We are so totally stoked and proud to be interviewing a towering pillar of the motorcycle community today, Liza Miller!
Between founding and operating the co-op wrenching and riding community facility Re-Cycle Garage out of Santa Cruz, (read more about that in this blog post) and both producing and hosting the Motorcycles and Misfits podcast, Liza has helped to attract and develop new riders and wrenchers to the scene for years.
But wait, there's more! What you may not be aware of are Liza's ongoing outreach rides in Pakistan, that she refers to as Chickistan trips. These women-oriented rides allow her and her crews of badass lady riders to connect with the women of Pakistan on a personal level and to introduce them to an aspect of life that they might not get to experience otherwise. Women on two wheels!
I highly, highly recommend tuning into the Motorcycles and Misfits podcast and rummaging around in their archives. It's an absolute treasure trove of information and joy for anyone interested in motorcycling. They get some pretty cool guests too...
Just ask Norman Reedus, who spent some time with them during the first episode of his recent Ride with Norman Reedus tv series.
* Editor's note: Insert shameless plug and link to my interview with Motorcycles and Misfits here. Our portion begins at the 1:09:25 mark.
We first met Liza and a couple of her cohorts, (the lovely Bex and Naked Jim) at The One Moto Show in Portland Oregon back in February, when Liza invited me to be a guest on the Motorcycles and Misfits podcast.
Now, not only was the interview itself a blast, but Little did we know what an amazing person Liza would turn out to be and just how thrilled we'd be to have met her.
Every once in a while, you run into someone that has a big ol' heart and just shines light out into the world. Liza Miller is one of those people.
It's our honour and privilege to be able to bring a bit of her personal story to you here today. So let's get to it, here's Liza!
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SUPERHERO NAME?
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
PASSION FOR MOTORCYCLES AND HELPING PEOPLE.
Okay, so here's the big one. Can you give some background and details on your Pakistan women's ride program? What led you to do it in the first place and how you made it happen, why do you keep doing them?
In 2014, some friends of ours had just come back from this crazy moto adventure to Pakistan. I invited them on our podcast to talk about the trip and explain why in hell they would choose to go there. I, like many people, was under the assumption that Pakistan was a flat desert country, full of dangers for Americans. After interviewing them, and then later that year meeting the organizer of the trip, Moin Khan, I decided that I would be going there for myself.
the following year. About the 3rd day in, I realized that no one was going to kidnap me. The people there were extremely nice, and very curious about us. And the country. Wow, just wow. Pakistan is a country of mountains, valleys, rivers, deserts, glaciers and forests. The roads were sometimes challenging, (in a fun way) and sometimes like a perfect racetrack. I knew I had to go back. But the next trip was going to be different.
I decided I wanted to create an all-women's tour for a few reasons. The first was to get access to the women of Pakistan. Traveling with Moin and the other men, we didn't get much exposure to the Pakistani women. I knew taking a group of women would give us this access, to interact with the women and learn more about their lives, and I was right.
As we arrived in a village and started walking around, the women would first peer out windows and doors, but then realizing we were women, would emerge into the streets. First just staring at us from a safe distance, but then one woman would usually break free and approach us with an outstretched hand and a smile. The others would soon follow, often times surrounding us on all sides. It was awesome.
The other reason was to be an example and show that women can ride motorcycles. Although it's not illegal, as many people assume, it's just not socially acceptable for Muslim women to ride. But this is changing, and there's a growing number of women breaking free of societies expectations and throwing a leg over two wheels.
I've really fallen in love with Pakistan. The people, the terrain, the food and the roads. I'm already planning a Chickistan trip in 2019 that's going to be even more awesome than the last one. And if anyone is interested in going on an adventure to Pakistan, go to www.ridethekkh.com for more info.
*Editor's note: I love everything about this. I was going to use the information as background, but I decided that what Liza had written was so awesome that it needed to be included in the main interview itself. Thank you Liza!
What was the best thing to happen to you due to poor life choices?
Again, I can't think of a poor life choice I've made because I put the energy into making that the right choice.
What’s in your shop right now that you’re thinking about?
06 Kawasaki Concours project. I'm thinking of cutting off everything I've fabricated and going in a different direction.
Anything hanging in your shop or office that gives you joy to look at and what’s it’s story?
I've got about 1000 toy motorcycles I've collected over the years that are on display in my garage and podcast studio. They give me joy to look at.
What was your most annoying fuck up or brain fart?
Nothing. My policy is to not put time or energy into making a decision. Instead, I put all my energy into making my decision work.
What was the last thing you did that made you swear later?
cant think of anything. I'm pretty well planned out and easy going, so I don't find myself in that situation often.
What has been your favorite client moment so far?
I love it when someone that I initially taught how to ride and wrench has now surpassed me in both. Makes me proud.
Got any heroes or role models?
can't think of anyone. Evel Knievel maybe? But I can't say he's a good role model.
What would you like to see more of in the custom world?
I love seeing builds using challenging and uncommon bikes. We've got some local guys doing really rad stuff with 90's Honda Shadows for example.
* Yeah, those 90's Shadows are surprisingly adaptable platforms for custom builds. Check out our offering to the Gods of Speed in this blog post here!
What would you do with one million dollars?
Buy a house with a garage mahal.
What was your favorite glory moment?
So many. Getting on tv (Ride With Norman Reedus), putting together an all women's moto adventure through Pakistan that created bonding friendships.
What’s your next adventure?
Cross country trip this summer, and then back to Pakistan again next year.
Tell us anything else you want us to share for you.
I think we (motorcyclists) have a responsibility to help new riders and wrenchers out. I wish there were more people doing what I do to help build a community through motorcycles by teaching and sharing.
* Amen to that Sister, testify!
And there we have it true believers. As you can plainly see, not only does Liza truly have her poop in a group with a healthy dose of humility, but she's one of those unsung heroes that just keeps on sharing the joy and kicking ass!
One of the most rewarding parts of what I do is to be able to introduce amazing peoples like Liza Miller to a new audience.
Tales like hers are out there just waiting to be shared, The kind of stuff that the major publications tend to pass over. Individual and alternative aspects to the world we all ride through and love. We live to bring you those stories.
Liza, her friends and people like them make this world a better place every day. Keep on being awesome Liza and don't be a stranger, we all can't wait to see what you get up to next. Thanks for sharing your story with us today!
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