One-of-a-Kind Parade of Women Riders

Harley-Davidson's Daytona women's ride a success!

Story and photos by Pam Collins

Hundreds of women riders hit the road in Daytona Beach for the 2nd Annual MDA Womens Ride taking place during Daytona Bike Week 2009. To participate, each rider was required to solicit donations for MDA. The total amount donated this year was $52,000 all going to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for its summer camps program.

Congratulations to the top four fundraisers each of whom received a Harley-Davidson jacket: Brenda Kwiatkowski, Elizabeth Pillow, Laura Goldenschue and Wanda Underhill. WRN contributor Pam Collins participated in the ride and caught all the action on her camera. Below is her story in pictures.

Lining up for the ride.

The morning of the Womens Ride on March 3, 2009 dawned sunny but cold with temperatures in the 40s. But that didnt stop more than 200 women riders from joining the fun and lining up for the start of the ride that went about 10 miles from the Daytona Speedway to the Ocean Center.

As far as the eye could see.

It appears to be unending line of motorcycles getting ready for Harley-Davidsons Womens Ride on a frosty morning, at least frosty for Florida. More than 400 riders had registered, but chilly temperatures kept some riders away reducing the overall number who actually participated.

Sherry Vierra from Daphne, Alabama, is one of those riders who braved the cold.

Sherry Vierra has been riding for about one year, but that includes a 3,600-mile round trip to Sturgis, South Dakota! As a business owner, Sherry said she has a lot of stress, but on her bike she can go out, join nature and the wind, and forget about everything. Heres why Sherry registered for the Womens Ride. “You know how people used to think about women that rode? Well, a lot of us are executives good quality people, and I just really wanted to ride with a lot of women. Im so used to riding with my husband and his friends I thought it would be neat to be able to ride with women.”

Pat Cook from West Palm Beach, Florida, on her Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic.

Pat Cook has been riding for three years. She said she likes to ride because, “Its an individual thing that you experience with a lot of people. You can get a bunch of people together, you put on your helmet, and you ride your own ride even though youre with a group.” She said she registered for the Womens Ride to share the experience with a lot of women who ride.

Fancy, fancy. The sunlight had competition from the shiny, colorful motorcycles participating in Women#39;s Ride.
Laura Klock of Mitchell, South Dakota, owns Klock Werks Kustom Cycles with her husband, Brian Klock.

Laura Klock, here on her Harley-Davidson Road Glide, recently set the land-speed record for running the Bonneville Salt Flats on a Harley-Davidson bagger, and her daughters are following in her speed-racing footsteps. She wanted to participate in the Womens Ride because, “Any place where women are all riding together and sharing stories, just getting to know each other#8230;I love it. I think women feel comfortable riding with women. There is a comfort level and a confidence level that you dont always find if youre packed in with a group of men. My daughters ride too, and I tell them we dont do this because we want to prove we can do something a man can do its more we like it too!”

Eleven women from the Old Town HOG Chapter in Brandon, Florida, participated in the ride. Thanks to Debbie Speicher for sending us this photo. She said, “We hope to have double that amount next year!”
In the world of motorcycles, Karen Davidson, great-granddaughter of Harley-Davidson founder William Davidson, signs autographs for people attending the Women#39;s Ride, which was organized by Harley-Davidson. She led the parade of bikes.

Last year, 2008, marked the parades debut. On looking at the crowd, Karen Davidson told WRN, “Im thrilled. I think its so great that the ride keeps growing. I love speaking to these girls and finding out how proud they are to be involved in this sport. Theres a ton of energy and enthusiasm. These girls are up for anything!”

Not just any onlookers.

Here Willie G. and Nancy Davidson (Karens parents) mingle with the crowd as the women riders arrive at the parking lot of the Ocean Center. Willie G. is the grandson of Harley-Davidson founder William Davidson.

Waiting for the start. Hot coffee proved very popular the morning of the Women#39;s Ride as the participants waited for the parade of motorcycles to get underway.
Follow the leaders. Area motorcycle police officers discuss street strategy for leading the Women#39;s Ride.

Thanks to the excellent work of traffic control no rider needed to “put their feet down” over the course of the 25-minute ride from the Speedway to the Ocean Center.

Here I am, Pam Collins, at the Women#39;s Ride on a 2009 blue Heritage Softail.
Karen Davidson, and Leslie Prevish, Harley-Davidson#39;s Manager of Women#39;s Outreach, on stage at the Ocean at the end of the ride.

Following the ride, Karen Davidson and Leslie Prevish announced to the crowd the total amount raised from the womens ride. Additionally, Leslie shared that the Harley-Davidson Museum would soon open an exhibit dedicated to and about women riders. A group photo of those who rode that morning will also hang in the museum.

Related Articles:
Photo Gallery: Womens Ride 2008
Way To Go Girl: Leslie Prevish honored at Sturgis
News: Harley-Davidson Museum Opens 2008

9 thoughts on One-of-a-Kind Parade of Women Riders

  1. I have been fortunate to have ridden in all three MDA Women's Rides with Karen Davidson, and while our numbers have lessened, our spirit has not. I appreciate all that the Daytona Beach law enforcement officers do to make our rides safe and fun. I applaud Harley-Davidson's support of MDA. I thank Karen Davidson for leading us every year. This ride gives women a chance to ride together for an excellent cause and provides public recognition for women on motorcycles. Plus, it's just plain FUN!

  2. I am envious ! I wish we were in Daytona this year, but it was not meant to be. I hope to join in on this ride next year. We shall see where the road leads. Congrats to all of the ladies and their efforts for the fundraiser! It is awesome to see so many ladies on large cruiser bikes! Join the crowd. Can't wait for warmer weather up here in New England!! Happy Daytona Bike Week to you all! Ride safe.

  3. It is not a long ride but it is police escorted with all the roads blocked off to traffic at each light so we had no stops. It would be harder to get them to lengthen it and still have those wonderful motorcops riding with us and the patrol cars blocking the intersections.

    This was my second year in the ride and it was not the longest ride I have ever ridden, but certainly one of the most exciting. I have had goose bumps each time we left the staging area as I rode out with those hundreds of women on their own motorcycles. Just a few years ago, some of those women were riding behind a husband or boyfriend or sitting on the sidelines. To see them behind the handlebars of their own bikes and raising all the money for a good cause like MDA is a good ride no matter how long or short it may be.

  4. Great article! It makes me proud to have been part of such a wonderful event. And I'm also very proud that I was in the top four of the fund raisers. I rode in the first ride in 2008 and again this year and can't wait until next year.

  5. I was at Daytona, but since I don't have a Harley yet, did not pursue this ride. I have to say — 10 miles, 25 minutes — I thought it would be a bit longer. The Harley demo rides were seven miles long. Any one know of plans to lengthen it next year?

  6. I hope to see the ride grow every year and I hope to participate next year in the event. A shoulder surgery kept me from riding this year, but look out 2010. Great to see so many women riding. I have rode for 25 years and it's nice to finally have other women to ride with (sorry boys).

  7. Wow, my bike is in most of these pics! It is the magenta 04 Ultra Classic. It was a great ride and I look forward to doing it next year.

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