In a landmark move, Chicago's Dykes on Bikes group has become an official chapter of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes, making the riders a non-profit organization.
News of the move had not been announced officially until now.
Debby Rijos, who took leadership of the group after her aunt and founder Antonia "Tata" Flores passed away in 2009, said the move is historic for the city's Dykes on Bikes group.
"We've evolved from one lesbian wanting to display her pride…to an organization," Rijos said. "We're going to have a lot more validity than what we did before."
The group had been working as an unofficial entity since 1987. The name "Dykes on Bikes" is a registered trademark of the San Francisco organization.
Last year, the Chicago group rode in their first Dyke March Chicago, and in November, Flores was posthumously inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Rijos said that kind of recognition inspired her to seek official status.
The new organization will be called "Dykes on Bikes-Chicago." Riders will wear the official patch of the San Francisco organization, as well as a patch representing their own chapter, Rijos said. The patch will be a Chicago flag with rainbow colors.
"There's no better symbol than the Chicago flag, turned gay that is," Rijos joked.
Rijos said the move to an official chapter opens up opportunities for the bikers to get more involved in the community. The organization will host events and fundraisers. In addition, the group takes on the bylaws of the San Francisco organization, which requires them to participate in the Pride Parade ( they have done so already since their start ) .
Far North Side LGBT bar Parlour on Clark has agreed to serve as the host bar for Dykes on Bikes-Chicago, where meetings and other events will be held.
According to the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes website, 16 other chapters exist in the U.S.
Rijos said the Chicago organization is already official. "The certificate is in the mail," she said.