Posts in: latest-content

Latest content

Top ten tips for coping with pain

Top ten tips for coping with pain

After being hit by a red light jumping car in March 2014 I’ve battled with pain for years through my recovery and wanted to share some of the tips I’ve used to help coping with pain and cope with every day life. For more on my accident please read here.

  1. Take your painkillers: the magic with painkillers is that they really can work. But even low over the counter doses can become much more powerful, if taken correctly [always follow doctors orders]. Taking a painkiller every so often is far less effective than taking them back-to-back. This continual dosage builds a base of pain relief. Therefore if you know, you’re going to have pain stick with the dosage prescribed by your doctor and keep that base-level pain relief going and stick rigorously to the timings.
  1. Use distractions: the magic of keeping your mind occupied really does help one to keep off their focus from the constant pain. For me having uplifting country music or chilled out relaxing tunes, finding a TV series to keep me hooked, watching the odd movie or even reading a book all helped in occupying the brain away from how my physical self-was feeling.
  1. Don’t ignore the pain: pain is there for a reason; normally it is the body’s way of highlighting that an area of the body needs healing energies. Ignore this at your peril. Ultimately, if doing something causes an above 4/10 pain, I would say avoid doing it. I would also recommend focusing some mental energy on the areas of pain to shift your mental and physical energy to this point; it can only help in the healing process [Mindfulness is a great tool for this – see point 8].
  1. Get some treat food: by this, I certainly don’t mean junk food; I mean something that is going to excite you but will still provide much-needed nutrition for your recovery. For me, this was lovely sweet mangoes or grapefruit. These are both items I don’t normally justify the cost of but are invaluable as a little treat pick-me-up, something to enjoy and look forward too. Sometimes it is the simple things.
  1. Don’t push your friends and family away: when in pain it is so easy to isolate yourself and push people away. You’ll be amazed how much uplift even a 5-minute phone call can provide, yes it takes some energy, but it is worth it.
  1. Be aware of the effect your pain has on you: be conscious that you might be a little moody, snap, or burst out from anger. It is only natural when in such discomfort. The trick is simply trying to recognise it. You want / need people around you, and ultimately they will be hurting too through seeing and sympathising with your pain. Try to let them in and support, and try as much as you can not to let the effects of your pain come out on them, if you do [which I certainly did] just be aware of it and say sorry. They are there to help and will understand. An apology goes a long way and might just help you get the next cup of tea you’re longing for.
  1. Try to keep on top of life: yes pain is crippling and can lead to not leaving the house; however, pain is affected by perception. Therefore if you perceive that your pain is preventing you from attending a friend’s birthday, seeing your favourite movie release, going to your Dad’s 60th, then it is going to give you a very downing perception, which will actually add to the level of pain. Try, and function in life, even a trip to Tesco for milk had a huge uplift effect for me. Yes, I then paid the price for the rest of the day, but I was simply out of the house.
  1. Stay positive: this is a lot harder that one can imagine. It takes a lot of mental strength. I found the art of Mindfulness Practice really helpful [this is a great place to start with some simple guides and steps: http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/]. The key to positivity for me is that, no matter how bad things get they could be worse [I could have died in the accident for example, but I didn’t], and there are always things you can count your blessings for. Try to absorb the environment around you, savour the smell of fresh air, enjoy the soft feeling of your bed sheets, and smile at the birds in the garden. Basically be thankful for what you do have. Even on low days, there are people who would give the left arm to be where you are. Life is precious, so cherish it.
  1. Conscious mind: using elements of DBT remember you have the ability to control your mind. Try to recognise the triggers in behavour that see you push the body to far or the mental triggers where you get upset. What first happens? Do you turn stubborn and decide to just grit your teeth? Could you spot this with a conscious mind and break the cycle? A good read on this is here.
  1. Stay positive: this is a lot harder that one can imagine. It takes a lot of mental strength. I found the art of Mindfulness Practice really helpful [this is a great place to start with some simple guides and steps: http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/]. The key to positivity for me is that, no matter how bad things get they could be worse [I could have died in the accident for example, but I didn’t], and there are always things you can count your blessings for. Try to absorb the environment around you, savor the smell of fresh air, enjoy the soft feeling of your bed sheets, and smile at the birds in the garden. Basically be thankful for what you do have. Even on low days, there are people who would give the left arm to be where you are. Life is precious, so cherish it.
  1. Stop taking your painkillers: yes you need them for pain, but painkillers can have some terrible side effects and cause all kinds of problems from nausea, constipation, headaches, itching and so much more, including addiction. It is really important that you control your pain, but it is also important that you get off the painkillers as soon as you can. Start slowly but the uplift you will have when the side effects go is very much worth it.

The AccidentTop tops for dealing with pain

In March 2014 I was hit by a red light jumping car while cycling home from work. It was a life-changing moment; my physical and mental recovery has been long and challenging. Today, years since the accident my body has been through a lot, countless steroid injections, months and months of physiotherapy, key-hole surgery followed by full ACJ shoulder reconstruction, multiple hip surgeries, and all of it meant high levels of pain over a prolonged period of time.

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.

Latest content Vitiligo

Living with Vitiligo – learn to love your body

Living with Vitiligo -learn to love your body

It doesn’t’ hurt and it isn’t contagious. It is just white. With lock-down meaning I’m not covered head to toe in motorcycle armour…I’m getting asked about my white skin…

It’s vitiligo. I’m living with Vitiligo and that is okay.

Vanessa Ruck with Vitiligo

I remember some horrible encounters growing up with kids saying nasty things. Children can be so cruel, but over the years I’ve learned to love my skin and also realise that most comments only come because of a lack of understanding. That is partly why I’m determined not to hide living with vitiligo, if by showing my vulnerability I can help spread awareness of vitiligo then maybe it will help others learning to accept their patches.

I did a post last year braving a bikini and talking about my skin and you’ll see that I have patches all over my body [click here to see it – 6th Oct 2019]. My vitiligo is all over my face, hands, chest, back, legs. It is everywhere!

Young women Vanessa Ruck with Vitiligo
Vanessa Ruck living with vitiligo

Vitiligo is a hereditary skin condition that causes your immune system to work against itself and kill the pigmentation of the skin. Causing white patches. That is it. Skin with no pigment and so white in appearance, and purely cosmetic. Unlike many skin conditions vitiligo thankfully has no negative effects other than a higher risk of skin damage from the sun due to having no melanin. At 13 a got my first patch and ever since it has spread across my body. [see British Skin Foundation for more]

If you’re a mummy or daddy, or grandparent, sister or brother, please show this to the younger generations in your family and explain to them what vitiligo is. Understanding will help so many others with vitiligo who have not yet found the strength to stand tall with their skin.

Remember, some battles go more than skin deep and words really can hurt.

Love the skin that you are in and please share this message to help those learning to live with Vitiligo

Something that has really helped me with coping with my skin is being more conscious about how I feel. It’s a practice that stems from some pretty deep psychological therapies but can be applied to many other elements in life. DBT, developed by Marsha Linehan. It works by teaching people to be conscious about our behaviors, recognizing our triggers and how the events leading up to the behavior before making a conscious decision which coping method is best to apply. With vitiligo it’s easy to slip into a self-hate. To stare at the mirror and be appalled. Standing beating myself up mentally, crying about my skin. A downward spiral of sadness. This for me was the start of a trigger of emotions. With conscious thought I’m now able to catch myself before my mind flies off into a spiral. I can actively pull myself way and remind myself that our differences are beautiful. That I am unique and my skin is part of me.

