Day 8 – Pride

24th June 2018

The big day dawns at last…. am due to meet up with Sylvie and Lynda but the traffic is horrendous. Manage to arrive at the line up point on Market Street by 8.30 so not too bad.

The Aussies are already here and I am directed to the end of the line… when I get there I realise it is actually right at the front, 😮

Other bikes are starting to arrive now, Monterey and Portland plus the rest of the San Francisco chapter, they will lead off of course. Sylvie and Lynda arrive and pull in next to me so we can ride together.

There is already a crowd building up and lots of photographers, both professional and amateur. I see Sylvie being interviewed by some tv guy, rather her than me!

I set about decorating my bike with all the rainbow stuff I bought in the Castro the other day and some stuff I brought from the UK….

Bit over done don’t you think?  DOBzilla has pride (pun intended) of place at the front of the bike of course.

As more bikes arrive the excitement is beginning to mount. I don’t think I’ve ever had my photo taken so much… everyone just loves Dykes on Bikes and they love the fact that we are here from the UK and Australia.. numerous requests to photograph us with our patches showing, so we dutifully line up – San Fran, Portland, Monterey, Australia and us.

Everyone is just so happy… it really is a very special event here and such a privilege to be able to take part.

With thanks to Karen Drinkwater, a professional photographer from Manchester who we met on the day for the two photos above.

At about 10.15, Kate, the, lead bike tells us we are about to start… we all get on our bikes and start up… the noise is tremendous. I of course rev mine, (I think it is possibly the loudest… hem!), and the grrls look over appreciatively… my cup runneth over 😂

And we’re off…..at quite a pace, it actually takes me a bit by surprise… we are going much faster than the Dyke march yesterday… the streets are lined with people possibly 4-5 rows deep and they are all waving and shouting.. absolutely marvellous.

All too soon it is all over and we pull in to park the bikes.  I go to turn off my GoPro camera and fuck me I forgot to turn it on…. unbelievable I don’t have any film of the parade at all….. grrrrr am so, so gutted!

We all then congregate at a Thai restaurant on the corner of the street. DOB SF have booked us in and we have some lunch before we have to make our way over to the Pride main stage.

At or about 1pm we are going on stage to commemorate one of the founders of Dykes on Bikes, Soni Wolf, who sadly passed away in April.  She was designated to be a  Community Grand Marshal for the Pride parade this year, a very important honour and even though she is not able to take up that position, her Community Grand Marshal’s car is riding in the parade carrying a petrol tank, the very one that was on her bike in the first DOB Pride parade lead off in 1978.

‘..former state Sen. Mark Leno. “Soni was a bold and indefatigable leader who led by example.”   That example was set at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in 1978. Wolf, an Air Force medic who had relocated to San Francisco after her discharge, was among a small group of lesbians who decided to ride their motorcycles in the parade. So that their bikes wouldn’t overheat idling behind marchers, they moved to the front of the procession.’

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© Karen Drinkwater

And we have been there ever since.. and Sydney, Melbourne, Hamburg, Hastings, etc. etc. Not London though… mmm we will have to see about that!

After lunch we all walk to the main stage where we are given access passes and allowed into the artist area at the back of the stage.  There is food and drink and rest areas… I partake of several delicious strawberries… thank you.

As usual things do not go to time so we are waiting for about an hour… eventually we are announced on stage and we are greeted with tumultuous applause, whistling and shouting… it is fabulous.

Kate, our spokeswoman, gives a very moving speech about Soni which includes a quote from her submission to the Supreme court when DOB was campaigning for the use of the title Dykes on Bikes® to be registered:

‘If I must be labeled other than as a “person,” “human being,” or “woman,” I choose “Dyke.” “Dyke” is a strong word and I say it with pride. “Dyke” expresses my pride in myself, my existence, and in what I have accomplished. I am gay. I am a lesbian. I AM A DYKE!

—Soni Wolf, Secretary of the San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent’

and we are all DYKES on bikes and proud to be so.

There follows a song delivered in a Native American language, I do not know which one, again a very moving tribute to Soni who believed very strongly in minority rights.

Finally a group of Soni’s friends come forward bearing the historic petrol tank.

 

We then troop off the stage and it’s all over.

We make our way back to our bikes and then Sylvie, Lynda and I decide what to do with the rest of our day.  The pride event is just too crowded and hot so we decide to take a ride down to San Francisco Harley Davidson, which is near to their hotel.  After that.. only a little bit of shopping… we decide to ride the 10 miles or so to San Mateo for a look around.  On the way I manage to lose Sylvie and Lynda, the freeway is like spaghetti junction in places and I take a right off ramp but they are not behind me.  Luckily we manage to text each other and I am able to find them ok.  Once in San Mateo we find a place to stop and have some dinner.. a very nice Italian restaurant with delicious pizza for me… yum!

We then make our way back up towards San Francisco and I peel off to make my way across the San Mateo bridge to my apartment.  Its quite late so straight to bed for me zzzz.

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