We enjoy shining a light on dedicated riders, like you, who utilize REVER on their motorcycle adventures! After we grill them on their bikes, rides and insight, we then share it with the REVER community.
If you would like to be featured as the next ‘REVER Rider,’ send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to tag us (@REVERmoto) and hashtag #REVERmoto on posts of your moto-ventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook while you #MakeEveryRideCount!
Meet this week’s REVER Rider!
A tattoo artist, an all-around creator of things cool and beautiful, Amanda Zito is the type of rider you want on your adventures. She’s talented and humble and enthusiastic as all hell about motorcycles. Now, she’s focussing her creative juices on contributing what good she can to the Moto Community. Come June, Amanda takes off on “The Pilgrimage” – her second solo motorcycle trip. This time, she’ll be stuffing her Wolfman Luggage, slipping on some ICON and following Butler Maps through the backwoods and rough roads of Montana, one hand-drawn record at a time… Maybe a few stories too, if we’re lucky.
To conclude this epic excursion, Amanda will meet you (hopefully) and oodles of moto-nuts in Corvallis, MT at her family’s ranch where she will host her first ever Motorcycle Campout: the Rocky Mountain Roll. With guided rides by industry personalities, routes recorded on REVER, a raffle featuring a handful of favorites and free soda, why wouldn’t you want to rip around middle America with this badass motorbiker?
The pièce de résistance? Her whole adventure and event can be found and tracked on the REVER app! So, don’t miss out…
What’s your preference: on-road, off-road or race-course?
Right now I’d have to say on-road, although I am known to take my cruiser places it really shouldn’t go. I think the draw of paved routes for me is the ability to focus more on my surroundings than I can when I have to focus on not falling over.
Where is your favorite place to ride your motorcycle?
I think it has to be tie between the Historic Columbia Highway and Lolo Pass.
The Columbia Highway seems to always be where I end up when I’m stressed. The combination of farms, tiny towns and the curves just calms me down. Lolo Pass has a similar effect; it’s the last stretch before I hit Montana, so I’m filled with excitement, and the view of the road right next to the river is so peaceful.
What inspired you to start riding motorcycles?
When I moved to Portland, I had to leave my horses in Montana. The feeling of excitement and freedom that I get riding horses is very similar to the sensation of riding a motorcycle. My grandfather has ridden motorcycles for ages and had a 1979 Suzuki GS750 sitting in his garage. I used to ask him to unlock the garage just so I could sit on it. My grandfather was very supportive, after I took the safety course, he worked non-stop for two days to get the bike running again so I could ride it.
Tell us about your motorcycle(s) – make, model, year? How did you two find each other?
After I rode my grandpa’s bike for a while, I accidentally dropped it and broke one of the rear turn signals. I replaced it and realized it was about time that I bought my own. Funny enough, some teenage girl hit my car shortly after that. She barely left a dent in my car, but her insurance gave me a sizable check that was enough for me to buy my own bike.
I found a 1980 Suzuki GS850GL in Missoula in the dead of winter on Craigslist listed for $800. Even though there was snow on the ground, I insisted on test riding the bike. It took three of us to push it out of the icy alleyway to the street. I rode it around the block and over a patch of black ice. My heart was pounding, but I was absolutely in love. I knew I had to have that bike. The man took $600 in cash, and we loaded up the bike in our horse trailer. She’s my temperamental baby, but I don’t think I could ever get rid of her.
About a year and a half after I bought the Suzuki, I started having carburetor issues. When my family came to Portland for my graduation, my father surprised me with a 2005 Honda Shadow 750 Spirit. I think he traded a four wheeler for it. It was totally different than the Suzuki, but it’s been incredibly reliable. And, I’ve never had an issue with it in the last 5,000+ miles we’ve rode together!
Does it have a nickname?
At the last minute I asked the man I bought the Suzuki from if the bike had a name. He said he had been calling it the ‘Jesus bike,’ because it had previously belonged to a preacher. Right there, I named her ‘Lazarus’ and the name has stuck. Every time she has problems, she always comes back to life… for me.
The Honda’s story is a little funnier. My father is a short man, and he tried to unload the bike by himself before he brought it to Portland. He ended dropping it just right, so the tank landed on the wheel well of the trailer. There’s a good size dent in the right side of my tank now, so I named it ‘Hephaestus’ after the greek god of Metal Smithing – who also happens to be ‘malformed.’
Favorite REVER Ride
Tell us about the trip you’re talking this summer. What’s the significance?