Please feel free to get in touch via my social channels and ask any questions and for more on me see here.

To learn more about how I camouflage my face please see my camouflage article here. I also recommend taking U Perform Active Collagen to support a smoother, healthier skin complexion. More information here and get 10% off.

Vitiligo
Love the skin you’re in

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.

Latest content

What kit to wear in Iceland on motorcycles

What kit to wear in Iceland on motorcycles

Here’s what kept me warm, dry and protected with the right kit

Riding in Iceland is an intense environment, a land of extremes, and so knowing what kit to wear is vital. Here’s a run through of what kept me warm, dry and protected. Please note that I am not paid for this video or information, and it is created to help others from the experience I had. There are of course different preferences and opinions on kit.

Warm and dry riding motorcycles in Iceland is priority number one!

Iceland is a land of absolute extremes and riding here on motorcycles going through the rugged terrain and mountains puts you in some seriously, seriously cold conditions so I’m here to talk to you about what kit I have brought with me to Iceland.

  1. The most important thing I would say is making sure that you are warm and dry if you are dry and warm you are going to be enjoying this environment so make sure that you have some waterproofs that you can trust and I’ve learned from experience that when they say they’re waterproof it doesn’t necessarily mean they can live up to Icelandic extremes of waterproof so I’ve been in the Adventure Spec jacket and I have not had a drop of water come through it. Absolutely incredible highly trust it
  2. I’ve been wearing military waterproofs on my lower half and again they have kept me incredibly dry.
  3. Underneath that I’ve actually had a Gore-Tex layer. Now the reason why I’ve had both is because I don’t personally always trust Gore-Tex gear for the duration of the waterproof requirements that we’ve had in Iceland and here it’s wet from above and below because you’ve got water crossings and puddles everywhere.
  4. As well thinking about waterproof we always ride with our Cardo intercom systems as well and a lot of the intercoms on the market would not withstand the requirements of the weather here, so make sure you’ve got a decent intercom if you’re going to be using it. When we think about the terrain out here the ability to chat between us is really good for safety because there is random unexpected obstacles that we can warn each other about and make sure we’re all riding safely as a group. See here for 15% off Cardo Systems and here for why I use intercoms.
  5. A woolly hat definitely essential when you stop to take those photos or have a break. It’s amazing how cold your head gets when you take your helmet off, so make sure you’ve got a nice woolly hat with you.
  6. When it comes to your feet… they’re going to get wet. If you are lucky enough to have waterproof boots that’s fantastic. But within the group we have found out that waterproof boots don’t necessarily mean your feet are going to stay dry, because when you’re in a river water is going to go over the top! Waterproof SealSkinz socks is an absolute must I’ve got through the week six days riding with two pairs of socks. They generally don’t dry overnight so it means you’ve got a pair on and a pair off drying, and this means that your boots can be absolutely saturated but the contact with your skin is remaining dry.
Iceland is full of water crossings
Iceland is full of water crossings
  1. Depending what you like to ride with gloves are a really important one for keeping you warm. I tend to enjoy an enduro pair of gloves which are not waterproof and I find that when I’m physically warm and riding even if my hands are soaking wet they don’t get cold. I’ve got two pairs of Hebo enduro non-waterproof gloves, which means I’ve got a dry pair and then I do have some SealSkins fully waterproof gloves. They’re a lovely treat in those last couple of hours of the day when I want to warm my hands up and keep them keep them dry.
  2. I have two pairs of goggles and I’m going to be honest, I actually have only used one pair because I haven’t got them wet enough that I’ve needed to switch them out so with these goggles I’ve gone for the Scott Prospects, which have a light sensitive lens. Changing with the light from sunglasses if it’s bright or if it’s dark cloudy and overcast they will go clear. This means that you’ve got the best of both worlds as far as far as your vision goes.
  3. The bikes out in Iceland with Ridewithlocals have Enduristan panniers but having a camelback with some of your essentials and water is a really, really good recommendation. Mine is a Leatt and this is fully waterproof so anything I put inside is going be alright… especially if I was to have an unlucky dip in a river.
Enduristan panniers
Enduristan panniers
  1. If you think Iceland is going to be a gentle poodle on motorbikes think again. Coming with Ridewithlocals we are doing some insane enduro train across lava fields and peaks and mountains so the body armour very, very important. If you do fall off you want to know that you’re protected, because if you have an injury out in the mountains in Iceland it’s going to be a difficult rescue. I’ve got the Leatt Airfit, which I find incredibly comfortable, super protective.
  2. I’ve got Leatt knee guards as well. I decided to wear the knee guards because of the sort of riding. I didn’t feel like I needed my full x-frame protection.
  3. As far as warmth goes I have decided to go for a layering system so underneath my gear I have full merino leggings and top. The beautiful thing about merino is that if you sweat and get wet and or accidentally get a little bit damp…and the wool is still warm to wear. I then layer it so on some of the more freezing cold days I’ve actually had four merino wool tops on underneath my Adventure Spec jacket and I have been warm and toasty it’s just a case of you working out how many of those layers you need
https://www.instagram.com/p/CD_7ScNhgkn/
  1. A snood is an absolute must keeping that wind protection off your face so I have two snoods because they do seem to get a little bit wet when you’re riding along out here so pack some of these. Hoorag is a good shout for custom snoods.
  2. You’re going to want a pretty solid pair of boots riding in this terrain obviously, it’s enduro. I’ve got the Leatt5.5 GPX. I absolutely love them. They are not waterproof and they don’t pretend to be waterproof so that’s where the waterproof socks are really important. Just anticipate that you’re going to have wet boots for the whole of your riding experience but with the right socks on you don’t have wet feet.

That is a run through of the kit that is keeping me warm and dry here in Iceland.

You can see the full adventure in my two-part video of riding Iceland:

Part 1:

Part 2:

We did six days riding on Husqvarna 701s, covered roughly 1400km doing 9 to 11 hour riding days and got to see the real Iceland – which is unseen by most tourists.

Learn more about Iceland with my 15 facts to know article and video.

For more on the company we rode with see www.ridewithlocals.is

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 InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

Latest content

15 Iceland facts for a motorcycle adventure

15 things you need to know about Iceland for a motorcycle adventure

Following a weeklong motorcycle adventure in Iceland, here’s 15 thing you need to know about Iceland for a motorcycle adventure. Let me know what you think about my Iceland facts in the comments.

Here’s my video, but if you’re more of a reader please cross down for the 15 things you need to know about Iceland for a motorcycle adventure in a written list of Iceland facts.

  1. Mental enduro terrain
  2. Water drinkable
  3. Water crossings
  4. Very wet – wear the right gear [see here for my kit suggestions]
  5. Legal terrain
  6. Mountain huts
  7. Top spots you want to see – geyser, tectonic plates, motorcycle you see stuff normal tourists can’t see
  8. Horse – breeding and eating
  9. Unique foods – dried fish and butter
  10. Hot spas
Hot spas in Iceland riding motorcycles
Hot spas in Iceland riding motorcycles
  1. Scenery – changing, indescribable variation
  2. Safety – comms and support, knowing terrain – signal is good but huge black spots
  3. Weather changes in minutes – have the right gear – waterproof doesn’t mean waterproof 
  4. Ride with locals
  5. Everything is more fun with a viking or three

You can see the full adventure in my two-part video of riding Iceland:

Part 1 Iceland motorcycle adventure:

Part 2 continuing the Icelandic bike adventures:

Reference number 14, we did the trip with RideWithLocals, the only Icelandic enduro company. A fully-inclusive motorcycle Iceland trip on Husqvarna 701s with a support vehicle, fuel, food, mountain hut accommodation, trail snacks, beer and all the local gen from the Vikings running it. We had six days riding, covered roughly 1400km doing 9 to 11- hour riding days and got to see the real Iceland – which is unseen by most tourists. Expect to pay around €4400 per person. www.ridewithlocals.is

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 InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

Latest content

Honda Off-road Experience Centre

Honda Off-road Experience Centre

Here’s my experience riding with Dave Thorpe and the Honda off-road centre. With a brand new fleet of CRF250 RX four strokes and 7 different locations to explore it’s an amazing opportunity to go off road, you can even borrow all the kit.

