Dawn Johnson, founder of Michigan’s Lady Biker Day, is proof that women change the world through simple acts.
Dawn was raised by her parents to live life to its fullest. Being inside playing video games and watching TV was never an option when she was a child and instead she spent her days roaming the great outdoors. Throughout her adult life she never lost her passion for exploration. Which is why, once Dawn’s children were grown and she heard co-workers talk about their road bike adventures she was hooked on the idea of the open road. She enrolled in a biker safety certification class, purchased her first motorcycle and took off.
Dawn quickly found there were few women bikers and was disappointed by the lack of camaraderie she had anticipated. Not one to be deterred, she created Lady Biker Day as a way to bring together women who share a passion for biking. What started out in 2001 as a small, one-day event has turned into a two-day event held yearly and draws women bikers from across the state of Michigan and Ontario, Canada to Northern Michigan.
As the event grew, Dawn and the attendees decided to turn their time together into something more than just biking; they have turned the event into an outlet to advocate for women and children. The event now focuses on a love for road biking, supporting women entrepreneurs and raising money for Camp Quality, a camp that allows children with cancer to be kids again.
Eight years ago, as part of their advocacy and awareness efforts, Dawn invited Eleanor West, Director of Camp Quality, to give a presentation on the mission of the camp. The women of Lady Biker Day were more than enthusiastic to support the camps efforts. In fact, they have not only worked towards raising money for Camp Quality but have fueled their fire by adding a competitive component to their fundraising. Their passion has paid off and they have raised more than $100,000 for Camp Quality in just eight years.
Fundraising is not the only way the Lady Bikers show support for Camp Quality. Many of the bikers spend time visiting with the children and donating their time and talents to the camps. Due to the need for such facilities around the country, Michigan now has two Camp Qualities, one located in SE Michigan and another in Lake Ann, Michigan.
Through her simple act of bringing women together Dawn has indeed made an impact on hundreds of children, the camp that serves them and women who are passionate about biking and Camp Quality. In addition to her commitment to Camp Quality and Lady Biker Day, Dawn is fully committed to her family and country.
Due to her status as the founder of Lady Bike Day, she is frequently connected with women who pioneered the biking culture back in the 40s and who remember those days as the best of their lives. Dawn is pleased to see that women are one of the fastest grown demographic segments for the biking industry and that more and more of us are experiencing the gift of road biking.
The Adventuress team would like to tip our hats to women around the world who are making a difference locally, regionally or globally. If we could feature you or someone you know in a future article please contact us at Michele@goadventuress.com. It’s the adventuress spirit in each of us that changes the world for the better!