What is the quintessential female rider? In fact how do we define women riders in general? Who are those women that decide to reject standard female roles for a less common practice. Are they adventurers, enlightened or just plain mad? The population of female riders is expanding and with that expansion, come women exploring all facets of the motorcycling community. There are now female racers, off-road riders, motocross racers, tourers, RTW riders, cruisers and those that simply use the motorcycle as a commuter vehicle. There are all-female riding clubs, sponsored events and meets. We are the largest growing demographic in the industry and we need not only motorcycles designed to fit a shorter inseam, but an entire array of riding essentials designed for all women.
The question I have to ask myself, is why aren’t there even more women riding motorcycles. Statistically, though our numbers are growing, I still see few women riding their own, as I tour about the country. There still remains a limited number of females that throw caution to the wind and a leg over a motorbike to to embark upon the ultimate adventure of fun and challenge.
The women riders that I have been fortunate enough to meet come from all walks of life, but enjoy a common thread, their love for the ride. After talking to many female riders, regarding why they rode, the replies I received were as diverse as the women who provided them. You’ll find these are the “real” babes on bikes. These are the women that define the sport of motorcycling.
Christina Shook–Of the many complex reasons one might choose to ride – isn’t it clear to every rider that its just plain FUN? One word: fun.
Jeanette Snowbull–At this point in my life, I get to appreciate the sites, sounds and smells of the beautiful world, the mountains I live in. I get to take adventures to other areas and see the world in a way others cannot. The serenity, the peacefulness, sometimes being alone with my thoughts is a sanity in itself. Riding…the thrill the feel I just can’t live with out it.
Joan Jett–I love riding the twisties and long distance riding, it gets me out of being stuck and places me into an “endorphin” zone way better than exercises. Its a rush, I stay focused, I sense my surroundings, I feel the bike, I feel the power within my grasp, and these bikes take me to new and exciting places and people. There is nothing like it except to be in love.
Karen Boyd–Riding allows me to escape the day to day world where everything is dulled by expectations and instead feel my senses sharpening, my reflexes quickening, and my awareness expanding. I ride because it makes me feel alive and at one with the road stretching out in front of me.
Kelly Rogers–Why I initially was interested in riding and why I ride now are different. At first, riding had the appeal of the rebel… The danger and excitement… the uniqueness of doing something not everybody does was emotionally appealing to me. Why I ride now has more to do with empowerment, at-one-ment and freedom. There is something very liberating about strapping on my gear, straddling a machine and leaving the rest of the world behind.
Kris Oden–Why I ride…to be my authentic self. I do what pleases me and this pleases me. Oh ya…and to pick up guys.
Lois Pryce–I ride for fun, for freedom, for kicks!
Marion Tucker–Riding has invaded all areas of my life, work, fun, and home life.
Nancy Foote–I’ve always enjoyed the backroads and byways, even before I found motorcycling to be so fun. So when I was introduced to riding over 28 years ago, it only seemed natural that I would take to a bike and use it to expand my horizons. I love the feeling of power from the bike and being able to control my own destination and destiny. I feel that riding is as close to flying without leaving the ground. The speeding through time and space takes me to not only the physical places, but also to the spiritual highs of being alive and living life.
Liz Walling–I ride because; being pilot of own bike – picking my own destinations – all the while listing to my ipod, reminds me how fun it is to feel freedom. Plus I love being outside, moving effortlessly through the air, feeling the tempature changes, smelling the earthy warmth of rocks and dirt…. my idea of meditation!
Liz’s daughter Sarah Walling–I ride because it’s dangerous, and the danger makes me focus tightly on the present. I ride because it’s difficult, and the difficulty makes for great stories, experiences, and learning opportunities. I ride because it’s fun to be the girl that rides when most girls don’t, because it’s fun to tell little girls captivated by my bright red bike that they can ride too, and because it’s fun to watch people’s faces when i take off my helmet and shake out my hair. Most of all, though, I ride because I love it.
Anke Knauth–I am 17 and I will ride my motorcycle to school once the school year starts again. I can’t wait!
Astir–What is great about motorcycling is it is so multidimensional, and the female riders I know epitomize this. From the long distance rider whose goal is to be in the top 10 on BMW MOA, to my teacher girlfriend who spends her weekend exploring the desert tracking wild horses. Motorcycling for me is about pushing my limits, internal and external, and exploring this amazing world we live in. Major bonus is finding like minded people to share the adventure with.
chickthatrides–I started riding a quad when I was 5 and have been riding ever since because its fun. I can ride alone, but best of all, I can ride with my family too.
imasoftT–I Rode Today
I rode today without purpose or direction , each turn dictated by the feel of the moment, through the back roads that I have ridden a hundred times. Amazed at the difference the seasons make in the perception of the landscapes.
I rode today to clear my mind of the never ending maze of life in which I had become lost. I needed the peace that comes from being alone with the bike and the road, so I could find myself again.
I rode today to feel the power of the engine in my hand and to experience the feeling you get when you top a hill and see the land stretch out before you as though it were waiting just for you to come along.
I rode today, not in search of snow capped mountain vistas or babbling brooks, but just to feel the wind blowing away the cob webs of my advancing years and returning me to a place of child-like wonder and leaving me with the urge to yell out over my shoulder, “Hey Ma, watch this”.