Having your first go off road can be quite intimidating, finding a bike, having the right kit and a safe place to ride but thankfully there are ways to get out riding, whether your rekindling a past love or having your first dabble in the mud. Hubby and I spent the day with Dave Thorpe and the Honda off-road experience centre on the CRF250 RX and it was mint. With a fleet of brand new Honda bikes, 7 venues and the legend Dave Thorpe (3x world champion 💪🏼) it’s a mega place to play. You can even go without ever having ridden a bike. They’ll teach you.

I’m often asked how to try off roading so wanted to see the options.

I had some good tumbles, got some awesome riding tips and most importantly I had a really good time. Smiles all round.

For more on the Dave Thorpe Honda Experience centre – https://www.davethorpehonda.com/

About Dave Thorpe Honda Off-Road Centre:

At Dave Thorpe Honda Off-Road Centre, we ensure that riders of all abilities, from novice through to expert, can be catered for on our wide range of events. Riding the latest Honda off-road bikes.

We have a fantastic woodland venue in Exmoor National Park, hosting our popular Enduro Days covering trail riding, rocky sections, woodland areas and river crossings.

Our Motocross Days are held at tracks selected by Dave Thorpe to give a first class Motocross experience.

We welcome individual and group bookings, stag and hen parties, corporate and team building events.

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 InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

Latest content

Triumph Trident 660 first ride review

Triumph Trident 660 first ride review

The all new addition to the Triumph line up is here – the Trident 660 – and it’s most certainly a game changer.

Positioned as the most affordable Triumph yet, with punchy yet unintimidating power. It combines a rider friendly size, with premium details and class leading tech. Its poised stance boasts Triumphs classic heritage styling but with a modern twist.

I had the honour to try out the new mid-weight roadster Trident 660 on the Tenerife first ride launch. Here’s my thoughts.

First ride on the Trident 660
First ride on the Trident 660 – shot by MotoBob

If you prefer watching to reading – here is my first ride review:

My highlights:

  • 80bhp giving all the power you need but without the bite, and 90% of the peak torque across the rev range it means it always feels there and ready as you roll on
  • 805mm seat height, narrow stand over and 189kg wet weight means it’s super un-intimidating
  • Michelin Road 5 tyres are ace grip as standard
  • Sound – it just makes me smile and feel powerful
  • The display is so clear and simple. It’s minimalistic to give info at a glance
  • Accessories include smart phone connectivity, full protection to keep it safe if you drop it and heated grips.

Review based on a day’s riding in Tenerife with both dry and wet weather and I’m of course a female riding the Triumph Trident 660 so hope if gives a good woman’s perspective too.

Performance & Motor

The Trident is powered by a 660cc three-cylinder liquid-cooled, dual over head camshaft, 660cc inline-triple cylinder engine making 81bhp / 79.9 horsepower at 10,250 rpm and 47 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm. You’re looking at 90% of the 64Nm peak torque spread across the majority of the rev range. This results in a punchy and agile ride. Responsive power of the line

It’s derived from the Street Triple’s venerable powerplant, however while it’s the first 660 to appear on a Triumph here in the UK, it’s a capacity that’s been used on Australian spec Street Triples for restricted licence holders for the past few years.

Ok, but how did it feel? It was smooth, already ready no matter the gear or the speed and with enough power to get you grinning. Enough to have a lot of fun but not get you in trouble.

Powerful triple 660cc in the Trident 660
Powerful triple 660cc in the Trident 660

Licence eligibility

With the Trident 660 being aimed at new riders looking for their first big bike, Triumph are offering an restrictor kit, which limits peak power to just under 48bhp for A2 licence holders but can be removed when the rider moves onto a full A category licence. This is a bike to grow with.

It just feels like an absolutely ideal bike for someone trying to build confidence, maybe a first bike and it’s also possible to make if A2 licence compliant for learning and having it grow with you.

Looks & Styling

As a British brand with far rooted heritage Triumph have worked to integrate that more traditional look with a modern touch. I’d describe it as clean and gently aggressive but with retro lines. Retro touches include the sculpted knee cut outs on the fuel tank and the classic round headlamp. The design language is certainly softer and more traditional than that of its more aggressive rivals and comes with 4 colour choices. (Crystal White, Matt Jet Black & Matt Silver Ice, Sapphire Black and Silver Ice & Diablo Red.)

The rear of the Trident 660 has a pretty minimalist look to it. There’s only a slither of a seat with the LED brake light integrated, while the number plate hanger, mudguard and indicators are mounted on the fabricated steel swinging arm to create the ‘floating’ effect which tends to polarise traditional motorcyclists.

An all-new tubular steel chassis and cast aluminium swingarm have typical roadster figures, with a 55.2-inch wheelbase and 24.6-degree rake.

Built by riders, for riders, Triumph also offer an extensive range of accessories for the Trident 660, from enhanced styling, boosted comfort or space, extra tech, security, or your own personal touch. All accessories are life tested to withstand the conditions you’ll face and come with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Triumph Trident 660 looks amazing
Triumph Trident 660 looks amazing

Sound

A sleek underslung 3-into-1-exhaust system produces the triple-cylinder howl that us Triumph fans adore. You’re smiling the moment it fires up. I also noticed that when riding along the purr was just lovely.

Build Quality

Clearly made my Triumph. Nothing on the bike had me questioning or worrying about the quality but with just a day riding a more long term test would really be needed to answer this.

With the 660 powertrain being a tested offering in the Australian market and a variant on the Street Triple it’s not a new unknown.

Trident 660 Ease of Riding

Triumph have nailed creating an agile yet totally unintimidating mid-weight offering. It’s 189kg weight and 805mm seat height mean it’s really confidence inspiring. The sculpted tank and very narrow stance make for one of the lower options in the class. I’m 172cm and could easily plant both feet flat with a bend knee. A 14-litre fuel tank has been designed for this model with the waist of the bike where the tank meets the saddle of importance to allow ease of access to and from the machine

The addition of riding modes, another class leading option, brings confidence no mater the conditions. I’m both happy and sad to say I got to test the rain mode in the wet [sad as it meant we got wet]. By switching the modes I could feel the variation in throttle control through the ride-by-wire system.

Slip-assist clutch met expectations for a light clutch, certainly beneficial for riding fatigue, especially in urban environments. The clutch was not adjustable unfortunately, a down for smaller hands but I did find the lever perfectly manageable. The brake however was adjustable.

With the clutch it’s worth nothing that the Trident can be fitted with an optional factory up/down quick shifter, which isn’t offered by its direct competition. This is a tested technology available on other Triumphs and something that certainly aids the thrills of quick shifting but also reduces clutch fatigue.

