DENVER, COLO., MAY 2-4—When I first started riding a motorcycle 20-some years ago, there were very few women riders. As more and more women started joining the lifestyle of riding, that sense of knowing you share something special is always present when I meet another woman rider, which is why I was thrilled to attend the Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit in Denver.
I haven’t done a lot of women’s events because, well, let’s face it; I like boys! But the opportunity presented itself for me to attend this inaugural event organized by my new friend Joan Krenning, a.k.a. Lady Road Dog. The recent documentary that I was featured in by independent filmmaker Michele Bauer Carpenter entitled Driven to Ride was a part of the event program. All of the interesting women featured in the documentary lived around Denver, and I was interested in meeting them all and supporting Michele’s film. There were also several of my longtime friends on the panel of guest speakers including my female riding partner Genevieve Schmitt. Genevieve and I have ridden many of the roads of the Wild West together over the years, poking through old ghost towns and national landmarks. The bond that you can make riding cross-country with another woman with all of the splendor and mishaps is much like that of a true sister. You get to know the really good, and the not so good, ups and downs of a long-term riding partner, and vice versa.
The event was held at the Sheraton Denver in South Greenwood Village. I flew into Denver, so High Country Harley-Davidson was gracious enough to give me a demo bike for the weekend—a brand-new Denim Black Street Glide with my name on it! What a treat to ride a bike like that and listen to John Denver as I rode through the Rocky Mountains. It rode so smooth and warm I was worried I might not even want to get on my rusty ol’ chopper when I got home.
The event itself had enough going on that you could be easily entertained every hour of the four days. For an inaugural event, it was really well thought out and organized. The concept Joan had in creating the event was to connect women of the motorcycle world together to be inspired, encouraged, educated, connected, pampered and entertained. I would say she achieved every one of those goals. Starting at 5:00 in the morning there were activities to part take in, from stretching to yoga to meditation, and even passing the talking stick where every woman had a turn to share her story and riding experiences.
There were mini seminars running all day long on gear, helmets, riding skills and ways to prevent injuries. There were classes on healthy eating, proper hydration and self-defense. My personal favorite was the Colorado Calendar Firefighters Bike Wash, although my brand-new demo wasn’t even dirty yet. I enjoyed watching the other dirty ladies get cleaned up by the cute, shirtless crew.
On Saturday our big ride left bright and early in celebration of International Female Ride Day. There was a shaman woman there in fringed suede to bless each of the bikes with sage as we passed for safe travels. We rode up to Red Rocks Amphitheatre for group photos and to enjoy the spectacular view. Local athletes come to the amphitheater early in the morning to run the steps, which inspired some of the ladies to get physical and a push-up challenge began. Try as Lady Dog did, it was hard for anyone to beat the young marine Wilma Harp. Michele Bauer Carpenter was set up and filming the ladies as they rode down off of the mountain.
Michele’s Driven to Ride documentary and guest speakers started late afternoon and went on into the evening. The documentary chronicles the unstoppable spirit and diversity of women motorcycle riders, and featured six very different women from all different riding lifestyles. The keynote speakers at the event were Genevieve Schmitt representing www.womenridersnow.com, Lady Road Dog, Laura Klock of Klock Werks, Jessi Combs from All Girls Garage, and authors Eldonna Lewis Fernandez who wrote Pink Biker Chic, and Lisa Fedders Brouwer who wrote Full Throttle Living. They all gave insightful and inspirational speeches, each completely different than the other speakers on hand, and they were available for questions and answers afterward.
Throughout the weekend there were Girlfriend Giveaway packages and prizes up to $500 in value. The Red Fire Lounge was the place to hang out for snacks and beverages, conversation and even karaoke and dancing into the wee hours. On Sunday there was a poker run for the ladies that were still standing that ended up at the Buffalo Rose. In all the event drew in several hundred women from all over the United States, and already plans for next year’s event are underway.
It’s the friends, both old and new, that made the journey and the “Sisterhood” worthwhile. Special thanks to everyone who helped get me there, stay there and ride there. And I truly enjoyed meeting every one of the ladies on the ride. In particular I met a group of Native American women from New Mexico that invited me to visit so they can show me their favorite roads, and I can’t wait to take them up on that offer! I look forward to sharing the road with my new wind sisters.