Women are becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of motorcycle riding. More than ever, women can be seen in decision-making positions in rider training organizations, motorcycle dealerships, and in the many industries that support the needs and desires of motorcycle enthusiasts.
Stereotypes that fed the assumptions of both men and women about restrictions to the participation of women in the sport of motorcycle riding continue to be proven wrong. Many women can, and do, ride big, fast motorcycles. Some women are restricted to smaller bikes based on size and weight, but the same fact holds true for many men as well. Well known women such as former Member of Parliament Deborah Grey and broadcaster Susan Hay helped to bring public awareness to the absolute normality of women piloting motorcycles. Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris’ wife, Janet Harris, was another public figure who used her love of motorcycle riding to promote charity rides.
Manufacturers have recognized the growing visibility of women in motorcycling and are responding. They are targeting their marketing to women, including features that will attract women to their products. Accessories such as clothing are being specifically designed with women in mind.
Beyond these significant commercial implications, the greater participation of women in motorcycling is a very exciting development in terms of motorcycle culture. Women have extensive opportunities to join groups of riders where they feel more comfortable than they may have done in the past. Increasingly, even long established motorcycle groups have more women members who pilot their own bikes. The larger motorcycle community has become populated with women’s riding groups as well, and charity rides that focus on women’s issues are becoming more common.
The Women in Motorcycling section of the new Riders Plus website will be an extremely important source of commentary, reporting, and insight. There will be contributions from many varied sources; this section is going to be among the most exciting collections of current, relevant writing about women’s experiences in motorcycling that you will find anywhere. Stay tuned!