TheMotoLady Celebrates 10 Years of Unity
By Jeff Alexander
Alicia Mariah Elfving has served as an ambassador for women riders and builders for a decade. The success of her site, TheMotoLady.com has facilitated unity amongst passionate women seeking to share their knowledge and skills with others working to elevate and diversify moto culture. Elfving worked relentlessly to create a more inclusive community and with her book, The Motolady's Book of Women Who Ride: Motorcycle Heroes, Trailblazers & Record-Breakers she celebrates the unsung women that helped innovate and evolve moto culture.
“I continue to be inspired by other women that are engaged in the same things as me. Telling the stories of the trials and tribulations and everything else that comes along can be an empowering thing. With the anniversary of TheMotoLady, I realize it’s never been easy but the support continues to drive me and there’s so much value in that,” stated Elfving.
A vehicle can serve as the great equalizer but despite the positive gains within the subculture, Elfving notes that the industry itself has been reluctant to hire women for positions that ultimately make long-term impacts.
“I still believe that lip service is being paid to diversity. I am happy that manufacturers have been promoting women riders but how many women work there and are in positions to make key decisions? I look at what Bree Poland has done at Royal Enfield and Kim Knupp at Yamaha, which is amazing! I know there’s more that can be done and I’m tired of hearing excuses,” said Elfving.
Elfving earned a position with Ducati MotoCorsa dealership in 2011, leading to finally acquiring one of her bucket list rides; 1998 Ducati Monster 750. Ownership wasn’t seamless and she just laughs when recalling the moment she first laid eyes on it.
“It was crashed and taken in by the dealer and there was a lot going on with it but I didn’t care! It had holes in the engine cases, no key, no title. I was focused on bringing it back. I was still riding my POS 1981 Yamaha Maxim, which I learned very quickly needed all sorts of attention. I would be on the side of the road doing MacGyver tricks to get it going again so even a crashed Ducati sounded better to me. I called my Yamaha ‘motorcycle boot camp’. I learned how to wrench because I HAD to.”
Countless nights were dedicated to making the Ducati road worthy but Elfving was quick to quote ‘There are no rainbows without rain.’ It wasn’t enough to eventually hear the motor turn over, Elfving dedicated herself to learning its inner workings and ensuring the Ducati would never return to such a sad state of idleness.
“The more I dove into it, the more I learned was wrong. I think it’s very important to not take the supposedly smaller details for granted because if I was just satisfied with getting it running and hopped on, I could’ve been riding a death trap! That work made me inspired to take on my truck and I ended up designing a swing out motorcycle carrier for it,” stated Elfving.
The overwhelming support and connections made thru TheMotolady are not strictly relegated to the ‘net. Elfving sought to transform the bonds she made into more in-depth connections and her Motolady anniversary parties ultimately transformed into the annual Women’s Motorcycle Show. The second show boasted even stronger attendance thanks to the involvement of the late racer and fabricator Jessi Combs. For Elfving, it wasn’t enough to simply have kustom bikes on display, she strived to make her events a more immersive experience.
“We’ve had pinstriping classes and fabricating demos. It’s really all about creating opportunities and giving people the stage, so to speak. We also have educational seminars and the event has really come into its own over the years. I’ve been so proud to work with such amazing people over the years and I don’t look at it as something I created, but we, as a community came together and built. Sometimes, all it takes is to show someone engaged and doing it to inspire someone enough to say ‘Yes, I can,” concluded Elfving.
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