By JESSICA WRIXON
On Sunday, September 9, around 1,200 motorcyclists, along with participants, got together for a ride down and back along the George Washington Bridge, which had been cleared of all vehicles by local police departments for the 14th annual Andiamo Benefit Motorcycle Run.
The almost two hour ride, benefiting charities such as The Special Olympics, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Englewood Hospital’s new cancer treatment and wellness center, along with many others, was an all day event with games, food, and live music.
Within the massive crowd of people and motorcycles that swarmed all of Hardenburgh Avenue in Haworth, N.J., it was very clear that the majority of participating motorcyclists attending the benefit run were males.
With such a large majority of male riders in attendance, this put a big emphasis on female riders, along with their history of becoming a female motorcyclist and why.
According to Women Riders Now, a website that has been dedicated to female motorcyclists since 1999, estimated that in 2009, only about 25 percent of riders are women. Being such a small percentage, two female motorcyclists that attended and participated in the benefit run were asked about their experience as a female rider and what they think about the female motorcyclist community as a whole.
“I’ve been riding a motorcycle for around 20 years now and being able to combine it with my job was a blessing,” said Capt. Nichelle Luster, a Union City police officer who not only helped keep all of the riders safe by blocking off traffic but was also the only female police officer on a motorcycle to participate in the benefit run. “I wish more women wanted to ride a motorcycle. It’s very empowering, especially when it’s combined with your career. It feels good to have that kind of respect and power in and outside of the workplace.”
“I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle to meet new people and try new experiences. Riding opens you up to a different kind of crowd,” said another female motorcyclist and participant, Liz Dean, who had a different approach as to why she decided to take up learning how to ride a motorcycle. Dean, who dressed in darker, more grunge-like clothing compared to Capt. Luster, took more of the role as a ‘hardcore biker chick’ when it came to female riders within the motorcyclist community. “I actually took riding lessons and bought my bike with my mom. I love being able to ride my motorcycle with my new friends, and even my own mother.”
Raising over $100,000 for local charities, the Andiamo Benefit Motorcycle Run was a huge success in its 14th year running. If you or anyone you know are interested in donating participating in the 15th annual Andiamo motorcycle run, visit the Andiamo Benefit Motorcycle Run website.
Also, if you or anyone you know are interested in learning how ride a motorcycle and want to take the Motorcycle Safety Education Program Basic Rider Course to receive your license, visit the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website.