Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Real Women...Ride BIKES!

By Assistant Editor,
Dee Thompson

"Karmal Delite"

Motorcycles are not just for the boys any more! Now, they're for real women!

I had a delightful conversation with Ms. Karmal Delite about her passion for motorcycles and their role in her life. She belongs to a group called the Hurricane Biker Girls. The group promotes unity among female riders. Here’s more about the group: “Founded in San Diego, CA in 2002. A Sisterhood of nothing less than extraordinary riders, spreading across the U.S. and reaching as far as Hawaii. We share a passion for pushing our toys to limits that rival a hurricane....”

Although she’s nearly forty years old, Karmal has a lot of history with motorcycles. “I was inspired by my mom. My mom was a rider but she didn’t talk about motorcycles. She let me ride on the back of her bike when I was growing up.” A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Karmal [real name Robyne] likes the feeling of freedom and adventure she gets from her bike.  “It’s always been a passion of mine. There are a lot of ladies who have a passion for riding.”

Karmal’s mother would be proud. She passed away in 2003, and Karmal lost her father a year later. She keeps looking ahead and thinking positive, though. Her Michigan Hurricane Biker Girls Chapter [one of five chapters around the USA] is a supportive group of friends, and they welcome women of all backgrounds, races, and religions. They aren’t just about fun, either. They recently sponsored a donation drive for a Veteran’s Hospital in nearby Battle Creek. They are also getting ready to adopt a family for the Thanksgiving holidays. They raise money for school supplies for homeless kids. Community service is a big part of the group’s aims. 
"We're career women who have jobs and families. It takes some juggling but we find time to do everything," Karmal explains.
"Hurricanes," Kalamazoo, Michigan Chapter

Karmal has a passion for helping children. She has been an employee of the Kalamazoo school system for some years, as a tutor, mentor, and para-pro, among other things. She also does parent engagement, trying to get parents more involved in their kids’ schools. Karmal is a mom to four children, ranging in age from 10 to 20 years old. “I also advocate for Great Start Parent Foundation. We try to reach parents of kids’ ages zero to three, to help them understand the importance of early intervention.”

Karmal is looking forward to March of next year, when she can buy a new motorcycle, a 900 cruiser.  Until then, she rides a borrowed “crotch rocket” – a smaller, faster bike. (She had to explain that term to me.)
The type of bike isn’t as important as what it represents, however – freedom and adventure. “We ride in the city and the country. We try to ride to places that are at least four hours away.”

Photography by Otis Wilson III, Steele Candy

Karmal has three daughters, and she is setting a great example for them of being a caring, involved parent, and a person who is also strong and independent. She won’t let her life be defined by others’ expectations or preconceived ideas.~