- Article by Mrs MotorbikeWriter
Happy International Women’s Day to all riders, male and female. Please read on, be inspired and then watch the three motivating videos at the end of this article.
Today, let’s take the expression “you ride like a girl” as a compliment and identify that any woman on a motorcycle – rider or pillion – is a triumph for all riders.
Women may only be a small percentage of riders and pillions, but any woman who enjoys motorcycling is doing so against an enormous number of barriers.
In the early days of riding, it was considered very unladylike to ride or pillion on a bike.
That didn’t stop many female riding pioneers such as Avis and Effie Hotchkiss who were the first female riders to cross the US in 1915.
During the two World Wars, women were enlisted into the army to act as dispatch riders, but after the war they returned to their ladylike ways.
But then we saw Marianne Faithful in her leathers in the 1968 film “The Girl on a Motorcycle” and things started to change.
In 1970, Aussie Peggy Hyde became the first woman in the world to be granted an open race licence.
Today, women feature in many motorcycle racing events racing against other women or against men, and a woman on a motorcycle is no longer considered unladylike.
However, riding a bike doesn’t mean a woman has to become a man or lose her femininity. Just look at Uma Thurman in her yellow leathers in “Kill Bill”.
These days the biggest hurdle to riding motorcycles is starting to diminish as high and heavy bikes make way for lower seats and lighter bikes. And in many cases, they are still powerful machines.
That’s not to say that some women can’t ride heavy-duty bikes. In fact, I reckon the best bike for a woman is … any bike they like!
I was amazed and impressed to see many women riding massive Harleys when I attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
I think we are seeing the dawn of a new era of females riding bikes, seeking freedom and self-determination. Hopefully Hollywood will recognise this with more iconic women in motorcycle movies.
Meanwhile, on International Women’s Day, let’s remember some of the pioneers of motorcycling as well as some of today’s female riders like these French women who crossed the Himalayas. Their video is in three parts.
Check out the many stories below about how women are making their mark in our favourite recreation.