On International Female Ride Day, women across the world unite to ride motorcycles

The movement, which started in Canada, encourages women to “just ride” on May 4

IFRD riders in Morro Bay, California. | Photo courtesy of Vicki Gray

We’re stronger together. That’s the basic idea behind International Female Ride Day (IFRD), a movement dedicated to celebrating women on motorcycles on the first Saturday of May each year. Now in its 13th year, IFRD has become an unofficial holiday for women riders across the globe.

If you’ve ever been part of a big motorcycle group ride, you know it’s a special feeling. Alone, you’re at the mercy of cars on the road, whose drivers are often distracted and don’t seem to even notice you’re there. But in a big group, motorcycles are impossible to ignore.   

While IFRD celebrates all women riders, whether you ride alone or in a group, some people have taken the group riding idea to heart. One of them is Becky Goebel, who five years ago started organizing an annual IFRD ride in Vancouver, Canada.

Rider at IFRD in Vancouver.
Rider at IFRD in Vancouver. | Photo: Becky Goebel
Motorcycles at IFRD in Vancouver
Motorcycles at IFRD in Vancouver. | Photo: Becky Goebel

“Four women showed up and I was stoked,” she says of that very first event. Since then, Goebel has organized the ride from a different motorcycle shop in British Columbia each year, and it has grown exponentially.  

“The last year I put it on was year four, and over 100 women showed up,” she says.

The 27-year-old event organizer, content producer, and influencer recently relocated from Vancouver to Long Beach, California. But the move hasn’t stopped her—this year’s IFRD ride is still happening on May 4 at Trev Deeley Motorcycles in Vancouver.

“It’s cool to watch it grow and continue to meet new babes on bikes,” Goebel says. “Each year, one of my close friends finally buys a bike and gets her license just in time to participate—I love this. I don’t make any money doing it, it’s a passion project.”

One for the history books

International Female Ride Day is the brainchild of another Canadian, Vicki Gray. The motorcycle racer, instructor, and founder of Motoress started IFRD in 2007 as a way to raise awareness of female motorcyclists and encourage more women to start riding. Gray calls it “a synchronized ride day for women, unified in the passion for motorcycling—across all borders and languages.”

Under the moniker “Just ride,” rides are being organized in many countries and cities on May 4. While there is no official tally, Gray has a rough idea of how many people participate.

Vicki Gray on International Female Ride Day in Toronto, Canada
Vicki Gray on International Female Ride Day in Toronto, Canada. | Photo courtesy of Vicki Gray

“Through the years I have received photos and/or messages from women from over 120 countries,” she says. “I can only guess at the number of participants each year, but it’s in the thousands—double digit thousands.”

This year a new country is being added to the list: Saudi Arabia. In June last year, the country’s widely-criticized ban on women driving was finally lifted. “I’ve heard from Saudi women who will be joining in on May 4 this year,” says Gray. “That makes the 13th edition of IFRD one for the history books!”

There are also a number of rides happening all over North America—and if there isn’t one in your area, you can always organize your own. It doesn’t have to be complicated, Gray says: “Many partner up with their local dealership or start a Facebook group to gather riders in their area. Using the IFRD social media channels, the Facebook page and group are places where events are listed. Motorcycle clubs are a great place to get an event happening too.” She iterates that it doesn’t have to be a big, organized event: “It is important to remember that it’s about getting out there and joining in, even if you’re solo or with a few friends. Riding is all it takes to be part of IFRD.”

In organizing her annual Vancouver ride, Becky Goebel wants to highlight the sense of “community and strength” you only find at a women-only motorcycle event. “You can’t really explain it until you go to one,” she says, adding: “You can’t show up without making friends.”

Here are a handful of IFRD rides in North America: