Spectators at this year’s Toronto Dyke March might have noticed two different tribes of motorcycle-riding Amazons making up the dykes on bikes contingent.
Molly King, an Ottawa-area dyke, was on hand to represent the Ottawa Amazons, the club she recently founded as an offshoot of a larger US-based club. King says she is hoping to attract bikers from all over Eastern Ontario.
Toronto already has its own Amazons, a motorcycle club for queer women that will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. Founder Sue Wells, who created the club with some friends back in 1978, doesn’t think the new group will have much of an impact on her organization.
“They’re part of the US group; they’re probably all straight,” says Wells. “We’re the queer Amazons; we’ve been around longer. We’re just going to keep on doing our thing — just motor along.
“And we’ll have a much nicer patch,” Wells adds with a laugh.
Every winter Wells spends her time watching British mysteries on TV Ontario while she personally embroiders patches for new members; an approximately 30-hour process per patch.
King’s group is affiliated with the Amazons Women’s Motorcycle Club; a US-based club which describes itself as “an international MC [motorcycle club] of strong, proud, independent women who share the passion of riding and a lifelong commitment based on six core principles which are the foundation of our sisterhood.” The six principles are love, honour, truth, respect, loyalty and commitment. King says she is currently the only member in Ontario.
King says the Ottawa Amazons will be similar to a business or professional recreation club. There will be a small fee charged per member. King envisions rides in eastern Ontario as well as at least one annual trip with the US-based Amazons. King says she’d like to develop a model similar to Olivia cruise lines with weekend trips organized to destinations including Quebec’s eastern townships, Mont Tremblant, Provincetown and upper New York State.
The Toronto Amazons also go on regular short trips as well as an annual weeklong ride; this year the club will be heading to northern Quebec. Other rides have included the Finger Lakes, the Cabot Trail, Cape Cod, Southern Ontario and Provincetown. A few years ago the Toronto Amazons headed to the Poconos to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its sister club, the New York City Sirens.
Wells’ group requires that a new member ride with them for a year before becoming accepted as an Amazon. Wells says this ensures that the newbies are good and safe riders. The club has approximately 30 active members with an additional 30 who have been members in the past.
“Once you’re an Amazon you’re always an Amazon,” says Wells.