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Women Only Motorcyclists

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Jeffco, May 1, 2016.

  1. Breezy riders: Women and the art of motorcycle countenance

    Gillian Southworth remembers papering her bedroom walls with pictures of motorcycles. She was 16 and saving up for a Kawasaki Z250.

    She didn't know anyone else, especially any other women, who rode bikes in her hometown of Poole, England.

    "I don't know where it came from," she says. "I come from a family of girls."

    She describes the road as quiet, despite the thundering throttle of her bike and the sporadic rumble of passing cars.

    "It's kind of a time to think. I find a sort of quiet in myself," she says. "It blows the cobwebs out."

    Southworth, now 55, lives in Warranwood, in Melbourne's outer east. She continued to ride by herself until 2015, when she spotted the Melbourne Moto Ladies, an all-women's motorcycle group, on Facebook. There were other groups, too, such as All Female Riders Melbourne and Girls Ride Out.

    "It just blew me away," she says. "I didn't realise there was a new culture going on of women riders. I always thought I was kind of alone."

    She wasn't – at least not on social media, where thousands of Australian women have started connecting over a shared love of motorcycles. They trade tips – about apparel, bike maintenance and road safety – and organise all-female riding days, as part of an effort to support one another in the male-dominated world of motorcycling.

    And this Saturday, May 7, female motorcycle enthusiasts around the world will take part in the 10th annual International Female Ride Day.

    The event, first launched in 2006 by Canada-based magazine Motoress, encourages women to organise all-female rides in their communities in a show of solidarity and support.

    Simoen van der Meent, 29, of All Female Riders Melbourne, says there is something special about riding with a like-minded group of women. "It's really scary to start learning how to ride a bike. It can be a really intimidating environment to get into," she says. "I think that's why women's groups are so good. It's an opportunity to support one another and learn about bikes together.

    "There's obviously the old mentality of 'the biatch is supposed to be on the back'," she adds. "It's always good to have a support network for each other to break those ideologies."

    And there are plenty more women who want to be on the front of the bike. Tony Ellis, of the Australian Motorcycle Council, says he thinks the number of women motorcyclists is growing.

    "Subjectively, you see a lot more women on the road. You also see [women] riding bigger bikes," he says. "The perception is that there has been a large increase, but it's just hard to pin down."

    Although it is difficult to find specific numbers in Australia, the change is very pronounced in the United States. In 2015, the US Motorcycle Industry Council found the number of women motorcycle owners had doubled over the previous decade.

    Younger women are getting more involved, too. According to the study, women made up more than 17.6 per cent of Generation Y owners, while women made up 9 per cent of Baby Boomer owners.

    Like in the US, women's riding groups have popped up here to meet the demand. In Australia, All-Female Riders Melbourne snowballed from a single riding event on Facebook into a 220-member cohort of women motorcyclists.

    Tamara Tusia, 28, of Heidleberg Heights, organised her first all-female group ride with a few friends in January 2015.

    "I just thought it would be really cool to meet other women who have their licence and go on a ride together. We wanted to get really involved in the culture and didn't know how to do that."

    Tusia and the 30 other women on the first ride left Kustom Kommune, a motorcycle workshop in Collingwood, and rode to a Warrandyte park, a long ribbon of women on Royal Enfields, Triumphs and Hondas.

    "People just do a double take," she says. "They see a bunch of bikers and then all the flowing hair. It feels awesome when you ride in a group of women. Being a bit of a feminist, I guess, it is really f---ing cool."

    Su-Nhi Arkcoll, a 39-year-old schoolteacher from Diamond Creek, organises the 235-member Melbourne Moto Ladies through social networking site Meetup. She says social media has made it possible for women motorcyclists – formerly isolated by distance – to meet each other.

    "When I first started [riding], there were no women's groups. There was no Facebook," she says.

    Arkcoll says she is happy to ride with men, including her husband, but she likes the comfortable camaraderie of an all-women's group.

    "When men ride, they tend to push each other. There's always that element of competitiveness," she says. "Whereas, with us ladies, we're a lot more cruisy."

    Women can also exchange ideas about issues that specifically affect them – how to find stylish motorcycling apparel that isn't covered in pink; how to find the perfect bike for smaller statures; what to do when you have dropped your bike and can't pick it up.

    Arkcoll has noticed more women becoming involved in riding since she started 15 years ago.

    "Being in control of a motorbike gives you a sense of freedom. It's empowering."

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/breezy-riders-women-and-the-art-of-motorcycle-countenance-20160429-goij16.html#ixzz47N0FnyYr
    Follow us: @theage on Twitter | theageAustralia on Facebook
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  2. What a load of crap. Just ride ffs.

    But that's me I guess....
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  3. Harsh, very harsh. The article included the term "empowering", so you're not supposed to disagree you know.

    I find it interesting a bit odd that learning to ride a motorcycle - an activity that arguably takes away quite a lot of the perceived power you might wield on the road as a car driver - is regarded as an empowering thing by some female riders. Is it? Acceleration away from the lights notwithstanding, I reckon I'm less "empowered" as a (male or female) motorcyclist but perhaps I lack perspective.
  4. I must admit I don't really agree with some of the stuff she says and as GreydogGreydog said, "Just ride ffs."

    It's funny how some people perceive some things as empowering where others don't need to label it.
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  5. I would tend to agree with GreydogGreydog - I tire easily of the song and dance people put on because women ride.
    It's probably because it's the same song and dance that goes on in the industry I work in as a web programmer.

