Please introduce yourself. My name is Gaby Ochoa a.k.a. BaBi Beautiful Rider. I was born and raised in Mexico City. I have a brother and two sisters, neither of whom ride. My dad rode one of his friend’s bike a couple of times when he was 17. Every time I speak about riding, I see a big smile on his face.
I studied Business Management at UNAM, one of the most important schools in Latin America and earned a Marketing post-graduate degree. I work as a Marketing Manager in an American IT company. I’m looking forward to involve in Digital Marketing and becoming a digital nomad because I love traveling.
I’ve been riding within Mexico City, which has a lot of traffic. I’ve ridden outside the city just a couple of times which have been a great experience, not just for the ride, but also for facing my own challenges and enjoying the freedom of the open road.
A few months ago, I decided to blog about my experiences on the bike to encourage people, especially girls, to pursue any kind of dreams, because I believe you can make them come true with persistence. I’m writing this blog in both English and Spanish.
One of my goals is to travel to different non-Spanish speaking countries with no limitation of time or schedule.
Describe your path into motorcycling. My passion for riding started in early 2014 when I met a friend from the United States and traveled with him in Antigua, Guatemala, and on the west coast of Costa Rica as a passenger on his Kawasaki KLR 650. I was fascinated by the freedom that a motorbike can give you. So I decided to learn how to ride but I had to start with learning how to ride a bicycle.
Afterwards, I took a course to learn to ride a motorcycle. I have to confess that I was nervous and anxious before jumping on the bike. Important note – I’m petite at 5′ 2″. The first exercise was to turn on the motorbike, move forward and brake. It was easy! I did it very well and felt confident. Each of the following exercises were more complex but they taught me a lot about riding. One of them was so difficult that I fell twice and wanted to cry. It was frustrating but I had to be brave and continue.
When the moment to buy a motorbike arrived, I chose a small 125 cc Izuka. It was a good bike for me because it is light and I can barely touch my feet to the ground. I bought my gear: helmet, leather jacket, waterproof rain boots and gloves. My gloves were designed for kids since my hands are so small!
During my Costa Rica trip, I had realized that traveling on a motorcycle required a lot of preparation, from learning how to travel light and how to pack, to checking the motorbike’s functioning, getting the right gear, planning your routes, trying to ride while day light lasted, having a backup plan in case the route was dangerous etc.
Now I have been riding this bike for a year and I feel like we are one. I find that the motorbike can take you anywhere anytime. It’s true what they say: “Four wheels move the body but two wheels move the soul”. That’s so true!
Describe your current motorcycle. I started my search on the internet, magazines and stores, looking for a 125 cc motorbike. I knew that I wanted a small one to start riding and see if I was really into it. I visited Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha and I liked some bikes, but they were heavy and uncomfortable. Weeks later I went to a motorbike exhibition near home. In a booth I saw a small red bike. I jumped on it and it felt good. This would be my first bike.
The manufacturer – Izuka – was unknown to me. These bikes are sold by Kawasaki Mexico. After riding for a few months and taking it for its first service, I found a very good workshop Quick Custom 226 who set my bike for me. After talking to them, we concluded that the best thing to do was to cut the seat so I could tread on the ground with more confidence. They were right! You have to invest in your own bike so that you can feel comfortable, safe and in total control.
Another important change we made was to change the tires. I also changed my headlight for a bigger one to make me more visible among cars.
In the future I’d like to have a faster bike because sometimes I need more power and speed.
Do you have a motorcycling achievement that you take pride in? A couple of weeks ago I rode with a Motorcycle Club to Lagunas de Zempoala. It was a short road trip and my second time traveling outside the city. We rode for approximately 150 km, riding through three states.
At one point we had to cross a town called Huitzilac which had bumpy downhill streets. It was fun riding through curvy roads, but a couple of corners were very hard. I had to ride inclined toward my knee because the curves were so tight. When we arrived at the Lagunas I felt a bit nervous. I couldn’t believe I had ridden through those corners! On the way back home I felt comfortable because we took a different road without tight curves. At the end I felt very proud of myself because I had ridden that difficult road in spite of being a beginner.
