With the upcoming event on June 27-28 I thought it would be fun to interview a few people who are special guests so you could get to know them more personally. For our first installment, RedSpade, aka Anna Rigby, will be our subject. Jason Pridmore, our guest speaker and coach for the upcoming event, made the introduction and it only took a few minutes of speaking to Anna before I realized that JP associates himself with people very much like him. Anna is very sweet, centered and humble, which I find so refreshing in this sea of narcissism and social media. Let’s get to know Anna who will be RedSpade for the purposes of this blog. I want to thank Jason and Peter Bacon, Marketing Manager for Dainese, North America for supporting us and our mission to educate riders by providing events where riders can learn from the best coaches out there today. Anna and her husband, Steve will be at the Ridge on both dates, please don’t hesitate to come and say “hi”!
CC: I first took notice of you when JP mentioned you and asked me to check out your Instagram under RedSpade. What inspired that name?
RS: I wanted to come up with something unique, memorable and symbolic. The name “spade” comes from the Italian word “spade” or “sword” which often represents logical and rational thought cutting through uncertainty and falsehood. The spade is also usually the most powerful suite in a deck of cards and a sign of luck. I assigned the color red to it to make it one of a kind and unique. At the time I had fiery red hair so the color was symbolically a representation of a part of me. Later on for our logo the spade took on a shape of red and white rumble strips which specifically correlates to our company [RedSpade Racing].
CC: I love it when company names carries a deep personal meaning, it reminds you why you do what you do and it shows in every decision you make, person you touch and keeps you driven.
CC: I love the pictures you post how’d you get started in documenting your journey?
RS: I fell in love with the machines and the atmosphere of track life—which is really where I was officially exposed to motorcycles. After shooting a few local WERA races I realized that I was in love with the way guys piloted these machines and I really wanted to ride one myself (at the time I was only a passenger with my husband). Since my feed already consisted of motorcycle photography it was a natural progression that I started documenting my journey from my first MFS class onward.
CC: You are the ambassador for Dainese/AGV, can you tell us how you got involved?
RS: Funny story actually—I’ve always been a fan of Dainese and their products. They always seemed to be the best quality and had the best designs. But when my husband crashed twice on the street and walked away safe and sound in his Dainese leathers I was sold. In general I posted a LOT about safety and proper motorcycle gear. 4 years ago when I started riding there weren’t as many gear choices for women as there are now. I remember reaching out to Dainese begging them to create something more for women and that many sizes weren’t readily available in the US. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that Dainese reached out to me and asked me to come on board as one of their brand ambassadors. They had told me they were watching me on social media for some time and simply liked how I represented the motorcycle community and the sport. I was floored, to be honest I still can’t believe I get to work with a company I believe in so much.
CC: I still believe the choices are slim. However Dainese was the first street gear I bought, loved and continued to add to because of how flattering it is for women. In fact, my very first race suit was Dainese and it’s been crashed over and over and it’s scuffed up but it’s still in one piece! It’s not as beautiful as it was, but I use that suit now as a rain day suit or loaner suit for gals who want to two up at track days. I still think we need more choices with color and designs, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Wearing a small boot size, Dainese is the only boot manufacturer I can wear. I wear a Dainese 6 (36), they fit amazing and while you can’t get the top of the line race protection, you can get pretty damn close with their boots. I am sure there will be changes with the increase of women riders and their demand for better looking and fitting gear, ladies will make that known for sure!
CC: When did you get introduced to riding? What enticed you to ride?
RS: I guess that goes back to your previous question about me shooting photography. Racing was sparked my interest to ride really. I was super impressed with guys dragging their knee and getting low to the ground—that was like absolute black magic to me. At the time I was absolutely terrified and never thought I would get to experience it myself, but I dreamed of it. It wasn’t until I met a female racer that encouraged me to go take the MFS course and see if it was for me. Until then I hadn’t seen any females ride like that and I honestly didn’t even know it was possible. She single handedly convinced me to take the riding course and jump-started my journey.
CC: That’s why I want women to see other women ride, not everyone started at a young age, many of us started much later. We are all different, from our goals to our knowledge and understanding of riding, I want them to understand that persistence, practice and perseverance go a long way in helping them get confident and building their skill set. We need to help encourage other gals and give them the tools they need to succeed at their goals.
CC: Who sparked your interest to ride and why?
RS: My husband Steve definitely was the key person to spark my interest. All the men in his family ride or rode at one point or another. Steve also rode dirt bikes and trails when I met him so there was always a history of two wheels with him. As a matter of fact, our first date was a story in itself—we ended up crashing and my right leg got all rashed up pretty bad. But that was over 16 years ago and who would have thought that 12 years later I would finally build up the courage to learn to ride myself.
CC: It’s exciting to see an increase in women riders, what words of encouragement would you give them?
