Women Riders’ Forum at IMSS – The Road to Empowerment

This is the first of three articles describing the 3-series women riders forum at the International Motorcycle Supershow, January 6 – 8, 2011 at the International Centre, Mississauga. This forum takes place on January 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Vancouver Room with guest Ila Sisson.

Join in for one or all of this three-part series. Through a series of presentations and interactions, Liz and her guests, women whose stories are in the book, will share experiences and lessons learned on the Road to Empowerment. The ideas will inspire you in every day life and you’ll approach riding with a deeper understanding of yourself. You’ll meet other like-minded riders, enjoy the camaraderie and discover the strength which exists within the riding community.  

Lying in the mud and rain, watching the front wheel of the motorcycle tire spin in the air beside my head was hardly a position of empowerment. It was only compounded when I got up and discovered I couldn’t move my right arm. Yet it was one of the most defining moments in my life. Not because I now had a physical disability to deal with, but rather because it taught me more about myself than I could read in any self-help book.

Much as we cherish the sunshine, it’s the challenging times where our shadows are illuminated that are the breeding grounds for personal growth. That experience in the woods was pivotal in the creation of Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment. It began a journey that would introduce me to women of courage and selflessness; women who taught me about the empowering properties of motorcycles.

The Oxford Dictionary defines power as the “ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way.” Empowerment makes someone “stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.”

Time and time again, women shared stories of life-lessons they learned through motorcycling. Sometimes these were challenges they chose to tackle; other times, they found themselves in new situations where inner resourcefulness was the only thing that would see them through.

Setting fear and doubt aside allows you to do amazing things. It will hobble you if you don’t. Leaders in their field like Debbie Evans Leavitt[1], Stefy Bau[2] and Leslie Porterfield[3] , all featured in the book, consistently perform seemingly death-defying feats. They all recount how setting aside fear and focusing on their strengths were essential to their rise to the top of their game.

Ultimately, our power comes from being who we are and doing what we were called to do. We lead ordinary lives, capable of making an extraordinary difference.

Ila Sisson, a holistic healer, teacher and counselor will join me in this engaging, interactive forum. She rode half-way across the continent, knowing she had the technical skills to navigate across the Great Divide, yet filled with fear and dread on her approach. It was only once she acknowledged her fear, then insisted it get off, that a whole new beautiful world opened up for her.

You will come away from this session with a greater awareness of your strengths and how you can apply them to enrich your life.


[1] One ofHollywood’s top stuntwomen

[2] Former world MX champion

[3] Fastest woman in the world on a motorcycle


Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.