This Female-Led Toronto Scooter Gang Rides In Funky Costumes, Eats Donuts & Raises Money
Courtesy of Mondo Lulu and Sarah Jones

The Piper Doves started with an idea, an orange scooter and a handful of women.

When you think of someone in a biker gang, you might picture tight leather chaps, a big beard and a rough attitude, but Toronto's Piper Doves are changing what being a biker looks like.

Toronto's women-led scooter gang was born out of a need for a safe and inclusive space for women and all identifying people in the biker world.

Courtesy of Mondo Lulu

A haven for learners, riders of all kinds and good times with people interested in doing good deeds.

Jacquie Jeffery, the founder of the group, told Narcity she grew up around bikers her entire life, and with a lifetime of role models, an image of what a female biker looked like began to form.

"I'm a biker princess. I don't really know how else to put it. I grew up in a real biker family, my dad, my family, it's just all there."

"I always had this image of what the old ladies needed to look like," she said. "I had to be all leathery with black jeans and black boots and act a certain way. You had to hold space so that the men would take you seriously."

The Piper Doves are anything but a traditional biker gang. They bike in vintage get-ups, furry animal onesies and skirts while eating donuts, ripping around Toronto and raising money for charity.

Currently, the group has 10 to 15 consistent riders, with 70 members in their Facebook group keeping up with the gang's shenanigans.

Their main riders range from people in their 20s to their early 60s and although they are women-led, The Piper Doves accept members of all genders.

"I think everybody in the Doves, we just want to be ourselves and not to try to create this persona in order to fit in. It's the antithesis of why we hang out together and why we ride together," said Jeffery.

How it all started

In 2019, Jeffery wanted to be on a Harley but found her sanctuary on a Vespa.

"I kept trying to ride motorcycles, and I was anxiety-ridden at the time, which does not couple well with roads and two wheels," she said. "I wanted so badly to be doing this but I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel safe for others, and something wasn't clicking."

Joy Tan, co-founder of The Piper Doves, asked Jeffery if she had tried a Vespa.

"I had thought about a Vespa, but I thought I would be on a Harley first, and Joy was talking it up, and she was like, 'Why don't you think about it. It makes sense. You're into vintage. You can wear skirts.'"

Jeffery said if she could find an orange one, she would consider it.

A week later, Tan, who knew Jeffery from Toronto's Vintage Society, found her an orange bike, and the following week, she bought herself a Vespa.

From there, The Piper Doves spiralled into life. Jeffery and Tan were already big fans of '60s mod culture and from there came the name The Piper Doves.

"Piper is a person who rides a scooter, and dove is a pacifist," says Jeffery.

With an official name and two members, The Piper Doves started to spread their wings.

"As COVID-19 really hit, we found ourselves just connecting with more and more people who felt like we did, more importantly, because there wasn't really a place for female scooter riders in the city."

Jeffery says that while other scooter spaces exist, "they are very male-led initiatives."

"We wanted to do what we wanted to do. We wanted to say 'Hey, who wants to go for ice cream? Or who wants to go find donuts? Who wants to dress up in a theme?''"

Courtesy of Sarah Jones

The Piper Doves say they hit a major growth spurt in 2020 and other members, including Julie Crawford, express that joining the group gave them the support that they were looking for in the biker community.

When Crawford first tried to get her license she says she had an "extremely sexist experience," and she wasn't able to get it.

"I was the only woman in the entire group."

Crawford says the bikes were massive and didn't feel "beginner-friendly."

"It felt very much like it was catered to bros who had already been cruising around on other people's bikes and they were finally getting their licences," Crawford says.

"I struggled with this idea that maybe this isn't for me. Maybe I'm not the kind of person who gets to do this thing even though I always wanted a Vespa."

Jeffery, who was also getting her licence at the time, suggested she try the course at the Rider Training Institute where they have female teachers and a "more supportive" environment according to Crawford.

Despite previously giving up on her dream of riding, Crawford pushed through and got her licence at RTI and joined The Piper Doves in 2019.

What does a scooter gang do?

The Piper Doves meet up weekly whenever there's no snow on the ground for group rides around Toronto, but the socializing never stops.

Some of their favourite spots to ride through are the Scarborough Bluffs, Guild Park and Mount Pleasant Cemetery and you can usually find them grabbing a snack from Unholy Donuts, Knockout Ice Cream, Tom's Dairy Freeze and many more local businesses around Toronto.

When they ride they often ride in style and with a fun theme or vintage look.

Whether that be their Halloween onesie ride each year, a special event like the distinguished gentleman ride or just wearing something with sprinkles on it to get ice cream, according to Jeffery.

Sarah Jones

Vintage is a part of the group's aesthetic but Jeffery describes their collective style as "era hoppers" and "theme hoppers."

However, costumes, treats and rides aren't all The Piper Doves are about. Supporting charities and their community is a large part of the group's identity.

Since the group's inception in 2019, they've participated in multiple charity rides including their own Pride Ride in 2020 where they raised $1,100 for the 519, a local LGBTQ2S charity in Toronto.

Natalie Gooding

They also raised $3,300 for women in Afghanistan by hosting the Roadside Riot: Mods and Rockers Unite in collaboration with The Litas, an all-women motorcycle group.

Who can join?

"Everybody and anyone can join," said Jeffery. "Although having a motorcycle helps."

"We're a femme-led scooter gang but we're not just for femme-identifying individuals. We are open to all kinds of bikes and all kinds of people," said Tan.

The members clarify that the space is inclusive of all identities and people and the bottom line is they are "anti anti" and are looking for members interested in helping charities for women, the LGBTQ2S community and other causes.

"I don't want to put labels on it but I think the charities we support and the posting, and the type of stuff that we do speaks volumes about what we will expect from each of our members."

To join all you have to do is subscribe to The Piper Doves Facebook group and join them on their next ride (and maybe have an affliction for sweets according to the members).