– Lisa D’Antimo –
Kawasaki Z400 1979 build▪design engineer▪house dance▪women soccer▪coffee enthusiast.
I write about motorcycles over here
Lisa, where are you based?
I currently live in Lille, France. Also hanging out in Paris quite often.
What is your first memory related to motorcycles?
When I was a kid, passing by motorcycles on the street, I remember having my eyes completely fixed on them, I was just crazy impressed.
I had no idea what it really meant to own and ride a motorcycle but I knew I absolutely wanted to be part of it. I was already guessing that this was promising something big.
Like a lot of kids I guess, I dreamed about installing an engine on my bicycle!
And the first ride experience? What were the feelings, the emotions?
First time I got on a motorcycle as a passenger, I was something like 9 or 10: I remember keeping this huge smile on my face all along the ride…
Since then, when I ride myself I focus seriously but I keep on continuously grinning inside my helmet…
I remember always having the feeling of “empowering” like nothing else and feeling a weird mix of carefreeness, adrenaline, and pure satisfaction.
What do you ride today?
Well in everyday life actually not much more than my bicycle… my Honda Dax 125cc has been stolen recently, and I’m building the only bike I own so I can’t ride it yet…!
I borrow some of my friends bikes, do some special training to improve my riding skills on the road, but I also experiment dirt track and MX sessions: what a threat!
You are building your first bike. When did you start thinking about this project and why?
When I ended up with no bike anymore, I absolutely wanted to buy a new one, a bigger one.
Everyone advised me to get a reliable and modern motorcycle on a budget as I was a young rider. But my dream was to own a custom vintage bike, and most of all: I wanted to build it by myself…!
I’ve always loved to build stuff so I was keen to learn the most I could about mechanics (I knew practically nothing about it).
It sounded like a crazy idea…
At this time, I had recently met a great guy thanks to a small motorcycle ladies local club. He is an excellent mechanic and we became friends.
He proposed to help me on this project from A to Z and to teach me all he knew. So we basically build the bike in his own garage, surrounded by his family.
They are all very kind, I feel extremely lucky about that.
What is the most difficult aspect of rebuilding your own bike?
Well, the time I build… I don’t ride! So it can be frustrating sometimes.
But even if it tends to surprise people when I tell the story: for nothing in the world I would have made another decision! I prefer spending 2 years if needed to finish this bike and live this adventure than “just” riding.
Fortunately, I’m quite patient (ok, I admit it, I feel like buying a second one…).
Also making decisions about the design details is quite hard: you really want this bike to be as you imagined it, it’s a very good design exercise.
More deeply, trusting myself on this project is not always easy. When things get tricky, you can easily feel not skilled enough, not legitimate enough and end up discouraged.
You have to put your doubts aside and trust your common sense!
You describe this experience on your blog; a diary about you and your passion for motorcycles. Passion that you love to share, what is the reaction of people reading your blog or when you talk about it?
It really touches me to get emails from people who took the time to write you to say that article made them laugh, inspired them, or just to encourage you…
It’s funny to get messages from different profiles: from the girl who feels like doing the same or the older man who is super supportive and enthusiast about young folks and women who build and ride.
The writing is also a great exercise: it structures your mind, helps seeing clear and being honest with oneself. And the story gets laid down on paper then!
Un post condiviso da Dirt Track Riders Association (@dirttrackriders) in data:
What is the place you love the most to enjoy the two wheels?
I really love riding in the dirt I think.
It’s very varied: each meter is a different sensation!
I used to travel in New Zealand during a few months and I promised myself to get back there one day to ride those incredible roads in the middle of raw nature.
The most exciting motorcycle adventure you’ve done or the one you hope to do?
So far, definitively this flat track weekend in the UK… It was completely unexpected.
I stumbled upon a pic on Instagram: an unknown girl was reselling a ticket for a sort of a big dirt track session in the middle of nowhere, 4 hours drive from London, up north… 5 days after I had signed up and I was crossing the sea all by myself to get there, with an incredibly positive feeling to jump into the void to go experiment something I love.
I met a bunch of amazing people from Greenfield Dirt Track and the VC London girls, it was huge!
What are your passions besides motorcycles?
I love dealing with both very creative work and the concrete and technical aspect of mechanics.
In my job I kind of juggle engineering and industrial design, I really like this balance.
I love making motorcycles illustrations and express ideas for the build project through hand sketches; the first line of a drawing is always a magic feeling… I also really enjoy craftsmanship, making physical prototypes and mockups, street art, design in general…
In the end, Lisa what is for you a MOTORCYCLE?
Passion for motorcycles is a like mean to discover incredible places, meet inspiring people, meet hard challenges, learn new skills, take lessons…
When I hear the word “motorcycle”, I think about power, excitement, fun, commitment, positive stress, humility…
It represents an exciting playfield to push yourself to the limits and live intense emotions.
It’s crazy how we can feel real affection for our bikes by the way.
It’s where I feel purely capable and strong enough to hold tight the handlebar during a jump, to fight during a race or to sand by hand a metal part for hours…
It moves me, it’s quite odd, isn’t it?