We know theres a wide diversity of riders out there. Today we get to interview someone who is quite well known in the world of vintage bikes and was even featured in a book “ My Cool Motorcycle. “ It’s not very often that we get to interview someone with this much insight and knowledge about a variety of bikes. Her name is Corinna and rides in the busiest city in the USA- New York City. She also modifies and makes custom seats for bikes. She also is a part of a female motorcycle group called the missfires- http://themissfires.com/. We love that she isn’t the typical Viking Bags cruiser rider either! Here’s our interview with her.
1. How long have you been riding?
I’ve been riding off and on since 2001 but seriously for the last 5 years.
2. How many bikes have you owned?
I’ve had a 1982 honda rebel, 1976 Triumph Bonneville, 1973 Triumph Tiger 750, 1978 Yamaha SR500, and I currently have 1971 Yamaha AT1 125, 1971 BSA Victor 250, 1968 BSA Lightning 650/Thunderbolt 650 hot rod.
3. What is your current bike?( and which was your favorite? Why? Any bike in particular that you DISLIKE? )
Of the 3 bikes I currently own, I love love them all for their own beauties. the yamaha at1 because a tiny dual purpose dirt/street bike is a blast to ride in NYC and is a perfect get around bike. The BSA Victor 250 I bought to ride and race off road and it’s been a great vintage bike to learn on, though from having it i learned the reasons I don’t love it for myself…too heavy, too finicky and so with love it’ll soon go to a new home and I’ll find something more suited to me in the woods. The BSA 650 hot rod is truly my current love as I’ve put a ton of work into it to make it fast and mean and soon it’ll be finished and gorgeous to match.
4. What made you want to ride a bike? Have you made any long distance trips with it yet? Do you have any planned?
I ride old bikes and drive old cars because of my love of classic film. it’s buster keaton, marlon brando, peter fonda and steve mcqueen that gave me the itch for the open road and because of I’ve always had a passion for vintage aesthetics (and everything), owning, riding and subsequently maintaining classics ha always been the way for me.
I haven’t yet done a truly long distance ride though I hope to go cross country next spring, among other long distance plans.
5. Would you ride a different type of bike, i.e. Cruiser if you have a sport bike or sport bike if you have a cruiser.
Different for me would be modern. I very much want to own a modern bike to experience becoming truly a better rider on long trips as i’ve always had to battle unreliability and unforeseen issues with the vintage bikes.
6. Whats your dream bike and or next bike? Do you enjoy any vintage bikes like café racers and restoration?
Vintage bikes and proper cafe racers (performance modified…not just clip ons and slick paint) are most definitely my love. taking a stock bike that was probably bought on the cheap and finding ways to make it better and faster and then thrashing the hell out of it is something I aspire to do well. For me though, as I work around the clock making perfectly custom seats for gorgeous bikes and hot rods that other people build, I am simply aspiring to own a finished perfect classic that performs. Dream bikes at the moment are the italians. I dream of a Guzzi.
7. What type of rider do you think you are? (Aggressive, conservative, Point A – B )
I’m a “conscious aggressive” rider. I like to push it but on my rattly old brit bike, i’m aware of my drum brakes, etc. I absolutely live for the ride, not the getting from point A to B.
8. What made you want to ride and commit to the motorcycle lifestyle? Any regrets?
I don’t now really. I loved the peace and alone-ness you find inside a helmet, vulnerable and exposed on the rode. Getting past the fear of death and finding that peace and happiness is a feeling only a rider understand i think. You are responsible for every move you make and it’s implications can be deadly. But, even in cold and rain ad close calls….I always have a smile on my face while i ride…which, glancing over at a sour face inside a heated car and realizing you don’t envy them for even a second is truly freedom.
9. What advice do you wish you knew, when you first started out? Any other pieces of wisdom?
when i say i’ve been riding since 2001 but only the last 5 years seriously, that is indeed because of the advice i wish i’d been able to tale and now give others on a daily basis.
-1. buy a reliable bike. i’ve never had money to buy new, but buy something that runs in your price range. it will allow you to learn how to ride…not wrench, but just ride.
-2. don’t buy something small. you’ll outgrow it fast. the weight of a bike isn’t in the CI of the engine. riding a honda S90 and trying to keep up with the experienced riders on modern or larger bikes will NOT make you a better or more confident rider. the same goes for not riding mopeds or scooters as a way to ‘build up’ to a motorcycle.
-3. surround yourself with motorcycle friends. community is the key to succeeding on two wheels. Joining a vintage club 5 years ago is what made me a good rider and a happy person. Now my all womens rider group, The MIss-Fires gives me riding partners, support, confidence and inspiration to be a better rider every day.
10. Regarding those who don’t practice ATGATT, how do you feel about them? Do you encourage it?
I am in no way the poster child for ATGATT but i’m getting better every day. It’s unfortunately a lesson everyone needs to learn for themselves. going down sucks and even when it’s a minor down, you can do major damage. slow speed spills’ll take the skin off your hands. what’s the fix, gloves? what’s the benefit? just try limping a perfectly working bike home 10 miles with a bloody, throbbing hand wrapped in a greasy rag that you have to force yourself to twist the throttle with. Just ask me how i know?
As a woman, i’m thrilled that as apposed to 13 years ago,. gear is getting better. more fitted to our curves and sexier in style. no, pink camo doesn’t fit into my 1950’s rocker aesthetic.
The short on ATGATT is once you commit to it, it’s really not an issue. a full face helmet is damn comfy on a windy highway, and i’m blessed to ride with a pack of gorgeous girls who make it look so damn good…they make the guys in t-shirts look a bit silly. I am trying every day to build the perfect ATGATT wardrobe that will protect me and inspire everyone to gear up and look good doing it.
11. When do you think you’ll stop riding? Anytime soon?
12. We know it’s a really painful topic to revisit, but have you ever gone down?
Yes, but never majorly. it’s inevitable and i think about it every day. I simply do the best I can by trying to always be responsible and present when i hop on a bike. it goes without saying that riding drunk or distracted, under geared or underprepared will only add to the possibility of a very bad day. so, while we can’t control bad drivers or bad roads, we can at least go out each day prepared for the worst and planning for the best. oh, and always have health insurance.
13. Last and not least, as a fun question- is there anything else you’d still like to do on a bike? Like a riders bucket list.
My bucket list is probably longer than my life will be. I simply want to do everything. ride as many miles of road and dirt as I can find. become better at trails and TT. Try my hand at road racing. ride in other countries. Build a chopper. Do everything on a motorcycle I can because it’s always an adventure and everything new you learn on bikes goes back to making you a better rider. And lets face it, there isn’t a moment on a motorcycle that is ever truly bad.
1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1962 Ford Ranchero