About Me

About Vanessa Ruck, The Girl On A Bike

The Girl On A Bike, About Vanessa Ruck

Born and raised in England. I’m a go-getter, a chase-your-dreams kind of girl.  I grew up in the great outdoors, getting muddy and messing around keeping fit with horses and quad-bikes and always up to mischief.

Girl motorcycle rider UK vanessa ruck the girl on a bike
Female motorcycle rider UK Vanessa Ruck also known as The Girl On A Bike 
Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike

At 18 I flew the nest to find my place in the world, university, masters degree, first job. Life took a turn in 2014 when I was hit by a red light jumping car, and since that day I’ve made it my goal to make the most out of life, and to also help others do the same.

My escapism has always been through sports, whether that’s kite surfing, snowboarding or mountain biking, it’s always been about getting physical, but the accident changed that and motorbikes came into my world. They’ve swiftly become my favourite form of adventure; the open road, the power, the ability to simply disappear into the unknown and travel the world.

I started @TheGirlOnABike when bed bound after my 3rd surgery following the accident, the first on my hip, and decided that I needed something positive to channel my energy into. Since this day I have continued to share my journey with you, but not just the happy days you expect on social media. I’ve also tried hard to be real, showing the down days, the days you have to find all your inner strength to even just get out of bed.

Ultimately, life is short, so it’s so important we don’t waste time or let life just slip through our fingers. Even with injuries and full-time jobs, we have so much to be grateful for and can do so much with our precious existence.

Girl motorcycles?

With a 7 year recovery seeing 7 surgeries and two reconstructed body parts, it’s been a roller coaster for me, but through this I’ve discovered motorcycles. Starting with cruising but rapidly ramping up to trials, adv and now even full hard enduro as her my heals. Bikes have swiftly become my favourite form of adventure; the open road, the power, the ability to simply disappear into the unknown and travel the world.

Over the years I’ve become known for sharing my journey with the world, but not just the happy days you expect on social media. I feel social media can be so toxic with all too perfect ‘unreal’ lives projected. I work hard to be real and honest, showing the rough and the tough days too.

My love for two wheels has seen me riding all over the world in recent years, including Bolivia, Ukraine, Sardinia, Iceland and many more. I want to prove that anyone get get up and enjoy life on two wheels, proving girls on bikes is normal, possible. We need more girl motorcycle conversations!

What’s my mission? To make the most of each day and help others do the same. 

Join the ride!

Much love, Vanessa Ruck

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

Check out my discount codes to save some money on my favourite brands!

Discounts Simply because everyone loves a discount! Here are a few of my favourite brands and some discount codes for you. 

The Girl On A Bike Discount codes

Latest content

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The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Priory School: Vanessa Ruck aka The Girl On A Bike

Our year 9 pupils heard a motivational speech from Vanessa Ruck when she visited.

After being hit by a car while cycling in 2014, Vanessa’s world was turned upside down. Motorcycles weren’t a part of her life before the accident but have been instrumental in her recovery. She’s a rider, racer, and adventurer living which chronic pain, and is determined to make the most of every day despite her past, and help others do the same.

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A few comments from the students as the talk made them feel motivated:
• “The way she spoke about her experience and the time it took her to complete her goals, she
never gave up. It was inspiring”
• “It was very real and honest”

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Kent Online: Vanessa Ruck, an explorer from Tunbridge Wells, has achieved another milestone.

As seen in The Kent Online: Vanessa Ruck from Tunbridge Wells bravely travels 180 kilometers alone to set a record at the 1000 Dunas Raid desert rally.

Ruck, who earlier this year was the first female to complete the Tunisia Desert Challenge, finishing in 35th place out of 55 entries, is now the first female to finish the 1000 Dunas Raid desert rally on a standard production large-capacity adventure bike.

It’s a seven-day rally that isn’t timed but designed to test roadbook navigation skills, endurance, and vehicle. Starting in Granada, Spain, entrants cross the Moroccan desert to Merzouga, then back to Granada for the finish covering more than 1,500km. Riders are ranked according to navigation accuracy and whether they finish each stage.

Competing on a 900cc Tiger Triumph adventure bike, Ruck tackled dry riverbeds, sand, camel grass, dunes and long distances – but when team-mate Aled Price hit trouble, she was forced to complete 180km alone, finishing eighth out of 11 hard-trail finishers.

She said: “The terrain was incredibly challenging at times and recovering a bike over three times your body weight in soft sand presents a real struggle.

“We had a section of small, uneven dunes covered in camel grass where Aled and I were in full survival mode. We got more and more tired, so it was teamwork to recover the bikes until the unthinkable happened – Aled’s clutch burned out.

