Kiki Azim grew up with an appreciation for heritage motorcycles and cars. Her father was a high ranking fighter pilot, and had a passion for collecting classic cars. Her uncle was the president of a classic car club in France, and together they bonded over going to car shows. In his memory, she continues to enter vehicles into shows in his honor.
But her love for heritage is something that has become her own. When asked about it, she answered, “It’s because I like fixing things. Old things need attention and patience, and care, and when you put all those into a vintage bike you develop a deep relationship with it. Working on your bike helps you savor it. You don’t take any part of it for granted, because you know it needs to be cared for. You learn to treat it like a person.”Everyone has a story about how they came to riding motorcycles. For some it was through friends, for others it was through family, and some just felt the irresistible pull when they saw the right bike for them roll dreamily by.
But for Azim, it was death.
“When I was 23 and traveling in Italy I was a passenger in a car that accidentally hit and killed a motorcyclist,” she said. As she watched the paramedics pull the body bag’s zipper over the deceased and the tow truck scoop up the remains of the mangled motorcycle, she promised the recently departed to get her license and ride as long as she lived in his honor.
Since then, her appreciation and love for life has grown immensely.For Azim, like many of us, riding provides a constant escape and a sense of freedom that she doesn’t get from anything else. It also reminds her of her childhood.
“I grew up riding BMX and horses, so it was a natural arc, and already felt familiar.”
Beyond escape from the day-to-day, riding has created a sense of community and belonging for Azim she never knew existed.
One of the other things she finds most remarkable about the community is how diverse it is. In the motorcycle community, she feels, there are no insurmountable divides: no matter what you do, where you’re from, what you ride, you’re united by a common passion.
“I travel a lot to attend riding events. But all I ever have to bring with me is my helmet, because everywhere I go people welcome me with open arms. Once you’re in the community, you’re family. I would meet riders from this or that part of the country, or even just friends of friends, and when I went out to events in their area they’d lend me bikes, show me the roads, everything; they really take care of you.”