Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Lisanne’s journey into biking

Published:Sunday | May 14, 2017 | 5:04 AM
Lissanne Pessoa
Pessoa racing at Vernam Field.
Pessoa posing with her oldest son, Brandon, 19, who is in his first year at UWI doing engineering.
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Standing at five feet four inches with a petite frame, it’s hard to assume from appearance that Lisanne Pessoa is a hard-core motor bike rider. Most likely, the same deduction would most likely be gathered when speaking to her, due to her calm and composed manner.

It’s only when you visit her Facbook page and view her extensive photo catalogue of her riding that you would realise how involved in the sport she is. Surprisingly, the mother of five didn’t start riding until in her 30s. “I had my first child at 24 and I learned how to ride after my third child when I was in my 30s,” revealed Pessoa, managing director, Atlas Protection Ltd.

Her journey in the sport started as a way of overcoming her fear of riding. “I always feared riding, but I didn’t want it to control me, so I decided to tackle it head on,” she said. “I remember we had registered with Sargeant Uzander McFarlane to train 30 of our staff to do an introductory biking course. We didn’t have enough persons to fill the spots, so I volunteered to participate, plus my supervisor thought my presence would motivate the males involved to take the train seriously. Of course, no male wants a female to outperforming him in a bike-riding class.”

GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS

Admittedly, Pesson did not take her initial class seriously and kept doing different antics out of idleness. “Maybe the instructor noticed I wasn’t fully committed to the programme, so he drew me out to participate in many demonstrations,” said Pessoa.

This tactic proved to be successful as she became more interested each class. “The more I participated, the more I started to like it, and my father also gave his approval, which made me feel more comfortable doing it,” she stated.

After finishing the course and becoming a certified rider, Pessoa seized every opportunity to hone her skills. “If ever there was a bike unattended on the work compound, I would hop on it and take it for a spin. As a result, the guys would invite me to go on several work assignments to Spanish Town,” said Pessoa.

BEING INSPIRED

At that time, her only riding was done on a Honda Twister. However one day in 2012, while taking her daughter to school, she saw a female on a Honda race bike weaving through traffic and became immediately inspired. “She was a skinny Indian woman with a long ponytail and the bike was big! It was one of those green Ninjas. When I went home, I called a biker friend of mine and asked if he knew her. Luckily, he did, and he set up a meeting, where I got a change to talk to her. It inspired me so much that I decided to buy my first bike, an English Honda 600,” disclosed Pessoa.

With a bigger bike, she was also ready for bigger challenges. “At this point I started to hang out with my trainer more, Mr Macky, and he started to introduce me to the right people in the bike-racing world.”

She continued: “One of the first persons who heard about me was Cutter from Crazy Bikerz, and after joining his club, we took a ride to Vernamfield, where I did a race session. My cousin who was there saw my time and was impressed and introduced me to some of the top riders in the field, and they took me under their wings. They kept encouraging me, so I started to participate in circuit races.”

FINDING TIME FOR IT ALL

Naturally, a commitment to biking at this level is very demanding on her schedule.

“My family has played a major role in helping me to pursue this dream, especially on Sundays when I do most of my biking. They will keep the kid, because they know that riding is therapeutic for me, and in the end, it helps me to be in a good place to support my kids,” said Pessoa.

Given the celebratory mood of Mother’s Day, Pessoa said: “Unfortunately, a lot of mothers are mourning today because they lost a child to a motorcycle accident, so I want to encourage all riders to practise safety at all cost when riding on the road. The jacket, gloves, and helmet all save lives.”

Quick Q & A with Pessoa

1. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE?

Lisanne Pessoa: The first time I did a circuit ride at Dover, I went around the hair-pin corner and dragged my knee on the group, like those professional racers on TV. Unfortunately, I got very excited and I dropped.

2. WHAT’S NEXT ON THE BUCKET LIST?

I want to learn how to fly a plane as well as do a dirt bike tour around Jamaica with Kyle Reynolds.

3. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM BIKE?

I love the BMW S1000 RR because it has the rev match technology, which allows you to gear down with computer assistance.