A pair of Winkler women have brought part of a global community to the Pembina Valley.
Areli Hernandez and Heather Harder, have started the Winkler branch of The Litas - a Women's Moto Collective.
"When we started searching this, we found that there was no branch in Manitoba and we're like, 'why not?' Let's get one started because this is something exciting, something new, something that the community might like and maybe other women would like to join and ride with us. All ages are welcome, all experienced or non experienced riders are welcome. If you're female and you want to ride with other females or other women, this is for you. This is something you could have fun doing with us."
Founded in 2015, Hernandez says The Litas have already grown to over 22,000 members worldwide, and it continues to grow.
Hernandez says they hope once more women find out there's a community of women only riders, they would join.
"Our summer is so limited, right? So we got to take advantage of the good weather, and we hope that they (new or interested riders) would not feel as intimidated, because I felt intimidated at the beginning." She said it's nice to have the supportive community of other female riders.
Hernandez said they would like to do at least one ride a month, and as it grows, they hope to also do some spontaneous rides. For example, she said if there's a beautiful sunset, they could hit the road for a sunset ride. "The more women we can get riding together, the more exciting or the more events we can plan together."
The 17th International Female Ride Day Is happening this Saturday, and with the establishment of the Winkler Litas, for the first time there will be a ride locally to mark the day in the Pembina Valley.
International Female Ride Day happens the first Saturday in May, which will likely serve as the first official ride day each year for the Winkler Litas. "We hope to get as many women together that ride."
Hernandez explained the organization uses an app called the Litas Collective. It's a free app, and once you're a member, you can register yourself with the Litas. She said it allows you to see where all of the Litas are located.
"If your riding maybe to Utah, down to North Dakota, or even to Saskatchewan or BC, you can go and see other Lita branches, which is pretty cool," added Hernandez. "Then you know you're part of that community, it's not just the Winkler Litas community, but you can be part of them too anywhere else worldwide."
Being a member is completely free, added Hernandez. "You just need to reach out."
To find out more about the Winkler Litas, you can follow them on Instagram or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Just send us a hi, we'd like to ride, or I'm interested. You don't even have to have a licence. We can help get you going...show you what we've learned."
Hernandez says there's no kind of committment to be a member, except for wanting to go riding.