husqvarna FE 250

Adrienne Hunt and Her New Husqvarna FE 250

Meet Adrienne Hunt @SLOdirtgirl ! After ripping the demo bikes at Babes in the Dirt she decided to get herself a brand new Husqvarna FE 250. We got to catch up with her to hear more about her life on two wheels and why calls the FE 250 her dream bike.

babes in the dirt

What is your name?

Adrienne Hunt @SLOdirtgirl

What do you do for a living? Tell us about your job.

I work in animal welfare and am a veterinary assistant. My job duties range from day to day from assisting in animal welfare investigations, humane education to helping an injured pet in a hospital setting. I recently spent 22 days assisting up at the CampFire near Paradise, California and that was the most heart-warming and heart-wrenching experience of my life. The time, energy and love so many people put in, to make sure these animals were cared for at the front lines and behind the scenes, really reaffirmed that humans can “Be the person your dog thinks you are.”

Where are you from?

Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California (SLO)

Where do you live?

Still walking the mean streets of “Bubble Gum Alley” (SLO)

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

I started riding mountain bikes in 2012 after losing a bunch of weight, as I needed something to keep me busy after I gave up all the glory and retired from couch surfing. I really got into riding and I did a few downhill and XC races for fun but then started to get involved in other hobbies, so riding took a back seat for several years.

I started missing the adrenaline and physicality of it, but I also had an aversion to big climbs, enter the dirt bike. My fiancé had been riding dirt bikes since we met but it was only until June of 2017 that I was like, it’s time for me to check this out and get up these hills by a twist of the throttle.

How long have you been riding?

I’ve been riding and falling in the dirt for about 1 ½ years now.

I thought that after riding mountain bikes that dirt biking would come naturally for me, it did not, and I learned humility quickly. I had many crashes and made many mistakes when I first started riding but stuck it out, despite a few trail side meltdowns, some tears of frustration and even a few self-deprecating comments here and there, I’ve learned to stick it out and could not be happier with my progression however fast or slow it comes now.

babes in the dirt

Why do you like riding dirt?

So hard to narrow it down, riding through whoop-de-doos or pulling a wheelie, yeah! (Song: Dirt Bike rider)

As you can tell I am super serious person but truly, my favorite part is the progression. I enjoy seeing myself progress and get so pumped when I see other riders and their progression. It is one of the many things that I love about it. Seeing a trail or a section that you said “nope” to and then being able to take it on or seeing your buddy do the same. So cool!

I have made so many new friends and people I consider “family” while riding, I could not be more grateful. I like to throw together impromptu, all inclusive (male/female/squirrel) group rides or little campouts every now and then. I find that this is a great way to have people get together who may not have otherwise met up. It is so fun to see a rider meet another rider who is close to them and see them get all stoked to have someone to ride with near them.

I truly have a good time whenever I am in the dirt so whether it is “going all out” for me or helping newer riders, I love it all.

Run us through the list of bikes you have had?

In 2008 I bought a 1986 Honda Nighthawk 750 and within a few weeks, hit sand in an apex, laid it down and was hospitalized for a few weeks. My family wanted me to take a break from riding, so I respected that. In 2016, things changed and I was able to purchase a Kawasaki Versys with the intent to ADV it out and do some Dual-sport rides. After some fun adventures and mishaps I decided that I wanted something a little more dirt worthy, so I sold the Versys and bought my first dirt bike in May of 2017 which was my 1993 XR250r.  

babes in the dirt

What do you ride now?

We just bought my dream bike, a 2018 Husqvarna FE250 and I could not be more excited for the adventures to come. My first ride on her was just this Christmas at Hungry Valley OHV. We had set up one of those impromptu campouts and I was stoked to get on that maiden dirt voyage. As I confidently threw my leg over my new steed, I put her in first, let out the clutch and promptly stalled it and did a slow-motion fall to the ground.

As we set out on the group ride I knew that I felt very uncomfortable on the bike and I felt I was going to hurt myself if I tried to keep up but didn’t know the bike yet, so I broke off from the group for a few hours and just did my own thing. No pressure, no audience, just me, my bike and my own thoughts. After that I was able to ride with more confidence and a lot less of a death grip.

