After riding pillion for just a few months, Jenna decided it was time to jump in with two feet. Jenna rode street bikes for a while – and she rode them a lot – before being tempted by Triumph’s Tiger 800.
“I picked up riding quite quickly,” Jenna admits. “I rode 7,500 miles in my first five months, I progressed onto a sport tourer and rode it for a couple of years and put 25,000 miles on it.
I started seeing adventure riders on Instagram and, man, they looked like they are having all the fun. Gravel roads, dirt roads and water crossings. I really wanted to try it.
“A couple of the people I followed had Tigers and I loved the look of them, so I guess it was in my mind from that point that I wanted a Triumph. I tried some other makes first but I didn’t click with them. When I tried the Tiger I fell in love. Within the first two miles I knew that this was the bike for me.”
I know the Tiger can handle it
Jenna stuck to the roads at first before testing her Tiger on some gravel, graduating to the rougher and rougher routes. “This time last year I jumped in a bit further and took it out to Montana to ride the Lolo Pass (below). There are some dirt trails out there and I had a blast. I suppose it took about a year of riding off-road to get confident. Now I’ll do anything on it. I was a little cautious about beating it up to start with, but it’s been down a couple of times on the trail and I know the Tiger can handle it!”
Now with confidence in herself and her machine, Jenna is progressing to more technical terrain and obstacles. “Water crossings are my favourite. It’s been across the country a couple of times and to Canada and back. It gets used.”
She’d only had the bike a little while before sticking more than 7,200 miles on the odometer in just 20 days. “That took me across 15 states,” she says. “I visited a bunch of National Parks then rode up the west coast. It was amazing and the bike was fantastic.”
When you’re out and you’re on a beautiful road and it turns to dirt – you can just keep riding. You see things you would otherwise have never seen.
Although Jenna’s mostly self-taught, she says she would relish the opportunity to further her skills at the Triumph Adventure Experience in the UK. “I’d love to go and hopefully will one day. I’m going to take a class in May here in the US.”
With the country at her disposal and a Tiger ready to go, Jenna’s lining up a 2019 goal. “My target for this year is to ride the Alpine loop. That will really test my skills. I know the bike can do just about anything I want it to.”
Just keep riding
When asked why she rides, Jenna highlights the benefits of adventure riding: “There is just no other feeling that compares to riding a motorcycle. The freedom of it. Especially an adventure motorcycle. When you’re out and you’re on a beautiful road and it turns to dirt – you can just keep riding. You see things you would otherwise have never seen.
“It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Jenna’s top three ADV tips
As far as packing goes, just take the essentials. Take a tool kit in case you have problems on the road and I like to take a hand air pump with me in case you have a flat tyre. Also, if you’re planning on riding off road, you may be letting down the pressure in your tyres then pumping them back up for the road. They don’t take up much room.
Divide by two – However many clothes you think you have to pack, pack half the amount. On my first trip I had the bike loaded down. If you’re in any cities, or staying in any hotels – there will be laundry facilities.
Embrace social media. It has been incredible for bringing adventure riders together. There’s a huge following of adventure riders on Instagram. I’m part of a few women’s groups and riding groups. We always try to be a safe space for women adventure riders. We give each other riding tips on social media, and at rallies and meets you can pick up advice from more experienced riders.