A pack of motorcycles rumbles through downtown San Diego, long hair and silk scarves waving in the wind. Turquoise feathers flutter on their handlebars and the riders sport a collection of brown leather jackets, tall boots, and even aviator goggles.
This scene is a snapshot of the Ride the Wind charity ride and this year I will be joining their ranks for International Female Ride Day. Who better to tell the story of Ride the Wind than the founder and ride leader Dax Jordan? I sat down with Dax to get the full story leading up to this Saturday’s main event.
Jen Dunstan: Can you give us a quick overview of what Ride the Wind is in your own words?
Dax Jordan: Ride the Wind is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that organizes motorcycle events around the country to benefit local domestic violence organizations. We embody the brave spirit of early aviators and our goal is "Freedom from Fear" because everyone deserves to feel safe, especially when going home. One of the hardest things to do in a domestic violence situation is to reach out and ask for help. Ride the Wind strives to raise awareness, build courage, and benefit these local organizations that are on the front lines of ending domestic abuse.
JD: The story behind Ride the Wind is deeply personal, as you yourself are a survivor of domestic abuse. Has riding motorcycles helped you cope with the trauma you have experienced?
DJ: For me, riding a motorcycle forces you to be in the now. The demands of the road and the bike require you to be seriously in the moment. Too often people are stuck looking backward, and not moving or looking forward. I like to say motorcycles have five gears but no reverse. You need to stay balanced, to stay in the moment. Riding is therapeutic because I am very present with what I am doing, feeling the wind, and moving forward.
JD: This San Diego ride coincides with IFRD. Was this intentional? Do you see parallels between the IFRD credo and what Ride the Wind seeks to achieve?
DJ: Absolutely. Ride the Wind originated here in San Diego four years ago and this homecoming event always brings an extra special energy to it. It felt natural that it should pair up with International Female Ride Day, as well. IFRD is a day to empower women to ride and RTW also seeks to empower women both on and off the motorcycle. One in three women globally will be affected by domestic violence. This statistic is staggering. In the same way IFRD shines the light on female riders, RTW is shining the light on domestic abuse victims and their journey to healing.
JD: Tell us about the aviator dress code Ride the Wind has become known for. What was the inspiration?
DJ: I wanted an underlying theme for RTW that would convey courage, bravery, and freedom. Amelia Earhart is a personal hero of mine. I look back on the tremendous amount of courage it would take to climb into those airplanes of yesteryear and to fly the skies while breaking records and it’s just so inspiring. The suggested dress code for RTW events is aviator themed and I like that this theme also includes a lot of opportunity for expression and protection — tall leather boots, a jacket, helmet and silk neck scarf can all be incorporated into a riding wardrobe safely and according to rider taste. RTW riders are also given a turquoise feather to add to their handlebars in solidarity with the ride. The turquoise color symbolizes protection and the feather represents freedom.
JD: Ride the Wind started as just a San Diego ride and has expanded to include cities nationwide. What are the next steps for Ride the Wind? What would you like to achieve next?
DJ: In 2021, Ride the Wind has 25 events in cities nationwide on the calendar. My hope is in 2022 we will expand to 35 cities in the U.S.A. and eventually take Ride the Wind international to include some European cities.
No matter where we ride the mission stays the same — raise awareness, support local domestic abuse organizations, and empower women on and off motorcycles.
JD: What advice would you give to a new rider just starting out?
DJ: Start out on a bike that is sensible, both in cost, comfort, and power. It is so important to make sure the height and power of the bike are suitable to your individual needs. Also, always ride your own ride. If you join a group and they are pressuring you to go faster or ride dangerously, back away. Take your time and ride your own ride. Don’t ride tired or upset. The road requires your full attention. Stay in the moment, stay focused.
To find a Ride the Wind event near you, see the event calendar. If you would like to join Dax and me for the San Diego Ride the Wind event on International Female Ride Day, meet us at San Diego Harley-Davidson, 4645 Morena Blvd. The event takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participation costs $10 and the proceeds benefit the Center for Community Solutions, a San Diego domestic violence advocate.