Motorcycle Clubs and Groups

The Road Divas Motorcycle Association – Riding in Style!

Written by  January 31, 2008

Hello Divas. I know a lot of you are busy making plans for spring bike trips and rallies, while some of you are enjoying the winter months of catching up on motorcycle reading, adding accessories to your bike, or chomping’ at the bit to get out and ride. Here in Kansas City we experienced a couple 60 degree days in January! Wow, did I see a ton of bikes out on those days, and then the next day, it was 13 degrees! Back into hibernation for a few more months I guess.

This month I want to introduce you to a unique group of ladies called The Road Divas Motorcycle Association (Real Divas Ride) out of Baltimore, Maryland. Frankie Tomlinson is the President and I had the opportunity to visit with her and their Senior Vice President, Janett “Smooth” Tillery about their club.

First and foremost, this is one classy group of ladies who give new meaning to “looking good while riding.” When they set out to ride they are dressed to the nines, white leather vests, black leather pants, jeans or chaps, clean polished boots, and their jewelry is all silver or silver tone to match the chrome on their bikes. The only exception to wearing silver is a gold wedding band or religious piece of jewelry.

Frankie had a passion for riding and joined a women’s motorcycle group and rode with them for about five years. She felt there was something missing with this group, and what she noticed was they weren’t like her. They didn’t take pride in their appearance. She tried to encourage change, but experienced a lot of resistance, so she wrote all her ideas down on what kind of group she would like to have. That list stayed under her car seat and she sat on it for three years. Even the name given by her two young children, “Road Diva” stayed on the piece of paper with her dream club ideas. She wanted to get rid of the stereotype of “biker chic,” and the drugs, and alcohol that was associated with it. Frankie wanted her riders to wear nail polish, lipstick, and makeup, and dress in a manner that made the group stand out. She knew how she wanted to look; she loves clothes and she loves to ride. She had never lowered her standards in appearance and wouldn’t start now.

Starting with 5 members, and 50 to date, her Diva’s most definitely stand out. Frankie said she has never been able to make it through an entire bike show because of everyone stopping them, wanting to take pictures and ask questions about the Road Divas. They are known across the United Stated for the classy way they look. I personally like their way of thinking. When I started riding my son said, “Mom how are you going to go from wearing Chanel and DKNY suits to Harley jeans and leather?” Ha! Really easy….it didn’t take me long to change from my business attire to motorcycle clothes, it just meant a whole new wardrobe! And you know how I love to shop! I spend as much time getting ready to ride as I do getting ready for work.

Now you might be thinking, “Is this a group of high society, high fluting, prissy ladies who don’t know much about riding because they spend too much time primping”? Wrong! I’ve been told they can ride the pants off any man… they are not all glitz!

They put as much time into riding skills and safety as they do looking nice. As a new member, you are given one year to get your license and a motorcycle. From there, they give the members private riding lessons (both Frankie and Smooth are certified instructors) and take them one step at a time, they don’t just throw them in the pack. Smooth thinks it really cuts down on the fear factor for beginner riders. Not only do they receive continuing education on motorcycles, but information on how to accessorize your bike from new pipes to handlebars. Frankie lends her expertise as a former runway model for fifteen years to all the members, offering help picking the right clothes that will flatter versus exploit your body. She discourages women who wear a size 10 but try to squeeze into a size 6, or who wear low-rider jeans with their thong strap showing, or riding as a passenger in shorts and stilettos. That is the image she wants to see changed in order for more people to have respect for women riders. Of course, that is an individual’s choice, it may not be the right choice, but what they wear is their choice. The Road Diva’s have Fashion Police who hand out violations. The members have to cough up $5.00 if they receive two violations. The most common citation is issued for wearing faded jeans. If you want to be a Road Diva you have to take your appearance as serious as you do your riding.

Frankie has passed on a lot of her Diva Tips from things she learned from her mother. Like, “Frankie if you smoke, I better never see you with a cigarette in your hand in public. If you drink alcohol, I better never see you with a bottle of beer to your mouth in public.” She passes that along to her members; she never wants to see them in a picture with a cigarette or beer in their hand. They believe in respect for each other. You stand alone and you stand on your own. The group does not tolerate gossip. If you can’t say what you want to say in front of the person, you don’t say it at all.

Smooth met Frankie at a country western clothing store where she was looking for boots.
She was admiring Frankie’s purse and Frankie asked her about her tattoos and if she was a rider. Conversation continued, and soon, she started riding with Frankie’s group (and by the way, Frankie never did tell me where she bought her purse). Smooth told me their philosophy is, “It’s more than the ride, it’s how you present yourself. Give people more choices and they make better decision.” When they are giving private riding lessons, they encourage the guys in their classes to, “clean up the beard, and style your hair, wear pants and shirts that match. Ditch the jeans you have worn for three weeks!” These are men who complain about not having a girlfriend or their wife has lost interest in them. They say, take a look at yourself and improve your appearance; you will soon see the change in the way people look at you.

Smooth also told me, “The Road Diva group is trying to make the motorcycle industry and its communities more aware of women riders and the effect it has. I need not explain how it feels (riding a motorcycle) to any of the Cycle Connections staff, but some of the outcomes from riding a motorcycle are awesome. Frankie and I have taught over half of our members how to ride and they have discovered their own empowerment. The ladies no longer settle for mundane jobs, abusive relationships, nor tolerate someone taking advantage of them. They have the feeling of opening their eyes for the first time, looking at everything life has to offer them. Man has known about this empowerment for a long time. Society gives them that feeling from the time they are born. When Frankie and I give motivational speeches we remind men to share this feeling with their loved ones, and give her the opportunity to ride beside you, not necessarily, behind you. I had one guy tell me, he never looked at it from that perspective and the next day he went out and bought his wife a motorcycle, thanking me for enlightening him.”

The Road Divas’ have chapters in Eastern Shores, Delaware, D.C., Virginia, Arizona, and Wisconsin. Frankie has formed two new divisions to her organization; The Road Diva Rockets are a group of members who ride sport bikes, they do wear white leather vests also. And the Diva’s of Distinction, a social club for non-riding women who like to be around other women riders and who like to attend, network, and socialize at parties and dances. They wear black leather with white fringe vests.

Frankie said every year she starts the New Year with a “word” for her group. For 2008 she chose two words: Unity and Respect. Road Divas is a safe haven where the members can come together, relax, take a “sigh of relief,” and be there for each other. The more they are together, the more bond there is between the members. “Having many cancer survivors in the group makes one more appreciative of living and living life well,” said Smooth.

And all of our Cycle Connection Divas know when we are riding we are living life well!
Check out their website at The Road Divas attend five or six rallies a year so be on the lookout for this group that is bringing a “breath of fresh air” to riding. Good luck girls and keep on “stylin’.

Have a happy Valentines Day!

Save the Date; June 14, 2008- 2nd Annual RUFF RIDE Dice Run to benefit the Northland Animal Welfare Society (NAWS)

Goldie Arnold:
Goldie Arnold

“Never rider faster than you angel can fly”