I can’t remember when I first met Ruby. I don’t recall an actual introduction, or a “how do you do;” she’s just always been around and I’ve always known who she is. As a matter of fact, everyone does. If you ride a motorcycle and live in the Sacramento area, you know who Ruby Weber is.
Born in a Montana mining camp in 1941, Ruby was brought into a hardscrabble world of meager means without the benefit of sterile hospital conditions. She was 2 years old before her parents even bothered to register to get a birth certificate for the fourth of their five children, since working at the mines where the family lived took all the focus for her hard-drinking, hard-living parents. It didn’t take long for the bright little girl with the brilliant blue eyes to realize that life is what you make of it, so by the time she was in her early teens she was on her own in the Golden State of California, making a living by tending other people’s children and enjoying the sunshine.
She topped out at 5’3″ and grew into a shapely young blonde who viewed the world through a black-and-white filter. By 1958 she was riding motorcycles on her own and tearing up the world. She’s never considered her size a factor in anything she’s ever decided to do since it’s always been about attitude. If Ruby wants to do something, she’ll just damn well do it.
The day after she turned 20 years old, she married a man who was deeply ensconced in the biker world. As the lady of the house, Ruby had rules, even when club members were misbehaving in her living room and more than one rowdy biker was kicked out by the hard-lined lady. By 1964 the little woman with the big attitude had two children and was facing the world as a single mom. She would marry twice more by the time she reached her 40s. Through it all, she kept riding.
These days Ruby and her husband live a quiet life in the shade of I-80 in Sacramento where she tends her horses and putters with her plants. She acknowledges that she’s always related better to animals than people, so pets have been a constant in her life and the aging horse she used to take on trail rides and campouts is happy to live out his senior years in Ruby’s company.
Though she doesn’t ride horseback much anymore, she does still ride her Harley. The traffic biff that cost her a few days in the hospital in 2011 caused her to slow down a bit, but not for long. She was back on the road as soon as she got her custom 1999 FXR2 back in running order and looking great, but she considers going back to a Sportster since the weight of the bike is cumbersome for the tiny lady who struggles to keep 100 pounds on her petite frame. The crash didn’t take the fire out of her at all, however. She still mucks stalls daily and tends to the beloved horses. One time, a few years back, as I was sniveling about my broken heart after a bad break up, she invited me over to shovel stalls since, to her way of thinking, manual labor is a great cure for whatever ails you. I’m not convinced she’s wrong.
After teaching herself how to navigate a computer, Ruby turned her personal Facebook page into an informational site where motorcycle-related topics and riders’ rights are the focus. She’s outspoken, assertive and can be cantankerous if you choose to challenge the little septuagenarian. She can be seen at every rights rally, MMA and ABATE meeting in her area and is the first one to raise a hand when anyone needs a volunteer. Though she continues to ride, she tells me that if she pulls into a packed parking lot or a place with difficult terrain, she’ll just get off her motorcycle and let one of the younger men park for her. At this juncture, she certainly has nothing more to prove. She’s mapped out and led women riders on tours across her favorite routes, has received several awards from various organizations for her lifetime of remarkable achievements and, this year during the Sturgis rally, she’ll be included in an exhibition of accomplished women riders at the Buffalo Chip’s Crossroads called, “Through the Years.”
Ruby won’t be able to visit the display in person since she says she doesn’t have anyone who can tend the animals in her absence, but she’s excited to be included and questions if she’s really worthy of the honor. To this, I can only respond by saying yes, my friend, you certainly are since it’s high time the rest of the world met the amazing Ruby Weber, too.