Finding her way to a world of compassionate, caring riders was an eye-opening opportunity for Kirsten Midura, the founder of Engines for Change. Kirsten’s exposure and interest to the world of motorcycles didn’t start in her youth nor by being introduced to the two wheeled engine’s purr by friends or family… Kirsten found her own way to the ride of her life.
“I was living in Nicaragua back in 2015 working for a non-profit called Green Empowerment on a one year contract and was having a heck of a time getting around. It didn’t make sense for me to own my own car there, nor did it to pay expensive taxi fares multiple times a day. I needed something small, efficient, and affordable; Every time I traveled outside of Managua, I would rent little 125 CC scooters. It definitely wasn’t ideal off-roading, but it got the job done. It wasn’t until I returned to the states that I decided to learn how to ride a full-size motorcycle or dirt bike in case life brought me another opportunity like this. So, I completed the Team Oregon class and got my official license, which I held onto with nothing to ride until I moved to New York.”
Riding a bike in New York is like jumping into the deep-end while being a poor swimmer, but Kirsten wasn’t afraid to ask for help from the amazing community of motorcyclists she’d connected with throughout the city.
“There are a lot of unnecessary stigmas around motorcycles; one being that you can’t take things slow or ask for help. But it’s not true. I had plenty of support and friends that were willing to hold my hand while I got more comfortable zipping about. By the time I was road-ready, I realized that 99% of my friends in the city were bikers… There's just no other community like it.”
Eventually, Kirsten connected with the crew at WomenRidersNow.com, the top motorcycle publication for women riders which only fed her passion all the more. “I don’t know if this is the right way to say this, but I hear from many women that riding as a woman feels almost rebellious. Freeing. Like they are breaking the rules that someone else made. My relationship with the women at Women Riders Now has grown so strong, I actually work for them right now as the Marketing and Program Manager while running my non-profit, Engines for Change.”
An Act of Service
Engines for Change started in 2019 with Kirsten’s vision to host rider beach clean-ups and quickly escalated to helping deliver handmade masks and sanitizer throughout the pandemic to other organizations that need help receiving these resources.
“I started Engines for Change because of the remarkable altruistic and charitable culture of motorcyclists across the globe. I have a background and passion for sustainability and environmental science so initially, my hope was to connect riders to charities and causes that supported green initiatives. Riding out to a site as a crew is so much fun. It’s a balance of work and play cleaning up the earth. It’s a win, win for everyone really. But as the pandemic hit, our focus needed to change to helping others get through supply shortages by partnering with some other grassroot operations that were popping up. We were their wheels; the way to deliver supplies. As things calm down, I am helping guide bikers to charities they support the mission of and want to be a part of the resolution for… All tied to the adventure of the ride.”
The power and impact of a thoughtful, conscious community of riders could be endless as we see the number of micro-commuters increase in the years to come. And Kirsten’s right, there’s literally no other community or tribe like that of a motorcyclist. Sharing the road, the freedom, the drive for life, sometimes even without saying a word. Silence to observe the needs of our planet and others that walk amongst us is golden.