Vanessa Ruck is a motorcycle rider, racer, adventurer, and a popular content creator.
She is also a rally car driver and a motivational speaker.
Vanessa Ruck was born on 22 September 1987 in England.
She hails from Oxfordshire, England.
Growing up, her mother was seriously ill for many years and was in hospital; so, Vanessa was brought up by her father.
Even being bed bound couldn’t defeat her mother’s spirit; this inspired Vanessa to live her life to the fullest.
She grew up in the outdoors, riding horses and quad bikes and boogie boarding.
In 2005, Vanessa joined University of Portsmouth, in Portsmouth, England to study for a BA (Hons) International Business Studies.
In 2006, as a part of the abroad exchange semester, she attended Western Carolina University, in North Carolina, States.
Vanessa also did a 48-week work placement at the Cape Eleuthera Institute on a remote island of South Eleuthera in the Bahamas; here, she worked as a Marketing Assistant and did PR marketing and graphic designing.
She graduated in 2009.
Then, Vanessa returned to England and did a MA in Public Relations from Bournemouth University.
She completed her master’s with distinction.
From September 2005 to October 2009, Vanessa worked as a part-time Independent Distributor at Ecoflow.
From July 2007 to August 2008, she worked as a Marketing Assistant at Cape Eleuthera Institute in Bahamas.
Then, in April 2009, Vanessa worked as a Researcher & Press Editor at Agenda Collective in London.
In August 2009, she worked as a Field Technician, assisting a PhD student at Cape Eleuthera Institute; prior to this, for three months, she volunteered at the institute.
In March 2010, Vanessa worked as an Account Assistant at Takeaway PR in London; from March 2010 to April 2010, she worked as an Account Assistant at Deep South Media Ltd in Bournemouth, United Kingdom.
From December 2010 to January 2014, she worked at PRIME Research in Oxford; here, she initially worked as a Project Manager and then, as an Automotive Lead & Project Manager.
From 2014 to 2016, Vanessa worked as an Account Director at PRIME Research UK.
She was a Representative and Team Rider at Surface 2 Air Sports Ltd.
From 2016 to 2019, she worked at The Marketing Practice, initially as Senior Account Manager and then, as Account Director.
From 2018 to 2020, Vanessa was a monthly columnist at Motor Cycle News.
From 2021 to 2022, she was a part-time Associate at Sandstone Communications.
From July 2020, she has been a freelance Social Media Coach at On-Group Ltd.
Vanessa also works as a Social Media Consultant, Motorcycle Model, Moto Traveller / Writer, and Motivational Speaker.
Her first motorcycle-
While growing up, Vanessa didn’t appreciate the existence of motorcycles.
At 21, while in Bahamas, as transport was difficult, she needed a vehicle to get around the island but couldn’t afford a car; so, she decided to get a motorcycle.
Vanessa got shipped a Lifan Enduro 250 motorcycle, a Chinese dirt bike, into the island.
The motorcycle arrived part assembled in a box which she put together with the help of a local bush mechanic.
Vanessa started exploring the island and buzzing around the island with her spear and fins strapped to the side of her motorcycle; prior to this, she never rode a motorcycle.
She rode the bike for a year and then returned to England and got her full bike license; but as she couldn’t afford a car and bike in England, she didn’t have a bike for a long time.
An adrenaline junkie; & a life-changing accident-
Vanessa was a full-on adrenaline junkie and used to enjoy kite surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, snow kiting, and wakeboarding.
She was also into fitness as she used to workout at the gym and cycle to work 16 miles every day.
On 25 March 2014, Tuesday, Vanessa was cycling home from work and was on her way to the lake to go wakeboarding with her friends and her now husband.
About a mile down the road, a car coming the other way didn’t stop at the red light and cut straight across in front of her; as she had no room to escape, she went straight into the rear passenger panel of the car and struck the car at 15 mph.
Her right shoulder took the full impact, and she landed on the ground on her right side.
Vanessa tried to move but couldn’t; luckily, the passers-by helped her and aided her to the safety curb where she waited for the ambulance.
Her shoulder, finger, right knee, and hip were affected, and she had to take 13 months off work.
Vanessa underwent seven operations including a full shoulder reconstruction (which made her partly bionic), six hip surgeries, a hip reconstruction, and numerous other treatments over a period of seven years.
Before the accident, she was very career driven, money-minded and used to spend long hours in the office but the accident changed her priorities and taught her the value of experiences in life.