If you could have 2 bikes what would your other bike be?

2019 Husqvarna 701. We would love to be able to travel more by two wheels and check off some bucket list items. Having something a bit more street orientated with some off-road capabilities would help get some of that list knocked out.

Tell us what you love about the bike you ride now? Why did you choose that bike?

I was able to log some solid hours on the FE250 at Babes in the dirt last year. I think you could equate it to a groupie who just lingers near the bands dressing room, that was me at the Husqvarna demo booth (Hi Allison, it’s USAdrienne!) After taking it out for several rides, I was hooked. The throttle response, the suspension, right out of the gate it felt like a bike that met my current skill level but would also allow me to level up. The best part is it rides like a track bike but is plated for the times I do hit a dual sport ride or need to get from trail to trail.

It also comes down to how I was treated by Husqvarna and how they support riders especially us women. I was treated like I was family from the moment I skipped up the husky booth with childlike glee. They were great with the barrage of questions I had for them and when they had demos going out but had a bike that was not getting ridden, they allowed me to join the demo ride again.

Where did you buy your bike from? How was your experience at the dealership?

We live at least 3 hours from the closest dealer, so I had to call several places to get quotes and talk about what I needed as a rider and what I was willing to spend. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with a few of the shops I reached out to as there was a lack of willingness to help someone who had to drive to see their product. I get cash in hand talks, but I was talked down to by some dealers or they would not deal with me over the phone at all. I was able to speak with Victor from HYR in Redlands and they were amazing to work with and gave me a great deal on the moto. For us, pulling the trailer, it was over a 5hr drive but it was worth the drive knowing I was being taken care of and my money was going to a shop that seemed to treat everyone with respect.  

babes in the dirt

What kind of terrain do you like riding the best?

Isn't any terrain the best terrain on a dirt bike?! To narrow it down, I really enjoy technical terrain, however you categorize that. It could be the single track that is sloughing away to a steep drop and you keep telling yourself “keep your eyes ahead...” The chunky rock section that has you working that clutch and picking your lines just so, or the steep, rutted, loose hill climb that has you sitting at the bottom of it for a few seconds, trying to pump yourself up for what is to come. I like any terrain that challenges me and helps me progress.  

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

I thoroughly enjoy but am not great at rocky enduro type terrain. I find keeping the momentum through the chunk can be difficult or I’ll get in my own head and start to think too much about a rock coming up in my path and grab a fist of brake. At the same time, I love the feeling of being in control yet on the verge of being bucked off. Lots of clutch control to work on for me but again, that is why I love the braap so much, you generally can grow as a rider, as much as you are willing to push yourself.

What is the most challenging riding experience you have had?

A month or two into first starting to ride, I was all about enduro. @Crystal_loves_moto this, @Megs_braap that. I was determined to Jarvis off and do my own thing one day, so the fiancé and I went to Ballinger Canyon and I was just going to “explore” and putt-putt around for a “chill ride.” So we went our separate ways and I went to explore this little area I had eyed before that had a dry little creek bed next to it. As I explored, I thought in all my wisdom, what a great place to practice these enduro skills that I have mastered in all my two months of riding and watching videos.

I rode to the creek bed thinking I’ll drop in there and play around these rocks, it is narrow but passable. It is about a 4ft drop into the bed and as I started to drop in, I got a better visual of where I thought I could exit out of and realized, it was impassable and... the front wheel goes down. I looked back up to where I came from and there was no way I was getting it back up, so I had to forge on. With the bike being flooded and the kickstand sinking in when I tried to kick it over, I struggled for over an hour to get the bike to start in the mid-day August heat. It ended up being so sandy and deep that I dug my wheel in many times. With getting stuck several times and stalling the bike, the 1 hour or so adventure turned into a 3-hour knock-down, drag out fight with the terrain and my bike. When I got back to camp the fiancé asked how many miles I got in and I think I pulled a whopping 0.75 miles that day but many lessons learned. 

