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    Dykes on Bikes® Fab Forty!

    By Vick Germany

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    NEW BT 6.23 all_Page_09_Image_0008This year marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® Women’s Motorcycle Contingent. Forty years ago, a small group of women motorcyclists, who were tired of their bikes overheating because they were riding behind marchers, rode to the front of the parade, and never looked back.

    There have been many changes since 1976. Three in particular stand out. The first is that a small group of women riders has grown to hundreds! Secondly, the Women’s Motorcycle Contingent (WMC) now includes the entire LGBTQ spectrum. Homoto (a gay male motorcycle club), BARF (Bay Area Riders Forum), and independent (as in not belonging to a motorcycle club) gay males are fixtures in the contingent. They are not separate from the WMC, as the media often reports, but are an integral part of the contingent. Thirdly, there is the successful trademarking of the phrase Dykes on Bikes® by the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® WMC in 2008, after a five-year battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    For many years, I watched the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® WMC from the sidelines, and thought, “One of these days.” When I walked into my first meeting at the Eagle Tavern 16 years ago, I did not imagine being around to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® WMC. For 40 years, we took the word ‘dyke’ from those who used it as an epithet and made it a symbol of pride and dignity, reflecting our strength as women, as lesbians, as dykes. I am proud to wear a patch on the back of my jacket and another one on a leather vest that says San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® WMC. Happy 40th!

    Here is what some others have to say about what this year’s milestone means to them:

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    Kate Brown, President

    “Being a Dyke on a Bike® to me means having the freedom and courage to be who we are, regardless of how the world may perceive us. Our organization has changed over 40 years, as any organization does. We have become more organized in our efforts to support philanthropic endeavors in the LGBT and women’s motorcycle community at a local, national and international level and gained visibility, in part, through our legal battle to protect the name Dykes on Bikes®. However, at the core we are still a group of women who are not afraid, and indeed insist, on moving to the front of life’s Parade to be seen and heard, with the roar of our engines felt as we ride with Pride in who we are.”

    Jen F., Vice President

    “I am speechless.”

    Allyson Boyski, Treasurer

    “Yay!!!”

    Soni Wolf, Secretary

    “Having ridden with Dykes on Bikes® to start the parade for 38 years, celebrating our 40th anniversary is realizing half of my dream/vision for this group of wonderful women has happened. I am extremely honored to be part of this extraordinary organization.”

    Mindie Dodson, Director and Registration Chair

    “The 40th anniversary of the club to me is a part of the realization of how far our LGBT community and women have come in fighting for, and gaining, our access to equality. Our club powerfully symbolizes the movement of women from the back seat to the driver’s seat when our engines roar and we lead the San Francisco Pride Parade. I am proud to be openly and publicly part of a group demonstrating the ability of all women to claim their own independence.”

    Deni M., Patch Holder

    “I’m very proud and excited to be part of history! I joined the Dykes on Bikes® about a year ago. I have really enjoyed all the fun events, and the people I have had the opportunity to meet along the way.”

    Meghan Kelly, Prospect

    “As the newest SF Dykes on Bikes® prospect, it is incredibly exciting to be joining during such a momentous year. I have wanted to ride bikes since I popped out of the womb, and rode on the back with family as soon as I could fit up on the seat. Now I am lucky enough to operate a bike, and am thrilled to be volunteering with the club for such a huge accomplishment for our group!”

    Come celebrate our 40th anniversary on June 25 at El Rio (3158 Mission St, SF) from 1–5 pm (which allows plenty of time to head to the Dyke March that starts at 6 pm this year). Alotta Boutté is our emcee and songstress. DJ Lady Ryan will get you dancing. Allison and Q will make sure your leathers look good. There will be cake from Cable Car Cakes and Chocolates. We have awesome auction items! You can also register to ride in the parade and pick up a limited edition 2016 40th anniversary t-shirt, “Hug the Curves.”

    Check us out at http://www.dykesonbikes.org/ and on Facebook at SanFranciscoDykesOnBikesWMC.

    Vick Germany is the Co-President of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® Women’s Motorcycle Contingent.