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Babes That Ride: A Q&A with The Litas’ Jessica Haggett

When you hear five motorcycles on the road, what do you expect to see?

The Litas, an organization of women-only riders, is seriously threatening what has traditionally been a boys-club. Jessica Haggett is the founder of the epic group, and a major force to be reckoned with. Her initiative, passionate drive, and network of amazing ladies has helped the group expand to ten different countries, fifty cities, and has recruited more than 600 women.

I got the chance to shoot Jessica a couple questions about riding, The Litas, and what’s to come. Let’s say I’ve never wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle more than I do right now. Check out what she had to say below.

07-26-15 The Litas Big Cottonwood (82 of 623)

What does the name “Litas” mean? How does that contribute to your understanding of the organization?

The Litas is a name my friend came up with about 5 years ago at a bar, we joked we would start a woman riding group… about 4 years later when I started the group I needed a name. I jumped around with about 30 awful names and just decided to stick with The Litas. At the time no one had heard it and no one understood it because it really doesn’t mean anything. Now it’s a recognizable name for the largest woman riding network in the world! Luckily we grew pretty fast, otherwise the name would seem kinda silly.

Historically, motorcycle culture has been tied to the idea of masculinity. How do you and the women you ride with deal with that?

You’re right, historically it has been tied to masculinity. It honestly still is. It doesn’t really bug us though. We are all different shapes, and sizes, and come from completely different backgrounds and instead of trying to fall into any sort of stereotype we just choose to see ourselves as individuals. We also all have a feminine confidence on and off the bike whether we’re super girly, or more masculine.

How do you feel about the relationship between femininity and riding? Can masculinity and femininity co-exist in every rider?

Yes definitely. It’s nice we have such a range… Just because you ride a motorcycle or a big ass Harley does not mean you aren’t feminine. Or just because you ride a dirt bike does not mean you aren’t feminine. It’s really different for every person, but after riding for awhile you honestly kind of just forget about all that stuff

Your blog is an incredible curation of womens’ experiences with riding. Why is it important to share your stories on how motorcycle culture and real life intersect?

Well we now have over 600 girls from around the world. I think it’s so fun to get a little peek into a few of their lives and see where they came from, why they started riding, etc.

Hell Babes is the newest venture stemming from The Litas. Tell me about how it compliments the riding groups. Do you think it can include babes who don’t ride?

Hell Babes is a totally separate thing from The Litas, it’s a clothing company that sells all the Litas swag so that the riding group can focus on what it’s there for, and that is to bring woman together who ride, and get more women to ride. But, I am really excited about Hell Babes, I have been working hard to find small designers to feature in the store. I want it to be an awesome curation of stylish clothing and items that a moto-babe would want as well as a non moto-babe. I’ll be honest, fashion takes functionality in this one, but I’m hoping to find some really functional things as well, such as leather riding boots that cover your ankles.

The Litas don’t operate with a system of hierarchy in their organizations. Why is this principle important to you guys? How does it nurture coexistence and sisterhood?

We are all about changing stuffy motorcycle tradition. The only reason for a hierarchy is to stroke egos and get recognition… we don’t need that. We don’t want anyone thinking they’re better than anyone else. The women who start a branch are known as the Organizers. They put in a ton of work because it’s what they enjoy doing. They love getting women together to ride and have a kick-ass time. They aren’t interested in being patted on the back for it. The girls who are part of the group know who the organizers are and appreciate all the work they do. This is literally one of the biggest principles of The Litas… the only reason the group is any fun is because every girl is included! It’s literally zero fun to be exclusive. I would have missed out on meeting so many incredible, hilarious women.

Want to know more about The Litas? Head to their website. You can also follow them on social media @thelitas_

 

[images via Jun Song @nostalgia_memoir]

 

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Written by Sarah Foot

Sarah Foot is a native Vancouverite who, conveniently, loves the smell of rain. A recent graduate from Simon Fraser University, she is passionate about the topics of feminism, agency and sexuality. When she isn’t writing up a sweet-smelling storm, you can catch Sarah dancing, petting dogs or on her blog Ink and Jam. You can also follow her day-to-day ponderings on twitter @sarahfoot.

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