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    Dykes on Bikes: Tales from Two Wheels – Melissa Cherry

    “Are you with the Dykes on Bikes?”

    I ride what I consider a quintessential “biker’s bike.” It just has a certain look about it. It’s decidedly old school, no creature comforts, loud, and not very friendly looking at all. It looks like something, well … it looks like something a certain kind of man would ride, and perhaps they would, but I’m not a man.

    I work at UCSF and I used to commute every day on my motorcycle from the Diablo Valley area, and at least a couple of times a year someone would ask if I belonged to the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes. I would always say, “No, I’m not interested in joining any riding clubs but I am in fact a dyke, and I do ride a motorcycle, so, close enough, right?” That would always get a chuckle, and then I would forget all about it.

    One day, after one of these exchanges, I thought I’d at least like to ride in the San Francisco LGBTQ+ Pride Parade, so I looked up their website. It was 2017 when I signed up for my first Parade, but I missed it because I slept in that morning. I would have been a lot more upset if I’d only known what I missed. The next year I was up super early and was one of the first bikes to get lined up. The whole experience was amazing. I didn’t really get a chance to talk to any of the “Dykes” because, as you can imagine, they were all super busy, but I was hooked. I knew I would be there every year after that.

    Oddly, it never occurred to me to find out what the Dykes on Bikes did during the rest of the year. It wasn’t until the second summer of COVID in 2021 that I finally found and participated in a ride. Wow, that day completely changed how I felt about joining an organization like Dykes on Bikes. It was an unusual ride because a series of events had us hanging out at Alice’s Restaurant far longer than they normally would have.

    It was during that time that I decided I had to be a part of this organization. From that day forward, I was committed to earning my way in. The idea of being a Prospect was not something that ever appealed to me. I’m a 54-year-old professional, and my apprentice days are long behind me, but this group, these women, were so special, that I wanted to do whatever I had to do to be accepted as a member. This included humbling myself to be part of something so much bigger than me.

    On Saturday, April 2, while we were staging for an epic two-day ride to Paso Robles, I along with another Prospect (a sister for life now) were totally surprised when Kate (the President) pulled our patches out of her bag. I mean, I knew we were nearing the end of our two-year-long Prospect phase, (okay, not two years, but it felt like it) but I thought the patches would come at a Divas & Drinks event or something like that, not in the street in front of a coffee shop.

    Anyhoo, the excitement I felt over being accepted into this group was beyond anything I thought I was capable of feeling at this place in my life. We get jaded, you know? Life wears us down and we get so distracted with the business of life that we totally forget about how much fun life can be. I love my job, and I love playing music, but now I have another love … my club.

    Yes, indeed, I am a Dyke on a Bike.

    Published on May 19, 2022