Women Changing the Motorcycling Landscape 2022

Women are Changing the Motorcycling Landscape 2022

By Off-road, On-road

I have been frequently asked: How did you become a motorcyclist? The enquirer often has a puzzled look on their face which, if expressed in words, translates to: you just don’t strike me as the motorcycling type. Well, women are entering the motorcycling industry at the greatest pace of any demographic at the moment! The reasons are as diverse as the women themselves, however many say that it is about freedom and the sense of independence; they were told they would never learn and so they were determined to prove they could, or perhaps they had always wanted to ride a bike! 

I learned how to ride on the farm in rural Manitoba. It was largely a practical skill because an extra small motorbike or two on the farm meant that anyone could hop on and go deliver a message, lunch or coffee to the ‘back 40’ where our dad was cultivating a field and one did not always need an extra pickup truck or to walk the distance. There was no texting! 

The Honda 90 was my first bike so I had to learn to shift and we made paths in the ditches or on the fields to ride in the evenings for fun after the chores and other farm work was done. My cousins and I had hours of fun riding and I loved it more than anything else! My brother was the first one to get a motorcycle for leisure riding on summer trips. This went a bit counter to the farm lifestyle because summertime is a busy season on the farm and most farmers do not take summer vacations. However, my older brother also loved riding more than almost anything. I remember the smell of the freshly cut grass and smoke from a bonfire as I rode on the back of his bike in the evening just before sunset. We rode every evening! 

It was not until I had my own career, money and adult life that it occurred to me that I too could get my license and buy a motorcycle for leisure. Even then, one of the male instructors said: I had you pegged as one of the people who wouldn’t get the hang of riding a motorcycle but you surprised me! REALLY?, I thought! Well, whatever stereotype he had in mind is what women have described many times. Gradually the landscape is changing and there are more women in leadership in the motorcycling industry, including organized associations, training and riding groups. In the last 5 years I have had the opportunity to serve on the provincial Board of Directors for the CMMG (Coalition of Manitoba Motorcycle Groups) and learned from the best about lobbying for the rights of motorcyclists and understanding how legislation can impact the safety and wellbeing of travel on a motorcycle. In January 2022 I was elected as the President of the CMMG. While this is a huge undertaking, there is an energetic set of new Board Members who are enthusiastic and committed to promoting the motorcycle industry in Manitoba! 

Recently, motorcyclists would not have been eligible for the two insurance rebates in Manitoba without the CMMG lobby. In addition, insurance rates have remained more reasonable with the CMMG engaging a lawyer to represent all Manitoba motorcyclists at the Public Utilities Board (PUB) hearings. 

CMMG also promotes safety, information and resources to motorcyclists across the province. As a Coalition of numerous motorcycle groups, this is the organization that is consulted about proposed legislation that could impact motorcyclists. 

CMMG also publicly promotes May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and this year the National safety message is: Watch Out for each other! I have had the privilege of representing Manitoba by serving at the national level on the Motorcycling Confederation of Canada (MCC) Board of Directors. Currently, I co-chair the MCC Road Riders Council. We are working on engagement strategies for road riders nationally and also actively promoting continuous skill improvement opportunities from across Canada with the belief that advanced training prevents accidents and injury, keeping riders and others road users safer. Quebec is carrying out a longitudinal study that is showing preliminary results illustrating this principle: continuous training throughout the lifetime of a motorcyclist prevents injury and accidents! 

The MCC has also been actively engaging with the international motorcycling community through multiple collaborations. FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) is an international organization that brings riders from all regions and types of riding together. FIM Beyond Sport is the on-road, off-road, and adventure riding side of the sport. This includes priorities such as international tourism resources, support for continuous skill development and engagement in the sheer enjoyment of whatever type of motorcycle riding matters to you. 

I am thrilled that my daughter and her women friends are becoming motorcyclists as they join the growing demographic of women riders. Additional work is still needed to decrease discrimination and increase access for other populations. Manitoba is growing in its inclusivity in motorcycling. The Motosocial gatherings throughout Winnipeg welcomed more than 300 different types of motorcyclists and offered a good example of inclusiveness prior to the pandemic in Winnipeg. Even during the pandemic, motorcycling interest is growing! While we wait for the community to be safe to gather again, stay safe, and ride within the provincially recommended guidelines. 


The Coalition of Manitoba Motorcycle Groups | CMMG 

Motorcycling.ca | Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC) 

Women in Motorcycling | FIM (fim-moto.com) 

Beyond Sport | FIM (fim-moto.com) 

OFTR Celebrates 30 Years. Kellee Irwin, President OFTR, Board Member and Past Chair, MCC

OFTR Celebrates 30 Years

By Off-road

OFTR Celebrates 30 Years! 2022 marks the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders’ 30th Anniversary. With the commitment, volunteering, and passion of our members, we realized a point in the organization that no one imagined possible in 1992. In 2022, we are not only the voice of the off-road motorcycling community, but also its eyes, ears, heart, and throttle. 

Through our federation of clubs, the OFTR stewards over 2500 km of trail throughout Ontario. This expansive network appeals to all levels of riders. Enhancing this further is our newly launched #RideOFTR mobile app and web-based mapping system that provides real-time status of trails, difficulties, and interest points. The RideOFTR system creates unprecedented access for our 6500+ members in a safe, legal, and responsible way. More access, more adventure, more braaaap! Whether a member is learning that incomparable feeling of a clutch engaging the engine for the first time, or they are cautiously inching their way up steep rocky terrain, the OFTR trail has a perfect trail for them at their fingertips.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, we obtained the most significant increase to access for off-road motorcycles in Ontario’s history. In recognizing the tremendous value off-road motorcycling brings the Province of Ontario in tourism, recreation, and physical and mental health, the government passed legislation permitting unprecedented access to off-road, green-plated motorcycles on select shoulders of roads that serve as key transit points connecting trails, towns, and businesses to our members.