babes in the dirt

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

Hollister Hills OHV  ranks pretty high on the list for several reasons. It combines two of my favorite things camping and dirt bikes. The park really offers a new rider a variety of terrain in a more controlled setting and for me that was really helpful to focus on my riding more than worrying about traffic coming at me at times, as Hollister has many one-way trails. One of my favorite areas there is the enduro course and the trials course. From my first visit there I eyed this big tire in the enduro course and a log drop at the trials course. I kept telling myself you are going to hit those one day and with knees shaking and heart punding, one visit I mustered the mental strength to do it. The first attempt on the tire, not bad, I made it, hit the throttle a bit too much at the top and front wheel lifted a bit, it made the landing a bit sketchy but I pulled it off. I thought, lets’ do it again, get better at it! I approached it and just as I was about to go over my brain went weird, I got scared and I just rolled off the throttle and stalled at the top and toppled over. Bike upside down, oil dripping down the frame, there was only one thing to do, take a picture. There are a few goal trails there as well that I want to ride now that I have the Husky like Troll trail but the poison oak factor makes me wonder how worth it the trail is, when I get exposed to that evil leaf, it is no joke. 

I also fell in love with Kennedy Meadows my one time there. I wish I could build a little homestead and live there fulltime. The place for me, has been the best overall riding and camping experience for me, it is just so gorgeous. The trees and meadows, the creeks, the wildlife; Kennedy Meadows just meets every expectation for me when it comes to combining my love of nature, camping and dirt bike riding. The trails vary quite a bit but unless you are an adventurous beginner, it has some fairly technical terrain. I was really able to surprise myself there and made it through many spots that myself and others were standing by waiting for the topple. I really look forward to getting back out there in 2019.

What is on your moto bucket list to ride?

Big Bear, Forest Hill Trail 6, B.C area, Moab, Sawtooth mountains, Tillamook area, race the Donner Hare scramble and many more.

Do you ride with a lot of other female riders?

I have a really solid set of ladies that I have a great time riding with, they live 3-4hours away from me but we seem to find the time to meet up and ride together every few months or so. It goes back to how supportive it can be riding with other women and the growth and bonding you all develop over it. I am able to be a small part of a bigger picture in many ways as a female rider and I really enjoy trying to foster those relationships with other female riders. I enjoy going fast and getting out of my comfort zone but at 36, I have nothing to prove, other than something to myself. With that being said, I really enjoy riding with new riders whether leading or sweeping with a group or just going out to have a good time. I like to see how they learn and if I am lucky to ride with them down the road, to see how much they have progressed. I think some of us ladies, and I am guilty of it, get in our own heads and think we are holding up a group or you don't want to be the “liability person,” You're not, ride your own ride, progress at your own pace.

The bummer thing is I don’t really have anyone that I ride with locally, it would be really nice to rip around with some ladies but they are few and far between, if you know of any that want to ride, send them my way!  

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

I look up to so many riders for many different reasons and wish I could list them all but certainly my friend Avila (@avy119). I met her and her husband at one of the random rides we threw together at Hungry Valley. She is a blast to ride with, is willing to try any trail and gets through it with a smile.

My friend CJ (@radical_budhist) also comes to mind. She is someone who I have had the pleasure of watching progress so much since we first started riding together. She was another gal I met through one of those impromptu campouts up at Hollister Hills when we both were pros on fire roads. She is always in a rad mood, keeping the group smiling and willing to push her comfort zone. We all share so many “woohoos!” on our rides.

I look up to all the ladies of the dirt world who are making it happen; @Babesinthedirt and all you have put into this, it has changed my life as rider. Babes has exposed me to opportunities and people I may have never met otherwise. The @dirt_ladies group and what we are trying to do with getting more women riding together and being able to connect with one another.

Last but not least, my fiancé. He has been my number one fan from day one. Always supportive of my riding. Has helped celebrate triumphs, listened to my frustrations and always makes sure that the bike keeps running so we could do it all over again. There is no one I would rather have as my road dog in life. 

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

One of the best experiences of my life thus far! 2018 was my first year at Babes in the Dirt and

I rolled in early Friday and helped volunteer for the morning until my afternoon Husqvarna demo. I was so excited to try a new bike but super nervous as well. The demo was well paced, everyone had everyone's back and the Husqvarna crew made sure that you were taken care of and had a good time. I was able to meet many of the gals I follow on Instagram and that was so neat to put faces to the names and even ride with a few. That night I made my rounds to the many trailers, tents and car campers that I wanted to say hi to. It felt like there was not enough time in this day, I wanted it to go on but sleep was needed so I reluctantly wandered back to camp for some Zzz’s.

