Riding with Las Marias: Mexico’s Coolest All-Female Biker Gang

Riding with Las Marias: Mexico’s Coolest All-Female Biker Gang

on a street corner in Mexico
at 7.30AM, my eyes scan a skyline blurred by smog. I’m
looking out for two wheeled forms weaving through the tangle of
traffic as I wait apprehensively for my ride. One by one gliding
female silhouettes mounted on motorbikes appear spectre-like
through the mist. Pulling up in front of me, the throb and spit of
their hot engines fills me with a childish excitement.

Feeling clumsy next to their elegance, I fish for something to
say to assert myself. Sauntering over to one of the bikers called
Savage I peer inside the exposed engine of her deconstructed
machine, feeling the heat on my face as its guts pulse. I run my
eyes over the rose-tinted metal and manage to stammer: “The body
has a really interesting colour”.

Without a backwards glance she replies: “Yeah, I pissed on it”.
Savage for a reason – I get it, she’s badass.

Blackbird, the president and visionary of the group, takes me
under her wing and steers me towards a shiny red bike mounted by a
willowy brunette. Blackbird introduces me to the chatty Gummy Bear,
I jump on the back of her bike and we’re off, weaving through a
congested mess of cars, trucks, food carts, windscreen washers and

Having bonded with Blackbird over a reciprocal love of leather,
I was invited to ride with Las Marias, Mexico’s first
all-female motorcycle gang. So here I find myself, roaring through
knotted highways towards the Toltec warriors of Tula on the
outskirts of Mexico City.

As we ride through the nearby town of Huehuetoca, men stop in
their tracks – open-mouthed, unable to muster even a perfunctory
wolf whistle. They seem silenced by this brazen display of female

Gummy flips up her visor and yells over her shoulder: “It’s so
funny how people look at us. It’s like, what the fuck? Five girls
on bikes?”

In Mexico it’s rare to see even one female motorcyclist, but to
see five is unprecedented. I begin to understand the thrill of this
feeling of liberation and power.

We pull up to a buzzing local market and attract more stares as
the leather-clad girls stroll through the smoky stalls of frying
meat and bubbling stew. I follow Blackbird and Savage who are
making a beeline for a taco stand manned by a colourfully clad old
lady who shoots us a toothless grin. On closer inspection (and not
without apprehension) I notice the taco stand sells insect-only

Blackbird takes the reigns and orders us ant egg and maguey worm
tacos. The girls tuck in with gusto. I follow suit and am more than
pleasantly surprised. We meet back up with Gummy and Mrs Powers for
a coffee and before I know it we’re back on the road.

Snaking through the hot throng of cars, Gummy complains about
Mexico City’s traffic problem. Every member of the gang has taken a
serious fall at some point. True to form, all of the girls got back
on two wheels – it seems like half the fun for them is in the

Reaching the archaeological site of Tula, we park and hike up a
Mesoamerican pyramid. Four-metre stone giants surround us as we
gaze out to the skyline of sprawling satellite towns and factories.
A single flame rises from a nearby industrial site, licking the

“Mordor,” says Blackbird.

As I gaze up at the towering Toltec heroes with their stony
stare, it’s hard not to liken their cool determination to that of
Las Marias. In a society where male machismo pervades and
dominates, these biker girls stand tall.

Rapidly losing interest in the pyramids and their unblinking
proprietors, Savage slinks off in search of some pulque, a gloopy
tipple made from fermented agave plants that was drunk ceremonially
in pre-Hispanic Mexico. She reappears soon after with a
sun-bleached two-litre Coca-Cola bottle half-filled with what looks
and tastes a bit like a banana smoothie that has gone off –
something for the ride home.

There is something poignant about the pride and enjoyment that
Las Marias take from their Mexican culture, especially as they are
simultaneously protesting against the traditional social norms that
culture embraces.

As we roar back into Mexico City, the exhaust reverberates in
deafening crescendos through concrete tunnels. I think about the
tattoo Blackbird has etched on her forearm – an ouroboros, an
ancient symbol of a snake biting its tail that refers to the
humbling cycle of time. The hands of time keep turning, so you
might as well live fast.

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