Looking forward, we strive to continue this legacy and build on our successes. This includes: 

  • Advocating for more trail access with various provincial, municipal, and private partners;   
  • Educating riders on trail etiquette, safety, skills, and advancements;
  • Pushing for wider insurance coverage for our members, particularly for those motorcycles under 150cc;
  • Strengthening our existing clubs and providing the tools to new clubs to reach their potential; 
  • A commitment to increasing diversity in the sport through programs, events, and communication initiatives; 
  • More transparency and accountability to our members through governance structures, communication policies, and compliance with newly implemented legislation for non-for-profits in Ontario (ONCA); and,
  • Organizing and promoting organized cherished events and rides for our off-road and dual sport members.

Of course, none of this is possible without the gracious donations of our volunteers, sponsors, and supporters. For those interested in becoming involved, visit our website at www.oftr.ca or email us at info@oftr.ca. Whether it is participating in various committees, trail clean up, event organization, or sponsorships, every contribution helps us preserve our privileges in riding in Ontario. Together, we can continue to build the sport today and for future generations.


Happy trails! 


Kellee Irwin
President, OFTR
Board Member and Past Chair, MCC 

MCC blog - Riding all seasons to beat the January Blahs, image of a rider on a trials bike

Riding Out the Winter Blahs. Blah… BRAAAP!

By Adventure, Food For Thought, Off-road

Shake it out, find your rhythm; put that good soul back in your feet.

Have you ever felt out of sorts? Maybe without being able to pinpoint the reason? Maybe it’s the Winter blahs!

Of course you have and you’re not alone. (I won’t insert a statistic here.) We all know it happens and often even the brightest spirits are affected in the shorter days of winter. I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling this way. So have some of my friends and family. Reflecting on conversations and moods of the people with whom I have regular contact, it’s time to shake off some of the stress and beat those Winter BLAHS. 

Finding an outlet

Finding the right outlet is part of the battle that most of us struggle with during the “in-between” seasons.  So here I am in the last week of January, in the middle of a pandemic. The world we live in is far from normal yet. Thank you COVID! Combine this with a strange winter climate that so far hasn’t brought much snow to our province. 

What season is it?

So what season is this now? It’s time to be outside season. That’s what I need. It’s ‘get-dressed-for-whatever-is going-on-with-the-weather’ season, PERIOD!  I love being outside. This is my happy place. The sun is shining this week, finally. The trails are hardening with cooler temperatures, and there’s no snow. 

I’ve been bummed a bit by the weather lately, but now I’m not making any excuses. This past week I got outside more; daily in fact. Every day felt more adventurous as I got more in tune with the strange winter conditions we are having here in Nova Scotia this year. 

I need more!

A daily hike has been great, but I still needed something more.  For the past week, I have had the good fortune to enjoy off-road riding on a Beta trials bike. Winter riding has put a smile back on my face. Choosing the right trails; making sure not to damage those that are too wet; and finding spaces that are safe, fun, and have flow, has reinvigorated my normal adventurous spirit.

Get outside!

I’m not sure how long the snow will stave off, but for now, I encourage you to ride, too. You don’t even need studs in many places (so far), just air down to 6-10 psi and ride a gear high. It’s great practice for clutch control to maintain tractable power to the rear wheel, and it  will keep your skills sharp throughout the winter. 

Don’t be afraid to invest in some screw-in studs if you’re new to icier conditions. There’s a lot of fun and satisfaction in winter riding that blasts away the winter blahs.


Braap on my friends and feel well.


Josh Kelly is NSORRA’s President. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys every minute on the trails with family and friends, whether it’s off-road motorcycling, hiking, or mountain biking.

motorcycling during the pandemic - Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada - image of a motorcyclist wearing his helmet, sitting on stairs next to his bike, looking sad

Motorcycling During the Pandemic – Safe At Home is Best

By MCC in the News, News, Off-road, On-road, Safety

Canadian riders thinking about motorcycling during the pandemic: MCC supports the position of the International Motorcycling Federation. FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) is the global governing body for motorcycle racing. We think the following release is the correct global response to what is obviously a global health emergency:

On April 1, 2020 FIM announced its #RidersAtHome initiative. The campaign encourages all types of riders around the world, from professionals to everyday commuters, to share messages of support and to behave in a responsible manner to take care of each other. In the official release, the FIM said, “Even though riding is still permitted in some countries – the FIM is requesting that ALL riders keep their motorcycles parked in order to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries that could take up valuable healthcare resources during a period when they are already under great pressure.” Read More

Off-Road Stories

A champion of volunteerism, off-road riding and the great outdoors

By Off-road

It’s the summer of 1974. Picture a group of kids hanging out with family and friends at the cottage. Then the rev of a Honda Z50 engine caught an 11-year-old’s attention. All the kids gathered around, looking forward to their turn on Kenny’s brand new off-road motorcycle. Then it was Grant’s turn to take it for a spin. He made his escape into the great outdoors and got his first real taste of freedom. He was hooked.

Read More