WE'RE at Camp VC this weekend - the UK's premier all-female motorcycle camp, nestled in the heart of the Brecon Beacons.
And this year is bigger and better than before!
But who are VC London? We chatted to founder Gemma to find out.
How did you meet Namin and Mai and how did you come up with the idea of forming VC London?
Myself and Namin met whilst working together in fashion. I had already been riding a while & Namin had just started out. We met Mai a little later at a motorcycle workshop party. Mai wanted to start riding so we offered to teach her and that is kind of how we got the idea for our free riding classes for women.
When did you all get into riding?
I've been riding over 7 years now. Namin almost 4 years and Mai 3 years.
What do you each currently ride, and what would be your dream bikes?
I think we all current have our dream bikes (although I do believe in having a few different bikes to do different jobs).
I have a 1966 Triumph 5ta bobber as my daily ride. It's a total custom hardtail bobber rebuilt from the ground up (nothing really exists from the original bike apart from the engine & front end) a few years back by Steve Marshall. It has Old school BMX handle bars, small chop tank, single sprung seat & custom flame paint work by Von Leadfoot. I also have an SR125 small custom bike, a CRF100 for flat track racing & a CRF250 that I share with my other half….oh and a DT125 thats currently in bits (and probably will be for a while to come).
Namin rides a Kawasaki W650 in a hardtail bobber frame. Same again that only the engine exists from the original bike. It was built by Redmax for a friend of our a few years ago and has a ton of tricks and features like a Triumph front end, japanese cat back light and is finished off with some stripey grips!
Mai has two bikes. A hardtail Yamaha XS650 chopper that we call the unicorn built by Barry Kay and a Honda CG125 little cafe racer. The chopper is pearlescent white with a raked out front end, custom king and queen seat and a scorpion embedded in the tank.
What can VC offer women who are perhaps nervous about motorcycling?
We offer meet ups and female friendly spaces and events geared towards anyone from riders who have been riding for years to total newbies who are looking to get into riding. VC is a group where women can come and get together with a network of others to try something new and find new friends to share it with.
Theres always a lot of friendly faces and a lot of great advice at all of our events.
How can women get involved with you?
We have a monthly meet up at The Bike Shed in Shoreditch on the first Wedneday of every month from 7:30pm where any ladies can come down (whether they ride or not) and get advice and find others to ride with. We also have CAMP VC which has beginner lessons onsite as well as dirt bike classes, trials riding classes, skateboarding, bouldering, live talks from inspiring female athletes and adventurers and loads more.
Do you think that motorcycling has become more accessible to women in the last decade, and how do you think VC has contributed to this?
I think with events like Babes Ride Out in the US, CAMP VC and others around the world motorcycles are becoming more of a common place for women to get involved with. i think seeing more women ride in everyday situations is inspiring more women, as they think 'if she can do it maybe I can do it too'.
I hope we’ve contributed in some small way by offering women the opportunity to come down and give riding a try in a non-pressured fun environment with our free beginners classes that we’ve put on at our workshop in London. The hope is that this will inspire more women to get out and teach others too. Pass it on ladies!
VC is branching out into other areas of action sports, could you elaborate a little on this please?
We just found that though our free class we were meeting more and more awesome women who were doing different extreme sports so we inevitably ended up swapping some skateboarding lessons for riding lessons etc. I think its the same type of attitude that all these women were having. No matter what their age or background they were all just getting out there and doing incredible things and not really giving a damn. CAMP VC was just an extension of this and so we thought if we're offering riding lesson why not hook-up with a female skate crew and offer skateboarding lessons. This has just grown each year and so this year well be including Bouldering, a wellness area, free yoga classes and much more.
What are you most looking forward to at this year's Camp VC?
See all the ladies roll up on site for whats set to be a pretty awesome weekend. Also watching everyone leaving with smiles on their faces with a ton of new friends having tried a bunch of new stuff.