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    Bettina Perry

    My name is Bettina Perry, and I ride a 2023 Ducati Monster SP named Adelita.

    I grew up in rural Canada, near Niagara Falls. I loved everything two wheels and I would take off on my bicycle that looked a lot like a dirt bike without the engine for hours and not come home until sunset. Two wheels were my ticket to freedom and autonomy. My parents wouldn’t let me have a motorcycle of my own, but I secretly would ride all my guy friends’ dirt bikes whenever we hung out on their farms.

    Bettina Perry

    I came to California in 2014 to compete in Ironman Lake Tahoe®. I spent a week after the event being a tourist in San Francisco, spending a lot of time at the infamous Lexington bar and falling in love with the Bay Area, which drove me to move here permanently the following year. I marched in the 2015 Pride Parade and immediately noticed the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® (SFDOB). It brought me back to when I was 19 years old, attending the Toronto Pride Parade as a curious closet case, and seeing dykes riding bikes there. I remember being struck by how cool they looked, and a seed was planted that day that maybe I was a dyke myself, since all I could dream about was joining these intriguing women on a motorcycle of my own.

    I was living in Alameda and commuting to San Francisco on a 2012 Yamaha FZ-6R. Splitting lanes on the Bay Bridge every day was not for the faint of heart. I wanted to make sure that I had all the skills to be as safe as possible on the road, so I took some courses from a former MotoGP racer. I learned that the skills necessary for motorcycle racing transfer over to street riding perfectly. I also learned that riding your motorcycle as fast as you can on a closed track that was built for racing with all the safety equipment is really fun! I do 5–10 “track days” a year, but it’s probably no surprise to readers that it’s a very straight, cis, male environment.

    I wanted to find a community of riders like me to go on cruises with, but I really struggled to find a fit. My first ride with DOB was with two Harley riders, one with a passenger. Being on bikes that would traditionally be considered “slow” did not stop these badass dykes from absolutely hauling through the Oakland hills, scraping their pipes on the sharp curves. I knew I had found my people.

    I started attending the DOB meetings in Spring of 2022 and rode with the SFDOB contingent in the SF Pride Parade that June. The feeling was amazing—the roaring exhausts, the cheers from the crowd—and I was hooked. I officially declared my intent to Prospect later that year and was voted into full Patch-holder status and elected to be a member of the Board of Directors for SFDOB in Autumn 2023. I had the privilege of representing SFDOB at the Honolulu LGBTQ+ Pride Parade shortly thereafter. It means the world to me to be part of this historic organization that has been leading the SF Pride Parade and holding a strong presence in queer spaces to support our LGBTQ+ community for almost 50 years.

    A while back, we Dykes were on a multi-day ride outside of the Bay Area. There were numerous times when queer folks spotted us in conservative, non-queer spaces, and they came running over to take photos with us and tell us how they excited they were to see us. It struck me that it was just as important to show up in places where queer folks aren’t very visible as it is to lead the SF Pride Parade. Now more than ever, there are queer kids out there who are isolated and marginalized. If we can show up with our “Big Dyke Energy” and provide resistance through existence to the evil forces bubbling under the surface and give folks a glimpse of the happiness living your true self can bring, I know I’ll be doing right by that 19-year-old baby dyke back in Toronto many moons ago.

    Dykes on Bikes®: Tales From Two Wheels
    Published on April 4, 2024