The Litas find adventure and community on motorcycles: ‘You can just show up’

In our Chosen Family series, in partnership with Kalo, In The Know spotlights small but strong communities that are united by a shared passion.

When Jessica Wise started riding motorcycles, she didn’t know anyone else who rode. But that didn’t stop the Salt Lake City-based rider from forming her own posse — one city at a time.

“I just decided to go out and do it,” Wise tells In The Know.

That meant finding women of all different backgrounds who wanted to throw on a helmet and hit the open road, all on two wheels. Turns out, it wasn’t as tough as she thought it would be.

“After a while, I’m like, ‘There has to be women who ride here.’ Right?” she says. “And so I was like, ‘I’m going to start a group, and then I’ll have some girlfriends to ride with.”

From there, The Litas was born. What started as a meetup between Wise and another moto friend exploded into a global phenomenon.

The Litas is an all-woman motorcycle group that spans the US and the world. Wise created the global collective in 2015, according to The Litas’ site, to “inspire and empower women by showing them they can do whatever they set their mind to, whether that’s riding a motorcycle or building an empire.”

An inspiration herself, Wise has done both. Whether it’s on the dusty roads outside of Salt Lake City, the desert landscapes of Southern California or the city streets of Dubai, The Litas’ empire includes 27 countries, and all women bikers are welcome. As their site states, “If you consider yourself a woman, come ride with us!”

Wise says she drew so much community and support from “this crew of such strong, powerful, amazing women.” She adds: “Even though we were all so different, we connected on this level because riding motorcycles was such a huge part of our lives.”

Going global

While Wise didn’t exactly expect the global evolution of her femme-friendly idea, she was open to the possibilities when women started reaching out on Instagram to expand beyond her initial Salt Lake City base.

“I wanted to empower them to be able to create what I had in Salt Lake for them locally,” she says. Six years later, The Litas has more than 340 branches around the world, with more than 16,000 riders.

“No matter where you are literally in the world,” says Ash Harris, a member of the Salt Lake City crew, “you can hit up any of The Lita’s chapters and you have a group of gals that are down to hang out and go for rides.”

Wise prides herself on being 100% welcoming. “We all share a passion for motorcycles, and everybody is so different,” she says, “different ages, different bikes, different cultures, different languages.”

Her fellow bikers appreciate the open arms, too. As Abz Cruz, a member in Los Angeles, says: “It’s life-changing.”

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