International Female Ride Day – Take a Bow

Vicki Gray Founder International Female Ride DayMonths ago, the 7th edition of International Female Ride Day (IFRD) rumbled across the world’s planet and it was –phenomenal! Women motorcycle riders on all makes and models got on their two-wheelers (and three wheelers), rode together, synchronized on one special day worldwide for the seventh occasion of IFRD.
It isn’t until the morning of the day, that first Friday in May, when I’m about to turn the ignition key on my own motorcycle that I pause and find myself overcome by the reality of the day. This glorious moment hits me! It’s International Female Ride Day – I’m overwhelmed with the reality. I imagine the ladies in Australia, in India, Cape Town South Africa, Yukon, Iceland, Russia, West to East coast Canada and all points America- doing the very same as me – gearing up to JUST RIDE. And to think I made this happen – yes, I did, I created International Female Ride Day!

As an advocate for motorcycling; for women and motorcycling, this event without a doubt allows me huge personal reward. It’s not been an entirely easy journey though, and I’ve had to deal with some incredibly disheartening challenges- so much so that on numerous occasions I’ve contemplated “throwing in the towel”. The fact that I’m self employed and that this campaign is nearly a full time task but provides no income for me is a challenge all on its own- bitter sweet you could say. It’s exciting and motivating to steer while being incredibly taxing on my personal self and my company. Yet my drive proceeds – doing the best I can. Yes, I fall behind on tasks- designing the annual icon, making it available on line and in various languages, website updates, Facebook page / group / event management, tweeting, responding to hundreds of inquiries, designing t-shirts, working with the industry and associations –policing; it’s incredibly fatiguing, like this long sentence!  All costs for the project are personal. But adding to it all are the battles I’ve faced from other women. Jealously, material theft, wordage and date disputes, copyright infringement; those who have attempted to work against the effort. These are a minority yet a reality. One year I recall many sleepless nights while I contemplated the actions I would take to protect IFRD from a powerful global brand who- since introduction – have done their best to re-brand and take credit for the event. On the other hand within guidelines, I’ve assisted the industry on creating special events to promote their businesses; manufacturers’ national campaigns- and assisted women’s clubs who sadly, ended up preventing other women (those who are not members) from participating in their arranged happenings. Yet, when I weigh it all out, IFRD is worth it and coincides perfectly with all the reasons my brand RaceGirl in the nineties was born, succeeded now by MOTORESS; purely for the women and motorcycling! Thousands of women around the world continue to take a role and inspire us all within this unified camaraderie. And isn’t it amazing all this within a world continuously dividing us from each other?
When I’m asked by friends and those in the motor-sport industry to stand up and take a bow for IFRD’s successes – it’s purely from a place of privilege. IFRD has allowed me the opportunity to become acquainted with – and introduce make known to the planet – the most amazing women! It’s these women who’ve demonstrated by way of their ride day participation – IFRD resonates with them too.
And me, well, I’ll be ok; I always seem to manage. And yes, next year the running’s of this world wide action will be the same- too few hours in the day, far too many demands, no sleep and budget anxiety. Yet would I trade it? Not in a million IFRD synchronized worldwide women’s ride day miles!

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