Picking up a new skill is usually pretty daunting. During youth, kids are more akin to jumping headfirst into something new and shrugging off the bumps and bruises that come with the experience. It’s all the more impressive then when a single mom with three girls decides to hop on the seat of a motorcycle and go for a rip for the first time in her life. That’s Jennifer Boulet (@jennifer_boulet). She may have gotten into motorsports later than most, but her enthusiasm and gusto for dirt biking are exemplary. Since she started riding in 2018, she’s immersed herself in the sport and become an advocate for female riders.
Jennifer Boulet plays in the mud at McNutt. — Photo courtesy Shawn Watson Photography
What is the best place to ride in your area, and why?
We’re pretty spoiled here on the south coast of British Columbia. There’s more riding within two to three hours of my home than I could even begin to tackle in a single season. My favourite local haunts include Vedder Mountain for the extensive tight single track flow in a gorgeous mossy rainforest that features periodic views of the Fraser Valley and Cultus Lake. Vedder Mountain Motorcycle Club deserves more kudos than they receive for their management and stewardship of this outstanding trail network. For technical and rocky, my other local favorite is definitely McNutt (a.k.a. Blue Mountain) managed by the Blue Mountain Motorcycle Club. People travel from all over North America to ride McNutt, with its world class rock features. I feel pretty spoiled to have this trail network in my backyard.
“Crossing one of the many bridges at McNutt. This bridge isn’t bad, but McNutt is known for featuring some pretty sketchy bridges that get quite slick in the winter. If you ride McNutt, you’ve probably fallen off a bridge at least once.” — Jennifer Boulet — Photo courtesy Shawn Watson Photography
This year I’ve made a couple of treks into the interior of British Columbia to ride Bear Creek in Kelowna. It’s different from our local riding area. Bear is all about the fast, endless flow. As a beginner, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with more speed at Bear, as the trees usually aren’t so tight as on our local trails.
What are the most popular trails in your area? What are they like?
Rather than point out popular trails, which are over trafficked this year due to so many more people taking up dirt biking during the COVID pandemic, I’d love to let folks know about Popkum Motor Park, located in Rosedale, B.C. (about 75 minutes outside of Vancouver). It’s a really fabulous place for new riders to practice their skills and take lessons without riding the local FSR (Forest Service Roads), which have been particularly dangerous lately with quads and Razors ripping at excessive speeds.
Jennifer Boulet rides over one of the many obstacles at Popkum Motor Park’s Enduro Park. — Photo courtesy Christina Waterman
Popkum features a beginner track, the main motocross track, a private double track trail on the back of the property, a gravel pit, and a sand track plus my favourite areas:
The Enduro Park and Trials Training areas. As far as I’m concerned, the Enduro Park is the undiscovered local gem of our riding community and I’m always astonished when I’ve got the entire park to myself. It features obstacles that include everything from tires, cement tubes, log matrixes, cement step ups, and rock gardens to really big features like The Wall of Death. It’s an amazing location to practice my technical skills, so I’m not always just riding to survive in the woods.
Who or what got you into motorbiking?
I first flung my leg over a dirt bike in March 2018. I was attending a digital marketing conference in San Diego. When the conference was over, I snuck across the border into Baja California, Mexico, unbeknownst to anyone but my best girlfriend, who was my 911 call. I begged California Motorsport Adventours to spend the day teaching me to ride one of their bikes.
Jennifer Boulet’s first time riding a dirt bike, in Baja, Mexico. — Photo courtesy California Motorsport Adventours, @letsATV
It was an incredible day, learning and being completely inspired by these guys who grew up living and breathing the Baja 1000. They answered a million questions from me and they were very kind to let me spend the day dropping their bike (They were a bit dubious when this crazy Canadian woman showed up alone, with no riding experience). I fell in love with dirt biking that day.
Two weeks later, I came home and bought my first bike, a 2006 TTR 230. That bike was a lemon, but it didn’t matter. The fire was lit.
By May 2018, I bought my 2018 Husky TE150, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What is the coolest thing you’ve been able to do on your motorbike?
