For the past seven years Alicia Elfving has been inspiring women motorcyclists via her blog the MotoLady. Through her trials and tribulations, her openness and candor, Elfving’s amassed quite the social following over those seven years. This following was none more evident than Saturday night at the MotoLady’s Women’s Motorcycle Show 3 as an estimated 1,500 people packed into and around Lucky Wheels Garage in a celebration of women riders.
The city block on the fringe of Los Angeles’ Arts District was a cacophony of motorcycles, music, and conversations as bikes squeezed into the surrounding streets and onto the sidewalks around the do-it-yourself moto garage. Inside people shuffled shoulder-to-shoulder, slowly circling the motorcycles in the bike show and those exhibited on Lucky Wheels’ lifts. At the back of the garage, Joy Fire hammered hot metal into shape on an anvil as she demonstrated her skills as a professional blacksmith. Behind her, a crowd gathered around Theresa Contreras as she shared the art of pinstriping, from the brushes she uses to how to pull a clean line. Many tried their hand at it and quickly found striping’s not as easy as Contreras makes it look. Others donned welding masks and pressed in tight to watch Jessi Combs send showers of sparks arcing every time flame hit metal as she conducted a little Welding 101.
Motorcycles in the show squared off in categories like Best of Show, Old Skool Cool, Going the Distance and Modern Momma. The crowd also got to cast their vote for People’s Choice with Erika Winter’s tidy, bobbed BMW R75/7 gathering the lion’s share for the win. This was no small feat considering there were plenty of crowd favorites, including last year’s People’s Choice winner, Amy Mulligan’s “Mrs. Frankenstein,” a Suzuki GS450 that looked like it rode right off the set of Mad Max: Fury Road. Megan Margeson’s 1964 Harley Panhead chopper was ultra-clean, its raked front end stretching a Sugar Bear mile. Next to it sat one of our personal favorites, Masumi Takamine’s 1959 Panhead, a bare-boned hardtail Springer with paint cracking on its cream tank and frame.
Mingling among the masses were many of the leading ladies of the motorcycle industry. This included GT-Moto’s Sofi Tsingos who recently raised $25,000 for St. Jude with an MV Agusta Brutale 800 she customized with help from her friend the MotoLady, then raffled it off for charity. Krystal Hess brought her custom 2015 Indian Scout to the show all the way from Texas for everyone to admire. Hess operates a non-profit organization called Motorcycle Missions that helps veterans and first responders through both a custom bike building mentorship and off-road riding programs. (For more about Krystal, grab a copy of American Iron Salute and check out our feature article on Motorcycle Missions). The enigmatic Gevin Fax was also there to help the MotoLady celebrate her anniversary, Fax with the infectious smile and larger-than-life personality who has endeared herself to all riders through her music, TV appearances, and her travels.
As the night carried on, energy levels rose. Stephen El Rey crooned and strummed guitar to the delight of the crowd before Low Volts took their turn at keeping the live music streaming. The staircase to the second floor was constantly packed as people flocked to the tables filled with raffle prizes, eager to put their tickets in jars for a chance to win items like a custom painted gas tank or $400 gift cards to Bell Powersports. The party reached a fevered pitch when they broke out the motorcycle piñata, a welding mask used in place of a blindfold as people swung for the fences trying to break it open. It was one tough piñata, surviving many hard hits before finally cracking, sending cocktail bottles of adult beverages spilling from its bowels.
The third annual Women’s Motorcycle Show easily eclipsed the two before it both in the number of people and the number of bikes. It was so much fun, even LA’s finest wanted in on the action as multiple police cars converged on the building with the party in full swing. A police helicopter circled overhead, casting a spotlight on the spectacle. The officers were actually amicable once they learned about the purpose of the gathering, responding more to the motorcycles that had taken over the middle lane of Mission Road as a parking garage in addition to the bikes that clogged the sidewalks. Of course, the police shut down the party before the raffle winners could be announced, so Elfving had to draw tickets the next day during a live stream on the Women’s Moto Show Instagram account.
“Right after Police choppers circled my Women’s Motorcycle Event and we got shut down for simply having WAYYYY TOO MUCH FUN! Seriously, there was so many people and bikes that the cops thought we were street racing.
“They actually thought the event was really cool and want to help us out next year with keeping it on the up-and-up. I was so proud and happy, hearing two LAPD officers tell you “this is the coolest event we’ve ever had to shut down” is definitely the feather in my cap,” wrote Elfving on her Facebook page.
The MotoLady should be proud. She threw one helluva party. She’s also helped spread the love of motorcycling to thousands of women, well beyond the Southern California community of women riders who showed up in force at her event. And show up in force they did. Just ask LA’s finest.