International Female Ride Day Offers Women Self-Care and Sisterhood On a Bike

A Q&A with Porsche Taylor founder and EIC of Black Girls Ride and Joey Lindahl Senior Marketing Manager, Customer Growth at Polaris

By Jonita Davis and Michele St. Martin

On August 22, 2020, Women all over the world will get on their motorcycles, autocycles, trikes, ATVs, and more to take a ride in celebration of International Female Ride Day. The 14th annual international ride is usually in spring, but like everything else in this world, that was disrupted by COVID-19. It took some time, but organizers have figured out the logistics of the day while keeping everyone safe.

Blerd Galaxy sat down with Porsche Taylor founder and EIC of Black Girls Ride and Joey Lindahl Senior Marketing Manager, Customer Growth at Polaris to get more information on International Female Ride Day. We also got some very surprising  (for us) information about women in motorsports.

Jonita: We’re starting here this talk about International Female Ride Day and women in motorsports. We have Porsche Taylor here of Black Girls Ride and Joey Lindahl of Polaris, to help us learn some more about the ride day and about women in the motorsports industry. So, do you want to start off by telling us what International Female Ride Day is, first of all? Any information we need to know about it?

Joey: Sure. So International Female Ride Day was founded in 2007 by Vicki Gray of Motoress calm. Vicki is incredibly experienced and well known in the motorcycle industry. She’s a huge women’s riding advocate, and she founded the day really out of seeing a need for representation of women in riding. So, women have always been riding, right? But they haven’t always been shown and represented in the industry. When you look at marketing materials and movies about riders and just think of the stereotypical motorcyclist, you don’t imagine a woman–certainly not a woman of color.

When you think about who’s riding motorcycles. You think of the older white guy, the Easy Rider sort of mentality. [Vicki] really saw a need to bring women back into the conversation and raise awareness and celebrate all the women who are out there riding.

So, it started in 2007 and has just grown and grown and grown from there. And now you know, it’s something where typically it’s the first Saturday in May. Because of COVID, this year it was moved out to be the 22nd of August–this upcoming Saturday. There, you’re gonna see participation on six continents, and 120 countries. Women riding literally all over the world. And Polaris jumped on board this year to really just help celebrate all of those women and show our support and our appreciation for all the women who are out there riding not just motorcycles, but offroad vehicles, snowmobiles, the Slingshot. There are women who ride all sorts of things, who need to be acknowledged and celebrated and International Female Rider Day is a great way to do that.

Thanks! And Porsche of Black Girls Ride your International Female Ride Day going to look like? You have something special planned?

Porsche: Absolutely. We’ve been supporting International Female Ride Day since September, around 2012. And, we think that it’s a great movement. We are so happy to be a part of Vicki’s vision. Here in Los Angeles, we put together a ride called All Girls on Ground. That ride is in celebration of our fallen female riders. So we partner with, I believe, eight clubs–eight female motorcycle clubs–in the Southern California area, to bring awareness to Women on Ground and to invite new riders to come and meet new people.

This is that’s what International Female Ride Day has been for us, primarily as a way to introduce new riders to the riding community. It’s a way for us to remember those who, we have lost either through motorcycling, or cancer, or just you know, through unfortunate circumstances. It’s a way for us to remember them. In a way that’s uplifting and upbeat, not necessarily somber. So we’re excited to do that. That’s going to be August 22. We’re leaving from Long Beach, California, and just taking a short ride to San Pedro.

Joey: That’s actually one of the things that’s so great about International Female Ride Day. It is the motto of the day and the call to action of the day–to just go ride. Just ride. You don’t have to go out for a super long ride. It can be riding to work, riding to the grocery store, just doing a short loop around the neighborhood, which is probably what I’m going to do because it’s too hot here to do anything longer than that. It’s going out on a Polaris Adventure and an off-road vehicle or taking a Slingshot out. It can be something really simple. It’s just about going out and being seen and celebrating yourself and the fact that you ride. Groups that can go out together is great, but riding solo is fine too. It’s just really about doing it.

