Women gathered outside Mainjet Motorsports Friday afternoon were a shining example of how motorcycles aren’t just for men.
Swapping stories in honour of International Women Riders’ day, the crew celebrated their own, often ignored, participation in the pastime.
“It’s nice to do something that’s just for us,” said Margaret Hart, a 62-year-old who’s been riding for five years.
“It’s something I’ve said I would do all my life — one of those days — you know,” she said. When she moved from Ontario to the Kootenays, she took the required courses and bought her bike. “One of those days is here.”
Now aboard her Honda Shadow 750, a touring bike, she’s started taking long rides with the mixed-gendered group that hits the road weekly on Sundays. Meeting at Nelson’s A&W parking lot around 9 a.m., the riders always bring their passports and are usually home by dinner.
“It just depends on how we’re feeling that day,” Hart said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people through our rides.”
Women riders are often overlooked, a lost demographic, when it comes to motor biking. With different needs than men in gear and machines, they’re looking for comfort and security over speed and style – for the most part.
Carol Lissa, 61-years-old, remembers buying her first bike about 30 years ago.
“At that time when you walked in on your own, you just didn’t get the service,” she said. Added Hart, “We’ve come a long way baby.”
The ladies gathered on Friday spent the sunny afternoon together on the highways through Nelson, Salmo, over the Bombi pass and back to Mainjet. For many of them, hitting the pavement is a form of therapy and for all of them it’s a passion.
“You sit on that bike and once you start going, everything just melts away,” said Wendy Spencer.
She’s been riding for 12 years since a girlfriend recruited her. She rides most often with her husband, service manager at Mainjet Ron Spencer, to places like New Mexico, Texas, along the Oregon Coast and east to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
“Since I’ve had my two bikes, I’ve travelled a lot of miles,” she said.
On Hart’s bucket list is putting some miles on her bike in the company of women. She plans to do that this summer when she heads to a women’s riding rally just outside Calgary from August 14 to 16. Called “Women in Motion,” Hart hopes to share this road trip with ladies sharing her passion.
This is the first time local women have joined in the international day of celebration now in its seventh year.