AMERICAN MOTORCYCLIST MAY 2020
May 2 is International Female Ride Day
13-Year-Old Event A Celebration Of Women Riders
Vicki Gray, a Canadian motorcyclist who operates the Motoress.com website, established International Female Ride Day in 2007, elevating the first Saturday of May for a globally synchronized riding day for women motorcyclists.
“International Female Ride Day was created in recognition of women motorcycle riders on a cause I believed in, trying to make the world sit up and pay attention just one day out of the year,” Gray said. “The visibility of the day continues to be important, but the ultimate goal should be that women don’t need one day of visibility but can appear every day, unremarkably.”
Gray’s “Just Ride” approach means there is no pressure on riders to participate. And, since there is no formal registration other than at some local events, Gray has no firm numbers on worldwide participation. But she said thousands of women participate each year.
“Populated countries like India, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland all host vast groups of women riders on IFRD every year,” Gray said. “I have 13 years of documented photos, emails, etc., submitted from over 120 countries. Many of these can now be seen on IFRD platforms,” One of those is the Motoress website.
“You might say the global photo sharing action is one measure of participation,” she said. “This has been in place since year one. But even with that, numbers were difficult to gauge as many women didn’t share a photo or they simply didn’t have the means. The Smartphone has evolved to make us all savvy photographers, but a decade ago it wasn’t the case.”
Here are some of Gray’s insights about the event.
American Motorcyclist: How has the event met your original intention?
Vicki Gray: It is difficult to find the right word to describe the pride I feel in IFRD success. Its collected action has not tired and continues to maintain objectives. It has a power of its own, and there is no evidence of it decelerating.
It’s a thrilling feeling to observe the empowerment for women riders as a result of this one day. When you consider the fact that on this one, single day, women—mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, nieces and friends—unite, it’s a powerful message.
Women on IFRD demonstrate belonging and defy stereotypes of a woman rider. It’s a game changer for motorcycling. I believe, too, the fact that IFRD is all brands, all forms and all ages, make its community limitless.
I owe much credit to all the women around the world who took on my call to action to play their role for change on IFRD. Our combined actions are fueling the advancement of women and motorcycling—and motorcycling, at large, as is evidenced by growth numbers.
AM: How does the riding event tie into your business at Motoress?
VG: IFRD brings awareness to my business, but equally, vice versa. The fact is, that all my business platforms lead to motorcycling—working together for the rider’s best experience.
IFRD rather instinctively happened. It wasn’t a marketing ploy.
The idea sincerely came about when I relocated to North America. I observed, where unlike Europe, a woman on a motorcycle seemed to still be an anomaly. So, I jumped on the idea, believed in its importance and made it happen.
It took on like wildfire, and women participants have continued to prove its importance lending to its massive expansion and attendance.
I recall about three years in, the question was asked of me, by a manufacturer’s marketing pro, “How did I ever come up with such a remarkable idea?” My answer was simply, “I’m a woman motorcyclist.”
AM: What else would you like to say to AMA members?
VG: There’s been much debate and, thankfully, positive action about gender equality and women’s rights in our world. Many have opinions and beliefs about this topic and motorcycling.
Do women need shorter, lighter motorcycles? Do women need separate racing classes?
What I see is that, regardless of the debate, IFRD is relevant, successful and important. It’s an action that works positively for everyone in motorcycling.
IFRD opens the road for women. It’s inspiring them, unifying them and demonstrating that motorcycling is an activity for women—and for all who want to take it up.
And, bottom line, it’s a super fun day that women enjoy! I encourage everyone’s support going forward.