    I find riding empowering too, but not because I'm a female. Because I control a huge, growling machine with a crap-ton of power and my hands can open it all up.
    I think that feeling would be universal, wouldn't it?

    IMHO (take it with or without the 2c) - If impacting others is what is so important here, you can easily make that impact by going out and riding. You don't need T-Shirts, flags and Facebook groups to do that.

    </end grizzly rant>
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  6. #6 CraigA, May 2, 2016
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
    I kind of find it interesting that some women want to take on a largely male dominated pass time and then exclude men by having girls only rides. I know men who have taken up largely female pursuits to meet women, yet these girls look to have taken on a largely male pursuit like riding and then exclude the men?

    Sure, have your girls club if thats what floats your boat, or you find it invaluable having other women to associate with to pick their brains about women specific riding issues, such as who makes a good range of protective gear for women. Having said that, why not make some of your events and ride days all inclusive?

    Is it some kind of uber feminism thing? Is this what makes it empowering? Doesn't this kind of halve your captive audience ( or more than half considering most riders are blokes) by excluding the men?

    I just don't understand I'm afraid.

    As already mentioned, just ride if that's what you want to do!

    I'm happy to ride with anyone, providing they aren't knobheads, regardless of what type of genitals they received during their early pre birth development phase!

    I actually really enjoy having a woman along for the ride on the odd occasion that it does happen, simply because its such a noveltyand I think its cool to see a girl on a bike. I wish it weren't a novelty, but while some females want to ride separately and exclude the men it will continue to be so!
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  7. #7 Fr33dm, May 2, 2016
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
    Sums it all up beautifully! I don't find riding with the bunch of other women empowering somehow. Nor I find being the only woman in a group of men intimidating. I work in a female dominated environment, so riding with men restores my sanity.

    Exclusivity of any kind is limiting on so many levels. I always prefer riding with a mate or two, whether we have a girls day out, or it is a mixed gender group. Ride your own ride and have fun, and if the group has too much testosterone for you, change your riding company!
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  8. I was riding with a small group a couple of weeks ago and was outnumbered 3 to 2, no suggestion that the girls weren't capable of going where the boys rode, and who wouldn't want to sit down to lunch with 3 hot leather clad beautys, beats the pants off a bunch of hairy sweaty blokes. The only ones trying to cause trouble are the feminazi's, girls can, and do, whatever they want
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  9. I think this is cool. Exclusivity isn't necessarily bad as I didn't read this to suggest these women never ride with men. If something is empowering, and doesn't impinge on others rights and freedoms, it's a good thing.
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  10. I was walking past a young lady motorcyclist at my local shopping centre a few days ago, as it turns out she was an L-plater. as I was passing I commented that she had a nice bike and asked her how long she had been riding and if she was a Netrider. at first she was a bit taken aback, understandably. then we had a bit of a chat. I recommended she get on NR and check it out. she asked if it was 'female-friendly'. I told it her it most definitely was and that there were all manner of members both young and 'mature', male and female, sporty-to-cruiser riders and everything in between. I felt good that I may have helped introduce someone to our national group.

    it made me wonder if we should have NR 'business' or intro cards in the Merch area that we can hand out (maybe with our username on them but that's not a big deal). maybe a referral system where new members mention the referer. will suggest in the Merch thread.
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  11. That may be drawing a long bow :wideyed::wideyed:
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  12. I was trying to be polite and respectful
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  13. And look how it panned out :censored::blackeye:
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  14. subtlety is not always the best way to get a point across :confused:
  15. You might not be subtle enough, but you surely are excellent in reading between the lines :sneaky:
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  16. I just hope that we get more ladies out riding. And how good is it if your wife/partner is a rider. I love the fact that my wife rides two up with me.
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  17. 'Empowering' it is for many women who feel a need to prove something to themselves and not to others...each person has their story to tell about how and why they took up riding a motorcycle...who are we to judge that using the word 'empowering' isn't exactly that for these women?
    Female riding groups are a safe and less intimidating way for many beginner riders and experienced riders alike to be introduced to group riding and/ or to share their experiences with other women. If riding with other women 'on occasions' is what some of these individuals seek then again, who has the right to judge or critisise their choice? Who hasn't had a 'boys night out' or a 'girls night out'?
    I know many of these girls ride with both men and women as I do. On occasions, men are actually invited to join some of these all female riding groups...once again, many of these social groups hold one to two rides per months which are exclusively for women only...and what's the issue with that?
    This article is not about feminists but about celebrating women who have united because they share a common passion. Instead of reading too much into the words printed, how about being encouraging and supportive of your fellow riders regardless of their gender? Thank you to the majority of other riders who are and who understand what these social groups are about.
    We all share a common interest and as often pointed out by many, if no harm is caused to others, do what you enjoy.
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  18. I love riding as I can be alone & just experience my machine....pure bliss!
    I also love the social side when we stop riding & catch up to recount the ride & enjoy our surroundings.
    Having more women riding would certainly add to the social side, as it does elsewhere in life, so I'm all for encouraging more female riders.
    Most riders I've met are great people & very welcoming - I'm proud to be part of that.
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  19. Coming from a generation that viewed such radical behaviours of woman riding motorcycles as akin to making deals with Satan I can appreciate the struggle some women have to simply be able to go forth and ride.

    Yes .. for those of us that fought for our freedom it is empowering.

    What pleases me no end is that nowadays girls don't have to even think twice that it is a right :) that is cool :cool:
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  20. shes gona hate you if she ever meets me dude