Babes Ride Out: East Coast 2018
We couldn't have asked for better weather for the third annual Babes Ride Out weekend of June 1st-3rd in Narrowsburg, New York. It was supposed to rain but it didn't rain much or just when we were all passed out in our tents late night-early morning.
Babes Ride Out (BRO) is an all-women's motorcycle camp. It started out as 50 women who came together to camp and come together as women with a passion for riding. Fast forward to 2018, in October at Joshua Tree, it will be BRO's sixth annual event in the west coast. Three years ago BRO expanded their events to the east coast and uses the same campground as the previous Gypsy Run events (they are non-related).
Narrowsburg is located in a beautiful area of New York and quite close to Pennsylvania and runs a long a river. The Narrowsburg town and surrounding areas are quaint and very friendly and helpful. The area offers some amazing rides and sights including the Hawk's Nest which is a road that rides along a cliff above the river. At BRO, they offered maps and suggestions for rides which some groups made the most of--like finding an abandoned castle!
I had split my trip by leaving Thursday night with friends from DC and Baltimore and stayed in Brooklyn for the night. We met with some of our friends at Motorgrrl. Val of Motorgrrl is always so kind and helpful to make sure all of our bikes were good to ride.
I was so lucky to be able to join a group of amazing women from New York City--some were Miss-Fires, Litas, Motofellas, or non-affiliated riders. Our little camp town was certainly an eccentric and diverse bunch that stole the karaoke limelight Friday night (thanks to Ms. Chris Chapman and gang). The best thing about group-centric events like this is that you can meet a lot of new people--and those internet acquaintances--from all over in one spot. Our group were just so much fun and so cool about sharing resources and helping each other out however we can--grilling, dining out, drinking together with no worries.
Saturday, our groups split and we all did some rides to different places. Again, we couldn't ask for a better day. It was sunny most of the day and the worse was overcast and some sprinkling of rain. The vendors that were here this year taught welding, pinstriping with 1-shot, did tin photography, various female tattoo artists, mixed drinks bar, 805 sponsored beers every night, there was grilling of hot dogs but no food truck, and free shots of Slow & Low rye whiskey.
Moto F.A.M. was managing the raffles and the money for the raffles went to Moto F.A.M.--which is a non-profit group that helps riders with expenses who has been in motorcycle accidents. The raffles this year were fun, the sponsors for the raffles included Via Meccanica, Deadbeat Customs, Bison Motorsports, Poler, Mothership Moto, Revzilla, Bushwak Gloves, First MFG, Pack Animal, Strange Days, Windburn Jewelry, Low Side Leather, ALMS NYC, Over and Out, AppMotoJam, Union Garage NYC, The Cycle Exchange, Two Moto, Wild Belle, Devil Chicken Design, Sugarbush BK, Spoke & Dagger, MotorGrrl, Retrofit Cycleworks, Sweatshop Industries, Vichcraft and Doomed NYC.
Saturday was the riding contests including a slow race, barrel rolling, and more. Saturday night was the 80's band/dance party and BRO also put together an after party at a local bar with a shuttle bus to take us back and forth. Our little camp group did not attend, we were quite content with our little camp party we had going on--nothing beats grilled steaks and chicken on an open campfire and s'mores and some drunken dance, chatter and just good fun.
Sunday was clean up and ride out. Our group went to a local diner and had some tasty brunch food. Then we all split to go home.
What I think BRO did well was getting the sponsors in order to get the activities like the karaoke night and moto games, promotions, media content, campground, and merch together--they brand very well. But the edge on the same dagger, it is a very heavily focused as a monetized/sponsored event. There was no food truck, the food was grilled hot dogs and inexpensive food, the beer was mediocre, the 80's band was a wedding band with guys in it, expensive merch, and pricey camping tickets; Which yeah covered the cost of the campgrounds, the karaoke and 80's band--but they certainly make sure they make every dollar that can. I have mixed feelings about it but I can understand that it is a business and brand that they are running.
I think one of the reasons why I appreciated the Fox Run, which is a different east coast all-women's motorcycle camp that happens in the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) area is that it is focused on the openness of the community and not the sponsors and money--making it more like a camp and grass-roots event.
Things I loved about BRO: Karaoke night, Moto F.A.M. raffles, hot showers, the camping area with the river right there and the women who were there.
Areas of Opportunity for BRO: Food truck, the heavy sponsoring from the likes of Triumph makes it feel too obvious and focus some content on the amazing older women who rode 3,000+ miles to this event and who has been living the ride or die lifestyle since the 60's and 70's.
Would I go again? Yes, but for the people--the lights and frills didn't matter as much to me.
As an aside... One of the ladies from NYC who was supposed to go with our group did not make it to BRO this year... She unfortunately had a life changing motorcycle accident and has been in the hospital. I don't personally know her but I know what it's like to have a friend who I saw the weekend before and then find out that she's in ICU unconscious for a week straight--and now struggles with her life changed. I know what it's like to lose people suddenly. I know what it's like to watch friends and family worry or lose people they care about. So I try to help however I can with what I can in these situations: Donate or share her gofundme and keep an eye out for news of a fundraiser for this strong-willed lady.