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Venice, CA

Meet the Venice Vixens—an all-female motorcycle group fueled by defying expectations.

A motorcycle doesn’t care. It doesn’t care what your astrological sign is. It doesn’t care what your high school GPA was. It doesn’t care how much money you make, what job you have or how you like your eggs in the morning. And a motorcycle certainly doesn’t care if you’re a man or a woman.

A motorcycle is as close to the truth as it gets. It’s simple. Two wheels and an engine. A throttle and brakes. A tank full of gas. The motorcycle takes you there, but you have to twist the throttle to make it happen. It’s the rider that transforms the machine into something more around every turn. Each rider brings their own motivations and background, but all share a basic need to get from A to B or a wild whim to get lost along the way. A thirst for the deepest, darkest solo adventure or the bond of friendship. Gemini, Leo, Virgo. Over-easy or scrambled.

We started it because, we rode with a bunch of guys and they told us that we couldn’t be in their club because we were girls.

The Venice Vixens are a group of female riders that were brought together by Liana Vitale and Alyssa Hovey in Southern California. They got their start out of a straightforward refusal to accept no for an answer.

“We started it because, basically, we rode with a bunch of guys and they told us that we couldn’t be in their club because we were girls,” said Liana. “Even though we participated and did everything.”

The thing is—these women aren’t just dipping a toe in the world of motorsports. These are serious riders with serious bikes. Most of them use their bikes for daily commutes and really know how to ride—not just on the street but on flat tracks and off road. At first, the Vixens rode together on weeknights in large groups. These rides eventually grew into longer road trips a couple times a year. Then there are the races on the weekends.

“You can go out and do a flat track race or motocross race, and everyone just gets together and encourages each other to get out there,” Liana said. “Everyone you know is like, ‘Come do this. Come do that.’ And you just get thrown into trying all these new different types of riding.”

It gives you the empowerment to actually go out and push yourself further and further.

Liana currently keeps several bikes in her garage, all for different uses. A custom Buell chopper, a vintage 1969 Triumph T-100, a Honda CRF150 dirt bike.

One of the women she frequently rides with is Tamara Wilson, a skilled rider who has been all over the world behind the bars of a bike.

“I ride several different motorcycles. It depends on what type of riding I’m doing,” Tamara says. “So if I’m riding on the street or camping, I have a Triumph Scrambler. I also have a 1966 Triumph T-100 desert sled—that’s mostly for motocross or desert riding. And a ’72 Yamaha D2MX 250.”

Tamara’s done everything from supermoto to motocross camps. She’s raced in Japan, ridden in England and trekked all over America. The confidence gained from her supportive group of riders led her to embark on something even more challenging—something called an Iron Butt—a 1,000-mile ride over the span of 24 hours.

“It gives you the empowerment to actually go out and push yourself further and further. I woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to try that. I think I can push myself that far.’” Tamara said. “So I went from Long Beach [California] to the Grand Canyon and back in 24 hours. Solo. It’s just that feeling that there are all these different things out there, and you can try them each, one at a time.”

Liana’s story starts with something much more personal.

“What got me into riding bikes was that my dad always rode,” she recalls. “I remember the first time we got on the bike, and he took me through the park and it was just the most freeing, scary, exciting feeling.

“I actually just went on a trip, and it was the first time that my dad and I got to ride together since I was little. Like, actually next to each other. We went up to Yosemite and it was the most unreal trip. You feel just like, ‘How lucky are we?’ You go up these sides of the cliff in the mountains and snowcaps. Then you drop down into this valley and it’s just magical. That’s probably the most memorable trip that I’ve taken.”

Whether you’re in a large group, with just a couple other bikers or even going solo, riding motorcycles reveals a bare honesty that brings everyone together. There’s an unspoken truth about being on a bike—a profoundly internal understanding. It’s something that feels more like soul than any other way to describe it.

“You zone out and you go within yourself,” Tamara said. “You’re surrounded by people that you love and care about, but it’s kind of a personal experience. And at the end of the day, when you take your helmets off and you are around a campfire, that’s the moment where everyone shares those experiences with each other. And it’s also the mishap that makes everything so much more fun. The flat tires, the breakdowns, the sudden downpours and no one has rain gear on. It’s all of those little things that are just terrible in the moment, but when you come back and reminisce on them, you have the time of your life.”

It’s really good for girls to see that women are not only riding but also racing.

While Liana says they started their group as a joke, the punch line is a lot more poignant. For the Vixens, it’s not just about riding as women so much as riding in general—finding that mental and physical space where everything levels out. But there’s a certain pride that comes with the very nature of who they are and what they represent in biker culture. After all, riding a motorcycle is generationally defined as a rule-defying thing—something that directly contradicts our safety-conscious, pragmatic age. And while the motorcycle itself doesn’t care whether someone uses the mens’ or ladies’ room at the end of a long ride, there are bikers out there who live by an archaic code of disappointing gender stereotypes.

So for these women who are fueled to do their own thing in the face of a big fat “no” in someone else’s old-timey clubhouse? It’s more than just a super punk rock thing to do—it’s a powerful and culturally relevant statement.

“I think a group like the Venice Vixens represents empowerment. It’s a way for people to see that they are able to belong in a world that may not accept them as a standard, as the status quo,” said Tamara. “It’s really good for girls to see that women are not only riding but also racing. I mean, that’s such a man’s world. And to see that you can go out there and do it—and you can have fun and your friends can do it too? I think that’s really important.”