International Female Ride Day '17
Posted on May 10 2017
International Female Ride Day is a day to recognize and celebrate all the women who are breaking gender stereotypes on motorcycles.
So as May 6th was rolling around, I knew I wanted to get everyone together to be a part of a pretty cool movement.
Some of you may not know, but Spoke & Dagger Co. is owned by myself, Jodi, and my husband Chris. He was on board when I told him a big part of what I would like to do with the store is have gear and apparel not just for men but for female riders as well. I wanted a place where I could shop for myself and I assumed there were other women out there that felt the lack of accessibility to women’s motorcycle products.
Since opening the store, I have met so many AMAZING ladies who were saying “F**k the people who said I couldn’t do it” and they hopped on two wheels. I wanted a hub to connect everyone. With the help of a few friends, we put together Spoke & Dagger Co’s first International Female Ride Day.
Last Year:Flash back to this time last year. My friend Ted (who Chris had gone to the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute with) tagged me in a post on Instagram for an all women’s ride and campout called The Fox Run. It is in Lancaster, PA, about 5 and a half hours from Buffalo (via car). At first I was immediately excited. “I am doing this!” I’ve done a few long rides before, my favorite being from Orlando to Miami (my least favorite part was that it was August weather in Florida) but we rode the coast the whole way, taking us about 10 hours. But I’ve never done a trip alone. Never without my husband or our guy friends. So immediately following my excitement was panic. I didn’t know any other female riders in Buffalo so I had reached out on the Fox Run Facebook page to see if anyone from Toronto would be coming through Buffalo for the Fox Run. The coolest babe ever, Kaitlyn, had messaged me back. She had connected me with some of the other girls from Toronto that were heading to The Fox Run and suggested I meet all of them for their International Female Ride Day.
I headed to Toronto to meet all the girls at Cafe Novo where we would talk camp gear, route planing, and just meeting other girls. I could tell some were already friends but it seemed like a lot of new women who had come to make connections and ride with other ladies who had the same interests. We took off from Cafe Novo and rode to the Scarborough Bluffs. I had no idea something so beautiful was so close to Toronto. On the ride, I was praying I didn’t get split up from everyone, I’d probably be lost forever because my phone doesn’t work internationally.
We ended our run at Town Moto and hung a little longer before heading back to Buffalo. I met some really amazing ladies and didn’t realize at that time how close of friends I would become with some of them. We had made plans to ride to the Fox Run together and meet up with others once we were there. I’ll make a post about last years Fox Run so you’ll hear about that rad time then.
I was so glad Kailtyn and her friends held this event for International Female Ride Day. It kind of changed everything for me and the way I looked at women on bikes. It created this environment where I was no longer in a panic about this long camping trip. It allowed me to not feel intimidated in a male driven passion. I had found my people!
Another female Buffalo rider, Elizabeth, and I had chatted about doing something for International Female Ride Day. We didn’t exactly have details planned out when we made the post but we knew it would come together. For the workshop part of it, the camping gear and route planning from the Toronto event was super helpful to me so I snagged their idea :). We added in a part about safe group riding as something that everyone could always brush up on.
So a day after we posted the event, Dave from Broken Sprocket Garage had reached out to us about having our ride end at his shop in East Aurora. Immediately it was a no-brainer, the ride from Buffalo to EA is a beautiful cruise, then to have Dave suggest a basic maintenance workshop… Duh!
Joanne Galley, Elizabeth and I met at Bertha’s to plan the route. We came up with one way there, and a different way home. We even did a test ride of it so I can vouch that it was a legit route haha. Unfortunately, our ride ended up being rained out but we didn’t let that stop us! We had everyone meet us at Broken Sprocket Garage. We started with everyone briefly introducing themselves, how long they’ve being riding, what bike they are on, etc. It was really interesting to me, that many of the women had explain that they got into motorcycle’s because someone told them they couldn’t, that they never would, or that they were “meant for the back of a bike”. It became apparent that what we all had in common wasn’t just motorcycles. It was our middle fingers too. We won’t be stopped when we have our mind to something. We will also surround ourselves with positive like minded people that help us accomplish our goals and push us to better ourselves. So that’s exactly what we did this past Saturday.
Dave then led us in a pre-inspection check list workshop. He had two bikes up on the lift, gave us the checklist, gloves, and said get to work! He walked us through each step and warned us with what to look for. He challenged us to tell him what was wrong with both of the bikes on the lift, and didn’t give us any hints! Dave was kind enough to answer the many questions that came his way throughout the evening. I can genuinely say I left with a lot of knowledge, tips and tricks that I feel only an expert in the field would know from experience.
After the hands on portion, we indulged in sushi from Yoshi Sushi, and talked camp gear, safe group riding, route planning, tool roll essentials, and upcoming events. It was really cool how everyone contributed with their experiences or questions. I just love how everyone came together regardless of the size bike, years of experience or personal friendships and bonded over a common passion. We hit up 42 North for drinks and appetizers after and just got to know each other better!
I had met Shannon Dawn, a contributor for Kristy Michelle’s Qween City when she came into Spoke & Dagger Co. a week or so before IFRD. She was telling me she just signed up for the motorcycle course to get her license. After chatting punk bands, comedy, motorcycles, and friends in common, we decided to collaborate with Qween City for IFRD. They wrote a really cool article about myself, our store, and the upcoming event. The collaboration didn’t stop there! Kristy & Shannon had come to the event and joined in on the fun. I loved their take from an outside perspective, ladies interested in motorcycles but not yet engulfed personally in this world. They are seriously some bad ass chicks who are doing really rad things with Qween City so be sure to check it out!
Hard Tales Magazine made an appearance to take photos and check out the ladies! It was really cool to have them take interest in our little event. Be sure to check out some of the photos they snapped and posted on their Facebook page. They have a free printed magazine that can be found all over WNY, we stock them at Spoke & Dagger Co. so swing by to grab a copy.
Thank you to everyone who helped out with this event! To the ladies who attended or wanted to attend, you rock! Breeding this environment of genuine positive support, connection, and bond with other women in such an unlikely hobby is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. Stay true and keep riding!