Helene Redman was the State Director for the Motor Maids in Washington, Oregon, and Western Canada in 1965, quite an accomplishment for a woman who initially wanted nothing to do with a motorcycle. When her husband sold the family automobile and replaced it with a motorcycle so she had two choices – walk, or learn to ride it.
She began riding in 1948 and by her account, her first solo ride was, “a comical one”. She had been instructed how to operate the machine but not on how to stop it, so when she wanted to dismount she aimed it into a hay stack to stop it. “Complete riding instructions occupied the greater part of the next day”.
Months later she suffered a broken shoulder and leg after a car pulled out of a side road into her path and she, walking on crutches, began again with an H-D 74 and sidecar. It was about that time that she joined the Motor Maids and became a life member. She suffered several falls and subsequently broke the same leg three more times but kept riding and competed in enduros, cross country rides, and other events.
In 1963, she and daughter, Ann, attended the Motor Maids annual poker run and an article in American Motorcyclist indicated Helene had appropriately named her Honda motorcycle Gypsy. At a previous event in Seattle, Helene and Ann had taken the honors for best dressed girl and motorcycle.
Ann was new to the Motor Maids in 1963, but was quickly proving her worth. She and Helene were noted for riding 170 miles in the rain to get to an event only to find out they were a few minutes too late to participate.
Helene volunteered her time at races, worked the AMA booths, “and helps out at any job that needs be done at motorcycle events”. She was no wallflower and was often featured on television and in print to promote motorcycling. She was a member of the Vancouver Black Cats M/C. She rode to 45 states and clocked over 350,000 miles on her various motorcycles. She won over 80 trophies from various states, “for most every type of event”. She was voted “Most Popular & Typical Woman Rider” and rode to Daytona Beach, Florida where she was honored for her accomplishments. She is remembered for having worked tirelessly to promote events that included women riders. She taught all five of her children to ride.
In true 1960’s style, reporters pointed out she was a home maker, talented cook, and enjoyed canning her own foods, bowling, painting textiles, sewing, and crocheting. She also worked with the PTA, 4-H club, and scouting.
Helene A. Redman was born May 25, 1927, and died Feb. 22, 1981. She was survived by her daughter, Ann, of Cornelius Oregon.
American Motorcyclist, March 1965, and various issues in 1963 and 1964, Obituary