Have you ever found yourself watching as a woman rides past on her motorcycle, wishing you were in her place? Or maybe as you were riding on the back of a bike you thought to yourself, “Maybe I would like to drive one of these bad boys myself.” If so, this post is for you.
Historically, women have been riding motorcycles as long as men have, but in far fewer numbers throughout the years. But the past decade or so has seen a shift in the number of women (almost 25% of all motorcyclists are women, which is a 35% increase from 2003-2012) who have taken up riding. This significant growth proves something: ladies are realizing just how much fun it is to ride their own bike. So don’t sit on the sidelines anymore – grab life by the handlebars and get out there and ride!
THE #1 REASON YOU AREN’T RIDING IS…
Before we talk about why you should ride, let’s talk about what’s holding you back from riding your own motorcycle: FEAR.
Let’s face it. Every reason you have for not having your own motorcycle and license probably points back to fear. You’re not alone! Some of most common fears keeping women from riding are:
- Feeling inadequate and lacking confidence
- Lack of motorcycle and product knowledge
- Don’t know how to get started
- Safety concerns
Those are all legitimate concerns (they really are) and shouldn’t be downplayed. But don’t let fear get in the way of your dream to throw your leg over your very own bike and take off down the road! Every fear you have concerning riding your own motorcycle can be overcome with some careful planning, goals, determination and work. We’ll talk about some things you can do to help you face and overcome your fears and get you on the seat of that motorcycle, but first, let’s talk about…
WHY YOU SHOULD BE RIDING…
The consensus is pretty general among women who ride motorcycles: Riding your own bike is a blast. The most common regret female riders express is that they didn’t start riding sooner! A study sponsored by Harley-Davidson showed that overall in a test group of an almost equal amount of women who ride motorcycles and women who don’t ride motorcycles, ladies who ride are generally happier.
In describing how riding their own motorcycle makes them feel, women expressed that they felt free, confident, energized, beautiful, happy, sexy, satisfied, optimistic about life, stress-free, liberated, content, alive, independent, and in control to name a few. What woman doesn’t want to feel that way? They also said that they felt a camaraderie with other riders, and many said that they have created friendships through riding that have lasted for years. You can be happier and make friends who have the same interests? What are you waiting for?!
Honestly, there is nothing wrong with riding on the back of bike. But there is only one way to experience the first person view from a motorcycle and the thrill you get from controlling that bike on your own… you just have to take the plunge. We’ve outlined some steps to help you get started:
DO THIS TO GET RIDING…
Take a Class
One easy way to help eliminate the majority of your fears about riding is by taking a rider’s safety course. These courses are highly recommended – not only for women, but all new riders. They usually consist of a mixture of classroom and course time and teach you everything about the physical and mental skills needed to safely operate a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle is much different than driving a car – these classes teach the proper precautions to take out on the road and get you comfortable on the bike.
Classes are found in all 50 states in the United States. They use a standardized curriculum from the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation), and many locations even offer “Women Only” classes to address the needs of female riders and provide a comfortable environment for women to learn these new skills. Harley-Davidson also offers a course called the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course at select locations, with a women’s only class option as well. Once you have successfully completed the course, you will either receive your motorcycle license or be prepared to go to the DMV to take your test – depending on the facility or the local and state laws for your location. Check out your state’s motorcycle laws to see what you need to be aware of before you can ride on your own.
Get Your Gear and Find a Bike
Before you even head out on your first ride, make sure that you are equipped with proper riding gear for safety. Everyone, regardless of skill level, should be riding in gear that fits well and is designed to protect you from the hazards of the road. Lucky for you, there is a ton of cute gear for women who ride motorcycles! (Check out our great selection of Women’s Cruiser Riding Gear, Women’s Sport Bike Riding Gear, and Women’s Touring Gear to get outfitted for riding your new bike!)
Next, find your new bike. Your options for a great bike are endless! Whether you are looking for a new or a used bike, your dream motorcycle or just a starter bike, there are thousands of options to choose from. You can find a quality motorcycle in any make, model and price range. Many manufacturers have bikes that are optimal for beginner riders and women, and they have options to customize the motorcycles however you would like. Start with a bike that fits you well, and that you are comfortable with. Don’t let your ego get in the way of choosing the correct motorcycle for you – make sure you get something that you can properly handle. You can always upgrade once you have developed your riding skills.
Find a Mentor
Riding is a blast, but riding with a friend is even better! Find someone that has been riding for a while and have them be your mentor. You’ll learn a significant amount in the classroom, but there is no better teacher than experience – and in this case, someone who has experience as well to show you the ropes. Whoever you choose, make sure this person is caring and willing to show you how to overcome obstacles you may face in everyday riding situations.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Even after these steps, you might have some lingering fears. So remember two things: practice and perseverance. Here are a few suggestions that may help:
- Set realistic, measurable and achievable goals to improve and spend as much time on your bike as you can. Riding regularly is the best way to overcome your fear and become a better rider. For example, the next time you need to run a quick errand, take your motorcycle instead of your car.
- Ride during times when there is less traffic such as early afternoon or early weekend mornings, or on less-traveled back roads, to help you get used to your machine in a less stressful environment. You will have more space to practice your new skills and hone in on making them better. Practice obstacles like starting on hills, cornering, and downshifting during these low traffic times.
- When possible, practice riding in adverse weather conditions. You may be subjected to any number of situations when you ride. Knowing how to handle your bike in rain, wind, and other stormy conditions will help you feel more comfortable on the road.
- Spend some time practicing slow maneuvering in parking lots. Work on emergency maneuvering for real life situations, such as sudden stopping.
You’ll probably encounter setbacks. That is normal. But don’t let it discourage you. There is definite truth to the old adage, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Determination and willpower will get you over any obstacle keeping you from riding and riding well!
Whether you’re new to riding or a seasoned pro, let us know your thoughts and the reasons why YOU love to ride. Leave your comments below!