“My passion is to help empower, teach, and inspire women to be safer and better riders.”
This is Donni Reddington’s mission in starting Skool of Moto. As one of her students, I definitely wanted to share her story with you!
Tell us about you! Where did you grow up, what did you like to do as a kiddo?
My younger years were spent growing up on a horse farm in a little town near Mt. Rainier. My grandparents were 30″ away and whenever we’d go visit, I couldn’t wait to ride the garage full of motorcycles that my uncles grew up on. My two older sisters and I would spend hours out on my grandpas 20 acres riding around with my uncles until we couldn’t grip any longer and my grandma would holler at us to come in and eat something! The motorcycle bug started early for me!
When did you start riding, and what was the experience like for you?
I was fairly young. I wanted to ride earlier than I could but I wasn’t tall enough yet to ride my uncles old Yamaha and Suzuki 175 and 225’s. So my grandpa and I built a go cart together from a neighbor’s old lawn mower. Then, I graduated to a moped and finally the “cool” dirt bikes! I could never get enough riding in at my younger age. When I was in high school, I had a part-time job and really wanted to buy a motorcycle instead of a car but my parents turned down my request. So I would just ride all my high school boyfriends bikes when my parents didn’t know. Finally in college when I was in nursing school, I bought my first motorcycle. A 75′ Honda CB500 Four that I fixed into a cafe racer. Such a fun bike! But for my graduation from nursing school I bought a brand new 2002 BMW GS650! Finally I was able to ride! It was really the most exciting thing for me about graduation!
As a nurse, what are your thoughts about working in healthcare and being on motorcycles? What are other people’s reactions?
So many patients and worrisome people in this world bring this up often, good question!!! Yes, we take care of a lot of motorcycle injuries. With that being said, the majority of these accidents could have been prevented. Yes, motorcyclists are more likely to sustain injuries when involved in a collision versus a vehicle but what we have to ask is the risk worth the reward? It is a risk I take every time I go out to ride. I have survived 2 cancers already, so for me, I don’t think it is worth sitting home because I’m scared of the risks. I’m more scared of what is going to happen if I’m not out there living, laughing and making happiness in my life!
What is your history with teaching?
One of my first college majors was teaching. I finished the pre-reqs but realized the formal education department was not for me. Over the years, through various jobs I have taught many different classes from health care BLS for ski patrol to teaching gym classes. I even taught new Bombardier and Piston Bully operators at Beaver Creek Mountain Resort how to groom. And I have informally taught many friends & family to ride motorcycles, male and female. It was last year when I recognized the need for womens dirt bike camps and it became a goal and dream to pull all of this together.
What is Skool of Moto about for you?
My Skool is about my clients having an experience! Learning something new while having a positive experience and accomplishing a goal.
How are you different from other schools/instructors?
I run a small school, it’s more intimate and I like to call it more of a “boutique” school. I am the primary instructor, but I consider myself more of a mentor than an instructor. We all have something to bring to the table and we all having something to learn from each other. I want to make this a personal experience for my clients. I want them to feel comfortable and have the best one on one instruction possible.
What are your big picture dreams and plans with the school?
I would like to establish two permanent locations where I can set up year round camps, one winter location and one summer. I dream of having a campus training area where my clients can work on fundamentals with at least 50 acres of single track, obstacles, ect. I would like to provide “glamping” tents to stay in as well as catered meals. Eventually, I would like to have female guest instructors come in to help out with camps as well.
Who inspires you?
Many people inspire me! Really, its those that are adventurous, respectful and humble that I am inspired by the most. I tend to surround myself with these people because they make me feel alive and content. They are “my people” I want to surround myself with and they are the ones who inspire me the most!
Can you share a story or two about your favorite off road adventures?
Oh geez, I have so many….good and bad, some funny, some not so funny. I guess I can share my first experience riding in Baja. I had been down there a few years prior to do photography for the Baja Rally but I proposed to the director, Scotty Bloom, that if I was to come and shoot the following year, I wanted to be on my bike, not as a passenger in a crazy chase vehicle, but on MY moto. He accepted my proposal so then I found myself down in Baja in August for what the Motomedics of the rally called the “Meltdown”. And that is was. I must say, it was hot “AF” but is was one of the best off road experiences I have ever had. I was able to pre-ride the rally course (about 700 miles) and pick out shooting locations, marking them in GPS, for the big rally race that was coming up that October. I’ve worked with a lot of the supporters of this race for a few years prior but it was such an incredible experience to be down there on my bike with their support. From here on out, I will continue to shoot the Baja Rally from my motorcycle.
What does the idea “adventure is attitude” mean to you?
It’s kinda like mind over matter. You are the one to allow what adventure is. To fully engulf in a true adventure, you have to be flexible, positive, and chill to experience a true, meaningful adventure. If your attitude sucks, you’ll never be invited to go on another adventure with your friends again!
Do you have thoughts or experiences about women in motorcycling that you’d be willing to share?
I’m just excited to see so many women getting into this sport! When I was young, women riders were out there but not like they are today. I’m stoked to see more women spearheading different events, training, etc! Babes Ride Out, Dirtastic, Stumpjumpers, and so many more!
Do you have experiences that push you toward single gender classes?
Yes, we all learn differently. Many women prefer to learn from other women in smaller groups where they feel less intimidated or just don’t want to deal with other distractions. My camps and classes are geared to cater to these ladies.
Will you eventually offer mixed gender classes?
Yes, I currently have a few classes “under the radar” with coed and a few with just males. I am really happy to be able to work with both genders! Again, as a mentor, we all have so much to teach each other.
In taking Donni’s class, I found her warm and caring. She focused where I think all classes need to focus, on the basics of posture, slow speed turns, and braking. This class was a broad mix of experience levels, and Donni was attentive to each students needs. My favorite part was that after a half day of teaching, Donni led us on a half day ride. She made the ride fun for everyone, coaching the newer rider through difficult sections, and letting the more experienced riders fly on through. I’d taken my DR650 to prepare for the CABDR, and she took us down an old creek bed, and my confidence for my upcoming trip soared. This is where her mentorship shines – She really lets each rider set their own goals, and has the confidence to know that she and the other members of the class are there to support any challenges that arise.
Where do I sign up? SKOOL OF MOTO
Photo Credit: Nathan Fant
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