BH&BR: Tell us about yourself.
Leslie O’Hara (LOH): My name is Leslie O'hara, I'm from Brick NJ, and I’m a GIS Analyst for Colorado State University, and a Masters student at Memorial University of Newfoundland-Marine Institute. I like working on cars and bikes, hiking, and rock climbing.
BH&BR: What inspired you to start riding motorcycles?
LOH: I’ve been riding for a little over 2 years. I'm not sure where it came from but, I've always wanted to. After a car accident left me blind in my left eye I thought it would never happen. For the 10-year anniversary of the accident I wanted to do something big. I wanted to prove to myself that I wouldn't let being partially blind stop me from doing anything. At that point it just made sense to get my license. I started on a Candy Gold 72 Honda CB450. He was my baby and his name was Pony Boy (because, stay gold). No one really influenced me to ride, however, my Uncle Eddie strongly influenced my taste in bikes. I love anything old and British. He has a collection of Triumphs and he’s currently working on a Matchless. I swoon over all of them.
BH&BR: What do you ride now and what's your ultimate dream bike?
LOH: I currently ride a 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100. His name is Soda-Pop, as in Soda-Pop Curtis (Pony Boy’s brother in the Outsiders). While I love everything about my current bike, I’d love to have a bobber. Ideally, I’d like to do it on an older Triumph, but I’ll settle for whatever I can get my hands on.
BH&BR: Tell us about motorcycle trips you’ve been on or interesting things you’ve seen in your travels. Have you ever faced a significant challenge while on the road?
LOH: The longest trip I’ve been on is from Brick out to the Fox Run in PA. However, some of my most interesting trips have been the shortest. When I had my CB, I was constantly breaking down or parts would just vibrate off mid-ride. I think my favorite was when my rear blinker decided to bail on me. I stopped at a gas station and tied it back onto the mouth with coffee stirrers and some duct tape I borrowed.
Another good story is when my bike back-fired and the carb blew off the manifold while I was riding. I kept pulling the throttle thinking “well that’s odd” I look down and sure enough my carb is blowing in the wind. The biggest challenge was keeping that bike together long enough to get to where I was going. Each trip was an adventure to say the least.
BH&BR: What kind of gear do you ride with, do you have any favorite brands?
LOH: I usually ride with a jacket, boots, and gloves depending on the weather. My favorite brand is definitely Blackbird Motorcycle Wear. They make some of the best jackets out there for women. I really like my protective gear and they match it with a casual look. I find myself wearing my jackets both on and off my bike and no one can tell they are Kevlar. I think a larger selection of women’s gloves are missing from the industry. I ride all season and I would kill for a warmer pair of plain brown lined leather gloves that actually fit.
BH&BR: What about packing your bike for motorcycle trips, is there anything you would not leave home without?
LOH: I usually pack a duffle with everything I need and use a bungee net to secure it to my bike. I like to take a tarp to throw over the top in case there is rain and add some ratchet straps just to get everything secure. I always pack sun screen, a snack, and water no matter how short the trip is. You never know when you are going to get stuck or how dehydrated you get on your bike.
I’ve learned to keep a good sense of humor and to not get too mad about breaking down. I’ve learned so much and met some pretty great people on the side of the road. Every time I leave my house I never know what will happen or where I will end up and that is honestly the best part about having a bike.
BH&BR: Are there any events you are planning to attend or trips you are preparing for?
LOH: I know I’ll be attending the Fox Run again. I’m hoping to make some other trips up and down the East coast as well. I’ve been prepping for a Blue Ridge Highway trip for over a year. I’m hoping to make it down there this year after all the work that’s gone into the planning state.
BH&BR: Are you busy on any projects or learning new skills?
LOH: I’ve been working on a 67 Mustang convertible restoration with my Dad for a while. He’s mentioned buying a TIG welder so maybe it’s the year he teaches me how to weld (fingers crossed).
BH&BR: What are your goals, and what are you looking forward to in the future? LOH: First off, I’d love to finish my master’s degree. I’m hoping that will take me to my dream career of coastal/ocean planning and management. I’d like to explore more places and there is no better way to do it than on a bike. I’d also like to meet more women who ride! I see so many groups of women riders out there and I really want to be a part of something like that.
Recently, I met a fellow rider whom I never expected to become so close with so fast. It would be amazing if I could find others like that and have a community of women to share my experiences with both on and off my bike.
Thank you for taking the time to tell us your story, Leslie!
If you want to be a featured Heartbreaker, send us an email Hello@BhandBR.com