In thumbing through a photo album of my life just over ten years ago, it would be the farthest thing from the truth to ever predict that today I would not only be riding a motorcycle, but that my entire life would revolve around the motorcycling community. In that decade-old photo album, you would see pictures of me, a single mom and communications director, enjoying activities and travels with my daughter, family and friends. And one common denominator of all of those photos would be me in some couture outfit, complete with fabulous shoes, pocketbook and jewelry. I was a “fashionista,” and motorcycles appeared absolutely nowhere on my radar.
Then I met my future husband, a life-long motorcyclist, and my entire life took a turn that I never would have dreamed of for myself. He took me on my first ride, and as the biggest shock to myself and to my whole circle of people, I was hooked. I loved the way it felt to travel on a motorcycle and truly FEEL the adventure. It was a life-changer, for sure! So after many exciting and inspiring miles as his pillion, I felt a burning desire to pilot my own ride. My friends and family simply could not wrap their heads around my decision. I mean, I was known for my astute fashion sense, and they couldn’t figure out how their “fashionista” would want to do such a thing. Alongside my forte for all things vogue, I also have a terribly headstrong personality. When I decide I’m going to do something, there is nobody that can stand between me and my decision.
So after a few years of husband-led instruction (beginning on a dirt bike), a stint at a weekend MSF Basic Rider Course and another year or so of street practice on a Honda Rebel, I graduated to my first “big girl bike,” a BMW F650 GS. I was one happy lady and spent thousands of miles traveling over several states enjoying my life’s new passion, while still embracing my fashion sense on the road. I was ecstatic knowing I could hold on to the best of both of my world’s…the Fashionista traveling around on two wheels! Cool stuff!
A 1994 BMW R1100 RS
Last year, my husband persuaded me to sit on a gently-used vintage model, a 1994 BMW R1100 RS. Admittedly, I was pretty nervous sitting on this “big” bike, but built up my fire to take her out for a spin. I came back with the hugest smile on my face and knew at that moment how it feels to truly fall in love with a motorcycle. How was it that I instantly had a love affair with my shoe collection AND a motorcycle all at the same time? Crazy stuff, but I embraced it with my whole being. Riding on my “new” bike with her power and smooth abilities, I felt a sense of freedom I have never felt before, and it wasn’t long until I challenged myself to something I never thought I could do – earn a membership into the Iron Butt Association. My entire circle of people, still licking their wounds from my decision to pilot my own ride, were again dazed and confused. I set my sights on a SaddleSore 1000 – 1,000 miles in 24 hours. Somehow within the depths of my soul, I just knew I could figure this ride out and accomplish my goal. In July of 2014, that mission was accomplished, and this Fashionista now had an Iron Butt! I traveled from Asheville, North Carolina to St. Paul, Minnesota in 24 hours – 1,060 miles in a day!
The scariest part of my first Iron Butt Association ride is that I was immediately addicted. The long-distance bug had bitten me bad, and I’m still afflicted…and that’s a GREAT thing! Just this past summer, I again stepped up the bar and accomplished another Iron Butt Association ride, the SaddleSore 1500. That’s 1,500 miles in 36 hours. This time, the ride was from Hendersonville, North Carolina to Rapid City, South Dakota. It was another awesome, exciting and adventurous ride. Following that accomplishment, I went on to ride throughout several western states (including my original home state of Utah) and then back again to South Carolina – a total of 5,948 in 21 days. And I wasn’t at all ready to come home, but as we all know, duty calls at some point.
Good news – I’m Still Addicted.
I’ve already started planning my next Iron Butt Association ride, alongside with other epic trips on my horizon, and I have no desire to slow down anytime soon. Call me a “freebird,” because there are too many places I’ve just got to see. I’m still not sure exactly how it happened, but in just a decade, I live and breathe motorcycles. And now, the photos in my present day album feature shots of a lady motorcyclist in full gear with the hugest smile ever standing in front of so much amazing scenery…right next to the photos of a fashionista, still wearing a collection of outfits, pocketbooks and prized stilettos…holding up an Iron Butt of course!
Deb Gasque for MOTORESS
More about Deb Gasque
Deb Gasque, South Carolina resident also known as “The Fashionista,” has been a licensed motorcyclist for six years and has embraced every aspect of the long-distance motorcycling lifestyle, including earning a membership into the Iron Butt Association. Deb recently joined the ranks of motojournalism and enjoys sharing her passion for two-wheeled adventures through published articles in motorcycling and women’s lifestyle magazines, as well as her blog page at www.TheFashionistaHasAnIronButt.com. You can also find her on Facebook at: The Fashionista Has an Iron Butt.