Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

ALBANY -- Seven motorcyclists pull into the parking lot of a restaurant. They're clad in leather, heavy boots and shiny helmets. The chrome on their rides glints in the sunlight.

As troupe members dismount their bikes, all eyes are on them as they enter the eatery. Each rider removes the obligatory helmet and takes a seat, menu in hand. As they sit, other glints appear -- teardrop earrings, wedding rings and chic eyeglasses -- and the jaws of other watchful patrons drop at the sight of the all-female motorcycle group.

Lisa "Emerald" Jenkins, president of the Precious GEMS (Gorgeous Enthusiastic Motorcycle Sisters) Motorcycle Club, said that's a common reaction to the group when it makes a pit stop during one of its rides.

"Definitely, being a woman on a bike gets a lot of attention," said Jenkins, a registered nurse at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. "It's kind of like being Superman. I go into work on my bike with the leather and the helmet, and then I change into my nursing uniform."

Jenkins said the group's six other riders also have professional jobs, and many of their respective co-workers have been shocked to learn of their pastime.

"We are all professional people, and we usually get a shocked reaction when our co-workers learn what we do," Jenkins said.

The Precious GEMS Motorcycle Club may be unique in the fact that all of its members are women, but Jenkins said the reason they ride -- and the work they do for the community -- is the same as that of their male counterparts.

"We work with schools, and we like to help out at the back-to-school events," said Jenkins. "We are also working to gather enough funds this year to donate to three local charities."

Promoting motorcycle safety awareness and proper riding technique are also among the group's goals, the Precious GEMS' president explained.

"We all took classes to perfect what we didn't already know about riding. Our main goal was that we wanted to be able to control our rides. We are all licensed, and we always wear the proper safety gear," said Jenkins.

She said it was important to the group to serve as role models to younger girls and other women who might like to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

"We always keep safety in mind because we all have children and husbands and our family members to think about that want us to come home safely," said Jenkins.

According to the motorcycle club, Precious GEMS began with six female riders in October 2009 when the core group discovered its shared love of riding.

Jenkins said her interest in riding piqued when a medical diagnosis led her to think about what she wanted to accomplish in life.

"I always loved them (motorcycles), and I wanted to learn to ride more than anything, so I did," she said.

The group, which rides actively with other local motorcycle clubs, will be celebrating its first anniversary Sept. 24-25 with a "Throwback to the '70s Anniversary Party." A meet-and-greet for the club and attendees is scheduled for Club Chill at 242 W. Broad Ave. on Sept. 25.

A charity ride and picnic is scheduled from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sept. 25. A $10 fee required of participants includes food, games and other activities. The group's anniversary party will also be held on Sept. 25 at the VFW Post on Philema Road from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Entry fee is a $10 donation.

Jenkins said the group is excited about expanding its club membership this year, as well as the charity rides and other events it has planned.

"We are always doing something, and we look forward to getting out there," said the Precious GEMS president. "We want to be an inspiration to others."