Triumph Trident 660 ground clearance is 132mm.

the girl on a bike vanessa ruck triumph trident 660 first drive 91
Triumph Trident 660 first driveTriumph Trident 660 first driveTriumph Trident 660 first drive

Trident 660 Tech

Pushing the class to new levels the Triumph boasts some good tech.

5 features the Trident 660 brings that the competition doesn’t:

  • Triple engine for more available torque delivery
  • Ride-by-wire throttle enabling two riding modes
  • TFT minimalistic display and accessory option for my triumph connectivity
  • Premium suspension with upside down Showa forks
  • Premium Michelin Road 5 tyres

Here’s why the Triumph Trident is class leading:

Trident 660 Heads up display

The all-new TFT/LCD dashboard, not shared with other models in the Triumph range, looks cool. It has a minimalistic and uncluttered design – clean and simple. It also brings plenty of additional features when paired with the optional ‘My Triumph Connectivity System’, which can be connected to a smartphone to give integrated sat-nav, phone and music control, while action camera users can pair their GoPro to the system and control it through the left hand switchgear.

As a generation with the phone glued to my side I love the connectivity system connecting both my phone, Cardo Intercom and GoPro. Great tech. The screen is really easy to ready and mega minimalistic. It just feels uncluttered posing the information you need at an easy glance.

Power modes

Thanks to the modern throttle-by-wire, the Trident 660 boasts two pre-set riding modes, Road and Rain, which alter throttle response and rider aid intervention. It also includes adjustable traction control, which can be switched off if desired. ABS, as per Euro 5 standards cannot be turned off.

Rain mode is also a nice option to build confidence on the bike, in any conditions, as it reduces the throttle response. Great for new riders.

Brakes

Class-appropriate 2-piston floating Nissin callipers work with 310mm floating rotors, and a single-piston Nissin calliper grabs onto a 255mm disc. Brakes straight and hard, giving you confidence to power on.

Suspension

Suspension duties are handled by a non-adjustable 41mm inverted Showa fork and Showa shock featuring spring-preload adjustment only. Compared to the traditional fork found on most bikes in this class, the inverted fork is a step up, although costs were still saved with the lack of adjustment.

I felt really smooth riding, some off the larger potholes gave a shudder but with my weight it gave a comfortable ride. The lovely seat also helped.

Tyres

High-quality Michelin Road 5 120/70 and 180/55 rubber is mounted on cast aluminum 17-inch wheels. Michelin Road 5 tires are a significant improvement when compared to the OEM rubber available in this class. They felt sold and confident in both dry and wet riding.

Security

Basic immobiliser as standard but as with most bikes additional security would be recommended. Triumph do security accessories with unlimited warranties so gives an on-brand option.

Storage space

It’s a mid-weight bike so don’t expect touring capacity. You’re probably looking at a rucksack unless you get Triumph accessories luggage. There are limited points for die down straps.

Competition

Pitted against the likes of the Suzuki SV650, Yamaha MT-07 / XSR 700, Kawasaki Z650 and Honda CBR650R, the Trident 660 has its work cut out for it. However, the Triumph offers plenty of up-spec componentry, 5 stand out unique features [see video] and features for a few hundred dollars above most of its competition.

Pillions

I’ve not tested this but the pillion seat is there, ideal for perching on.

For and against

Highlights

  • Small and agile feel for confidence inspiring ride
  • Nailed the heritage but with a gently aggressive poise
  • Michelin Road 5 tyres as standard
  • Triumph seem to have stived to hit the mid-weight class by storm with a few unique new features, challenging the rivals. To list some:
  • Top spec tyres as OEM
  • Riding modes
  • Slip assist clutch
  • Optional quick shifter
  • Available in 4 colour schemes
  • Inline triple with dual overhead cams

Cons

  • Only partially adjustable suspension – just preload, no rebound
  • Clutch lever not adjustable
  • Smart phone connectivity not as standard

£££ 

The Triumph Trident will cost £7195 when it goes on sale in January 2021, in line with Honda’s four-cylinder CB650F, roughly £500 more than the twins from Kawasaki and Yamaha.

It makes the Trident the cheapest bike in the Triumph range, at £900 below the previous entry level model, the Street Twin.

Overall Rating

Summarise this bike in three words? Confidence inspiring fun. As Triumph’s most affordable option it’s dived straight into the mid-weight roadster class with some blinking fun energy. I think it’s a game changer. Big thumbs up.

the girl on a bike vanessa ruck triumph trident 660 first drive 2
the girl on a bike vanessa ruck triumph trident 660 first drive 2

See my Triumph Trident 660 riding review here:

And Triumph Trident 660  Technical review here:

2021 Triumph Trident 660 spec

  • Base Price: £7195 / $7,995
  • Website: triumphmotorcycles.com
  • Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
  • Displacement: 660cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 74.0 x 51.1mm
  • Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
  • Final Drive: O-ring chain
  • Wheelbase: 55.2 in.
  • Rake/Trail: 24.6 degrees/4.2 in.
  • Seat Height: 805cm / 32.5 in.
  • Ground Clearance: 132mm
  • Tank: 14 litre
  • MPG: mid-50s mpg
  • Claimed Wet Weight: 198kg / 417 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 14 litres / 3.7 gals., last 3.8 litre / 1.0 gal. warning light on

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 InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

Latest content

Artisan ES1 Pro review – can it really go off-road

Artisan ES1 Pro review – can it really go off-road

A day in the mud with the ES1 Pro

With electric motorcycles increasingly becoming available on the market for competitive prices and improving ranges, I thought it was time to get muddy. What better than the Artisan ES1 PRO fitted with an off-road pack and a muddy track.

This review is based on a day’s playing in the mud on a MX track in insanely muddy conditions. Much of the track was a foot deep in mud with big puddles and very slippery. We also played on a mini MX track and on the grass areas around the track. Total 4 hours riding with rain falling for the majority of this.

Note: this was extreme conditions for the ES1 Pro and not the conditions it’s designed for…we threw it in the deep end.

The basics – what is the Artisan ES1 Pro

The Artisan ES1 Pro is a small electric offering from the slightly less known brand of Artisan. Artisan ES1 Pro is an electric equivalent of a 125cc combustion motorcycle with a curb weight of 112kg [single battery] or 136kg [two] depending on the battery pack options. When you’re combining that electric torque and off-road you definitely shouldn’t underestimate this bike. The ES1 Pro comes as standard for road riding however, this review focuses on the Off-road pack that turns the ES1 Pro into a mud ready toy. Let’s get into the details.

ES1 Pro off road review with The Girl On A Bike
ES1 Pro off road review with The Girl On A Bike

If you prefer watching to reading – scroll for the video reviews!

The name – Artisan / Kollter / Tinbot

Artisan are the UK importer of the motorcycle which is actually manufactured by Kollter. Another importer is TinBot. This means the Artisan ES1 Pro and TinBot ES1 Pro are effective the same bike.

Off-road pack

This is where I really love the ES1 Pro offering. You buy the bike and then for a £399 you buy the off-road pack on top. This is a new set of wheels, better sized for the off-road, and some nobly tyres. You then have two sets of wheels and one bike enabling you to swap back and forth. Genius. Two riding types, one bike.

I have to clarify that this is not an off-road bike on the level of my Husqvarna TE 250i which is a full race spec hard enduro bike. But that does not mean you can’t have fun. This is design for dabbling off the beaten track. Tearing off the tarmac and enjoying some green lanes and byways.

The ES1 Pro off-road pack gives you a 21inch front and 18inch back [17inch road wheels as standard]. The suspension is set up ready as standard to give the capability for on and off. Ground clearance is 320 mm – noting that a full spec race bike offers 370 mm [KTM TPI] so I was pretty impressed with 320mm.

