Some don’t want us to celebrate being woman bikers

by on April 6, 2009
in Blowing a Gasket

This year, I’m finding it interesting that in addition to the usual articles in the media about the increase in female riders, there’s also some backlash against the women riders’ “movement” (if it can be called that).

It’s not backlash against female riders, per se (though there is likely some of that too); it’s backlash against companies that are beginning to cater to women riders, host all-womens’ rides, make products for women riders, etc.

And I ask myself, why would this not be a good thing? Why does Lizzie at Rippen-Kitten so vehemently oppose the new WildKaT bike, engineered by women, for women? Why is BikerNewsOnline critical of International Female Ride Day?

The answer is, I think, that these folks reject the idea of being seen as a woman rider. They instead favor being seen as merely a rider.

Okay for them, but I say, screw that! Blending in with the guys is not why I chose to start riding. Co-ed events are great, and yes I have my favorites and do enjoy riding with my husband. But being part of a women’s ride – that is something special. Why? Two reasons that come to mind immediately:

  • Women seek community. In all facets of life, women seek out those who share a common bond, so we can gather support, share experiences, and learn from each other. An all-women’s ride feels like more of a community, which is a key reason I started riding.
  • Women don’t always want to be wife and mom. Yes, we cherish those roles. But on a women’s ride, we can leave those roles behind for a time and just enjoy each others’ company – as women, as adults, as independent spirits. Good God, why would we NOT celebrate that?

Hey, I truly believe, “to each her own.” If you don’t like the idea of a bike built by women that takes our unique engineering challenges into account, then vote with your wallet and don’t buy one. If you don’t like the idea of a women’s informational motorcycle event, or of an all-women’s ride, then please don’t participate. And feel free to express your opinion – I will be reading, voraciously, in my quest to understand more points of view than just my own.

But hear this: there ARE some things about being a woman that make me a different rider than my male counterparts, and I choose to celebrate them and to applaud those who try to encourage my celebration.

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    Comments

    6 Responses to “Some don’t want us to celebrate being woman bikers”
    1. Holly says:

      Good points! While I, too, love to ride with my husband and the other guys I know, there is something absolutely, undeniably special about taking off on an all girl ride! The sense of comraderie and sisterhood among women riders is unimaginable to anyone who hasn’t been exposed to it. Whether it’s me and one other gal or thirty others, those are special times that I will never forget!!

    2. Carole says:

      I see both sides of the story but agree with you, Janet, that there is nothing greater than being on the road with other women riders! My friends and I have had numerous experiences together on our bikes along with a lot of curious “looks” from many as we pulled into a town for gas, stopped at a rest stop, or at a restaurant. Finally, I believe many are becoming accustomed to seeing women on their own bikes. You should have seen the looks I was given 30 years ago!! I love riding with women – we rock!!

    3. While I personally do not want to be singled out as a “female rider” and would much rather be considered simply “a rider,” I also know that I am different from male riders. I have different physical characteristics and personal tastes that have every right to be addressed. The fact of the matter is that within my lifetime a woman who rode was more criticized than celebrated, and I think it’s about freakin time that we got the props we deserve. I see these women rider events as a celebration that we women are now free to BE motorcyclists. I also see them as a means to attract many new women to the riding persuasion that may still have a tinge of that old-time frame of mind. We are coming out of the darkness, but still have a long way to go to break down all of the long-standing ideals regarding women. On the business end, I see companies large and small who are seizing the opportunity to market to one of the largest growing segments of consumers. Particularly in the economy we face today, these companies would be just plain stuppid if they didn’t follow this marketing route!

      PS – Women riders rock!

    4. Wyzwmn says:

      I agree…but still – I’d likely sell my soul for someone to cater to plus size women in the gear department…oh…for the thrill of trying on a jacket big enough to go around me and not have to drag the sleeves on the ground like a gorilla….
      ~I’m just sayin~

    5. Fiddle Mike says:

      Nice post.
      Wife and daughter both ride.

    6. Carole says:

      To Wyzwmn – Check out Big Barn Harley Davidson for women’s plus size gear. They carry plus sizes in everything.

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