Adventure Bike Rider: An Interview with UK’s Top Motorcyclist Vanessa Ruck
As seen in Adventure Bike Rider: Get to know Vanessa Ruck, the renowned motor rider from the UK, as she shares her journey, experiences, and insights in an exclusive interview.
ABR: Hi Vanessa, people know you as ‘The Girl On A Bike’ but I know that you didn’t always get your kicks from motorcycles. How did it all begin?
Vanessa: When I was 20, I was living on a remote island in the Bahamas for a work placement, and I just wanted to get around the island. I couldn’t afford a car but a bike was considerably cheaper. I thought, how hard can they be to ride? So, I ordered a cheap Chinese 250cc motorcycle online. It came in parts that would become a motorbike if you knew how to put them together. Luckily, rum is an accepted currency on the island, so I traded a bottle to the local bush mechanic and he put it together for me, showed me the basic controls, and off I went to explore the island. When I returned to the UK, I figured I should get my full license, mostly because I liked collecting licenses. I never thought of myself as a biker. After that, I didn’t think about riding for a long time.
ABR: Am I right in thinking it was actually a serious bicycle accident that changed your life and led to you becoming passionate about motorcycling?
Vanessa: Exactly. Before the accident,I would cycle a 16-mile round trip to the centre of Oxford every day, come rain, shine, wind, and snow. Then I had the accident and my life completely changed. I had seven operations on my hip and shoulder over seven years, and in between I’d be bed-bound. Then I’d start to learn to walk again, start doing rehab, and then there’d be complications. Meanwhile, I was really struggling with the traffic commuting to work in my big Mercedes campervan. Getting to work early just meant doing really long days. So, one Friday night I was sitting with my husband and his friend, and I just came up with this idea. I was going to get a motorbike. I found a cheap Suzuki Bandit 600 nearby, bought it the next day, and went kit shopping on Sunday. But then I had to ride it.
ABR: You’re an inspirational figure to many people, but who or what inspires you?
Vanessa: When I was a kid, my mum was really ill. She had to have surgery and she was given a 50/50 chance to live. She even said goodbye to me. But she was so determined, she’d always get out of bed in the morning and fight on. I drew a lot of energy out of that for my own battles. In terms of motorcycling, I look at some of the people who are at the absolute pinnacle of riding, and while I can only dream to be a fraction as good, I think we’re all made of the same stuff. If you put effort and time into something, you can get better at it, even if you think you’re the worst. And you don’t have to be a pro to have fun. As long as you’re doing it, that’s what counts.
ABR: As someone with superb riding skills, what is the one piece of advice you would give to new riders looking to progress?
Vanessa: Leave the ego at home and stop worrying about what other people think. If you’re worrying about falling off or having a hard time, you’ll put too much pressure on yourself, and you won’t enjoy it. Put all of that aside, just get on a bike and have fun. You’re going to have a great time, you’ll learn and get better. It’s just about being on a bike and getting on with it.
For the rest of the Adventure Bike Rider article download 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.