Five minutes with… Amanda Phoenix
Amanda Phoenix is a keen motorcyclist that has turned her passion for bikes into a business that has been embraced by the riding community. Amanda took the time to share her story with eric.
Hi Amanda. Tell us a bit about yourself and explain how you got into motorbikes?
I grew up in Vancouver, Canada and I needed a way to get to school. No one in my family rode motorcycles, and I didn’t know anyone else who rode as it’s quite a cold and rainy city.
However, I needed a cheap mode of transport and motorcycles got half-price parking at my school, so it made financial sense for me. So that’s how I started on bikes, I commuted to university for three years in every weather condition there is; sun, rain, and snow.
It seems riding started out as a necessity for you, did things change when you moved to Australia?
The first thing I experienced when I moved to Australia was driving on a country road, and also my first proper corner! It was a big sweeping right-hander not far from Melbourne which actually scared the crap out of me at first!
Up until that point I was only used to riding in the city with traffic lights, and now I had to get used to seeing the countryside and experiencing twisty roads and that was what ignited my passion for riding. Up until then, a motorcycle was just a tool to get me around, and soon after riding in Australia I started thinking that I could do this all day, every day.
What were the bikes that you owned when riding transitioned from transport to a hobby for you?
The first bike I owned when I moved to Australia was a Honda CBR250RR, as I was just getting used to riding on the other side of the road and I used to enjoy looking like Marc Marquez (laughing). I then replaced that with a Suzuki GSX-R 600 and I fell in love with that bike. I actually ended up taking it on a 40-day, 18,000 kilometre trip around Australia.
Since my first bike I’ve owned 13 bikes in eight years and I’ve had bikes of all types – dirt bikes, street bikes, and track bikes.
I currently own a BMW S1000RR, a Husqvarna FE450 which I’ve taken across the Simpson Desert, and also a little Honda Grom which I commute on.
You’re one of the lucky few people who’ve been able to turn your passion into a work venture. How did that come about?
Not that long after I arrived in Australia, I was out on a ride and had my mobile phone in the pocket of my riding jacket. I ended up stacking it as someone veered onto my side of the road and I ended up in hospital with a bruise to one of my kidneys from the phone.
The injury made me realise that there had to be a better place to store your phone when riding. I couldn’t find anything suitable, so decided to create my own solution. I ended up making a bumbag using some scraps of material I had laying around, and I started wearing it on rides.
A few people commented on it, so I ended up making another ten of the bumbags and gave them away and then I was getting comments like “You should sell these!” and it took off from there. I still make the product – it’s called The Killswitch Pack – and now I also make tail bags, apparel and backpacks.
The business [Flying Solo] grew through word of mouth, and it’s been a really great journey.
Where are your favourite roads to ride?
Locally, I really like heading to Reefton Spur, but when I ride on the road I just like to take in the scenery – I don’t push too hard on the road, that’s for track days.
I really love riding off-road, especially heading out on sand. Desert riding is so much fun.
You featured in a filming day for eric Insurance. How was that as an experience?
That was the first time I was used as ‘talent’ and it’s not something I’d normally put my hand up for, but in the end I’m really glad I did as it was a great experience.
I’m an introvert so I usually like hanging in the background, but when word got out that eric was looking for riders to appear in the shoot, a few friends encouraged me to put my hand up for it.
It was the first time I’ve been used as a professional rider and it was a lot of fun, especially having a drone circle around me while I rode!
Finally, can you tell us what is your favourite thing about being a ‘rider’?
I love my bikes and I love all the riding I do, but my favourite thing about being a rider is definitely the community.
It doesn’t matter where you are, if you’re on a ride and park up at a petrol station and approach another rider, you can talk to them – it’s a pretty cool community to be a part of.
When I was younger, I actually had some teachers asking my parents if I was mute as I just didn’t talk, but since becoming a rider it’s really helped me open up and become more social.
Mateship is massive in Australia, and if you’re a rider and you’re a good person, you’ve got a whole bunch of friends automatically. People just accept you if you’re a fellow rider and that’s awesome.
For anyone thinking about getting into riding for the first time, what would you tell them to encourage them to take it up?
Riding is great fun and if you give it a try, you’ll probably meet some cool people along the way. I would say just go for it.
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