Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Women Ride

Why Women Ride

More than a decade ago, only about 3% of the motorcycles owned in the US were owned by women. That number has since changed drastically to as much as 12% in 2004! Women are no longer content to cling onto the back anymore and are finding their own enjoyment in being in the driver’s seat. There’s also been a huge increase in the number of women enrolling in motorcycle training classes, such as Rider’s Edge or those sponsored by the MSF(Motorcycle Safety Foundation). So who are these motorcycle women, and why are they riding?

Speaking as one of the many in this emerging trend, I can only guess at all the reasons a woman might have to get in the saddle, but I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in a few of mine!

When I’m on the road, and I pull up next to a car at a stoplight and sit there, nonchalant and unassuming, it is extremely amusing to notice the reactions of the men around me, often looking on with envy and a little bit of disbelief. If they are with their wives, I often see them look over, gesture, and make a comment, probably something along the lines of “if SHE has a motorcycle, why can’t I have one?” or “see, you’d look good on one of those too, honey.” It makes me a little proud, really – here I am, doing something that most other women don’t really do.

I love doing “the wave!” Call me nerdy, geeky, or a bit of a dork, I don’t care – when I see another biker put their hand out in a gesture of acknowledgement, it just makes me grin. Most of them probably don’t have time to notice that I’m female, and that’s OK. We’re out on the road together, we’re riding, and therefore we’re family.

Aside from the acknowledgement and shock effect, I find it extremely valuable to have time that is, in essence, mine. Even when I’m riding with other people, I am an island on the road. I can acknowledge who I want, when I want. I can take my time. I can pick where I want to go, and how I want to get there. As women of the 21st century, we tend to have a lot of expectation put upon us – we are supposed to juggle being both a career woman and a homemaker, and do both without flaw or complaint. On the road, the only expectation is that you should ride safely.

I also love how riding makes me feel. Every day out on the road is an adventure, because you aren’t blocked by windows or a steel cage. You are interacting with your surroundings and the road. You’re putting your foot down where most people only put their tires. You’re feeling the wind where most people just see the sky through their windshields. You’re noticing the deer frolicking through the field next to you where most people just idle past and see nothing.

I’d love to hear other reasons why you ride – feel free to post a comment and let everyone know what’s important to you about being a motorcycle woman!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Girl you hit the nail right on the head! Control, even when riding with a group you are still in control or as my husband Steve once told me... Feel the Power! The throttle is in your hand and you simply Must feel the power! I have only been riding my own since 2004 but with each ride I take I fall in love all over again! I think the stares which cause me to grin the most are the women who pass me on a four lane stretch of highway and once they realize I'm not just another dude on a bike they slow down to catch my attention and give me a thumbs up! I know that I am doing something they wish they were doing themselves and whether it be that they have never tried due to fear or opportunity or maybe they themselves ride but are simply stuck in their steel cage for the moment they seem to be an admiring group who make me smile at my accomplishment, one I have gown to love. If I had my life to live over again, I would have started this ride a whole lot earlier in life!!!! I must admit it has taught me to be a much better driver, I tend to give others their space as well as pay more attention to what goes on around me on the road, even while driving my car! Thanks for giving others the opportunity to share their thoughts on your site. Keep on riding and always watch out for others cause they don't always watch out for us! Ride safe, Tammy of Pleasanton, KS.