It couldn't come at a better time.
On August 26, 1920, some 26 million women in America became eligible to vote for the first time thanks to the passage of the 19th amendment. For that reason, Women’s Motorcycle Tours founder Alisa Clickenger originally planned the Suffragists Centennial Motorcycle Ride to take place on the 100th anniversary, in 2020. Then came the pandemic. Undaunted, Clickenger instead took a reconnaissance ride in August 2020 in order to plan it for 2021.
The resulting Suffragists Centennial Motorcycle Ride will be a three-week celebration, spanning July 31 through August 20, 2021. Riders will eventually end up at the Women’s Motorcycle Festival and Conference in Arlington, Virginia. As currently planned, women riders can join up with the group ride at any one of three points on the journey: Portland, Oregon; Sturgis, South Dakota; or Knoxville, Tennessee.
In a way, there’s a bit of poetry to the fact that the Suffragists Centennial Ride is taking place in 2021. As many women who are not white will readily tell you, not all women gained the right to vote with the passage of the 19th amendment. Native American, Asian American, Latinx, and African American suffragists all had to fight their own battles, long into the 20th century.
Literacy tests, poll taxes, and all manner of additional contrivances meant to keep unwanted voters from the ballot box persisted in America throughout the 20th century. Now, in April, 2021, voting rights are once more under attack in new and different ways.
As of March 24, 2021, legislators have so far introduced 361 separate bills to restrict voting rights across 47 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. As you can see, the fight is far from over. While that’s outside the scope of this piece, you can check the source links if you want to read more about it.
All this is to ask: Could there be a better time for this massive Suffragists Ride to crisscross the United States, gathering more and more women riders along the way? Honestly, probably not. We are more powerful together. It’s a simple and inescapable truth. To find out all the details, routes, and how you can register, visit the official Suffragists Centennial Ride website.