A Unique Ride, for Women

Active & Adventurous - Motorcycle Mania

As motorcycles become more common on American roads, we cannot help but notice another emerging trend; women on bikes. The desire to live out bucket list dreams and meet personal challenges has taken on a new meaning for many women. Grandmothers, yes grandmothers, are buying Harleys and riding staggered with fellow 55+ girlfriends. They often laugh at the idea that as seniors “we still got it and are turning heads.”

In 1997, a woman by the name of Vicki Gray started a ride from her Canadian borders that gradually became a worldwide affair. Vicki wanted to promote an event that would highlight women in every corner of the world and of all ages, ethnic backgrounds who ride motorcycles and scooters. It was from this idea that International Female Ride Day was born.

International Female Ride Day celebrates its 8th annual global expedition in 2014. Richmond joined the ride in 2011 and continues the tradition by inviting an extended family of women riders from Tidewater, Northern VA and Maryland areas to solidify their united passion for riding and freedom to ride. ‘Equal rights equals Equal rides’ and women around the world are spreading the news. What some take for granted in their countries, others do not. A motorcycle can mean everything. Often it is fuel efficient, more affordable than a car and in many cases the sole means of transportation for inhabitants living in small towns and villages. For example, motorcycles double the role as ambulances in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. According to data from w4.org, an unsettling number of “maternal deaths occur in developing countries. . . and for every woman who dies, approximately 20 more women will suffer from chronic disease, infection, or injury owing to childbirth.” Motorbike ambulance projects address women’s health in an unlikely but lifesaving fashion.

Embracing diversity, change and advancement for women worldwide by riding a motorcycle sounds odd but consider life for women before they were given the privilege to drive cars in the U.S. Women had to depend on others to get them around. Motor-vehicles have arguably done as much for women’s rights as the nineteenth amendment, which gave women the right to vote. How is this for ingenuity? The Department of Transportation documents Anne Rainsford French Bush as the first woman to obtain a license to drive a car in the U.S. She cleverly obtained a license by getting access to a “steam engineer’s license,” which entitled her to operate a “four-wheeled vehicle powered by steam or gas.” Her actions paved the way for women to operate motor-vehicles in America.

To join efforts with other hosts of international rides, such as International Female Ride Day (IFRD), visit motoress.com. Interested in IFRD in Virginia? The next ride will take place on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The ride’s founder, Vicki Gray, changed the day from the first Friday every May to the first Saturday every May. If you do not ride but support women initiatives, show up and cheer them on! If you would like to ride, register on eventbrite.com and search “International Female Ride Day in VA.” We truly have come a long way, ladies! See you on the open road.

To reach Marie on this article, send email inquiries to mjcammo@yahoo.com. She is a freelance writer and the founder of Just Rydin Magazine.

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