Janet Rich

Owning a motorcycle wasn’t something that suddenly came upon me or something I had to think about, it was a commonplace reality. I’m a third generation motorcyclist. There was no question whether I should or shouldn’t get one. It’s in the genes and I don’t mean blue. Joining a club was something that never crossed my mind. My grandfather and father never belonged to a club. They rode as free spirits. I always assumed that’s the way it was in motorcycling.

I rode as a passenger with my dad, brother, sister, and later boyfriends until my late teens. I had only ridden solo on my cousin’s dirt bike. I never purposely looked to date guys with bikes but somehow, 80% of the time they had a bike. I guess if you were in the psychologist business you would say I had a motorcycle fixation. My dad caused that. I do think the world of my dad and thought it would be nice to find a guy like him.

On Christmas Eve in 1986 I got my very own bike as a gift from my now ex-husband. The bike was a Honda Shadow 500. I learned to ride that January in the freezing cold, not that temperature mattered at that point. Learning was really easy for me since I had been around bikes my entire life and had ridden dirt bikes.

I had joined a motorcycle club in 1987. The club was fun for a while but the women in the club were real catty and cliquish. Even tough I went out of my way to be friendly they never liked me for whatever reason. I quit because of it.

I saw an ad in a motorcycle magazine about the American Women Road Riders Alliance, a national club for women based out at California. I joined just to get the magazine. The next thing I knew, I got a call from a woman in Roselle Park, NJ. Her name was Robin Peer. She said she was also a member of AWRRA and was asked by California to start a NJ chapter and would I be interested in helping.
That’s how the club started, five women in a diner planning a club that was unique. AWPRA lasted from 1989 to 1992. California had very different ideas for clubs that did not work at all for NJ and we ended up breaking from them and forming Spokes-Women M.C. Inc. A lot of work went into making this new club work. At the time there were 17 of us. We put our heads together and wrote new by-laws, found a logo and got a new name.

I had always been an officer in some capacity and when I was elected to President in 1994, knew there had to be changes made to help us grow. First order of business was to carefully read over the bylaws then organize the meetings by having an agenda each month along with quarterly board meetings. The board meetings were very helpful in keeping us all on the same page and giving us a goal for the next few months.

In reading over the by-laws, it was discovered that we are to stress the importance of the educated rider. This started a campaign to become close with the Motorcycle Safety Program. This was a vital turning point for the club because afterward we began to grow in leaps and bounds. We published a promotional pamphlet to lure people out and gave these to the motorcycle safety courses to be put into graduation packets or handed to the new students.

Over these past years we have done many wonderful things as a club like raising cash for the Pony Express 1996 ride to benefit breast cancer. We even got our faces on CNN and got cozy with Malcom Forbes.

Many charities have benefited from our chocolate productions and we’ve delighted many children along the parade route in Freehold, NJ. Wildwood, NJ has never been the same since we have descended upon it each year since 1991. We are always there to lend a hand, like when we were asked to help a toy run at Shore Power and Sport in Freehold or to handle sign in at BMW headquarters in July of 1996 for the Pony Express Tour.

We have a folder that is inches thick of newspaper articles about our club printed over the past years. When we go to The Javitz Center, we are recognized by our club colors. We have accomplished these things because we are a great group at people who work well together, not because of just one or two people.

All I have done is to set things up to run smoother by organization. I wrote this article to thank you all for being a greet bunch of friends and for making my years as president and member the most memorable. I’m sure we’ll continue to pave new roads and accomplish great things in our future only because we are great people together no matter who runs the show. We have a wonderful set of officers to lead us into bigger and better things and together we will reach the stars.

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