In 1987 two Sydney dykes went to the New York Pride Parade and amongst all the glitter, glamour and spectacle, 1000 Dykes On Bikes weren't very hard to miss. Kimborley O'Sullivan and Kath Savona thought “that looks pretty damn amazing, we can do that for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras” and thus the start of Dykes on Bikes in Australia was born. When they came back they went around to all the lesbian venues leaving pamphlets advertising that they were forming a club to ride in the 1988 Mardi Gras. They placed them on any motorbikes parked outside, as there was no lesbian publication printed in Sydney at this time. A grand total of 15 bikes rode that year, but it was the start. The next year there was 25 bikes and then it grew by degrees till it boasted around 250 bikes for our 10th anniversary in 1998.
In 1991 we first began leading the Mardi Gras parade as our numbers had grown to where we averaged around 200 per year in our membership. We were riding a diverse number of motorbikes including your basic postal bike, our very proud motor scooters and then anything from your Japanese bikes through to Ducatis, BMW's and Harleys. Logic dictated that we go first due to the constant possibility of overheating of bikes due to our willingness in pleasing (and teasing) the crowd if we went too slowly behind the other floats, and so we got to set our own pace at last. Blowing our horns and going Vrrroom, Vrrroom! “ Loudly ” , we are the perennial crowd favourite. Something about a quite large group of women revving up their engines certainly strikes a chord.
Deb Thompson was the first president of the club and devoted her time and dedication to run DOB's from 1989 to 1993. Jo Overland then took over the position of President for the year of 1994. Janet Parkins (AKA Schmxnet) took on the role of President & led the club from 1995 to 1999. Janet and Jo Overland introduced weekend getaways to the club, which proved to be a huge success, and still continues today. Louise van der Krann then led the club in 2000 followed by Deisel in 2001. Janet again had the honour of being President in 2002 till 2006. Then Lisa (Giz) Usher stepped in for a year in 2007. Currently, Annette (Neddy) Mesure is president. All have strived to maintain the integrity of the club with the very capable help of various fabulous Vice Presidents and tireless committee members. During this time the membership numbers have steadily accumulated to include a diverse range of like-minded individuals that enjoy bikes, women & fun!
In 2002 we had an invitation to ride in the opening ceremony of the International Gay Games held in Sydney and so the 40 of us required practiced for many months as we were choreographed in formation riding while making shapes such as hearts, triangles and the infinity symbol, at the end of our routine on the actual opening night we got to set off flares that were attached to our bikes for a spectacular finale!
Also throughout the years we have proudly had two autonomous chapters form in the Australian states of Queensland and Victoria that continue the ideals and goodwill that is the essence of all our clubs. We are all highly visible and use this to promote charity work as much as possible.
We currently go on monthly day rides to different and interesting places led by our great Ride Leaders who ensure we get to our destination safely & have a fun ride at the same time, as we enjoy the long winding roads, fresh country air & the most scenic routes. They are also more than willing to assist the Learner and Provisional licence holders who are always more than welcomed and catered for.
Our weekends away are legendary! After many years in 1994 we figured out that we were not caravan park material. And so we have found at least 2 magical places that we can escape to and be ourselves that include, raging fires, great food, water bomb fights after breakfast and a beautiful motorcycle ride to boot - bliss! Wherever we go the accommodation is awesome. Set within the Australian native landscape and all within a short walk for a swim or to canoe in either a huge salt water lake or a river.
The club has seen a few changes throughout it's time but the basic sense of inclusiveness hasn't altered that much and the encouragement and promotion of safe riding within a great social network has always been a priority.
These days, we continue to go from strength to strength and look forward to many more Mardi Gras where we get to strut our stuff while showing support for the gay and lesbian community. It's always been a highlight to have hundreds of thousands of people screaming for you and not at you! If you're interested in knowing more please feel free to email us and ask.