Submitted by Angelique Dermit - H.O.G. Pretoria
They’ll be thundering around the mountain when they come... that was the scene as groups of ladies guided their bikes down the one [and only] dusty street of Magaliesburg to Valley Lodge & Spa.
Forty-seven Africa Chapter members arrived by motorcycle, and they were joined by 15 Harley-Davidson® lady riders. We also welcomed two ladies from international Chapters - Margarita Zuniga from Qatar and Martine Abry Ferber from Jordan.
As rooms were only available from 3pm, the "helmet hair" ladies dumped their riding gear in the luggage room and dug into bags for costumes and tanning lotion as the cool water of the pool beckoned. While some lazed around the pool area, others joined in a hectic water polo game. Jacqui Dreyer, a veteran Harley® rider for eighteen years, commented on how amazing it was to see all those girls together.
Crisis Management Course
Then it was time for the "serious stuff". Lezanne De Koning from the First Aid & Emergency Training Academy held a very informative Crisis Management Course for the lady motorcyclists. Lezanne is an experienced Harley rider and chapter member. Sue Nagel followed with a presentation about Harley Owners Group® and Harley-Davidson® which met with all round applause.
That evening, the ladies arrived in sarongs, costumes, shorts and sundresses for the Hawaiian party. Snow white table and chair covers contrasted with the colourful napkins folded craftily into swans, balloons and pom-poms. The entrance was lit with flickering candles and the pool winked with tiny coloured underwater lights. Traditional (kahiko) hula and floral lei’s completed our outfits.
The ladies let their hair down and participated in island-style Limbo dancing, with several mastering the Hula Hoop to the delight of the crowd. Such an informal atmosphere soon had all the girls bonding, and the party lasted into the early hours of the morning.
Outride to Askari Game Lodge
No H.O.G. Rally would be complete without a customary outride. We proudly rode in formation to Askari Game Lodge where we enjoyed a cooling drink at the Day Centre. We happily roared over the hills with Chapter flags flapping in the wind - except Pretoria who had lost theirs somewhere on the road within the first five kilometres of leaving home on Friday.
Juan Botha, Askari’s Food and Beverage Manager grinned broadly, and said that although they are used to seeing Harley-Davidsons at the Lodge, it was most impressive to see a bunch of ladies gallivanting around on such powerful machines. On the road back, the white stallion had greeted us so nervously on Friday, stood calmly nibbling on dry vegetation - now used to the sound of our steel horses galloping past. Local farmers (with traditional veldskoene and a comb stuck into the side of their bushveld socks) pulled out their cell phones to capture us in perpetuity. I"m sure they noticed some girls had more tattoos slapped on their arms than the news print in the local paper.
Charitable work will always will be part of Harley Owners Group® rallies. Representatives of the Kameeldrift School joined us for lunch. Contributions from Ladies Of Harley™ across all chapters including baby clothing and non-perishable food products, were handed over to the grateful recipients.
The future of Ladies of Harley™
The future of the Ladies of Harley in South Africa discussions were held in the conference room, and the role of lady riders and pillions were a fierce topic of conversation. Women have become much more involved in Chapter activities, and the growth rate of woman riders is phenomenal. They contribute to their chapters as safety officers, biker buddies and marshals and have really proven their worth in many events and situations.
A large majority felt that an all female Harley riders rally should be instituted as an annual event, and that pillions and ladies who usually only ride with their spouse would be encouraged to participate in next year’s event. We would like to involve more women in riding, and share and celebrate our sisterhood (not just as the partner of a member). There are approximately 500 Harley-Davidson and Harley Owner Group events and this is the one thing Ladies Of Harley can proudly do for themselves on an international scale. We were honoured with two international visitors on the first National Rally, and hope to see even more international visitors in the future.
Black and Bling Evening
The surprise party theme was withheld till the last minute - a “Black and Bling” evening in support of male cancer. We donned our “Snors” of various sizes and shapes - we looked like the mob straight out of The Godfather - but boy did we dress to the nines!
Special gifts were handed out to Hermien Titlestad-Van Zyl who rode her Harley® the furthest to attend the rally - a whopping 1 400 kilometres. The Port Elizabeth chapter won in the two wheel category - they covered 1 076 kilometres. We just loved the music and dancing (after all we are bikers with a love of some good rock) and our mysterious prankster in the luminous skeleton suit even had a jive.
Bling Gift packs were found on our pillows the night before containing - a wing chain, rally patch and buff.
The men arrived on Sunday morning to lure us back home as the corner café take a ways can only taste good for so long. The spread at the Sunday morning picnic was delectable and live entertainment by The Kalamazoo Boogie Band played some solid Blues, adding to the serenity of a peaceful and sunny day. Blankets were scattered around for those who still dream of romantic picnics, while there were tables with crisp white linen for the couples. Husbands had brought the children along and they ran into the open arms of mommies who just – just started missing home. It was not wise to have any male Chapter members near your canoe while trying to impress your wife with your rowing skills, clearly they should stick to what they do best – ride their bikes.
The First National Ladies of Harley Rally proved a smashing success, all who attended prompted to know when the next date and venue would be set. An open invitation was made to Ladies of Harley from across the globe to attend our next year’s event.