Saturday had lots of opportunities, and it was hard to choose which to do; a Husqvarna demo, ride trail or track in the park with friends, play games at the various booths, check out the cool gear at the Fox Women’s booth or just get to know these ladies who you may only get to see once a year. Some of the dirt ladies set up a small beginner’s ride for a few ladies and we had a great time watching these gals really come out of their comfort zone and own the trails. I think that is one of the biggest things I think a lot of ladies can get out of female only events, you get a different support system, you learn that you are doing okay and that many other ladies are in the same boat. You meet ladies that are rippers but just want to support another rider and are just stoked to see you out on the trail. You also meet newer riders and you bond over the same triumphs and experiences.

Saturday night consisted of merriment and karaoke. I may or may not have had a great time embarrassing myself while singing Macklemore’s “Thrift shop” while coming down with a  cold. 

Sunday was time to say our “See you next years.” We shook the weekends sand off and helped each other load up and prepare for our various distances home. Before leaving I was able to take Brian Garrahan’s group training that afternoon and he made that was such a fun experience. I went into the class thinking I knew a fair amount of the basics for riding but found many techniques that could improve my riding or ways to refine what I was already doing but make it safer and in turn, riding into more fun.

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

Just be you. We all get into riding dirt for different reasons and throughout your whole moto journey you will be exposed to different types of riders and types of riding but as long as you are true to the reason you ride, the ride will always be fun and always be yours.

It is easy to get into your own head, to think maybe you are not improving enough or when you are riding with people that you are the one, “keeping them back,” you are not. It may not happen overnight but you will find your “people.” The ones you look up to and the ones that look up to you. The ones that keep pushing you to do more because they know you can and the ones that will help push your bike back up the hill when maybe it did not all go to plan. Riding is an adventure and all adventures have ups and downs, just remember, you are doing this for you and no one else, when that is the motivation that is when it really becomes fun.

Anything else you would like to add?

A big thanks to all the ladies and men behind the scenes who are supportive in getting more women riding and having fun in the dirt. Instagram groups like @Dualsportwomen , @WLFenduro, @National_Forest_Riders (NFR) and @Corva are all doing things to help support all riders and our riding community. Husqvarna motorcycles are at the forefront of highlighting this movement of women riders and putting their money where their mouth is.

Fox Womens with their support and proactiveness with their female riding audience’s needs and wants as riders.

And of course, to ALL who have supported me through this journey of mine. It has been such a fun and wild ride since I started riding a year and some change ago. When I joined Instagram, I wanted to try and find more women to ride with and to highlight the struggles and triumphs of someone my age, who just started getting into riding a dirt bike. I have made so many friends and have been able to follow along with so many adventures of others. I look forward to many more years making a fool….er…improving my skills as a rider and look forward to enjoying that journey with others as well. Cheers to #2019yearofthebraap.

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Pushing Limits | My Experience on a Husqvarna at Babes in the Dirt 4

It's not everyday you have the opportunity to try out a brand new Husqvarna dirt bike. Coming from a street background, dirt is still very new to me. You'd think if you had years of experience on the road, dirt would be  breeze but its not. It takes discipline and courage to get better at riding off-road and every time I've had the chance to ride a Husqvarna, I always walk away a more confident rider but this year, I actually shocked myself...

Anya about to take me on some of the green routes behind camp. I like to take my time, get used to the machine, and no one is more accommodating than my road dog Anya 

Anya about to take me on some of the green routes behind camp. I like to take my time, get used to the machine, and no one is more accommodating than my road dog Anya 

With the event space changing, I was challenged to try new things. I'd never been on a mini track. Quail Canyon had 2 on the premises and after a few rips up and down the hill side getting used to the Husqvarna, I felt ready to try it. Turns out this track was the perfect area to practice my cornering. The track was wide, offered tons of visibility, and had a few opportunities to get a tiny bit of air. After 20+ times around the loop, I wanted to step it up. 

