ctrl down video player Home Menu Where Am I? Subscribe Popular
Northern Ontario Travel
The Official Magazine
Home > Experience > Motorcycle Touring

Pride On Two Wheels

Pride On Two Wheels

The Best Way To See A Parade Is To Ride It

Mondo Lulu rides as an embedded photographer in Toronoto's 2014 Dyke March



Heidi Giblon is an artist, a teacher, and a rider. In 2008, she walked into a scooter store and rode out with a Piaggio Fly 150. Like many of us on two wheels, her spur-of-the-moment purchase changed her life. Bitten by the bug, her bikes got bigger and better, as did her rides. She now alternates between her Honda VLX 600 and her BMW f700GS.

Heidi Main Shot resized

Every year, Heidi’s biggest rides occur in late June/early July with the coming of Pride Weekend. Joining an assortment of lesbian and trans bikers in leading both the Saturday and Sunday parades, she truly is in her element of rubber, grease and gasoline. To mark her sixth year of participation, Heidi has these words on the parades’ personal importance:

“Riding in the Dyke March allows me to publicly express my solidarity with other women and LGBTQ riders who share similar values as I do. I am proud of how far our city has come in accepting the diversity of people that Toronto embraces. The Pride Parade has allowed me to celebrate unconditionally the woman, lesbian, artist, and motorcycle enthusiast that I am. At 50 it's about time!”

DYKES ON BIKES ROSEDALE VALLEY

Since the very first Toronto Dyke March in 1996, Dykes on Bikes have been at the forefront of the parade, revving up excitement within the throngs revelling on the sidelines. This year was special - Toronto was hosting World Pride and there was extra cause to celebrate. 

BEFORE THE PARADEHEIDI AND MIDNIGHT 

Armed with a media pass, my plan was to shadow Heidi and her cohorts and take photographs of their progress along the parade route. With my partner Sara as second shooter, we hopped on my trusty Aprilia scooter and rode with them to the staging area, where a staggering number of gaily-decorated bikes were already lined up. Cruisers, sportbikers, vintage riders, trikies and a few “Fruits On Scoots” were representing, with the Detroit chapter of the official Dykes On Bikes MC riding the farthest, just to be in the parade.

DYKES ON BIKES DETROIT

FRUITS ON SCOOTS 

The air was electric, with nary a biker complaining of the heat and humidity the day had brought. Everyone was mingling, wisecracking and wishing “Happy Pride!”

Being a straight male, I was warmly welcomed as a fellow rider. Right before the parade started, my new friends surprised me by inviting me to ride with them, an honour which I readily accepted. With Sara shooting pillion, we captured moments from a rider’s vantage point—rarely-seen by the media’s photographic eye.

HAPPY PRIDE

LINEUP 

Led by the Amazons Motorcycle Club (the oldest lesbian biker club in North America, according to an article in Xtra! Magazine), the bikes started with a roar. Kickstands up, we fell into formation, horns honking and engines rumbling…

REAR WINDOW 

As we turned onto Bloor Street, the staggering magnitude of the parade hit me—people as far as the eye can see! Allies, family members and well-wishers screamed their approval as we slowly rode by. It was a scorcher of a day, so those in the crowd with super soakers became our fabulous saviours!

Riding close to the front, I could hear Heidi bringing up the rear as she bumped the rev-limiter on her Honda to rile up the crowd. We stopped a few times to let the other 12,500 people in the parade catch  up. Dismounting, we high-fived the crowd, posed for pictures and hugged passers-by. Starting up again we travelled down Yonge Street, between a wall of people 15-deep cheering us on. At parade’s end, I realized that I had never participated in anything so big and so joyful before - truly a highlight of my motorcycling life so far.

THE KISS 

All in all, it was the best of times. I’d made new friends, reconnected with old ones, and gained first-hand insight into a subculture of a subculture. We’re all not that different, and it’s human nature that a shared passion like motorcycling can bring everyone together.  

Thanks Heidi for letting me tag along, and opening another door to new adventures in riding.

 

 

Discover Your True North
Northern Ontario Welcomes You .... We're Closer Than You Think

Featured articles

X