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    U.K., Germany, Australia, and Portland Dykes on Bikes® Honor the 45th Anniversary of the Organization and San Francisco Chapter

    2021 marks not only the 45th Anniversary of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikesâ, but also of the organization as a whole since San Francisco is home to the mother chapter. Dykes on Bikesâ chapters during the past four decades have been established throughout the U.S. and the world, all of which support empowering a community of diverse women riders. They include chapters in Akureyri, Iceland; Houston, Texas; London, England; Melbourne, Australia; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Monterey, California; Portland, Oregon; Queensland, Australia; Rhein-Weser, Germany; Sussex, England; Winnipeg, Canada; and others.

    For this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times, leaders from four of these chapters comment on the significance of Dykes on Bikesâ and this anniversary year.

    Dykes on Bikes® London

    Pádraigín Ní Rághillíg (Pogs), Secretary

    Dykes on Bikes® is 45 this year, an anniversary to be celebrated and elevated, not only as a historical landmark, but also as a sign of the tenacity and endurance of a group of Lesbians who continue to be visible through many years of oppression and attempted eradication.

    Indeed, the importance of the Dykes on Bikes® 45th Anniversary this year cannot be underestimated. Dykes on Bikes® is an international institution that maintains an iconic and enduring position as the centerpiece of Dyke visibility and historical continuance. 

    In an era where Lesbian visibility is decreasing alarmingly with the erasure of social and political spaces in which Lesbians can assert our presence, we continue to represent and provide positive role models to young and/or closeted Lesbians. Dykes on Bikes® around the world may be the only collective iconic positive image of Dykes still seen in both LGBTQI and indeed, to some extent, mainstream media. By leading Pride events and marches around the world, we maintain an enduring image of Dyke Pride and visibility.

    Dykes on Bikes® London started in 2018 when two members of the only Dykes on Bikes® chapter in the U.K. at that time felt that the capital of the U.K. needed to have its own Chapter to lobby Pride in London to establish the tradition of leading off the premier Pride event in the U.K. Sylvie aka Petit Chou and Pádraigín aka Pogs set up a meeting in central London for Lesbian bikers to come together and discuss the possibility of applying to become an official chapter.

    From that time we have continued to represent Dykes in the U.K. through leading London Pride and our own event, the annual Dyke Pride Ride, where we get together during London Pride week to be Out, Loud, and Proud riding through some of the outlying areas where the Pride route does not go, to ensure our visibility is given a much wider audience.

    Sadly, due to Covid, we have not had a London Pride march since 2019, but in 2020, Dykes on Bikes® London made a point of riding through central London on Pride day to maintain Lesbian visibility in a shrinking environment.

    We were also immensely proud to be the subject of a feature article in the internationally renowned DIVA magazine in the August 2019 issue.

    As well as organizing monthly formal ride outs where we invite non-member Lesbian bikers to join with us and engage in interesting and sometimes challenging rides around England, we also, both as a club and individually, represent outside of the U.K. when our members undertake tours and rides abroad. We wear our patches with pride and ensure we are visible and accessible to all those who would wish to know more about our club.

    Dykes on Bikes® is a sista-hood; we are a family, whether we be in San Francisco; Portland; Atlanta; Winnepeg, Canada; Akureyri, Iceland; London, U.K.; Rhine-Weser, Germany; Melbourne, Australia; etc. with one collective passion: motorcycling. We are here for each other and offer support to one another whether that be motorcycle-related or not.

    Finally, Dykes on Bikes® is primarily an awareness and fundraising entity, and as such, we annually select an LGBTQI charity to be the recipient of our fundraising activities. In 2018 we were delighted to raise funds for the Outside Project, a charity for homeless people. In 2019 we raised funds for Broken Rainbow, a charity for disabled people, and this year we are focusing on women asylum seekers with funds going to the Lesbian Immigration Support Group, a U.K.-wide organization based in Manchester.

    Dykes on Bikesâ Rhein-Weser

    Dori G., President

    My name is Dori G. and I‘m the President of Dykes on Bikesâ Rhein-Weser since 2019. For the 45th Anniversary of Dykes on Bikes®, I would like to introduce our chapter and tell you about how it came about.

    Dykes on Bikesâ Rhein-Weser, Germany, has been an officially listed chapter of San Francisco Dykes on Bikesâ since May 2021. The idea to apply as a chapter arose in June 2019. The process to get an official chapter was long, and meant that we had to have a lot of patience and perseverance until we finally made it.

    Before I became President of Dykes on Bikesâ Rhein-Weser, I was Vice-President of a lesbian motorcycle club in Hamburg for the previous 8 years, but there was never an interest in applying as an official chapter of DOB San Francisco. 

    I´ve always been fascinated by this large DOB family, especially since I‘ve been in contact with DOB chapters like Queensland, Melbourne, Portland, and especially London and Sussex over the years. It was more than impressive to us how much each individual chapter was committed to LGBTIQ+ and that as a large family.

    It makes me especially proud that I was very lucky to have had a short email conversation with Soni Wolf a few years ago. I still have the email history today. Soni Wolf also inspired us for our design of our small front patch. It serves as a reminder and expresses our respect for Soni Wolf. (The patch features a wolf.)

    In June 2019, I went to London to support the DOB London Chapter with their Pride. After long conversations with the President and Secretary of DOB London, Sylvie Campus and Pádraigín Ní Rághillíg, the idea to found a chapter in Germany arose.

    This is how the work began. I met some friends and talked with them about my idea and so I was able to find the current 8 founding members. On October 19, 2019, we met for our official founding meeting and sent our application documents to San Francisco.