“I was left with no choice but to continue through the dunes and remaining 180km day alone. As I pulled away, leaving him to be rescued, I knew I was riding for my life. Just one mistake, one drop in the deep sand could be game over.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000Dunas

“My heart was racing and it took every bit of determination, strength and fight to make it through. Being alone in a desert on a bike like that, that was brutal, and the heat and fatigue and fear builds very quickly.”

Most people would want weeks to prepare for such a challenge, but Ruck just jumped straight in, although she shares she would have perhaps hesitated a little more before saying yes to entering the 1000 Dunas on an adventure bike if she’d known just how brutal it was going to be.

“Then again, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge,” she said, “so I was determined to give it my all to get over that finish line.”

“The feeling of finishing [the] 1000 Dunas is absolutely incredible. Male or female, getting across that finish line is an achievement.

“Doing it as a female just makes me feel really proud for other women out there and hopefully shows some inspiration and encourages others to give it a go.

“Sure, I have to fight a little harder, I’m smaller and not as strong as a guy, but women absolutely can do it, and it’s a very powerful feeling.”

For the rest of the kent online article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

The Travel Pocket Guide: Vanessa Ruck, The Girl On The Bike, Is Interviewed by Benn Farrin

As seen in The Travel Pocket Guide: Vanessa just completed the 1000 DUNES RAID on a regular adventure production bike to become the first female to do so after being in a serious accident and vowing to not let her past dictate her future.

We caught up with The Girl On A Bike to talk about her accomplishments, experiences, fondest memories, and how she’s got her sights set on the biggest and most terrifying ride yet – the Morocco Desert Challenge…

Hey Vanessa, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us again, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you. Let’s get straight into things! You’ve been very busy having just broken records as the first female to finish the 1000 DUNES RAID riding on a standard adventure production bike. Firstly, congratulations! You must feel super proud?

The feeling of finishing 1000 Dunas is absolutely incredible. Male or female, getting across that finish line is an achievement. I chose to make a tough rally even more brutal by riding a huge Triumph Tiger Rally Pro adventure bike and it really was a test of mental and physical strength to just keep fighting on, even when ankle deep in sand. Doing it as a female just makes me feel really proud for other women out there and hopefully show some inspiration and encourage others to give it a go.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 dunas raid 2
The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 dunas raid 2

Sure, I have to fight a little harder, I’m smaller and not as strong as a guy, but women absolutely can do it, and it’s a very powerful feeling. I’m utterly exhausted right now but buzzing at the same time.

The 1,800km cross-country adventure took seven days to complete, and a total of 70 hours riding across unpredictable terrain such as loose rocks, ruts, riverbeds, and sand dunes. How did you prepare yourself for such a huge challenge?

A huge part of the preparation for desert rallies is the fitness and nutritional planning. Unfortunately, nothing really gets you bike fit other than time in the saddle but there is still lots to support. Stamina, endurance and strength for bike recovery can all be supported off the bike. My daily routine involves as much bike and phys as possible, but it’s not always conventional. With my reconstructed hip I’m a little limited on what sports I can do for fitness due to the pain but with my eMTB I am able to get out and get the heart racing working on my endurance. I’m then super active at home, chopping logs, working to maintain our little plot of land, DIY and even tyre flipping in the garden. Fitness to ride such long days is vital.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck motorcycles uk 1
The girl on a bike vanessa ruck DUNAS RAID 1

It’s then critical to eat well. Energy and recovery comes from what we put into our bodies, so I’m super careful to eat clean, no sugar and a high veg / protein balance. I take active collagen supplements and daily protein shakes on top of a well balanced health diet. But in race week it’s about as much calories as you can take. Riding in such intense heat means the body is burning a lot of fuel. Pre planning what my body gets on with in this environment is key. I’m a big Grenade bar, SIS gel fan and some mixed nuts/raisins for a crunch. Great taste and a huge energy kicks. Most meals on a rally I am eating until I feel sick. It’s not the most pleasant feeling but it’s the only way to ensure the body is getting enough fuel to fight on.

Was there any specific scenarios or situations which took you totally by surprise?

I would have perhaps hesitated a little more before saying “yes” to entering the 1000 Dunas on an adventure bike if I’d known just how brutal it was going to be…Then again, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I was determined to give it my all to get over that finish line. However, while I think going into the desert with rocky riverbeds, boulder fields, dunes, hill climbs, and sand on a Tiger 900 is brave, doing it alone would have been stupid, which is why I chose to ride with Aled.

