Adventure Out With Lisa Brouwer
Adventure Out With Lisa Brouwer
Q&A with Lisa Brouwer
-Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into riding.
You’d probably call me an oddity in the motorcycling industry because I didn’t grow up riding motorcycles. In fact, my first experience on a motorcycle (that was exciting and not fearful) was in Scottsdale, AZ where I was attending a friend’s wedding. She was marrying into a ‘motorcycle family’ so it was only natural that we head out into the desert before she said, “I do.” I hopped onto the back of an Electra Glide and held on tight for the ride that would change my life!
At the end of the ride, I bounded off the motorcycle, called my husband (who was at home in South Dakota) and said, “Honey… I’m coming home and I’m buying a Harley.” His response? “We’ll talk about that when you get home.”
Six months later (after passing the motorcycle safety course and saving enough money for a down payment), a shiny 1996 Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster was mine… all mine! That was over 20 years ago.
-What type of bike are you riding?
My current love affair is with a 2007 Harley Davidson Street Glide, aptly named Smokin.
-Have you taken any exciting rides or adventures since IMS?
Unfortunately, I don’t put on as many miles as I want to (doesn’t every rider say that). As a motorcycle safety instructor, I spend my summers teaching people how to ride a motorcycle. I guess you could say that my most recent miles have been on a Suzuki T-250 riding demo rides. Fortunately, as a keynote speaker, I’m blessed to be able share my love (and lessons) of motorcycling with corporate audiences all over the country. The way I see it, motorcycling has opened adventurous opportunities for me in a different sort of way.
-What’s your next big adventure for the summer?
For most people, my next big adventure is their bucket list item and something I get to do every year… the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August. We’ll load our bikes down with camping gear and head west for the week.
-What is your favorite place to ride and why?
In 2015, I rode from New York City to San Francisco; commemorating the ride Effie Hotchkiss took in 1915 where she would become the first woman in history to ride coast-to-coast. It’s hard to pick a favorite ride from that experience but if I had to do it all over again I would go back through the Santa Fe Mountains and spend more time on the Pacific Coast Highway.
I might be a little biased (living in South Dakota) but some of the best roads I’ve ridden are in the Black Hills. Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway, and Spearfish Canyon will thrill every rider with challenging curves and breathtaking scenery. Where the Sturgis Motorcycle rally is an amazing event to experience the culture of motorcycling, it’s the Black Hills that will leave you wanting more.
-What advice would you give to riders who are looking for the ultimate adventure?
As I crossed the country, I met riders who shared their dream of making a cross-country road trip someday. To be honest… sometimes I felt as if these people were living vicariously through me. If you have a dream of experiencing the wide-open spaces of America, drop your excuses of not having enough time, or not having enough money, or not believing in your abilities, and find a way to make it happen. You’ll never have enough time. You’ll never have enough money and you’ll never be 100% ready for what the adventure holds. Frankly, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse. So quit coming up with all the reasons why you can’t and figure out how you can. Quit your ‘yeah, buts’ and say YES to the adventure of your life!
-What changes would you like to see in the industry, especially with younger riders?
I’ve certainly seen changes since I first started riding over twenty years ago. The good news is that more women are grabbing life by the bars, but the bad news is that the evidence of stalling motorcycle sales is real. Where I’d like to see younger riders keep carrying the torch, the economic difficulties of a tight job market, rising consumer costs, and their focus on raising a family, owning a motorcycle becomes a choice of luxury instead of necessity.
As an instructor, my classes are mostly filled with Gen Xers (both men and women) who decided it’s finally time to make their motorcycling dreams come true. I’m hopeful that as these new riders (especially women riders who are moms) become involved, they will set an example and encourage their children to love the sport of motorcycling as well.