MARCH EDITION OF NORTHERN ROCKIES RIDER, MY COLUMN
There were five of us sitting around the table in Applebee’s, all women and all motorcycle riders. Of course motorcycles dominated the conversation. Georgette, Mary E., Mary P, Cindi and I decided to meet to talk about the upcoming Sweeties on Wheelies ride (June 20-22) and ended up talking everything motorcycle and how it relates to the life of a woman. Now I know that a biker is considered to be anyone who rides a motorcycle. However, riding a motorcycle when you are a woman is a whole different ball game. Physically it is different, but perhaps the biggest difference is the emotional one. The fastest growing segment in the motorcycle world is women who
own and ride motorcycles. The five of us sitting around that table all understood why that is. Most of us view our motorcycles as extensions of our personalities; riding has given us a place where we belong. We agreed that women start riding for many reasons including empowerment, followed by excitement, freedom, self reliance and maybe even a little enlightenment.Riding has certainly made a difference in my life. Time alone on my bike is liberating and more often than not makes me define certain
truths and find a solution for certain questions.The five around the table were women who not only love to ride, but for whom riding is part of who we are, what we do and how we live.Some of us were first-generation riders, and some came from families who ride. Cindi’s mom rode 50 states in 50 days and celebrated her 50th birthday in the middle of the ride!
Cindi would love to repeat her mom’s ride on her own 50th birthday.I am cheering you on Cindi! You can do it. My friend, Georgette Hoffman, was there and she is such an inspiration to me. She grasps life as if there is no tomorrow (and we all know there are no guarantees). But she does it with grace and caring that is second nature to her.She rides with gusto and freedom of spirit that is a joy to watch. She has made epic solo journeys of thousands of miles.Control her you cannot, but you can count on her without hesitation.She is the first to jump in and help wherever she is needed and she takes the time to help me,or anyone who needs it, through tough times. She is also a police officer with the Gillette (Wyo.) Police Dept. and has 11 years in the law enforcement field.
“George” and all the women around that table are wonderful examples of women who ride. I have found that women who ride are special with an extraordinary attitude and a true brand of courage. We are women who create our own paths and shape our own calling. Eventually the conversation turned to the reason we were all there – to plan the 2014 Sweeties on Wheelies ride, for the first time to originate in Gillette, Wyo.
Known as Chick’s Run, then Chrome Cowgirls and now known as Sweeties on Wheelies, this is a group of women riders raising money for good causes. Mary England, Mary Pearson and Cindi Long from Casper are heads of the non-profit Sweeties on Wheelies and obviously love what they do.Georgette is heading up the event this year. The Sweeties ride has helped many different charities over the years: the Self-Help Center in Casper, the Humane Society, the Seton House, the Hemry Home and various other charities.This is an event for women, designed, implemented and run by women. We are your wives, your mothers, sisters and aunts. Our roles in life are greatly varied but we share one thing: a love of the open road and the freedom that riding affords. Each of us has found something inside that either we had forgotten existed or, in my case, didn’t know existed.A lot of the women who are involved in the Sweeties run are also Motor Maids, including me. Motor Maids requires an application and yearly dues. The organization is divided into districts so no matter where you live you fall within a Motor Maids district. To be a Motor Maids member you are required to own and operate your own motorcycle or the motorcycle of a family member and you are required to be an active rider. If a woman rides as a Motor Maid in a sanctioned event she must wear the Motor Maids uniform. There is an annual Motor Maids
convention held in a different part of North America each year and hosted by a different district.According to the Motor Maids constitution and by-laws, “It shall be illegal to pull your motorcycle on a trailer to or from a Motor Maid sponsored event.” That is an inspiration and a call to all women to ride! New members are encouraged to find a “MMM” (Motor Maid Mom).
This is a special member with some tenure within the organization who will help you form special bonds as a Motor Maid. I have become friends with Mona White who moved from Florida to Wyoming in January 2013. She left her bike in Florida and was trying to figure out how to get her bike to her new home. Various Motor Maids got it from Tampa Bay to Daytona, then to Mitchell, S.D., then Rapid City, then into the hands of Mona.
Rapid City is also home to another Motor Maid, Ev Straight. Ev is a Golden Life Member. To attain that status one must have 50 consecutive years of active riding membership with no inactive status, and 10 conventions attended.
Ev joined in 1954 and for many years a motorcycle was her only means of transportation. Ev’s daughter, Terri, has memories of riding behind her Mom when she was only three years old. Back then, after work on most Fridays, Ev would put Terri on the back and head the 150 miles to her family’s home in Lovell, Wyo. They would arrive at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains late in the night and Ev and Terrie would pull the bike over, spread a blanket on the ground in a barrow pit and sleep until daybreak.
That is the kind of woman Motor Maids consists of and the kind of woman I strive to be. The Motor Maids Annual Convention 2014 will be in Texas. I will not be able to attend but I will be at the 2015 convention. It will be in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada in July. I will be reporting on it and I will see you there! As special as is one woman who rides, you bring a group of rider women together and you have an extraordinary and unique group that won’t be held down, won’t be held back, and you can bet that you won’t miss us! As a school principle I see a lot of different people and see many different attitudes and experiences.However, nowhere do I see the same thing as I see in women who ride. They are exuberant, successful, spiritually inclined, tenacious, risk takers and creative. We are a diverse group but mostly we are a community. We are a growing nationwide force to be reckoned with and we are here to stay. There is an unspoken camaraderie, an unspoken code of support that just isn’t found elsewhere.I am proud to be a card-carrying, hard-core woman who rides.
……………….and so I ride