    At this point, we’ve been building up our network of LGBTIQ+ organizations in Germany, and have also attended a number of Pride events. Due to the pandemic that has been circulating since 2020, we could not do as much as we actually wanted. Prides have been canceled again and again due to COVID-19 and the lockdowns. In 2021, we could finally ride at the Pride in the city of Osnabrück and the Dyke March in Cologne, and we will ride at Cologne Pride at the end of this month. Our plan was also to support London Pride 2021, but unfortunately it was canceled due to the pandemic.

    Now we hope that, in 2022, COVID-19 will finally take off and we can attend as many Prides as possible—not just the big ones but also the little ones.

    Finally, I would like to mention all of the important people and at the same time the founding members of Dykes on Bikesâ Rhein-Weser. Every single person has done an incredible amount of work so that we managed to become the first official DOB chapter in Germany and in German-speaking countries. They are legends: Wetti (Vice President), Steego (Secretary), Peddel (Treasurer), Kääpt’n (Member), Rämix (Member), Woody (Member), and Sunny(Member).

    Our special thanks go to: Sylvie Campus (President of DOBâ London); Pádraigín Ní Rághillíg (Secretary of DOBâ London; she had to endure a lot because we bombed her with many questions); Julz Raven (President of DOBâ Queensland; she also had to endure a lot because we bombed her with questions too); and Kate Brown (President of DOBâ San Francisco; she had to endure a lot because we bombed her with e-mails for almost a year and a half. They always supported and helped us on our way to become an official chapter.

    We are all incredibly proud to belong to this legendary Dykes on Bikesâ family and ride loud and proud in Germany and all over the world. Our biggest dream would be to ride at San Francisco Pride with all of the Dykes on Bikesâ chapters.

    Dykes on Bikesâ Queensland 

    Julz Raven, President

    Dykes on Bikesâ Queensland was formed in 1999 in Brisbane by a few women who had been to San Francisco and watched the original women riding in a parade. I have been President in Queensland for over 10 years now and during that time we have donated over $20,000 to various charities, supported local smaller provinces with their LGBTQI event days, and encouraged and supported over 500 lesbian riders over those years as members. Today, myself and my Vice President Petrea support 50 members throughout this enormous land mass called Queensland, which covers the world-famous Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast right up to Cairns where it is hot all year around and crocodiles control the waterways! 

    I traveled to San Francisco several times during those 10 years and met with Soni over a few cold ones and on many occasions discussed how and why DOBâ exists. I now run the Dykes on Bikesâ International Facebook page to ensure the international chapters have a hub for conversation and open contact; many of those members seek to catch up during travels around the world, which is fantastic! World Pride is happening in Sydney in 2023 and Dykes on Bikesâ will be represented there with many of our global members making the journey to join us. 

    We would not exist if it wasn’t for the strong women of San Francisco getting on their bikes 45 years ago—the legacy of this club will have already far surpassed anything those few women could have imagined all those years ago and will outlive every one of us along the way.

    In 2018, I organized the first ever DOBâ international trip and took 20 members from all over the world back to San Francisco to ride in the 2018 Pride Parade, which sadly was the year Soni passed. I am sure she and her original group of women would have been proud to see us make the journey and respectfully enjoy the club they created. Kate has now been busy in the background cementing the process for international chapters to be able to seamlessly connect and set up officially, which will again take this club into another strong future. 

    Dykes on Bikesâ is a dominant force when together on these loud machines and all of our chapters are recognized worldwide as both protectors of our communities—when we ride in front of all the parades—and as genuine humans who openly chat and allow kids and strangers to get up close and personal with the biker culture that many people have never been allowed to even glimpse in. 

    Without women like Soni Wolf and the others who fired up the bikes and led by example all those years ago, we would not be here today. I know I speak for everyone who earns our Queensland Dykes on Bikesâ patch when I say that we ride with pride and we will never forget where we came from!

    Dykes on Bikesâ Portland

    Cassie Moore, President of the “Dirty Dozen”
    and Laura Mangano, patched Board member

    Being the first all-inclusive chapter of DOBâ, Dykes on Bikesâ Portland chapter is excited to see and support all womyn to be part of a motorcycle club that celebrates and supports all motorcycle-enthusiast womyn, increases queer visibility, performs community service, and fundraises.

    Dykes on Bikesâ PDX was founded in 2013 with Cassie Moore holding Presidency since 2016, along with present Board members Laura Mangano (Secretary), Liz Byron (Treasurer), Kathy Monnot (Webmaster), along with officer Rachel Kimzey (Road Captain).

    Prior to the pandemic, DOBâ PDX ran monthly bingo events at local queer-owned or queer-supported bars or restaurants, such as Crush or Escape; and regularly partnered with local queer and youth organizations to provide funds and resources to local organizations—such SYMRC (Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center), New Avenues for Youth, and in coordination with the Border Riders MC, Bad Girls Club, and Dirty Bingo PDX—supporting local gay and trans youth and adults. 

    DOBâ PDX is committed to combating discrimination, and is open to learning, evolving, educating, and striving for a more equitable future for all. Along with providing security for events such as the Trans Pride Parade and community meetings, DOBâ PDX also works closely with local groups such as the Sweethearts of Portland and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, providing and sharing necessary resources in the queer community and beyond.

    DOBâ PDX was also excited to have its second Pride Ride in July 2021, in coordination with the gay men’s Border Riders MC, in response to COVID-19 restrictions of Pride events nationwide. Continuing visibility of the LGBTQ+ community throughout Oregon and beyond continues to be a forefront mission of the DOBâ PDX.

    As Dykes on Bikesâ celebrates its 45th year, DOBâ PDX looks forward to celebrating and supporting the next generation of dyke and queer-identifying individuals and the communities that care, support, and empower them.

    Published on August 26, 2021