Day three we really had to dig deep! We had a section of small, uneven dunes covered in camel grass where Aled and I were in full survival mode. We got more and more tired, so it was teamwork to recover the bikes until the unthinkable happened, Aled’s clutch burned out. The bike was dead. I was left with no choice but to continue through the dunes and remaining 180km day alone. As I pulled away, leaving him to be rescued, I knew I was riding for my life. Just one mistake, one drop in the deep sand could be game over. My heart was racing and it took every bit of determination, strength and fight to make it through. Being alone in a desert on a bike like that… that was brutal, and the heat, and fatigue and fear builds very quickly

What was the most challenging part of the ride for you?

1000 Dunas organisers is all about being the ultimate test of how far you can go, and not all riders are expected to finish every single day. This makes the riding a constant battle of just fighting on. You want to stop and have a break, but you know the clock is ticking…but not the organisers clock, instead it’s a race against the sun. How far can you get before the day closes…with the paper-based roadbook navigation being super tricky, covering hard terrain and long distances, and so when night falls it becomes near impossible to continue to navigate. Darkness in the desert is a world you want to avoid! You have to get as far as possible or to a safe pull-out point before the Moroccan darkness takes over. It’s almost a feeling of being hunted, of survival.

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re alone on your bike, miles from civilisation, without a mobile phone signal! What is your back-up plan in this situation should you have a mechanical breakdown?

Yes a LOT. There is something terrifying yet equally soul igniting about this feeling. You’re so vulnerable, totally alone, fully at the mercy of the desert but yet you’re totally in control. This is what you’ve trained for! Equipped with basic tools, food and survival kit you know you have some things you can handle. When things go wrong, your survival training and instincts kick in. I remember back in Tunisia in April I had a bike breakdown and it resulted in me having a pretty terrifying night in the dunes solo. I lit a fire, made a camp and lay watching the stars. While it sounds romantic, it’s definitely recalibrated my perspective on what is scary in life. The key to remember is that part of the huge entry fees for these events is to cover the tracking equipment and organisations rescue vehicles, so eventually you will get help. But the test, is to try and not need them! Riding smart, working to preserve and protect your bike, ensuring you’re doing your daily servicing each night, it’s all powerful steps to help reduce the risk of a breakdown. I can tell you, when the bike goes wrong, it’s a devastating feeling, you feel lost, alone and helpless.

You’re a true inspiration and a hero. Not only are you empowering women, but you inspire people around the world. Who do you look up to for inspiration?

The reality is I don’t really look to anyone, I just try to focus on what makes me happy. I find trying to compare my life to others doesn’t help my mental state. There are many pro riders who inspire me with their bike skills, showing what is possible if you put the work in, but there isn’t really anyone out there that is ‘who I want to be’, I just want to be me, even with my slightly reconstructed body. I am so grateful for everything in my world, my husband, family, bikes and experiences. If I can help just one person each time I share my story, that is the most energising inspiration I can get.

For the rest of the travel pocket guide article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Total Motorcycle: Discover Triumph’s 2023 Line-up At Motorcycle Live

As seen in The Total motorcycle: This year’s Motorcycle Live is your premier opportunity to see all of Triumph Motorcycles’ new models for 2023.

Be mesmerized by the new Chrome Collection and enter the counter the new Limited Editions Street Triple R, RS and Moto2TM.

Chat with the staff at the Hinckley factory, meet the Adventure Experience team in Wales and get insider tips from Tristar and adventurers from GlobeBusters.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 2023 Triumph Street Triple Moto2 Edition5

Join us on the Triumph stage for the unveiling of the Street Triple range, and hear from 1000 Dunas finisher Vanessa Ruck and Jody Millhouse from Thornton Hundred as well as meet and greet opportunities with racing legends.

There’s also the chance to win instant prizes, configure your next Triumph, take a test ride on the road or at the Experience Adventure and more.

BRING A TOUCH OF 1930 STYLE AND SOPHISTICATION TO MOTORCYCLE LIVE

With up to an additional five hours of craftsmanship per bike, including three hours of hand polishing, the new Chrome Collection is set to turn heads at this year’s Motorcycle Live.

The new category benchmark will be on full display offering up class leading power and the ultimate in Street Triple handling, technology and aggressive attitude.
Join us at 11am on Saturday 19 November where we will unveil the new Street Triple range.

The new Street Triple range has something for everyone, from the new Street Triple R, the new definitive streetfighter, to the Street Triple RS, which sets a whole new benchmark for performance and specification, to the Street Triple Moto2TM limited edition.

For the rest of the Total Motorcycle article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Norfolk Wire: The first woman to finish the 1000 Dunes Desert Rally in Morocco

As seen in The Norfolk Wire: Vanessa Ruck, a British motorcycle rider and UK based adventurer, has completed the 1000 DUNAS RAID in Morocco, making her the first female to ever finish on a standard production large-capacity adventure bike.

