On May 2, 1915, an Wall Street clerk left her boring job to take off on the journey of a lifetime– and paved a path for the adventurous women who came after her.
At 26 years old, Effie Hotchkiss wanted to prove that "motorcycling is perfectly good as a girl's sport." So she jumped on her 3-speed Harley Davidson to ride from Brooklyn, NY to San Francisco with her mother Avis by her side–literally, in the sidecar.
They became the first women to complete a cross-country ride. But Effie didn’t just ride. At a featherweight 110 lbs., she did her own repairs. After navigating the treacherous San Marcos Pass outside of Santa Barbara in 120º heat, a fella pronounced her "the bravest and most skillful girl driver he had ever met."
In spite of her phenomenal feat, we hadn’t heard of Effie and Avis until Emily George and Tori George-Drake of motorcycle and coffee company See See Motorcycles reached out to see if we could craft a pair of pants perfect for riding, commuting, then wearing the rest of the day.
Using their years of experience on the backs of bikes, plus our cornerstone Maven slim pant, we crafted the Effie Moto pant. The Effie makes for easy riding in a rash-resistant Dyneema® Composite Fabric, which is FIFTEEN times stronger than steel. Unassuming knee pockets on the outside of the pant allow for D3O knee pads to be slipped in and out, without needing to hit the restroom.
Here’s a deep dive with Emily and Tori on what works for women’s ride wear, their experiences in moto and more!
How did the Effie Moto Collab with Dovetail come to be?
Tori: Dovetail has been on See See's radar for a while now. As a Portland-based, by-women, for-women workwear company, it was a natural fit. 80% of our team are female. We're not only motorcycle riders and enthusiasts, but we work our asses off and needed a great pant to do both of these things!
When it comes to pants, what challenges/pain points are particular to moto riding women?
Emily: For street riding and commuting, the biggest challenge has been finding a women’s pant diverse and functional enough to wear all day long. And let's be real: most of us want pants to look damn good on us while we're wearing them. When I first started selling women’s riding gear eight years ago, it was hard to find a pair that I myself would want to wear around town, and that would protect me from road rash. Since that time, we've seen companies really step it up on their riding options for ladies.
Rider Roxan Jane of @rangeneedlework wears the Effie as she works on custom motorcycle seats.
What’s the biggest misconception about the motorcycling world?
Tori: When most non-riders hear the word ‘motorcycle,’ the first thought to pop into their minds is a big burly fellow on a Harley that rides too fast, talks too loud and has something to prove.
Over the years we've found more diversity on two wheels and met more amazing people than we ever could have imagined. Motorcycles can take you to amazing places and bring out an amazing community of folks that want to help you out if you need it, chat if you'd like to, share a beer or just admire your rider. We wouldn't trade it for the world.
Emily: The biggest misconception I see is that you have to know all about bikes to want to get into riding. We all start somewhere with zero knowledge. Don't be afraid to ask those questions!
Fill in the blanks time!
The scariest moment I ever had on the road was…
Tori: Watching a dear friend head to the hospital after a devastating crash, I've never jumped off a bike so fast, and hope to never have to again. She is a survivor and the strongest woman I've ever met!
Emily: Recently when I got T-boned by a car that pulled a U-Turn right into me. I was okay and didn't go down, but the fella lost his bumper from impact, and I may have peed my pants... Just a little.
The best ride I ever had was…
Tori: 2016 Suzuki SuperMoto! The most fun you can have on the streets of Portland! Not too fast but way too much fun.
Emily: A Yamaha TDR!!! So fun to whip around town. Good luck finding one though, they're pretty swooped up at this point
Tori competing at Babes in the Dirt, taken by gylfphephoto
What’s the biggest fail you’ve had on the job or on a ride? Any lessons learned?
Tori: Part of our job is to ride motorcycles... Whether it’s racing, riding street or dirt biking, we will always see our customers out in the wild and get to high-five them and I believe it inspires them. My biggest fail would be not riding enough after having a baby a year-and-a-half ago. After racing or going for a ride, I never fail to have a smile on my face and I wish I'd done more of it the last few years.
What’s the biggest moment of pride you’ve had as moto mavens doing what you do?
Tori: Seeing that our hard work has paid off by inspiring others to get into the sport, come to our events and then seeing a smile on their faces because of it all.
Dovetail Workwear Disclaimer: We are not the boss of our Women At Work! They say it their way and wear it their way.