Swap the wheels and off you go. It’s like two bikes in one. Clever idea. It’s more flexible and versatile for someone wanting to play in the mud and have a great little commuter or first bike.

Taking the ES1 Pro off road with the off-road pack
Taking the ES1 Pro off road with the off-road pack

Battery

First up you have two options, single or dual cell, and this really does change the picture of how this bike performs.

The ES1 Pro comes with one or two Samsung Lithium-ion (18650 cells) 72v, 31.15ah batteries weighing 11kg each and taking 3.5 hours to charge both from flat. The key here is you have two options. You can either go for a single cell [one battery] or duel cell [two batteries]. So yes, the bike can be ridden with one or two batteries, meaning one could be being charged while the other is being used. OR you can ride with both batteries and combine their powers for a higher performance – winner.

The numbers make this easier to process the two options for the ES1 Pro battery delivery:

Battery Type: Samsung Lithium 72v 30.15ahSingle CellDual Cell
Maximum Speed80Km/h96Km/h  
Motor Power Output80Amp 3500W110Amp 5000W
Range50Km Urban Speeds100Km Urban Speeds70mph
Rear Wheel Torque Max190 newton meters (at the motor)  272 newton meters (at the motor)
Total Weight112kg136kg
Artisan ES1 Pro stats

You’ve basically going to get a faster performance, more range and extra torque when running off two batteries, so this is exactly what we did for off-road!

With the dual cell set up we were able to enjoy four hours off-road riding. This was some very muddy conditions too, so lots of full throttle. I was pleasantly surprised by the range. Note that off-road riding can seriously vary so a mile range is not appropriate here. We were in a very wet and muddy MX track conditions with much of the track nearly a foot deep in mud.

Range and speed

Depending on whether you use the bike with one or two batteries, you will have either 3.5kw continuous power and 5kw maximum [one battery] or 5kw continuous power and 11kw maximum [two]. More battery, more power. It’s worth noting that these combined numbers, for a 125cc equivalent are pretty high in terms of max power compared to others, the Super Soco for example is 5kw max power.

Depending on your weight you’re looking at about 15 seconds to 50mph – remember this is a 125cc equivalent.

The same goes for your range. Double up the battery and you’re going to be able to go further – twice as far in fact. 1 battery 50km and double 100km. I’ve not tested this on road so I’m going with the Artisan stats here and imagine this is based on very conservative riding – so no happy throttle!

You’re probably looking at 35 miles per battery. Remember, as the bike daisy chains the batteries you are getting a combined performance with them both being utilised but you can run it with just one battery.

Same battery is used in a few of the electric bikes in this category.

Artisan ES1 Pro really does enjoy the mud
Artisan ES1 Pro really does enjoy the mud

Charging

Equipped with a 3-year warranty the 72V 45Ah battery is chargeable with household plugs. They are simple enough to remove and something I love is the dual element. If you opt for two you can still ride with only one. This means you could have one on charge and one running, then simply swap out when you’re after more juice. Could be ideal for a commute – keep a battery at either end and swap when you get to work and home.

Battery dimensions are 2080mm×860mm×1150mm and come with a very powerful 15W charger. This is a powerful charger for an off-board charger, you don’t get many that are that powerful yet. They charge in a link so you’re looking at 3.5 hours to charge both batteries from flat so very fast compared to segment rivals. It is possible to get a second charger so you could charge individually.

With two removal batteries, that piggy back together in a chain, weighing around 11kg each the ES1 Pro is super versatile to charge:

  • Either straight into the port on the bike – plug and charge
  • Or remove the battery and take it indoors – into the house or office to charge under your desk or staff room

The bike of course comes with all the charging cables. These unfortunately do not fit on the bike, so you need to consider carrying them if you need to charge at the other end of a journey. Some of the other bikes in the category have space for them to store under the seat, but not the ES1 Pro.

No fancy electric charging point is required either, with a standard three-pin plug it takes about 3.5 hours per battery from empty, less if it’s not completely flat.  There’s no option for DC fast charging at a public charge point, but with the average cost of domestic electricity at around 14p per kW, 50p should see a full charge up. You’re looking at around £1 per 100 miles with this bike.

£1 per 100 miles

Compare that to public transport, seasons ticket or car…

Performance & Motor

This is where the electric bike really comes into play – electric power. Yes, it’s a 125cc equivalent but with the electric torque giving instant availability it makes this a nippy and nimble little bike.

In the mud the linear power delivery means finding traction is incredible easy, similar to that of the Electric Motion. You can use throttle control to manage the power, you don’t need a clutch, finding grip and powering hard in the slippery terrain. Electric really does give a new perspective to off-road.

Given this is a 125cc equivalent with no clutch there is not enough power to pop wheelies or do pivot turns, but that’s not really what this bike if aiming at so I don’t see that as a down side. You can off course play about in other ways:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHAYhH0hLWD/

The top speed on the open roads is really the only time you’ll notice a lack of power with a 58mph top speed. But in its natural territory, a muddy track or urban environment, you’ll find you have ample power. If you’re use to electric, you’ll know it makes smiles with the nippy acceleration.  You will not get the acceleration from a comparable scooter or combustion CBT alternative.

Licence eligibility

You don’t need a full motorcycle licence! Out of the box the Artisan ES1 Pro is a L3e license category bike (125cc equivalent) – so either a L3e licence or CTB with ‘L’ plates. Making the Artisan ES1 Pro an ideal learner or first motorbike – especially if you want to get muddy. It is rather nippy off the line considering its category.

You can ride the Artisan ES1 Pro on a CBT (compulsory basic training), which typically takes a day, costs between £100-£200 [UK], and is valid for two years.

This makes it an ideal bike for new riders wanting to get a little muddy and commuters!

Looks & Styling

You can have any colour you want, as long as it’s black. Currently there are no colour options. Maybe in the future, but wrapping or custom graphics is always an option – someone like Moto Shack could probably help or see how to wrap here.

It looks like a proper little off-roader. Electric is still very new and exciting which means straight away it turns heads too.

Having ridden the ES1 Pro off-road and having definitely dropped it a few times –

It can be dropped and in a single days’ playing I’m pleased to say there was no damage as a result of it not being robust enough, other than cosmetic scratches. I did have a rather hard fall breaking a foot peg, which was rather unfortunate, however I’m not sure many bikes pegs could have handled that fall. I feel going backwards on slippery mud more akin to a sheet of ice and slamming in…not many pegs handle falls going the wrong way. Opps.

Somethings that are required to be road legal to a normal MOT, such as indicators were a little sacrificial. I removed the wing mirrors, which simply untwist off. But, as with many off-road bikes these can be modified. Overall, I feel the ES1 Pro has been sensitively designed for gentle off-road use.

There aren’t many 125 cc CBT learner equivalent bikes you can jump from on and off terrain with no dramas. Awesome!

No dramas dropping it
No dramas dropping it

Build Quality

I have no qualms here. Everything feels solid and well built. It’s a very affordable bike so you can’t expect the Ferrari build, but you certainly get what you pay for. The bike feels reliable and well built. I would say it’s well worth the money to get two batteries too.

The bike did also get dropped… see this video for that action…

Ease of Riding

Getting new riders into the motorcycle world is an increasing problem but I think electric is going to take a key role in supporting acquisitions. The accessibility of electric offerings means swinging your leg over for the first time is easier than ever.