RS: This is still very much a male driven sport whether you’re just a casual street rider or aspiring track addict. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t as fast, as skilled or as talented as others. Riding is a very personal skill that you develop on your own and within your physical and mental abilities. I learned this the hard way 2 years into my riding. I was so blinded by trying to be a better rider that I was beating myself up and struggling, I had lost the joy of riding because I was getting ahead of myself. All my riding friends and family had been riding for years and were quite skilled, I was and still am the slowest—I took this very personally. I had to re-evaluate what I wanted out of riding at that point and find my center again. Everything will come in due time as long as you keep working towards your goals, but don’t let your goals overwhelm and control you.
CC: Couldn’t have said it better. We are all competitive by nature, but this is very individual, treat it as such, once you start comparing yourself with others you lose sight of your goal. We tell everyone to ride within your abilities and comfort zone, but that can be hard to do when you want so badly to be up front with the fast guys. It’s not about only being fast, it’s about being fast safely and within your own mental and physical abilities. We are all very different, stop comparing.
CC: What do you currently ride? What is your dream bike?
RS: right now I have 2 bikes—both 2008 cbr600rr. one is pretty much stock for street and the other is a race bike I bought from a track coach—It’s loaded with goodies that makes my street bike jealous 😛
I’m not sure I have a dream bike really. I’m very practical which is why I own Hondas (they take a mean beating and still keep on going!) I would have to saw that for a practical bike I would love to own a new 636 Kawi—I really enjoyed it when I rode at the Start School and the electronics made it so easy to handle compared to my Honda. If I could have a money pit of a bike I’d definitely go for a looker like the Panigale!
CC: OK, I have to confess I bought my dream bike, I love it and it’s only been on the track a few times (figured my luck would eventually run out there). It’s the 848 EVO, I bought it the last year it was made knowing it was now or never. It’s my go to street bike, twins are so much fun to ride on the street and when it looks equally beautiful, what could be better? Italians know how to make things sexy and that bike is just that!
CC: Do you ride on the track and on the street, which do enjoy more?
RS: I still ride both street and track, but I most definitely love the track to death. I feel safer and excited when I ride the track, at the same time it’s my meditation and truly the only time I feel alive. As for the street I tend to stick to country roads and mountains. I still struggle with tight curvy roads so I get a bit stressed out—I definitely don’t like riding around cars. I didn’t have this feeling when I started riding, the more track I do the more street unnerves me. There’s just too much that can go wrong and it’s all out of my hands.
CC: What challenges as women do you feel we face as motorcyclists?
RS: To be honest I’ve always felt that riding a motorcycle was one of those things that either sex could do pretty damn well. I gotta admit though that I get a mixed bag of responses from men when I pull my helmet off and I can’t always tell if they’re genuinely bewildered, intimidated or being condescending lol. Apparently even though I know so many ladies that ride, we’re still rather rare. I think we are still seen as feeble and weak which is a bit frustrating, although I understand that physically I will never be as strong as my husband or have the stamina. However I get to encounter some commentary on social media that is always making me question if certain people are still living in the 50s lol! I suppose this is true for any sport or profession these days though.
CC: What do you feel about gear and safety?
RS: I definitely have a strong stance of motorcycle safety in general. I try to keep my opinions to myself these days but since you ask 😉 Nothing about riding a motorcycle is safe. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but it means that you should value your life, the life of your friends and family, and do everything in your power to ensure your safety. Basically I would like people to be mindful and responsible for themselves. I cringe when I see girls in leggings and sneakers on their bikes. I hear it all the time “I know what I’m doing, I know I can get hurt and I’ll deal with it when it happens.” Wrong. You won’t be the only one dealing with it—your family and friends will be the ones taking care of you. I look at it this way, if I can minimize my time in the hospital when I eventually crash, then why not? Accidents happen and it’s inevitable. Maybe I’m so adamant about this because of all the terrible accidents I’ve seen in the last 4 years of my riding—I ride mainly in the mountains and accidents there are extremely unforgiving. Many if them would have been much worse or fatal if there was no gear involved. And some of them were exceptionally tragic because the people involved weren’t geared up. Gear isn’t a save all, but in the end I just don’t want to have any “what ifs” or regrets.
CC: I agree completely. Ignorance is not bliss in this case. My stance is if you choose to not gear up, you clearly haven’t crashed bad enough to think you are lucky to just walk away with minor bruises and scrapes. Anybody that has crashed knows and won’t risk it. You don’t necessarily need to be the one to make the mistake, but you are the one that will live with the repercussions. It blows my mind people don’t ride with gloves, our instinct is to put our hands down to break a fall, why would you make that choice?
CC: What’s your favorite motorcycle quote?
RS: Well that would have to be Marco Simoncelli’s “You live more for 5 minutes going fast on a bike than other people do in all of their life.” This speaks to me on a very personal level bc if it wasn’t for riding a motorcycle I wouldn’t be here in life and having so many wonderful experiences and meeting so many great people. I used to be extremely introverted and shy; riding helped me overcome many of my fears and taught me to believe in myself. Where I would normally say I can’t now I believe I can and am no longer afraid of failing and trying again 🙂
CC: Great Quote! Motorcycling is a wonderful community to be a part of, I have met the most interesting people and it has enriched my life greatly as well. Thank you so much for taking the time and letting us get to know you better. I look forward to meeting you in person at the June 27- 28 event!