Meeting up at Junction 26 Dinner checking out the trucks and a tank no less!
We made our way northeast taking in all the small country roads which made for some beautiful scenery on a crisp sunny day. Pogs had to leave us in the hills to catch a flight so we carried on rolling through for a coffee in Great Bardfield. We now descended south to our lunch destination again through lovely little roads with a mixture of beautiful old houses and more scenery.
Arriving at Hanningfield Reservoir we parked our bikes for a spectacular view overlooking the water and a spot of lunch.
Sheila led the ride through the A- and B-roads of Essex. Torchie was sweeping that fine day. Joined by prospect, Bandit, Max and Letitia, the beautiful fast bends were punctuated with a stop under the flight path for Stansted airport, tea and cake at a great cafe near Finchingfield, a fav of motorcyclists everywhere, a huge pub lunch. Awesome!
Canal pride – 6th/7th August – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Following on from London Pride last month we had an opportunity to reciprocate by visiting the dutch girls in Amsterdam for Amsterdam Canal Pride. Pogs and Bandit flew over for the weekend and met up with Dori G, President of DoB Rhine-Weser. A totally excellent weekend hosted by the Pride on Bikes girls, Janne, Angelique and Marian. After being let down at the last minute by AirBnB, (a sudden no notice cancellation), we were saved by Nathalie Voren, owner of the Hotel Boutique View right next to Leidseplein in the very heart of Amsterdam.
Arriving on the Friday, we were invited to attend an exhibition at the Paradiso curated by Janne and featuring artworks by Marian.
And a very interesting exhibition it was too. We then made our way to Saarien, the oldest lesbian bar in Amsterdam, (probably in Europe), and now the only one left.
On the Saturday we were very much looking forward to viewing the world famous Canal pride, and were offered a prime spot on the edge of the Prinzengracht with a perfect view of the passing canal boats… thanks to Die, the owner of Saarien, who allowed us to join them at their space.
Quite the view
Soon the canal parade begins.. just spectacular..
The evening was mad, just so many people. We arranged to meet with Janne, Marian and Angelique plus a few of the other girls we have met including Isabelle at the Homo-monument but it was so crowded we just couldn’t make our way through to them. We decided to retreat to Saarien and meet them there later, however when we got there it was also thronged so we changed our plans and went to the American Bar in Leidseplein for dinner.. very nice it was too.
The next morning, Nathalie owner of the Boutique View, put on a tremendous brunch spread for us and we were joined by Janne, Marian, Angelique and Isabelle to say farewell and see you next year.
Pogs and Bandit had a late-ish flight, but had been pre-warned by several of the girls to try and arrive at least 4 hours before the flight as the queues have been humungous at Schiphol airport. Taking this to heart we made our way there expecting to be waiting a long time.. well the flying goddesses were on our side for once and we glided through both the security and passport controls leaving us with several hours to ‘kill’ before our flight home… go Dykes on Planes (just for you Dori lol).
Monthly Ride Out – Camber Sands – 21st August
Due to numerous reasons including holidays, injuries and prior arrangements a group of 10 dyke bikers slowly whittled down to two… it being a lovely day Pogs and Sheila decided to not cancel yet another ride and go ahead down to Camber Sands.
A lovely twisty route through the High Weald, arriving just 2 hours later at Camber Sands… and it is very sandy.
A quick lunch in the local cafe and back on the bikes.
We decide to follow a twisty route back to London finding ourselves on some really lovely backroads… until at one point we were actually attempting to get the huge Harley round a tiny hairpin full of grit and dirt, that bike is so not made for this and Pogs was certainly not a happy bunny!! Having managed to survive that we take a stop at the Bull pub in Benenden for a shandy before relinquishing the twistys for a direct route back to London.
In advance of London Pride we were absolutely delighted to be joined by members of our sista club Dykes on Bikes Rhine-Weser, Germany. Our President, Pogs, rode down to Dover to meet them from the channel ferry and escort them back to London, where, due to an Airbnb mess up, they were left without accommodation, but disaster was averted as they were able to stay over with Pogs.
The next day :Pogs, Petit Chou and Torchie rode to Harwich to pick up our Dutch guests who were riding in for London Pride from the Pride on Bikes dyke group of Amsterdam. A fairly late, but enjoyable ride; we last met in 2019 when we visited Amsterdam Pride so it was really good to see them again after all this time.
2nd July – London Pride
Once again Dykes on Bikes are proud to lead off London Pride, especially after 2 years of lockdowns… this year is also extremely special as it is the 50th Anniversary of London Pride; 50 years since Lesbians and Gay men marched for our rights way back in 1972!!
