GRACE ROSELLI’S ‘THE NAKED BIKE PROJECT’ – WOMEN AND THE MOTORCYCLES THEY LOVE

GRACE ROSELLI’S ‘THE NAKED BIKE PROJECT’ – WOMEN AND THE MOTORCYCLES THEY LOVE

Artist, photographer and motorcycle lover Grace Roselli examines women and their raw passion for two-wheeled machines with her “Naked Bike Project.”

by John Scott LewinskiJul 27th, 2016

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A motorcycle is inherently an intimate vehicle. Whether driving or cruising along as a passenger, you sit in a car, essentially enjoying a comfortable chair similar to any you’d grab at home, in a restaurant, etc. But, you ride on a motorcycle as an extension of your body. Many riders take to their bikes for exactly that reason — rushing, leaning, weaving or jumping with a motorcycle as though dancing with a partner and putting those human senses of motion and balance to work interacting with a machine hewed from iron and rubber.

While ergonomics change between touring bikes, cruisers and sport rides, the human in charge straddles the motorbike — while its engine burns within inches of human flesh. As a result, there’s a not-so-subtle aura of aggressive, challenging sexuality to riding a motorcycle when the modern equivalent of Wild West outlaws throws a leg over a fuel tank. To be blunt, a motorcycle is called a “crotch rocket” for a very  obvious reason.

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Studies of a man’s chemistry with a motorcycle are rife throughout the arts and popular culture. From Easy Rider to The Great Escape, Captain America to The Terminator, Marlon Brando to Elvis Presley, when art wants to portray a man as rebellious, dangerous, powerful or sexy, he finds himself hanging onto handlebars. Now, a Brooklyn-based artist is taking a sophisticated look at how some very real women interact with their beloved rides.
Artist and photographer Grace Roselli created The Naked Bike Project as both a veteran of the New York art scene and as a devoted rider herself. Rather than create images of fantasy riders posed with random cycles as mere eye candy or pay needless homage to the kind of idealized, “pin-up” women you might find painted onto some custom bike’s fuel tank, Roselli sought out real women with varied professions, ages, and backgrounds. The common factors they all share are a love for motorcycles and a devotion to their personal machines.
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The Naked Bike title refers to the motorcycles depicted in Roselli’s work as much as the featured women. Of course, some of the machines the ladies accompany in the stark, aggressive photos are shiny and new — polished for their big artistic moments. However, others show their ridden character with the dings and burns only thousands of miles can rub into a motorcycle.

Meanwhile, the women appear both  clothed and in the nude — but the nudity is never salacious or exploitative. The nature of riding leathers and other protective gear necessary to enjoy a bike with a bit of sense often hides gender and removes sexual cues from a rider’s body. The nudity in Roselli’s explorations returns femininity to the subjects’ identities while presenting them without artificial glamour. We see the faces and sense the spirits of the women who love their motorcycles.

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Roselli first fired up her Naked Bike Project in 1996 and explored her own fascination with the freedom of writing and how women interacted with it. She returned to the bikes in 2016, 20 years later after raising her children with a new perspective and a new collection of women to feature.

The artist’s exploration of women and bikes is still underway with no sign of wrapping in sight. It’ll be fascinating to see where the current run will take her camera — and if we might see a third tour with the women and machines of 2036.
Read more at http://www.craveonline.com/design/1013679-grace-rosellis-naked-bike-project-women-motorcycles-love#5xhkuzMFyS5gGp8H.99

* Grace Roselli and all of the subjects featured here are members of The Miss-Fires. 

Story Time – Road Rash

Story Time- Road Rash

The Miss-Fires host Story Time

This weeks Topic: “Road Rash”
Come share your Motorcycle stories of when the rubber side didn’t stay down.

You are invited to the start of a series of informal group talks titled “Story Time”. It will be a night of.. you guessed it, telling stories about our moto related experiences. We hope others will enjoy hearing & telling their tales and it becomes a regular meet-up with a different topic each time.

