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LOVE STORY WITH A NEW BEAST

SHALON GOSS

Freelance Photographer in the throes of a new affair with an ’83 XT 250

Shalon Goss is a 37 year old female photographer, born and raised in Los Angeles.

She photographs people in the arts and entertainment industry and anyone else if the feeling arises or the job fits. She also photographs scantily clad women in dark, moody lighting and exhibits the works showing and selling high-quality photographic prints. Shalon photographs for DicE motorcycle magazine, and is currently shooting a series of women and motorcycles called “A Love Story”. Shalon is a brand new motorcycle owner.

I’m a 37 year old woman and I just bought my first motorcycle. I didn’t grow up around bikes, and I don’t remember a specific moment when I fell in love with them. In fact I didn’t know that my father ever even rode until I was 17 or so. Turns out he rode until he had us kids, including a solo trip through Europe on an old Victoria in his twenties. This beautiful piece of my dad’s life was held as a quiet memory and came to life again only when my brother bought his first bike in his early twenties. So I suppose it’s in my blood. But it certainly was not something I grew up doing.

As I got older, my love and knowledge grew and bikes became a bigger part of my life. I rode on the back whenever I got the chance, and then finally took the Honda Safety Course when I was 22 or so. I passed the course but I had so many fears and excuses standing in my way of being a rider myself and never took the next step. I held fast to these fears and excuses for the next 15 years, riding small pit bikes at the races, in the dirt, or on quiet side streets here and there, but mostly sticking to the back.

“I was so free to test the limits of my capabilities and push the walls of my fears further out, that I finally decided it was time to get my own [motorcycle].”

 

I started photographing a series of women and motorcycles around 6 years ago. The series is women in lingerie or nude, mostly black and white and sexy. I shoot strong, powerful and beautiful women with different kinds of bikes and in different scenarios.

The series though is not about women who ride, nor is it specifically about the bikes, it’s about the love of motorcycles. I call it “A Love Story.” I’ve made some great friendships shooting this series, and had endless great experiences. I started shooting for a badass and beautiful bike magazine called DicE Magazine, and am now planning my second exhibition along with the release of my first book in the next year or so. I’ve also learned a lot since I started photographing motorcycles, always asking questions and watching my friends wrench on their choppers and dirt bikes. Many of these friends had encouraged me for years to get my own bike, but those damn fears and excuses continued to win for some time.

I went back and forth for years thinking and saying that I would get a bike, but it seemed like a distant dream. It was only a couple months ago on a trip to my friend’s ranch in the desert that I finally had a good amount of space, the right amount of power, and a friend’s bike that wasn’t too tall for me. I had a lake bed, dry packed after the rains, and when we got bored of zipping around on miles of flat dry dirt, we rode down trails. I did things I didn’t think I could do, went over and through things I thought for sure would knock me off the bike and yet they never did. I was so free to test the limits of my capabilities and push the walls of my fears further out that I finally decided it was time to get my own.

I 100% consider myself, and call myself, a newbie. No matter how many years I’ve been riding or involved with bikes, the amount of riding and how much space I had to ride in was always very limited, and limiting until that recent trip. I also don’t have my license yet. Needless to say I brought someone with me to look at bikes once my search started, he knows how to really ride, has a good feel for what a good running bike should feel like, and knows enough to look it over and see anything obviously wrong. This was priceless for me, especially already knowing that most dirt bikes are too tall for me.

One of the most interesting things to me that he pointed out, was how

All photos ©Shalon Goss.

“Every moment spent on my beautiful and bad ass little lady makes me a stronger and more powerful woman.”

 

quickly my taste in bikes changed, and how much. I had a specific bike in mind in the beginning, an old Honda XL175 enduro which quickly changed to an old dirt bike, the XL200R. I had tunnel vision, and my budget was set at right around $800. It turns out a vintage street legal dirt bike in great running condition and at least good cosmetic condition that is cool and is not too tall for me, is not an $800 bike. So I started to open my mind a little and look at other bikes and soon enough I started to love some of them, bikes I sneered at a week or two before, some of the dirt bikes didn’t just look like dirt bikes to me anymore, they looked like pure fun! And some of the enduros that I hadn’t been considering before looked cooler than the first one I originally had in mind, partially because they looked like they would be fun in the dirt. I realized my tunnel vision was gone and I was now looking for something real, that fit my criteria, was a little over my budget (because, hell that’s the motorcycle world) and looked fun. And now it was time to actually see these bikes in person, sit on them, hear them, see them start cold, see how they rode or even feel it if was a quiet cul de sac. So we went to see the first one… a beast! I could barely get my tip toes to touch the ground, and though many can be lowered, this one could not. Second one very cool, very small, too broken. Third one… just right.

And so my baby, my 1983 Yamaha XT250, is now taking over most of my thoughts. I have had sleepless nights getting up and researching how kickstarting works, how to kickstart a 4-stroke, what the tests for my getting my license involve, what I need to switch the title over and what kind of trailer I need to take it out of town and ride in the dirt. And I couldn’t be happier. I won’t lie, there’s always something else around the corner you need to buy or fix, especially with an old bike. And there are things that are frustrating at times, like being small and trying to kickstart it. But I couldn’t be happier.

Ultimately, in all of my individual moments of loving bikes all my life, I think the most important one for me was deciding that I could, and would conquer my fears. That the love and desire I felt for riding was bigger than the fear, and much more deserving of my time and attention. Every time I get on that bike I make strides, I get better, faster, more agile and more confident. Every moment spent on my beautiful and bad ass little lady makes me a stronger and more powerful woman.

All photos + text © of  Shalon Goss

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Shalon Goss

Shalon Goss

Guest Writer, Photographer

Shalon Goss has been a stills photographer for over 12 years focusing mainly on “art” photography, music, and portraits. She began shooting musicians in the early 2000’s and excelled in her niche. She has photographed for Yamaha, Daniel Lanois (U2, Neil Young), Rocco DeLuca, Ironworks, Rough Trade Records, Youngblood Hawke, Ladygunn Magazine, Grammy Award-winning artist Van Hunt, and many others. Her stunning and edgy work has been shown in LA Times, NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Maxim, LA Confidential and more. Shalon’s work has been exhibited throughout Los Angeles since 2004, which have always been highly successful and star-studded affairs.
Connect with Shalon on her socials below and check out more of her work on her website www.shalongoss.com

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