In perfect unison, several women motorcyclists slow down their bikes and park them one by one in a line.
Some are brightly pink coloured bikes, with one sporting the licence plate “Chicky”, while others are coated in darker colours.
All the ladies had one word in common when asked why they love to ride out in the open.
“It’s the freedom of everything. You just kind of get on the road and you can smell everything. You got the wind in your face and the scenery,” said rider Cindy MacDonald.
The group is Prince Rupert’s Women in the Wind (WITW) chapter and they are gathered at the airplane hanger next to where the medevac helicopters take off for a photo shoot before they depart on a journey to Alberta.
Beck Brown founded the international group in 1979 and Prince George was the first city in Canada to get a chapter of their own. From there it started to snowball with more chapters being created all the time, said Yamamodo.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of WITW’s existence, and the 17th for women in Canada. In Drayton Valley, Alta., they will meet up with other passionate female riders from across the country for a rally.
“It’s a bunch of crazy women that get together and have fun and ride together for a weekend. And you meet people together from all over the place,” said Kathy Yamamodo, a long-time member of the Prince Rupert chapter.
Rider Jill Milnes has only had her full license for one year. She got involved after watching her husband’s motorcycle lessons where she found only three women in the class, some of which had never been before.
“I was watching them and I went ‘That looks easy. That looks fun. I can do that,’” she said. By the following Thursday, she had her learners licence.
“The women are definitely more supportive and lift you up whereas the men try to tell you how to do things. When I’m with them [the women] I feel brave, empowered, loved and supported,” said Milnes.
Yamamodo said they are hoping to recruit more aspiring women riders.
“We need more. We want more. There are lots of women that ride but they are intimidated to be part of a group, I don’t know why. We’re all mothers, housewives, working women, we are not intimidating people,” she said.
The group rides out Aug. 4 where they will meet their sister chapter in Terrace before they all head to the rally taking place in Alberta on Aug. 8. Any female bikers can attend the rally, they said, even if they do not belong to Women in the Wind.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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