In 2016, after Vanessa’s third hip surgery, she was bed bound; one morning she randomly woke up and requested her husband to get her a dirt bike.
They bought a cheap dirt bike, Yamaha WRF250 4-stroke, but for the first five months of having it, as she was physically limited, she couldn’t even sit on it.
But seeing the dirt bike motivated Vanessa to recover swiftly and get on it; she made it her goal to recover and ride the bike, which she accomplished.
As she started feeling adrenaline rush and alive on the off-road motorcycle, she got addicted to motorcycling.
Later, as Vanessa found that her motorcycle was too heavy, she switched from Yamaha WR250F to a KTM 200 2-stroke and then to a Husqvarna 2-stroke; she also bought a Harley Davidson.
After the accident, she couldn’t commute to work on a bicycle, so she started riding a Suzuki Bandit 600 motorcycle to work at central Oxford to beat the traffic and save on parking.
As unlike previously, Vanessa couldn’t enjoy extreme sports like kitesurfing, rock climbing, etc., she substituted adventure sports with motorcycling.
She continued motorcycling even while managing chronic pain and went on to finish Red Bull Romaniacs and won the medal; raced Qatar International Baja, British Extreme, Dakar Rally, and Tunisia Desert Challenge.
Vanessa was the first and only female to race in Tunisia Desert Challenge; she also did 1000 Dunas rally, Morocco Desert Challenge and as of 2023, she did nine multi-day international races.
She does off-road enduro, trials, rally and adventure riding and took official off-road training from Triumph Experience Centre and KTM’s Sweet Lamb Adventure Rally Bike Academy.
Vanessa rode motorcycles in over 28 countries like the United States, Scotland, Ukraine, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, etc.
She is a fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Change disorder, social media-
During her seven years of recovery and surgeries, she suffered from physical pain and mental health challenges.
When Vanessa was bed bound, after her third surgery, at one of her low points, she decided to have something positive to channel her energy into; so, she started her Instagram account, ‘thegirlonabike.’
She started sharing photos of her prior to the accident doing kitesurfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, etc.; at that time, she was diagnosed with change disorder and was struggling to relate to herself.
On Instagram, Vanessa was focusing on her past, but she ran out of her old photos.
So, she decided to be real and honest on Instagram and started sharing photos of her struggles and recovery.
On 16 June 2017, Vanessa started her YouTube channel, ‘The Girl On A Bike.’
On her socials, she started sharing motorcycle content, which became popular.
As of November 2023, Vanessa has 140K followers on Instagram, 173K followers on her Facebook page, and 53.2K subscribers on her YouTube channel.
She films with Insta360 cameras.
Vanessa also has a website and publishes blog posts.
Love for Bowler Wildcat; becoming a Works Driver-
Since a young age, she has been a petrol-head; at 14, she covered her bedroom wall with Bowler Wildcat posters.
As soon as Vanessa turned 17, she passed her test and started driving cars and also had the Institute of Advanced Motorists qualification.
In 2021, she was participating in Rallye du Maroc at bivouac; this was her first big international rally; she was wandering around the bivouac looking at various motorcycles, trucks, cars, etc. and struck a conversation with a random guy.
Then, suddenly a Bowler Wildcat drove past; she was so excited by seeing it that she dropped out of the conversation with him.
Fourteen months later, Vanessa got a phone call from the guy, Dave, who turned out to be the Head of Motorsports at Bowler.
He invited her to do a round of the UK rally series in one of the new Bowler Defenders, to which she readily agreed.
Since January 2023, Vanessa has been a freelance Works Driver & Brand Ambassador for Bowler.
In 2023, she ranked first in class and tenth overall at the Scottish Summer Hill Rally.
Even though Vanessa is racing Bowler Wildcat Defender, she is also continuing with motorcycling.
In one of her videos, she mentioned that she suffers from chronic pain and is motorcycle racing with pain killers and a lot of pain management and motorcycling is making her pain worse; so, in future she could choose racing cars over motorcycles.
Vanessa has been a brand ambassador for Teng Tools UK & Ireland, RevolutionRace, Cardo Systems, Mosko Moto, and Michelin.
On 25 May 2014, Vanessa married Alex Ruck.
She lives in Monmouth, Wales, United Kingdom.
Iceland is her favourite motorcycling destination.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Vanessa Ruck?
Share with me in the comment section below.
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