This week’s Rider Spotlight features Alex Jackson. We’ll be chatting with her more on an upcoming Woman Crush Wednesday BGR Live on Instagram in a few weeks. For now, let’s get to know a little more about her!
Photo Courtesy of: Lanakila MacNaughton (@womensmotoexhibit)
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Alex Jackson. I’ve been riding for about 6 years. I moved to LA from New York last summer and I’ve really enjoyed riding here and getting to know the cities and the natural beauty of the place. I work in sales for a tech company. Before the COVID-19 pandemic I traveled a lot for work and got to see a lot of West Coast.
Describe your path to how you got to where you are with motorcycling today.
I have always loved motorcycles since I was little. I always knew I wanted to ride but I was inspired to actually start when I heard about The MissFires in Brooklyn. I got my license and got on a bike and I’ve been riding ever since. I started out on a 2001 Suzuki GS 500. It didn’t have any bells or whistles; carbureted, air-cooled, chain driven. I learned to ride in New York City which is a beast in and of itself. The culture around motorcycling and driving there is very different. In my experience people would get mad when I’d filter at lights or just generally exist on the road as a motorcycle. There’s also the fact that the roads aren’t really built for bikes, they are narrow and full of potholes. It definitely shaped how I am as a rider in terms of being cautious and more than a little bit slow compared to Cali riders.
Over my years in New York I had two Iron 883 Sportsters as well. When I moved out here I bought my first brand new bike, a 2019 HD Streetbob. It’s got a great combination of comfort and power with a kind of stripped-down style.
What has been your best experience while riding?
I’ve had so many great experiences riding it’s hard to choose just one. Recently I was part of a women-led BLM ride organized by Black Girls Ride. That was the largest group ride I’ve ever been a part of by far, with close to 100 riders (if not more). There were riders from every background who participated and rode from Long Beach to Crenshaw. With a group that size, you need someone to block traffic at intersections so everyone can get through. I got the chance to be a traffic blocker as we got off the highway and it was amazing to watch everyone on all different bikes ride by me and give a Black Power salute, or wave, or give the two wheels down sign.
And the worst? (Or not so good?)
I’ve had some bad crashes, and seen some worse ones. The first time I went down I had been working for days to get my bike running after storing it for the winter. I went down going around a tight corner in some gravel and busted myself up pretty bad. Thankfully, I was fully geared up and I don’t have any lasting damage. I would encourage everyone to get your hands on some riding gear and wear it every time you go out. A good jacket and a good pair of pants kept that situation from being much worse.
If you could change anything about the world of motorcycling today, what would it be?
I just wish more people would get on motorcycles! It’s a lot of fun and a great way to get around the city without sitting in traffic. I think for that to happen, affordable entry-level models would need to be produced and a little of the outlaw image would need to be sacrificed. I think if more people were on motorcycles car drivers would be friendlier to motorcyclists on the road and make things a little safer for us.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into motorcycling?
I tell people all the time, do your research! Start on a small displacement motorcycle and take some riding lessons before you get out on the street. Choose gear that’s safe but keep in mind it needs to look good too or you won’t wear it.
If you could go on a ride with any of your motorcycling heroes – living or dead – who would they be?
I don’t think I really have motorcycling heroes. I’ve made a lot of friends through riding and the community. A friend of mine from back east had a really bad crash back in 2018 and we haven’t been able to ride together since she’s gotten back on a bike. The crash put her in intensive care and then in rehab for months after. The courage it must’ve taken for her to ever want to ride again is pretty heroic. I’d love to go ride some Pennsylvania back roads with her when she gets her new Road King!
If you could teleport to any other place and time in history and ride your bike, where and when would that be?
Didn’t Eddie Murphy do a bit about how Black people don’t really want to go back in time before like 1977?
What’s your dream bike? If you could design your dream motorcycle, what would it look, sound and feel like?
Honestly, the bike I’m on right now is pretty close to my dream bike for the kind of riding I like to do. There are a few things I’d like to swap out like the pipes could be louder and who wouldn’t like a custom paint job? I think my real dream is to have a few different bikes to choose from. I’d like a sport bike, a dirt bike, and a chopper to add to my collection!
What is your favorite Sunday ride to do when you’re back home?
I love riding the length of Sunset from Hollywood to the coast. Add a little stop for lunch on the way out to enjoy on the beach and my Sunday is made.
What was the last great book you read?
I’ve been making videos for my web series that deals with social justice issues through the lens of being a Black lesbian woman. I’ve been doing a lot of research for it including reading Invisible No More, by Andrea Ritchie. Her work researching police violence against women of color has been really meaningful for me in this moment when there’s a national reckoning about the topic.
Any good music you have discovered of late?
I cannot put down Ari Lennox’s Shea Butter Baby!!! I love her voice and every song on the album is a bop!
The last great meal/food/cuisine you had?
Quarantine and wedding dieting have forced me to do so much healthy cooking so I’m living for comfort food cheat meals! I recently had some Argentinian empanadas with chimichurri and fries. :chef kiss:
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
That’s a big question. I am in my 30th year of life and I think the one thing that will always continue to be important to me is integrity and honor. Alexander Hamilton said “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything”. I hope to be known and remembered as a human being of principle no matter the circumstance.
Any thoughts about Black Girls Ride Magazine?
Just that I love it! It’s so cool to see women of color on motorcycles no matter the style all across the nation. Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of this thing!