DOBPDX Making Herstory:
Dykes on Bikes® San Francisco Mother Chapter
In 1976 a small group of 20 - 25 women motorcyclists gathered at the head of the San Francisco Pride Parade and, unbeknownst to them, a tradition began. One of these women coined the phrase “Dykes on Bikes®” and the San Francisco Chronicle picked it up and ran with it. For the next several years, riders just showed up and rode—no formal organization or registration. It was this way for several years until the middle to late 1980s. However, as SF Pride became more structured and our numbers kept growing, the need to organize Dykes on Bikes® became necessary; thus, the Women’s Motorcycle Contingent (WMC) was born.. However, in the press and LGBT culture, we continued to be known as Dykes on Bikes®.
San Francisco is the mother chapter for the Dykes on Bikes® community. We have fought hard for and reclaimed the name Dykes on Bikes® to support non-profit, community and education efforts in the LGBT and women’s motorcycle communities. The San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® and Brook Oliver Law Group, P.C. filed and successfully fought the US Patent Trademark Office for the right to trademark our name “Dykes on Bikes” for non-commercial use. Our journey took 5 years (spanning 2003 to 2008) and was supported by many people and organizations including the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Townsend and Townsend and Crew. After being denied by the US Patent Trademark Office we took our case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and eventually to the Supreme Court who refused to hear a challenge to our to trademark our name, thus affirming the decision by the lower court to allow registration of the name. We could not have done it without all the help provided by our community, incredible legal team and the hard work of the patch holders, Board of Directors and Officers of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes.
Credit: San Francisco Mother Chapter
RIDE THE WIND: The Bessie Stringfield Story
Bessie Stringfield was 19 years old when she decided to strike out on a cross country adventure on the motorcycle her adoptive mother bought her. She was the first woman to tour the lower 48 states and the first African American woman inducted into the American Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame.
To read more about Bessie Stringfield click here.
Credit Denise Meyers
Dykes on Bikes® Portland Chapter since 2013
The tradition of Dykes On Bikes® leading the pride parade began in San Francisco in 1976. In the late 1980’s the SF Pride became more structured as it grew and the riders created the Women’s Motorcycle Contingent officially known in the community as Dykes On Bikes®. As the mother chapter, San Francisco filed, fought and won the right to trademark the name from 2003-2008. Since then the tradition has grown globally. As the name is a registered trademark, Dykes On Bikes & Allies was used to reference the motorcycle contingent leading the Portland Pride Parade up until 2014. The community had some confusion as to why Dykes On Bikes® by itself couldn’t be used. After the Portland Pride Parade of 2013, Pride NW facilitated a community meeting on Tuesday July 16th to clarify Dykes On Bikes® did not have an official chapter in Portland which affected the use of the name. The meeting also provided an opportunity for the community to discuss the future of Dykes On Bikes® in Portland. Gabriela Kandziora and Melanie Davis, not affiliated with Pride NW, lead the meeting describing the history of the trademark, how it applied legally and their intention to start an official chapter in Portland.
On July 21, 2013, the first official meeting of Dykes On Bikes® Portland began with founders Gabriela Kandziora (President), Melanie Davis (Secretary), Gus Wolter (Treasurer) and two others filling the roles of Vice President and Sargent of Arms taking the first steps to becoming an official chapter. Dykes On Bikes® became official in August of 2013. During the first three years, the founders and board members worked towards fulfilling the mission of supporting philanthropic endeavors in the LGBTQ and women’s communities, through rides, charity events, Pride events and spreading queer visibility.