Becky Goebel has worked tirelessly to achieve success and become a premier ambassador for moto culture. Her brand, Axel Co., continues creating a niche among the growing community of women riders and wrenchers. Born Free took notice and inquired if Goebel was interested in becoming an invited builder for Born Free 13. Goebel ultimately earned the unique distinction of being the only woman builder to complete the deadline challenge.
“I was very surprised! Initially, I wasn’t into it because I didn’t consider myself a builder first and I didn’t even own the tools to undertake something like that! I received a lot of support and asked my sponsors for help, but I still had a lot of reservations. My boyfriend owns a shop and I was able to rent a space there and learn everything I could because the builder deadline creeps up quickly,” said Goebel.
Goebel has never been afraid of hard work or being an outlier. She stated she had received backlash within social media for being an invited builder for Born Free 13, based mostly on being a woman and being accused of not being a ‘true builder.’
“I keep my head up and I’ve succeeded because I’ve been shot down before and been an outlier; that’s not anything new. I did second guess myself a lot with this project but I embraced it because not only was I willing to learn every step of the way, I documented everything because my supporters wanted to learn, and, through that, we were learning together. I learned very quickly that no matter how you plan, things always seem to take longer,” laughed Goebel.
She originally planned a Sportster kustom chopper, but through pure luck, she stumbled across a ‘48 Panshovel and a ‘54 frame via OfferUp. With a strong affinity for classic choppers, Goebel shelved her Sportster idea and began working out the design at Hawg Supply, with whom she had rented a space for the Born Free project.
“Every step of the way was a total learning experience. More experienced builders know exactly how to execute and utilize tools, but I had a steeper learning curve. I was already out of my comfort zone, so I didn’t wanna create a bike that didn’t represent me or would be totally unrideable. My followers didn’t necessarily wanna see a completed build from a top builder, but to also learn how to do it and push themselves,” stated Goebel.
The end result proved that Goebel’s heart had the power to take her on a personally unprecedented path.
“I am very proud of what I achieved! Of course, I am grateful for all the support and help, but I still won’t say I’m a builder per se. I wanted to be honest and clear with everything I learned and achieved, so I documented it all. I had a lot of women approach me at Born Free and say it was cool that I ‘did it for the girls’ and that’s great to hear,” Goebel reflected.
Goebel’s work ethic has been ingrained throughout her life. Hailing from what she lovingly calls ‘a shit hole town in Canada’ where she proclaims is minus 40 most of the year, Goebel stated you had to work hard daily just to enjoy any kind of Summer season.
“My father is a biker and so was my grandpa. We had to work hard just to enjoy the little available time there was to ride. In a town like that, nothing came easy,” reflected Goebel.
Goebel further reflected on her tenacity and tenure working in Canada before moving to the U.S.
“I earned a degree in business administration and earned a job with Vans in Canada. I eventually worked with Converse and rode for them, doing photos for their social media in 2014. I had to quit my Vans job to take that on. My transition to writing about moto culture is kinda funny. I met the editor of Revolution Motorcycle Magazine at an event and I straight-up lied and said I was a writer! It worked out because he liked my writing and would eventually send me on assignments, so I don’t think he was mad,” laughed Goebel.
Her tenacity earned her further assignments, notably completing riding scenes for the television show Riverdale, which was shot around Vancouver.
“That was a fun experience! I did scenes for seasons 1, 2, and 3. Things were starting to snowball quickly and I kept writing, including some stuff for Easy Rider. After the third season of Riverdale, I moved to LA, and of course, things didn’t magically work out right away; things were still a lot of work. I was forced to live in my van for a bit in 2018 because I was Canadian and didn’t have a social security card yet, so I wasn’t able to rent or anything,” said Goebel.
She worked to create a strong following with her social media account—Actually, It’s Axel—growing the brand based on the foundation of the burgeoning niche of women riders, wrenchers, and aspiring builders. Goebel worked to celebrate and document an all-inclusive moto culture and hosted several moto events, such as The Dream Roll.
Perhaps not fully attributed to happenstance and more a recognition of her tenacity, Goebel was contacted by AMC in 2020 about a project with actor Norman Reedus for Ride With Norman Reedus. The program focuses on the adventure aspect of moto culture and documents Reedus riding with friends in different countries to create a global moto culture experience.
“I felt that came out of nowhere! My site only had about 30,000 followers at the time, but the production team reached out and asked if I was interested in filming, and within three days, they sent some fancy car to pick me up. It was crazy because they asked for my address and I was still living in my van at the time! I wasn’t poor at that time, but still didn’t have a social security card, so I couldn’t get housing at that time. So here’s this production car coming to my van to pick me up and fly me out,” Goebel laughed.
She was immediately flown to Miami where she first met Reedus at the airport. The production team carefully explained the details for their trip to Uruguay, and all of a sudden, Goebel was in a whirlwind of television production, celebrity, and moto culture.
“The production company was very professional. Norman and I got along really well, kind of like a brother/sister thing, and he doesn’t act like a celebrity. Uruguay was amazing because we were exposed to so much culture! We rode within the main capital and thru the coast, and it was breathtaking scenery!”
She added, “I felt my love for moto culture was renewed because we take things for granted out here, like how easy access we have to parts and shops and people willing to help. In Uruguay, options are nearly non-existent, so one of the many things I learned was to value the access we have here in the States,” said Goebel.
Goebel can easily recall Ride With Norman Reedus as a life-changing experience, but she remains more grounded and thankful for the opportunity.
“I don’t ever forget my life is kind of wild, but I also try to remain focused and work hard for every opportunity. I try insanely hard to just be the best me at whatever I choose to do.”
Asked if she will continue on the path as a builder, Goebel quickly stated otherwise but proudly shared future plans.
“I don’t have any plans to continue as a builder per se. There was a lot more to it than I expected and I was way out of my comfort zone, but I took the plunge and I’m glad I did. Right now, I am focused on Axel Co. and I’m currently working with Roland Sands; he’s really worked to mentor me and help me grow. We’re working together to collaborate on some riding products. He’s really amazing and knowledgeable, so I’m excited to work with him and learn more.”
As Goebel continues growing Axel Co., she hopes to facilitate a more inclusive subculture.
“I want to work to create a women’s bike section at Born Free and showcase a lot of women riders and builders. There are a lot of cool women working to create amazing stuff. I wanna help elevate that because getting their stories out there is powerful. This will bring more respect and positive attention and I want to be a part of that and work to grow it,” concluded Goebel.