Ripping it up on the mini track! Cornering was something I needed work on. This track helped me improve my skills! With every loop, I learned so much on the Husqvarna. 

Ripping it up on the mini track! Cornering was something I needed work on. This track helped me improve my skills! With every loop, I learned so much on the Husqvarna. 

In the past I never would have hit the big track as most tracks have tons of fast as hell riders and for me to try and weasel my way in woud have caused carnage. Having the track groomed and all to ourselves only happens at Babes in the Dirt so I knew it was now or never. With a heightened confidence and a pep talk, I hit the big track on the 250.

You could not get me off that track. I stayed on it until my body couldn't take it anymore. There was another girl out there cheering me on the entire time (I don't know who she was but if she is reading this, it meant the world to me). The bike cut into the dirt like no other and soon I found myself going faster and faster. The thrill was like nothing I had ever felt before and the the time I spent out there seemed like a flash. To be on that bike, on that track, in that moment was pure bliss. 

Anya telling me I slayed it! 

Anya telling me I slayed it! 

That night I couldn't stop talking about my experience on the bike and hitting the track. I was so proud that I pushed my limits and hearing that others did the same while demoing the Husqvarna fleet made me smile until my face hurt. Thank you again to the entire Husqvarna team for providing these incredible machines for us during Babes in the Dirt 4. You made hundreds of ladies incredibly stoked and helped me personally push myself further than I thought possible. 

Roll Call | Get to Know Vanessa Watson of Husqvarna

Vanessa is one of those women whom we admire, look up to, and respect wholeheartedly. She is one of the kindest and most dedicated person you will ever meet on 2 wheels and it shows every single time she throws a leg over her moto. You may have met her at Babes in the Dirt (1-4) or were lucky enough to have gotten to ride with her in between but now we finally have an interview so you can get to know her in depth, find out how she got her taste for the dirt, what it's like to work at Husqvarna Motorcycles, and her advice to any ladies ready to hit the dirt for the first time. 

Photo by WLF Enduro

Photo by WLF Enduro

What is your name?

Vanessa Watson       

What do you do for a living?

Marketing Specialist at Husqvarna Motorcycles

Where are you from?

Californian through and through. Born in the San Bernardino Mountains, but moved to Temecula just before going into middle school in 1990.

Where do you live?

Fallbrook, CA

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

I am very fortunate, some say spoiled…. My first dirt experience was shortly after being hired at Husqvarna on a brand new FC 250. We had rented out the track at Cahuilla Creek for a test run of the concept that has evolved into the current demo program we run at Babes in the Dirt. It was less than awesome, I didn’t even get out of the staging area before falling over multiple times in front of everyone... Dirt bikes are really tall! We have learned a lot since then and now we lower bikes for shorter riders. So, I guess you could say that working at Husqvarna and being part of an amazing team was my introduction to dirt, the same way it has been for a lot of other ladies that have come to Babes in the Dirt over the years.

How long have you been riding?

5 years

Why do you like riding dirt?

I love riding dirt for a lot of reasons. I grew up riding bikes and building dirt jumps with friends on the undeveloped land behind our housing tract. I’d get up in the morning, go out on my bike all day and come home in the last moments of dusk. I have always loved being on two wheels. Back then it was freedom and in a way, it still is. It’s a break from cell phones, the internet and responsibilities; it’s just me talking to myself inside my helmet. Lots of cussing.

I love riding dirt because of the skill it requires. When I ride I repeat the things I’ve learned in my head. I have little mantras and when I practice the techniques I see the improvement. Again, so fortunate, I ride with and learn from some pretty legendary people in our industry.

Run us through the list of bikes you have had?

  • 2015 Husqvarna FC 250
  • 2018 Husqvarna FE 250
  • 1994 Harley Davidson Sportster

What do you ride now?

  • 2018 Husqvarna FE 250
  • 1994 Harley Davidson Sportster

If you could have 2 bikes what would your other bike be?

That’s really hard, do I only get to have two!? If we are talking dirt I would love to have a motocross bike again but probably a TC 125, I am also really in love with the TE 150; that is a super fun, light weight bike. Definitely a two-stroke!

