I heard about Camp VC long before I knew much about what VC London itself was and the women behind it. I had the opportunity in February to check out the VC headquarters and meet with Gemma (one of the founders) along with Koji from Motowitch, Tasha from Motoculture, and Irene from Petrolettes. Safe to say, this was already a casual powerhouse of women who knew their stuff.
I was already in London for the Carole Nash MCN bike show and I have to say, it knocked my socks off. Not the show itself to be honest, but the local London bike community, the biker restaurants and cafes, the weekend ride-outs; the number of cool, interesting and passionate bikers I met over that weekend. Even the number of people that showed up to the Motowitch networking event was pleasantly unexpected and I had a blast there.
Anyway, I digress…
In the loft above the VC London workshop, strewn with works in progress, motor oil cans, and spare parts, we sat down over a cuppa and had a chat about all things motorcycles and the women who ride them. VC London isn’t a motorcycle club or a biker gang, in fact, they’re simply a “collective of like-minded individuals that support, empower and encourage others to do what they love.” There’s nothing pretentious here, no exclusive club membership, fees, initiations or loopholes to jump through.
GRASSROOTS COLLECTIVE GONE GLOBAL
VC is a grassroots collective that started in a back street workshop of East London. The three founders and friends –Gemma Harrison, Maite Storni & Namin Cho, struggled to find other women to ride out with, and thus VC London was born. It has since thrived and transformed into a global community sponsored by the likes of Red Bull and has grown to not just include urban motorcycle culture, but also skateboarding, dirt biking, flat track, and rock climbing.
ANNUAL SUMMER CAMP
Every summer they host the popular Camp VC, a women’s motorcycle and outdoor adventure weekend in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. They also organise regular London ride-outs, open to all experience levels and engine sizes, whether you’re a learner or a seasoned pro; host motorcycle maintenance workshops at HQ, and inspirational team talks at the Bike Shed, Shoreditch.
This isn’t some feminist anarchy looking to oust men, in fact, they have plenty of male supporters who turn up to their events. This is simply and transparently, a bunch of girls who love bikes and mud and scraping their knees – chilling out and teaching each other a thing or two.
It’s a place for women to learn in a relaxed environment. Even if you’re a complete novice or someone who’s never hopped on a bike before if you have an interest in bikes then head down to Camp VC, where you can take a lesson or two and practice running around in a field in the Welsh countryside.
I enjoyed our casual chat whilst perched on a box in the workshop; I loved the no-frills approach that the girls have to VC London and the encouragement they give to the emerging numbers of female motorcyclists. I look forward to attending more of their events in the future and seeing what they get up to next!
Three-quarters of the tickets have already sold out, so get in quick if you want to go this summer!
There will be all kinds of classes: From craft sessions, photography classes, yoga, skating, surfing, and climbing. As well as ride-outs (both on and off-road) suitable for all experience levels, beginner’s bike lessons, live bands, and DJs.