By: Dave Abrahams

Cape Town – More than 60 women riders gathered in Somerset Road on Saturday to celebrate the 10th annual International Female Ride Day, the world’s largest ‘ladies only’ motorcycling event.

The ride, hosted by Harley-Davidson Cape Town, was one of hundreds being held in dozens of countries worldwide – and nine in South Africa - under the auspices of Canadian online women bikers’ forum Motoress.

International Female Ride Day was started in 2007 by Motoress founder Vicki Gray with the slogan “Just Ride!” and has grown to embrace thousands of women all around the world on the first Saturday each year. It’s not a charity ride or a competition, and does not belong to any brand or club – it’s just about women getting out there and riding their bikes.

The Cape Town ride, organised by Lady Bikers SA, drew riders of every description, from petite teens on 125cc commuters to tall supermodel lookalikes on big dual-purpose bikes and quiet, self-contained professionals on expensive cruisers. But there was none of the one-upmanship that characterises so many biking events – the sisters were all there to support each other.

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From the start in the Cape Town CBD, the group rode out along the N1 to the Swartland 1-Stop for a quick ‘comfort stop’ – where another dozen or more riders joined in – but at that point road captain Sonja van der Merwe made a safety call due to strong side-winds and the planned route to Riebeeck Kasteel was changed to a venue at Eden on the Bay, where the ladies settled down for a relaxed, unhurried lunch.

But in many ways the defining moment of the ride came right at the start, where the huge column of bikes mustering in Somerset Road stopped the traffic in both directions for a few minutes. One driver, leaning out of his car window to capture images of the biggest ‘biker gang’ he’d ever seen, was so surprised to hear the riders were all women that he almost dropped his phone!

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