Never did Jessica Haggett imagine in her wildest dreams that in a matter of a few years, her quest and yearning to ride with other women motorcyclists would turn into a fast-growing community of women riders worldwide: the Litas.
It was quite simple in theory. Women wanted to ride motorcycles and with each other. They wanted to connect, share, learn from each other, and build on a sisterhood that has been existing for centuries. They just needed an avenue to foster that desire, and so came along the Litas. What was originally a small idea quickly grew into a tangible entity as a new generation of female riders everywhere embraced her concept.
The first branch of the Litas was created by Haggett in Salt Lake City, Utah, late in 2014. After that, she noticed other rides started popping up, and then women began reaching out to inquire about starting a Litas branch in their own city. Soon after, she reached out to women on Instagram who wanted to start a branch and received over 200 comments. That week, she stayed up every night to work on the project, and within those first seven days, 25 new branches of the Litas had been started.
Since that initial Instagram post, Haggett is proud to share that the Litas have expanded to 80 branches in 13 different countries. The premise is simple; it takes three women to start a branch, and they must support women of all ages, backgrounds and on any type of bike. Add in one event per month and you have yourself a Litas group. With 1600 members worldwide, the Litas have become a community of women supporting each other while searching for adventure on two wheels.
“It’s a full time job, but it’s worth it and I love it,” said Haggett. “I don’t mind the late nights and early mornings. When I go to Instagram and I see all the pictures with everyone smiling, I feel honored. They wouldn’t have had these opportunities if I didn’t start this group.”
I decided to put the Sisterhood to the test on a recent trip out to California. Traveling solo on a Harley-Davidson Switchback, I reached out to some of the Litas ladies on the West Coast to see if there was any interest in connecting with a small-town Canadian biker chick like myself. With the twist of the throttle on the Harley, I was off to connect with Stacy, co-founder of the South Bay Litas. She was one of my many stops along a four-day, 1300-mile solo trip taking me from Northern to Southern California.
“It wasn’t that complicated,” said Stacy about why she started the South Bay branch. “I just wanted to find other women to ride with.” We talked about how as we get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to connect with other women who have similar interests. The Litas provided an opportunity for this to happen.
That day we rode through the redwoods around Scotts Valley, CA, which were so beautiful and different compared to the scenery in Southern California. Just like I had anticipated, the sisterhood took over. Stacy and I bonded over Harleys, our love of two wheels and passion for motorsports. Throw in some homemade fajitas, and the deal was done. Within a short period of time, I knew I had found a good friend hiding out in the redwoods in Northern California. Crazy how some things fall into place.
A seven-hour ride later, in full gear and 100-degree F heat brought me to the Los Angeles area. Here, I connected with Gevin, a member of the Litas Los Angeles. Without knowing me one bit, Gevin welcomed me to her home and then rolled out her Road King so we could go for a ride. The area was unfamiliar, and I had no clue where I was going with this somewhat wild woman. She had chains hanging from her belt, trinkets on her bike, and bags full of who knows what.
Cruising through Santa Clarita, Gevin took me to the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains. This was the perfect place to rest our Harleys for a bit while we sat on the rocks to chat. Gevin shared how her passion for motorcycles started at a young age and has only grown stronger over the years. While she enjoys her solo 1400-mile trip out to Sturgis each year, Gevin also loves to connect with the girls to ride to Motos of Moab, Babes Ride Out, or anywhere else really. Gevin’s energy, passion for motorcycling culture and stories were captivating. I could have sat there all day listening to her talk.
The following day, I met up with several members of the Litas Los Angeles group. Co-founder Jenn was kind enough to organize a meetup so I could connect with the group and learn more about their moto culture. Dinner with Jenn, Maia, Gevin, Jasmine, Cali and Danielle was entertaining to say the least. What happens when you put a group of women, of all ages, riding different bikes, and from different backgrounds together? Well they talk about bikes and life, along with some random stories about random shenanigans.
These moto chicks had just returned from a four-day road trip to Motos in Moab, which they reported was the most beautiful ride they’ve been on. I sat listening to their stories about the adventure and the trip, while silently blocking off next year’s date in my head. That’s right, I was hooked and determined to expand on my road trip bucket list.
We chatted about gender stereotypes, what prompted us to start riding and why we enjoy riding with women. Well, I can’t share all the nitty gritty details, but in short, they found that riding with girls is “different” – it’s empowering, liberating and unique. Reasons for starting to ride included a family background in motorcycles, love, heartbreak and a drive to just do something different.
One thing I really took from our chat was that a motorcycle, that piece of iron sitting in your garage, quickly becomes a part of you. It accompanies you on a journey, not only of distance and location, but a personal journey that some of us may never get a chance to experience.
The notion of sisterhood on two wheels came full circle to me that day. All of us women were on a journey of sorts, to solidify our independence, autonomy, and become empowered all at the same time. Being part of the Litas doesn’t give you those things; we already have them. However, for some of us, we needed the encouragement and support to step outside of our comfort zone, and that was where the Litas came in.
For me, I was going to take every opportunity that came my way that trip, so when Maia threw out an invite to ride around the Topanga Canyon area that next day, I was in. We enjoyed a leisurely tour through the Calabasas Highlands and surrounding areas, which were closed the next day due to a fire. Ironic and unfortunate that that happened, but at the same time I wondered if it was a sign. Were we meant to connect that day to ride in that area? Was I meant to travel those roads before they were closed and damaged? That is something I’ll remember now for the rest of my life. It was a great morning spent riding, again with a new friend.
The sisterhood of the Litas ran strong through the entire trip, solidifying the core principles of Jessica Haggett’s original idea – to unite women who share a love for motorcycles and the culture that comes along with it.
On a Harley Switchback, I rode many miles in a short period of time and saw some of the most amazing sights I’ve seen in my life. That bike became part of me and my journey of self-reflection. It kept me safe, comfortable and strong throughout my travels and was a solid companion that even put up with my singing.
This glimpse into the Litas motorcycle community was just that, a glimpse. I only got surface deep in terms of riding and getting to know these women. However the start of some new friendships was a great beginning. So, to the Litas I haven’t met yet, I look forward to riding with you all soon, and to the Litas I got to know, thank you for sharing your time, wisdom and stories.
Until next time, shiny side up, ladies, and keep true to yourselves. Hope to see some of you all at Babes Ride Out.
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