Amanda Schik (@amandaschik) wastes no time in her tireless pursuit of life. This last year, she became the proud owner of a Triumph Street Twin and his since gained a respectable reputation for her cross-continental moto treks made on her Triumph Street Twin, which she documents on her Instagram channel. In the interview, the former Canadian actor discusses how riding motorcycles inspired her to live more authentically, the life experiences she gained from her thousands of miles spent on the open road, and her ceaseless pursuit of the great adventure: life.
British Customs: How did you get started riding?
Amanda Schik: I fell in love with motorcycles years ago before I even really knew what they were. It was something about they way they sound, the way the chrome on the old classics caught the light — I just loved it. But motorcycles seemed like a distant dream for me: I hadn’t heard of many female riders at the time, especially not a petite one like me! That changed when one of my close friends bought a classic bike and brought me for a ride. I was blown away — being on a bike for the first time felt absolutely exhilarating. Within a week I got my license, and I started to save up to get my first bike: a 150cc cafe racer. I learned a ton on that bike, and even rode it across provinces and multiple state lines…but with my appetite for riding I really needed more power. I found that in my current motorcycle, my beloved Triumph Street Twin 900.
BC: You’ve made some pretty impressive international moto treks through Canada and the US that most would shy from when considering how much raw time would be spent in the saddle. What inspired you to go on those adventures?
AS: I feel like I’ve an insatiable appetite when it comes to riding. In the first 4 months of owning my Triumph Street twin, I’ve clocked 11,000 miles (17,702 kms), rode through eight states, and crossed country borders riding her to Canada and back to my new home in LA. There’s something about being on the open road that inspires all sorts of good things, and it becomes addictive — one adventure seems to lead to another. I began moto-tripping while I was transitioning from my career as an actor. Riding solo and travelling through small towns was a good way for me to rediscover myself and recognize what is important to me. I appreciate how riding has brought me back to nature and helped me appreciate the little things — sunsets in small towns, waking up in my tent with my bike parked next to me, and just enjoying every little experience.
BC: Why do you think the adventure lifestyle and the moto lifestyle go hand-in-hand?
AS: For me, motorcycling is, in and of itself, a great adventure. On a motorcycle, you feel everything — the engine, the wind, you smell all the smells…the sensations are very real. When your senses are alive, you can experience things more fully, more wholeheartedly, and that is what motorcycling has done for me.
In our fast-paced, high-luxury world, camping and travelling by motorcycles may seem like something from a bygone era, and I guess in many ways it is. When I’m touring on my bike, I know that I am at the mercy of the elements, the wilderness, animals, and even people, and that is something that most don’t have to consider when travelling by car or by plane. But that is all part of the adventure — it wouldn’t be one without the risk.
BC: The majority of your treks have been solo rides, but what was your experience of the motorcycle community as you traveled from country to country, state to state, city to city?
AS: I’m from Toronto, Canada, where there is definitely a strong moto culture. There’s something about harsh winters that make you appreciate the months where you can ride even more. The number of bikes on the road may be less than a warmer place, but the community is solid and I owe so much to my boys who ride back home.
Here in the U.S., I’ve ridden down through the Pacific Northwest and through the Four Corners and was impressed by the comradery shown by other bikes on the road. My last solo trip was 3,000 miles with my Triumph through the Four Corners and 6 states — California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. While I chose to do it alone, I can honestly say I never once felt lonely. Moto culture is incredibly strong in many parts of the U.S., and I always felt supported by the other riders I met while travelling. In Utah, I felt there was a particular respect for motorcycles and a strong sense of American pride which I appreciated. It was also exhilarating being able to ride without a helmet (hey, you only live once!). But throughout my trek, I found that lots of other riders who followed my travels through my Instagram began to reach out to me, even offering me a place to stay or guidance while I was in their state. I felt overwhelmed by the kindness and offers of help I got from fellow riders.
BC: What was one of the most profound experiences you had during your travels?
AS: The life experience I have gained from overcoming challenges during my travels has had a profound effect on me. I’ve ridden through storms in Utah, extreme heat in Arizona, and ridden more miles in a day than I ever thought I could. I had to overcome challenges that were both physical and mental, and that taught me to be the best, most resourceful version of myself. I learned to find my own strength on the road.
BC: How has your life changed since you decided to start riding?
AS: I have never felt more alive, more blessed, and more invigorated by life than I have since riding motorcycles. I’ve met incredible people, been shown great kindness when I was in need, and my faith in humanity has been strengthened. Motorcycles have changed me, and I live my life now with even more passion and gratitude than I ever have before.
BC: Describe your dream ride.
AS: To ride across the entire U.S. and Canada. So far, I’ve done eight states and three Canadian provinces, but it is only early days yet!
BC: Why did you choose to ride a Triumph Street Twin?
AS: The Street Twin had immediate appeal to me. I adore the aesthetics — the brushed, upswept pipes, the sleek tank…even the swooped seat. And that throaty exhaust note! I was so impressed by what Triumph has done this year for the 2016s — the major upgrades in technology with ABS and traction controls, improved mileage per gallon, and the updated modern-classic styling. But even beyond that was how the bike felt. I took a Street Twin for a test ride one weekend at Marin Speedshop, and that was it — the bike was mine.
BC: What keeps you on the bike?
AS: I couldn’t imagine not riding.
BC: What would you say to someone who’s just getting into riding?
AS: Just do it. You’d be surprised how far you can go on two wheels.