We were delighted to be joined by international dyke bikers from our Sista chapter Dykes On Bikes Rhine-Weser, Dori G President and Steego Secretary, and the Pride on Bikes dykes from Amsterdam, Janne, Angelique and Marian. We also had an opportunity to ride with those we have ridden with before and some new faces who we hope will come along and ride with us again in the future; both at our Pride events but also throughout the year.
A fantabulous day was had by all… here is the video to show you what you missed…
but don’t worry.. we will be doing it all over again in 2023; bigger, better, louder and prouder so if you are a lesbian biker do come along and celebrate with us.
While the rest of the grrrls went off to relax at our favourite haunt, The Appletree pub,
two of our members set off with our Rhine-Weser sistas, Dori G and Steego, to Cologne in Germany riding through the evening and into the night to be ready to lead off Cologne Pride the next day!!
3rd July – Cologne Pride, Germany
The next morning we left our hotel just outside of Cologne and met up with the rest of the Rhine-Weser members to ride into the centre of Cologne. The weather was beautiful, brilliant sunshine, but not too hot.
Arriving at the Pride gathering point, on a bridge no less, we realise we cannot get through to the front so Dori G, the President of Rhine-Weser, stopped to talk to some police officers and before you know it we are threading our way through the throngs of people and floats gathered up on the bridge. After quite a tortuous ride, trying to not kill anyone, we eventually arrived at the front. The only vehicles in front are police cars so we pull up behind them and get off to decorate our bikes… (check out the video to see how treacherous it actually was).
Before long we are back on our bikes and Dori leads us past the police cars and out onto the parade route. We ride through the centre of the city towards the famous Koln Dom, cathedral. Throngs of people cheering and clapping us on our way.. it is now extremely hot and with the ultra slow riding some of our bikes were really overheating.. at last we make a stop in a cool shaded area to wait for the walking parade to catch up.
Back onto the parade route and past more happy people cheering us on we finally arrive at the cathedral and park up.
Once off the bikes we enjoy a visit to the cathedral itself and then some well earned food, drink and rest.
Back to the hotel for some sleep.. yay.. at last.
Next morning we say a very fond farewell to Steego, Secretary of Rhine-Weser, as she has to make her way home to Frankfurt and go to work.
Dori G, Petit Chou and Pogs then take a beautiful route through fantastic windy roads northwards toward Edewecht and the Rhine-Weser clubhouse. After staying overnight Petit Chou has to return to the UK for another adventure, the coast to coast ride with the Small Bike, Big Adventure group of which she is a member with her Honda Cub 125… go Sylvie. Pogs stays another night with Dori and then heads off for a weeks tour of the Netherlands.. more about that can be seen in her blog www.pogshogs.com
A fantastic Pride month.. and more to come. Some of us will be attending Amsterdam Canal Pride at the beginning of August so check out our news next month.
24th July – Triumph Factory, Hinckley Leicestershire
To finish off an extremely busy month; Pogs, Sheila and Petit Chou rode up to the Triumph factory in Hinckley Leics to attend the Worlds Largest Women Riders world record attempt. This is the third time this event has been organised and the UK are the current world record holders for the highest number of women bikers to ride in to an event. Other countries have attempted to steal the title, including Australia and the USA, but the UK is still in front. The aim this time was to break our own record. Both our President, Pogs and Secretary, Petit Chou have attended the two previous ride ins and are therefore record holders, but it was the first time for Sheila, our Vice-President.
Pogs and Sheila rode up together on the Saturday as Petit Chou had another arrangement. We stayed overnight in an AirBnb around 5 miles from Hinckley arranging to meet up with PC the following morning at her hotel. Arriving at the hotel we enjoyed a very substantial breakfast… yum.. which set us up for the day.
Riding into the Triumph factory was monumental.. so many bikes, surely we must beat our own record!
Slowly edging forwards to the check in to be counted…
and at last we are through..
yeeeessss… we are numbers 0591, 0595 and 0597!
So did we???? The existing record is 1132 and we smashed it… 1549 women rode in between 10am and 3pm, how amazing is that.
June is Pride month and as in former years we organised our annual Dyke Pride Ride on the 12th June. Meeting up outside the Central Station gay pub just behind Kings Cross to decorate our bikes before heading off towards the Ladies Pond on Hampstead Heath.
On the way we stopped at various former lesbian venues where Spanna, our Membership Officer talked to us about the history of each place… she has frequented most of them in her time.
1. The Carved Red Lion Pub (now The Winchester)
The Carved Red Lion was a pub that became known as a predominantly lesbian pub, hosting discos in the 1970s and 1980s. Its basement was one of the main places that lesbians could meet in Islington. It also had a ‘no smoking’ night once a week, which was radical at the time.
