Women Riders

1st Annual Biker Ally Rally - Galena, Illinois

Written by  July 31, 2007

We are well into “blow torch” weather conditions here in the Midwest. After riding all day one Saturday at 98 degrees, it’s amazing how the hot weather makes you feel so tired. I love the heat and the sun bearing down on my shoulders, but when you stop, whoa! The heat from the engine feels like a fire pit and without the breeze it just about melts you! But hey, I’m not complaining, at least we are not in Las Vegas where the temperature rose to 120 degrees with daily heat advisory warnings to the community. Let the riding continue!

A lot of our readers have ventured out on their own on road trips but I just experienced mine, and let me tell you, WOW, what a feeling that was! I attended the 1st Annual Biker Ally Rally in Galena, Illinois, which is approximately 500 miles from Kansas City. I guess I should say I rode half of the trip by myself because I had the opportunity to ride up with a friend, Elizabeth Castillo-Williams who also writes for another motorcycle magazine. She has been riding since childhood and has thousands of miles logged by herself. She was a great mentor for me because I have always let everyone else plan the route, study the maps, etc. on all our rides. Coming home from the rally, I was on my own. It makes you feel empowered and a sense of accomplishment settles in after a few hundred miles.

Let me tell you about the rally and how much fun it was networking with other female bikers. This was also my first female rally to attend and it was a first for the State of Illinois. Rain Nietzold is the editor of Biker Ally Magazine and hosted the event for all of her magazine subscribers. I met Rain on the internet the year before she started the magazine in 2000 and we quickly became friends; bouncing ideas back and forth, visiting at rallies, and having her as a guest in our home when she came to Kansas City. Cycle Connections only gets better every month and every year, the same is true for all the hard work and passion Rain has put in her magazine.

There were 150 registered participants for the 3-day event held at the Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort. The view outside our window was incredible with a setting of Lake Galena, the ski lifts, and rolling hills. The weather wasn’t the best, but at least it wasn’t raining, temperatures were in the 50’s with everyone in long sleeved shirts and jackets. A host of activities were available from self-guided rides, alpine slide rides that were such fun even though Elizabeth is afraid of heights, a safety seminar, a 100 mile guided ride, and trips to the quaint and charming town of Galena. The historic downtown district is home to dozens of shops and restaurants housed in 19th-century landmark buildings. Kayaker’s and canoes were floating down the river as you crossed the bridge heading toward town. Galena is situated on the Mississippi River and close enough to ride to Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; and you can easily add four state patches to your vest in a short time! I took a trolley ride around town and was given the full story on not only the home of President Ulysses Grant, but also other mansions like the Belvedere that were open for tour.

The size of the event was kept relatively small. Rain said, “The hotel could only accommodate so many and I didn’t want anything big the first year. I want to give attention to the ones who came and the subscribers are the ones who requested I host a rally”. It really was a great opportunity to visit and network with other gals who ride. Some of the Khrome Cowgirls from Kansas City were there, and I finally got to meet Linda Blankenship with Sisters in Spirit, a group out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have talked on the phone and e-mailed each other this past year and her group is starting new chapters all over the United States. Three Biker Ally staff members came from other countries, including New England and Australia. It was interesting talking to them about the difference in riding, motorcycle laws, and how they started riding. One staff member who is a Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor shared her story on teaching motorcycle classes in sign language for the deaf. What a fantastic program that is. They are hoping to expand throughout the United States.

There were a half dozen vendors present, one being VaVa Vroom, a business that started in February 2007 by Denise Maple out of Chicago, Il. Denise has been riding 5 years and after getting burned out in Corporate America she jumped in with both feet to fulfill her dream of starting her own clothing business for women. Denise said, “We sell the best-designed, best-made, and most unique cycling clothes on the planet for women!” They sell t-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts, and shimmery chemises with sizes up to 5XXX. They have their clothes in retail shops and they attend rallies to help promote their business. The website for VaVaVROOM is www.vavavroomonline.com.

