Karen Kaizer

We cannot say enough good things about this woman! Her smile literally fills hearts with pure happiness and joy, and her infectious laugh radiates to all around her. But enough about our sappy feelings— Let’s talk about Karen and why she’s so awesome :) This was our first official photoshoot of the entire project. We met her at Polson Pier, which has the best cityscape views in all of Toronto. Karen is lucky enough to already ride her dream bike, the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S; which we rolled onto the pier between a wedding photoshoot and a bunch of Instagram selfie photographers (we were even photobombed by a boat that was very eager to have their photos taken as well). We got to shooting and talking and realized right away that Karen is one of the most down to earth women we’ve met. She’s been working as a Marketing Manager for just over twenty years now, with a couple of those years spent in the Advertising. She’s been riding for five years, two months, five days and counting, and loving every second of it! She learned on her birthday (her 25th ;) ). Karen trademarked the word Ohsocool™ to describe how riding makes her feel and we would like to use that same word to describe what we think of her. We love her and her sense of humour and you will too!

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How has riding helped you in your personal and professional life?


As an individual, and a grown adult, learning to ride reminded me that overcoming fear and that teaching myself new things in life was still very much possible. It reignited a passion in me – for life, for adventure – that I think I’d let go a little dormant, lost in career, expectations of society, lifestyle, etc. It was the first time in a very long while that I wasn’t confident and I had to internalize every moment of learning, not caring about what those around me were thinking. Even as a new rider, taking it slow, I was reminded that most things in life should be approached with a willingness to claim inexperience. It’s okay to ask for time or for help, no matter how old you are or how accomplished you are in your life and your career. Sometimes, we just don’t know everything and that’s hard to admit.

And then there was that time that riding helped me in my personal life by introducing me to my now husband. Who would have guessed?!

What inspired you to start riding?


Honestly, it was just working at H-D. I hadn’t ever considered riding before – never grew up with or around riders – and when I started with the company, it was like walking through a mirror where all stereotypes I’d held literally fell away instantly and I was totally curious to learn.



What kind of motorcycle do you ride and why?


I ride whatever I can get my hands on but because I don’t have my own ride at the moment, I’ve taken to hoarding the FXDLS here. Although all of our models have their own unique merits and traits, I personally think our Dyna family are pure performance and the Low Rider S is all that, plus so much power. It’s agile, responsive, full of torque and I absolutely adore everything about it. Can’t wait to get one of my own.

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Were you intimidated by the male dominance in the riding community?


Oh absolutely. Even as a marketing professional who has spent many years of my career working in male-dominated industries, coming into the world of motorcycles brought on a few other intimidations. I wasn’t sure how the community received new riders just in general and I was fairly certain that the stereotypes I had in my mind about those tough guys on bikes were true, meaning I was going to have to go at this pretty much solo, considering how few female riders I knew at the time. 



Did you have female friends that rode who helped you get started?


I had a couple of really great female colleagues whom I worked with at H-D and they were beyond supportive and encouraging. None of my personal friends rode. 

Do you have any women in the moto industry that you are inspired by? Why?


My two new girls Micaela and Ashleigh sure as hell do! Inspired by your notion that “Women of Moto” isn’t a lib movement nor is it a cry for equality. I see WoM as a place/time/space that recognizes and supports our thoughts and feelings as women in moto. Where badass can still mean being kind and compassionate to each other. Where it means holding yourself to your own standards, riding to your own abilities, and knowing that there’s a group of sisters right there with you, supporting however you need supporting. That mentality also dovetails to another woman I have learned a lot from in this world – Karen Davidson – and that’s not a shameless H-D plug. Karen grew up in a world of pretty solid privilege and she didn’t have to embrace riding or the company, but she did. She’s spent her life devoting her time and attention to the customers of Harley-Davidson, conveying the most sincere appreciation at every instance. Incredibly down to earth, always has a kind word and an attentive moment to share with anyone and she’s been a great advocate for welcoming women into the community of riding. 

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Why do you think women’s moto events/groups/projects are becoming so popular?


1) More female riders = more voices. 


2) Natural female instinct is to protect and to cultivate and so we are tapping those instincts to try to enlighten others that the stereotypes are wrong and that learning to ride a motorcycle is actually something that will make life better just in general.

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Who is your favorite person(s) to ride with?


Myself.

If I HAVE to take someone though, that’s definitely my amazing husband. He’s an incredibly talented rider and he tends to take off pretty far ahead most times, so that’s really the best of both worlds. I get to have my person with me, but he’s usually far enough ahead to leave me with my own groove. 

What is your favorite place to ride?


North end of Vancouver Island. Very little traffic, incredible scenery, warm temps and the smell of ocean in the air. 

Where do you see the women’s moto movement/culture in Canada heading over the next few years?


You can already see the culture growing and it’s a very cool time to be a part of all of this. As humans we’re naturally pack animals and so the more women who get out there and ride, the more others will consider it as well. We don’t have to be stunt riders, we don’t have to ride any better or any less than the next guy, but the more acceptable it becomes for any woman to be a rider, the more doors that opens for everyone. We are still feminine, we are still mothers and sisters and daughters and wives and girlfriends. We are still business women, artists, labourers, influencers, doctors, lawyers – and we ride. Maybe just back and forth to work, maybe on super-long road trips. Either way, no woman needs to prove anything to anyone on a bike. We ride for the same reasons the boys do….because it is awesome and it makes us smile.



What is your dream moto trip?


That’s a though question actually. I’m an adventurer at heart so I’d like to say that it would be something international and exotic. As an employee of Harley-Davidson though, I think it would be expected that I would site a famed route, making it as long a distance as possible. But really, I think my dream moto trip would just be a windy route through the B.C Rockies with my husband on a sunny day, with a big, fat lobster for lunch! (Food is almost as important to me as motorcycling. Maybe more some days.)

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How do you feel you have broken stereotypes as a female rider?


I am proud to say that I’ve mastered the art of riding in full gear and Superwoman-ing into heels and a dress on the sidewalk within minutes of parking. Still working on the shampoo commercial hair, mind you.

On a bigger priority level though, my job has provided me with countless opportunities to speak to this topic and I do my best each time to dispel misnomers and to actively encourage women into the sport. 

How do you feel the image of female riders has changed over the past few years?


I think the perception of being a female rider has transitioned from somewhere near masculine to somewhere closer to something the average woman could do and does. Overall I think the impression of female riders has more so enveloped our softness as an inherent and respectable quality. 


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BTS photos below courtesy of Viktor Radiks 

Bikes courtesy of Harley Canada