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The Moto Lady and Her Women’s Motorcycle Show

Celebrate the creations, the women, and the journeys

By Kirsten Midura, WRN Leadership Board
4/2/2021

Alicia Mariah Elfving (aka The Moto Lady) is a woman with the goal of encouraging female ridership and replacing negative motorcyclist stereotypes with a sense of community. According to Alicia, when she launched her website (TheMotoLady.com) in 2011, most motorcycle media other than WomenRidersNow.com that was featuring women riders were “geared toward older women, men wanting to look at pretty women on bikes, or something in between.”

moto lady alicia elfving womens motorcycle show artist woman rider
By 2011, Alicia, an artist, photographer, journalist, and motorcyclist, had amassed a collection of original content that featured women riders, their custom bikes, and motorcycle fashion. She decided to start her own modest platform to feature women riders in a more positive light than what she could find in most other motorcycle media at the time. Photo by Bobby Do Right.

Since launching the site, Alicia has hosted an annual anniversary party. In the fifth year she had the idea to incorporate a women’s motorcycle show into the mix to highlight what women are doing themselves to fabricate and design beautiful custom motorcycles.

moto lady alicia elfving womens motorcycle show woman custom bike
“I don’t consider myself a builder because I’m not a fabricator, a painter, or a mechanic,” Alicia explains. “But I dabble in all of the above. I really enjoy creating things in general, and I consider motorcycles rolling art or functional fun with flair. For me, building bikes is a group effort.” Photo by Stories of Bike.

Having seen the success and potential of that first show, she dropped the anniversary aspect altogether and threw her efforts behind the now annual Women’s Moto Show (WMS). The first year of the WMS was “women’s bikes, bands, booze, and BBQ,” but it was the following year, with the involvement of the late great female fabricator Jessi Combs, her partner Theresa Contreras and their nonprofit, Real Deal Revolution, that the event reached the next level.

“Jessi and the Real Deal ladies held welding and pinstriping demonstrations,” Alicia explains. “That really rounded out the show and made it something unique. Without them I don’t think the show would have grown the way it has.”

Alicia had a close relationship with Jessi, who passed away in 2019 while breaking a land speed record in Oregon’s Alvord Desert, making her the fastest woman on earth. Jessi had allowed Alicia to work out of her shop at a time when she couldn’t find a place to both live and work.

“Jessi was a big help to me at a time when I really needed it,” Alicia explains. “Without her involvement in the WMS, it’d just be another cool bike show instead of an environment for people to learn and grow.”

moto lady alicia elfving womens motorcycle show welding woman
Even without Jessi Combs’ physical presence the WMS remains true to its roots and allows for a celebration of women’s hard work and dedication to creativity.

moto lady alicia elfving womens motorcycle show artist woman welders
Real Deal Revolution continues to offer lessons in welding and pinstriping each year at the WMS.

moto lady motolady alicia elfving jessi combs
In 2020, an empty motorcycle stand stood in tribute to the late Jessi Combs. The memorial served as a representation for something missing, and allowed a “place” for people to write a message, to say how they were inspired, or what they learned from her. This tradition will continue in some way each year, as Alicia explains, “The entire show is and forever will be a sort of tribute to Jessi.”

Most motorcycles submitted are accepted into the show, even a bike with light modifications but an awesome story. “The idea is to be inclusive and celebrate all types of women riders,” Alicia explains. “Even if someone’s bike isn’t ‘for me,’ I know there is a whole group of people out there who it might speak to, and maybe even inspire them to do some custom work on their own ride. The whole idea behind the event is to show the world women ride all types of bikes, and no matter your size or preferences, there’s something for you.”

moto lady alicia elfving womens motorcycle show art custom bikes
While the custom motorcycles are the soul of the WMS, the event’s original artwork is also a major attraction and is displayed throughout the space.

moto lady alicia elfving womens motorcycle show art custom bikes scrambler
Art comes in many forms—and while the motorcycles themselves are personal representations dreamed up by women customizers, the show also features other creations.

Each year the show presents three main award winners. Last year, the “Judge’s Pick” bike award went to a 1991 Suzuki DR350 with a custom paint job, sheepskin seat cover, and milk crate, whose owner, Zee, “lives on the bike.” Zee was awarded a trophy made by Legion Moto, a new shop in Portland, Oregon.

The well-deserved “People’s Choice” bike award went to a 1973 Honda CL350 cafe racer, built by six female Veterans under the direction of Krystal Hess’s nonprofit, Motorcycle Missions. This is the same bike and build team that won the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show at the Long Beach Progressive International Motorcycle Show we featured here.

The “Iron Butt” involvement award went to an attendee who rode 137 miles from Tijuana to attend the event. The trophy was a small gold chopper seat, made by All In One Piece Upholstery’s Krysta Henry.

Alicia is excited about the weekend-long show joining the Get On! Moto Fest this year, which is in the 10,000-foot NASCAR garage at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The WMS welcomes riders and non-riders alike to attend and Alicia states, “Check your ego at the door, celebrate some badass women, and party at the same time.”

Check out TheMotoLady.com to learn more about Alicia and check out past WMS. The 6th Annual Women’s Motorcycle Show is May 21–23, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Get info at WomensMotoShow.themotolady.com.

Related Articles
7 Women Awarded Jessi Combs Foundation Scholarships
Meet Some of the Top Women Motorcycle Builders Right Now



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