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The Girl on a Bike in the Media

MCN motorcycle show: Get inspired to explore

As seen in The MCN motorcycle show: At the Devitt Insurance MCN London Motorcycle Show, some of the most seasoned motorcycle adventurers in the world share this year’s hottest two-wheel destinations and essential travel advice.

Whether it’s a long weekend in the Peaks or organising the epic global trip of a lifetime, it’s essential to get advice from the people who’ve been there and done it. The Adventure Travel Stage, sponsored by Caberg, at this year’s Devitt MCN London Motorcycle show will be packed with experts who have first hand experience across a wide spectrum of two wheel travel so no matter what level your ambition or experience is, you’ll get the very best advice imaginable.

Here’s some of the fascinating experts who’ll be sharing their knowledge on the Adventure Travel Stage sponsored by Caberg, at the Devitt Insurance MCN London Motorcycle Show on February 17-19.

1. Vanessa Ruck

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 Dunas Rally

Otherwise known as ‘The Girl on a Bike’ Vanessa is an adventurer and presenter based in the UK. After a tragic accident on her pushbike followed by 7 years recovery, Vanessa discovered motorcycling and the thrill of exploring the world on them. From full blown desert rallies, to hard enduro and road touring, to knee down track days, and trials. If it’s got an engine and wheels, Vanessa will be excited.

As a force to be reckoned with, she’s a rider, racer and adventurer living with ongoing pain, and is determined to make the most of every day despite her past, and help others do the same. Vanessa will be joining us with her energetic real life experiences following her life changing story from accident to becoming a rider and international racer.

2. The Lightweight Adventurers

The Lightweight Adventurers started out in 2018, with just two regular blokes, filming for YouTube, what they loved doing…riding off road on their little Honda CRFs. With a combined 50 years in the military, both Marc and Jamie understand the value that being in a supportive community brings and with that in mind they started the Lightweight Adventurers, a group that aspires to bring people that think light, pack light and travel light, together.

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They have traveled extensively through Europe and the UK racking up over 4000 miles in their last adventure to the deserts of Spain. They’ve even ridden to the Isle of Skye for a weekend from Lincoln, a 1700-mile round trip!  

3. Tiffany Coates

Tiffany is the world’s foremost female motorcycle adventurer having ridden over 300,000 miles, crossing every continent, some of them several times. She’s travelled just about everywhere including Timbuctoo, Outer Mongolia, Tibet, Madagascar and Borneo. On most of her journeys, Tiffany has ridden her trusty 1992 BMW R80GS nicknamed ‘Thelma’, a bike she rode to India on with just two months riding experience.

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Tiffany is the world’s foremost female motorcycle adventurer having ridden over 300,000 miles, crossing every continent, some of them several times. She’s travelled just about everywhere including Timbuctoo, Outer Mongolia, Tibet, Madagascar and Borneo. On most of her journeys, Tiffany has ridden her trusty 1992 BMW R80GS nicknamed ‘Thelma’, a bike she rode to India on with just two months riding experience.

4. Sam Manicom

Motorcycle overlander and travel writer Sam Manicom was born in the Congo in Central West Africa where his parents worked. His family returned to the UK when he was 10, Sam has been travelling for most of his life. His first solo trip was age 16 by bicycle into Europe. His first major trip was a seat-of-the-pants 3 year backpacking voyage of discovery across Europe, India and Australia, which often saw him down to his last $10. What was needed, he earned along the way and this he says was a great learning experience.

Back in the UK, he decided that ‘growing up’ was what you were supposed to do and settled down into a career. But something was always missing. Wanting to do something completely different, Sam learned to ride a motorcycle and within 3 months of starting to ride, he set off to travel the length of Africa. This one-year trip turned into an 8-year around the world motorcycle adventure across 6 continents.

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Sam now works full time in the world of adventure travel. He’s a keen advocate of motorcycle travel in particular and when not writing his books, magazine articles and conducting multimedia travel presentations within Europe and the USA, he’s very much involved with travel related organisations.

For the rest of the MCN motorcycle show 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 Trail and Adventure Motorbike Podcast: TAMP Season 4 Episode 1 Vanessa Ruck The Girl on a Bike

As seen in The Trail and Adventure Motorbike Podcast: An amazing start to season 4, we even find out what her real name is!  From a hospital bed to kicking ass and taking names in some of the world’s toughest enduro events.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Vanessa Ruck.

Suuuper AnimeThe Suuuper Anime Podcast is a show that looks to entertain, inspire and inform you…Listen on: Apple Podcasts Spotify

Eye-Opening Moments PodcastEye-Opening Moments are stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck racing

For the rest of the podcasts 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

Laguna: The 1000 Dunas are faced by Vanessa Ruck and Tiger 900.