According to the 1000 Dunas organisers, this event is all about being the ultimate test of how far you can go, and not all riders are expected to finish every single day. The paper-based roadbook navigation is tricky, the terrain is hard, and the distances are long.

“Most people were there on more typical smaller rally bikes. I was part of a very small group of nutters on large motorcycles”, Vanessa says. The terrain was incredibly challenging at times and recovering a bike over 3 times your body weight in soft sand presents a real struggle. “We had a section of small, uneven dunes covered in camel grass where Aled and I were in full survival mode.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck Triumph 1000 Dunas 1

We got more and more tired, so it was teamwork to recover the bikes until the unthinkable happened, Aled’s clutch burned out. The bike was dead. I was left with no choice but to continue through the dunes and remaining 180km day alone. As I pulled away, leaving him to be rescued, I knew I was riding for my life. Just one mistake, one drop in the deep sand could be game over. My heart was racing and it took every bit of determination, strength and fight to make it through. Being alone in a desert on a bike like that… that was brutal, and the heat, and fatigue and fear builds very quickly”, Vanessa explains.

The Adventure of a Thousand Dunes

The 1000 Dunas starts in Granada, Spain, takes riders across the Moroccan desert to Merzouga, then loops back to Granada for the finish covering over 1,500km. It’s a seven-day rally that isn’t timed but is designed to give riders the opportunity to test their roadbook navigation skills, their endurance, and their bikes. Riders are ranked according to navigation accuracy and whether they finish each stage, and Vanessa came in 8th out of eleven Hard Trail finishers.

Vanessa – also known as ‘The Girl on a Bike’ rode the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro motorcycle from the UK to Spain carrying all her camping gear, tools, and spares with her. Then, she spent one day familiarising herself with the bike off-road at Triumph Adventure Experience in Spain, did some minor tweaks on the Tiger, and lined up at the 1000 Dunas start.

Most would want weeks to prepare but Vanessa just jumped straight in. Vanessa shares she would have perhaps hesitated a little more before saying “yes” to entering the 1000 Dunas on an adventure bike if she’d known just how brutal it was going to be. “Then again, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I was determined to give it my all to get over that finish line. However, while I think going into the desert with rocky riverbeds, boulder fields, dunes, hill climbs, and sand on a Tiger is brave, doing it alone would have been stupid, which is why I chose to ride with Aled”, Vanessa explains Vanessa covered the distance and made it to the finish line every single day, although teammate Aled Price completed 6 of the 7 days due to a mechanical issue leaving Vanessa to brave the barren desert solo.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000Dunas

Each day their arrival at the bivouac elicited cheers and support from other riders on smaller motorcycles. According to Vanessa, they had no idea whether the Triumph Tigers would hold or whether they would be capable enough for a rally raid like this – yet day in and day out, the motorcycles just plowed on.

It’s not hard to imagine that wrestling a heavy 900cc adventure motorcycle over sand dunes rather than a lighter bike is a much harder job.

“The feeling of finishing 1000 Dunas is absolutely incredible. Male or female, getting across that finish line is an achievement. Doing it as a female just makes me feel really proud for other women out there and hopefully show some inspiration and encourage others to give it a go. Sure, I have to fight a little harder, I’m smaller and not as strong as a guy, but women absolutely can do it, and it’s a very powerful feeling. I’m utterly exhausted right now but buzzing at the same time.

Vanessa’s story is one of true resilience and utter determination so it’s no surprise to her social media followers that she finished! She describes herself as just a normal girl who faced one of life’s big curve balls. But after being hit by a car while cycling in 2014, resulting in 7 surgeries and a roller-coaster of mental and physical recovery spanning 7 years, taking on 1000 Dunas was no mean feat!

Who is Vanessa Ruck?

Vanessa found her love for motorbikes seven years ago while recovering from a cycling accident. After a lengthy recovery involving five hip and two shoulder surgeries, she found new adventures on a motorcycle, and never looked back. Having no previous rally experience, Vanessa took on the Qatar International Baja, Rallye du Maroc and then became the first woman to have ever competed in the Tunisia Desert Challenge and has now competed in numerous rallies, including the notorious Red Bull Romaniacs and Dinaric Rally. She has since made it her mission to break barriers and expectations, whether through upskilling her knowledge of motorcycle mechanics or mastering unforgiving terrain.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 Dunas Rally

Vanessa continued: “My accident was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, and my love for riding has meant I can embrace new challenges that are within my control. Mental attitude is a huge contributor to success – for me, staying positive and not being afraid to fail have allowed me to continue to push my limits to places I never thought I could go.”