I rode today and I will ride again tomorrow.
Victoria Zandonella–what motorcycling has given me back: my self-esteem – after having it kicked out of me with two failed long term relationships, 20 years of cubicle hell, and countless other emotional and physical challenges. In biking I am able to express the true me. I see it in the pictures taken of me while riding – a look not captured anywhere else – that undeniable smile that emanates the feeling in my heart – such utter joy and peace and a feeling that I belong somewhere once again.
Syd Sheppard aka FishWitch– I ride because I have so much fun! I get to meet great people & see wonderful places. Beats sitting at home watching the boob tube!!!
Suzi Richards–I often try to describe it to those non-riders who ask, but I find it difficult to put into words the feelings, sights, smells etc that I get when riding along a forgotten backroad with its beautiful twists and turns, the sensations of leaning the bike into a tight curve and knowing when you get it “just right” and gravity, road design, engine power and the agility of my bike all work in concert with one another and I am swept around the bend in an almost effortless manner. I love the wide open feel of the land around me, the sky so wide and expansive, the scents on the wind of the woods or the desert, or someone having a BBQ far off where I can’t see. Most of all, I think riding gives me a sense of freedom and a burning desire to explore and I hope that I have many. many more years of this desire in my soul.
Sheri South–There are people in my life who don’t get it at all. My sister thinks I’m having a mid-life crisis. That’s okay. She can think whatever she likes. When I’m still riding twenty years from now, and taking those twisties on my own, maybe she’ll see. Riding helps me unlock my potential. It helps me see more of who I am… and who I can be. It combines my feminine and sensitive sides with the parts of me that are strong, resourceful, adventurous and resilient.
I’ve had enough of riding pillion through life. This is MY time to navigate my course, and ride my own ride.
Gail Hatch–Riding, it is something I can do solo even when with other people.
It is a way to stretch my definition on independence.
It is a way I show my daughter that I think for myself.
Riding makes me feel competent.
Sara Aimee Henrrick–Loving the adventure
Red Ninja–For me, the defining feeling of riding is some magical combination of independence, empowerment, and pure fun (along with a healthy respect for the powers of the bike and a caution for the dangers of the road). It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. I have an amazing job where I travel all over the world and do incredible, interesting things, and I also volunteer with animal rescues, in addition to multiple other hobbies. But nothing gives me a feeling like riding does, and I hope to have many happy years of that feeling ahead of me.
Sally Tyler–Riding is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t get a chance to learn until 12 years ago when I was 36. It is my passion-it’s just what I do. I’m not sure that there is a quintessential female biker, but of the female bikers I know we do have the following traits in common; independent & bloody minded! I don’t think this is what makes us bikers but it is a link! Riding a bike clears my head & allows me to experience the sights and smells of my journey; it is just the best therapy I can think of.
Brenda Marks– started riding last year at the age of 49. It was something I’d tried years ago and it wasn’t a postive experience.Then my husband got himself a bigger bike and kept telling me that the old one would be good for me to learn on. I pretty much laughed in his face until he asked my Mom, at 69 years old, if she wanted to go for a ride. She didn’t even blink – just said “sure”. After that I decided that if she was willing to go for a ride at her age maybe I should give it a try before writing off the idea.
Ally House–I had always wanted to ride a motorcycle, but never had anyone in my family or close circle of friends that rode, so I had no one to teach me. When Karyn’s Mom died at the age of 61, we both decided that it was not an option to not ride motorcycles. We took the MSF rider’s course, and got our endorsements.
What I learned about riding a motorcycle as I became a rider was that it gave me a sense of power and of freedom like nothing I had ever experienced before. The demand on me, my attention, and my skill to ride the motorcycle engages me like nothing else does.
Karen Aho–Why I did not ride is an important part of the story of why I ride. My mother died in 2003 when she was 61 years old. In those last months of her life we talked and, as her life was ending, and she could see it ending, she grieved for things she did not get to do that she had wanted to do. I was 41 years old. I asked myself the question, “what am I not doing that I have always wanted to do?” The answer took no time in coming to me: RIDE A MOTORCYCLE. Ally and I had talked of motorcycles for more than 20 years. We were in complete agreement that this was the time to begin. Life is short and we are all going to die. I want to die with few regrets, especially over things I have control over. I made the choice to learn to ride. I ride to be alive in the fullest. I am an extension of my bike and I am a part of the road. I am involved in landscape and scenery as I move through it. I see, I feel, I smell–everything seems more vivid and I seem more a part of everything and I belong. I am present in the moment. I ride and I feel strong and competent and powerful and sexy. I still think riding is dangerous and impractical. I just don’t care to be a “good girl” any longer.
Bonnnie Lamply–Why do I ride? Because I love a good road trip and motorcycles are the most fun way to get there. Riding is so much more entertaining than driving because it engages all your senses and your mind. It requires being totally in the moment and continuously analyzing what’s happening around you. That suits my personality.
One of the best aspects of riding, though, is the people I’ve met, especially other women riders. I almost always feel at home with other women riders, more so than women in general.
Donna Rees aka demenshea–I ride for kicks and autonomy. When I am out on the road, I inhale freedom and exhale stress. It’s me and the bike exploring a moment in time, in a world of chance.
Watch for more photos and words following this post!! I know more women riders want to speak!