Jonita: It sounds amazing, really great. Kind of makes me wish I could, you know, jump on something and join in. I want to talk about the rides that you’re having and the gatherings in this time of COVID-19. Everybody’s talking safety and social distancing and, you know, mask-wearing. How can you stay safe on a ride? This is for Porsche. How do you stay safe when you’re riding [these days]? Especially in a group?

Porsche: The thing about motorcycling is, it is in fact one of the most enjoyable activities that you can do during COVID. It’s a singular activity until you stop, and then it becomes a group activity. So, while you’re in traffic, it’s the perfect way to social distance. It’s the perfect way to get wind therapy. When you get amongst your friends at the stop that is where you take your precautions. You make sure you put your mask on. You make sure you’re using hand sanitizer. As you’re touching things, you make sure you’re giving everyone their distance and our ride will be no different.

We are encouraging people because we are stopping at a park. For our lunch, we’re encouraging everyone to set up their own personal space, at least six feet apart. All of our food will be pre-wrapped and pre-prepared. So there’s no need to have anyone touching anyone else’s food. All the drinks will be sealed. We’re just doing everything that we can to keep each other safe.

But at the same time, we recognize that COVID is going to be here for a while. And riding has not been canceled. That’s really our main message, is we can enjoy each other and we can be safe doing it.

Joey: I would say you know, we’ve seen lots of people talking about the fact that the only thing that you can do that might be even better than a mask when you’re out, is a full-face helmet. If you’re in a full-face helmet and you’re in your safety gear, you’re pretty protected. And then like Porsche said, once you’re off of the vehicle, then it’s making sure that you’re safe and keeping that distance. That’s actually another reason that we’re so proud of our partnership with International Female Ride Day is safety. It’s something that’s incredibly important to Polaris.

It’s also something that’s incredibly important to Vicki and Motoress and International Female Riders. Making sure everybody’s safe, whether that’s starting from the very beginning with understanding your vehicle and having the proper training and education, or wearing the right gear. Now with everything we’re facing with COVID, making sure that we’re doing it at a safe distance and taking all the precautions is why the date was moved out from May.

And, you know, it’s why you won’t see the scale in terms of size or as many rides as there are in a typical year. Usually, on International Female Ride Day, you see tons and tons of pretty large scale group rides that pop up all over the world. While there will certainly be those rides that happened, they’ll be smaller in scale and organized a little bit differently just to make sure everybody’s safe. Vicki’s actually posted a great article on Motoress around all the international female ride day information. It’s a really great piece on how to celebrate safely, given everything happening with COVID this year.

Jonita: We’ll definitely have to link to [“Your Personal International Female Ride Day COVID-19 Safety Ride Guide”]. Michele, you have any questions here?

Michele: So, in terms of what have you observed about the culture of Powersports now that more and more women are participating in what is traditionally, or has been traditionally a male-dominated activity?

Joey: Porsche you can go first.

Porsche: Well, the first thing I want to say is, we’ve been here the entire time! Women have been here in motorcycling, in Powersports for a minute. Have we gotten the equal share of the spotlight? Probably not. I think that now that folks are realizing that having a woman who is more often than not the decision-maker when it comes to who can ride in a household, make the decisions, and get on her own machine–that makes it then safe for you to as a dad say, ‘hey, I want to have our son start riding. Or, you know, I think I want to ride.’ If your wife or your significant other rides, it just makes it that much easier to add to the family dynamic.

We’re noticing that women are also taking longer distance rides. A lot of that is due to social media. When I started taking my long-distance rides in 2015, I was one of the first to start publicizing them on Facebook and Instagram as I was on the road. Then I would get inboxes from women who would say, ‘Oh my god, I,  think I can do it now that I saw you do the trip. And, you were very candid about what you experienced. I think I can do it.’ That inspires other people. So, representation matters.