And Vanessa isn’t giving up any time soon. “I refuse to let what happened in my past completely control my future, she asserts. “Yes, I could have less pain if I didn’t push my body as much. But my mental pain would be worse. Getting up and getting out there and managing the pain, I can take control of my mental state and get the satisfaction and the energy from it to manage the rest.”

For the rest of the Norfolk Wire article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Monmouthshire Beacon: Monmouth’s Girl On A Bike wins the Moroccan challenge.

As seen in The Monmouthshire Beacon: Vanessa Ruck of Monmouthshire, also known as the ‘Girl on a Bike,’ has just completed one of her most difficult challenges yet.

She took part in the 1000 Dunas Raid in Morocco making her the first female to ever finish on a standard production large-capacity adventure bike. She battled dry riverbeds, sand, camel grass, dunes, and long distances over rough terrain every day.

Vanessa finished the 7-day rally with teammate Aled Price, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. According to the 1000 Dunas organizers, this event is all about being the ultimate test of how far you can go, and not all riders are expected to finish every single day.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 Dunas

The paper-based roadbook navigation is tricky, the terrain is hard, and the distances are long. “Most people were there on more typical smaller rally bikes. I was part of a very small group of nutters on large motorcycles”, Vanessa says.

We had a section of small, uneven dunes covered in camel grass where Aled and I were in full survival mode. We got more and more tired, so it was teamwork to recover the bikes until the unthinkable happened, Aled’s clutch burned out. The bike was dead.

‘’I was left with no choice but to continue through the dunes and remaining 180km day alone. ‘’As I pulled away, leaving him to be rescued, I knew I was riding for my life. Just one mistake, one drop in the deep sand could be game over. My heart was racing and it took every bit of determination, strength and fight to make it through.

‘’ Being alone in a desert on a bike like that… that was brutal, and the heat, and fatigue and fear builds very quickly”, Vanessa explains. According to Vanessa, they had no idea whether the Triumph Tigers would hold or whether they would be capable enough for a rally raid like this – yet day in and day out, the motorcycles just plowed on.

It’s not hard to imagine that wrestling a heavy 900cc adventure motorcycle over sand dunes rather than a lighter bike is a much harder job. “The feeling of finishing 1000 Dunas is absolutely incredible. Male or female, getting across that finish line is an achievement.

‘’Doing it as a female just makes me feel really proud for other women out there and hopefully show some inspiration and encourage others to give it a go.

‘’Sure, I have to fight a little harder, I’m smaller and not as strong as a guy, but women absolutely can do it, and it’s a very powerful feeling. I’m utterly exhausted right now but buzzing at the same time.’’

Vanessa’s story is one of true resilience and utter determination so it’s no surprise to her social media followers that she finished! She describes herself as just a normal girl who faced one of life’s big curve balls.

But after being hit by a car while cycling in 2014, resulting in seven surgeries and a roller-coaster of mental and physical recovery spanning seven years, taking on 1000 Dunas was no mean feat!

For the rest of the Monmouthshire Beacon article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Dirt Hub: Vanessa Ruck is the first woman to complete Morocco’s 1000 Dunas Desert Rally.

As seen in The Dirthub: Vanessa Ruck, a British motorcyclist and adventurer from the UK, completed the RAID 1000 DUNAS in Morocco, becoming the first woman to finish on a standard-production, large-capacity adventure bike.

According to the 1000 Dunas organisers, this event is all about being the ultimate test of how far you can go, and not all riders are expected to finish every single day. The paper-based roadbook navigation is tricky, the terrain is hard, and the distances are long.

“Most people were there on more typical smaller rally bikes. I was part of a very small group of nutters on large motorcycles”, Vanessa says. The terrain was incredibly challenging at times and recovering a bike over 3 times your body weight in soft sand presents a real struggle. “We had a section of small, uneven dunes covered in camel grass where Aled and I were in full survival mode. We got more and more tired, so it was teamwork to recover the bikes until the unthinkable happened, Aled’s clutch burned out. The bike was dead. I was left with no choice but to continue through the dunes and remaining 180km day alone.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 dunas raid1

As I pulled away, leaving him to be rescued, I knew I was riding for my life. Just one mistake, one drop in the deep sand could be game over. My heart was racing and it took every bit of determination, strength and fight to make it through. Being alone in a desert on a bike like that… that was brutal, and the heat, and fatigue and fear builds very quickly”, Vanessa explains.

