Waverly, New York native Ronda Brown has been touring the United States by motorcycle for the past few years. The retired school teacher is known to her friends and fans on social media as “Rolling with Ronda.” She regularly posts about her travels, as she lives out her passion on the road.
“Life on the road, especially solo, is a great soul-searching experience,” Brown remarked, adding, “You learn to take life as it comes.”
Last year, she covered some 32,000 miles in 40 of the lower 48 states, and all in just over eight months. She does make it a point to roll back home to Waverly, too.
Brown shared that she enjoys meeting new people, especially those within the biker community. She estimates that when she put her kickstand down at stops last year, nearly 80 percent of that time was arranged via social media connections. “Kind, generous, good-hearted people reached out and offered me a hot meal or a place to sleep.”
Having cruised through most of the contiguous United States and Mexico, she says she is always prepared for, “Whatever Mother Nature throws at me.”
From tornado warnings to sand storms to intense wind and rain, she explained that she has experienced the gamut of extreme weather conditions.
“It really puts your body to the test,” Brown said, adding, “Once I rode from Gallup, New Mexico where it was 23 degrees, and by the time I reached my destination that same day in Phoenix, Arizona, it was 105 degrees.”
On a leg in Wyoming last year, she happened upon a line of stopped cars. Hovering around the cars ahead of her was a grizzly bear. Her mind raced for a quick escape plan, and just as she decided her best move, she was relieved when the grizzly wandered back off into nearby woods.
Primarily a solo rider, she sometimes meets up with friends to ride, or tags up with other bikers. Many trips are planned around special events or causes that she supports.
Brown won the “Law Tigers National Female Influencer” competition in 2018, and served as an ambassador for the organization of attorneys that represents injured motorcyclists. The role took her to events such as Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The influencer notoriety has since created more opportunities. On May 4, she had a guest speaking stint in Illinois at International Female Riders Day, which encouraged women around the world to take up the sport.
Brown grew up riding dirt bikes and, at age 18, owned her first road bike. She raised a family and held a career as an art teacher at Notre Dame High School in Elmira, New York and also substituted in the Waverly School District.
Now that her children are grown and raising their own families, the now-retired 60-year-old has logged thousands of miles, and commented, “It keeps you humble, and sometimes tests your patience.”
She often encounters distracted drivers, particularly those either talking on their phones or texting while driving. Other drivers, she mentioned, make risky moves like cutting her off, or pulling out in front of her. She says, “Just put the phone down, because you’re placing others at risk, plus yourself.”
Brown was involved in a significant accident during Thanksgiving weekend last year when a car pulled out in front of her. The other driver has since faced serious charges. She suffered a broken pelvis in five places, yet was home by Christmas following a hospital stay and in-patient rehab.
The accident, although a setback, hasn’t stopped her. She urges drivers to keep a watchful eye out for motorcyclists year-round, and said, “I’m not ready to hang up my helmet just yet.”
Today, she travels with an RV and pickup truck. She makes camp and then takes off on shorter jaunts with her new 2019 Harley Davidson she nicknamed “Popi,” coined after the red poppy flower. The traveling home on wheels allows her more flexibility and storage, where she can relax with another passion, painting art pieces that evolve around her journeys.
Shorter rides have also helped the healing process since the accident. “I’m getting my mojo back,” she said, adding, “I’m looking forward to my first 100 mile ride on Popi, and I’m getting very close!”
Keep up with Brown’s travels on Facebook or Instagram, “Rolling with Ronda.”