There’s no two ways about it… the riding scene is changing, and rapidly.
It used to be that for every male biker on the road there was one or two chicks who could ride. But since 2018, female riders have made up almost 20% of all riders.
With numbers like that it should come as no surprise that female-only riding groups and group rides are cropping up left and right. And the boys who once dominated the scene are only too happy to welcome them into the fold.
That’s one of the greatest parts about riding. It doesn’t matter who you are: male, female, black, white, tall, short, fat, skinny, the riding community is more than happy to welcome you in with open arms as long as you come on two wheels.
That’s not to say these ladies haven’t faced challenges and been met with their fair share of skepticism, but they overcame and every single all-female riding club in Florida is a testament to their courage and their love of riding.
One of the most well-known clubs in Florida, Leather & Lace, got its start back in 1983. Jennifer Chaffin, the club’s founder, wanted to create a space for female motorcycle riders to come together in sisterhood and give back to their communities, specifically helping disadvantaged children throughout the state. Just like any male motorcycle club, the ladies of Leather & Lace do more than just come together on the odd weekend and ride. They give back, they share, they teach, they grow, they learn, and they do it with a style only women riders can achieve.
But Leather & Lace was only the beginning for Florida’s burgeoning female motorcycle community. In 2012, several native Floridian women got together to form the club, Chicks in the Wind, with the intention of combining their love of riding and their desire to bring greater awareness to domestic abuse and homelessness. With the help of local businesses, the “Chicks” host scavenger hunts, poker runs, and a variety of other ride-related events to raise funds for shelters in the area and other worthwhile organizations that help women and children in need.
In 2015, Colleen Nevitt (also known as Ween) started Fat Bottom Girlz after moving from Atlanta, Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida. Fat Bottom Girlz was her way of finding other, like-minded women who wanted to spend their weekends riding endlessly along the gorgeous Florida coastline. While the club does its fair share of charity work as well, the motivation behind its beginnings has always been the desire to share in and celebrate the love of riding with other women.
More recently, in 2016, Debbie Shull founded the Wind Sisters of South Florida in Naples. Although the majority of riders in this group are female, they also encourage members to bring their partners along and don’t discriminate between female riders and female passengers. They welcome any woman who loves being on two wheels regardless of what seat she’s sitting on. They’re also very inclusive of all types of riders – from advanced to beginners, and on any kind of motorcycle (Harley-Davidson, Honda, Ducati, it doesn’t matter). They haven’t yet grown large enough to get too involved in charity fundraisers, but they ride together regularly and are defining for themselves what it means to be part of a motorcycle “club”.
While all-female motorcycle clubs are as diverse as their counterparts, none of them may have ever been started if not for the formation of Motor Maids back in the 1940s. At that time, the club was the very first of its kind in North America. Although it was the first ever all-female motorcycle club, it certainly wasn’t the last. It inspired a movement that – over half a century later – has completely changed the face of motorcycle riding. Where once it was a sport and past-time dominated by men, now there is a sizable number of women riders in the community, and their numbers are only expected to grow each year.
So get ready to move over gentlemen, and make room for the thousands of women who will be (and have already started) joining us at rallies, rides, dealerships and everywhere else motorcyclists congregate.