The 1000 Dunas starts in Granada, Spain, takes riders across the Moroccan desert to Merzouga, then loops back to Granada for the finish covering over 1,500km. It’s a seven-day rally that isn’t timed but is designed to give riders the opportunity to test their roadbook navigation skills, their endurance, and their bikes. Riders are ranked according to navigation accuracy and whether they finish each stage, and Vanessa came in 8th out of eleven Hard Trail finishers.

Vanessa – also known as ‘The Girl on a Bike’ rode the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro motorcycle from the UK to Spain carrying all her camping gear, tools, and spares with her. Then, she spent one day familiarising herself with the bike off-road at Triumph Adventure Experience in Spain, did some minor tweaks on the Tiger, and lined up at the 1000 Dunas start.

The girl on a bike

Most would want weeks to prepare but Vanessa just jumped straight in. Vanessa shares she would have perhaps hesitated a little more before saying “yes” to entering the 1000 Dunas on an adventure bike if she’d known just how brutal it was going to be. 

“Then again, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I was determined to give it my all to get over that finish line. However, while I think going into the desert with rocky riverbeds, boulder fields, dunes, hill climbs, and sand on a Tiger is brave, doing it alone would have been stupid, which is why I chose to ride with Aled”, Vanessa explains

Vanessa covered the distance and made it to the finish line every single day, although teammate Aled Price completed 6 of the 7 days due to a mechanical issue leaving Vanessa to brave the barren desert solo. Each day their arrival at the bivouac elicited cheers and support from other riders on smaller motorcycles. According to Vanessa, they had no idea whether the Triumph Tigers would hold or whether they would be capable enough for a rally raid like this – yet day in and day out, the motorcycles just plowed on.

It’s not hard to imagine that wrestling a heavy 900cc adventure motorcycle over sand dunes rather than a lighter bike is a much harder job.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 Dunas Rally 1

“The feeling of finishing 1000 Dunas is absolutely incredible. Male or female, getting across that finish line is an achievement. Doing it as a female just makes me feel really proud for other women out there and hopefully show some inspiration and encourage others to give it a go. Sure, I have to fight a little harder, I’m smaller and not as strong as a guy, but women absolutely can do it, and it’s a very powerful feeling. I’m utterly exhausted right now but buzzing at the same time.”

Vanessa’s story is one of true resilience and utter determination so it’s no surprise to her social media followers that she finished! She describes herself as just a normal girl who faced one of life’s big curve balls. But after being hit by a car while cycling in 2014, resulting in 7 surgeries and a roller-coaster of mental and physical recovery spanning 7 years, taking on 1000 Dunas was no mean feat!

For the rest of the Dirt Hub article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Wales Online: I had seven procedures after a terrible bike accident, and now I’m riding across the desert.

As seen in The Wales Online: Vanessa Ruck, who was in a terrible cycling accident a few years ago, is the first woman to finish the arduous 1,800-kilometer 1000 Dunes rally in the desert.

A woman, who suffered a horrific cycling accident a few years ago, has become the first female to complete a grueling 1,800km motorbike rally in the desert. Vanessa Ruck, aged 36, is from the Wye Valley and recently rode from her home in Wales to Spain.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck Tiger 900 Rally Pro

She then undertook a difficult challenge across the Moroccan desert to complete the 1000 Dunes challenge. Vanessa only started riding motorcycles seven years ago after recovering from life-changing injuries after being knocked off her bicycle. Vanessa had undergone several surgeries, including five hip operations.

But now, Vanessa has completed the 1000 Dunes rally making her the first female to ever finish on a standard production adventure bike. The ride is spread over seven days with over 70 hours of riding through some of the harshest conditions imaginable.

Vanessa said that when she initially started riding her motorcycle, little did she know that she would eventually become a full-time rider. “I was bed-bound and started @TheGirlOnABike without thinking that much of it,” she said. “I needed something to give me energy, something to focus on as at the time my mental health wasn’t great.

“But if anyone would’ve told me I would eventually become a rider all those years back, I probably would’ve choked on my drink. But the world takes you on some crazy journeys.”

Vanessa was cycling home one day from work, when a car came the other way and knocked her off her bike. She was taken to hospital and was later discharged that evening with bruising. Over the years however, the impact of the accident became evident on her body and health.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 Dunas 1

She had seven surgeries, including five on the hip and two on the shoulder. “My physical recovery was horrific,” she explained. “But my mental health recovery was harder – I was diagnosed with multiple disorders, it took a lot of time, energy, crying and patience to process and work through that.”

Vanessa said that she would set herself some “crazy goals” during her recovery. After her hip surgery however, she decided to get herself an off-road bike five months before she could even sit on it. “It was there as a goal, as a reminder when I was hurting too much to even try and get out of bed,” she added.

