Lea Rieck is a journalist, tells stories and has decided to turn the motorcycle into her vehicle to experience adventure journeys. Her first book was published this year. Tom Possod is a RISER AMBASSADOR (you can find his routes and adventures directly in the RISER app and follow him there), he met Lea for RISER Journal and asked her a few questions about motorcycling and her attitude to life…
How and when did you start riding a motorcycle?
My father drove around Australia twice in the 1970s with his motorcycle. However, he stopped riding when my brother was born, so I only know his adventures from pictures. But it was always clear to me: I would like to do that once in a while! It took me a while to get my motorbike driving licence myself. I only did it when I took a permanent job after my studies and finally had a stable income, because in Germany the driving license is quite expensive. After I had the rag, I bought my first motorcycle, took two weeks off and drove from Munich to Istanbul and back the weekend after. That was the beginning of a big love.
What is your “life motto”?
I don’t really have a real motto, only a strong instinct. That’s why I always say: “Listen to your gut feeling”. No matter whether on journeys or in the normal everyday life. If your new job gives you a stomachache, then maybe it’s not the right job, if you don’t feel comfortable in the twilight of a new city you’re exploring, then you should either organize some company for yourself or wait for daylight.
What do you like about group rides?
After travelling alone most of the time, I sometimes enjoy riding in groups very much. However, I don’t like it when groups get too big, but in small groups you can look after each other very well and eight eyes just see more than two. For me, riding in a group is a bit like a cozy couch: you don’t just have full responsibility on your own and can often just sit back and relax.
Do you have a favourite motorcycle route or track?
On my trip i rode some of the most beautiful routes of the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan and the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan, both lead past 7,000-8,000 meters high mountains and through an extraterrestrially beautiful moon landscape. In Europe I love the Dolomites, there are some of the best asphalt roads in the world, and for off-road driving Piemonte and Liguria in Italy on the French border with all the old military roads.
What would you like to say to all the women out there?
That’s what I’d like to say to everyone out there: If you have a dream or something you’ve always wanted to try out, you just have to dare it. Otherwise you’ll never know if this dream is fun in reality or if it fulfills you. I’ve never regretted anything I’ve tried – even if I realized at the end that it might not be what I want to do from now on.
How would you motivate women to get on the bike?
I often experience that women have a greater respect for motorcycling. My opinion is: Whoever dares to ride a motorbike as a passenger and even has fun with it, would probably have just as much fun if he would ride it himself, and perhaps just has to dare. But I am also of the opinion that especially when riding a motorcycle there has to be some basic motivation and the desire to try something new – if you just climb the bike full of fear and without joy, you will find it difficult to build up your self-confidence in order to be able to drive the bike safely. But let’s be honest: riding a motorcycle is not a witchcraft, but like most things something in which you just get better the more often you do it.
What criteria do you use to define your next goals?
I’m a very curious person, that’s why I like to travel to places I haven’t been before. For me, the next thing I have to do is a trip around Africa! If, on the other hand, I ride motorcycles in the closer vicinity, then three things have priority for my next goals: weather, curves and mountains.
Do you prefer to plan or do you prefer things to happen spontaneously?
A combination of both! I like to plan bureaucratic things like visas or documents you need to travel by motorbike, because that gives me the freedom to plan as little as possible on the road and live day by day. Where I sleep in the evening when I travel, for example, I hardly ever know.
Lea recently published her book “Sag dem Abenteuer ich komme” (available at Kiepenheuer & Witsch). We are giving away two copies to the first two of you who send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ABENTEUER! The book is in German.