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8th Annual HD MDA Women’s Ride

By Deborah Speicher

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The 8th Annual Harley-Davidson MDA Women’s Ride went on as usual during this past Daytona Bike Week. Unlike prior years with hundreds of ladies participating, we only had 62 riders. In light of the marketing campaign by the Daytona Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau aimed at women riders this year, I found it odd that the MDA numbers were down.

As Daytona Bike Week approached, I found that at almost every click of my mouse, I would see ads enticing women riders to attend this rally. Did it work? YES! I believe I did see an increased number of women on their own motorcycles this year at Daytona. That was probably also due in part to how many women are now riding their own bikes; but, nonetheless, it was evident. However, more women riders attending Daytona Bike Week did not equate to an uptick in participation at the H-D MDA Women’s Ride.

I see the lack of participation for the MDA ride as being two-fold. One is that there were some changes in staffing at MDA and planning got underway later than usual. Secondly, there was very little mention in any of the trade magazines or online event sites about the ride. As a contributing writer for Thunder Roads Florida Magazine, I know that this magazine and many others will put an event on their calendar for FREE. Ditto for the online event sites including www.womenridersnow.com who did a great job of promoting Daytona Bike Week to women riders this year.

I would also like to give a shameless plug to the ladies from the Old Town HOG chapter who had nineteen ladies riding for the cause this year. These ladies have continually supported this event from the start.

As in the past, the ride was led by Karen Davidson, great granddaughter of one of the Harley-Davidson founders. Our ride started at the Daytona Speedway and ended at Destination Daytona. We had a partial police escort which was at the very beginning and end of the ride, and reserved parking upon reaching Destination Daytona.

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