Written by Julie Nordskog, Women Ride Their Own
Coco Channel’s 2011 “filmercial” features Keira Knightly riding a golden Ducati cafe racer in matching cat suit, boots, and helmet. How far, I mused, had motorcycles and the modern girl come in the public eye. In Coco’s eyes, the woman motorcycle rider was both exceptional and chic (with expensive taste in perfume).
In contrast, motorcycles were not considered socially acceptable for women in the industry’s early days. The trailblazing Van Buren sisters repeatedly were arrested for wearing men’s clothing during their 1916 cross-country trek. One hundred years later, women account for 25% of all motorcycle riders (operators and passengers). We wear customized riding gear, including pants. In addition to street bikes, women are exploring motocross, sport, and adventure bike riding.
This year’s buzz in women’s motorcycling is the latest world record for the most women gathered in a single all-female riding event. The record was first set in April 2016 at 1,002 women in Dubbo, Australia. On July 19, 2017, the English set the bar higher at 1,132 women. Anticipation is mounting for Lace, Grace & Gears 2017’s Parade of Sisters to bring this record to the U.S. for the first time.
LGG2017 is based at Twin Elm Ranch, just north of Bandera City, from September 28 to October 1, 2017. The four-day rally brings a full program of guided rides, an area-wide scavenger hunt, special events, and live entertainment. The only all-female event is the Parade of Sisters. Both women and men must purchase their $40 pass for access to the rally grounds and official events.
Several influential women in motorcycling will join LGG2017. Industry influencer and owner of Powertrip Industries, Moira Zinn brings her voice and unquenchable love for motorcycles as emcee to this fingers-crossed, record-breaking gathering of women bikers. Appearing on the “Sheroes” speakers panel are Porsche Taylor, Founder and Editor of Black Girls Ride magazine and Lupita Velasquez, motorcyclist rights activist, among others.
Guest of Honor Gloria Tramontin Struck was a founding member of the first women’s motorcycle club, The Motor Maids, in 1940. At 92, Ms. Struck has witnessed most of women’s motorcycling history. During her 2016 induction to the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame, Ms. Struck was quoted as saying, “My next goal is to ride across country on two wheels when I’m 100.”
With Ms. Struck in our midst, LGG2017 promises to celebrate and inspire women riders of all ages. For more information and rally registration, see lacegracegears.com
Julie Nordskog writes, translates, and rides motorcycles in Austin, Texas.