Katie Loftus…. that name may sound familiar to you and it is getting even more well known every year. Often recognized for her bright red locks of hair, Katie has made her mark in the motorcycle community by becoming a voice for female riders everywhere. Katie is the founder of a Southern California event called “Ride to the Warehouse” which raises funds and promotes awareness for women with breast cancer. Katie is a breast cancer survivor herself so her motivation for it to be a success comes from a place deep within. After overcoming her cancer along with other difficult life challenges, she decided to add some adventure to her life and learn how to ride a motorcycle.
She had ridden on the back of a motorcycle many times before. She loved the feeling, however, she was tired of waiting to be picked up and decided she was going to get her own set of two wheels! Katie signed up for a learner’s course, obtained her license, then purchased her first bike, a 2012 Honda Shadow 750.
Katie on her Honda Shadow after Crossing the Coronado Bridge
After getting some experience, she quickly upgraded to a 2013 Harley-Davidson Softail. She joined a local group with whom she rode all over San Diego, making new friends along the way. While immersing herself in group riding, she learned many new skills such as how to sweep, how to lead & all the basic rules of riding with others, and says it was very empowering for her. She felt she earned a lot of respect from the riders around her by showing her dedication to learning and becoming a skillful rider to the best of her potential. Riding soon became a passion for her!
Katie w Friend, Mongo (L) & Husband, Pieter Loftus (R)
It didn’t take long before she was ready to take off on her own and she made her first solo road trip from San Diego to Arizona Bike Week, then other road trips followed. She became more & more involved with the motorcycle culture while meeting other women that rode, this inspired her to keep going. Katie had found her ultimate freedom on two wheels.
Katie finishing 27 miles on a dirt road in Mexico!
While enjoying her newfound freedom but remembering what she had been through previously, she knew there had to be more places this journey could take her. In 2014, she decided to combine her passion for motorcycles with her drive for giving back to the community. Katie wanted to touch the lives of other women going through the same challenges of fighting breast cancer that she experienced. She wanted to do something to elevate the female riding community and encourage others to help and show their support along with her. She focused on the idea of “GIRL MOTO POWER” which became her new mission.
Portrait by Katie and Catalina
With that in mind, “Ride to the Warehouse” was born! Inspired by her previous background in the beauty salon industry, she thought it would be a great idea to create a motorcycle event focused on women, but with the art gallery concept that she had seen before in so many salons. As her vision for this idea progressed, she recruited a few of her female friends, Juice, Coco & Tiffany to help her make it all happen.
Artwork at La Bodega Gallery
A great idea it was! Ride to the Warehouse has now become an annual event that attracts both male and female riders from all over the West Coast! Although the event showcases female riders, Katie makes a strong effort to make it known that all genders are welcome. The event is all about showing support & EVERYONE is invited to do so.
The first Ride to the Warehouse Meet and Greet in 2016. Selfie by Photographer Mark Vargas.
Upon entering the event, you will see grand displays of female photography that bring each female rider’s story to life. Female bike builders will have their works of art on display for all to admire. Throughout the event, you will also see many casts of female breasts displayed along with the stories behind them, including Katie’s as well. At each event, a select few of these women will take center stage to voice these stories of incredible courage for all to hear and be inspired by. At the end of the event, the breast casts are auctioned off along with the photography pieces. The proceeds of these items are donated to various charities.
Katie with her breast cast
Lots to see at the event!
Workshops are also a large part of things to find at “Ride to the Warehouse” along with many vendors and a fashion show, so you can be sure to keep yourself entertained all day! As the event grows, additional features & attractions are being incorporated so be prepared to discover more each year! Katie is hopeful to expand the event beyond Southern California into other parts of the country as well. Let’s keep our eye on this event as it’s sure to travel far!
A Busy Day at Ride to the Warehouse!