If we’re talking street, a VITPILEN 701 and not just because I work for Husqvarna… The design of the 701 is the first modern street bike that I have ever looked at and thought, “Damn that bike is beautiful as is”.

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

Previous to my FE 250 I had a 250 motocross model and at time it was a little too much bike for me. I hadn’t been riding very long and didn’t have the control or skill for the power of that bike and it was intimidating. I hadn’t ridden many of other types of dirt bikes to know that I might like something else better. Since improving my riding abilities and knowing what kind of riding I enjoy the most I would say the FE is the perfect bike for me. This bike is also the bike that comprises the majority of the Husqvarna Demo Fleet that we bring to Babes in the Dirt. It’s great all around and being a dual-sport means that I can ride it off-road or on the street. It’s without limitation, and to me it means freedom and power and that makes me feel like a bad ass!

What kind of terrain do you like riding the best?

Single track and whoops.

photo by WLF Enduro

photo by WLF Enduro

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

Rock sections and sandy whoops.

What is the most challenging riding experience you have had?

Progression means to me that I’m challenging myself and riding with people more skilled than I am on increasingly technical terrain. I am really into riding off-road, single track stuff right now which is always a challenge but I also enjoy riding at a track and working on cornering.

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

I just rode at McCain Valley for the first time and that was incredible, such a fun day! That place is a literal playground if you like riding off-road, single track trails. Company wasn’t bad either! That’s definitely one of my favorite parts of riding trails, you’re out there with your friends pushing each other, encouraging each other.

What is on you moto bucket list to ride?

Revelstoke, BC and Moab, Utah. Definitely.

Do you ride with a lot of other female riders? Yes, pretty much always. A lot of the women here ride and I have made so many friends coming to Babes in the Dirt events. The guys on our team are also really supportive and often extend the invite to a track day or a trail ride.

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

Another hard one, I have been lucky enough to ride with Mike Brown quite a bit. That’s a pretty special opportunity and I try and absorb as much as I can from him. He’s such a cool, laid back guy, super helpful and eager to share tips for improvement. Also, Ashley Fiolek, she’s a personal hero of mine. Her story is so inspiring and she has such a fluid riding style, she really looks at home on a bike. A colleague/ friend and I attended her MX school, we learned a lot and was I completely impressed at her ability to instruct.  

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

I have always attended Babes in the Dirt for work, that being said, it’s the best work I could ask for. Come on, I get to ride dirt bikes with rad women in the California desert! Seeing the event grow over the years and evolve into what it’s is now has been awe inspiring and I couldn’t be more proud of our role or to be part of our team. The inclusive vibe and free flowing kindness and helpfulness is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Babes in the Dirt empowers women and creates friendships to last a lifetime all bonded by the sport of motorcycling. Now if we could just do something about the wind!

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

Well, if you already ride on the street, riding dirt will challenge you to become a better, more technical and reactive rider. I think everyone that rides a motorcycle should do it. Personally, I went through an MSF riding school and got my motorcycle endorsement never having ridden a motorcycle before. I didn’t feel confident enough in my skill set to just get out on the road even after the course; so I spent the first couple years of being licensed riding only on dirt. I established guidelines for myself, “once I can do this, this and this, then I will feel confident enough in my skills to be out on the road.” Take a fundamentals course, ride with people more skilled than you, follow them, watch the lines they take and ride within your limits. Lastly, come to Babes in the Dirt, make new friends to ride with and be empowered by. Learn to load your own bike so you never have to depend on someone else if you want to ride. That alone will build your confidence, you can do it!

How long have you worked at Husqvarna and what do you do there?

I was the first external hire for Husqvarna after the KTM Group acquired the brand in 2013. I started out here as the Office Administrator hoping to move up in a company about to have some major growth. At the time there wasn’t a marketing or media team so I was tasked with a lot of marketing related projects. My then boss gave me some solid advice, “do as much as you can, learn the processes and own the projects you complete. When the time comes to hire for the positions you want, you can say you already do that.” I did just that and I am now in the Marketing Department as a specialist and I love it!

