In 1958 Delores Davis was a motorcycle enthusiast who approached The Motor Maids of America for admission to their club. As the late 50’s and early 60’s was a trying time for racial progress, Delores was denied admission because she was black. Determined to share her passion for riding with others, she partnered with her friend Margaret Bonham to start The Cycle Queens of America. While the Cycle Queens were founded by black women, they were never exclusively African American. They welcomed all who shared a love for motorcycles to join. They grew to 25 members across 8 states, ranging from age 23 – 65. The Cycle Queens became a recognized club in the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). They held meets and events to raise money for charity, and were all about the ride. The Cycle Queens wore uniforms of Red and White, and were often awarded for their sharp dress. Known for their competitive spirit, they preferred stunt events over drag racing.
To be a Cycle Queen, you had to ride 100 miles on a trip. By today’s standards, 100 miles doesn’t sound like much. But let’s take a trip back in time and imagine what it was like to ride on a bike in the 1950’s… with a modest suspension, smaller engine, and none of the creature comforts we’ve come to love. These women were ground pounders. They would actually ride in Husband and Wife teams, with the men riding in the back, and kids in sidecars! Founded in Philadelphia, the Cycle Queens expanded nationwide, and often took road trips to Mexico and Canada.
We salute the Cycle Queens of America for paving the way for those of us who pound today. Because of you, we can.
Reference: Ebony Magazine, December 1966