Las Marias all-female motorcycle gang is a force to be reckoned with,
every member more fearsomely empowered than the last.
Threading through the congested traffic of Mexico City’s stacked and knotted highways, a group of two-wheeled, thrill-seekers are turning heads. Casually blasting through gender conventions and hell-bent on adventure, Las Marias all-female motorcycle gang is a force to be reckoned with, every member more fearsomely empowered than the last.
The founder and visionary behind the singular clique, Blackbird, gathered under her wings three like-minded leather lovers with a need for speed. The poised Mrs Powers, boisterous Gummy and brooding Savage. Other members come and go but the core four ride on steadfast in their rebellion.
The girls laugh at the open-mouths and pointed fingers of stunned male onlookers as they ride out in force, revelling in their dissidence. In Mexico it’s rare to see even one female motorcyclist, but to see five is unprecedented. Dressed for battle and shielded by polished helmets and heavy boots, their proud silhouettes roar through the city’s shimmering smog and frustrated cars as they skip town and head for the open road.
Based out of Mexico’s bustling capital right in the centre of a country the length of Europe, Las Marias couldn’t be better placed for exploring their rich and diverse homeland. And what better way to go about it than astride the raw, rolling power of a motorbike. The gang are ready to drop everything when the call comes through, clocking off for the weekend and en route to mountain, lake or desert.
Despite being a burgeoning cosmopolitan player on the global scene, Mexico City society is still flecked with the machismo and religious conservatism that dominates the more traditional towns. It is this undercurrent that makes the Las Marias movement all the more inspiring in their brazen display of feminine strength.
As intimidating as the club might seem to outsiders, Blackbird is open to sharing their passion, organising large scale ride outs that even men are allowed to partake in, although, in keeping with their unorthodox style, they must to dress as women to take part.
Alongside the euphoria of freedom and speed comes the heart-quickening awareness of one's vulnerability on the road, disaster is one false move away. Every member of the gang has taken a serious fall at some point but, unfazed, all of the girls got back on two wheels and this bravery, or stupidity, has commanded them the respect of both male and female alike. As testament to their philosophy, etched indelibly on Blackbird’s arm is an ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a snake biting its tail symbolising the inescapable cycle of time. The clock is waits for no one, so you might as well live fast.
Whilst pushing against conventional views of femininity, the girls embrace much of the Mexican tradition. Savage is known to slink off during excursions in search of pulque, a gloopy tipple made from fermented agave plants that was drunk ceremonially in pre-Hispanic Mexico. True to her namesake, Blackbird, sets routes that pass traditional markets to enjoy protein-packed tacos filled with chapulines (grasshoppers), gusanos (worms) and escamoles (ant eggs). And their destinations often include the crumbling ruins of once thriving Aztec and Mayan societies to which the girls pay their respects for the heritage that spawned Mexico’s diverse culture today.
Rebellion and resistance is woven into the very fabric of Mexican history, the Spanish conquistadores with their missionaries were unable to squash the gods and rituals of the indigenous cultures that came before them, culminating in the spiritual melting pot still tangible today. The Virgin Mary, embellished with pre-Columbian significance continues to be venerated and adored. The rebellion lives on in Las Marias who proudly take the name of the most powerful and respected woman of Mexico as they ride on her wings.