Twist and go controls, dual braking with hand brakes, no gears and pretty much no maintenance. Add being just 136kg with a seat height is 840mm and you have a really friendly, unintimidating first off-road bike.

840mm is actually high when compared to some of the other little electric bikes in the category but not when you consider taking it off-road. However, it is still a very manageable size [I’m 169cm] largely helped by the very narrow stand over height. And remember that a typical off-road bike on the enduro side can be 960mm.

Tech

The ES1 Pro doesn’t come with any fancy technology other than being the next generation of electric offering. Everything is as you would expect.

Speedo configuration

A great thing about the technology is the on and off-road change over. If you change the wheels from on to off-road, the speedo will of course become off due to the different wheel sizes. Thankfully Kollter has thought of this and gives you the option to change the wheel size. This is done through the display. Clever for Artisan to programme this in so you can swap wheels without drama.

Chain

One of the few in the category with a chain. Coming with a 51 tooth rear sprocket.

The chain does give you a little more noise than other electric bikes, something making it a little more familiar to a traditional bike. With the chain it does mean any changes on a sprocket might be more difficult. I’ve not seen anything available for those mods.

Oil

 A little unique on an electric bike but a Kollter oil compartment to lubricate the gear box means a tiny bit of maintenance. This needs topping up at about 900 mile intervals.

Heads up display

You have a basic display with clear battery charge, range and the usual stats. You can change the display to set times, trips, battery temperature etc. It’s simple and clear. The buttons are however a little awkward, located on the back righthand side, something to get use to.

Power modes

The three power modes change speed restrictions:

  1. Eco level one restricts speed to around 28 mph, while also reducing acceleration
  2. Intermediate level restricts to an indicated 50mph but gives full acceleration
  3. Sport – up to 60 mph with two batteries for some happy throttle fun

The modes are switchable on the move; which means you flow with the traffic, getting maximum range in level one at 28mph in town and know you’re not going to accidently whizz past a speed camera with that electric torque. Then shift up a mode or two for the country roads, green lanes or dual carriageway.

Brakes

Ventilated discs with CBS enabled controls, the right lever will trigger the front and back break together for dual braking. The left lever is solely rear brakes with no ABS. However, the dual braking means the braking will support you by activating linked braking with the handlebar, bicycle style brakes. I did a couple of rather sudden stops and I was impressed with the braking power. I took a few minutes to stop pressing my foot for the brakes, but my mind quickly adapted to the handlebar scooter style braking. For more serious off road I would say a foot rear brake would be very preferable.

It’s also not possible to throttle and brake at the same time. Which sounds really obvious but a slippery hill start in the mud can requires some ninja brake and throttle control, which is limited by this cut off.

ES1 Pro Suspension

Progressive linkage rear suspension means good response both with small bumps but also larger impacts like potholes. Off-road the bike felt smooth with comfortable input from the terrain below.

Adjustable front upside-down forks give rider set up capability. With the battery weight quite low and forwards the front suspension felt firm but sometimes a little washy in slippery corners.

Security

It has an alarm and immobiliser but as with all bikes like this it is probably best to get a DataTag, maybe a Moni Moto tracker and a screaming disc lock is always a good shout. Its own alarm is not loud.

There is a small lockable clip to attach a helmet on the rear – I didn’t test this but know it’s there.

Storage space

Remember this is a little bike not a pan Africa adventurer. Storage is near non. If you run the bike on one battery you can use the space where the second battery would be as storage.

It’s also worth noting that the 15amp charging cable does not fit on the bike. This means if you’re riding somewhere where you will need to charge you will need a rucksack to carry them. 

Pillions

This is a small bike so certainly not design for two-up but it is totally feasible. The Artisan ES1 Pro max weight allowance is 200kg. There is a small pillion handle to hold.

I rode briefly with my 85kg husband on the back. As we had off-road set up this was not ideal as the weight meant, with the larger off-road wheels, the rear number plate holder rubbed. I think with road tyres this would be fine but not in off-road set up.

Pillions only possible with rode tyres.

Can the ES1 Pro really go off-road?

I can confirm the ES1 Pro can do mud…you can drop it, you can slide sideways, you can power through the dirt, tear up some mud and have a blinking good time too. Did I expect it? Being honest…no! This guy is an electric bike, ridable without a full licence, and unique in that you can upgrade to add the off-road pack [bigger spoked wheels and knobbly tyres] and turn your urban commute into a green laning hoot. We managed a good four hours in terrifyingly deep mud, I think even Buddy would have struggled, and felt solid.

Yes, the ES1 Pro really go off-road?
Yes, the ES1 Pro really go off-road?

It’s not trying to be a full blown off-road bike – for which it would need upgraded suspension, better tyres and a touch more power, BUT for a nimble cross over as a first bike or to dabble off-road I think it’s ace. Massive thanks to Artisan for trusting me with it and not telling me off for dropping it in the mud at least 30 times as I played about.

It was great how easy it was to ride. I really think these new electric offerings are going to help get some new riders into motorcycles. A super low saddle height, a simple twist and go with bicycle-style dual breaks. It’s intuitive to learn. It makes for a really easy, completely un-intimidating bundle of fun!

ES1 Pro For and against

Highlights

  • Two bikes in one so a mega bargain and added fun
  • Comfortable riding position with low seat height for off-road confidence
  • Unbelievable off-the-line acceleration for a 125cc equivalent
  • Ace off-road handling for its class, allowing you to throw it about in the mud and have some fun – definitely does not feel like a scooter
  • Incredibly light and agile for urban manoeuvring and parking in tight spaces
  • Removeable battery for home or under desk charging + added security
  • Using two batteries means you can run one and charge one, or double up for boosted performance
  • Power modes help prevent speeding tickets with restricted top speed and switchable on the move

Cons

  • Taking a pillion is only possible in road tyre mode due to the larger off-road tyres rubbing the number plate with additional pillion weight
  • Security alarm is very quiet – unlikely to even scare a sheep let alone deter a thief
  • The graphics, really designed for the road, took a beating in one day so some proper off-road graphics would be a nice home custom and provide more protection
  • It does come with off-road tyres and we did riding in some crazy mud, but you could still go for even better off-road tyres – I suggest swapping for Pirelli or Michelin rubber. You’ll lose some road performance but have even more fun off-road
  • Rear number plate rubs with the larger wheels and impacts in off-road terrain if jumping [note it’s not really designed to jump…just sharing all my findings]
  • The grips are ace for road but not great for grip when you add mud

Cost 

Absolute bargain! Artisan ES1 Pro cost £4,400* AND you can have two bikes on one – urban fun and some greenlaning for an extra £399. Get £1 for 100-miles.

Consider current commuting costs and I bet it pays for it’s self rapidly!

*Inclusive of OLEV Plug-in Motorcycle Grant, which gives 20% off the price [UK grant only]

Highlights

  1. Two bikes in one – road commute and off-road playing
  2. Incredibly simple controls with light weight compact design
  3. £1 for 100 miles running cost with 72-mile range
Getting muddy with my husband Ruckymonster on the Artisans
Getting muddy with my husband Ruckymonster on the Artisans

Tips From Experience

  • They’re amazing at power slides and donuts! Smiles for days
  • You can’t take the charger with you on the bike so either calculate your range or pop the charger in your rucksack
  • Enjoy the torque and acceleration but remember the happier the throttle hand the lower the range

Overall Rating

This is a cracking little urban city bike but with a twist. Two bikes in one with the off-road pack and an amazing toy for the mud too. Super low running costs, incredibly easy to ride and with a range perfectly adequate for the average commuter. With its dirt bike like styling you can ride without a full licence and enjoy the punchy electric torque. Definitely a strong contender!