Tell us a good story! I participated in the Distinguised Gentlemen’s Ride, which is held worldwide on a certain day. It was my first time riding in a huge event. When I arrived at the meeting point, I struggled to park next to the others. I was afraid of falling and embarrassing myself. When the ride started and we had to go to the first checkpoint, I prepared myself and started the bike, being very careful because I was surrounded by many riders. The good thing was that we were riding at a steady pace until we got to Reforma Av, a large and beautiful avenue in Mexico City. This part was my favorite. I felt like I was protected and in a wolf pack.
We rode through a couple more checkpoints until we reached the end at a place close to my home. Some of the riders told me that it was very nice that a girl like me was riding. Those comments made me happy. (smiles) When I reached home I was exhausted. All my muscles were sore. I had started riding at 8 am and finished around 2 pm. I really enjoyed this ride and was very proud of this accomplishment.
Is there any other kind of motorcycling that you’d like to try your hand at? If I had learned to ride 15 years ago, I’d have picked enduro. Now I don’t have the time or the stamina, but who knows, maybe I will try it at some point.
Have you made any close female friendships due to motorcycling? Sure! Last May I was invited to ride on the International Female Ride Day. At the time I knew three other female riders who are my friends, but they didn’t know each other. So we decided to ride together to the strting point of the event. It was pretty cool when all of us arrived. When we got there, there were other women on their bikes. It was amazing to see all these diverse types if bikes, and all ridden by women. Viva la femme!
Do you have any motorcycling heroes? All women and men whom travel on a bike to different countries and towns, discovering places, meeting cool people, different cultures and in some way an insight for themselves.
If you could design your dream motorcycle, what would it look, sound and feel like? A dual sport bike with a sissy bar that looks like a bobber. I know it sounds surreal.
MOTORCYCLING IN MEXICO
If I were to visit you and we went riding for one short morning ride, where would you take me? I would take you to Tepoztlan. This is one of our magical towns and this place has such a mystical vibe. The “Tepozteco” is a mountain which has a small pyramid at the top. [Link to Route]
What kind of food can riders expect to stop for on the way that is typical to your region? Tortillas which are also used in many typical dishes – rolled and baked for enchiladas, fried for tacos or grilled for quesadillas, guacamole (smashed avocado with a bit of chilli), many types of salsa and cucumbers with lemon and chilli. For a good drink you can pic from mezcal, tequila or homebrewed beers.
What are the top rides you would recommend? From Tijuana taking the famous Baja route until Mazatlán and then to the center of the country heading to Guanajuato and Mexico City (DF), finishing in the way to Oaxaca and Chiapas. [Link to Route]
Is it safe to ride at night where you live? I don’t recommend it too much, mainly because there are some streets that aren’t well lit so you might not see the potholes.
Is motorcycle theft a problem? Yes, mostly if you own a sport bike
Are there any motorcycle specific laws? Yes, the local government don’t realize that we have to ride between the cars as it is less dangerous for us. And unfortunately some pizza delivery boys ride really bad, so many people think that all the people who own a motorbike are like them.
Can you describe the motorcycle license test? There’s no such test. You can use your regular car license. If you work as a delivery person you need a different type of license.
Do you have access to high quality women’s motorcycling gear in your part of the world? Not really. There are no stores where you can find women’s jackets or gloves, especially if you’re petite like me. I believe that nowadays the market is opening and some stores are selling female motorcycling gear.
What kinds of motorcycling events are held regularly? The Distinguished Gentleman Ride once per year, the Antique Motorcycle Club meets on first week of the month, and some Moto Clubs meet once per week at nights to ride within the city and grab some dinner.
How are women motorcycle riders treated? In some cases chauvinism exists against women, in other cases there is tons of admiration from men seeing women riders. But most non-riders population see as fearless to the female riders.
Do female and male motorcyclists have the same amount of freedom to pursue motorcycling activities? My perception in Mexico is that male have more opportunities because it can be usual that they are “allowed” to do it. Some women I knew start riding not in a young age because they’ve been influenced by their male friends or boyfriend. In some cases women start riding in their teen years because their parents or related use to practice motorcycling.