Photo taken by: Sarah VanTassel
My name is Amber Bergles, I’m a 32-year-old lady from a small town nestled in-between Appalachian valleys and rivers in Western Pennsylvania. I still work in town at an alteration shop as a seamstress. We do anything from simple pant hems and repairs to intricate gowns and total remakes of garments. Recently, I made my best friend’s wedding dress and a motorcycle seat cover for a client. I started sewing when I was 16; I asked my mom for a sewing machine for Christmas, so I could make my bulky skateboarding t-shirts smaller to fit me better. Like all other sports or activities dominated by the male gender, there were very little options for women (to be clear this was about 16 years ago). I ruined a lot of shirts, but it became a hobby and passion of mine; after I dropped out of college, worked a bunch of unfulfilling jobs, I had a eureka moment- I should sew for a living!
In addition to being a seamstress, I also do wardrobe styling for local productions; mainly commercials and photo shoots, also anything in between! If I'm being 100% honest, becoming a wardrobe stylist was kind of a beautiful accident. Having a career as a seamstress, I had a good understanding of clothing, fits and how to put together an outfit for all types of bodies. I had a friend that did wardrobe styling in Pittsburgh and she started calling me to do alterations on set. I started assisting her and another stylist with prepping, shopping, being on set, wrapping, etc. I realized that this was another skill I could acquire to add to my career and continue to grow as a business and as a young lady. Every job I do as a stylist I learn so much; not just in the business aspect, but also in life because I get to meet so many different people. It’s a great opportunity I’ve had, and I am very grateful for what wardrobe styling has done for me in my life. Being a freelance stylist and seamstress also allows me to do the things I want when I want; essentially being my own boss and not having to work a “normal” corporate job. It sucks not having steady checks, no PTO or vacation time, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
I've taken one of my biggest passions and turned it into a career. Sewing has become my life and has opened doors for me I never knew existed. I know I need to figure out a way to add motorcycles into my career as well. I'm not sure what that translates to, but I am on the lookout; scanning the horizon for a way to make motorcycles everything in my life!
Other things I'm passionate about include working out, hiking- I love being outside and enjoying nature, learning anything new- arts, crafts, anything I can have hands-on learning I very much enjoy. I love to conquer new things I have never tried before! Also eating ice cream all the time and riding motorcycles, of course!
What inspired me to start riding began when I was a teenager: my dad, who is a mechanic and usually wrenched on his classic cars at home, occasionally had a dirt bike laying around. One day he took my youngest brother and me to a field and taught us how to balance and switch gears. However, it wasn't until he bought a Kawasaki Vulcan and started taking me for rides that I knew it was CRITICAL that I have my own motorcycle. I wasn't going to be content with being the lady that just sits on the back. I wanted to be in control, to go as fast as I could, to have that feeling of freedom that nothing could stop me. I wanted to know that I could do this better than all the boys that said I couldn’t ride my own (yes, there were plenty that said I could never have my own motorcycle). As it turns out, I had to be patient and wait a while until the time was right for me to own a motorcycle. Then, at the urging of my dad, I took the Pennsylvania motorcycle safety course and as one can guess I have been on a motorcycle every single moment possible since!
Being a woman involved in the motorcycle community I see things that are lacking other women. One of those things is simply this- MORE WOMEN ON THEIR OWN BIKES!!! Only 13% of all motorcyclists are female. That is clearly not enough. It was intimidating when I got into riding because I had no one to relate to. I spent the majority of my first couple of years riding solo until I found my moto fam, The Maulies (@themaulies). Then, when I thought it wasn’t possible to love riding even more, I fell in love with a wonderful man named Jason, who shares the same passions and love of motorcycles that I do: He owns a shop called Mothership Moto (@mothershipmoto). I can easily assume other women with little or no experience feel intimidated by the industry because of the lack of relatability and getting overwhelmed with where to start. We, The Maulies, have made ourselves available to women in the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas who are interested in riding for advice on how to get started; we try to take the scariness out of the first few steps! Once you have a bike, take the motorcycle safety course, it’s all a matter of getting in as much riding time as possible, getting comfortable, and never letting that cheesy grin leave your face when you’re cruising!
Along with taking the MSC, you should always be geared up properly. This leads me to my second problem: there is not enough gear for women. The people making riding gear must slap a bunch of pattern pieces together with some padding and Kevlar and call it protective. A lot of men I know are also unhappy with the way riding gear fits them. Until very recently it was impossible to find riding gear that fit great and could also appease any aesthetic or vibe you want to portray. BH&BR is a brand taking initiative and filling a need for women who ride. Owned and designed by women, for women, the brand conquers the task of being fashionable, comfortable and functional. These boots have become an absolute staple in my wardrobe for every season; now that I own 3 pairs and counting. I have always been rough on my boots, especially ones I ride in. BH&BR boots have surpassed my expectations in the ways of looking absolutely adorable with every outfit I come up with, and also to always have on my feet; I never know when I want to jump onto a moto and ride away into the sunset, but with BH&BR I am ready 100% of the time! Another brand I love is Atwyld. These ladies are crushing all the standards when it comes to women's protective gear. I also own their jackets and pants, which aren't only protecting me, but looking super cute doing It! I also ride with a full face helmet ALL OF THE TIME. It’s so important to protect your noggin and to do that I look to Biltwell. They make amazing, stylish and functional helmets for every type of rider out there! I have guys compliment me now all the time; they tell me how poorly their gear fits and hope someone takes the time to put as much thought and effort into men’s street riding gear as these ladies have done for the women on the road.
Follow Amber on Instagram: @pumpkin_head_