Move aside boys, the girls are taking over the streets as female motorcycle riders are invited to take part in the eighth annual International Female Ride Day on the first Saturday in May.
Over 24 hours on May 3, rides will be held around the world to highlight the number of women who are taking up the recreation. The world’s largest women’s ride event was created by Vicki Gray, a Canadian motorcycle racer and founder of women’s online motorcycle magazine Motoress. She started the IFRD eight years ago and now it brings together women from around the world to inspire other women into motorcycling. Check out the international Facebook page for details of rides close to you.
I met up with the Brisbane contingent of female motorcycle riders and found they are as much a social group as riders with a strong commitment to charity work. Sue Corrigan, who has been organising the Brisbane ride for the past five years, says the women also take part in many charity rides such as the Babe Raid in September, Bras and Bikes in October and the Black Dog Rides in March and August, as well as toy runs in July and December.
“I really love the camaraderie,” says fellow IFRD rider Rosalie Cross. “I’m not a club person, I’m just fond of getting together with other women or couples for a ride. We stop at a cafe, have a coffee, a meal and a chat. I really really love the fact that there are some great women riding groups. I’ve formed some great friendships. Our whole social life revolves around riding.”
Her views are reflected by the other women on the ride and they hope to pass on their motorcycling fervour to other women, including their daughters and granddaughters. Candi Murchie is even taking her 10-year-old granddaughter T’Lia on the back of her Honda CBR in the ride next weekend. “She loves it,” she says.
The Brisbane ride starts at the northbound BP on the Bruce Highway near Morayfield and goes through the hinterland, up the Great Diving Range for lunch at Cabarlah and ending at Woodford. For more details, visit the Brisbane IFRD Facebook site.
Sue says they had about 50 women participate last year and she hopes for more this year. “Each participant is a role model for women in motorcycling,” she says. “I’ve seen the number of attendees grow each year, so I’m honestly hoping for an even bigger turnout in 2014 than we’ve seen in previous years. Along with a ride donation, we are also selling raffle tickets this year, as we’ve had a lot of business’ donate some fantastic prizes, and with the prize pool totalling well into the thousands of dollars we’re hoping to raise a large sum of money for Breast Cancer.”
The youngest of this ride group is Katie Bradley, 26, who has been riding for a couple of years. Like many of the group she started riding as a pillion. “I was sick of being a pillion because of the lack of control. I want to be in control of my own fate. If I muck up, it’s my fault,” she says.
Another rider, Kelly Young, is limited by a medical condition to automatics and owns a Kymco 2590 and Sym 400, but has her eye on an Aprilia 850 auto. “I wanted to meet other lady riders and now I’ve found roads and scenery I never knew existed,” she says.
Candi also started as a pillion, then moved to the front seat on a Kawasaki 650 in the 1980s. “I learnt to ride ride in Sydney traffic. “It’s a good teacher, but I wouldn’t want to do it today,” she says.
Rosalie and Annie Howard have also been riding a long time, both starting off on dirt bikes, then switching to road bikes about 10 years ago while Annie Cassidy has built her own V-Rod custom trike. “I’ve always wanted a trike since I was a kid,” she says.
So, scooters, cruisers, sports bikes and even trikes are welcome on the IFRD ride. IFRD Brisbane, which attracts female motorcycle riders from all over South East Queensland and northern NSW, also hosts a fundraiser ride day on the third Sunday in May. For more information, go to their wesite.
Meanwhile, women wanting some extra rider training should look at the motoDNA ladies’ only event on May 17 at Lakeside Park, north Brisbane. Mark McVeigh who writes some training articles for MotorbikeWriter and runs motoDNA is offering a $100 discount for women who booked in April. Click the Facebook link for more details.