I am from Southern California and will freely admit that I’m a “Valley Girl” at heart. Born to an artist and a musician, I’ve always loved everything creative. Because my closest siblings are 10 years older and 8 years younger than me, I often found myself playing alone, with lots of arts and crafts to show for it.

My love for creativity has never ceased. I jump at the opportunity to gain new skills in order to create something new, or to be better at the skills I already have. I have dabbled in drawing, painting, sewing, photography, sculpture, and most recently, web design. (The latter I’m still learning, so please be forgiving!)

I got into jewelry making after I graduated college and needed something creative that would keep my hands and brain happy. I had ordered a handmade key chain on Etsy as a gift and when I got it I looked at it and thought, “I can do this!” So I found some jewelry making and metal forming classes and fell in love with the torch and jeweler’s bench.

When I’m not making things, I love to ride motorcycles. I’ve been around motorcycles since I was a wee lady. My uncle is a mechanic and owned a BMW motorcycle dealership for a while. He also had a dirt bike track in his backyard, but the city has since forced him to get rid of it. My father also rides, and used to take me to elementary school on the back of his 1972 BMW R75/5. I remember feeling like the coolest girl in school as I got off of that bike, even if I had foam crumbles in my hair from the ancient helmet my dad had kept around since the 60s.

When I was about 22, I started becoming interested in motos again, specifically vintage and cafe-style bikes. I had the opportunity to help build a CB350, and I was hooked. I got my motorcycle license in 2008 and I talked to my dad about getting a bike. I then learned that the R75/5 that I thought he had gotten rid of had been sitting in a shed at my uncle’s house for the last 12 years. I convinced him to give it to me.

After months of trying to get the BMW running, I realized German engineering was too much for a motorcycle noob like me to handle, and took it to a shop to get it running. My first ride on it was great and surreal, but I quickly realized that the bike was a bit too big for me to handle. I knew I was going to end up dropping my dad’s precious vintage BMW and hating myself forever. I needed something smaller.

Then began the hunt for a bike that fit better. I found a 1965 Honda CB77 305cc Superhawk on Craigslist and went to check it out. I sat on it an immediately knew this was it. I bought it and with the help of my uncle and a few friends, I got it running, and the rest is history.

After riding that bike for a few years, I decided I needed a bigger/newer bike for longer rides, and ended up buying a bike I had been dreaming about, but never imagined I could afford, a 2003 Triumph Bonneville T100, in beautiful condition. Since then, I’ve owned (and wrecked) a 2011 Triumph Scrambler, and am currently on a 2007 Triumph Bonneville and a 2005 Suzuki DR650SE. But I’ll never get rid of that Honda, she comes out on special occasions.

Motorcycles are very much a part of who I am, and I’m in love with the friendly culture that riding provides, and the people who I’ve met through riding. So, being able to combine my love of motorcycles and making jewelry is something that thrills me to no end. I hope you enjoy my stuff as much as I enjoy making it for you!

-Adrienne VanSchoonhoven

Need to contact me? Send me and e-mail at pistonsandpoppies@gmail.com.