By: Jessica Dirks

I love to get out on the open road just as much as any other biker, and it matters not a bit that I’m a woman. I love to take the scenic route to work on my 2008 SV650. And at the end of a long work day, nothing suits me better than to turn a hectic 15-minute commute into a leisurely 40-minute scenic ride home.

I’d much rather get off the beaten path and take the winding roads to nowhere than to be stuck on the Interstate. Now granted, I wasn’t always this interested in motorcycles. When I started working at J&P Cycles, I told them upfront that there was no way I would ever be interested in climbing on a bike, but I said I was willing to give my best to the company. Now, here we are five years later, and I love everything about motorcycles and I can’t think of anything more fun to do on a lonely afternoon then ride.

My primary job at J&P is in the purchasing office, but I help out in a number of departments and have seen and heard it all. Working in the retail showroom every weekend has made me realize that not all male bikers are particularly fond of us ladies out on the road. At events like Sturgis or Street Vibrations in Reno, it’s pretty evident that some men don’t always take us ladies seriously. They don’t realize that for me, riding isn’t just fun, it’s a passion. And I love it every bit as much as the next guy. Being active in the industry and frequent road trips have taught me a lot about bikes. I get discouraged when fellow riders refuse my help when they’re looking for a Harley part. That’s what I’ve been trained to do. Heck, I pick out  parts for my own bike and then I help out while they’re being installed. I recently spent an hour in the garage with my boyfriend helping him put a new exhaust from Vance & Hines on my bike. I wanted to be there to hear that first roar from my new exhaust.

Working for J&P has certainly included the perks. I mean, what’s better than going to an event and getting paid to be there? Sturgis this year was the best ever, not only because it was the busiest and most rewarding for the company but for me as a rider as well. Waking up at 5 a.m. just to sneak in a ride through the back roads of Sturgis before work made getting through the long days easier. Just knowing I could count on a cool, refreshing ride to wake me up in the morning got my days off to a good start. I admit that riding out to Sturgis this year on the back of a bike instead of actually riding one was a bit discouraging. But a ride is a ride and it was a great adventure. And, of course, there’s always next year.

There’s just nothing to compare with the feel of the wind around me and the power beneath me. Add to that some beautiful scenery and the experience becomes indescribable. I’m not saying working in this industry is all fun and games. For one thing, I’m always at work during the great riding weather. But that doesn’t stop me from occasionally sneaking away from work to steal a quick ride. How do you pass up on opportunities like that?