Women are dressed in the motorcycle scene, a minority – often easily. Irene Kotnik wants to change that: To Make your bikers-Petrolettes no men are allowed to come.
Born in 1976. Worked as an Intern in 1999 to 2001, when “blond”, then an editor at “blonde”. In 2002, a new concept and editor in chief of Corporate publishing “Job&Future”, 2003 construction and editor-in-chief of the video game magazine “GEE”. In 2007, construction and editor-in-chief of the vintage-car Community “carsablanca.de”. Freelance writer for “Page” and the Swiss news magazine “FACTS”. Since July 2008 head of Department in a day, since January 2012, head of the car. Since January of 2018, the head of Department of science, health and mobility.
More articles by Michail Hengstenberg
- Rights of use
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Ms. Kotnik, if I as a man with my motorcycle to the Meeting geknattert come – what say you to me then?
Irene Kotnik: I would tell you that this weekend, at least two other great motorcycle events to take place, to which you absolutely have to go. I would tell you that we would like to be among us, and ask that you are angry with me.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: would you me so kind, but determined to leave. There are men who complain about it?
Kotnik: Yes, of course. I can understand that also. It is in a way discrimination. At the same time it would lead to the idea of our meeting to the point of absurdity, when we engage with men. The Petrolettes just to make a minority to be visible. The motorcycle scene is dominated by men, if we were to accept some men as a guest, many would come. We, the women, would immediately be back in the minority.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: With the minority you think it’s a simple little motorcycle riders?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How is the idea for the Meeting originated?
Kotnik: I got some time ago a motorcycle club for women only in Berlin co-founded, because it gives me more fun, me with women to motorcycles in exchange. There are more common interests, the cohesion is greater. Crucial to my visit to the Babes Ride Out was a Meeting of motorcycle riders in the United States. About 1200 riders meet in the desert. I was impressed by the prevailing spirit of the deep. This is something I wanted to bring to Europe, but at the same time very different drawing up. The Babes Ride Out, the participants depend to three days in the desert. To me, a Meeting with a very different program in mind from the beginning.
These women give Gas
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What for a program?
Kotnik: the Case of us play in Bands, there are lectures, Workshops, a marketplace for bikers-fashion, a large common exit, small races, and much more.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is the difference between Petrolettes atmospherically from a motorcycle meet, the men are also?
Kotnik: The atmosphere is unique. It is difficult to put just into words. Peaceful and then back to adrenaline-loaded when we are driving our race. Overall, I’ll take at least Petrolettes as a Safe Spot to come true, a place where I can as a Person and my self-confidence as a motorcycle-driving woman to grow. In the case of three generations of women from different Professions and social strata. Nevertheless, all deeply connected.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: you have a Safe Spot spoken – are you as a woman on a normal motorcycle to meet unpleasant situations?
Kotnik: no, you can not say in General. It can be quite attractive, as a woman among many men to a Meeting. I have nothing in principle against Meetings, in which men participate. Petrolettes pick up women. I feel it is more pleasant and free. I can be there as a woman, unwavering.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: to what Extent?
Kotnik: Just an example: I’m not a professional race car driver and not a professional Schrauberin. And So it goes with most visitors. And all to go to a relaxed. In Meetings with men Nerd evolve often, discussions of technical expertise, which can degenerate into trade simple contest. Not the competition or the profiling in the foreground, but the fun is.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is Petrolettes more of a social Event, in the case of the motorcycles the connecting Element are, however, less in the center of it all?
Kotnik: The normal motorcycle meetings are on the male audience’s needs. Women make up perhaps ten percent of the participants and do not drive often, but are just a passenger, sit at the back. We have considered in the design of our meeting: What are our needs are, what interests us? Just an example: I am at each visit in the motorcycle business, that there is no fashion for riding a bike women. Even in such a big city like Berlin. That’s why we wanted to offer from the beginning on the Meeting, also fashion on our marketplace.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the process of developing in the motorcycle scene quite fashion-oriented niches, such as around the Café Racer-mentioned Retro Bikes.
Kotnik: Yes, but this is a good example of why it’s an event, such as Petrolettes needs. New Heritage is a strong Trend, the guys with Custom Bikes, long beards look chic and events such as the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride are staged in style. But as a woman, I still have difficulties to identify with. What is the role of had as women in the sixties, from which this movement can be visually inspiring? In General, the of the Cricket on the hearth. Since I find myself not again.
MIRROR ONLINE: The image of women in the motorcycle scene is anyway problematic: they often occur only as a scantily clad Passenger in appearance. Or deceptive?
Kotnik: no, unfortunately not. I got in very late in the scene, and was horrified. “Here time has stood still?”, was my spontaneous reaction after the first Meeting. And not only in organized events, one encounters on this role. Also at the EICMA, the biggest motorcycle show in Europe, so to speak, of the IAA for motorcycles, girls draped in Catsuits and Stilettos on the stands of the manufacturers. Incredible! For that reason alone, there must be events such as Petrolettes as a counter-proposal.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: do you See yourself as a feminist?
Kotnik: Yes and no. I do what I want, but I have no desire to politicize my Actions.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: you mentioned earlier that at the Meeting lectures.
Kotnik: This year we had Tina Meier invited, a motorcycle-pilot in the rally Paris-Dakar. It offers a training camp in Morocco just for women. She has held a presentation, how to overcome internal resistance and fear. Also, the peculiarity of Petrolettes shows: I can’t imagine that something like that in a male-dominated Meeting is a popular one. At the same time Petrolettes is not an esoteric self-discovery event, as a particular blow to women’s. And although I’m more of a hands-on.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why should women, who never in their life riding a bike, absolutely start?
Kotnik: part of the answer is close to the cliché: Because it is an insane feeling of freedom. In the car, on the Bus, in the train you see the world, through which you drive, only a disk. You look at it, like a picture frame. On a Bike you feel the environment is much closer. There is another point. In Petrolettes it comes to community, but in the case of a motorcycle it can go sometimes only to you. It’s not a family thing, it’s not a partnership is the thing, you’re doing it for you.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is there a Moment in the history of Petrolettes, all sums up what you are for this Meeting hoping for?
Kotnik: Yes. He has been held for the first Time. We make the Meetings each year of an exit. In the first year, we have held on a little-traveled part of a highway a little acceleration race. Totally spontaneous. There was a chalk painted Start and finish line, and then the announcement over the loud-hailer. “Let’s go girls, now eighth of a mile, will get together in performance classes.” Many of you have noticed: Where the nozzle goes. Think of your children, your Job, everything is Possible, the inhibitions are large. We started easy with a couple of women, have led the way, and all of a sudden momentum came in. In a row are all the dangers, and each one was applauded arrival to their destination, to put the arms and celebrated. Not only the winners cheered, but also the losers. It’s an incredible community feeling. Many riders have left the Ballast of everyday life, their Fears and the courage. They are grown in.
More info www.petrolettes.com
More photos of Alexandra Lier here.