How was the idea of the RÄLLLY born?

-we talked to PETROLETTES team member Judy-

Interview with Judy Schlesinger (@catraction) photos by Alice Connew (@aliceconnew) and RÄLLLY participants

How did we come up with the RÄLLLY idea?
Judy: At first the one thing that mattered was to keep the saved date for the festival as our PETROLETTES Weekend. I insisted we should keep this weekend for us, to enjoy and be happy riding our bikes. Doing something together even though we needed to keep our distance.

I came up with the idea to send the whole community out on a ride with a mission. Not knowing how many girls would be joining in, we decided to do it – at least us, the PETROLETTES team, would go on an PETROLETTS weekend adventure in the surroundings of Berlin and Brandenburg. So we developed a concept that would grow as the registrations grew. We opened the cities and added checkpoints with the growing interest of the community and their response.

#petrolettesfrankfurt

How did we select Checkpoints?
Judy: We took a map, looked at it and checked if we could find any nice locations in the range we had set up as the maximum tour length, which was 300km. We basically chose the checkpoints randomly and checked them online. Then decide what seemed to be a good locations for a checkpoint. During the first e-mailing with RÄLLLY rules and regulations we had contact with many girls all over giving us support by letting us know about details on the site we couldn’t see in online maps and we had to make spontaneous changes and corrections.

How did we find female riders to help set up a joint group ride?
Judy: We tried to find a girl in each city that could help us organize a group ride out so we asked the girls who contacted us. We got in touch with many strangers who we immediately felt to be friends. It didn’t take long to find among those women some who were delighted to help as much as they could and we were amazed with all the help we got! Thank you everyone!

#petrolettessevilla

#petrolettesmalmo

Why did we set up the RÄLLLY?
Judy: The Rällly came to life because PETROLETTES festival 2020 seemed dead because of the pandemic.

Do you mean dead… like it will never happen again?
Judy: Not dead forever, but unfortunately dead for 2020.

What was the initial idea?
Judy: It was the beginning of the year, we were all ready to dig into getting all the needed preparations for the festival finished.
And then the first lockdown and Corona speculations showed up. The options we discussed in our first online team meeting were, either to keep working on the festival preparations or leave it completely.
Did you already prepare the festival for 2020?
Judy: Yes, we were almost done with so much structure and basic decisions. We had already set who would be performing and what workshops will be held. But there was still a lot of work ahead of us. Since it is so much work we all put in we obviously didn’t want to invest our precious time into nothing. So for me not doing anything with the Petrolettes this year was no option. I was convinced that there must be something else we can do, something that can be done even if this pandemic took over our summer.

#petrolettesbristol

How did we set it up?
Judy: The set up of the RÄLLLY was as followed; each girl that wanted to join the RÄLLLY had to register herself by sending us a mail with her city. As soon as we had five registrations per city, this city was declared as activated.

Where did everyone register?
Judy: The registration was done through our PETROLETTES website from women all over Europe. The PETROLETTES Rällly team then got together and looked the locations up and decided the checkpoints which we then communicated to the participants through e-mail.

#petrolettesnamur

What were your expectations?
Judy: At first we thought that we will probably be doing this ride out with maybe another 5 or 10 girls in Berlin / Brandenburg but it turned out to be about 750 girls from 47 cities in 19 countries.

What is your vision for the future?
Judy: Obviously we never expected this much positive feedback and it was a lot of work. Yet, it was so much fun and there was so much satisfaction coming out of this idea.

I believe we should continue with this and maybe even grow bigger and become a worldwide event with women from all over the world joining in on the same PETROLETTES weekend to live the adventure of life together.

#petroletteslondon

#petrolettesbarcelona


Judy is a mother, a graphic designer and a passionate, fun-loving bike rider…

Having spent many years in the middle and far east she appreciates cross-cultural interaction as well as adventurous activities with like-minded people.
For as long as she can remember she loves everything with wheels. Wheels with an engine fascinated Judy the most: „As a small girl seeing someone ride a motorbike I knew that one day I would do that too.“
When she got her license over 30 years ago in the region she grew up in women on motorbikes were something rarely seen. And although she saw that mainly men were riding motorcycles it didn’t stop her from following her dream. And so that little fragile girl handling that big bike surely caused confusion and astonishment. Today she is happy to see so many more women on bikes following suit – daring and believing they can.
Judy believes in fairness and being there for each other. She is a truly considerate person and works hard for the PETROLETTES community.
Watching Judy is inspiring and you know that she will always have your back and lift you up! Such a great soul!