Annette Eldridge

Meet Annette Eldridge (Netty)

Meet Annette, more commonly known as Netty. When she's not modeling or taking beautiful photos, she is playing and teaching the cello. As a Cellist, Annette is currently on course to release her EP later this year. She has been one of my biggest inspirations for Petite Bikers, her Instagram page is amazing, she has wonderful images which perfectly capture the freedom and joy of biking and in turn motivate and inspire women all across the world.

What bike do you ride?
A Suzuki Tu250x

Why did you choose this bike?
It’s such an easy bike to ride and nice height for me. I enjoy the look of retro bikes and the Tu feels retro, even though it’s new. I have made a couple of mods. I feel a nice seat is really important to the look of a motorcycle and even though the original seat did not look hideous, I put a Motosai seat on the bike to make it look more streamline. Bar end mirrors have also cleaned up the top of the bike. Originally my Suzuki sounded like a sewing machine, so a reverse cone muffler was put on to solve this. People don’t expect my little Suzuki to make the sound it does now. Lastly I’ve also changed the back sprocket to give me more oomph on the freeway. I was constantly trying to find another gear that didn’t exist and now the bike does freeway speeds much easier. 

What inspired you to get your license? 
My father was right into motorcycles and owned a Yamaha motorcycle dealership when I was very young. As a child I was given a Peewee 80 to scoot around on when dad went out to chop wood in the forest or go to the local Go Kart Track. However I became heavily involved in music and motorcycle riding wasn’t conducive to keeping arms and fingers protected and so I stopped riding when I started learning the cello. 

I had thought to get back into riding as an adult a number of times, even planning to get my license with my friend. It was only until three years ago when I was regularly riding as a pillion and I decided to finally get my own license. I wanted to join in on the fun and I had someone to go riding with. 

What were your biggest challenges
Initially when I was beginning to ride I was actually quite nervous. Being a shorter rider doesn’t help, as motorcycles tend to feel more cumbersome and heavier.  I tended to worry over all the little things that could possibly happen and the frustrations of not having the skills to get myself out of trouble; I wondered if riding was for me. However I gave myself the goal to get my full license before making any conclusions. Once I overcame these hurdles and gained more confidence, I enjoyed riding even more and the challenging rides I was able to do.  Being a petite rider, finding gear that fits can be tricky. We only have a limited number of motorcycle stores in Melbourne, let alone stores that stock small size gear. My first pair of Kevlar jeans was from as they had small sizes, while also being stylish. Later I came across the Falco ‘Misty’ boots. Not only while looking great, they provide a bit of extra height in the heel. Women riders are increasing in numbers in Australia and it would be great to see more gear tailored for the smaller rider. 

How tall are you?
I am 163.32cm tall or 5 foot 4 inches.

What do you enjoy about biking?
Going places you would not normally go. Having a motorcycle encourages you to go out and explore roads and places you may have not gone otherwise. I recently went to Falls Creek, Reefton and Kinglake, places I have not been before, but wanted to explore on a motorcycle and enjoy the twisty roads these places offer. Also the people you meet and the experiences you have with the motorcycle community are amazing. I’ve met so many lovely people who have become really good friends. This year so far I’ve gone along to Sheilas Shakedown, an annual women’s only motorcycle camp out event, The Leatherettes group rides and Kustom Kommune dinner runs. This community of people from the motorcycle world I wouldn’t have met otherwise, locally and through instagram. I love the fact we share tips, fun photos of our bikes and receive nice comments from all around the world. You are all such a welcoming and encouraging group of people, that I feel really lucky to be a part of. 

What advice would you give to people who want to start?
Find experienced buddies to go riding with. Fellow riders are really willing to give tips to beginners and it can be really helpful to go riding with someone who is experienced. Ride often. When I got my learner license, winter hit and I didn’t ride much, which did not help with my confidence. Get all the cold weather gear, wear thermals under your motorcycle clothes and get out there. Regular riding really helps build confidence and experience in all different conditions. Be kind to yourself if you are finding it difficult, it is a new skill that you have to practice. Slowly what you found tricky becomes easier and before you know it, you are looking for those hairpin turns

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