Photos and story by: Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
International Female Ride Day was created in 2007 with the goal of highlighting lady motorcycle riders around the world. In general, any kind of motorcycle is acceptable, from scooters that are more common in Asia, to the big choppers and Harleys that we’re accustomed to here in the states. On May 2, many El Paso lady riders came out to ride. In true El Paso style, many different women came out riding different bikes, representing patches or simply riding by themselves. The group registered at Barnett, then took photos on Transmountain, had a group lunch at the State Line restaurant in Santa Theresa and then rode back to the Bike Fest at Barnett. They were joined in spirit on the road by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other female riders around the world.
In the El Paso area, there are various clubs and organizations dedicated to female riders like The Road Queens MC, Biker Chicks of El Paso, and the Sun City Lady Riders. In Juarez, there are also various groups like “EYA” and “Amazonas” who are also dedicated to promoting the lady rider lifestyle. On this day, what mattered most was their rides and the sense of sisterhood achieved by being on the road.
I met with the group while dining at the State Line where I talked to various riders. I liked that all the stories mirrored all other riders I’ve interviewed, male or female.
Yvonne Q., hanging out with Biker Chicks, riding a 2015 Yamaha R6
“I’ve been riding for one year, but I started by riding dirt bikes about two years ago. I’ve always enjoyed seeing others ride so I just decided I wanted to ride too. A difficult thing for me is that I always get challenged to race on the freeway by male driven cars. Sometimes, I do pick up the challenge. There was one in a BMW that pulled up to me at a light, and they start revving up their engine to challenge. Eventually, I just drop a gear and disappear. My family has been very supportive of my riding. They just tell me to be careful, and it can be dangerous. Lately, I’ve seen that female drivers want to tailgate me, but I really can’t tell why they would want to do that.
I’ve noticed that everyone here has been very nice, very supportive of each other. More united than I’ve thought, which is very refreshing to see. Janeth (President of Biker Chicks) has been very helpful and encouraging. She’s also been very encouraging for me to practice, practice, practice.
For new lady riders or ladies that want to learn to ride, really, you should lose the fear. I never really had the fear. I’m not a daredevil, but I do like experiencing and doing new things.”
Priscilla and girlfriend, riding a Yamaha V-Star for 5 years.
Girlfriend: “I’ve ridden bikes for years, mostly dirt bikes. Then, when my niece was killed in an accident, my brother in law started a bike run in her memory to raise money for scholarships. My family started getting Harleys and other bikes. My first bike was a little 70cc Yamaha dirt bike when I was like 5 or 6 years old. In a cruiser though, you get to enjoy the scenery a lot more and relax and enjoy the music.
Priscilla: “I just started riding, but I prefer to be a passenger because I don’t have to pay as much attention to the road itself. I just enjoy it when we get to get away from our everyday lives at work. There was a time that we decided to go from Deming to Las Cruces. It was no warmer than maybe 55 degrees, then it just got colder. Then on the bike, it was so much colder. When we got back, we were completely sunburned, windburned, frostbitten. On the way over, it wasn’t that bad, but on the way back, we even had to stop at the immigration station.
Girlfriend: “I think we get a lot of attention from the male riders, but they tend to be protective of us. On the road, guys show interest, I guess because they don’t see us as much.”
Ana: 2006 Harley Sportster, ridden for 3 years
“I like riding with everyone. Even when I ride solo, I get to meet people on the road. The happiest I’ve been on the road was the day I got my bike. My bike actually came in from Oregon. It belonged to a friend of a friend. I didn’t think I could ride a Harley, but once I actually got on it, I couldn’t get off of it anymore. I already knew how to drive standard, so I was good once I got on.
The only negativity I’ve encountered is from other drivers on the road. Family and friends have been very supportive. On the road, you just need to be very aware of your surroundings.”
Eleneor G: riding for 3 years, rides a 1994 Sportster XL and a drives an International Pro-Star semi-truck
“I’ve ridden for 3 years and I’ve been a trucker for 7 years with my husband as part of a driving team. My husband and I get to have fun driving the 18 wheels and riding the 2 wheels! I’ve never had any negative feelings for riding or driving. I’ve had good friends supporting me for both. My husband rides a Road King. I used to ride with him on his bike, but only for about 3 months, then I decided to get my own bike because I wanted to have that feeling of independence too. I love the freedom of the road. I get into my own little world. Even when I am riding with friends, sometimes I just go off on my own to have my alone-time.”
Maria: riding since 2007, Harley Night Train soft-tail
“My bike is fast! I bought it used and it already came with the Vance & Hines pipes and the mini-ape hanger bars. My best friend got me into it. She was already a biker and she basically told me to ‘Get a bike, B!’ I used to ride with my ex-husband and my friend encouraged me to get my own bike instead.
We went to eat at this restaurant on Vista Del Sol. We ended up having some wine. When we left, and got unto Vista, I dropped the bike right in the middle of the road. Two cop cars came up and helped me pick up the bike and just let get on my way. I was never scared. My parents didn’t like it that I started to ride. They still don’t like it, but they got used to it.”
Carmen V., riding with El Paso HOG, Harley Heritage Softtail, since 2012
“It wasn’t a struggle to begin to ride. I went to the class, got on it, rode it. I’ve always loved motorcycles and I think I’m a natural born rider. I love the camaraderie of the community, meeting new people. As for riding, I love it to lean on the bike, the closer to the ground the better.
Coming back from Tombstone, Arizona, was my first ride while on a 883 Sporty. We got to Columbus, New Mexico, where we hit a windstorm where the gusts were up to 80 miles per hour. You couldn’t see right in front of you. We all had to walk the bikes for about 5 miles, just guiding ourselves by the shoulder line on the freeway. Eventually, we made it back to El Paso. The right side of my bike was literally sandblasted. That was my first good ride. 80 mph winds, dropping the bike, walking the bike…it was crazy. After that, I knew I could handle it.”