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

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

West Kootenay afternoon storms spark fires

Lots of thunder and lightning, and little rain, as system moves through region

Rainbow Road

Nakusp cuts ribbon on rainbow crosswalk

Nakusp cops warn of firebug

Call for assistance to stop person before a major fire starts

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read