Live Full Throttle: Life After Your Cancer Diagnosis

chicksonThe author of “Chicks on Bikes,” Christina Shook, is teaming up with writer and motorcycle adventurer Tamela Riche for a new book on women motorcyclist cancer survivors the working title is currently: Live Full Throttle: Life After Your Cancer Diagnosis. We caught up with Shook before she begins her adventure of meeting, photographing and exploring the healing nature of motorcycles in the lives of several female cancer survivors.

AAB: For anyone who has not read “Chicks on Bikes” please provide a brief background on you, your motorcycle history and past integrations of art and motorcycles:

CS: Motorcycles for me were a way to see the world. Also photography is a way for me to see the world. A great combination. I started riding when I rented a motorcycle in Northern Thailand and learned on the fly. Riding was thrilling but moreover a means to hit the country side and rip up jungle paths. After years abroad I came back to the US and bought my first bike. It was a lemon Honda Nighthawk that had some electrical bug and hardly ever started without a bump start. Luckily I lived on a hill. It became more than transportation, it became a lifestyle and a community.

The motorcycle community inspired me and especially women bikers. I loved the way women had made their place in a male dominated world of motorcycles. I started my project of photographing and interviewing women and the result of 10 years of work, I published Chicks On Bikes. It’s a lifestyle photographic coffee table book about who real women bikers are.

That book has been out a year now and I’ve been itching for a new project and casting about for a co-author. I knew I didn’t want to undertake the writing again. Photography is my life’s work and I’m willing to write when I have to but I’d rather team up with someone for whom writing is their life’s work.

AAB: Tell us about your inspiration for this book:

CS: Tamela Rich is a wonderful writer who is an also an impassioned motorcyclist. She’s got unbelievable stories of cancer survivors who have lived their dreams and empowered their lives through motorcycling. The message is one of strength and hope. How to go on when diagnosed with cancer. When she approached me with the idea of photographing some of these women I immediately knew it was the perfect subject for me.

I believe there’s some connection between motorcycling and death. Maybe it’s denial of it, or flying in the face of it. Every rider with much experience has had some bone chilling moments when a horrible accident was a near miss away. And to me, that makes me appreciate life all the more.

But cancer is another confrontation with death, one I hope never to face. So that is what we’re out to explore both visually and with words. We want to tell the stories of how the adventure of survival.

AAB: Do you have any fun moto-adventures planned for the creation of the book?

CS: The wonderful adventure we have planned in the making of this book is to follow the Conga Line which will be women riding in from across the continent, some cancer survivors or living with it and supporters. The ride will culminate in a rally in Wyoming this July.

March of 2012 is the scheduled book release date, so keep your eyes open for it and check in on the creators’ blogs throughout the book’s creation.

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