Name: Kelsey Coppetti
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Job: Social Media and Marketing Manager
Motorcycle: 1977 Honda CB550F
When did you start loving motorcycles? Has anyone transmitted this passion to you?
I’m the classic case of having grown up around motorcycles and watching motorcycle races like the Isle of Man or anything over at Laguna Seca. My dad started riding when he was in his teens and the first bike I remember of his growing up was a Honda 900RR – neon green and neon purple. I kid you not, one of the rims was neon green and the other neon purple….it was the 90s.
It seemed somewhat inevitable I’d end up with my own one day and, looking back, my father definitely helped guide that decision. Once we had moved out to the country when I was an early teen, the toys got bigger. What started as a motorized scooter, turned into a go-kart, which turned into a quad, which turned into a dirt bike.
I think a defining moment in my decision to start was when I was 18, in Barcelona, and saw this woman straddling a Harley, in sandals with a messenger bag, no less – very casual – as the Spanish are. Just the image of her, I still can remember – she made such a mark on my perception of women riders and I knew then that I wanted to make that happen.
First ride experience: feelings, sensations.
The first time I ever rode solo was in my parents backyard in the country on a the tallest Suzuki DRZ (my toes barely reached the ground).
I remember being incredibly frustrated, because having never learned clutch in a car, I was overthinking the whole shifting mechanism and I’d constantly kill the bike by popping the clutch too fast. Once I got past that, it was an experience hard to find elsewhere.
In cars we’re so disconnected and easily distracted with buttons, music, chatter, and comfort, that it’s rare to feel present. I think this was the first time I was able to experience the opposite of all those things at once.
What do you ride? Details.
A 1977 Honda CB550F. She’s a beaut. And usually warrants every older fellow stopping and telling me how this was the first bike they ever learned on. I bought it with 9000 miles clocked and all stock. The person I bought it from had bought it from the original owner who had likely clocked 8000 of those miles and then let it sit in a garage for 40 years.
It’s really such a beautiful machine to ride – smooth, slow and has it’s own little quirks that come with age.
What is the place you love the most to enjoy your motorcycle?
The mountains – any mountains. Angeles Crest Highway is a well-known ride here in LA and it’s good for all those curves.
What about your local motorcycle community? Do you ride with other gals?
LA is full of riders. Many, many different riders – and I love that. Probably because it’s riding season 365 days of the year. But the community is so strong here.
After moving my bike to Los Angeles two years ago, I understood that you meet a lot of people simply from being a rider. I didn’t know any one who rode when I first moved here, so I started riding with the EastSide Moto Babes (an all female MC) on Tuesday nights. I can somehow connect almost everyone I know now, back to the people I met on those nights.
A couple good friends of mine started Lucky Wheels Garage about two years ago and that’s been a great hub for a sense of community and really fun events almost monthly.
What is the most beautiful motorcycle adventure you’ve experienced so far?
That’s hard, since most of the riding I do is on weekends, and very intentionally set for beautiful places to ride.
However, I rode with some friends out to Death Valley last March and will never forget the sunrises and sunsets. It was a pretty exhausting 48 hour trip and the high desert winds + cold temperatures kicked our asses coming out of the park and down Hwy 14.
I was sure those factors would spoil the memory of the experience, but that’s what’s great about being on a motorcycle.
What will be your next moto-adventure?
That’s a great question. I have a list of rides I’ve been wanting to take – mostly around California because the options are endless. Big Sur by way of Hwy 1, Anza Borrego, Yosemite etc.
One of those I’m sure will be next.
Besides motorcycles what are your other passions?
Ceramics has been a side project for about 10 years now. I recently moved into a place that not only has a garage(!) but a little studio attached(!!) – a rare LA sighting – so I’ve been working to turn the space into a ceramic studio.
If there’s a moment of free time outside of work and being in the studio, I’m usually packing up and heading out of town for some camping, a day trip, or travel elsewhere.
Kelsey, what is a MOTORCYCLE for you?
It’s a way to connect.
My dad and I have always had a strong relationship, but riding continues to strengthen our bond. It’s also a means to connect with a passionate community, to meet other badass female riders, and to connect with the outdoors.
The book Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance really sums it up better than I can; it’s about placing yourself within the scenery instead of being a ‘passive observer’.
But also and more importantly, it’s simply a means to having fun.