Q&A with Linda Missal (our very own Greaser)
Q. Linda, you live in Brooklyn, NY. How long have you been there? And what keeps you there?
A. I moved to the city as soon as I graduated from university to work as a documentary film editor. I’ve lived all over Brooklyn for the past 7 years, but our current home in Crown Heights is my favorite place so far. Living in NYC can be tough at times, but the constant action, culture, and inspiration it provides in return is what keeps James and I here. My family also lives in the suburbs just a short drive or train ride away, so it’s great to be able to spend time with them.
Q. Where did you grow up? Tell us a bit about it.
A. I grew up in Somerset, NJ – about 45 min outside of NYC. I was a huge tomboy as a kid, so having a big backyard with trees to climb, a swimming pool, and quiet neighborhood streets to ride my bike and rollerblade was a great way to grow up. During high school and college, my friends and I would ride the train to hang out in the city. It was the best of both worlds, as far as I was concerned.
Q. When did your passion for bikes begin? And what was your first bike?
A. About 4 years ago, I started riding “cupcake” (always been tickled by that term!) with James. Eventually, I got bored being a passenger and decided, I’ve got all the gear, I should have my own bike! I took a course with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation – probably one of the best decisions I made as a brand new rider – got my license, and bought my first bike, a Honda Rebel name Dotty.
I dove in head-first, and quickly learned to do my own maintenance and basic repairs. By the time I got my second bike, a 1996 Yamaha XV535, I was obsessively collecting images of custom motorcycles for inspiration. I rebuilt almost everything on that little Yamaha (named Yvette), and learned a lot about how each system works. It was a great bike to cut my teeth on, and was a beast by the time I was done with her – loud as hell and super peppy!
I’ve been hooked since the first time I ever got on a bike and have never looked back.
Q. Tell us what you’re riding now, and what you love about it?
A. I have a silver and red 2001 Triumph Bonneville named Roxy, and I’m absolutely mad about her! Bonneville’s are fantastic bikes – reliable, simple to maintain and repair, beautiful and classic, and comfortable to ride whether I’m zipping around the city or taking a long trip in the countryside.
Q. With bikes, there comes a certain style of associated clothing and accessories. What would you say yours is?
A. I love a classic style with a hint of badass. My typical riding outfit includes a Shoei RF1200 full-face helmet (gotta protect the face!), a Triumph leather armored jacket (or armored mesh for the hot summer weather), Worse for Wear women’s riding jeans with full armor, Revit armored gloves, Frye boots, and a bandana. It’s quite the uniform, and as soon as I put it on, I feel indestructible. Motorcycling is of course dangerous in addition to being wildly fun, so ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) helps me ride with confidence. Besides, I like to look a bit intimidating when I’m geared up to ride – that’s part of the fun!
Q. What are your favourite things to do in your spare time?
A. In my spare time, I love cooking for friends. James and I sometimes host dinner parties at our tiny Brooklyn apartment, and it’s always such a fantastic time. In the winter, when I’m stuck indoors, I love to knit. Some recent projects include a hat for James, a scarf for my mom’s birthday gift, and a tiny sweater for some friends of ours who just had their first baby. I also love reading, especially non-fiction, and am a bit of a gym junkie. I love adopting new hobbies and learning new things!
Q. Are you a foodie?
A. YES! And I’m spoiled because NYC has some amazing cuisine. I love culinary adventures almost as much as I love motorcycling adventures, and New York never disappoints. You can get anything your little foodie heart desires here: spicy Indian, fresh sushi, Ethiopian, traditional Chinese, and of course the best pizza you’ll ever gorge yourself on. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Q. If you’re cooking - what’s your signature dish?
A. Breakfast food, for sure! Omelets are my specialty, but I make great veggies scramble, pancakes, Brussels Sprout hash, crispy breakfast potatoes, and all that good stuff.
Q. And what’s your favourite tipple?
A. I love a nice glass of red wine, or a fresh, crisp hard cider. James makes a mean Manhattan (with bourbon of course); I’m a big fan.
Q. If you were in a band, what instrument would you play? Or would you sing?
A. Air drums! When we’re cruising around in our Volvo 240 wagon, I air drum along to every song on the radio. I’m quite good!
I also come from a very musical family. I’ve been singing and playing guitar since I was a kid. My baby sister Donna is my absolute musical inspiration. She’s an amazing songwriter and killer vocalist. In fact, forget my band – go find Donna Missal on Spotify right now.
Q. You just won a trip to New Zealand at The Selvedge Yard ‘Greaser Get Down’ party. What do you know about NZ?
A. The Greaser Get Down party was the highlight of my year so far, not just because I won this trip (which is so amazing, I still get butterflies thinking about it!), but because of the amazing people I got to spend time with. JP and Ashley from The Selvedge Yard are absolute class acts, and having the opportunity to hang with Dion and the whole Triumph & Disaster team was such a treat!
I’ve never been to New Zealand, but I know it’s a breathtakingly gorgeous island country where Kiwis live and there are volcanoes and the weather is lovely. It’s been on my bucket list for ages, and I’m so excited to finally be going. Who knows, I may fall in love and never come home!
Q. What are your expectations for your trip to NZ?
A. I expect to be completely blown away, and from everything I hear about New Zealand, that shouldn’t be a problem J I’m looking forward to experiencing both the city and a whole lot of nature. After a relaxing stay on Waiheke Island, James and I plan to rent motorbikes and explore both the North and South Islands. We want the full NZ experience and are ready for the trip of a lifetime.
Q. What’s one thing that represents Triumph and (another for) Disaster for you?
A. Triumph to me will always mean motorcycles, not just because I ride a Triumph, but because being a motorcyclist, especially a woman motorcyclist, absolutely feels like a victory. The word triumph is so wonderful because it’s a noun – an accomplishment or win – and also a verb – something to continually pursue.
When I think of disaster, I think of storms. Growing up on the east coast of the US, storms are part of nearly every season. Living through hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes has taught me to respect nature and to appreciate disasters for what they are: opportunities to rebuild even better than before. Sometimes when disaster strikes, it’s the perfect moment to embark on your next triumph.