We have been lucky enough to speak with the lovely Andrea Lanagan of FRoC Female Riders of Canberra.
This Ladies Motorcycle Group was created by Andrea and friends and has grown into a 254 member group holding a number of rides and social events throughout the year for their members. Go girls!
Andrea is going to tell us a bit more about FRoC and we will also hear from some of their members too! We hope by sharing their story and comments you will find the motivation to create or join a girl group near you to help bring female riders together for endless fun!
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FEMALE RIDERS OF CANBERRA
Where did FRoC all being?
All the active bike groups in Canberra were dominated by men. Riding with the guys is fine, provided you can keep up and don’t mind the blokey atmosphere. It became apparent that the female motorcyclist population in Canberra was really starting to grow, and not all the girls wanted to ‘keep up with the boys’ or listen to the blokey banter and conversations. There was a womens group, but they had been fairly inactive for some time and didn’t have the reach of Facebook. Convincing the group to switch to Facebook was an unrewarding discussion.
A small group of female riders came to a consensus that an all-female motorcyclists Facebook group was an opportunity begging to be taken, so a Facebook page was created. It invited girls who love to ride to join a supportive, cheeky, and fun loving group. A group that consisted of all levels of rider, from brand new learners to many years of experience. A group that had road riders, dirt riders, track riders, scooter riders. A group with an ideal that “No one gets left behind”. A group that was built on a common interest of motorcycles, but also was supportive and social. Canberra weather can be bitter in the winter and not many people want to go on rides in sub zero temperatures, but they still want to socialise with like minded people. What started as a small Facebook group rapidly expanded and FRoC (Female Riders of Canberra) was born!
What kind of events and rides do you organise?
We host a whole range of events including Track Days and Fortnightly Dinner meets at the Statesman Hotel Bistro where we have had guest speakers such as BACA and MRA (Motorcycle Riders Association). Here are just a few of the other events we have organised throughout the year:
- Long Weekend Rides
- MRA ACT Annual Toy Run
- First Aid for Motorcyclists Course
- Bike Show Rides
- MRA ACT Annual Pink Ribbon Ride
- Coffee, brunch and lunch rides
- Rides to Sunset Cinema and movie nights
- International Female Ride Day
- Rides to various places around Canberra
How did your members find out about the group?
Besides our Facebook page, we also have a website and business cards that we can hand out, but most of it is word of mouth and being seen in the community while supporting events. Our local motorbike stores also inform new female riders about our group, and many of our members are also members of other motorcycle groups.
"A close girlfriend of mine suggested it, at the time I had only been riding for nearly two years and knew only one other female rider."
"I was pointed in the direction of FRoC by a male rider friend when I was deciding whether to keep my bike or sell."
What would you say is the main reasons why women have joined your group and what do your members get out of being part of FRoC?
Our aim is to provide a group that supports and encourages riders of all skill levels; from those applying for their Learners Permit, to those that test themselves on the track, irregardless of age, years riding or bike of choice. A group that has fun together, not only when riding, but in between rides as well.
"It's nice to be surrounded by other girls who just get it, even just chatting on the page is fantastic motivation to meet other women riders."
"I wanted to be part of a group that does not judge, that is supportive and a safe environment where you can be yourself, explore yourself further as a rider and as a woman. I needed to be involved in a group so that I can have my “me” time."
What do you get out of being part of FRoC?
It's really nice to hear all the girls say how supported they feel, the friendships they have made, the sense of community and I guess, being part of the FRoC family. We all have different backgrounds, stories and experiences and these are all really important aspects of our group. And as they have perfectly identified, “It's about the bike, but not JUST about the bike".
"Every meeting I attend, every ride I go on, brings us closer as we get to know one another on a more personal level and form lasting friendships. But mostly it feels like a group where I can be myself, my partner has no issues and knows the importance the group has for me and my fortnightly meetings is my time with my girls."
"I have loved meeting new women who share a passion for motorcycling, who are generous with their time and experiences and who answer my newbie questions with a smile and without judgement. I love listening to people’s stories and finding out about common interests."
Tell us about your most memorable moments with FRoC.
Everyone loves a group ride and even more so when we can dress up and look like the fun group that we are. Riding to Dubbo for the World Record Breaker was certainly a spectacle. Our convoy included 35 girls on bikes, a couple of partners, 2 support vehicles carrying 2 x lady pillions and our mechanic – all waving our purple and orange FRoC flags. Then International Female Ride day saw us donning purple and we rode the peaks of Canberra – leaving a trail of purple boa feathers as we went. This was followed later in the year by the Pink Ribbon Ride, Snowy Ride (dressed as onsie animals) and the Xmas Toy Run.
"FRoC welcomed me (and my man) to join the group ride from Canberra and were incredibly supportive throughout. I experienced many 'firsts' that weekend! First long distance ride, first group ride, first wet weather ride, first FRoC ride and of course first world record breaker! An incredible achievement for all of us and an extreme confidence booster for me personally. I am still so grateful to the girls for giving me a chance and showing so much support, encouragement and respect."
"I haven’t encountered any egos or nastiness, just an amazing, fun-loving and cheeky group of awesome women, I love that! I am looking forward to learning more from these ladies and to do more group rides in 2017."
Do you have any advice for women out there who are perhaps thinking of getting a bike or group riding, but don't know other women that ride?
"Stop procrastinating and do it. Be yourself and enjoy life, who cares what your age is or what you ride. It doesn’t matter your background, your age, what you ride, L’s P’s, beginner to experienced riders, if you ride, you ride, doesn’t matter, we don’t and won’t discriminate. Get involved with a group near you, search Facebook, don’t be afraid to speak to a biker if you see one. If you see another female getting off her bike, or even carrying a helmet, go up and speak with her, I personally (and I’m sure with most) love talking about riding, my bike, experiences and future endeavors and dreams."
"Ride your own ride, don't be pressured into doing things you aren't comfortable doing. Practice, practice and practice some more! One great way to improve your riding is to get out in all conditions and get kilometres under your wheels, with FRoC or a female ride group near you."
"Take the plunge and do it, it's addictive. It is safe (yes there are risks, but so does everything). Put yourself out there and you will meet some great people"
What is next for FRoC?
The feedback and responses that we have from our new members is just phenomenal. Pretty quickly they get to know others and it encourages them to come out on more rides. One of the new ladies attending her first ride over the weekend said that when she turned up for her first dinner, everyone had their phones out. She assumed that this would be a group, like others, that got together and told stories of their kids and partners. She was warmly welcomed and introduced to all, where she then realised that everyone was showing pics of their bikes, rides and gear! She said that she immediately knew that this was a group where she would enjoy herself, a place to find herself, away from the kids and partner.
So I guess for FRoC, we want to keep on doing what we are doing. Lots of get togethers encouraging motorcycling in a friendly, fun and positive forum and creating lasting friendships through diversity. FRoC have been approached by MRA-ACT (Motorcycle Riders Association ACT) to run the Annual Pink Ribbon Ride, so as a group this will be our first organised “community” motorcycle ride. We will continue to attend and support other rides in our area and run our International Female Ride Day event, as well as our regular group rides.
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We hope you have enjoyed our interview and to find out more about Female Riders of Canberra please do check out their website or follow them on Facebook.
Special thank you to the FRoC members who participated in this interview! Thank you Andrea, Krystal, Dianna, Kerri, Sam, Kim, Treena, Kristy, Anastasia, Nic, Nat E and Nat B.
If you are run an all-female riding crew somewhere in the world and want to interview with us then please contact us via the Get In Touch page of our website.