Conga in the News (2009)
Ladies motorcycle club rides to Murphy
In a coordinated formation, an all-female motorcycle Conga Line wound its way into town on May 13, 2009
“A lot of the men who see us on the road are tickled pink to see us ride professionally. We get our respect,” said Donna “Doc” Palladino, creator of The Women Who Ride online forum. Since 2001, Palladino has moderated an online community made up of about 25,000 women motorcycle enthusiasts. The forum provides a place of support and education as well as a hub for meeting other female riders across the globe. The synchronized dance of wheels and motors brought with it a group of ladies fired up to find a cure for breast cancer.
Flo Fuhr, a rider from Vancouver, British Columbia, rode into town with a band of women from the forum who were raising thousands of dollars for breast cancer research. Fuhr was making the trek from Florida to Canada, joining other members along the way.
They have raised $7,000 of the $10,000 goal through auctioning off pink rhinestone helmets, saddlebags and other sassy road gear. “Many women on the forum are in chemo right now. We call them our spirit riders because they are too sick to ride but they are with us in spirit. We’ve lost sisters and moms,” Palladino said.
By the time the conga entered Murphy, the women had conquered nearly 1,000 miles of pavement. The group took a break and stayed overnight with the Murphy chapter of the Chrome Divas, another female-friendly motorcycle club. Local businesses including George’s Butcher Shop, Brother’s Restaurant, Downtown Pizza, Skillets, Shoebooties, KFC and more supplied the hungry crew with menu items for the rider’s barbecue. Sherry Pegnetter of Chrome Divas hosted the dinner and said the ladies were enjoying their first visit to western North Carolina. “We all had a great time while they were here. They loved our small town and of course our beautiful mountains,” Pegnetter said.
The Women Who Ride crew celebrated its second reunion ride with about 20 members meeting up for the conga fund-raiser. Many of the women were meeting in person for the first time. “We are all such different women, but on the road we naturally get in standard formation like we’ve been riding forever,” said Chantelle Collado, who joined the conga from Louisiana.
Melissa “Lil’ Moe” Talent said the benefit of joining the club was the sage advice of older riders. “We share tips with other women, and I’ve gotten tips from these pros,” Talent said. Palladino runs training sessions for women to learn the technical functions of driving motorcycles. She wants women of every age to be able to feel confident and safe on the road. “What we are all about is independence and mastering your bike,” Palladino said. “We pride ourselves on doing it correctly. I’ve met hundreds of women in our free classes we provide to give them professional training.”
by Lizz Harold – May 26, 2009 • CDT Online community unites to raise funds for research email@example.com
Rolling Breast Cancer Fundraiser Roars Into Kitsap
Dry the tears
SILVERDALE — As her brother Eric wrapped her in a big bear hug, Tannis “Flo” Fuhr couldn’t hold back her tears. Dressed all in pink — hot pink motorcycle boots, light pink leather chaps, a pink Harley-Davidson motorcycle vest and a hot-pink bandanna peppered with pink breast cancer ribbons — Fuhr welcomed the support as she stood in the entrance of Silverdale’s Legend Harley-Davidson.
For the last month, the Vancouver Island, B.C., resident has trekked across North America on her motorcycle, raising more than $10,000 for breast cancer research. She’s quick to say that credit belongs to those who have supported her along the way — especially those who have donated — but she has accomplished a feat herself by riding almost 5,000 miles in less than a month. By the time she reaches her home in Campbell River, B.C., on Monday, she’ll have exceeded the 5,000-mile mark. “It’s just overwhelming,” Fuhr said about the final leg of her journey. “It’s more emotional than I thought it would be since I started the ride.”
Fuhr rolled into Kitsap on Friday with her two brothers and friends from home, each of whom sported hot-pink hairstyles. Port Orchard residents Brenda and Ron Ackermann invited them to stop in Kitsap before heading to Bellingham.
Through an online motorcycle forum, the couple followed a previous cross-country journey Fuhr made last year. On that trip, Fuhr bought her first Harley-Davidson in Florida and rode it back to Canada.
On her way, Fuhr connected with female riders she met through the Women Who Ride online forum. When she chose to buy a new bike this year — again in Florida — she decided it was the perfect time to do a reunion ride, again across country. But she wanted this cross-continent trek to have a deeper purpose. She posed the question to the online forum, and almost everyone agreed Fuhr should raise money for breast cancer research. She chose the Breast Cancer Fund, an organization focused on identifying and advocating the elimination of the environmental and other preventable causes of the disease.
The Ackermanns, members of the Southern Cruisers 280 motorcycle organization, weren’t able to meet up with Fuhr on her first cross-country trip. When they learned she would be doing it again, this time supporting a worthy cause, they made a point to connect with her. “We’re very proud of the area here,” Brenda Ackermann said Friday from Legend Harley-Davidson. “It’s a gorgeous day and a beautiful area. What’s not to love?” The Ackermanns were happy to extend the camaraderie of Kitsap’s motorcycle community to her as she neared the end of her trip. “Raising awareness about breast cancer and raising money is important,” Ackermann said. “But I also think it’s a hell of a good thing that more women are riding,” she said of the female riders who escorted Fuhr cross country. “And that our men are comfortable wearing pink.”
by Brynn Grimley – May 29, 2009 • Kitsap Sun