The Harley’s slowly rolled up to the Joshua Tree Air B&B, past the cactuses, the hoarded trailer parks, confederate flags and broken down dive bars. Dressed in head to toe leather, chaps, and full blacked-out face helmets, 15 ladies from all over California reunited in motorcycle heaven. This tight-knit group involves some long-time riders who have been doing this type of thing for years and some are new to the crew, like me, who flew into LA the night before from Vancouver, BC.
Like an old-time Sonny Barger movie this group rides tight, reckless but totally in control, and drinks beer and does donuts at their destination. I have never been so quickly accepted into a crew as rad as this one. Bikes that out weigh their rider 4 fold, these women look like they were born on their machines and they’re flying at 80 miles an hour at an arms length away from my hip.
This crew is often lead by 27 year old Lanakila MacNaughton who is my partner in curating the popular women’s-only camp trip in the Pacific North West, The Dream Roll. Riding beside her on her 1200cc Sportster chopper is a good feeling. We are ageless and free from everything when we are shredding together. There are never words spoken about those feels on the road, it’s more just experienced in the moment and tomorrow we go back to our week day jobs.
These ladies aren’t just going back to their boring desk jobs though, in this crew we’ve got an engineer at Disney, a social media strategist for one of the largest platforms in California, the head photographer for the Women’s Moto Exhibit, a jewelry maker who makes rings for rock stars, a writer for one of America’s biggest culture magazines as well as a leather-goods maker who makes clothing for the movies and most of our crew. There are double master degree holders; cross-country road trippers and well traversed ladies who have learnt their lessons on the roads far away from home. There’s a lot to talk about in the 3-bedroom house in the desert and the beers are flowing.
We rode into Joshua Tree National Park and did burnouts around a cactus after rolling around in the sand. We shot photos of each other ripping while riding hand-less along the winding, cracked single lane roads. We cruised out to the church where Kill Bill was filmed and ran around the abandoned movie sets. Middle fingers are flying everywhere and the chase vehicle carries our Pomeranian Gus and a flat of Coors. The sun sets over the desert and I am totally in my element, not one thought in my mind of my early morning flight back to Canada in the morning. Tomorrow I’ll be responding to e-mails and helping out with a snowboard tradeshow.
You may see us roar past you or see us on social media and think, ‘oh that looks like a cool group of ladies’ or ‘cool, those girls can ride bikes’ but there’s lots more to the women’s motorcycle community than just tassels and messy wind-blown hair. I have watched these women help complete strangers, pick a fellow riders bike up off the pavement and share essential items far away from any convinces without thinking twice. Egos are low key and everyone supports each other because it’s hard being the underdog in such a male-influenced and dominated culture.
These years it is easier than ever to be a woman and be a badass. If you’ve ever wanted to do something you didn’t think you could or didn’t think you could fit into, this culture shows a perfect example of you being totally wrong. You don’t have to choose to be this or that. You can choose have multiple labels and these are the days to work hard, party hard and roam free.