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.

 

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

WATCH: Smithers students march down Main Street in support of global climate strike

The group also protested in front of the Ministry of Environment building and Town Hall

WATCH: Alex Cuba previews new album at Sept. 19 listening party

“Sublime” was released worldwide digitally on Sept. 20, 2019.

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

Jonker death accidental, inquest yields five recommendations

Jury wants RCMP to review handcuff policy and implement pepper spray decontamination procedure

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read