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Affinities #19: Leather and Bikes and Everything Nice

San Francisco's all-female motorcycle club.

Colette Christner

(1 of 10)

A.J. Kunsman

(2 of 10)

Michelle Turbin

(3 of 10)

Barbara Costanzo

(4 of 10)

Aleks Grippo

(5 of 10)

Angi Xanders

(6 of 10) 

Jennifer McKay

(7 of 10)

Holly Berkley

(8 of 10)

Birgit Soyka

(9 of 10) 

Rima Mori

(10 of 10) 

 

See all the Affinities photo shoots here.

“People assume that we’re rough in some way, that we’re not delicate or feminine,” says Aleks Grippo, a visual designer and the leader of the Moto Girls, a San Francisco–based all-female motorcycle club. “We’re not who you think we are.”

Grippo first started riding nine years ago, after growing tired of clinging to the back of her husband’s bike. (She’s married to Wilder Grippo, co-owner of Moto Shop in Potrero Hill.) “I’m a control freak,” she explains. She founded the women’s motorcycle gang in an attempt to bring fellow female riders out of the woodwork. “It’s a totally different gender mentality,” she says. “The Moto Girls have a rule that you have to go at least the speed limit. When I ride with guys, it’s every man for himself.”

The pack includes moms, doctors, and teachers, all from 25 to 70 years old. Apart from weekend trips to Pescadero, Stinson Beach, Bodega, and Point Reyes, they meet up locally for dinners; the club doubles as an informal mentorship program for newbies. (“One girl showed up to a ride in Ugg boots,” says Grippo. “We were all like, ‘Are you crazy?!’”) Along the way, the Moto Girls take pride in casually dismantling stereotypes. “An experienced group of us stopped for coffee recently—all decked out in leather. One guy was like, ‘Where’s your purses?’” recalls Grippo. “I think we may have blown his mind.”

 

Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco

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