Sunday dawned sunny, clear, and hot. Across Canada in cities far and wide, women were donning motorcycle gear, pulling on their helmets, climbing on their cherished motorcycles with one goal in mind, to glide through the wind together on their bikes. Imagine small groups gathering together on every kind of 2 wheeled dream machine; cruisers, sportbikes, dual sports, trikes, spyders, maxi scooters, and bikes with sidecar rigs, all with the common desire to ride together to celebrate women riders.
My Moto Mama girlfriends and I met up early to ride up to Cobble Hill, BC, for the 3rd Canadian Women's Ride Day. There was a frision of excitement and anticipation in the air. There was easy chatter about bikes, the reasons they ride, what riding means to them, and the adventure we were about to undertake. We are diverse group of women spanning all segments of society, young, middle aged, and women of wisdom. Riding experience and skill levels vary from woman to woman, with some having ridden for decades, others for a few years, and some a mere few weeks after finishing their motorcycle training courses and proudly earning their motorcycle licenses. Friendships are formed and there is mentoring of the fledgling riders. This truly is a sisterhood where one and all are welcomed and embraced. After a few hurried gulps of coffee and of course the group photo, it was time to fire up the bikes and get on our way and get registered for the ride.
We support each other, even those across the world that we have not met, and have only read about their motorcycle dreams and life journeys. Ann R. supported a rider a world away on this very special day, she rode with a sign with the name Behnaz Shafiei on her bike. Behnaz Shafiei is an Iranian motocross rider. In Behnaz's home country it is forbidden for women to ride with men and it goes against cultural norms. Behnaz is brave, bold, and courageous. Today in spirit she went riding with us to celebrate Canadian Women Riders and all women riders. She is one of us, our sister. Thank you Ann R. for reminding us that globally women still struggle to have the freedom to do what we do. Ann R. is an amazing female rider with many years of riding experience, a mentor, and friend to many a woman rider.
Before long it was time to fire up the engines, and roll down the highway to the Canadian Women's Ride Day 2015. I always find magic in the moment when the key is turned, ignition engaged, riders rolling on the throttle and then the adventure begins. 40 minutes later we rolled into the event where we met up with more moto mamas, again laughter, hugs, and cameraderie abound. We all registered, changed into our ride t-shirts, wandered around looking at all the incredible bikes rolling into the event.
This is just the beginning, a small fraction of the bikes and riders attending the event. The parkinglot was quickly filling up and it was so exciting to see everyone arriving. We went through the pre-ride brief and all were ready to roll.
It was beyond breathtaking seeing the diversity of bikes, every segment of the riding community was represented. An estimated 120 women attended and rode through the picturesque Cowichan Valley. It truly was a grand sight seeing all the women riders, there were lots of waves and horn honking along the way. When we returned from our ride, there was plenty of food and music by wonderful artists; David Gogo and Mitch and the Baroness. Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame motorcyclist Steve Drane who has given so much to the Canadian and local riding community kicked off the event.
The wonderful thing about Canadian Women's Ride Day is that the organizers Greer Stewart, Joley Baker, and the ladies who comprised the committee, did this not just as a ride, but to give back to local women's organizations that help women and their families in times of need. Women are given encouragement, strength, courage, hope, and the tools to improve their lives, or to start over when leaving domestic abuse situations.
Sometimes it is the small miracles that make the biggest change; a safe place to live, the opportunity to further education, but the biggest miracle of all, the restoration of self worth.
Women share the common bonds of hope and faith in each other, and it is that connectedness that gives us strength to move forward to achieve success, balance, and enriched lives.
The Honourable Judith Guichon, British Columbia's 29th Lieutenant Governor attended the event and addressed the women who attended the rally. Her message was one of inspiration and poignancy, as she lost her husband in a motorcycle accident on July 19th, twelve years ago. Coincidentally it is same day the rally was held. It took great courage to share this part of her life and in that moment it was received with grace and understanding of her loss by every motorcyclist at the Canadian Women's Ride Day.
Her Honour addressing all in attendance.
Women from all walks of life shared an amazing day of riding, sisterhood, growth, and enrichment.
We know that it is not always by the power of one that things change, but through the strength and courage of many, and at times we carry the load and bring those along whose burdens have become heavy. This is what happened on Sunday, July 19th, 2015, it was more than just a motorcycle rally, it was sisterhood at its finest. Until next year!