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No Turning Back: An Interview With Liz Horton

No Turning Back: An Interview With Liz Horton - BC Blog
Liz Horton (@deathroddixie) is an icon of the new heritage lifestyle. Based out of Denver, Liz only started riding a handful of years ago, but she’s come a long way in that short time. She wrenches as hard as she rides, and exudes a sense of confidence and coolness — both on and off the bike — like none you’ve ever seen. An old friend, she recently called us and asked if we wouldn’t mind letting her and fellow riders Marie Kifa (@marie_vill) and Kiki Azim (@ainjul) borrow some bikes for Babes Ride Out 3. We said sure, and got the bikes ready for them as they all flew in. After they got back from the campout, we made time for an interview.


British Customs: What does it feel like to work on your bike with your hands and to see a project through?

Liz Horton: While I still have so much to learn, I’ll tell you, there’s nothing better than having greasy hands, a little dirt under your nails, and the feeling that you are that much closer to your machine. Just thinking about it makes me excited to get cracking on my 1969 Suzuki TC120 vintage winter project! Stay tuned!

BC: Why do you like retro bikes, or vintage things? What about them pulls you in?

LH: How did you know?! I really do have such a love for everything vintage. Especially when things look their age with that certain amount of patina… There are stories in those years, in those slight imperfections. I think it really started with my love of old trucks; when I lived in San Diego I drove a 1950 Chevy Stepside, three on a tree, loud as sin, and meaner than a you know what… My most recent truck, a ’65 Chevy C-10, gave me that same feeling, and it’s the same thing with motorcycles. I’ve always been drawn to everything old school, with nothing on it but what you need to get onto an open road. My ’83 Yamaha XS650 is a pretty good example of that; rigid frame, no speedometer, gauges, turn signals, mirrors, nothing! Man, I love that bike!

BC: What got you started riding? Was there a time when you saw a bike and thought, “I wanna do that”?

LH: I think I’ve always been drawn to motorcycles; the lifestyle, the community, the people who ride… It wasn’t long after being a passenger for the first time that I realized it was something I had to do myself. Learning to ride made me feel like I was in control of my life and my adventures in a way I’d never felt before. A whole new sense of self and freedom that was unlike anything else.

BC: Did you have to overcome any resistance from friends or family when you started riding? How did you do that?

LH: Fortunately, my friends and family know me well enough that, while voicing their concerns, they know once my mind is made up on something, there’s no turning back. I think also, although my folks may not “get it,” it became clear how much I love riding and how much the motorcycle community means and how much happiness it brings me, that they have become very supportive and excited for all my two-wheeled adventures. I am grateful everyday for all the love and encouragement from everyone in my life, in everything that I do.

BC: What was your relationship with your grandparents like?

LH: I think my relationship with my grandparents was about as good as can be expected with yearly visits and having grown up 3,000 miles away from them. My folks were the hippy rebels in the 60s who thought Boulder, CO was the place to be. My grandparents on both sides were pretty east coast conservative (in Maine and Washington D.C.). It wasn’t until the end of their lives until we became close. Actually being there as my grandfather passed away made me realize how beautiful life is, even at the end of it. It’s crazy how much a person can change at the end, when the only thing that matters is love and family and the people you’ve shared your life with. I try to remember that every day, and try not to hold onto the bullshit or silly things that don’t matter. It was a huge life lesson for me that I am forever grateful for having.

BC: Tell me about your favorite road.

LH: My favorite road is whatever road I find myself on; it is always something and somewhere different. The twisties through the mountains and canyons in Colorado, the desert straightaways in Joshua Tree. The dense Tillamook Forest in Oregon. You can ride the same road a hundred times and see and feel something completely different every time. That to me is the real joy of riding: the two-wheeled meditation and escape from everything but you and your motorcycle.

BC: What do your tattoos mean to you?

LH: I have always loved tattoos, on myself and on other people. For me, my tattoos will always be a reminder of where I was in life at a particular moment; what I was doing or where I was living, and whatever my inspiration may have been. I look down and see my brother’s name every day and think about the time we got each other’s names tattooed on us by the roller coaster in Mission Beach. My entire right arm will forever bring me back to living in Brooklyn… I have an anchor to keep me grounded, “wanderlust” to keep me exploring, flowers, snakes, antlers, flowers, waves, script… All so different. None of them I would ever change a thing about.

BC: You’re one of the original members of The Tiny Daggers. How did you get involved with them? What are they like? What are they about?

LH: The Tiny Daggers started with my Denver girlfriends, Maggie Gulasey and Catie Cook. It started as small, fun rides that they’d do every day to get out and excited about Denver and about riding their motorcycles. It was initially just a hashtag to track their rides and photos of them cruising around. When the three of us teamed up and we started riding more often, we realized not only that we were all total nerds, but that it was important to be silly and to not take ourselves too seriously. We became really passionate about the fun behind riding motos and wanted to involve the community in that. The three of us decided to start The Tiny Daggers Instagram as a way to spread that feeling to other people and keep us motivated to continue our little rides as often as possible.

Reading next

Rider Profile | Marie Kifa - British Customs Blog

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