My Great-Grandmother, the Original Moto Babe

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Today is International Women’s Day, an important day to acknowledge that women (and especially women of color) still have a long way to go to receive the same rights and opportunities that have been awarded to white men for generations. But it’s also a day to celebrate those who blazed the trails before us. One of my biggest inspirations, as a woman and as a motorcyclist, is my great-grandmother Ingeborg.

She was born in Sweden in 1891, and in the 1910s moved to Boston where she met my great-grandpa (who also happened to be Swedish). They got married and had their first child in the US before moving back to Sweden. During their time in Boston, Ingeborg was a badass moto babe. She died before I was born and I didn’t even know she existed until a few years ago, but my dad still has a photo album full of inspiring photos and poems written by Ingeborg during her time in Boston. In it, she refers to the motorcycle as “the horse,” and mentions how much she loves going fast and traveling by motorbike.

A century later, unbeknownst to me at that point, I made the same journey. I moved from Sweden to the US, where I bought my first motorcycle. I always had that urge to ride but wasn’t sure where it came from since no one in my family was into motorcycles. And then I found out about Ingeborg, and suddenly so many of my life choices made perfect sense.

Here’s to all the women who came before us and paved the way by doing whatever the fuck they wanted, despite being told not to. We owe you everything.

Sanna likes motorcycles, kittens, and punk rock. You’re most likely to find her riding twisties in the mountains or camping in the desert with her moto squad. She has a 2015 Harley-Davidson Street Bob, a H-D Shovelhead chopper, a 2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan, and a Honda CRF230F.

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