Raising visibility of female riders is best accomplished, like anything, by riding. This year, I attended Flock to the Rock to celebrate International Female Ride Day with a hundred other women, and I must admit, my flock rocked.
Established in 2017, Flock to the Rock is an annual convention gathering women from around the country on the beautiful shores of Oregon to celebrate International Female Ride Day. Instead of one day, 100 women take over a small coastal town to discuss everything from bike maintenance, to personal hurdles, from camping off the bike to off road techniques. Inspirational speakers and incredible food dominate the evenings, and Saturday, all 100 women mount their two (or occasionally three) wheeled machines and celebrate the camaraderie of riding.
For someone who is picky about rallys and prefers co-ed events, Flock to the Rock snuck up and surprised me. I really wanted to hear Elspeth speak since I’d read her book, so I signed up, and because I wanted to be on dirt for International Female Ride Day, I asked if I could offer an off road portion for that ride. My idea was met with enthuiasm, which should have been my first signal that this would be a great time. Upon arrival, I was greeted with smiles.
The women at this event were warm and powerful. The sought connection over competition, and showed a genuine love of motorcycling. Some were seeking renewed confidence after grief or trauma, some were there to lead, some wanted to learn new things and some were there wanting comradarie. The event provided all of this and more. Over the weekend, I heard a hundred different stories and a hundred different reasons that people attended, so I wanted to share a few with you.
This year in Seaside, OR, I discovered something I have been looking for since I was a small child. I stumbled upon acceptance, wholeness, and unity. I discovered a tribe of women that share the same passion as me. I also found inspiration. From the incredible story of Elspeth Beard to the touching story of Pat Jaques, I learned that I was not alone in the world, that these incredible women have stories like mine. I was lifted by the energy of nearly 100 women. Before this event, I avoided women like the Plague. I was content hanging with the guys. I avoided other women because they seemed to be in constant competition with me. This was not the case at FTTR. I made several new friends and never felt anything but love and acceptance. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be part of the Photography staff, which was awesome because I was not able to ride this year due to my bike being in the shop. I was tickled to death to be the support vehicle for the Dirt Ride and chauffeur for the special guests and founder.
FTTR is about overcoming fear. It is something we have to do every time we get on a motorcycle, and for some of us, every time we interact with other people. At FTTR there is no fear, just the incredible energy of women who can move mountains.
Top Ten lessons of the weekend for Sharon
1) FINALLY realizing that yes, I just started riding, it’s ok to not be an expert yet. Took away a lot of stress and self-doubt.
2) Yes, my plan to drill and practice is the right way to go.
3) I probably upgraded to Boudicca a little early, so my incredibly generous friend Marissa is going to help me build a 250 Rebel to refine my skills.
4) I am a better passenger now that I have some riding experience.
5) I got to drive a car & trailer for the first time.
6) I got to be a support vehicle, including blocking in traffic, helping with merging, etc.
7) Practicing driving as if I am riding (keeping my eyes much further ahead on curves, etc) is very interesting and will likely make me a better driver.
8) This all-women event was completely devoid of posturing, competition, insults, and judgement.
9) Not a lesson, but I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of women and bikes. What great ROLL models!
10) I now have motivation to work out again! I need to regain my nimbleness. 🙂
Bonus lesson: riding pillion with two skilled female riders made me realize how much smoother they were than all my previous male riders. With male riders, there were always lots of helmet bumps, but with my female pilots, I experienced smoother, more technical rides, rather than powering wide open and slamming on brakes.
I thoroughly enjoyed the time of my life at the 2nd Annual Flock to the Rock in Seaside, Oregon. I have been married to my husband, Adam, nearly 27 years. I homeschool our four kids ages (17, 12, 10, and 6). I have been to many countries around the world, but attending FTTR was one of the highlights of my life! I am so thankful to the guest speakers and excellent trainers at FTTR. My next adventure will include my eldest daughter, Ashleigh, as we ride with a team of all female motorcycle riders through Pakistan in 2019.
Flock to the Rock 2018 was a really positive experience for me. I’m thankful that Ruth convinced me to come— she somehow knew that the event would be a good thing for me; it would show me something I needed to see. I’ve only been to one other women’s rally, but FTTR18 was focused on riding and uplifting other women. It was really neat to see so many women from different walks of life, on so many different kinds of bikes, coming together to enjoy the ride and support each other. It was so nice to be able to actually meet and talk to some of the ladies that are leaders and resources in the greater motorcycle community. Sometimes it can be a little intimidating to reach out online, but after meeting them in-person, it quickly became apparent that they’re all so personable and welcoming. Overall, I think Ruth’s bigger vision of having a true community of women sharing their passions and following their dreams is well underway and evidenced by the togetherness at FTTR.
Ruth Belcher, Global Moto Adventures
To wrap up, we talked with Ruth, creator of Flock to the Rock, and the woman behind Global Moto Adventures. We have seen how hard she works, and how she has surrounded herself with a tribe of volunteers to make this event happen. We asked her for her vision, and this was her eloquent reply:
“My vision for Global Moto Adventures is to create opportunities for women to network, inspire one another and build community. I think one of the greatest gifts that we each have is sharing our personal stories with one another.
I have discovered that I get the greatest joy listening to women share their experiences about their first long ride, the first time they dropped their bike, how they crushed their fears when learning how to ride and how they have found community in their wind-sisters.
We are creating a network of women riders on a local and global scale, bridging the global gap that once separated us. Creating opportunities for women to speak about their experiences, educate one another by offering a variety of classes. Ultimately to inspire and touch one another’s lives in such a way that it will propel us into our next epic adventure.
It is an honor bring this event to our community and share it with like-minded women who have a passion to ride, love for the sport and a heart for our community.”
Ruth, we think you are accomplishing your mission. Wiht this event, and with Global Moto Adventures, you are connecting women locally and around the world.
If you are looking for a way to celebrate international female ride day, love the Oregon coast, and want to hear the most inspirational women riders you can imagine, check out Flock to the Rock 2019. My Flock Rocked, and I know yours will too.
If you liked this article, also check out this review of the ADV Woman Rally!
Want to learn more about Global Moto Adventures? Click the Link!
Love the Photographs? Check out these women’s websites!