Anyone paying attention to motorcycle trends, knows that the number of women riding their own motorcycle is on the rise. Ladies are no longer settling for riding on the back of a husband’s, or boyfriend’s, bike. Even though women have been riding motorcycles since the 1950s, (check out the Motor Maids, Inc) their number is growing more with each passing year.
I myself am married to a woman rider. In fact, my wife (whose father used to race motorcycles in Europe) has been riding longer than I have! Sharing the experience has enriched our relationship and given us a common activity to enjoy.
That being said, motorcycles can still be very much a “man’s world.” In fact, just the other day my wife had a man, who overheard her talking about motorcycles, ask, “So what kind of motorcycle does your husband ride?’ He assumed she was only a passenger and even explicitly told her so.
This assumption can also come from women. When my wife purchased her first motorcycle here in the States, a women looked right at me and said, “good job David!” assuming I had picked it out for her! This was amusing to both of us, seeing how I had never heard of the Royal Enfield brand before she got the bike.
So even with your growing numbers, ladies, you are still entering a sport that has been dominated by men for a long time.
I do want to say, most of my wife’s experiences have been positive with the individuals we come into contact with, and that includes regular contact with some pretty old school bikers.
So here are a few tips on how to hold your own as you get to know this new culture you are now a member of.
Know your bike
If you own a motorcycle you should be able to talk about it intelligently. Beyond the make and year, knowing some of the history of your bike shows you take the sport seriously. Know things like the CCs, whether or not is has fuel injection, carburetor, and similar, shows you understand something about your motorcycle. Also being able to describe how it handles demonstrates that you are engaged in the riding experience.
Be proud of your bike
Men like to pick on one another about the kind of motorcycle they ride; it is part of our friendly banter. However, if you are not happy with the choice you made, it can become painfully obvious by your responses. Don’t get on the defense, but be able to back up your choice of bike. Most riders will respect your choice if you do.
Know other motorcycle types.
Know something about the other motorcycle styles that are out there. Understand the basic differences between speed bikes, cruisers, street bikes, etc. When someone finds out you ride, they will normally ask you what kind you ride, and then tell you about their own bike. If it’s a motorcycle you are unfamiliar with, there’s never been a better time to learn. Motorcyclists need little encouragement to talk about their bikes!
I’ve often Googled a bike after these conversations to help me get a better idea of what someone is talking about.
Although there are many women’s riding groups out there, seek to find several groups of men and women to ride with. This is a great way to meet people and dive deeper into the culture. For the most part, motorcyclists are bonded by the common experience of riding. That’s why we are the only ones who wave when we pass each other on the road! When it comes down to it, male or female, it doesn’t matter. Respect other riders, and the respect will be returned to you.
My next blog will cover how to ride in a group.
Until then; remember, ride safe, ride smart, and have fun!
David Ianetta was born and raised in Boston, MA. After moving around in his younger years, he now lives in North Carolina. David has a passion for riding motorcycles,often exploring the scenic back roads of NC with is wife, Rika, who rides her own along side him.
David also writes a Daily Blog for Freedom Biker Church called, “Daily Rock“ located at www.freedombikerchurch.com and is a contributing writer for Southeastern Rider magazine.