By Danielle Penberthy, urban explorer and entrepreneur
For a single day, Danielle Penberthy saw the world from a whole new perspective – a fully immersive experience that every 2-wheel urban explorer yearns for. A welcome opportunity to exchange the familiarity of her hometown in LA for the historical streets of Lisbon, and her trusty Svartpilen 401, for a more powerful Svartpilen 701.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a bold move across the continent and a complete profile refresh opened up new opportunities for Danielle. Now living in LA and known to the world of social media as ‘Blonde Danny’, she is able to fully embrace her passion for motoring. She has always been interested in cars, even from a young age, and now, if it has an engine and plenty of stylishness, it simply must be shared with the world.
Turning a passion into a business is everyone’s dream and something Danny has been lucky enough to do. She has had the opportunity to work with some of the best performing dealerships in the US, managing social media, websites, event coordination and even recently rebranded one of the largest car shows in California, SupercarShowOC.com. Her life online is what led her to this opportunity to roam the streets of Lisbon in her new role with the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand.
There’s no easy way to fully understand the incredible sensations that motorcycling offers you - you just have to climb aboard and experience it for yourself. It’s like discovering a whole new universe and spurred on by curiosity, you simply can’t help but see where it leads you. Well for Danny, not only did she get the chance to discover a little more, but also, to see it all from a completely different perspective.
In a new city, riding a new bike and with the spotlight fixed directly on her, it’s safe to say that there were a few nerves in the air. But, as dopamine pumps through the body, stress is replaced by excitement, and with the first twist of the throttle all anxiety was gone. Jet-lagged or not, the first rush of adrenalin was all the energy she needed to kickstart our urban explorations.
Big cities like Paris, London and Rome are hotspots for international travellers, but Europe is full of hidden gems, and Lisbon is certainly one of them. It is a city that effortlessly blends traditional heritage with striking modernism and progressive thinking. It is full of charismatic people, vibrant street art, incredible paving designs and Azulejo – the name given to the painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework found across Portugal and its former colonies.
Traveling through the streets of Lisbon on a motorcycle is a great way to see some of its incredible street art. No longer just a form of anarchic rebellion, today street art is helping to change the mood of cities across Europe. Renowned creatives like Pichi & Avo, as well as Ericailane who painted the oversized graffiti crocodile called Crocodile Tears, have helped to redefine this incredible city. Coming across the distinctive artwork from Millo, we are reminded just how convenient urban exploration is on two wheels. Simply pull up, climb off and use the opportunity to take it all in.
Danny effortlessly carved her way through the narrow and sometimes archaic streets of Lisbon, enjoying the power and agility she had at her disposal. Bypassing many of the main tourist attractions, we were searching for that unique urban perspective, but it was clear that by riding, Danny was already getting it.
Having seen the walls that shape this urban playground, we decided to venture deeper inside for a closer look. Searching for a real taste of Lisbon, we stopped at Restaurante Beira Alta for a strong shot of caffeine to pump us up for an afternoon of more exploring. After all, when you are in the city once home to the world's greatest explorers, like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator, you can’t help but feel inspired. For these great explorers the sea was the final frontier and we wanted to see the same view that inspired them so many years before.
Lisbon is the only European capital with sunsets on the sea and we were desperate to catch one. After a short ride out of the city, we arrived at the Praia da Adraga beach. Although a swimming costume and beach towel would have been more appropriate attire, stopping at the ocean offered us a chance to rest and reflect on a truly epic day.
Staring out at the Atlantic ocean, Danny could imagine that somewhere out there was the continent she calls home. It had been a long journey and as she thought about where she’d travelled from over the last two days, I can’t help but think it was also a chance for her to consider how much she’s accomplished. It’s often said that life favours the brave, and as she caps off her first day in Europe, it’s safe to say her fearless heart is definitely paying dividends.
Full of praise for the 2-wheel machine she had the pleasure of riding, Danny was glad that she still had a few more days of motorcycling bliss ahead of her. Attending the global media launch of the SVARTPILEN 701, she would have the opportunity to ride with and offer her perspective to journalists from across the globe.
With a helmet on and her golden locks blowing in the wind, Danielle becomes ‘Blonde Danny’. A brave and determined young women hell-bent on leaving her mark on the world. A fitting similarity to the SVARTPILEN 701, a motorcycle intent on leaving its mark on those looking to reignite a passion for motorcycling.