I don't mind too much!

goober19111 karma

As a fellow ducatista looking into some longer riders on my Monster821, how did the monster hold up? Any maintenance issues? Advice for longer rides?

Ride-My-Road3 karma

I have had a decent amount of maintenance issues on my Monster in the past 13 years (I got it is 2006) but on this trip it did pretty well. I think I had angels looking out! I found some really good luggage systems for the monster through Giant Loop. That made the trip way easier, also heated grips changed my life!!!

tehgalvanator1 karma

ATGATT?

Ride-My-Road1 karma

Even in the swimming pool mate!

B3M3L0RD4201 karma

Holy Shit, Who Cares? Me. I do. You beautiful example of a human being.

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Well thank you so much! Right back at ya!

shunny141 karma

How did you get into motorcycles? Have you read zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance?

Ride-My-Road1 karma

I have never read that book sadly, but it is on the list. I started riding with my dad. He started riding with his dad when he was 5. Family thing I guess!

Scumbag_Lemon1 karma

How did your Ducati survive after traveling over 2 miles?

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Hahahhahaha, it is a dang mystery!!!!

BBS11 karma

Not to sound insensitive because your cause is amazing and all, but.... How did the duc perform? I always hear nefarious stories on their reliability.

Ride-My-Road2 karma

Over the years I have had a decent amount of issues with the bike but on the trip it did really well. I had a battery regulator issue that they fixed for me in Florida. The rest was pretty great and I was super happy! I think the rumors are mostly true, but somehow its worth it. Lol

Mr_CharlieHorse1 karma

What was your budget and did you go over the budget?

Ride-My-Road1 karma

I didn't really have a budget, I just knew that I was trying my hardest not to spend too much. Camping saved me a ton of money. I was able to work a bit from the road so I still had some income coming in and that helped too.

D_the_grouch1 karma

What's the model of the motorcycle?

Ride-My-Road1 karma

2007 Monster S4RS 998cc

Well_That_Didnt_Work1 karma

Are you planning anything in Denver, or just passing through?

I first heard you in Motorcycle and Misfits (what a great group), and currently follow you on Instagram.

Ride-My-Road2 karma

I love the M&M, what a crazy bunch! I AM planning on Denver. Probably 2020! I am partnering with the anti-trafficking department at the UNC! We are already working together and I hope to hold an event in Colorado!

Sybre-3 karma

I see many of your Instagram pictures are you in places without gear, you're not a squid, right?

As for the actual question, how would you go about encouraging more women to enjoy the amazing experience of riding?

Also, I'm a huge fan of nakeds, and your monster is a beaut.

Ride-My-Road4 karma

I'm not sure which pics your talking about because when I ride, I wear full face helmet, full padded jacket and pants, or kevlar jeans, boots and gloves. There are definitely pics of me posing on the bike when it is sitting still but if I am riding I am covered. Personally, I like my skin. lol.

For your next question, I just try to set an example that women are capable of whatever they set their heart too. Whether that be riding a bike, learning to surf or starting a business. Thank you, nakeds are also my favorite!!!!!!!

basicgentleman-9 karma

Did you help transport them to a new location for work?

Ride-My-Road7 karma

Can you clarify? Did I transport what?