Aside from my daily duties of tracking and recording print and digital press, accounting for departmental expenses, creating press releases and marketing bulletins, I coordinate efforts for demo events such as Babes in the Dirt and WLF Enduro’s Mission II. I also work closely with the events team to translate the intended marketing message and brand aesthetic. Most recently, I was in New York to assist in our North American VITPILEN and SVARTPILEN media launch announcing the arrival of the new street product to the U.S. marking Husqvarna’s exciting return to street motorcycling.

Tell us about what it’s like to work there?

I am around motorcycles and motorcyclists all day long and sometimes riding motorcycles is even part of my job. We have race teams of world class, championship winning athletes and everyone here holds themselves to the highest standard. It’s nothing short of amazing and consumes a huge part of my life. We get up every day, Monday through Friday, and call it a job; and on Saturday and Sunday we do it all over again for fun. 

One of Husqvarna’s primary initiatives is Women’s Motorcycling; it’s also my favorite part of the job. I am so proud to work for a manufacturer that sees the value in marketing to women and increasing the number of women on motorcycles by supporting events like Babes in the Dirt and learn-to-ride programs like Ashley Fiolek’s MX School; which ultimately help lower the barriers-to-entry. I work with a fantastic team and every single one of us looks forward to seeing the excitement, happiness and pride on someone’s face after learning to ride a motorcycle or getting back on a bike after a long time. It’s a great reminder to me that in the midst of all the hard work, motorcycles are fun and at the end of the day, that is what it’s all about!   

 

 

 

 

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. 

DSC_3704.jpg

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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Roll Call | Meet Jaime Leigh Schulte @thunder732

Dirt bikes are often thought of as a family sport. Not everyone was fortunate enough to grow up riding dirt bikes with their family. Some of us found our passion for off-roading a bit later in life. Meet Jaime! She bought her first dirt bike before even knowing how to kick start the darn thing. She already knew it was going to be something she loved. Read her story and how she went from watching youtube videos to figure out how to run her bike to racing enduro races. 

Babes in the Dirt

What is your name?

My real name is Jaime Leigh Schulte, but most people call me either Jaime Jam, or Thunder.

Where are you from?

I was born in Carroll Iowa, and raised in Summit County Colorado. 

Where do you live now?

Eagle, Colorado.  

What do you do for a living?

After seven years of teaching snowboarding for Beaver Creek, and Co-Founding a non-profit called Duchess Ride along side two of my best friends, I have moved onto slingin’ dirt bike parts at MotoSource Colorado, and working with my fiance on our newest journey DecalsByDesignCO.  

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

Not that long ago! July 2015. Honestly it was pretty random, maybe an early mid-life crisis, I’m not sure. I made up my mind one day that I wanted a dirt bike and that was that. My daughter Skyler posted a gofundme.com on her Facebook telling all my friends she wanted help with my 35th Birthday present! A BIKE! I took the money all my friends pitched in and added a bit more to make my budget $1000, trolled Craig's list and found a KX100. I’d never ridden a bike, knew nothing about bikes, but drove about an hour to go look at this one. I had the guy ride it up the street for me....looked rad with all the colors, and sponsors on the graphics so I bought it. haha. I drove straight home and sat on the couch, computer in my lap, franticly searching you tube for how to ride a dirt bike, watched for about 15 minuets and right back out the door I went. I had my friend Maddy with me, we drove to a dirt road, somehow un loaded the bike from my truck, fumbled with starting it for at least 30mins. (didn’t know what or where the choke was) Got that thing fired up and the rest is history! I ripped up and down that road for over an hour never even getting out of 2nd gear, my face hurt so bad from smiling, I called my man, told him he better buy a bike if he ever wanted to see me again. So he did! TRUE FREAKING STORY 

How long have you been riding?

About 350 hours :) hahaha but for real. 

Why do you like riding dirt?

Oh my gosh.....why do I like riding dirt? I don’t think there is one thing I don’t like about it. I’m kinda a balls-to-wall type of girl with everything I do so riding a dirt bike just fit my personality. I love the challenge, I love that I can’t think about dumb shit when I’m on my bike, I love feeling exhausted after a good ride, I love that I’m “working out” without working out, the friends I’ve made are beyond worth it, the places I’ve seen, the feelings of accomplishment, working through fears, tears, and sometimes physical pain, I love seeing the dirt wash out of my hair in the shower, and how bright my smile is when my face is super dirty. :) 

Run us through the list of bikes you have had?

