Changing the Demographic One Mile at a Time

Lily Snowden

I recently took a trip down I-95 South in the middle of Bike Week in Daytona. As I was driving, I noticed every bike I passed either had a lady on the back or a man driving alone. Why do men always get to do the driving? The obvious answer is because traditionally the man drives the bike, and the woman sits on the back, or in the “bitch” seat. But it got me thinking, “Are there any all female groups out there? Are all motorcycle groups really just full of old dudes with braided white ponytails?” The short answer is no, and I didn’t have to go as far south as Daytona to find out.

Jacksonville local Colleen Nevitt has worked hard to change the standard and create a group where all feel welcome to ride alongside her. Nevitt created the motorcycle group Fat Bottom Girlz, also known as FBG, in 2015 to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for women who enjoy riding motorcycles. Since then, the group has grown to almost 100 members and counting. FBG welcomes all people, no matter your sexuality, miles, age, pronouns, or bike choice. The group goes by three rules: participate in local events, be safe, and follow safety hand signals while riding. 

The group is full of seasoned riders and new riders alike. Nevitt herself has been riding bikes since “when Blondie was a hit, and longer than you’ve been gluten free!”

 Although the core of the group is riding motorcycles, many members say this group has acted as a second family for them. After one member, Luna, was hit by a drunk driver while riding on a Sunday afternoon last year, she said she could not have made it without the support of the group.

 “It’s nice to be a part of a group where they do everything they possibly can to help and support and make sure you feel safe and comfortable,” Luna says.

 Fat Bottom Girlz is also committed to helping the community. Last year the group did a raffle and fundraising event for Women’s History Month in partnership with Queen Tattoo, another female-owned business. All funds went to the Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association: Chapter #56. The group has also participated in many other community events, such as opening the River City Pride Parade.

 Not only does this group provide a safe space for women to ride, but has provided amazing opportunities for its members. One group member, Anna, has recently been awarded a sponsorship with Indian Motorcycles. The company was ecstatic about getting to sponsor someone from such a generous and philanthropic group. Motorcycling, for these women, is comparable to what yoga is for yogis; many members of the group say it is when they feel most calm and at peace.

 Nevitt says “Motorcycling is one of the most special things I can do for myself. It gives me calmness, keeps me in the present moment and empowers me. I am able to use it to help newer female riders sharpen their skills and thus, gain more confidence. I use it to fundraise for those who are in need within our community. Now, I don’t do those things or feel that way when I drive my truck.  But when I ride my motorcycle, I can do all of it! Riding is just pure Zen.”

Getting to sit down with this group was really special for me. I have always had an admiration for women who dare to break the rules and challenge the world to think a different way, but these women are so much more than that. Not only are they providing each other with a safe space to be their true selves, but they also are a second family to each other. This is so hard to come across, and I think what they have created is really special and should be celebrated.