Roll Call | Meet Ashleigh Kaliszuk @ashkaleigh

We first met Ashleigh through some of the amazing images she shot at Babes Ride Out 4. Her photography is what first caught our eye but it didn't take long to see that there is so much more to this talented babe. As a fellow Husqvarna FE 250 rider and lover of dirt, it can be hard to keep up with Ashleigh as she travels all over pursuing her passion. We got to catch up with her and hear more about how she fell in love with dirt bikes. 

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What is your name?

Ashleigh Kaliszuk

What do you do for a living?

I’m a Red Seal mobile crane operator, and self-taught photographer.

Where are you from?

I’m from Vernon, British Columbia

Where do you live?

Edmonton, Alberta

When were you first introduced to riding dirt? Who introduced you?

I was first introduced to riding dirt over 20 years ago by my childhood best friend Victoria Hubáček (Hett) and her family.  They would host a lot of races for the community, and her mom would always tell us to keep busy and go ride while they were setting up— so I would get on her little brother's bike and follow her on the trails.  In retrospect, it’s pretty impressive because I would just ride without thinking about what I was actually doing and I did fine!  I only launched the bike into a creek once (sorry, Malcolm)!  

How long have you been riding?

I’ve been riding on the street for four years, and I only started taking dirt seriously again last summer. 

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Why do you like riding dirt?

I love how technical it is!  It’s a full body workout, and you’re never done learning and practicing. I love how many different facets there are from casual dual sport riding to intense Supercross.  To be honest, I haven't ridden much on the street since getting my dirt bike.  I’m hooked. 

Run us through the list of bikes you have had?

I have only had one dirt bike, my Husqvarna FE250.

What do you ride now?

The same Husqvarna FE250— a cute four-year-old named it “Mint.” I also have access to my boyfriend’s FE501, and I’m so stoked to give that bike a try! 

If you could have two bikes what would your other bike be?

It’s so hard to pick just one, but I would have to go with the 2018 Husqvarna FC350 with a custom suspension from TNT Racing Development Inc. to get it flat track ready!  That’s one of my major riding goals for this year and I am already signed up for school with Flat Track Canada.  Just for fun, if I could have a third bike I would like Jason Anderson’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna FC450 at the end of his season!  So if you’re reading this ElHombre, hit me up! 

Tell us what you love about the bike you ride now?

I love that it’s an FE model!  Meaning it has turn signals, headlight, and a license plate bracket so I can legally take it on the street as well as off-road. I also love that it’s a Husqvarna.  As a brand, they promote the adventure / exploring aspect of the sport which is something I can really get behind and relate to.

What kind of terrain do you like riding the best?

I’ve been told I’m crazy for thinking this, but I’d have to say sand!!  Maybe it’s because I am biased towards the desert and spend so much time there, but I enjoy how challenging the simplest things are in the sand.

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What kind of terrain is a challenge for you but you want to master?

Rocks.  I want to be able to get over the mental aspect of looking at a bed of jagged rocks and thinking about what it would feel like to fall on them.  So much about dirt biking is getting past the mental part and just committing.  I’m spending the last bit of winter in Arizona, so that’s a prime place to practice! 

What is the most challenging riding experience you have had?

The first time after I got my bike!  I picked up my shiny, brand new Husqvarna FE250 and the next day drove out to an all women’s dirt bike rally in Revelstoke, BC.  I figured that since I have been riding on the street for awhile that it can’t be that hard.  Holy crap, was I wrong!  Lexi Pechout was there teaching emergency braking, cornering, hill climbing, etc. and I was probably the least experienced person there.  I was hardly able to do anything and yet the next day I felt like I had ran a marathon!  Needless to say I had learned a lot that day and was able to apply it to the next time I rode. 

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

My favourite spot to ride is a hidden gem just minutes from my place, called Hellbilly Ranch.  My cousin’s and their buds designed a compound with FMX jumps, MX tracks and a bit of single track.  Three days a week a close groups of friends all head out with their kids, dogs, and bikes and it’s the best vibe you can imagine.  I like to hit the MX track and make new goals for myself every time— like going up a gear, clearing the table top, getting higher into a jump, upping my endurance and staying out for more consecutive laps, etc.  It’s been such a great environment for me to practice and build confidence on my bike.  Maybe this season we can bring in some rocks and logs!!   

What is on your moto bucket list to ride?

I’ve always wanted to ride the Bolivia high desert!  They have one of the largest salt flats in the world with saguaros around the perimeter— it just looks so beautiful to me.  I would also love to do a Baja run on a 701 Enduro!  And an Isle of Man tour with David Knight!!  This next one may sound like a joke but I would also like to roll an actual Supercross track… just to say I did it.  I could go on!  Haha

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Do you ride with a lot of other female riders?

I do!  The evenings I spend out at Hellbilly Ranch there are always a bunch of rad women to ride with.  It’s awesome because we observe how we’re all advancing and progressing and encourage each other.  Alberta has a huge women’s dirt bike community and I am super pumped to be apart of that.  When I ride on the street I enjoy the solitude of riding alone, but on dirt I find it far more rewarding and enjoyable to be around other people. 

Do you have anyone in the moto world that you look up to?

Victoria!!!  I met her when I was 5 years old walking down the street and noticed a new girl had moved into the neighbourhood!  I asked what her name was and have looked up to her ever since (in all aspects, not just moto).  She was pretty much raised on a dirt bike and I always thought that was the coolest thing.  She’s a very accomplished rider and has medalled in the ISDE multiple times and won multiple championships.  I never thought I would one day be riding along side her on a couple of Husqvarna’s on the backroads above Kalamalka Lake, but we did last summer, and it was awesome! 

What was your experience at Babes in the Dirt/Babes Ride Out events?

I have been to two Babes Ride Out events and they both blew my mind.  I think the craziest thing for me is how over 1,500 women can get together and it still feels so open and freeing.  There’s no judgements on what you ride, wear or look like— just common ground for the love of two wheels.  There’s nothing like it out there!

What advice do you have for someone thinking about getting into riding dirt?

Just take the plunge and do it!  It’s never too late, and you’re never too old.  

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