If home is where the heart is happiest, then Audrey Jane Paulus’s home is on her motorcycle. Not only does this cool chick average over 15,000 miles every year, but she also says that time away from the saddle brings her down. Audrey’s home, her heart, and her happiness are completely entwined with riding.
So, Audrey spends most of the time when she’s NOT on her bike, planning how, when and where she WILL be on her bike. And she brings friends along for the journey as much as possible.
Cool Biker Lunch & Rides
For example, back in 2013, Audrey and two friends (Jacquey Tabcum and Jan Oglesby) decided to ride to work on Fridays and meet up for lunch. They posted about their rides and destinations on Facebook, and people started asking to tag along with the “cool bikers” who started the tradition.
“Cool Biker Lunch & Rides” was born! Today, the Facebook group has more than 4,000 followers and Audrey still organizes events every week. (Her buddies moved out of Denver and passed the baton to Audrey.)
“I lead Friday afternoon rides and we usually end up at Dirty Dogs or Wide Open Saloon,” says Audrey. “The rides are usually about 100 miles or so. Surprisingly, Friday rides can get up to 20 riders. If I host rides on the weekends, it can be even more. Sometimes it’s hard to stay together, so I always have someone be my ‘sweep’ to make sure we all stay together. On our rides, it usually entails lunch somewhere, then somewhere for ice cream, and then we end up at a biker bar for cocktails.”
As the group grew, Audrey started organizing contests similar to the Iron Butt Association, but with more achievable rules.
“I have challenges such as 1,000 miles in 24 hours, 1,500 miles in 36 hours, and also for the most miles in one year from January to December 31,” she explains. “I keep a log of all challenges and I made patches for the 1,000 miles and 1,500 miles, and also certificates. My guidelines are less strict than the Iron Butt Association and more cost effective, so I get a lot of interest.”
Other activities include Cool Biker Nights Out, Battle of the Bands, and an annual biker calendar, which traditionally features male bikers, but the 2024 edition will feature women. The calendar is released during the group’s annual chili cookoff in November.
If You’re Gonna Work Here, You Better Learn to Ride
Audrey’s path to her motorcycle lifestyle started back in Los Angeles, where she grew up. She had a friend who rode and dragged Audrey to biker rallies.
“I remember one time we went to Laughlin River Run, and we met some biker dudes. I still can’t believe I hopped on the back of a motorcycle, and I barely knew the guy,” recalls Audrey, shaking her head. “We were cruising the main strip up and back, sometimes at high speeds. I wouldn’t do that today, knowing what I know now. I have lost so many friends due to motorcycle accidents.”
A few years later, in 2003, Audrey got a job at an LA manufacturing company where all of the top executives rode motorcycles.
“They said, ‘Well, if you are going to work here and want to hang with us, you better learn how to ride,’” says Audrey. “The president of the company said, ‘If you pass the motorcycle endorsement class, I will buy you your first motorcycle.’”
Audrey wasn’t sure if he was serious, but she took the class and, after her second try, passed the test.
“And yes, he bought me a 2003 Fat Boy,” says Audrey with a giant smile, adding, “My mom stopped talking to me for about a month when I told her I was riding. But I got the bug.”
Audrey enjoyed riding back then, but it turned into more of a passion and lifestyle in 2011 when she moved to Colorado.
“I didn’t know a whole lot of people, so I joined Mile High Sisters Motorcycle Group, and met my tribe that I have now,” she says. “I am now one of the admins of this group. We do monthly socials and rides. These ladies are great, friendly people.”
Over the years, Audrey traded in her Fat Boy for a 2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide and she started to take longer rides. To date, her longest ride was in 2017 when she and seven friends rode from Colorado to Washington D.C., down to North Carolina, across to Texas, and then home for a total of 6,000 miles. The eight friends stayed in Super 8 Motels during the two-week trip and had patches made that read, “East Coast Super 8.”
In 2019, Audrey was headed home from a long ride, within 10 miles of home, and she got hit by a driver who was looking at his phone. Audrey flew 100 feet and landed on the highway. She suffered injuries to her skull and spine but, miraculously, no broken bones.
“I don’t remember anything of that incident, which is probably a good thing because I don’t have any PTSD,” she says.
Audrey called Rider Justice for legal help and Scott O’Sullivan was able to get her a fair settlement.
“Thanks to Rider Justice, I was able to get a 2020 Road Glide Special, which is what I ride today. Scott is really well-known in the biker community and people really trust him.”
But That’s Not All…
So, Audrey runs the Cool Biker Lunch & Rides, is an administrator of the Mile High Sisters Motorcycle Group, organizes long rides for herself and buddies on a regular basis… but there’s more!
Audrey’s “real job” is at a Denver-based conveyor manufacturer. She also runs her own side hustle as a private investigator!
Through her company, AJP Investigations, Audrey runs background checks, process serves, and does surveillance. The skills have come in especially handy when her friends suspect their boyfriends of cheating or other antics.
“I help my friends out,” Audrey says with a Cheshire Cat grin.
Motorcycling is Her Passion, Her Community, Her Therapy
Looking back on her early riding experiences, Audrey says she didn’t fully appreciate the impact that motorcycles and motorcycle people would have on her life. But today, she knows they are the things that keep her happiest.
“Getting together with others who share the same passion as you is a wonderful feeling. I have so many friends because of motorcycles. We have so much to talk about, so much in common, it’s a great bond,” she says, adding, “When I was growing up, I didn’t have any friends. Once I got into motorcycles, I found great friends. I became part of a great community. It’s a bond you can’t break.”
Riding is also a form of therapy for Audrey.
“I even ride during the winter because I have heated gear and grips. If I don’t ride, I get into some sort of depression. It makes me sad and gloomy if I don’t get on my bike. I need the wind in my face. I like the looks I get from guys who see a chick riding her own bike. I like to be outside. It’s a passion that I can’t get rid of.”
Audrey’s Tips for Long Rides
- Make sure everyone maintains their bike before the trip. Get your oil changed and new tires. Make sure every nut and bolt is tightened.
- Make sure you go with non-drama people or people that you wouldn’t mind being with for a long period of time.
- Only go with advanced riders.
- Make sure your bags and suitcases are tied down properly.
- Make sure you have your gas stops mapped out.
- It’s a good idea to have trip meetings ahead of time to go over everything.
- Ride with a small group (4 or less), and make sure they are capable of riding this distance and won’t slow you down.
- Make sure you know each other’s riding style!
- Make sure the road captain is an established rider, with experience riding long distances.
- Carry out basic maintenance checks to keep the bikes in optimum condition.
- Make sure you check your tire tread depth. Would they sustain 1,000 miles?
- Bring water and snacks to keep you hydrated and awake. 5-Hour Energy Shots and Snickers are excellent to keep you awake.
- Bring rain gear or heated gear, just in case you come across bad weather.
- Bring reflective gear and clears for nighttime riding.
- Bring extra clothes for temperature changes or if you get wet from rain.
- Bring a first aid kit.
- Bring a cell phone and charger.
- Bring an extra battery for your fob or at least know your passcode to your bike.
- Bring ear plugs for wind protection. (One person came back from a long ride and couldn’t hear for a day or two.)
- Bring a siphon just in case your riding partner or you run out of gas before the next gas stop.
- Map out your route so that you know where gas stations and food stops are located.