Curious by nature, you can usually find me asking other people questions in social situations. I prefer to learn more about someone else, rather than talk about myself. So, it’s no big surprise that I would start an interview series. Being a female rider, in what is still a male dominated sport, lead me to want to know how other women have gotten their start. I’m fascinated with women who ride, but in particular moms who ride. I started riding later in life when my kids were already teenagers. But many of the women I’ve interviewed started riding at a very young age. So out of sheer curiosity – or downright nosiness -- I started the Biker Momma blog series in 2017 to learn more. Why focus on moms who ride? Well, it’s one thing to accept the risk that is inherent in riding a motorcycle. But it’s an entirely different thing when you impose that risk on your children, second hand. Just like all riders are unique, we all manage this risk in our own unique way. My kids understand I’m following my passion, and I hope this inspires them to find and follow theirs. But enough about me…
Meet Biker Momma Tana Roller. I remember clearly the first time I stumbled across Tana’s Instagram feed. Besides her natural beauty, she radiated a vibe that said “this is where I belong…on the road with my sisters, exploring and appreciating mother earth and living free.” And I think you’ll learn in the interview that follows, my impression was pretty spot on. Thank you, Tana, for indulging my curiosity!
Above: Tana on Rt 66 (Photo Credit: Devin Fax)
Is Tana Roller Your Real Name?
Yes, this is my birth name, not a "biker" name.
What is Your Current Bike?
Today I ride a Triumph Thruxton I call "Juice". "Juice Thruxton"
UPDATE: Tana has since added a BMW named "Kerrigan" to her stable.
Do You Recall What First Sparked Your Interest in Learning to Ride?
Did You Start Riding Before You Had Kids or After?
I basically rolled out of the womb on two wheels. My pops is a biker and had me on at 5-years old.
I am lucky enough to say I had a radical childhood camping and riding as often as possible. My dad had property in eastern Washington we would go to every weekend. We rode endless trails along rivers and power lines, climbed mountains of coal and rattled our bones bouncing moguls. I moved to Hawaii after high school where I fell in love with riding street too! Then came kids.
How Many Kids Do You Have And How Old Are They?
Chloé, age 26
Sophia, age 21
Above: Chloé and Sophia
Did You Put Your Riding on Hold When You Had Kids? If So, For How Long?
Yes! When Chloé was 5, she and I moved from Hawaii to Los Angeles where it took me a couple years to feel the lane splitting vibe of such a distracted population of drivers. Like anywhere, Hawaii has its issues on the road, but I had never experienced a city like LA. It’s as if drivers are rewarded for multi-tasking while driving. My mind was blown that bikers would trust LA drivers enough to split lanes! However, once I got over the block about it and gave it a shot, it took one ride in traffic for me to understand. Now, 20 years later, it's something I get off on, if I’m riding solo (it can be exhausting on a group ride).
Can You Elaborate on Lane Splitting?
Solo, it's as though you are in a video game and it keeps your instincts sharp! It takes me back to my days as a kid trail blazing and hill climbing in Eastern Washington. It's mental. Methodical. Stimulating! REMEMBER TO NEVER SECOND GUESS YOURSELVES. Make your best decision and power through it.
Once You Got Over the Shock of LA, Were You Riding on a Regular Basis?
My work in the film industry had us on location a lot, but I rode off and on over the years and tried to get Chloé into it. It just wasn't her jam. She was into books and pretty dresses. She's my SHEro. She also was not into the unsolicited attention from her schoolmates that the motorcycle brought. She would actually get angry with me when I picked her up on the bike. My island baby was too chill for all that fuss.
Being a single parent most of Chloé's life, all things motorcycle were not high priority where finances were concerned. Plus, who had the time? I was always working or "mom-ing". To be honest I really didn't get back in the groove until my child was in college. And then I found things like The Litas Los Angeles and BABES RIDE OUT. Adam Sandoval of "Scootin America" really had an influence on me too. There is such an amazing moto-triBE out there if you’re looking for it.
How Do Your Kids Feel About You Riding?
Chloé is super into it now. My step daughter Sophia, doesn't seem to care either way.
Do Your Kids Ride Pillion?
Yes. Mostly when they were younger. They have adult lives now. We miss them these days more than we see them. But they will still hop on happily when the opportunity arises.
Has Your Riding Influenced Your Kids to Ride?
Yes, Chloé is currently learning! Bummer she just moved to San Francisco, but she's going for it anyway. I have connected her with some badass babes to help guide her when I am not there. She will be an excellent rider, no doubt. We have a sweet little Honda Rebel with a special rose on the tank for her in the garage.
How Do You Feel About Your Kids Riding?
I hope I didn't/don't push riding on anyone. It's too personal. Riding comes from the soul. You will find it and it will find you if it's in your contract. Currently, Chloé has the bug and I am elated to help her be the best biker she can be. Ironically, Sophia used to love it when her father would take her on the bike and now she could care less.
Tell Us More About Your Life Outside of Kids.
My Mr. of 13-years, Kadeem, has a dope BMW GS1150 but he only rides for transportation. His first job was as a bike messenger in NY and that was his only bike experience/identity. If you can imagine, our ride styles are very different. To recap, I grew up camping and playing in the mountains on motorcycles, he rides to kick traffic. I ride to sooth my soul, he rides to maneuver LA grid-lock on his daily commute.
Kadeem is a lifelong video gamer, I have two left thumbs. So, weekends find him playing games with his buddies and me out riding with mine. Then we come together at the end of the day and swap stories and giggle.
Clearly, I was missing out on some two-wheel sisterhood because when I came across the magic that is "Babes Ride Out" my mind was blown. My life has not been the same since. “Babes” woke the biker babe in my soul to a new level. I have since restructured everything to revolve around bike life. I look forward to riding side-by-side with my daughter very soon!
What is Your Profession And What Other Hobbies Do You Have?
Last year I founded "a qUest cALLed triBE, llc ". “a qUest” is a POWerful call to action for living fearlessly and emPOWERing YOUr dreams. I have a group of 7 jive turkeys that roll with me, filming our adventures, and seeking commUNITY by finding rad humans making a difference through conscious living and anything that makes this planet a better place to be. We are eco-gypsies and WELLness warriors. We are triBE seekers! You can learn more about us at www.aquestcalledtribe.com
Having a background in film & television set design, I still dabble with design and other artistic ventures. Photography turns me on as well. Always evolving. Always do what turns you on, what makes you feel alive.