Rachel Renee Baldwin riding her Harley-Davidson Road King

Rachel Renee Baldwin’s idea of a good time typically involves ice cream, possibly some hot dogs, gorgeous murals, a motorcycle… and lots (LOTS) of wide-open miles. Case in point: If Rachel reads an online review of an ice cream shop in a town that’s about 200 or 300 miles away, it’s like a siren call. She. Must. Go.

The more miles, the better. Because lots of miles means lots of time on her bike, and that is where Rachel goes to center herself, recharge, breathe deeply.

“It’s the purest form of freedom,” she says. “You see the landscape unobstructed, hear the wind, smell the flowers, and absorb all the beauty in such a different way.”

And Rachel has absorbed a LOT of unobstructed beauty! Since getting her first bike at the age of 27 (a mere 10 years ago), Rachel estimates that she has logged over 250,000 lifetime miles on motorcycles. She recently won the Cool Biker Lunch & Ride contest for most miles logged in one year – 31,000!

Bigger and Bigger Bikes for Longer and Longer Rides

Rachel Renee Baldwin and her Harley-Davidson Road King

Rachel thinks she was 23 when she first sat on a motorcycle.

“I was on a trip to Disney World and I sat on a Harley-Davidson,” she recalls. “I was in a bathing suit with a cover-up on, and I sat down on a big chopper. I’ll never forget it.”

Back at home in Waynesville, MO, Rachel was still in college, working as a personal banker on Fort Leonard Wood at Armed Forces Bank, and one of her favorite customers would always bring his deposits over to the bank on a three-wheeler. Rachel was curious.

“I said, ‘What’s that?!’” The customer, Ray, and his wife proceeded to personally introduce Rachel to the world of motorcycles. Rachel was hooked.

“I did my rider safety course and when I turned 27, I bought my first bike, a Yamaha V Star 1100. That was a big bike, a pretty big deal for a first-time motorcycle,” Rachel now says proudly.

She rode that bike several years, moved to Colorado, and kept riding until it was totaled in a group ride near Santa Fe, NM. (Rachel was fine.)

What’s a girl to do?! Buy another bike, of course!

On her 32nd birthday, Rachel moved up to a Harley Softail Slim 1600, which she said was “a fun bike. Incredible.”

Then, in 2021, at the age of 35, Rachel bought her third (and current) motorcycle: a Harley Road King.

“When I got that bike in 2021, it had four miles on it,” says Rachel. “It now has 61,000 miles.”

Rachel Renee Baldwin on her Harley-Davidson motorcycle

Taco Runs, Bun Burners and Porcupines

The longest ride Rachel has ever completed was for the Iron Butt Association’s Bun Burner Gold. Billed as a ride for “The World’s Toughest Motorcycle Riders,” the Bun Burner Gold requires riders to clock 1,500 miles in less than 24 hours.

“I took two 15-minute naps and I actually finished in 21 hours,” says Rachel, who adds, “I also saw the largest porcupine I’ve ever seen in my life.”

More recently, Rachel completed the Hoka Hey Annual Taco Run, a 1,000-mile fundraiser and fellowship ride.

“The Hoka Hey riders are die-hard long-distance riders,” says Rachel. “They’re crazy, honestly. You can’t use GPS, you sleep outside, it’s a grueling challenge. Hoka Hey stands for, ‘It’s a great day to die.’ Which means you are dying to your old self, or rising up to meet your new self… Something like that. But it separates the men from the boys and the girls from the women, for sure!”

After such a demanding ride, you’d expect Rachel to talk about fatigue, sore butt, or other ailments but… no. She mentions the ice cream.

“Medicine Park, Oklahoma is a little slice of heaven. I saw Mount Scott, buffalo, murals, and I had some great ice cream! Oh! And they have a restaurant called The Plantation that serves amazing food.”

Rachel knows how to enjoy the moments. The destinations. The miles.


Harley-Davidson Road KingHowever, if you’ve ridden 250,000+ miles on a motorcycle, there are bound to have been some rough patches, right?


“There was one MISERABLE DAY,” says Rachel. (It’s pretty clear she was speaking in all caps.) “I was heading home from the Seasons of Refreshing, a springtime event for the Christian Motorcyclists Association, and I decided I wanted to go to Murdock’s, in Dillon. That meant I had to go the opposite direction, which allowed a rain storm to creep in. By the time I got to Eisenhower Tunnel, the tunnel heading east was jam packed. The rain was torrential, pooling up to my calves. Semi-trucks were splashing all over me. I was taking rooster tails from all the other vehicles. I was 100% soaked. It was the worst, most miserable ride ever.”

But, as Rachel says with her glass-is-half-full attitude, she got a good story out of it!

Advice From a Long-Distance Pro

Rachel Renee Baldwin on her Harley-Davidson Road King.

When asked what advice she gives to long-distance rookies, Rachel sticks with the fundamentals.

“Gear is the most important, though I’m a minimalist,” she confesses. “I don’t like chaps or anything that restricts me. But you need good, all-weather boots.”

She also says sleep is important, as well as snacks. And stay hydrated.

But, because this is Rachel, she also advises all riders to “stop and take pictures.”

For those who are brand-new to motorcycles, Rachel adds some more simple advice: “Be yourself, ride your ride. Your bike doesn’t have to be the same as what your friends ride. Pick something that is comfortable, reliable, affordable, and one that you’ll enjoy.”

Then, remember why you’re riding in the first place.

“You are going to meet the most wonderful people along the way, and develop lifelong friendships,” she says. “These friendships lead to other moments. You could be in someone’s wedding, attend their kids’ graduations, learn about the country, broaden your cultural understanding, try different foods, and eat lots of amazing ice cream!”