Girls, Just Ride!

Story by Lesley Gering// Photos by Lesley Gering
July 1 2009
Canadian Women Motorcycle Riders Group

Ride Hard Wear Lipgloss! – Fireweed

Before the automobile there was the motorcycle, its history as intriguing as the machine itself. For motorcyclists, riding is excitement, vitality and therapy. For those who choose not to ride, the motorcycle is a captivating object, an icon of independence with outlaw overtones. But Hollywood and marketing have constructed a stereotypical male image. Perhaps this is why pigtails sticking out of a helmet attract questioning stares on the highway—in movies, women only ride on the back. The truth is, a rider is a rider, bonded by the unique poetry of human and machine, the experience of motorcycle and rider becoming a single entity. But as women riders, we have our own particular take on what it means to ride, on the intangibles of speed, freedom and independence. There is a diverse community of mechanics, riders and artists and guess what everyone? They are WOMEN!

This is exactly why a day like International Female Ride Day on May 1st was created. International Female Ride Day is a MOTORESS initiative—“connecting women with motorcycling”. The concept was a much earlier idea, yet finally and enthusiastically realized with its introduction in 2007 in Canada where MOTORESS International is headquartered. It was promoted initially as a National event entirely with the goal, if embraced, of becoming an International campaign–and embraced it was. Thousands of women participated, including women in the USA and some European locations.


Vicki Gray, the founder of MOTORESS said, “The day was born with the need to underline the fact that many women ride and indeed enjoy motorcycling. By implementing a day where women motorcyclists simply got on their bikes and rode, it could then be viewed by all of the many numbers of females riding motorcycles. This day additionally aimed to promote women in riding and encourage other women to take up the activity. Though the numbers of women riding motorcycles has increased steadily over the years, and certainly more so in recent decades (women’s social values have changed and advanced), it’s worth noting that women have always, since its birth, enjoyed motorcycling.”

The Mandate!

Female Ride Day was initially created with three main guidelines to ensure clarity of its message and meaning; maintaining integrity of the campaign according to MOTORESS:

1. Freedom to participate and enjoy the day in any manner desired or defined, uniting women riders of all disciplines.

2. Not to be conceived as a charity or fundraiser—the message remains undiluted and is clearly in celebration of the female motorcyclist. Women may elect to involve a charity or create their own cause on Female Ride Day. This campaign will not influence that preference ensuring women have, yet again, the freedom to decide.

3. The day is not to be taken over by a single motorcycle manufacturer or similar motivated body, ensuring women of all brand choices are equal participants.

Just Ride!

Gray of MOTORESS says, “It’s really quite uncomplicated to be part of the event, because women are invited to simply be on their motorcycles or scooters on May 1st—JUST RIDE! There’s a real camaraderie among women and a real pride to participate in this one-day event dedicated entirely to women riders. The day has become a terrific incentive for women’s rider clubs and friends to get together and celebrate their common interest in the activity. In some localities, International Female Ride Day signifies the kick-off to riding season.” For Vicki, it’s clear that the enormous success of this day comes from the fact that it is up to each woman to decide how they want to participate and every woman who does participate has a role—she’s an example of what motorcycling can be in a woman’s life. Adding to the success is the support received by the motorcycling industry at all levels. Since its introduction in 2007, International Female Ride Day “fever” has caught on to such a force that, for this third edition, women from Poland, Israel and Italy are counting themselves in, contributing to the campaign on May 1st in their country.


Classic photo of girls riding motorcycles In 2008, as witnessed by the increase of women rider activities —the addition of Australia, Greece, North America, England, The Netherlands and even a few Russian women–there is no doubt Female Ride Day has been embraced and decidedly by women riders themselves is here to stay. A recently formed women’s rider club in Israel rode through the streets of Tel Aviv on May 1st. After their ride, the Club planned a big market where manufacturers would be featuring gear and products for women. It’s the first time in history that a women’s motorcyclist club exists in Israel. “International Female Ride Day has become an event that helps promote awareness for women and motorcycling in their own culture”, said Vicki. “With the synchronization of this campaign all around the world, it means the same thing happens in countries such as France, Canada, United States, Italy and even Israel!”

Vancouver Girls and Firemen!

Here in Vancouver, B.C., Trev Deeley Motorcycles celebrated Female Ride Day with two events. The first one, on Friday, May 1st; the women were invited for a leisurely, short ride leaving Trev Deeley Motorcycles in the early evening. On Saturday, May 2nd, Trev Deeley hosted the final destination of the “Ride to Raise” women’s ride supported by the Flying Swan Charity including organization done with Sherri Werstiuk of Trev Deeley and Lee Heaver, Dallas Greissel and Tamara Howe of Swan Charities. This was the 1st Annual International Female Ride Day “Riding to Raise” with a small turnout of about twenty or thirty riders including men and women, all being fed hot dogs and beverages by the Vancouver Fire and Rescue. Trev Deeley Motorcycles also offered information sessions geared toward woman riders, which included ‘How to Pick Up a Motorcycle’ and a small booklet to go into your wallet following these guidelines in case you ever happen to be in that predicament. The best part was that the fifteen or so female riders were able to get their motorcycle washed by the firemen that were on-hand supporting the cause. As one motorcyclist said, “This is every girl’s dream!”

Document Just Ride Day!

An interesting part of the campaign is on the MOTORESS website itself. Women who participated on the day were asked to submit a photograph of what you, your girlfriends, mothers and sisters were doing for JUST RIDE! The MOTORESS photo gallery says they are proud to show off the photos and share the images of how women around the globe have spent International Female Ride Day. MOTORESS suggests, “If you were one of the thousands of women participating on Friday, May 1st—then we’re certain you’ll also share with us, this most awe-inspiring feeling, with the realization that on that day, women around the world were sharing in the like passion for motorcycling!” MMM


For more information about Lesley Gering’s writing and art check out her website at For more about International Female Ride Day go to the MOTORESS website – and a special thanks to Swan Charities in Vancouver – A heartfelt dedication to our friend, philanthropist and avid motorcyclist, Julia Sit of The Flying Swan – we miss you. This day would make you proud! Okay ladies – JUST RIDE!


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