In the last two years, I’ve gained enough skills to now hang back of the pack with more experienced—and patient—riders who’ve been riding for decades. I’m pretty proud of that.
I was very excited to complete my first race last September. That was a huge milestone. I was heartbroken this race season was cancelled but I’ve set my sights on the 2021 season. Completing a few key races from the PNWMA series would be amazing.
Jennifer Boulet attending Girls Day Out in Nanaimo, B.C., hosted by The Mudhunniez. — Photo courtesy BrapSnap.
There have been obstacles that I’ve hit like big tires and rock features that I’m very proud of. For someone who has been riding their entire life, I’m sure some of these are not a big deal. But for me, I started riding at 42 as a single momma of three girls. I know how much courage it’s taken me to get this far.
What do you love most about the sport?
Learning to ride has been so empowering and it has connected me with an incredible community. When I bought my first bike, I didn’t understand that I’d need the support of a community to learn to ride the kind of single track and rock that captured my heart.
I’m humbled and awed by the number of people who’ve quietly stepped up to offer guidance and support when I didn’t even know that I needed to ask for help.
“Riding is the only thing that truly quiets my mind.” — Jennifer Boulet — Photo courtesy Jennifer Boulet
I know so many riders identify with this: riding is the only thing that truly quiets my mind. It requires 100 per cent of my focus. It’s almost meditative that way. It’s so physically and mentally demanding that you can’t think about anything else.
What’s your favourite motorbiking memory/story?
My favorite memory to date is probably completing Chuwhels Challenge Cross Country Race last September 2019, just outside of Kamloops. I buddy-raced this with a good friend, Christina Waterman. Our goal was to simply complete it. My boyfriend Dave Klassen entered too, but rode sweep for the two of us. Poor Christina lost her back brake about 15 minutes into the race and there was very heavy rain that turned the chewed-up trail into rivers of flowing mud for us two gals in the back. So we rode to survive that day. When we arrived at the finish line, they were literally packing up the tents. It was so funny, everyone clapped when we arrived. One
of the volunteers cheered, “You finished!” And I said, “Well, we did but we obviously DNF’d (Did Not Finish).” And she said “Nope! You qualified.” I laughed and teared up. We were dead last, but we finished our first race.
What’s something really interesting about yourself that you would like to share?
I’m very proud of the fact that my three girls (Ella, 12, Mia, 12, and Raegan, 13) are now learning to ride, thanks in no small part to the help and support of the amazing guy in my life. It’s been so empowering, learning to ride. I’m excited to share the sport with them. Even if they don’t have the same passion for it that I do, I can already see the benefits of them learning to push through little (and sometimes big) fears and accomplish new things. I see their eyes light up with pride, and I’m excited for them. I know they’ll carry these lessons into other areas of their lives.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I’d encourage other women who might be interested in learning to ride single track in the woods or hard enduro to connect with other women in the sport. We’re easy to find on Instagram and Facebook, and we can point you to communities of women riders.
In the last couple of years, I’ve talked to a lot of new female riders who have limited experience riding with other women. They’re usually riding with men who’ve got decades of seat time.
I encourage these women to leave the guys at home sometimes, and go ride with other women. Not only is the energy different, we can often explain basic techniques to one another in simpler yet more specific ways than somebody who has been riding their entire life.
We’re familiar with the learning process, because we very recently learned these skills. And we’re quicker to celebrate one another’s little wins than more experienced riders who don’t necessarily notice. So go find your own community of women riders, too.
ON OUR RAD RADAR:
Rider: Jennifer Boulet
Where: Chilliwack, B.C.
Occupation: Digital marketer / direct response copywriter
Bragging rights: Completed the Chuwhels Challenge Cross Country Race
Weapon of choice: 2018 Husky TE 150
Local ride recommendation: “Vedder Mountain for the extensive tight single track flow in a gorgeous mossy rainforest that features periodic views of the Fraser Valley and Cultus Lake. It’s an outstanding trail network.”