A happy birthday love-note filled with photos and behind-the-scenes goodness from my time with the fastest woman on earth, Jessi Combs.
@Monika9422 Dies in Fatal Crash— and People Are Being Horrible
A human being, a person, who happened to be a really good looking lady, died in a motorcycle crash a couple days ago… and almost every comment I’m seeing either in the actual articles or in responses is bullsh*t. Talking about about how “that’s what happens when you ride like that”, “got what she deserved,” or even “stupid whore”. Her name? Olga Pronina, known as monika9422 on instagram. She was beautiful woman promoting her looks, yes, she was also a Mother.
Perhaps it’s my overall optimism that humanity, through all it’s flaws, is actually incredible… but the internet horrifies and boggles me with the reactions like this.
Motorcycles can kill you? Wow, we never knew that! Riding without full gear is more dangerous? Wow, couldn’t have found info about that anywhere! Stunting and playing around make it even more dangerous? We had absolutely no idea! (Insert eye roll here.) Every motorcyclist has received unsolicited advice or even just scare-tactic style warnings because they choose to ride.
We know, yes. Motorcycles are inherently dangerous and riding one means your chances of fatal collision are far higher than that of someone in a car. We also share the consolatory knowledge that we feel much, much more free on a bike than they ever will in their cage.
I’m reminded of the mountaineer Reinhold Messner after narrowly avoiding death while climbing Everest without oxygen in 1980. He was asked, “Why did you go up there to die?” His reply was, “I did not go up there to die. I went up there to live.” In a 2003 interview with Messner on the Guardian, he said “When you’re high on a mountain you cannot be anything but what you are.” I believe that is how many motorcyclists feel on two wheels. Whether we’re trying to get a knee down through turns or taking on an Iron Butt challenge, motorcycling leaves you stripped down to your most real self.
I am grateful to it for the sparkles in my eyes, for the warm wind blowing on my cheeks when my visor is open, for unbelievable excitement and a feeling of flowing in the air, for doses of adrenaline.
Some people want to create little social media worlds where they’re poised and perfect, because showing weakness online can create serious anxiety for people. Some people find something they do is appreciated by people around the world and it makes them feel good. While I don’t condone the lack of safety gear Olga sported in her photos and videos, and we all know I’m not into heavy on the T&A moto pics either, I have to respect her choice to live as a free human and to do whatever she wants with herself.
Is Olga really that different than a racer in full gear trying to go as fast as humanly possible for them in the name of competition and proving they’re faster than the next person? We all get our jollies from different things. Different strokes for different folks, to each their own, march to the beat of your own drum… we have a lot of different ways to remind each other of this fact.
So, I implore you, reach out across the aisle to someone who chooses a different style of riding than you. Shake their hand or give them a hug. Remember, they’re someone’s family, and they have every right to make their own choices regarding their life and body just as you do. Whether that’s riding with no gear or going ATGATT. It’s not to say you should condone unsafe behavior, that you have to agree, or even ride with them. You don’t. But you should respect their decisions, and don’t be a horrible human talking smack about someone who died.
Olga Pronina, a gorgeous 40 year old who was frequently the subject of much instagram chatter and reposts, died as a result of injury colliding with a side rail in Vladivostok, Russia on August 1st, 2017. She is survived by her 16 year old daughter.
Olga wrote about her love of riding on her (now deactivated) instagram page, “I am grateful to it for the sparkles in my eyes, for the warm wind blowing on my cheeks when my visor is open, for unbelievable excitement and a feeling of flowing in the air, for doses of adrenaline.” I think most of us know how that feels. She also said, “Thank you for gifting me freedom… and I know that I am not alone. There are thousands like me, those madly in love with their metal horses.”
Rest in peace, Olga. May you ride fast forever in memory.
- Crashing My Motorcycle & the Value of Gear
- Back on a Bike: Motorcycle Crash Cognition
- Brittany Morrow Motorcycle Crash Anniversary
- Why Liter Bikes Are Awesome and Also Terrible