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    Dykes on Bikes: Judith L.

    By Kate Brown, Ph.D.–

    I am Judith L. My partner, a long-time member of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® (DOB), proposed that I prospect with the DOB at the end of 2017. My prospecting was prior to the passing of Soni Wolf, who had been the heart and soul of Dykes on Bikes® for 40 years, but by that point she had stepped down from active participation due to her health. Soni passed suddenly, but peacefully, in April of 2018.

    I could see that the loss of Soni’s presence was a gaping hole in the group, and the number of people running the group was down to a handful. As for many volunteer organizations, membership and involvement tends to wax and wane, and my partner who is devoted and loves the group was worried about the health of the group. My involvement started off as a favor to my partner.

    I attended weekly business meetings at The Eagle and became a patch holder in about a month before the 2018 San Francisco LGBTQ+ Pride.  For those first few months, I heard abundant stories about Soni, could feel the group’s grief of having lost her, and wished I’d had the chance to have met her. The group felt very intimate and I was warmly welcomed. I started to look forward to those weekly meetings. The members were committed to keep the group going, and gradually, a few more women became involved. 

    When I think of the spirit of the members, the word “devotion” really seems to be the right word. A tremendous amount of work fell on the shoulders of a few determined participants that spring. I could also feel that, while they were deeply passionate about moving the organization forward, the patch holders were at the same time concerned and burdened as they mourned the loss of a friend, mentor, and leader.

    My partner and I volunteered for the SF LGBTQ+ Pride Parade, Folsom Street Fair, and other events, always proudly wearing our Dykes on Bikes® vests. Then COVID “hit,” and we started meeting on Zoom. Those Zoom meetings were one of the ways we stayed connected with community. Gradually, more women joined, and we now have a robust group with many events and the group is thriving. None of us is worried anymore. 

    When I joined, I rode on the back of my partner’s bike, but now she can no longer ride. Even so, we are still involved in the group, going to business meetings and helping at events. We can go on rides in our car, and in doing so, provide an important role as the group often needs support cars to carry gear. It was so great to be at Pride this year, 2022, for the first in-person SF Pride in three years.

    Dykes on Bikes® is made up of adventurous, fun-loving, caring women. We are like a family. I have watched Kate Brown, our President, create a loving, encouraging atmosphere. I am proud to be a member of Dykes on Bikes®.

    Dykes on Bikes: Tales from Two Wheels
    Published on September 22, 2022