Today marks a milestone. The Motelorcyclist Facebook page achieved 10,000 Likes. Today is also International Female Ride Day. So instead of acknowledging my Facebook Likes with a meme or video, I would like to pay tribute to some pioneering female pilots and pillions. But first some context is in order.
There are more women riding motorcycles today than ever before. Nineteen percent of all motorcyclists are women. And according to Motoress, a website dedicated to women motorcycling enthusiasts, nearly 25 percent of people who mount a bike are women. Looking at the gender breakdown of The Motelorcyclist Facebook Likes, 31% are women. So more and more women are being drawn to motorcycling, both as pilots and pillions. This is a step forward for gender equality and motorcycling. And strong, independent women opened the door. So today, I want to use this occasion to recognize a few of them.
I have to start with Vicki Gray. Vicky Gray is the creator and inspiration behind International Female Ride Day, and founder and editor of Motoress. If you’re a motorcyclist, take a quick look at her bio and you’ll be humbled. She started International Female Ride Day 13 years ago and it has grown every year since. It takes place the first Saturday in May and now spans the globe. So if you are out riding today to commemorate International Female Ride Day, you have Vicki to thank!
Then there are the pioneering adventure riders who inspire others through their prose. Elspeth Beard, the first British woman to motorcycle around the world who authored Lone Rider, and Lois Pryce whose travels are legendary and wrote Lois on the Loose and more recently, Revolutionary Ride about her solo travels through Iran. Add Carla King author of American Borders who travelled solo on an early Ural around the US, making multiple border crossings back and forth into Canada and Mexico, and Heather Ellis author of Ubuntu and her latest release Timeless on the Silk Road. Their stories are great human stories.
And you don’t have to pilot the motorcycle to love motorcycling. You can be a pillion too. Kevin and Beth have been riding together for their entire nineteen years of marriage. They started 2UpTogether and have grown a large following for couples that love being together on a motorcycle. They write a regular blog about their adventures on the road.
And no testament to International Female Ride Day or tribute to people who inspire pillions to enjoy the world of motorcycling would be complete without me mentioning my partner Amanda Keenan. Amanda’s recent piece in The Globe and Mail, After 30 years of bias, I finally fell in love with motorcycles, is a beautiful reminder that there is something special about sharing a seat and that motorcycling is therapeutic too.
These are just some trailblazing women that are inspiring a new generation of riders. But there are many more. Including the women in my local BMW Motorcycle Club and the many more I get to meet in my travels. So to all of you – thank you. And please accept mine and my 10,000 Facebook thumbs up as a gesture of my appreciation for all you do. #JustRide