The Gentleman Racer: Vanessa Ruck: The Girl On A Bike
I had the honour of chatting to Michael Satterfield at The Gentleman Racer, here’s what he wrote:
Extract from The Gentleman Racer:
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa Ruck an amazing woman who turned adversity into motivation and now uses her story to help others while exploring the world on two wheels. In 2014 Vanessa was riding her bicycle which a car ran a red light sending her to the hospital and starting a journey of rehabilitation that inspired her to push beyond just recovering from her accident. Today Vanessa is an author, spokesperson, motivational speaker, and competitive motorcycle rider with the goal of inspiring others.
Michael Satterfield: Your love affair with motorcycles started before your bicycle accident, what got you interested in riding?
Vanessa Ruck: Surprising to many, I didn’t grow up with motorcycles, I wasn’t a small kid braaping around at an early age. I was into the world of four-legged friends, obsessed with horses.
This all changed when I lived in The Bahamas in my early 20s for 1.5 years, here on a remote island transport was difficult. I couldn’t afford a car, so I bought a Chinese Lifan Enduro 250 motorbike and had it shipped in. There wasn’t a single other bike on the island and I’d never ridden a bike before, but that didn’t faze me. Others can ride bikes, how hard can it be?
I was however rather shocked when it arrived part assembled in a box! Yikes. Thankfully a trade for a bottle of rum saw a local bush mechanic put it together and I was on my way. I never remember ‘learning’ to ride. I just did it as it was the only way I could get around the island. I was very soon found exploring the remote island of Eleuthera, where I lived, with my spear and fins strapped to the side for spearfishing beach adventures.
Michael Satterfield: What was your first bike?
Vanessa Ruck: So my first bike was quite an adventure, lots of sand and track riding. A Chinese Lifan Enduro 250 in The Bahamas. I then came back to England and realized that it was about time I actually got my full license…I immediately passed my full access license but years went by without having a bike. I guess early in my career and post-university I couldn’t see the financial commitment of a second vehicle as feasible when a car was vital.
Years on, I was living in the UK working 9 miles from home and so I commuted by bicycle. However, this all changed with my accident taking my strong body away from me [read more]. In the years post my accident I was unable to do my commute cycling and thus was driving in our 3.5 liter V6 Mercedes-Benz Viano….which drinks petrol back and forth to work. Once physically able I decided to get a bike, the Suzuki Bandit, to skip the traffic and save money. This was really the first catalyst for bikes taking over my world following the accident. Then came a Harley-Davidson aka a bike comfortable sofa to cruise. 20k miles of touring around Europe….