In 1987, Sydney dykes Kimberly O’Sullivan and her partner Sue Perry were at the Gay Pride Day in San Francisco – and were moved by a thousand Dykes On Bikes riding with pride.
Inspired by their telling of that event, Deb Thompson and her friends went to all the lesbian venues in Sydney leaving pamphlets advertising that they were forming a club – to ride in the 1988 Mardi Gras. (They left them on any motorbikes parked outside – Sydney didn’t have a printed lesbian magazine at this time, well before mobile phones and the internet). Deb also became our first President.
A grand total of 8 bikes rode that year, but it was a start. The next year were a few more, and then a few more – and the club grew by degrees until we boasted around 250 bikes for our 10th anniversary in 1998.
1991 was a big year for us
We first began leading the Mardi Gras parade. Our numbers had grown to close to 200 members. We were riding a diverse number of motorbikes including your basic postie bike, saucy scooters and then anything from your Japanese bikes through to Ducatis, BMW’s and Harleys. Logic dictated that we ride in front due to the constant possibility of overheating our bikes from our willingness to please the crowd.
We got to set our own pace at last.
The Gay Games
In 2002 we had an invitation to ride in the opening ceremony of the International Gay Games held in Sydney. 40 of us practiced for many months, getting our formation riding perfect while making shapes such as hearts, triangles and the infinity symbol. Very tricky on a bike! At the end of our routine on the opening night we got to set off flares that were attached to our bikes for a spectacular finale!
Other Dykes on Bikes groups in Australia
Throughout the years, other autonomous Dykes on Bikes clubs have formed in the states of Queensland , Western Australia and Victoria that continue the ideals and goodwill that is the essence of all our clubs.
2015 Honour Awards
Dykes on Bikes Sydney were were truly humbled to receive the ACON Community Organisation Award for 2015. The Honour Awards is an annual event which acknowledges outstanding service to or achievement within NSW’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.
Dykes on Bikes Sydney – today
These days, we continue to go from strength to strength and look forward to many more Mardi Gras Parades where we get to strut our stuff while showing support for the LGBTQI community. It’s always been a highlight on your year to have hundreds of thousands of people screaming for you and not at you!
We currently go ride each month to different and interesting places led by our great Ride Leaders. Think long winding roads, fresh country air & the most scenic routes – or even sometimes, just a ride around the city to get icecream! Our Ride Leaders are more than willing to assist the Learner and Provisional licence holders who are always 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 find some 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, as well as the promotion of safe riding and having a great time.
Honor Role of previous Club Presidents
Dykes on Bikes Sydney would like to acknowledge the hard work of previous Club presidents and their committees. All have strived to maintain the integrity of the club with the very capable help of fabulous Vice Presidents and tireless committee members. The Club wouldn’t be around today without your amazing efforts.
1989 -1993 – Deb Thompson
1994 – Jo Overland
1995-1999 – Janet Parkins
2000 – Louise van der Krann
2001 – Nikki Diesel
2002 – 2006 – Janet Parkins
2007 – Lisa (Gizmo) Usher
2008 – 2010 – Annette (Neddy) Mesure
2011 – 2012 – Nic Fletcher
2012-2014 – Karen Cooper
2014 – 2016 – Manda Hatter
2016 – present – Lyn Doherty
Our logo and Registered Trademarks
Our most recognisable feature – the logo of rainbow wings surrounding a motorcycle engine, with the words ‘Ride with Pride’ – was designed by Vic ‘Pommie’ Brown in the 1990s. She kindly held intellectual property rights over the logo for us until we were able to take steps to protect it legally.
In late 2011, Dykes on Bikes Sydney took steps to protect our heritage by trademarking the name ‘Dykes on Bikes’ in Australia, as well as trademarking our logo. We don’t normally have a problem with other Dykes on Bikes clubs using our logo – but you’ll need to contact us to discuss it first.