There are two types of people in the world who inspire me. Those who write the ultimate cheque to community and society never knowing if it will be cashed in the line of duty and those who follow their dreams against all odds.
Theresa Wallach - The First Lady of Motorcycling
An inductee of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Hall of Fame and the first Vice President of the Women’s International Motorcycle Association, Theresa Wallach was born April 1909 in a part of London surrounded by motorcycle factories. Growing up surrounded by factory workers, including test riders, racers and engineers, of iconic British brands of BSA, AJS and Norton, she had no chance of escaping the mystic hold motorcycles exercise on those of us who are susceptible.
"When I first saw a motorcycle, I got a message from it," she said. "It was a feeling – the kind of thing that makes a person burst into tears hearing a piece of music or standing awestruck in front of a fine work of art. Motorcycling is a tool with which you can accomplish something meaningful in your life. It is an art." Road Rider Magazine 1977
Even her contacts in the motorcycle industry could not sway the gender bias and gain her entry into a local motorcycle club. Undeterred she developed her skills, competing in local motorcycle meets often taking home prizes. Imagine how the men of the time must have felt!
1935 was a year of triumph. With her friend Florence Blenkiron, Theresa set off on a journey which can only be described as epic. Riding a Panther 600 cc single with side car and trailer, the girls left London for Cape Town. A journey which today would challenge both man and machine.
The girls crossed the Sahara and rode through the middle of the continent to Sth Africa. Along the way the negotiated passage with the French Foreign Legion, met Nomads. Travelling from oasis to oasis, staying in local villages the girls encountered wild life of all sort including gorillas.
An engine failure in the middle of nowhere forced the girls to push their bike 25 miles to the next village. Theresa’s engineering studies were invaluable when she rebuilt the engine.
Upon return to England Theresa, this time with the approval of the establishment, went back to racing and captured the British Motorcycle Club’s pinnacle award – the Gold Star after circling the Brooklands circuit on a 350cc Norton single at over 100Mph.
She continued to lead the way joining the war effort initially as a machine in transport corps and the taking the distinction of being the first female dispatch rider.
Post war prospects in England were bleak so Theresa headed to the USA and spent almost three years touring the country. She eventually settled in Chicago and opened her own motorcycle dealership specializing in British motorcycles.
Her refusal in 1952 to sell BSAs to three businessmen after seeing their inexperience set her on the path of teaching new and novice riders. She set up the Easy Riding Acadmey and taught hundreds of students the fundamentals of safe riding.
Theresa Wallach rode until she was 88 years old, when poor vison forced her to hand in he license. She did two years later on her birthday at the age of 90.
You can find out more about this amazing and inspirational woman at:
G.W.Gibson - Queen of Speed
Blurb - It’s not easy being a girl in an all-male world. Penny McIntyre has to fight every day to hold her place on the race track. Her lifelong dream of sponsorship is realised when she is offered the chance to ride as part of a Justin Byrne’s 600cc motorcycle team. At long last her dreams are in reach.
Excerpt - Before she had a chance to talk herself out of it, she rapped on the barn door. The door swung open. She needed a mechanic and Bryce seemed to be the only person she could trust. “Hello. Bryce.” Nothing, emptiness answered back. “Hello. Bryce.” Her words echoed off the barn walls.
“Ugh,” followed by a thud came from inside. “Ugh” another thud. “Ugh.” Thud.
“Bryce? Is that you? Are you okay?” Anxiety clawed at her as she stepped through the door, pausing for a second to let her eyes adjust to the light which filtered through the gaps in the walls. Penny stepped forward and stopped. She stood in the middle of a workshop surrounded by hot rods and motorcycles.
Across the barn she saw Bryce or rather his back. He hung from a ladder-like device. Unlike a normal ladder this had only one rung, the one Bryce gripped with bent arms pulled into a chin up. Suspended one meter in the air, he thrust the rung upward into a new seat. A grunt exploded from Bryce as his muscles uncoiled to move from the rung from one bracket to the next.
Penny watched, mesmerised as the muscles in his body tensed and exploded cobra-like into motion. She found herself at the edge of Bryce's work out area as he dropped to ground, landing as lightly as any dancer. As he reached for a towel, his tattoos danced in the sunlight reflected from his glistening skin. They enticed her to come closer, teasing her as she fought every urge to touch him, to feel his strength beneath her fingers. As her eyes grazed his body, the heavy scarring on his left side just below his ribs jumped out at her. Then she saw more scarring down on his right thigh. Unbidden, her hand flew to her mouth. What could have happened to cause such horrific injuries?
Bryce turned, no surprise registered on his face. “What brings you here?” His flat tone sounded almost unwelcoming and his dark eyes seemed to bore right though her soul.
Self-conscious, Penny wiped her hands on her jeans. “I need your help.” He dropped to the floor and relaxed into a stretch, never taking those damn eyes off her. “I was wondering...What I mean is…” She clenched both hands together with her words jumbling as they left her lips. Breathe, relax. She took one more deep breath before ploughing on.
“Mick got jumped by a couple of thugs the other night. They messed him up pretty badly. He is in no condition to help with my pit work and won’t be for some time, I suspect. After seeing you work on my bike the other day—oh by the way, I didn't thank you for your help.” Her words came fast, tumbling over themselves to get out her mouth so she could get out of here, away from Bryce.
With liquid grace, Bryce rose to his feet. “Would you like a coffee? I have a fresh pot made not too long ago.” Without waiting for an answer he turned and headed toward the stairs which led to a mezzanine floor. As Penny followed, she could not take her eyes of his heavily scarred back and shoulders. They were magnificent and led the eye down to the tightest butt she’d seen in a long time. She had an eye level, ringside seat as she climbed the stairs behind him. Wow, sex on a stick. She shook her head in an effort to redirect her thoughts to something more mundane. She came here to talk business, not fantasize how his butt might look out of those shorts.
Ride Safely, Write with Passion