AUGUSTA — Like nearly everyone at the Augusta Civic Center on Sunday afternoon, Mindi Peavey and Kat Ferreira grabbed their strips of blue tickets when the drawing for the 50-50 raffle was announced over the public-address system.

The two women sat at their table in the brightly lit main exhibition hall at the 44th Annual Great Northern Motorcycle Swapmeet surrounded by booths, tables and tarps, where people were selling chrome pipes accessories, gauges, oil and air filters, sheepskin seat covers, deerskin gloves, patches, jewelry, carved wooden spoons and Scentsy, the scented fragrance wax.

They were offering something different from the stereotyped image of a motorcycle club.

Peavey, 42, and Ferreira, 55,  are members of the Chrome Angelz, a motorcycle club for women, and they are looking for members.

“We basically get a bunch of women together and ride,” Peavey said. “It’s all about loyalty, sisterhood and respect.”

The Chrome Angelz Riding Club is an international organization with chapters on five continents. Seven of the U.S. chapters are in Maine, and throughout the organization the support is immense.

Ferriera, whose street name is Stray Kat, struck up a friendship with another woman whose street name is Alley Cat.

“She was in a very bad motorcycle accident and almost died. And I reached out to her because everyone’s going, ‘Oooh, I’m so sorry,’ and I’m like: Hey you’ve got seven lives left, girl. Don’t worry about it,” Ferreira said. “Now we’re really good friends. She lives in West Virginia. It’s a great community where we support each other.”

Peavey, who is the president of the Iron Gypzy Sisterz chapter in the Brooks area, said she joined after seeing a Youtube video of how club members supported Tina Green while she was fighting cancer right up until she died.

“I could still just break down in tears,” Peavey said. “It was her biker family. Just the connection — you could feel it watching the video and it was insane.”

Ferreira said the Chrome Angelz raised enough money to dedicate the Tina “Firecracker” Green Memorial Room at the Dempsey Center in Lewiston.  During their final ride, they raised $10,000.

They also raise money for other causes.

Ferreira, who is from Winthrop, said the chapter with which she rides in Waterville does a ride to raise money for spina bifida research.

Mindi Peavey, left, and Kat Ferreira on Sunday at the 44th Annual Great Northern Motorcycle Swapmeet in Augusta, where they recruited members for the Chrome Angelz, an all-female motorcycle club.

“We’ll pick a particular person who has spina bifida, and we get them in a side car and they ride right up front,” she said. “And all the money we raise goes to the Spina Bifida Association of the Northeast.”

Members have taken part in Toy Runs, and fundraisers — ride participates make the donations — for a variety of causes.

At the same time, the freedom that riding motorcycles brings is the draw.

“That’s my appeal, the freedom of the wind,” Peavey said. “Basically, meeting other sisters to ride with, and not being just a typical mom for a day, being away from your family and riding with your sisters and laughing and having a good time.”

“Just to know you’re in control of you,” Ferreira said.

Guests at the Great Northern Motorcycle Swap Meet compare patches for sale Sunday at the annual event for bikers in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“You and your bike,” Peavey said.

“Yes,” Ferreira said. When you’re on your bike, you have to be in the here and now, she added.

“There’s no past, there’s no future, there’s just now,” Ferreira said.

“You can laugh on your bike, you can cry on your bike and you can scream on your bike or laugh on your bike and nobody can see you,” Peavey said. “So when they say wind therapy, it is the best  therapy. I have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in therapists and the only thing that worked was my $6,000 (bike).”

The Chrome Angelz encourages any woman to ride with them.

Ferreira said they want women to understand they don’t have to wait for someone else to ride with. And Peavey said they shouldn’t feel like they need to ride outside their comfort zone. If new riders aren’t very experienced, the ride will be organized around that skill level.

As other people from around the state wandered around the show and swapped stories and made deals and sold their goods, Peavey and Ferreira were waiting to recruit whoever might be interested to come take a look, handing out flyers and collecting names.

“May 2 is International Female Riders Day,” Ferreira said. “So basically, we asking any and all female riders to come out and ride.”

While they were able to glean some names, they were disappointed in another way: The 50-50 raffle pot of about $300 went to someone else.


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