In the winter of 2013 (2013-2014) I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was amazing; if you’ve never been to Florida in the “winter” I highly recommend it. Unlike summer there is very little humidity, which makes the temperatures much more pleasant, but also means that it rains MUCH less. Anyway, while in Florida I took full advantage of the perfect weather and went on some really awesome trips. One such trip was my ill-timed trip to Key West.
The October issue of S(alt) L(ake) U(nder)G(round) magazine features Salt City Builds, a shop owned by two brothers, Seth and Rev. (Read the article) This summer I have become familiar with their shop and gotten to know these two. I’ve been meaning to share the story of my first impression of their shop for a bit, so here goes.
In February I noticed my rear brake felt loose. I felt that I had to put a significant amount of pressure just to engage the brake, and even then, the rear brake had almost no stopping power. It was bothersome, but I wasn’t riding much, so I let it go. I also didn’t know of a bike shop that was proficient to work on my brake with the exception of the dealership that won’t take appointments. It’s a drop-it-off-and-wait-until-we’re-done kinda place. Once April rolled around it was time to get Bubba inspected. He failed. According to the inspector, the tread on his back tire was too low.
Sad that I failed inspection, I went to my favorite shop, Wright’s (they sell gear and change tires). I figured when they changed the tire, they would let me know if my brake was too low. Nothing was said and after they changed my tire, my brake was so tight that I almost dropped my bike. I felt relieved that my brake was apparently still good and went on with my life.
By July, my brake was feeling loose again. I kept putting off getting it looked at but as it approached my 5 day 1500 mile trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon looming I started to get worried about how long this would take to fix and how much it would cost. I knew I’d need to fix it before going on such a long trip so I started trying to find a shop that could work on Suzukis (other than the dealer). At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find one, and then I realized I had recently met the owners of Salt City Builds, a local shop. I was nervous that they were only a custom shop, but still gave them a call.
I made an appointment to stop by two days before my trip. I was nervous that there wouldn’t be enough time to fix my brakes, but I didn’t have much choice. I pulled up nervous, but when I walked into the shop I was greeted with a smile. Seth took my information and asked me exactly what was going on. Before I could even finish describing the issue, Seth stood up and walked over to my bike.
“Oh ha, it’s just your brake cable”
Seth walked over to a tool box grabbed a ratcheting wrench walked back over to my bike, and gave it a few turns. “See this? That’s your brake cable, you can probably turn it with your fingers if you ever needed to.” He pointed to the cable and had me try to turn the nut. “Hop on and try it out, now”
I hopped on, turned the throttle and gently started to release the clutch. Nothing. I let out the clutch and turned the throttle a bit more. Still nothing. I checked that I wasn’t in Neutral, shifted to second and back to first and tried one more time. I went nowhere. I looked a Seth, feeling more than stupid that it seemed I didn’t know how to get my bike to move. He also looked rather confused. It hit us both at the same time: the brake was too tight! He hadn’t tightened the cable much but it was enough to render the bike motionless. We laughed, he loosened the cable a bit and I tried again. Thankfully this time the bike moved. It was still a bit grabby so he loosened it just a little more and it was perfect.
I was so relieved! Not only did I not need new brakes but this was a simple fix that I now knew how to do. I profusely thanked Seth, and headed on my way, much more enthusiastic about my trip.
I am incredibly thankful for the kindness that Seth extended, stopping what he was doing, and showing me how to solve the problem. (It’s a good thing he did because after I loaded up my bike for the trip, it was a bit too tight and started to smoke before I noticed.) It enabled me to go on a fantastic trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. I actually ended that trip with a camping trip up near Mirror Lake with some of the Lita’s and some other friends including both Seth and Rev. I’ve met a lot of really great people this summer but these two really stand out, not only because they are talented, but because of how kind and welcoming they are to anyone and everyone. In a world that can be exclusionary and judgmental it’s truly impressive and inspiring to meet two such individuals. Clearly I highly recommend visiting these two if you need some work done on your bike. Go visit their shop: 2212 West Temple #17, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
I really did try to find a distinguished picture of these two… but other than really old ones or the few in the article, there were none. So instead here’s my favorite of the ones I found:,
So it’s about time that I wrote about the Litas. Who or what are the Litas?
“An international network of babes who share a love for the open road and two wheeled machines. We all have different backgrounds, interests, jobs, lives, but find common ground when we cruise the canyons, scraping pavement and letting go of all inhibitions.”
I got involved in the Lita’s in April. Unbeknownst to me they were still a fledgling organization. The Lita’s were started in December by Jessica Haggett and a few of her friends. Since April I’ve gotten to know these ladies and we have done some really fun stuff. Not only have we gone on rides all across the valley, but we’ve done photo shoots for articles, and the Women’s Moto Exhibit, been invited to exclusive events, and had great times camping. (Next month many of us will be attending Babes Ride Out.)
Not only has the Lita’s given me a group to ride with but has made me feel better, more confident about being a woman rider. It’s nice to have woman who are my age, that have the same interests as me that also enjoy riding. I’ve never had many female friends because I never felt like I had much in common with them, I’m an odd combination of independent, strong and girly at the same time. I’ve met so many women that also walk that line, that understand just because you’re beautiful doesn’t mean you can’t be respected. We’re a very diverse group of women with our own lives, interests and paths, but that sentiment, that feeling brings us together, unites us.
You can tell who the strong women are. They’re the ones building each other up, instead of tearing each other down ❤️ @thelitas_ @thelitas_saltlakecity #mountup #ride #bikerbabe #eatsleepshiftrepeat #saltlakecity #utah #happy #babes #igers #igdaily #follow #followme #instalike #instagood #instadaily
Since joining in April I have attended as many events as possible. It’s been great to have a group to ride with. The Lita’s have introduced me to some incredibly inspiring women like Lanakila McNaughton the woman behind the Women’s Moto Exhibit and Ashmore one of the organizers for Babes Ride Out.
One of the best things I’ve gotten out of this summer is new friends with whom to ride, feeling like I’m part of an amazing community of strong women. That is something that a lot of women crave. Women and men look to the Lita’s as trend setters and on a regular basis ladies are commenting how inspiring we are on Instagram. What’s been really astonishing is how fast the Lita’s have grown, yet again proving how much women are yearning to connect and not join, but truly to create this community. In August the Lita’s started accepting requests to create other chapters. The only requirement is that there be three ladies in the same geographic area that ride. In 1 month, the Lita’s had grown from a group of 40+ ladies in Salt Lake to an international organization with chapters in 34 cities in 6 countries. It has been absolutely incredible to watch the expansion of the Lita’s and know that not only do we all share a love of two wheels on the open road, but to know that there were this many women, all over the world who jumped at the chance to join us.
All in all it’s an interesting feeling being a part of this, getting to know other women who share a passion of riding. Young, fun women as opposed to the older more misogynistic groups of men (and some women) that I had previously experienced, and that are more stereotypical of motorcycle culture. It’s exhilarating and intimidating to feel as though we are on the forefront of something much larger than ourselves, something novel and groundbreaking, something that changes perceptions, smashes those stereotypes and pushes the boundaries of what it means to be women on a motorcycle.