2. Duke of Clarence Pub (Closed)
The Duke of Clarence pub was a women-only pub run entirely by women from the 1980s until its closure in 2006. It advertised heavily to lesbians, operating as a safe space for women of all sexual orientations.
Although the pub is now closed, the name can still be seen on a sign that still hangs on the side of the building.
3. Sisterwrite Bookshop
Sisterwrite was a feminist collective started in 1979 by Kay Stirling, Lynn Alderson, and Mary Coghill. It consisted of a bookshop with an upstairs reading room and vegetarian café, and it remained open for fifteen years, acting as the epicentre of feminist and lesbian literature in the 1980s. It was praised for being a women-only venture at the time.
The bookshop faced difficulties, primarily from men who were aggressive to staff and defaced the shop. On one occasion there was a brief clash with the police, as the owners of Sisterwrite believed that the police had wiretapped their phones. During the era of Section 28, certain books that discussed lesbians in an positive light had to be kept under the counter for fear of reprisal from the authorities.
4. Hemingford Arms
The Hemingford Arms, which opened in 1855, is still in operation in 2022. It is the oldest traditional pub in Barnsbury. Its first floor was home to the renowed Icebreakers Friday-night disco in the early 1980’s, a hugely popular disco which operated in tandem with the community services provided by Icebreakers. The disco was held here between approximately 1981 and 1983 before moving to the Carved Red Lion. Islington and Haringey Gay Group also made the pub their home in the early 1980s, before moving to the Fallen Angel in 1989.
5. Club Kali, The Dome In the 1970s and 80s, when a side street in Islington was just another obscure part of inner-city London, the “Hemi” was a rare space where a variety of characters would gather. Lisa Power once described the Hemingford Arms as “a melting pot of everything disreputable. All the subterranean and anti-establishment groupings you could imagine – gays, lesbians drag queens, punks, new-romantics, hard-line politicos, anarchists – you name them and they would congregate at the Hemi, especially for the Friday night discos.”
We soon arrived at the Ladies Pond and settled down in the shade of a large tree where we enjoyed our packed picnics and chat.
Was great to meet so many dyke bikers, both old friends and new, we hope they will come and join us again on our ride outs.
7th May – IFRD – We had planned to ride in celebration of the annual International Female Ride Day event, (IFRD). Pogs was due to lead this ride but managed to come off her bike and break her ankle the Wednesday before so, sadly, we had to cancel.
15th May – Essex Bimble – Our Treasurer, Torchie, was due to lead this ride, but had to go into hospital for an operation. Pogs was hoping to take over lead but is still not fully fit after breaking her ankle so yet another cancellation.
Now we are all focused on our Dyke Pride Ride – 12th June and of course the main event of our year, London Pride on the 2nd July.
A couple of months with low numbers and inclement weather meant that most of the events and rides were cancelled.
1st March – Meet n Greet – cancelled due to tube strike
12/13th – Club Weekender to Bolsover in the Derbyshire Dales
We rode as a club up to Bolsover in the Derbyshire Dales to visit Pogs friend and deliver some books she had promised.
A great ride up the A5 mostly, and well done to Spanna for completing her first looooong ride. A very pleasant if short stop over, where we were also joined by Torchie’s partner, then back to London on the Sunday.
First though what is a trip to Derbyshire without a stop off at that world famous biker venue, Matlock Bath, for a look at the beautiful scenery, bikes and a bit of brekkie/brunch.
Some of the bigger bikes took the motorway home, lots of mega traffic and filtering.. deep joy.
19th March – Monthly Ride Out – another attempt to go to Arundel Castle and the Black Rabbit, sadly cancelled due to low numbers. We will try again
5th April – Meet n Greet – cancelled due to low numbers
6th April – Our membership officer and founder member, Spanna, turned 50… congratulations.
24th April – Ace to Essex Bimble
Two members, two bikes, two photos… Sheila and Torchie made it out for a short ride, Yay
The plan was for our President Petit Chou to lead this ride into the W Sussex countryside heading for Arundel Castle and a delicious lunch at the famous Black Rabbit; however we had to cancel at the last minute due to extreme wind and rain. We are sure this will be a future route so keep your eye out for our monthly rides.
A truly freezing ride, but a very lovely bright day. Meeting up at Moes Diner on the A12 we made our way out to the seaside at Bradwell to visit the isolated church and beach. A fantastic ride and beautiful scenery.
23rd Jan – Banger Blatt – Monthly ride out
Another plan gone slightly awry. Aim was to ride from the Ace Cafe to the Super Sausage Cafe.. never got there. We did enjoy a short ride out to the countryside though.