One of the reasons that we started Black Girls Ride, too, is because when someone who looks like you can see themselves in media and marketing materials, that adds to their awareness that they can do it. It makes them want to aspire to do it. And so that’s the trend that we’re seeing. That’s the trend that we’ve seen over these last two to three years. The industry is waking up and taking women’s participation very seriously as a buyer. as a serious participant in motorsports.

We’re not just the backseat rider anymore.

Joey: I would just echo that. I would say it’s the best kind of snowball effect because it’s the more women that get out there and ride, the more women see that and then are then inspired by it. They decide, ‘hey, maybe that’s something I could do, too. Maybe that’s something I’m going to try.’ And then there’s certainly the aspect of bringing the family in and involving friends and family.

It’s like Porsche said, it’s an activity that whether you’re talking about off-roading, snowmobiling, motorcycling, it’s an activity that is both done as a group and is also very solo and solitary. So you can do it as a family and feel like you’re getting outside and experiencing something together. Or, you can just go out yourself and feel that release and a little bit of freedom and wind therapy and empowerment. So it’s a really great way for women to get both that community girl time, family time, but then also some “me” time We are seeing it pick up.

More and more, the more women who see other women doing it, the more they’re like, ‘Oh, well, there must be something to that. Or if she can do it, then I could do it too.’ And the numbers are reflecting that. Now, almost one in five of all motorcyclists are female, which is amazing. And, that’s doubled in the past 10 years. We’re seeing the same sort of trends in Powersports overall, where women are making up a larger population of the ridership than they ever have before. So it’s a really exciting time for women in the sport. It’s great.

Michele: I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s very empowering. I was looking at the Black Girls Ride website. And, I was like, even though I knew that it existed and the culture existed–me having been exposed to the other side of biker culture–it’s just a beautiful thing to see, and how it is really, really expanding. I’m looking at all these, you know, clubs and how they’re just interlocked. It’s not separatists. It’s not. One isn’t better than the other or anything like that. There’s no rivalry going on. It’s just, it was really beautiful.

Porsche: yeah, and that’s the goal. The goal of Black Girls Ride is to uplift and to just encourage and celebrate women who ride. It doesn’t matter what you ride–what type of bike you ride. We take our cues definitely from Vicki Grey and International Female Ride Day. It’s a fact that you know, she’s been successful in showcasing women all over the world doing this. That is something that we are excited to be a part of every year. To be a part of that global initiative of sisters all in the wind, that’s a beautiful thing.

Michele: Yeah, it is. In terms of men, have you observed their outlook on all this? What I’m trying to say, are they supportive? What kind of feedback have you been getting?

Porsche: I’m gonna tell you, the in the black community primarily, which is what I can speak to the most, is the men have been supportive. In fact, they’ve called and they’ve started taking each other to task. Because now, they’re seeing all of these women putting together these all-female rides and doing these 48 state runs, right, four corner runs, and coast to coast runs, right? And they’re like, ‘wait a minute, I think that the women might be out riding us.’ Then, we participated in this study and found that women in the black community actually have 52% of motorcycle ownership. That’s huge!

And then, there are some guys who will dispute that fact. I’ve had that debate. But, most of them are very supportive. You’ll see this. [There are] these husbands encouraging their wives to learn to ride and encouraging their wives to take these all-female ride vacations. I want to say the guys have really stepped up and been a supportive force in adding women to motorcycling. That is great.

Michele: That’s great.

***

You can find Porsche’s magazine Black Girls Ride at their website or their Facebook group. Find more information on Vicki Grey of Motoress and founder of the Ride Day event on their website. Go to Polaris.com for more information about the Slingshot, Polaris Adventures, and other motorsports offerings.

Tag us with @soblerdy if you decide to hop on your bike and ride on International Female Ride Day. You can connect with other riders on social media using the hashtags #IFRD or #InternationalFemaleRideDay.

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