2009 Women & Motorcycling Event – Day 3

August 26, 2009
Sarah Schilke
Sarah Schilke
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Sarah Schilke is an avid street rider and MSF instructor turned amateur AMA District 37 desert and motocross racer. She has ridden and worked in the motorcycle industry for over 15 years and participated in the AMA Women & Motorcycling Conference as a member of the Advisory Council and Seminar Speaker. Sarah is the first woman to be elected to the Motorcycle Industry Council Board of Directors and is the U.S. representative to the FIM (International Motorcycling Federation) Commission for Women in Motorcycling.

The women-ridden demo rides never ceased.
Demo rides never ceased for eager female riders attending the 5th Women & Motorcycling Conference held in Colorado.

The final day of the conference, it’s hard to believe it’s almost over. It seemed everyone was in agreement that the days went by too quickly: that there was so much left to do and plenty more people to meet. No one wanted to leave the alpine paradise of inspirational women motorcyclists and fantastic riding opportunities.

The morning started out early with a dual-sport ride up to Hot Sulphur Springs for brunch and a soak – much deserved after the dirt road trek to get there. This was a ride for women on bikes bigger than some people can even get up off the sidestand, BMW GS models being the standard steed for this particular ride.

For those not on the dual-sport ride, the factory demo rides continued. It seemed there was a never ending string of demo motorcycles leaving the parking lot, and those out for a jaunt in the mountains would regularly see a string of gleeful, waving women on demos.

As usual, the marketplace was buzzing with women purchasing all kinds of motorcycle related items while seminars continued upstairs. Added to the information lineup for the day were quick demonstrations on “Dropped Bike Pick-Up” and “Extended T-CLOCK inspection.” (T-CLOCK is an MSF developed advanced acronym for the pre-ride preparedness check: Tires-Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis, Kickstand.)

If that’s too much instruction for a day, after that Progressive broke it all up with an old school ice cream social. The social was held near the main registration area where participants got to choose from ice cream, frozen fudge, or traditional popsicles. The ice cream social provided a great chance to mingle while cooling off after the alpine temperatures had soared into the 80s for the end of the conference.

Isolated in the ski resort area, motorcycle shops were hard to come by. Many participants rode the 80 miles to visit Fay Myers Motorcycle World outside Denver. This was a fantastic journey for those who took the long way (over Breckenridge or Kenosha pass), but for those who needed immediate supplies, Silverthorne Powersports, just eight miles down the road, rolled out the red carpet treatment for the AMA group. Even the shop dog, Breezie, was excited to greet the women bikers, and they warmly invited everyone to visit again in the winter and give the snowmobiles a try.

After hearing Lois On The Loose talk about her adventures at the closing ceremonies  everyone wanted to dye their hair red  move to London and go on a major international motorcycle tour!
After hearing “Lois On The Loose” talk about her adventures at the closing ceremonies, everyone wanted to dye their hair red, move to London and go on a major international motorcycle tour!

The final evening marked the biggest celebration of the weekend, the Closing Celebration Banquet. Many donned their most formal “stuffable on the road” attire for the evening’s event. There was a melancholy sentiment in the air as everyone reveled in the great fun and friendships they had found over their time in Keystone, and at the same time commiserated about the end of the conference. It was an especially nostalgic send off, since the conferences only happen every several years as opposed to annually like most rallies.

At the banquet, AMA President Rob Dingman gave the crowd in the packed-to-the-gills ballroom a heartfelt send off. Applause resounded through the room at the appreciation of AMA’s reinvigorated interest in promoting the women’s side of motorcycling and motorcycle history.

Other speakers included Kawasaki’s Jan Plessner who spoke of the inspirational women in her life and presented a video of seasoned street and off-road women riders who lead and inspire other women in their motorcycling journeys. Maggie McNally (the AMA Board Member) gave a quick talk about the important role of female mentors in the sport before, Lois Pryce (aka Lois on the Loose) stole the stage. Lois took us along her solo trip from England to the tip of South Africa via video with commentary. Her journey illustrated the strength of the solo woman traveler, the foibles of international motorcycle adventures, and the basic humanistic nature of helping and enjoying people in spite of cultural differences. She hit on one of the most fundamental joys of motorcycling – exploring new places and meeting different people.

Local Colorados Jody Waltemeyer dances the last dance with her newfound Japanese riding buddies.
Local Colorado’s Jody Waltemeyer dances the last dance with her newfound Japanese riding buddies.

The once again teary-eyed crowd perked up after the emotional ceremony when local Colorado band Groove Machine took the stage and rocked the dance floor. No holds were barred at this final night shake down, as conference attendees postponed the inevitable end of the conference by trying to prolong the evening in their memories and their hearts. Gradually women peeled off with emotional goodbyes to get a sound sleep for the morning’s distant trek home. It was clear that although no one had experienced a dull moment, there was still a feeling that only the surface of the women’s motorcycling experience had been scratched, and that all would be looking forward to the AMA’s announcement of the next Women & Motorcycling Conference.

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