This is Rhiannon’s Bike Journey:
A Road To Conquering Fear & Anxiety
“Bikes are so cool, I wish I could drive one.” I sighed
My Dad stared at me matter of factly and said plain and simple “Well, why can’t you?”
I laughed it off with “I’m too short, I wouldn’t even be able to touch the floor!”
“You can get bikes in all shapes and size Rhi, even for short stuff like you!” he laughed, and then we were away.
Fast forward to my mid-twenties:
Long story short, I’ve dumped my arsehole boyfriend, I’ve quit my job, and I’ve bought a one-way ticket out of this dump.
A few months later, I ended up driving across Vietnam with a friend, some 1757 kilometres (1092 miles) along coastal routes, mountain roads and deserted highways. Stopping in multiple towns and cities en route for a few days to explore.
Driving the Hai Van pass as featured in Top Gear
I ended up doing my CBT on an automatic bike but a weird (and slightly worrying if i’m honest) loophole meant that I could still legally go and buy a manual bike. I discussed it with my dad, who had motorbikes when he was younger, and he told me to go for it, and he’d teach me himself. So that’s exactly what I did, I ordered my first manual bike – a Yamaha YS 125cc (not my dream bike but hey, don’t underestimate the appeal of 0% finance) and got it delivered to the house. My dad and my brother stood outside on the road with me and showed me what to do, and when put into simpler terms it made so much more sense that what the instructor had been saying.
Due to the anxiety I had, on several occasions if something went wrong, I would have to pull over before I had a panic attack. I felt like giving in more than once, and went home in tears for my dad to try and console me.
In terms of how I’m perceived as a female biker, most people think it’s extremely cool, and lots of people find it very admirable. A few people say I’m crazy and that I’ll die in a bike accident, but people also said I was crazy for backpacking alone. Mostly, it’s my own embarrassment that holds me back, because other bikers are always keen to talk to me, but I definitely feel intimidated when I’m out on my tiny Yamaha, with my mortifying L plates, and there are “real bikers” on awesome bikes roaring ahead of me. However, having said that, a very good friend has always said to me “Never compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20”, and that’s very true. I have to remind myself that I’m a beginner and that everyone has to start somewhere.
One thing that does really piss me off with the perception of female bikers though, is how they are constantly sexualised on social media. I’ve lost count of the amount of biker chick groups I’ve seen on Instagram for example, where all the photos are of girls in tiny hot pants or thongs sitting on bikes! As I grow on my biking journey, I want to be a part of a community that changes this perception and where we are taken seriously!
All Photos and text courtesy of Rhiannon Robertson of The Gypsy Heart Travels
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Writer, Travel BloggerRhiannon is a professional freelance writer and travel blogger, just starting out on her bike journey. The ultimate goal is to completely conquer her anxiety, pass her test, get her full license and go on some truly epic road trips on some awesome bikes and explore the world on two wheels.
You can follow her adventures and progress on her blog The Gypsy Heart Travels or follow her on Instagram @Gypsyhearttravels
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