Breaking the stereotype': The Litas Houston are gearing up for a women-only biker event

From left to right, co-founder Nyoka Yeohum, Kristyn Petras, Chelsea Veloso and Katie Lane of The Litas Houston by Carolina Paredes

Carolina Paredes grew up riding on the back of motorcycles, but she knew eventually she wanted to make it to the front.

Now, she is one of the co-founders of The Litas Houston, a chapter of The Litas womxn's motorcycle collective established in 2015 by Jessica Wise in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The group is hosting its inaugural " Yeehaw! The Litas HTX Campout" event from June 25 to 27 at 15997 1st St. in Splendora, Texas. Tickets start at $30.

The women-only, 21+ event centers new and experienced ladies in the moto scene, serving as a gateway for all women to become riders in a comfortable and safe environment.

"We wanted to have a space for us so we can have hangouts and we can inspire other girls that, like me, were always riding on the back of their boyfriend's bikes or have always wanted to have a place to ride," Paredes said. "Recently, a photographer reached out to us interested in riding and we were suggesting she starts on mini bikes and us getting her connected to classes."

The Full Throttle is located on Carolina Paredes' seven-acre property. By Carolina Paredes

The Campout will blend wellness and bikes during a weekend meant for women to learn about motorcycles. The venue houses Paredes' non-profit The Full Throttle" on a seven-acre property with a flat track and a workshop she custom-built. She intends to provide members the tools to learn new skills and develop their mechanical and riding abilities. The not-for-profit also offers regular seminars and charitable, educational and social activities.

Paredes plans on making the property a permanent track for the community to enjoy on weekends.

"I've been calling everyone in my Rolodex and reaching out to everyone I know in the west and the east asking if they will help us with sponsorships," Paredes said. "We're selling tickets and it's been a process, but the main thing is to inspire the local girls, even the ones that don't ride much, to just show up and meet the community. It's about breaking the stereotype of what people think a biker is. It's way more than that. The biker culture is really changing into a more inclusive and open space."

Chelsea Veloso, who joined The Litas Houston back in 2018, said she didn’t personally know anyone who also rode, let alone a woman, but she found her tribe with The Litas Houston.

"Once I found out about The Litas in Houston I was ecstatic. It meant that there were like-minded women who share the same interests as I do. It meant that I wasn’t alone. When we ride together, there’s this feeling that’s unmatched. It’s a sense of empowerment, camaraderie and almost this invincibility," Veloso said. "Most of us are aware of the certain stigmas surrounding women and our abilities. Being in a community like this has inspired me, encouraged me to be better and helped me realize I’m more capable than what I thought. In such a short time of meeting some of these women riders, I’ve always felt welcomed."

The campout is expecting about 50 riders and has a weekend packed with activities such as mini bike races, a comedy show, an art exhibit and a welding workshop.

For Paredes, it's not about the skill, but the disposition to learn.

"A lot of people are riding in from different chapters all over Texas, but my main thing is if you don't ride or you always wanted to buy a motorcycle and are interested or curious about our community we will welcome you," Paredes said. "We will teach you how to be on the mini bikes. We're not the stereotype that people think. The Litas is a group of women that want to ride and we just want to open up to all women."

Male vendors will be on-site until 8 p.m., but after, they have to go.

“When you have a girl's night you don’t bring your boyfriend or your kids," Paredes said.

"Eventually we will have something for the guys. We usually have male rides or co-ed rides and we have dudes show up for our bike nights. We're also going to have a mechanic on-site and have an area where you can check your bike upon arrival before we go on our Saturday ride. It's meant for women to ask questions they may not otherwise ask in front of the guys. We wanted to provide this resource so that people have a chance to explore their bikes and the mechanics that go with them.”

Nyoka Yeohum, a co-founder and member since 2019, says the riding collective has given her a sense of belonging.

"I've never felt more included in something or more like I was supposed to belong somewhere than I have in The Litas Houston ... I just want to get everybody together," Yeohum said. "Having a few girls that share the same interests is really awesome, but having a ton of girls that share the same interests from all over the state and all over the country, I think that's amazing."