Another vendor I was impressed with is almost a neighbor to us here in Kansas City is Guy and Susan Keast who are distributors for Dri Wash n’Guard. Guy and Susan are from Rantoul, Kansas. Their company was started due to a water shortage in several states where fines of up to $500 are placed on residents who water illegally. That is how Dri Wash n’Guard began in 1991 and the Keast’s bought into the program in 2003. Guy bought a 32 oz bottle of DWG and as soon as he received it, he “dri washed” their Harley-Davidson, two Toyota pickup trucks, Susan’s car, the rest is history! They travel from rally to rally across the United States and Guy will tell you his advertising is “bellybutton to bellybutton,” walking and talking about his products. The cleaning kit includes a tire & trim, chrome, leather, carpet & upholstery, and windshield cleaner. They even offer a home cleaning product for the kitchen, bath, glass, and furniture. Absolutely no water is ever used to clean bikes, boats, cars, trucks, and RV’s. The procedure is simple; spray on with a sponge, let it cure, massage into the bike, then buff out. The product helps repel dust, dirt, and grime and is designed to clean and polish without the use of water.

Guy and Susan both detailed my bike, and believe me, they did a terrific job. It sure beats using a toothbrush, 15 rags, buckets of water, cleaning products that just work so so, and a lot of time. I was really surprised how my bike cleaned up, especially since we hit a smidge of rain on the way to Galena. It wasn’t a mud mess, but it was dirty. It’s been three weeks since the detail was done and my bike is still shiny and clean. The cleaning kits are reasonable in price and can be purchased at several motorcycle dealerships in Kansas and Missouri. Guy and Susan are a delightful couple and they enjoy making new friends, it was a pleasure meeting them at the rally. Dri Wash n’Guard’s website is www.dwgint.net/keastwaterless.

Special guest speakers were Linda “Jo” Giovannoni, founder of the second chapter of Women in the Wind in 1983, and founder of Harley Women Magazine in 1985. “Jo” was the fifth woman inducted into the National Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame in Sturgis, South Dakota. From 1986-1998 she ran the Ladies Day Ride and Party in Sturgis, S.D. The one day event included a group ride, photo session, luncheon, door prizes, raffles, band, guest speakers, Harley Men contest, bike show, bike rodeo, and a motorcycle fashion show! She presently is a contributing writer for the Daily Herald’s Motorcycle Section, now called Free Wheeling. She has owned nine motorcycles and currently rides a 1996 Road King.

The next speaker was Gina Woods, host of Open Road Radio that is broadcast on Sundays, 7-8 PM CT on the talk America Radio Network (in Chicago 8-9 PM on WCKG 105.9 FM). Her shows include biker hot tips, celebrity guests, ride and rally reviews, tech tips, listener call-in, race results, biker choice product reviews, and much more. Gina is high-energy, passionate about helping others who need help in life, and she has been around motorcycles forever. She can break down an engine and put it back together and she can ride like the big boys. Both gals were an inspiration to our sport and it was great meeting them.

Rain put on a PowerPoint presentation on the history of Biker Ally, and as a surprise to me, I was presented with a beautiful piece of art made into a kickstand cookie in recognition of being the first magazine subscriber to Biker Ally. Thank you Rain, that was very special and you can count on me being at all of your future rallies.

I think everyone agreed before departing on Sunday that we could look forward to the 2nd Annual Biker Ally Rally. If you get a chance, girls, check out an all women rally. It is a great experience and it makes you want to come home and get other women involved in motorcycling.

Next month I’ll take you on a solo ride 500 miles back to Kansas City from Galena, Illinois. Ride Safe and have fun wherever you ride!

Goldie Arnold:
Goldie Arnold

“Never rider faster than you angel can fly”

TIP OF THE MONTH: Ride Safe, the better your driving record is the less it will cost you in insurance.