This particular subject was born out of a few of us discussing Corinna’s recent moto miss-hap on the BQE. Very, very lucky that one, but a great reminder to the rest of us on so many levels. We’ll kick off this series with a topic related to close calls, calling it “Road Rash”.

Please join us this Thursday the 30th at 7:30pm. We have reserved the back room of The Richardson in Williamsburg. This meet-up is not a Miss-Fires only event but is exclusive to women only riders.

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

7:30pm10pm

The Richardson
451 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
http://www.therichardsonnyc.com/

Free, but please RSVP to themissfires@gmail.com

Valentine’s Day Dance Off!

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The Miss-Fires MC/CC and Grumpy Bastards CC are throwing a dance off! Swing, Jive, Soul, Rockabilly, Michael Jackson, you name it we’re spinnin the jams that’ll make your ass shake. Come and dance along side some of the best and worst dancers on the floor!
Happy Valentines Day xoxo.
1st place – Cold hard pile o CA$H
2nd place – …it’s a surprise
3rd place – …not telling
FREE TO EVERYONE!
Registration to be in the competition is $25 for each couple. In turn all money paid to dance will be awarded to the winning couple. If you’d like to pre-register please email themissfires@gmail.com and title DANCE OFF PRE-REG.
Dancing competition starts at 9pm- til you drop.
No need to join the competition to get your dance card filled, come and shake whatcha got!

The second annual Miss-Fires speakeasy benefit

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The 2nd annual Miss-Fires Speakeasy Benefit was a smashing success. Friends and supporters came decked to the nines, stylish as can be from the bootleg era. We kicked up our heels & enjoyed a rambunctious evening of 1920’s themed fun for a great cause.

First and foremost we’d like to highlight our incredibly talented friends who were selfless in participating, lending their time, talents, and resources. They are more valuable to us than anything. We are forever grateful and appreciate the moonshine out of them. Thank you all so much.

We would especially like to thank our very own Julia Haltigan & The Sleep No More band for bringing down the house with their stellar performance.

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Photo by Ryan Handt

Much thanks to Thrasher magazine’s DJ Wez for keeping the party on it’s toes with the dance jams throughout the night. Many attendees played their hand at roulette that was so graciously lent to us by our great friends The Grumpy Bastards classic car club. And a lucky bunch of patrons received a portrait drawn by sketch artist Anthony Kieren. Our fantastic sponsors were responsible for the high dollar value raffles where all proceeds went to benefit breast cancer.

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Photo by Ryan Handt

The event was captured by the brilliant photographer Ryan Handt. You can view his gorgeous photos here.. The Miss-Fires Speakeasy 2015.

We were fortunate enough to have our very own Miss-Fire Ashliegh Ide also lend her professional eye to documenting the event as well. The Miss-Fires Speakeasy 2015 in black and white.

Party Details:

Venue: location and secret password announced day of event (in Greenpoint Brooklyn).

Entry: $10 at the door (cash only. ATM on premises. 100% of proceeds going to charity)

Dress Code: 1920’s themed evening attire encouraged

This years Miss-Fires Speakeasy benefit supported our fellow moto lady’s breast cancer foundation her family started for her beloved aunt who died at the age of 34. They gifted the fundraiser last year with a $500 check so yes, this is a bit personal for us. Here is a link to the foundation..
http://www.florinamcancerfoundation.com/

Last year, with your help, we raised over $5000 at the party to support KIDSPOT; one of the MissFires’ Moms business, keeping her kids autism clinic doors open while she was being treated for breast cancer and incapable of working. In addition to other fundraising efforts we were able to pay her business expenses for the months needed. In the meantime, they found someone to take over the lease, joining with her partner so the business that her mom started continues to treat kids on the autism spectrum today. http://mykidspot.net/

Check out photos of last year’s party… https://www.flickr.com/photos/themissfires/sets/72157649115910546

This year we are thrilled to announce we are able to contribute $4000 to the Rusi Foundation and their goals to build a new cancer center. Thank you everyone who supported our club helping us to join the fight against breast cancer.

And last but not least,

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors!