As seen in The More bikes: The 1000 Dunas is a challenging cross-country race that calls for the utmost resolve, aptitude, and self-assurance to win. This route is centred on the principles of off-road riding, where excellent motorcycle handling and navigation are requirements.

All terrains and routes require the strongest of souls and an unmistakable amount of bravery. The raid has recently been completed by none other than Vanessa Ruck, aka ‘Girl on a Bike’ (@thegirlonabike) on a Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro. Showing off her skills as a rider and how well the bike can perform in heats of immense pressure.

The Challenge


Triumph Dec 22 Dunas1000TriumphTiger900RallyPro VanessaRuck vanessa

The Challenge

Born and raised in England, Vanessa is a go-getter with all sorts of dreams she wants to accomplish. After a car hit her on her bicycle in 2014 she was hospitalised and in need of some serious medical attention. Over the course of 13 months, 7 operations, full shoulder reconstruction, 6 hip surgeries and countless steroid injections she was undergoing training to progressively work back to where she was before. Six years on, she’s back on the bike but this time with a motor too! Now an advocate for motorcycling she rides everything from dirt bikes to Harley-Davidson® cruisers. A testament to the strength of a determined woman, Vanessa is a role model for millions worldwide.

Tiger 900 Rally Pro

The perfect bike selected for this journey was the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro. A bike built for the occasion, Triumph has dedicated time, resources and effort to make this the ideal bike for off-road adventure. Packed with a class-leading specification the bike was designed to withstand the toughest of riding conditions off-road or on the tarmac. Powered by the powerful 900cc triple engine and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the bike exceeds expectations in all areas. Not only does the bike come good to go as standard but there is a fantastic range of accessories and parts available within the Triumph genuine product catalogue and third-party alternatives too.

Triumph Dec 22 Dunas1000TriumphTiger900RallyPro VanessaRuck thebikeprofile
Triumph Dec 22 Dunas1000TriumphTiger900RallyPro VanessaRuck thecourse 2

The Course

During this maximum intensity week, you’ll make a start from Granada (Spain) and make your way across the Mediterranean Sea via ferry from Motril to Nador. After that, you’ll ride through the land of the Berbers within the picturesque Atlas Mountains where you might even encounter snowfalls and flurries – perhaps even the first of the season. Once you’ve worked your way through the blizzard you’re descending down the mountain southbound into the desert terrain of Morocco to arrive at the peaks of the great dunes of Erg Chebbi. On the way back, you venture into more unexplored lands of the Morocco desert and into Merzouga, then Nador. It is here that your endurance and riding skill will be tested most. 

For the rest of the Laguna 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

Ross Gazette: Vanessa, the “Girl on a Bike,” will have several victories in 2022

As seen in The Rossgazette: This year has been exciting in a variety of ways. This is also true for Vanessa Ruck, a well-known local social media celebrity also known as “Girl on a Bike,” who has a long list of accomplishments for the year 2022.

Vanessa has completed in countless competitions on a wide variety of motorbikes, as well as spending a considerable amount of time on three wheels, most of which has been chronicled on her YouTube channel and her Instagram.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck racing

Her highlights this year include: being the firsts woman to finish 1000 Dunas on standard adventure bike; the first female to enter and finish one of the toughest desert races out there Tunisia Desert Challenge; speaking to 8,000 school students; branching out her rally capabilities by completing two wheel moto rallies, three wheel rally in Ural sidecar and now has her four wheel rally licence, ready to race a Bowler Defender; it’s been the longest period without needing medical surgery intervention since her car accident in 2014. And she has been getting back into cycling with help of eMTB and enjoying the wonders and has ridden or raced in 20 countries.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck 1000 DUNAS RAID

Vanessa has been the first woman to ever enter into the Tunisia Desert Challenge, an extreme rally raid over sand dunes and in blistering temperatures. The 35-year-old competitor went on to complete the gruelling eight day endurance event, covering up to 469km each day and won the ladies class.

In Morocco she completed the 1000 DUNAS RAID, making her the first woman to ever finish on a standard production large-capacity adventure bike. Battling dry riverbeds, sand, camel grass, dunes, and long distances over rough terrain every day.

Vanessa is also keen to use her experiences to inspire young people, she visited Bristol at Orchard School to talk about her “Because I Can” attitude with years 7, 8, and 9. She spoke about giving young people the right tools to take on life, despite the setbacks and uncertainties that we all face, especially in light of Covid-19.

Looking to the future Vanessa has no intention of slowing down. She’s keen to explore new technology in the world of racing, including electric bikes, synthetic fuels, and even move up to some four-wheel rallies.

For the rest of the Ross Gazette 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

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.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck priory school birmingham

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.