Women Who Ride
Unsatisfied with life in the backseat, there is a growing community of adventure seeking women who prefer to take the handles and ride – motorbikes.
Vancouverite Becky Goebel and Portlandian Lanakila MacNaughton share the same passion for bikes and the community forged on the road. They’ve teamed up to create an event to unite the Pacific Northwest motorcycle scenes and promote the kick-ass ladies who live to ride.
The Dream Roll is an all girls’ motorcycle camp-out and festival, hosted by The Shop Vancouver and the Women’s Moto Exhibit. It’s set to kick off for the first time at the base of Mt Adams, Washington this summer.
Between August 28th and 30th, prepare to see girls of all ages, shapes and sizes taking to the pavement on their bike of choice, to cruise the coastal highways and party together in a meadow surrounded by mountains.
The Shop Vancouver is a Columbia Street Motorcycle hang out. It’s here that I spy Becky enjoying the sunshine out front with her less-than-fierce looking poodle, Ginger (who I later find out rides too, in Becky’s backpack). Amid the store and pavement congregation, there’s very little of the stereotypical biker scene I expected, apart from a few thunderous exhausts and the odd leather jacket. The crew here are welcoming and no one appears perturbed by my tattoo-less sleeves or girly dress.
“You think of a biking community and you think of gangs and big guys on bikes, rippin’ around. But here it’s not like that.”
Becky is 23, a 4th year marketing student and a lady rider. She speaks of the tight knit community; the “multiple dudes in garages” who will help you fix or find your bike. “You think of a biking community and you think of gangs and big guys on bikes, rippin’ around. But here it’s not like that.” It’s not just a place for dudes. Girls are getting involved and they’re illuminating Vancouver’s growing, all-inclusive culture.
“I grew up in Saskatchewan, Prince Albert Saskatchewan, a Northern prairie town. My Dad rode dirt bikes his whole life. So my Dad bought me a little trike, a small 3 wheeler, when I was 4 and since then I’ve kind of just been on and off all types of dirt bikes. In High School, I rode a Honda Rebel, a 250. Which is my Mom’s bike now. And then my first City bike is the Suzuki.” Becky points out her matte black 1982 Suzuki GS400 out front.
“All in all any girl can ride a bike, anybody can ride a bike.”
She attests that it was riding a scooter that gave her the confidence to ride big bikes and that riding within her ability level kept her safe. “All in all any girl can ride a bike, anybody can ride a bike.”
Lanakila MacNaughton is a lady rider and photographer, documenting this growing and awe-inspiring scene. She’s also working on video documentaries about girls that work in the trades and ride big bikes and will soon be releasing a video teaser for Dream Roll. Just one glance at her work and you can see the appeal. Stylish ladies sharing the driver’s seat, having a blast and performing ballsy manoeuvres against the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.
“I started riding 3 years ago,” writes Lana. “I had a bunch of guy friends who rode Harley’s and I got envious watching them take off on their bikes. Shortly after I bought an 82′ red Honda 250 for $800 bucks.”
“Once I got my bike I wanted to find other local women who rode. From the beginning I met a couple women who inspired me and to me epitomized strength and courage. It was really almost a sort of awakening realizing how some of these women could potentially change the dated perception of women riders and women in general. I asked them if they would let me take their photo, after a couple months I had a small body of work. My cousin Amanda saw my collection of photographs and told me to have a show. From there it has taken on a life of its own.”
So what’s the dream of The Dream Roll?
Becky comments, “we want to have girls all shapes, all sizes, all ages, all types of bikes. Old bikes, new bikes, all types of girls… Canadian chicks meeting all these American chicks and we’re all just having fun together, riding together and building more and more of a community so that girls can feel comfortable jumping on a bike. Not being like “oh, that’s a guy’s thing to do.” You do it like a girl because it’s rad and you are a girl. I don’t think anyone should be scared.”
Lana explains, “we hope the event will unite women all over the country but also make it easy for women from Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California to meet up, hangout, and ride. The event is all-inclusive, if you ride or are on the fence about riding, come out to the mountains with us. During the day we will ride to nearby waterholes and swim, take scenic tours of Mt. Helen’s and Mt. Adams, at night we will eat, dance, have live bands, beer, water-balloon fights and stare at the stars.”
“Everyone wants an adventure and that’s what this is going to be.”
Becky captures the spirit of The Dream Roll in a sentence. “Everyone wants an adventure and that’s what this is going to be.”
These girls have got me to thinking. Could someone like me, the antithesis of a stereotypical biker, cruise the highways in a convoy of sweet vintage bikes? Why not?
Keep updated on The Dream Roll adventures as they unfold on instagram: @fevvvvaa @actuallyitsaxel @theshopvancouver.
By Jill Plant