Stilettos on Steel empowering women to get on their bikes and ride
MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) - Picture a biker, and you may envision the black leather boots, the leather jacket, the long hair and the Harleys. But when it comes to stereotypes, a motorcycle club starting to blossom in Northern Michigan may break the mold of what you are used to.
Sitting atop her new Harley Davidson, Tina LaHaye explains, "you get a lot of guys that are like, you girls are bad."
Tina and her riding partner for the day, Laurie Anderson, are members of the Stilettos on Steel, an all-women’s motorcycle club looking to turn passengers into drivers. "We are a group of women and we empower women to ride their own motorcycles, to get off the back and ride themselves" explains Laurie.
Stilettos on Steel has chapters across the country. It’s an organization that promotes women mastering the skills of driving a motorcycle, and in the process, building friendships and a community of women in control of where they are going. Laurie says “it's an incredible journey of self-growth and self-discovery about who you are and what you have, how you can stretch and grow yourself and on top of that amazing incredible friendships."
To join the club, you don't need a bike or even experience. You just need to want to get out and ride with other women. Laurie says "I don't have a husband who rides, my boys both ride but they don't want to ride with mom all the time."
Instead, Laurie from the Traverse City Chapter and Tina from the Manistee Chapter can hit the open road with other Stiletto's. They say they never get tired of the expressions they get on group rides when it comes time for everyone to take off their helmets. Tina says "we will pull into a gas station, big group of us, 20 or 40 bikes and we are all women and everybody is like 'Wow.'" Laurie remembers back to a ride she was on in Sleeping Bear Dunes. When the group of 26 riders pulled into a scenic lookout, she says three male motorcycle riders saw the group and had a surprised reaction. Laurie says "all three of them at the same time "You are all women, oh my, you are all girls!". They were stunned and yes that’s a euphoric feeling to see this stunned look and we encounter that everywhere, we really do."
It's a club that's centered around riding and motorcycles, but it's more than just talk of carburetors and horsepower when they get together. Tina says that bonds are built and that when someone in the group has a situation in life, it’s easy to find someone to talk to about it. She says “Guarantee someone else is going through it also that you know in Stilettoes. And it's comforting to know that, hey you can call that person without being judged."
To join the Stilettos, you don’t have to have a motorcycle endorsement yet, but you are expected to actively work towards getting it in the first year of membership. All levels of experience are welcome, and all ages. Their oldest member in Michigan is 80 years old and she started riding when she was 78.
To learn more about Stilettos on Steel, click here.