The Pilgrimage is going to be a solo 3,800+ mile motorcycle trip circumnavigating rural Montana. Along the way, I’ll be hitting as many ghost towns, scenic byways, and natural landmarks as possible in a span of about six weeks. To challenge myself a little, in case traveling the fourth largest State in the US sounded easy, I’ve also made a few rules for myself: no GPS, no hotels, no chain restaurants, no major freeways, and at least one drawing a day [that whole artist thing].
This trip is my present to myself for walking the path I felt like I was expected to walk – moving to a big city, graduating college, finishing my tattoo apprenticeship, and cleaning houses on the side. Now that I’ve arrived at a fork in the road, it seems like the perfect time to take this time for myself to reflect on everything and reground myself to get ready for the next part of my life – whatever that is. Montana has always been my home, so giving myself this opportunity to further explore areas I’ve never gone before felt like the perfect backdrop for my trip.
Do you have any good anecdotes about motorcycling?
Last summer, I rode up a gravel road for 18 miles into the middle of nowhere to get to a ghost town that I thought was empty. Elkhorn is classified as a Ghost Town but it still boats residents. I pulled up to the only two preserved buildings, but when I tried to put the kickstand down the dirt was too soft and started to sink. I managed to get the bike back upright and was looking for a rock when these two dogs came out of nowhere.
They had the added eerie factor that one of them only had three legs and the other just stared at me. Then this man just appeared and asked me if I needed a rock for my kickstand. I thought he was a ghost! He put the rock right under my kickstand and talked to me for a second while I pulled my helmet off. I turned around to put my helmet on my handlebars, and when I turned around he and his dogs were gone. Logically, I know he wasn’t a ghost, but I can’t help feel kind of weird about the whole thing. Good weird. But still weird.
Come July you’ll be hosting your first motorcycle event, the Rocky Mountain Roll – what’s it all about?
I didn’t really know anyone who rode besides my grandfather until I found the Torque Wenches, a group of women riders based out of Portland. The amount of friends I’ve made as a result is crazy. So, I really wanted to have a little campout party at the end of my Pilgrimage to celebrate women who ride and encourage those and other women to push the limits of what they believe they’re capable of.
Whether that’s riding on dirt for the first time or just making the trip to Montana. It’s kind of escalated, and I’ve been blown away by the amount of support that I’ve gotten, people reaching out to help or lead rides, and prizes that people have donated for the raffle is just incredible.
Can we go (tell us how)?
Anyone 21+ are welcome to come to Rocky Mountain Roll. It is a co-ed event with a focus on celebrating women who ride. Doesn’t matter what kind of bike you own, everyone is welcome! Ticket sales for Rocky Mountain Roll end May 15th. You can order your ticket online. You’ll also find a list of our raffle sponsors, a map of the area, and other frequently asked questions.
You’ll be leading a bunch of rides during your camp out, and we hear you’re planning them on REVER. When can people access these tracks? And what will be the group name you use… So we can find it, of course?
Colin of Number 8 Wire Motorcycles and I will be leading a couple different rides during Rocky Mountain Roll. The planned routes vary between paved only and a combo of paved and dirt, which will be made public in a few weeks. The group we’ll be sharing these routes in is called “Rocky Mountain Roll” and can be found here: https://a.rever.co/groups/172.
So, you’re an artist. Why draw pictures of motorcycling? How long have they been your muse?
I started drawing motorcycles after I bought my first bike, Lazarus, in 2012. I couldn’t bring her back to Portland with me for a few months. So, I would do little doodles of me riding it to try and get the longing out of my system. I started drawing more general motorcycle themed things a little after the Dream Roll last year. It was so inspiring to be around so many women who also rode motorcycles. I knew about Babes Ride Out and Motolady, but being there in person surrounded by those women was incredible. Since then my brain has been immersed in the culture, and I can’t help that coming out in my sketchbook.
What’s your favorite function of the REVER app?
After upgrading, I am in love with the Butler Maps route integration. My second favorite thing is being able to download the map so I can still use it when I’m out of cell range. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten lost because I didn’t have a signal on my phone.
What’s one improvement you would suggest?
I think the only thing I would add is a feature to search for gas stations or businesses and add them to the route.
Lastly, we’d like to ask you to tell us a story about an adventure you’ve had with your motorcycle utilizing the REVER app.
Recently, I went on a campout with the Torque Wenches in Central Oregon, which we nicknamed ‘Motos in Valhalla.’ My friend and I found this little campsite tucked out of the way north of Gateway along the Deschutes river. It’s one of those places that I’m pretty sure only the locals know how to get to because we got lost trying to find it a few times. We visited Kah-Ne-Tah Hot Springs and followed a rough road to the little ghost town of Ashwood. Never underestimate how gorgeous Central Oregon can be! Especially the way the roads rise and fall into these amazing canyons. That combined with the big sky is just magical.