The story of Nelly Iglesias: the first biker

They cross the roads alone, drive motorhomes, vans, colorful eighties cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or hitchhike like Kinga Choszcz (1972-2006), the Polish traveler who went to Northern Ireland at the age of eighteen and a few years Later, with the same closed hand and open thumb, it reached India, China, and Russia.

They choose the path, the way to walk it and they usually tell their journey on the networks, in blogs, in books. The traveling chroniclers defy the ages and frights of others: “the dangers of traveling as a woman do not exceed the general dangers of living as a woman” and star in a legend clipping of their own. The reasons why they choose to hit the road vary according to desire, sometimes the body wakes it up: a lump in a breast, the need to kick the board and start living again; excruciating back pain (Isabella Bird, the 19th-century explorer); the economic crisis that leaves them on the edge of the sidewalk (as shown by Cholé Zhao in Nomadland); or because yes and because the route is worth it.

Nelly Iglesias, from the truck to the motorcycle

Argentine history on the road from Nelly Iglesias It is narrated in motorcycle symphony. His dad was a truckerI learned to drive as a child, looking at him, just like boys do now with computers”. At the age of sixteen (in 1944) she was the first woman to obtain a professional registration in Argentina, driving a truck with a “string brake” loaded with siphons.

At the age of sixty-five, a widow and retired from her job as a decorator, she closed her sewing workshop and bought a Zanella (“it’s a small motorcycle, you know when you leave but you don’t know when you arrive”) and the street stood out, “in At that time, the women were companions, but if we drove our own motorcycles, there were five or six of us”.

Nelly’s story is also told listening to classical music (the only one she liked, although La Renga has dedicated a song to it) and with the eccentricity that news headlines usually give age. It was then that at the age of eighty-eight Nelly stopped being just Nelly and became the biker grandmother with pearl earrings and a racing jacket, the mother of the heiresses of the wind and an example of life.

Argentine routes

After many kilometers on top of an Econo Power 90 model 96 and a hip operation, he bought a Honda Rebel 250 crowned by dozens of decals and on which the word Florida (his neighborhood in the north of the Buenos Aires suburbs and his place in the world) “it’s a chopera (…) it’s a luxury car”.

The road was waiting for her. The memory of her biker baptism was in 1994 in Mercedes, Nelly did not know anything, it was the first time she traveled. Many years after anointing himself with the breath that does not tarnish, a collection of keychains and patriotic souvenirs kept in his house clung to the traces of his quixotic imagination that turned algae dye and warm his memory while he names the impenetrable, Viedma, Santiago del Estero … “I can assure you that the four hundred thousand kilometers I did I did not do as a passenger or carrying the motorcycle in a combi, I did it riding”. A happiness on two wheels that keeps the joy in balance and on the threshold of the day to come, another day on the road and on top of a motorcycle.

*Nelly died in May 2020, in the middle of the covid pandemic, a few months later, thousands of bikers fired her in a caravan along Route 5 to kilometer 71 where a monolith remembers her.

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