The Bowery Presents
Brixton
Brooklyn Bowl
Brooklyn Brewery
Cafe Racer XXX
Coney Island Brewing Company
Converse
Evan Williams
Graceland
Iron & Glory
Jim Beam
M. Carter
MotorGrrl
Nativen
New York City Motorcycles
Rev’it
Stance
Stanmorenyc
Tanteo Tequila
Union Garage
Via Meccanica

For The Ride…For the friendships.

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READ THE ORIGINAL STORY AT FOR THE RIDE

The Miss-Fires formed in October 2013 after a simple dinner ride made up of a few women. Being happy, active co-ed riders already they didn’t know where it would lead when they took that first scoot, but before dessert, they knew they were on to something.

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Photographer, Todd Heisler

Q. Why did you start the group in the first place?

A. Even though we were happy riding with the fellas, something unique and beautiful happens when you get just the girls together. Our group rides and wrenching nights at the garage quickly became a way for women both new and established in their riding careers to bond and encourage one another. The tight friendships and camaraderie that formed, based on nothing more really than a love of motorcycles, was the proof that we all needed the Miss-Fires.

Q. How many of you are there in the Miss-Fires?

A. More than 140 in seven cities across the United States and Canada, and growing every day. There is strength in numbers and reach around the world, and now the Miss-Fires acts as a support group for girls locally to gather and spend real time together, and globally as an extended family for advice, support and, yeah, travel opportunities!

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Q. How did you decide on the name?

A. Everything we’re about is having fun, encouraging each other and never taking things too seriously. A misfire is a product of having an ignition system problem, bad timing, which results in your bike or car not starting well. The Miss-Fires is a twist on the idea that we’re all constantly learning, making mistakes and becoming better, stronger riders, wrenchers and people, while having fun doing it.

Q. Describe the kind of riding around Brooklyn.

A. Urban off-roading? NYC is treacherous on bikes, with rain, snow, alternate side parking, garages more expensive than suburban mortgage payments and potholes the size of SUVs. It’s challenging and wonderful because in part, you have to be a little nutty to ride here. Because of that, NYC riders are a wonderful breed of humans.

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Photographer, Marc McAndrews

Q.Which bikes are the most popular in the group?

A. I personally ride a 1968 BSA 650 Lightning custom, but have always had vintage Triumphs in my 14 years, and I hope to soon have both a vintage and modern Bonnie. Past the Brit bikes like Thruxtons, we have a healthy number of Harleys, many modern and vintage Japanese models, and a few Italian ladies, dirt bikes, race bikes, and a sidecar rig thrown in.

Q. Do you have to be a woman to be in the Miss-Fires or are there honorary guys?

A. Though you do have to be a woman to join, we’re in no way sexist. We love riding with and supporting our male counterparts. The motorcycle community is our family and we’ve found that creating the women’s group that we needed has worked to strengthen, not separate, the co-ed community. There are actually two unofficial honorary male members who have earned our deep respect and support from the beginning – Tim and John, we love you!

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Q. What’s been your best ride so far?

A. There are so many, and the answers would be different depending on which member you ask, but for me, our Halloween ride where we dressed as The Living Dead gang from the 1971 biker film classic Psychomania and rode around Brooklyn would be up there. Of course, I am the film nerd obsessed with all films vehicular, as can be seen in my long-running project Cine Meccanica (www.cinemeccanica.wordpress.com). Oh, and there are just a few Triumphs terrorizing the neighborhood in that classic British film by the way!

Q. Do you ride as a pack?

A. Any chance we get.

Women on bikes: Female motorcyclists hit the streets

Women on bikes: Female motorcyclists hit the streets

The number of women taking to the road on motorcycles in the US is on the rise.

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council there has been a 30% jump in the number of female bikers in the past decade.

As the popularity of motorcycling among women has risen, so too has the number of clubs catering to enthusiasts. One such female-only club in New York is The Miss-Fires.

Michael Maher caught up with them on a recent weekend ride.

Produced and edited by Michael Maher, filmed by Mark Hiney.

-BBC NEWS