We don't think we have ever met a pair of girls with so much damn energy... Meet your hosts of the Fox Women's Karaoke night at Babes in the Dirt 2, Katie Sue and Lea from SF Hot Rides!
What can be said about Katie Sue and Lea that hasn't been said before? Yeah, y'all know them as the forefront of the San Francisco-based motorcycle collective, Hot Rides. Or you may know them as reciting movie lines to Terminator 2, or shoot, any other Arnold movie for that matter. And yeah, sure, you can catch Katie Sue during the day, behind the scenes, running Vice's female-focused channel, Broadly or riding her wizardly white steed, an '01 Harley Sportster, in all-white garb from head to toe... WITH FRINGE. And let's not forget Chill Mami, or Lea, whose #1 sidekick is her dog, bad girl Zozo, and whose profession simultaneously scares us and saves us in "crunching numbers" for all types of businesses, mainly for Chrome Industries . You may have heard she owns like 12, or maybe 18? vintage motorcycles... Er, something ridiculous like that. Some may call it hoarding, we call it awesome.
What you don't know is how the cosmos aligned for these two beings to meet and how deep their friendship runs outside of motorcycles.
Each originally hailing from Southern California, Lea and Katie Sue met in San Francisco in 2006 through mutual friends and became flat mates shortly after that. Both reformed hardcore kids, the two bonded over their love for Built to Spill, R Kelly, and Converge, and also shitty pop punk bands we all love to hate, or hate to love, you choose. *Cough* Saves the Day and Get Up Kids *Cough* The two would sing along to 'Shoulder to the Wheel' and at the right moments, finger-point to the air, belch out of their lungs, and head-bang during the break down. To each of their own, Katie Sue could also sing to Notorious BIG's "Juicy," while Lea would rap "Gettin' It" by Too $hort in its entirety with zero error. Nevertheless, this was a friendship at first sight.
"Lea has been my inspiration for riding from the beginning," said Katie Sue. "She was the first to get into motorcycles, and had been building vintage scooters and mopeds with her now husband for quite some time before I bought my first bike - a 1975 Honda CB 125. We would ride around in co-ed groups, which were super fun of course, but the casual misogyny was frustrating and annoying."
Separately, they both realized they knew a handful of girls who rode motorcycles and were within the same age demographic. "One day, Katie Sue g-chats me and asked if she should start a Facebook group to connect all these riders that we know and plan a Taco Tuesday ride," says Lea. "DUH" was the response each mimicked, and thereafter, Katie Sue quickly proceeded to create the group.
"At the time, you had to name your Facebook Group and include a cover image, so I googled "babes on bikes" and the first image that popped up was from a calendar called Hot Rides with a sexy lady on a bike. We thought it was hilarious," says Katie Sue. And so it goes - the conception of Hot Rides was founded in 2011 over the love of tacos and "smoky, loud, fast two-wheeled things."
"We had the cadence going for a while where we'd meet up at least twice a month. Sometimes it would be a long weekend ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the hills, or sometimes a quick jaunt around town for happy hour, or just simply not wanting to leave each other's company and finding ourselves in Chinatown karaoke hole-in-the-wall bars. Haha. Katie would call me her “motorcycle sensei,” and I would call her my “karaoke sensei.” She’s fearless and pretty damn good. We were always suckers for any karaoke dive bar," shared Lea.
After many braaaps around town, the group snowballed into a supportive collective of female riders - a place for women to ask women questions, share tips, and meet other riders at time when girl gangs weren't as common as they are today.
"It was just so comical how the group started. It was always a joke to me because of how it started - from the name, to the photo, and to the fact that we don't take each other seriously. But it quickly turned into a safe haven for us. We all naturally gravitated to each other and would find solace in each other on that first Taco Tuesday night. We all had the same interests and opinions. It was crazy! Some of those ladies I still talk to till this day and they are my best friends," says Lea.
"I was so stoked to be a girl gang founder, I literally wouldn't shut up about it, so apologies to anyone I spoke to in 2011. Unless, you were one of the girls who overheard me bragging at parties and joined the crew," adds Katie Sue.
Since being founded in 2011, the group has quadrupled in riders, with babes in LA, PDX and of course, SF.
Katie Sue continues, "We've really evolved as a group, and the beauty of Hot Rides is that you can participate at whatever level you want or however you are able to. I've met some of my best friends through this group, and I'm so proud to be a part of it."
Katie Sue now resides LA, while Chill Mami hangs back in SF. This dynamic duo is reuniting at Babes in the Dirt 2, where the two will host Karaoke Night on Saturday evening. KJ Total Recall and KJ Chill Mami have curated a rad karaoke list for the evening and encourage everyone to break a little loose. You can catch them screaming to top of their lungs the lyrics to Saves the Day: “Get us as far as far can be. Get us away from tonight!”. Will you be joining us?