Hundreds of motorcycle riders gather for International Female Ride Day

Women riders hit the open road on their motorcycles as part of the sixteenth annual International Female Ride Day in London, Ont. on May 7, 2022. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

Saturday boasted sunny skies and warm weather — the perfect day for women riders to hit the open road for International Female Ride Day (IFRD).

For a few from southwestern Ontario, the day started at Rocky’s Harley-Davidson in London, Ont., before hitting the road to Cambridge for the regional event.

The annual event first began in 2007, and its goal is to highlight female riders and show the diverse numbers of women enjoying motorsport and power sports activities from around the globe.

“I'm all about empowerment community and camaraderie,” said Erin Mitchell, general manager of Rocky’s Harley-Davidson.

Mitchell said that traditionally, motorcycling is viewed as a male-dominated sport, but for her to see women embracing this type of adventure is a breath of fresh air.

“When you see women empowering other women to join this sport — not on the back of the bike, not on their dad's bike or their boyfriends bike — but doing it because they love it for the freedom for the adventure and the mental health and clarity. It's really relaxing,” she said.

The event, which is now in its sixteenth year, also seeks to inspire other women who have not yet explored motorcycling or other forms of power sports, to learn to ride and obtain their licence.

“It's an amazing adventure for all women to ride a bike because usually you're on the back of a bike like I was at first, and you can only go out when they go out. Not when you want to go out,” said Donna Wheeler of Women Riders of Ontario.

Mitchell adds that socially, politically and economically, there are benefits to the inclusion of women in motorcycling, and every annual event further solidifies that.

“Enabling and empowering women through motorcycling and as witnessed every IFRD remains essential to what matters for women in riding going forward,” Mitchell said.