When the Dirty Dozen riders completed Progressive Adventure for the Cures 2009 – Dual Sport Ride to End Breast and Ovarian Cancers, they shared their stories at the Women’s International Motorcycle Conference in Keystone, Colorado. Gin and I were so moved by their accomplishments and their willingness to share their experiences and inspire other women.
Adding to our joy was the fact that Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha extended our time period on the WMF loaner dual sport bikes we had used for the Dirty Dozen Riders, which ranged from 200c.c. to 250 c.c. This allowed WMF and Coach2Ride (a dirt bike training program out of Ramona, California) to offer Progressive Dirt/Dual Sport Schools throughout the conference. Introducing other women to the paths less traveled and then offering the Women’s Conference its first guided Dual Sport Ride to Hot Springs, Colorado just put a whole new layer with frosting on an already great cake!
Additionally, Progressive Insurance served as the sponsor of our Progressive Moto Action Center at the Women’s Conference in Keystone providing WMF with the opportunity to offer action oriented seminars out doors on a variety of maintenance and riding skills designed to help each rider become even more independent on the highways and byways of life on two wheels.
Resting on our collective laurels can only last so long. Then, it’s time for action again. As with every project we have ever completed, we had learned too many lessons just to put them on a shelf to gather dust. Thus, we began looking for the next Adventure for the Cures chapter we were to write.
This time when we approached Progressive Insurance, our primary corporate sponsor, we presented them with a long term plan and a set of goals to meet. Ultimately, the plan and the goals are intended to not only grow opportunities for women in motorcycling, but also to support the avocation of motorcycling overall. You may have noticed, the average age of motorcyclists is going up. If we don’t find ways to replace ourselves, this passion we all share for life on two wheels will cease to exist.
First and foremost WMF set a goal to build its leadership base. To do this, we decided to introduce a group of innovative, healthy risk takers to an adventure that would test their mettle physically, emotionally, psychologically while growing their dirt and dual sport skills. Some who jumped on board had worked other fund raising/educational events with us in the past. However, many others who came on board were completely new to us.
We surmised that anyone who would sign up for a two-week, 2500 mile dual sport ride within a region of North America known to be remote… with dirt roads and trails known to disintegrate rapidly due to bad weather… in an area where it would likely rain at least a part of each day, or even snow… had to be tough!
We were not wrong! And, we’ll introduce you to these “Peaceful Warriors” in future blog entries.
Continuing on with our long term plan, we want to increasingly engage more women in dirt and dual sport riding. Statistically, women make a majority of household and family budgetary decisions on what will be purchased and how the family will spend its recreational time together.
Establishing a leadership base primarily made up of women, sends the message that riding in the dirt is fun and can be shared with other members of the family. More women riders equates to more men keeping their motorcycles past their early twenties when they get married and “buy a boat” the whole family can use. More women riders leads to more kids learning to ride and sharing a lifelong love for motorcycling and the out-of-doors with their parents; and in turn, with their own kids down the road.
Beyond these selfish goals to grow the number of women motorcyclists specifically and the number of motorcyclists in general are other compelling objectives. Adventure for the Cures exists first and foremost to raise funds to help eradicate breast cancer. Each Dirt Brigade rider committed to raising a minimum of $2000 apiece on behalf of the Susan G. Komen for a Cure – Global Promise Fund.
This deliberate focus on women’s health invites the involvement of men too. Forty percent of our riders participating in WMF fund raising have been men. Our male counterparts have always been intricately involved as both staff members and participants. Such was the case for Adventure for the Cures 2011 as well.
Mike (Gina’s husband), John (Cindy’s partner), Roy (Shirley’s husband), Walt (Nancy’s partner) and Brenden were all on board and just as vested in the mission as were the women riders. Our rides are aimed more at women’s health issues due to the numbers of women worldwide who are diagnosed with breast cancer compared to men. However, men have many women in their lives and they, themselves, can be targeted by the monster that is breast cancer. We want everyone to join our ranks as riders, spirit riders or sponsors to put breast cancer where it belongs… into the history books.
Also, it is not lost on us that once women’s health issues become a top priority worldwide, women will have the where-with-all to focus on other areas of their lives as healthy individuals whose worth is recognized by themselves and others. Such strides will enhance the human condition for all, women, children and men.
So, what’s next for the Women’s Motorcyclist Foundation, in terms of its long term goals and objectives as they relate to dirt and dual sport riding?
As a result of Progressive Adventure for the Cures 2011, our leadership base has grown considerably. For 2012, WMF, Inc. will be hosting Progressive Adventure for the Cures Dirt & Dual Sport Training camps around the country. Each camp will require participants to raise a minimum of $500 for the Global Promise Fund and each camp will focus on building dirt and dual sport riding skills.
This will be done through a series of partnerships with commercial endeavors and WMF, Inc. Our students will get a discounted rate for the training, and there will be partial scholarships available too to ensure we are able to attract a broad, diverse base of riders of all ages. Thus far, WMF, Inc. is working on collaborations with four different organizations including Hollister Hills, one of California’s State Recreational Vehicle Areas. Puget Sound Safety in Washington represents another location. The BMW Training Center in Greer, South Carolina will offer a third location and we are working on nailing down details with other partners.
Additionally, for those already well versed with dual sport riding, WMF, Inc. is collaborating with MotoQuest Tours on a ride in Laos. Registration and details for this ride will be available shortly.
Beyond the Dual Sport Rider Training and Tours, WMF has its hands in many other projects. Check out our web site in addition to this blog to find out where WMF will be with its Progressive Moto Action Seminars as well as Progressive “On Track for the Cures” programs.
For images below, click on picture to enlarge.