Female motorcyclists around the world celebrate the 10th anniversary of International Female Ride Day
Story by Jessica Kline
Photos by Mondo Lulu and Wobblycat
We’ve all heard the song lyrics “I am woman, hear me roar,” but have you ever thought much about what this means? Sure, insert jokes here about keeping on a woman’s good side or trying not to upset her. Trust me, I’ve heard them all. For a minute, though, I want you to think about your sisters, daughters, wives and lady friends. We all hope for the best for those closest to us, right? We hope that the women in our lives will develop into something great; that they will have a voice, make changes in the world and be part of the greater good. So yes, those lyrics speaks to women having a voice and sharing their wisdom. However, now I’m going to throw a wrench in the plans. What if that roar was also the low, rumbling sound of the dual exhaust on a tricked-out Harley-Davidson Sportster? What if that roar was a group of 50 women on motorcycles, thundering through a city of over two million people, stopping traffic and turning heads? Now that’s the roar that we’re talking about. This roar is the inner lioness that exists in all of us female motorcycle enthusiasts.
For some, the lioness comes out more often than for others. Those lionesses are the women who live life on the edge, who always seem to be on an adventure and who don’t care too much about what others think. However, for others, the lioness quietly lurks, waiting for the right opportunity to pounce and announce her presence to the world. These are the women who are loyal, nurturing and always there when you need them, yet they quietly forget to take care of themselves at times. That is, until the stars align and the time is right for her to take on the full potential that she is. For many female motorcyclists all over the world, that opportunity is International Female Ride Day, held once a year on the first Saturday in May.
A Proud Day
I often get asked why. Why is it so important for women to announce to the world that they ride a motorcycle? Why do they need a special day for this? Well, my response is simple: We ride because we can, and we create a buzz around this because we’re proud. Damn proud. Women have been riding motorcycles since before they could vote or were allowed to wear pants (that’s right, you try to pull off a dress on two wheels). Kudos to the Van Buren sisters for challenging that stereotype.
Getting on two wheels feels like putting on your Super Woman cape; you suddenly transform into this alter ego/lioness who commands attention on the road and has the confidence of a supermodel on the runway. It’s an amazing sight to see that transformation. However, this change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a progression, like a seedling that takes time to grow into a beautiful flower. I’ve seen this transformation firsthand.
An Open Invitation Around the World
Not long ago, I was working at a motorcycle apparel store, and a woman came in to purchase a new jacket. I took that opportunity to get to know her a bit more and subtly asked if she had heard of the upcoming International Female Ride Day. She shook her head, quietly stating, “Oh, I couldn’t do that.” I could see the fear and intimidation in her eyes. She was nervous about getting outside her comfort zone, and so I challenged her, welcomed her and encouraged her to join…