Her daily motivation eventually became her passion and now she is a full-time professional rider. Since then, Vanessa has taken part in countless races such as the world renowned rallies of Red Bull Romaniacs and Dinaric Rally, but none were as challenging as the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro she embarked with her teammate, Aled Price.

Vanessa took on the challenge of riding a Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro motorcycle between Granada, Spain and Morocco, only seven years after taking up riding motorcycles. During the challenge, she would encounter unpredictable terrain, including loose rocks, ruts, riverbeds and sand dunes.

She said: “I had done some desert races previously. It is some kind of sadistic adventure – they are brutally hard, both mentally and physically. You’ve got the heat, the navigation, you’re sleeping in a tent that you have to pack it in the morning, you are working on your own bike – it’s just brutal.

“But the sense of achievement and the satisfaction of when you keep pushing beyond your last minute of strength and when you find more strength, is the most empowering feeling ever. I realised that this was the hardest thing I’d gone through but I was in control, it was no longer the accident.”

When talking about the most challenging part of the journey, she said: “So day three, there was a section of about 60k of about one-storey high sand dunes. They were short, uneven and just horrible. There was no rhythm and no straight lines. But Aled and I were in survival mode, we had to stop sometimes as we were getting stuck.

“We were about 12k at the end of these dunes when Aled’s clutch had been burnt out. That was his bike done. I had to make the decision of either sit here and admit defeat, or do I keep going on. When I pulled away from him, the fear in my head of going into those dunes solo was huge. My heart was racing and I knew I was riding for my life.

“But I made it out and that feeling when I made it out was just absolutely incredible. It was such a huge buzz of excitement. To actually finish the challenge, I was so tiring but I was so proud of myself. The biggest thing for me was showing the world and other people that females can get up and do stuff like this. I just want to inspire young kids and especially young girls that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.”

For the rest of the Wales Online article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Motociclismo: Vanessa Ruck First Female To Finish 1000 Dunas Desert Rally In Morocco

As seen in The Motociclismo: Vanessa Ruck, a British motorcycle rider and UK-based adventurer, has completed the 1000 DUNAS RAID in Morocco, making her the first female to ever finish on a standard production large-capacity adventure bike.

The British firm culminates its participation in the demanding raid with much more than a victory. The 1000 Dunas has tested the physical and psychological capacities of dozens of expert and amateur pilots, as well as the performance of their mounts. Seven intense days, between October 22 and 29, in which the participants have covered between 1,500 and 2,500 km.

Among them, four lovers of two wheels with the most varied profiles at the controls of different Triumph Tigers: the five-time Enduro World Champion Iván Cervantes with his Tiger 900 Rally Pro who won the Hard Trail; Josu Orozko, an amateur mechanic by profession with a Tiger 800 XC for more than 10 years who has made a podium in the Trail category; and Aled Price and Vanessa Ruck, two semi-professional riders who traveled by road from South Wales to Granada on the Tiger 900 Rally Pro to take part in the raid and who have made Vanessa the first female ‘Finisher’ with a motorcycle of more than 200 kg and totally series.

The passion for motorcycles and for adventure, as well as the desire to excel, have united the 66 participants of the 1000 Dunes raid in what has been one of the most demanding and exciting experiences of their lives, covering all kinds of lands across two continents. The Plateau de Rekam, the infinite slopes of Bouarfa or the majestic dunes of Merzouga have been some of the impressive territories that have been crossed. An experience in which Triumph, which continues to take steps in its firm commitment to off-road, has been more than victorious.

The effort and work of the drivers who faced this challenge on the back of their Triumphs has resulted in enormously positive results in a particularly tough edition . And although the difficulty of the route has taken its toll on part of the caravan, with several abandonments and re-enlistments in the following days, the four British mounts that have participated in the challenge have successfully completed it, highlighting the performance, resistance and mechanical reliability of the Tiger in the harshest conditions.

DOUBLE SUCCESS OF 25

Iván Cervantes, competing with his inseparable number 24, has won the first place on the Hard Trail podium , not only piloting with mastery, but also sailing with a very high degree of efficiency , since he has reached 95.5% of the maximum theoretical score in its category (it has achieved 1,390 points out of a possible 1,455, taking into account both the validated Waypoints and the penalties). And that Cervantes had not navigated with a roadbook since the Dakar 2018.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck uk

An unbeatable end of the year for the award-winning rider who is closing an intense season, in which he has not only been immersed in the development and testing of Triumph’s future motocross and enduro range, but has also once again tasted the honeys of success in renowned competitions such as Baja Aragón and Bassella Race1.

But in addition to his stupendous result, the Triumph flag bearer has taken on a far from easy challenge in this edition of 1000 Dunas since, together with Miguel Puertas, he acted as a coach and advisor to the rest of the riders. Thus, his day never ended when the motorcycles rested.