See my Artisan ES1 Pro / Kollter ES1 Pro riding review here

And Artisan ES1 Pro / Kollter ES1 Pro Technical review here:

Artisan ES1 Pro specs

TypeES1 PRO
Dimensions 
Wheel Base1470 mm
Overall Size2060*860*1140 mm
Front Tyre110/70-17 or 90/90-21
Rear Tyre120/70-17 or 4.10-18
Front Seat Height840(S) 920(X) mm
Rear Seat Height870(S) 940(X) mm
Front suspension length780(S) 820(X) mm
Rear shock absorber length335(S) 355(X) mm
Front wheel stroke160(S) 170(X) mm
Rear wheel stroke150(S) 180(X) mm
Rear/front BrakeDisc/disc with CBS
OBDYes
Minimum Ground Clearance320 mm
Quality 
curb weight128 kg
Loaded Maximum Weight278 kg
Performance 
Highest Speed (Limited)96 km/h
Rear Wheel Rotation at Highest Speed778 r/min
Start acceleration0.4g
Start Torque(Rear Wheel)340 N.m
(Climbing Ability)20°
Transmission ratio51:15
Transmission efficiency0.92
Motor 
Rated Power5 kW
Peak Power8 kW
Start Torque (motor)50 N.m
Battery 
TypeMCN Lithium
Core18650
Voltage72V
Capacity30.15Ah
Range (Single Battery)50km/45KPH
Range (Double Battery)100km/45KPH

For more about the Artisan range see their website: Artisanscooters.com

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 InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

Latest content The Girl on a Bike in the Media Vitiligo

Vitiligo Ultra Vitiligo Review – Scam Products

Vitiligo Ultra Vitiligo Review – Scam Products

My post across my social media pages about vitiligo, something that I wrote to help awareness, has been taken out of context by Ultra Vitiligo.

A company Ultra Vitiligo have decided to take my photo and use it as ‘evidence’ that their scam product cures vitiligo…. it is not true. The world is full of people trying to scam, fake and make money. This saddens me.

To clarify. I have NEVER used their product, the only product I use is Zanderm Vitiligo Concealer to camouflage my face.

While vitiligo is a physical condition changing the pigmentation of the skin, it has far more psychologically manifestations – and lies like this only make things hard and words for those battle to accept vitiligo. Lies and false hopes give bad expectation management.

Ultra Vitiligo scam post fake cure by Masqsood Admad Ahmad
Ultra Vitiligo scam post fake cure by Masqsood Admad Ahmad

Why am I sharing this about Ultra Vitiligo?

1. To ensure there is something online for search results about this company that shows the truth as they have blocked me. It is a scam, fake and untruthful product that does not work.

2. To remind us all that not everything we see online is as it seems

3. To be open and honest, this post makes me sad

4. To ask you all to let me know if you ever see anyone using my photos

Ultra Vitiligo is a scam product, it does not work, the proof is in the fact they have taken my photos to show a ‘cure’. If it actually worked they would have their own photos.

LIES SCAM FAKE Ultra Vitiligo –> https://www.ultravitiligo.com/

You can see my original post here:

Or read my article on how my vitiligo has changed from age 17 to 34 here.

Much love all

Use VR10 for 10% off Zanderm

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.

Latest content Vitiligo

How vitiligo spreads – age 17 and 34

How vitiligo spreads – Me age 17 and 34… can you tell the difference?

The white skin that appears just as a small dot on my chest at 17. It’s Vitiligo and my body is increasingly covered it the white patches, including my face. Thankfully, it’s cosmetic as a condition resulting from my immune system effectively killing the pigmentation. However, the mental implications are far deeper.

Vitiligo how it spreads - Vanessa age 17 and 34
Vitiligo how it spreads – Vanessa age 17 and 34

I still recall the first spot appearing on my chest. I was 13. An age when nasty teenagers can be cruel about the slightest ‘off looking’ trait. I recall trying to process the implications, would it spread, when, how much?

Few realise how dealing with vitiligo somehow never ends. You get your head around it, you accept it, you learn to love your skin. But then the line in the sand you’ve accepted moves. A new patch, a new area of the body, it appears on your belly, legs, and worst of all…face. Each time you mentally reprocess it. Even now at 34 I still have my moments & that’s okay.

I’ve learned to manage my skin. Sun protection to stop it burning, & I choose to camouflage my face with Zanderm, specially designed to camouflage vitiligo, to put a warm glow back into my paper white facial skin. [see how I camouflage my face here]

Vitiligo how it spreads vanessa ruck the girl on a bike 2
Vitiligo at age 17

It’s a daily game of cover up. Yes, I could go natural like my body but honestly, I’m happy dealing with it how I do. It’s ok to cover it or go natural. It’s about finding what gives you the most confidence to love yourself. For me this is it.

I love my skin.

I’m vitiligo proud!

Vanessa

MY REQUEST  Let’s all remember that battles aren’t always just skin deep. Please share and help raise awareness for all those little ones growing up in the world. Together we can make a place where our differences don’t matter. We’re all beautiful in our own ways.

Use VR10 for 10% Zanderm.com – this is not a commission link, just a brand I love.

Vitiligo at age 34 riding motorcycles in Iceland
Vitiligo at age 34 riding motorcycles in Iceland – more here

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 InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

Latest content

Adventure motorcycle riding Iceland – The land of fire and ice with RideWithLocals

Adventure motorcycle riding Iceland – The land of fire and ice with RideWithLocals

Adventures can start on your doorstep – but Iceland offers motorcycle riding experiences like nowhere else on Earth

See Part one of the Iceland motorcycle adventure:

Part 2 continuing the Icelandic bike adventures:

A jolt through the bars pulls my focus back as my mind battles between reading the rapidly unfolding terrain and being distracted by the staggering scenery wrapping around me like a never-ending film set. That was close! I grip tighter with my knees as my rented Husqvarna 701 writhes beneath me in the thick volcanic sand. Stones are flinging past from the bike ahead. Everything feels loose and visceral – but I’m in control. I feel alive. And I’m on the stops, pinned across what feels like another planet, rear wheel spinning, hopping and dancing as it scrabbles for traction. That was the moment I realised Iceland with RideWithLocals is pure riding bliss.

‘The terrain rolls beneath my wheels like a conveyor belt of challenges’
Iceland by motorcycle – It’s the sort of ever changing landscape which only a bike can let you fully explore

‘The terrain rolls beneath my wheels like a conveyor belt of challenges’

Minutes earlier I’d been teetering frantically, working to balance and control the bike across technical jagged rocks. Riding slow, moving, leaning, shifting the weight and searching for traction with the rear wheel, eyes fixed ahead looking for the next obstacle yet constantly flicking about, mesmerised by the lava field around me. I mean, how often do you get to ride on a lava field? Created during the Laki eruption in the late 18th century, it’s a vast 565km2 ocean of jagged rock, soft moss, deep ash, and jaw-dropping scenery. And you can ride right through it. RideWithLocals, was I really still on Earth?

The terrain rolls beneath my wheels like an ever-changing conveyor belt of challenges: Rocky and technical one minute, soft ash fields and rivers the next, then hard lava beds, and ruts, long weight-back full throttle loose surface straights, deep sand, aggressive boulder fields, snow and ice… It’s an off-road playground of every terrain imaginable. Nothing about Iceland is normal. Nothing remains the same as you hop from one extreme to the next.

