Bikes > Lifestyle

The Litas are lighting the way

Four things you should know about this all-female motorcycling community

These are some of the ladies of the Litas Manila. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

It is indeed the age of female representation. It’s seen everywhere, and more roles are opening up for women than ever before.

However, it’s one thing to be doing something for mere depiction; it’s another when an awakened passion is what moves you, like sweeping the road on two wheels for the first time and realizing how much life it breathes into you.

If, in the past, riding a motorcycle was an experience from the passenger side, more and more women today choose to get behind the handlebar and take it all in for themselves.

There are no specifics as to why the thrill of motorcycles has been appealing to more ladies everywhere, but it must have something to do with these current times opening so many doors for achievement, personal growth, and adventure-seeking.

Let the Litas light the way.

The motorcycles are diverse, just like the members. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Who are the Litas? Founder Jessica Hagget-Wise (from Salt Lake City, Utah) started off by looking for like-minded, motorcycle-riding females. This collective expanded all throughout different cities in the United States, before expanding globally.

The Litas have allowed female riders from many cities across the globe to feel safe knowing there will always be a welcoming group that will prioritize safety when riding together.

In 2017, The Litas Manila (TLM) chapter was founded, and we have Gaki Azurin (GakiMoto), Erika Fernandez, and Carol Karthe to thank for bringing the franchise here.

The main idea was to hopefully encourage more women—from all walks of life—to ride motorcycles and give them a no-pressure, safe space to move in.

Not all members have the same ride preferences, so the group does not impose strict schedules for their meetups. Whether it’s a weekend ride or a Sunday breakfast meet, everyone’s free to go when their schedules permit.

Motorcycling isn't a man's world anymore. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

They are not a club. TLM is not a club, and there’s no appointed president among the group. Fellow Lita, Cal Soesanto, acts as a coordinator making sure that the whereabouts of the members are accounted for in all the rides. She sees herself as more of providing a service and being a source of encouragement than being deemed a leader.

“What I personally hope to achieve for TLM is not just the growth in numbers, but more importantly to continue that nurturing environment, that continued mutual respect with no egos, no agendas,” says Soesanto. “The vibe would be, ‘You good? I’m with you. I got you.’”

Sisterhood is the most important value for this community. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

The Litas have your back. The Litas are all about encouraging progress for women with a genuine passion for riding regardless of their skill level.

However, joining the group for all the wrong reasons—clout, perks, or your 15 minutes of fame—are things the members of TLM will never stand for as these compromise the group’s collaboration.

Snobs? For shallow thinkers, yeah, maybe. But for individuals that have to rely on healthy group synergy for each other’s safety, there is absolutely no room for members who don’t have their heads screwed on tight.

They don’t play when it comes to having your back. Safety is—and always will be—the core of everything they do.

It's not about having the coolest motorcycle. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Style and substance. A safety concern that Litas Manila co-founder Erika Fernandez raised was making the right bike choice.

“Pick your motorcycle based on the kind of riding that you will use it for—not just because it looks cool or it’s the in thing,” explains Fernandez. “Pick one that suits your lifestyle and your height.”

From British bobbers to Italian naked bikes to American baggers, the Litas can carry these bikes with style. More importantly, they know how to use them safely. For the members, riding a motorcycle isn’t about looking cool. In fact, it has more to do with the feeling than it does with the looks.

As some members recall their first experiences with a motorcycle, the common thread was the feeling of liberation, which made them fall in love with it. Knowing how that felt for them, they understand other women who have felt the same and fallen in love with motorcycles.

Safety is paramount. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Sure, for the female segment to thrive in the motorcycle world, a few more improvements are needed. Female-specific gear might still be limited, and a learning center for women is a suggestion worth considering.

But there hasn’t been a time when this male-dominated lifestyle has been more welcoming to women on motorcycles than right now. The Litas are at the forefront of lighting a brighter way for aspiring female riders, offering a network of support here and worldwide, and they’re doing it the right way. They’re doing it the responsible way.

Litas Manila member Conch Tiglao leaves a message for aspiring female riders in need of some encouragement: “Getting started riding motorcycles can be scary for some at first, but you’ll never know if you will like it unless you try. You’ll find like-minded people along the way who’ll have your back.” But don’t forget to gear up. ATGATT: All the gear all the time, as they say.

As International Women’s Month comes to a close, Erika shares a reminder with all female riders: “In some countries, women are not even allowed to drive cars, let alone ride bicycles or motorcycles. The whole idea of this month is to remind women that we can do anything. So, ride with passion, with education, with purpose. Ride for yourself and for all other women out there.”

Patty Morato-Roa

Patty had an early career as a TV and print model. She was also immersed in the motoring world at a young age having spent her childhood around annual car shows. She has worked as an editorial assistant, and dabbles in photography as well. She’s a wife of an avid motorcycle rider and a mom of two.