At that time, he took the opportunity to share experiences with the other pilots, amateurs and professionals , and to focus on the former, offering them tricks and advice , in order to improve their performance the next day and, ultimately, their experience.

With his Tiger 900 Rally Pro, the same one with which he participated in the Baja Aragón, already in the Parc Fermé, Cervantes took stock of the experience : “It has been an incredible adventure of more than 1,500 km. The performance of the bike has been perfect on all the terrains that we have encountered: gravel, sand, mud, rocks and river crossings; and once again we have been able to show how capable the Tiger 900 Rally Pro is. I would like to thank the Triumph Spain team for their constant support throughout the rally, as this has allowed me to focus on achieving the best possible result” .

MECHANIC ON THE PODIUM

For his part, Josu Orozko, riding a 2012 Tiger 800 XC, finished in a more than creditable third place in the Trail category. The amateur rider was the winner of the Triumph Scholarship |1000 Dunes and until now he had only participated in short off-road navigation tests, never in such a demanding raid.

The one from Bilbao became the protégé of Iván Cervantes, with whom he shared a tent and cabin, and who waited for him every day at the end of the stage to take an interest in him and help him face the next day. The ties between the two drivers became so close that Iván even gave him one of his tires and mounted it himself on Josu’s rim, who has discovered that in addition to being a brilliant driver, he is a formidable person.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 3

Josu is the perfect example of how hard work and tenacity, along with some more than appreciated advice and a machine to trust, are key in a challenge like the 1000 Dunes. Already from home, Orozko declared: “It has been a very ‘heavy’ experience, I have lived very bad moments and very good ones. The body is falling apart for days, I think my bike was the oldest of all and navigation is very complicated, although there comes a time when you get the ‘feeling’ and that’s when you learn and really enjoy.

I still have a thorn in my side from an important mistake I made in stage 3 , but I can’t ask for more, since I managed to get a podium finish. I do not have enough words to thank Iván for everything he has helped me and I have also felt very supported by the Triumph Spain team. Everything has been amazing.”

For the rest of the Motociclismo article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

The Girl on a Bike in the Media

UK Daily: the first British woman to finish a route on a big adventure bike

As seen in The UK daily: Vanessa Ruck, also known as The Girl on a Bike, reached the finish of the 1000 Dunas Rally on her adventure bike.

She battled dry river beds, camel grass and rough terrain for seven days over a distance of 1,500 km. “Most people were there on more typical smaller rally bikes. I was part of a very small group of crazy people on big bikes,” Ms. Ruck said. “The terrain was incredibly challenging at times and it’s a real struggle to recover a bike over three times your body weight in soft sand.”

Portsmouth graduate Vannessa Ruck during the 1000 Dunas Rally in Morocco.

Ms Ruck, who is passionate about off-road racing, rode her Triumph Tiger Rally Pro 900 from the factory to the start point in Granada – and jumped right in without much preparation. The course took the riders through the Moroccan desert to Merzouga before heading back to Spain.

Ms Ruck faced several challenges on the arduous course as she rode with teammate Aled Price. She said she had to make part of the journey – 180km – alone as Mr Price’s bike broke down with a burnt clutch.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000Dunas

She added: “We had a section of small, uneven dunes covered in camel grass where Aled and I were in full survival mode.

“We were getting tired, so it was a team effort to recover the bikes until the unthinkable happened: Aled’s clutch burned out. The bike was dead.

Portsmouth graduate Vanessa Ruck became the first British motorcyclist to complete the 1000 Dunas Raid Rally on a large adventure bike. Pictured is her with Aled Price at the desert rally finish line.

“As I drove off and left him to the rescue, I knew I was riding for my life. My heart was racing and it took every bit of determination, strength and struggle to get through it. Being alone in a desert on a bike like that was brutal and the heat, fatigue and anxiety build up very quickly.”

Riders are ranked based on their navigation accuracy and when they complete each stage. Ms. Ruck finished eighth out of eleven Hard Trial finishers and battled on her heavy 900cc adventure bike while users used lighter vehicles.

Ms. Ruck hopes her performance has inspired other women. She added: “Sure I have to fight a little bit harder, I’m smaller and not as strong as a man, but women absolutely can do that and it’s a very powerful feeling.”

Portsmouth graduate Vanessa Ruck during the 1000 Dunas Rally in Morocco.Portsmouth graduate Vanessa Ruck at the start line of the 1000 Dunas Raid Rally.Portsmouth graduate Vannessa Ruck during the 1000 Dunas Rally in Morocco.

For the rest of the UK Daily article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

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