Women in Motorcycling: Women Riding Motorcycles
By Walter F. Kern
When I became the Guide for Motorcycles at About.com, I created a topic on the site called Women in Motorcycling. It was there the first day that the site became part of About.com. Now on the Motorcycle Views site, I have created a Women Riders subject. Expect it to grow.
Women have been riding motorcycles for a very long time. For this short article it is not possible to give an adequate description of the important contributions of women to this great sport and passion. For the time being it is important to set the stage by telling you what is going on right now as women are actively involved in translating their passion for motorcycles into concrete examples that are benefiting society.
A visit to a typical women's motorcycle club meeting might help to show the reality of women in motorcycling today.
I attended a meeting of the Spokes-Women Motorcycle Club in New Jersey USA. This club is an independent club whose members are drawn from the entire state of New Jersey. The club has evolved over the past 15 years into an active riding club whose members have interests spanning all aspects of motorcycling from dirt biking to simple cruising to road racing.
The club was an early pioneer in the Internet explosion having had its own Web site since 1995. Many of its members first heard of the Spokes-Women from the Internet. The club is sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and its Web site is linked from the AMA Web site. Nearly all members of the Spokes-Women are active users of the Internet and have email addresses.
The club is so committed to safe operation of motorcycles that they require all their new members to take one of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) classes within the first year of membership. Members vary in age from young singles to grandmothers and have jobs such as media professionals, lawyers, librarians, computer professionals, and MSF riding instructors. They are articulate and knowledgeable about motorcycles. The group makes and sells chocolate every year to support several charities. They have an active riding schedule during the riding season. Some members also ride during the winter on the Polar Bear Grand Tour.
Three members, Linda, Barbara and Carol, were principal riders in the Pony Express Round-Up 2000 organized by the Women's Motorcyclist Foundation (WMF) to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. They rode the "Triple-2000" in July 2000. Each woman rode on a 2000 mile round trip to St. Joseph, Missouri USA and each raised $2000 to help fight breast cancer.
Each meeting of the Spokes-Women is filled with lively chatter, good sister-ship, helpful support and intelligent leadership. Liz, the current president, has a master's degree in operations research. She also has two motorcycles, a Ducati and a Honda. Each member of the club brings her own special qualities toward making the club a successful and well known group within the motorcycling community and elsewhere.
As part of this meeting, members had prepared a Bike Seminar that was held in the parking lot using actual members' bikes. Barbara spoke about how to check a bike before riding. Judy showed how to start a bike with a dead battery using three methods. Roe spoke about how to properly park a bike on a hill. Jane showed how to pack a bike using a packing list. Roe also demonstrated how to lift a bike after it had fallen on the ground.
This description of a typical meeting of the Spokes-Women is by no means unique. Similar meetings by other women's motorcycle clubs and organizations are taking place all over the USA, Canada and the rest of the world. The Spokes-Women Motorcycle Club is just one part of the fabric of women's motorcycle groups that includes the Motor Maids, Women on Wheels (WOW), Women in the Wind (WITW), Leather and Lace, the Sirens and others. All these women's clubs represent the best efforts of strong leadership and member involvement in today's motorcycling. These groups together with countless thousands of other independent women riders are making their names known by their good works in the community and by their contributions to motorcycling.
Women riders are currently only nine percent of all riders. These numbers are increasing steadily with MSF classes graduating large numbers of women riders. Women in Motorcycling is becoming a big Subject at the Motorcycle Views site.