Women riders sign a banner for a leg of a Ripple Rally from Victoria to Balfour. They stopped in Chilliwack on May 31 for a leg to Kelowna. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Women bikers roll through B.C. to promote worldwide relay

Canadian women hitting open road on two wheels in growing numbers

A Ripple Relay is moving through B.C. to promote a women’s worldwide motorcycling event, and on May 31, a group of the bikers converged in Chilliwack.

About two dozen women riders met at Mountainview Harley Davidson to prepare for their leg to Kelowna. Some were old friends, others were just meeting for the first time. They were every size, age and background, but they all share the love of the open road. And they had an adventure ahead.

The ride began at Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway near Victoria, B.C. earlier this week. A group of nine women from Vancouver travelled there to kick it all off, and met with 11 women from Vancouver Island. They rode the Malahat together, even through terrible weather.

“We’re talking biblical rains, and fog so thick,” said Teresa Udell, who got the B.C. Ripple Relay going. “But we did it, and it was amazing.”

Once in Vancouver, the women rode around Stanley Park, out to Fort Langley, and to White Rock throughout the week. When the leg that took off from Chilliwack got to Kelowna, they were to meet another group headed to Balfour, near Nelson.

Cat Ablett, one of the Chilliwack bikers, says that women are the fastest growing demographic of riders — and the industry is starting to stand up and take notice.

The Ripple Relay is about increasing that presence, and showing there is room for women on the road.

But it’s also about connections, and many of the riders have met women online all over the world. The Ripple Relays are meant to build momentum for the Women Riders World Relay, that got started back in February. It will hit about 82 countries and connect tens of thousands of women riders. The ride is being tracked online with a GPS-fitted baton.

For the Ripple Relay, the women travel with a large, handmade coin. And before they set out from Harley Davidson on Friday, they took turns taking pictures with it, signing their ride banner, and writing their names in a ledger for posterity.

Every one of the riders has her own story. When Pat Jacobsen wanted to start riding motorcycles, she had never even ridden a bicycle.

“We lived in Vancouver and our mother said it wasn’t safe, because we might get hurt,” she says, laughing. Now, she lives in North Delta, and she rides whenever she gets the chance. She’s been all over North America, including three trips to Sturgis.

“I didn’t want to waste any time,” she said. “I only have so many birthdays left.”

Eline Mets is a motocross rider with an injured shoulder. She’s joined the rally to bring awareness to women riders in that sport. By chance, on that same day, she launched her television show Diaries of Badass Chicks. It’s been in the works for a few years, but during the stop in Chilliwack she nervously hit the publish button. Once done, she took a look around at the gathering crowd of women bikers.

“These are the women you don’t see on TV,” she said. “You don’t hear about them, you don’t read about them.”

Chilliwack’s Karen Norvell was in the crowd, but unable to make the Kelowna trip. People around town would recognize her by the pig-tailed helmet she sports while on her bike.

“There’s so much freedom in riding,” she says. “It is a scary thing, but it’s a freedom like no other.”

She grew up riding on the bike of her dad’s bike, and as a mom she encourages her own kids to get on the road, including her daughter Abbie. They love the biking community, and want to see more women get involved.

“People you don’t even know become your sisters, your brothers,” she says.

“This ride gives a voice to the women,” Udell adds. “We matter, we’re here.”

The Women Riders World Relay comes to Canada on September 14.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The women get instructions on safety for the ride. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Eline Mets was excited to launch her new television series on the same day as the ride. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Karen Norvell, from Chilliwack, and her unique helmet. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Teresa Udell poses with her bike and the coin that they are taking along with them. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Women sign their names to show how many participated in the ride. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Victoria woman to sell masks on wheels after garage stand shut down

Mama’s Masks stand accompanied Moss Street Market

Greater Victoria non-profit advocates for the use of psilocybin for terminal patients

North Saanich psychotherapist pushes for alternative treatment

Gathering marks 10 years since nearly 500 asylum-seekers landed off Victoria shore

The 492 people fleeing violence, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka were detained for months

One person in custody after hours-long Cook Street standoff with barricaded robbery suspects

Victoria police say 2300-block of Cook Street has reopened to drivers

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read