Lava field riding adv motorcycle Iceland
Lava field riding adv motorcycle Iceland with RideWithLocals

‘Nothing is normal. How often do you get to ride on a lava field?’

Raging force of nature

Having lost count of the river crossings I was feeling quietly confident every time a raging torrent blocked our path. Pick a line, stand on the pegs, steady and gentle on the throttle and staying loose to absorb those unseen rocks beneath the surface. But as the group pulls up to the biggest crossing yet I could feel my heart thumping. At least 20 metres wide, it was also deep and flowing fiercely. Our guide, aptly nicknamed Mini Viking, starts depth testing on foot (I can’t help being amused that the person with the shortest legs has been tasked with seeing how deep the water is…). It’s the ultimate way to flood your boots with freezing glacial melt-water, but also the only way ensure a safe crossing. Hundreds of miles from civilisation, a drowned bike is to be avoided at all costs.

Mini viking scoping the river depth
Mini viking scoping the river depth

Mini Viking gets halfway. The water is gushing well above his knees. I’m still amused, but it’s not looking good for the bikes. Firing up we track parallel to the raging force of nature, searching for a more forgiving crossing point. Then we spot two hikers on the far side of the river, shoes still in hands from having just waded through. If they’ve made it across here, we certainly can. Although I’m bemused by them being here at all – how far have they hiked? It’s been a long way, and hard going on the bikes.

Crossing point chosen, it’s my turn. My heart is racing, the bike’s leaning on me holding ground against the flow. With water right up to the air filter’s limits it’s a three-man job escorting each bike. I’m tense, my legs feel like I’m struggling in wet concrete as I fight the flow, the boulders invisible as the murky water tries to tip me into the flow. Lactic acid builds in my arms as I grapple to hold on, it somehow feels like one of the most demanding manoeuvres ever. Every force being exerted wants to tear the bike from under me. Going under now could be ride ending, but working together sees our party of seven all make it across. That’s some guilt-free beers earned.

‘Working together sees our party all make it across’

It’s a three-person job getting each bike through
It’s a three-person job getting each bike through

Lonely planet

The landscapes are like nothing you’ve seen

There is something eerie about riding in such remoteness. The reassurance of the RideWithLocals support truck being on standby is great – but out here, we’re essentially on our own. It’s a novelty when we see a 4×4 bouncing through the landscape, smiles and that nod of mutual respect for being out exploring this unforgiving wilderness bringing a sense of camaraderie. We’re staying in huts mostly only reached by long distance horse riders. They’re fuelled on hay – but we need more appetising food and our bikes need spares and fuel – none of which are available out here. Without our support truck, we’d be walking and hungry in a matter of hours.

Every evening the truck would meet us at our night stop, meaning the luxury of not having to carry luggage and that was key to the pace we rode at. We travelled to our ability, focused, fast and adapting to the terrain. Every crest bringing a new challenge, a new feast for our senses and a test for our skills.

Huge waterfalls and a 701 rented from RideWithLocals
Huge waterfalls and a 701 rented from RideWithLocals

Off-road bikes in their natural environment

Spa day on bikes motorcycle Iceland

“Pack your bikini today…” says our guide as we get set for another day in this lava landscape. Playing it cool, I sip my morning coffee and nod, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine what was coming. Amidst the breath-taking remote mountains we approach an old picket fence, falling apart, paint peeling, abandoned and being reclaimed by nature. Weaving through a tight gap, brushing through overgrown bushes and then my jaw drops. A thermal pool appears before us, a steaming cyan oasis ready to soothe our bike weary bodies. Formerly a pool for the geo-thermal plant workers, it now appears largely disused and is missing the pool-boy, but the water was crystal clear and fed by a natural spring. People say the tourist-soaked Blue Lagoon is a must see but I’d pick an isolated spot like this any day. This is the only situation where bikinis and motorcycles should converge.

Come in, the water is lovely. For once that is really true

Land of ice and fire with RideWithLocals

Viking pulls to a stop and points to the ground. I’m perplexed and dismount as he crouches down returning with a palm of wild crowberries. Riding with the locals gives insights to the land we’d easily miss. Iceland, with winter weeks of total darkness and short summers, is a unique ecosystem. He explains that damaged flora can take up to 30 years to repair. I’m mesmerised by the realities of the land of fire and ice, and the knowledge that comes from riding with the locals means that a detour from the track into the moss for a photo vanishes from our minds – it could never be worth a 30-year scar to this delicate landscape.

Over 2.5 million tourists visit Iceland each year to see the big sights. Hot spas, waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, tectonic plates and lava fields. They pack into coaches or hire cars. But riding here with RideWithLocals on off-road bikes changes your perspective. We can discover the must-see spots from the less trodden tracks, skipping the crowds, and seeing things most tourists might only glimpse from the plane window. We rode up close to Hekla, slept below the Myrdalsjokull Glacier, recharged in an abandoned spa, explored huge craters without a soul in sight, picked across lava fields, crossed valley basins and crested mountains, riding volcanic ash berms. It was riding heaven combined with cultural and geological discovery: A trip only motorcycles can make possible.

Riding close with Hekla volcano
Riding close with Hekla volcano

There’s always time for a photo

Learn more about Iceland with my 15 facts to know article and video.

Six things to know to motorcycle Iceland – RideWithLocals

‘Ditch the tent, stay in mountain huts’

  1. Icelanders welcome riders with enthusiasm to explore the thousands of miles of little-known tracks. However, with a fragile ecosystem so vulnerable to ruin from a misplaced foot, it’s easy to see why it’s illegal to leave the tracks.
  2. Rapidly changing weather – sunshine one-minute, sideways rain the next, vicious winds, snow, hail and rainbows. We hit the first river crossing 60 metres from turning off the highway. So pack waterproof socks… it’s wet.
  3. You don’t need to be a pro off-roader but you do need to be comfortable on the pegs for long days riding with a huge mix of terrain, including sand and deep water crossings.
  4. Ditch the tent and stay in mountain huts – log cabins with toasty hot showers and comfortable mattresses.  The locations and the views – that’s how to see Iceland.
  5. Never call an Icelandic horse a pony, no matter how small! They’re loved, ridden and, er, eaten. As one of the only animals tough enough to live out Icelandic extreme winters it’s an ideal meat source and worth a try.
  6. The biggest volcanic island globally with 30 active volcanos and treacherous terrain. Having the right communications, heaven forbid should you need it, is essential. Our guides had that sorted but it’s vital to mention.

The Trip – Explore Iceland with RideWithLocals

Local knowledge RideWithLocals, the only Icelandic enduro company and based just a 2h 45min flight from the UK. A fully-inclusive motorcycle Iceland trip on Husqvarna 701s with a support vehicle, fuel, food, mountain hut accommodation, trail snacks, beer and all the local gen from the Vikings running it. We had six days riding, covered roughly 1400 km doing 9 to 11- hour riding days and got to see the real Iceland – which is unseen by most tourists. Expect to pay around €4400 per person. www.ridewithlocals.is

Warm and dry riding motorcycles in Iceland is priority number one! Here’s my kit list:

Adventures can start on your doorstep with RideWithLocals– but Iceland offers motorcycle riding experiences like nowhere else on Earth

Article as seen in MCN:

MCN cover Sept 30, 2020 - Vanessa Ruck
MCN cover Sept 30, 2020
MCN - Vanessa Ruck
MCN – Vanessa Ruck
MCN - Vanessa Ruck - RideWithLocals
MCN – 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 InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.