2000 KX100, 2016 KTM 150sx, and my newest love the 2018 Husqvarna TE250!! 

 What do you ride now?

2018 Husqvarna TE250

If you could have 2 bikes what would your other bike be?

Thats a great question, I would have liked to keep the 150sx as a second bike, but I’m not even sure why. I suppose just cause we went through a lot together, and I can’t lie, I secretly loved ripping that bike the same places the guys do on their big bikes. Learning to get power out of a smaller bike, clutch control, and having ownership over your bike is an amazing feeling. However if I base this off of other peoples opinions I’d have to get a 250 4 stroke, but in my 3 years of riding, the 4stroke just doesn't make me smile like the 2 smokers.

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

I’ve only had my bike a few weeks now, and its winter here so my riding has been somewhat limited, so far I can tell you having electric start is a game changer, especially being short. I think its pretty neat you can make so many adjustments such as the pre load which is right on top of the xplor forks, or change how hard it hits with the three different power valve springs depending on what you're riding. The clutch is so smooth and it can crawl up anything! It’s a lot of bike to hold on to for sure, but Husqvarna makes it possible to fine tune so many things. 

What kind of terrain do you like riding the best?

Definitely a single track fan, rocky, ledgy, loggy, yummy goodness.

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

The most technical, gnarly woods riding. I day dream of completing a hard enduro one day. 

What is the most challenging riding experience you have had?

The most challenging ride to date happened to be a two day enduro race, The Shady Burro Enduro! Check it out, South Fork Colorado! RMEC. I raced it last August on the 150sx, its possible I was on the smallest bike there. Day one, test one was a huge wake-up call and that was just the beginning of a 100 mile day. A constant climb, with loose rock, mud, diagonal roots, and other riders, I was defiantly worried about what I had ahead of me. Day two was even more difficult, we rode a little further this day and I was still feeling the first hundred miles. I did my best to pace myself, and tried super hard not to make mistakes. I wasn’t all that successful. However, I finished the day on the gnarliest rocky road. It was absolutely relentless. I couldn’t feel my triceps. My thighs felt like tree stumps. My forearms rock solid, and I was starting to lose it mentally! Seriously, I cried, screamed, and laughed my way to the finish line. 

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

Some of my current favorite places to ride here in Colorado are McCoy, Rifle, and De Beque.  

What is on you moto bucket list to ride?

100% I have to go ride McNutt, BC, Canada! Instagram makes it look sick :) 

Do you ride with a lot of other female riders?

Ummmmm, kinda. Well, okay lets be real, most of the time I’m am chasing the boys though the woods. However, there are a handful of girls I like to rip with around here. Nicole, Chelsea, Julie, Jackie, Lauren,  I probably shouldn't start name dropping cause I’m sure to forget some. I also started a FaceBook group called “Eagle County Moto Chicks” and hosted a couple ladies ride days last summer, and plan to do it each month this coming summer. 

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

I look up to everyone, the novice rider and the expert rider, the pros sending it at Erzberg, to the local pros I have to pleasure to ride with here in my back yard. There is something to learn from everyone, even if it’s how NOT to do something. We are all human, it’s not always the riding that blows my mind but the obvious dedication someone has, its freaking contagious and gets me so hyped. 

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

My first Babes Ride in the Dirt experience was last April, and it was amazing from the moment we loaded up the camper in Colorado. Pulling up to camp was unreal, babes, babes and more babes on dirt bikes! How cool is that! The atmosphere was positive, and welcoming! Night life was hilarious, weather was perfect, riding was exceptional, Husqvarna demos, clinics, and tips were amazing, the 50cc races were comical, and the people! WOW, the people were off the charts awesome. I left feeling empowered, refreshed, and ready to plan for the next one. 

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

Age is just a number, dress for the crash, you gotta learn to go slow, to go fast. YouTube is awesome, but nothing beats some real life instruction from someone other than your significant other, cause we all know how that goes. If you’re thinking about it, go for it!!!