Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

You've come a long way, ladies

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Some folks play online poker at work, but for me looking through the Free Press Archives has become an addictive way to pass the time awaiting my next assignment.

It was here that I found the most amazing photo. The picture ran 100 years ago on Saturday, June 17, 1911.

A grainy black and white photo depicts a woman in a flowing skirt and a hat suitable for a royal wedding sitting on a motorcycle. The caption below reads:

"Winnipeg's first lady motor cyclist. She first learned to ride on a powerful Excelsior cycle, but has now taken up a lightweight Pope, which seems to suit her admirably."

With all due respect to our former editors, there's only one thing missing ... the young woman's name.

That's where you come in. Help us find out who this motorcycle pioneer was so we can salute her by naming a commemorative event in her honor.

Cheryl Gray, who along with husband David owns and operates Harley-Davidson Winnipeg, has graciously offered to host a gathering for every woman in Manitoba who rides a motorcycle.

With so many women riders nowadays it's hard to imagine a time when there was only one, and I'm betting she was an amazing lady. Now, if only we knew her name.

The plan is to find out who this lady was, and name the day for her. We're then going to invite every woman rider in the province to attend the dealership, and I'm going to climb up on the balcony and take a group photo.

Details on the event will follow, but first you have to help us identify this Manitoba motorcycle matriarch. If she was your grandmother, that's beyond cool -- you're rolling royalty!

If you have a lead on her identity, email:


Riverview riders

Normally, a motorcycle show-and -hine event has me grinning like a kid in a candy store. But last Tuesday, at the fifth annual Riverview Health Centre motorcycle Show and Shine, I found myself quietly reflecting on the man who put the gasoline in my veins -- my dear old dad, David Williamson.

Dad lost the battle with cancer at Riverview five years ago. Before he passed away I spent more than a few days there wheeling him around the scenic grounds and talking about life and love.

That's why I was so touched to see all the patients outside admiring our shiny rides. Retired Winnipeg police officer Grant Morrison and Riverview recreation coordinator Carol Robinson did a tremendous job organizing the event, and I feel a strong need to help them raise money for the centre.

This year marks Riverview's 100th anniversary, and they're working to raise money for palliative rooms. My goal is to call upon the local motorcycle community to raise $25,000 for a palliative room. Once the money is raised, a plaque commemorating our achievement will hang above the door of the new room.

If you'd like to help out, simply send a donation for any amount you can afford to the centre with "Motorcyclists of Manitoba" noted on the check. I'll also be calling on every motorsports dealer in Manitoba for donations, and will be passing around my helmet at motorcycle events throughout the province.

Please send your donations to Riverview Health Centre Foundation, 1 Morley Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 2P4. And don't forget to note that it's from the Motorcyclist's of Manitoba.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2011 F2

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