Don't call us hubby huggers, says all-female bike club
A group of leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding women have come together to form the Chrome Angelz, the province's first all-female biker club.
"Me and my friend were riding around last year and we found we were always by ourselves, just the two of us, and we said it would be nice to have a group of ladies to ride with," said Darlene Sweers of St. John's.
The group got its start in New Jersey and has about 20 chapters across the United States and Norway.
The Newfoundland chapter was a first for Canada, and Sweers is club president.
"I just started back at school. Most of us work, some of us are just moms, we have our kids and our husbands but the thing we have in common is riding," Sweers said.
"This club is community oriented, a lot of the clubs are not."
The group organizes group rides for fundraising events. The Angelz, she said, are now planning a Christmas fundraiser.
While women riders often drive alongside their significant others, Sweers said it's rare to come across a group of women riding together.
Club rules dictate that members are in front, something Sweers said most husbands and boyfriends understand when riding with the group.
We look out for each other ... we are there for each other at all times.- Chapter president Darlene Sweers of St. John's
"If we're out for a club ride, the girls have to ride in front and that's it," she said.
"Most of them are okay with it."
All ten club members wear a patch on their leather vests that reads 'I am my sister's keeper.'
"We look out for each other, whether someone just wants to talk, or they've got money problems, or someone to ride with or someone to have coffee with — we are there for each other at all times," Sweers said.
Not enough women who ride
Tracey Janes, the group's tail gunner, rides behind the group to make sure the women are driving safely.
"Anytime in groups that I went with, it was women riding with their man and I wanted a pile of women [to ride with], I wanted great friendships and I have that."
Sherri Gosse, the road captain, plans the group's route ahead of time. She said the group turns heads all over town.
"When we run through downtown, you can feel eyes on you. They know they're watching and it's just a great feeling, it really is," Gosse said.
Gosse was the fourth woman to join the Angelz, and said the group gives female riders the independence to ride for themselves — and not as passengers on someone else's bike.
"We are not hubby huggers."