My passion for motorcycles is obvious. Its hard to think of a moment outside of cold or rainy weather conditions that I wouldn't rather be making a trip on the motorcycle rather than in a car. When I can't ride I like to read about them. Sometimes what I read makes me want to blog about our world of riding.
Its this series of events that mostly takes me to specialized magazines or websites about all things motorcycle, with some being written or presented better than others but rarely eye-catching. Imagine my surprise when I followed a link to a story about the increasing number of women in riding and came across this web page -
Yep, I had to go to a Middle Eastern Newspaper to read a story written by the Detroit Free Press. Funny.
Good story too! All about what male bikers want more than another tweak to the engine or more chrome on their bike - more women riding.
What was even more interesting was to read that according to the Motorcycle Industry Council out of 6.6 million motorcycle owners, 635,000 of them are women. They're certainly not riding around here! The MSF class I attended had thirteen people, all of the men. The website of MTII, the company that conducts the safety course for Petersons Harley Davidson, has photo albums of past classes which rarely show any women in the other courses they've taught. The company tends to run two classes at the same time in the large parking lot at the Hollywood Greyhound Ractrack and our group was continously distracted by the sight of a female in the other class. Curiousity or dirty old men, you decide.
Having the pictures is a nice touch, except when you have goofy looking pictures of people on a motorcycle for the first time in their lives like yours truly here.
The cheap old hiking boots I wore for the course were pretty much torn up within a week of getting my motorcycle and the safety gear enthusiasts among you will be glad to hear I went onto buy proper riding boots.
Back to the women.
The story speaks to not only an organizer at Femmoto.com, a women's track-day organization based in Toledo, Ohio, who's happy with the growing number of women, but also a motorcycle dealer in Detroit claiming half their sales are to female riders. I have to think the level of female participation varies from Sportbikes to cruisers. The girlfriends friend who rides a Sportbike talks about several women she rides with and gives the impression it's not that unusual while I have to think hard to come up with more beyond the five or six ladies I know who ride cruisers.
There are several theories thrwon out as to why theres a surge in women riders.
Bonnie Strawser, organizer of Femmoto.com, "I'm ecstatic about the changes I've seen," Strawser said. "There are so many motorcycles out there that are made for women."
Ty van Hooydonk at Discover Today's Motorcycling, said the industry has grown, in part, because women make up more than 50 percent of the population. "There has also been more marketing and more apparel geared toward women. You can't look at something on TV, in a movie or an advertisement without seeing a motorcycle," he said.
I lean towards a theory just touched on at the very end of the article, maybe women are just more practical and realize that there's more awareness about motorcycles on the road, consequently safer to ride.
Sandy Zakosky, a nuclear medicine technician, owns a Harley-Davidson Sportster. She likes the sound. "I feel much more comfortable about riding, and people are more aware of it now. "
Notice I never said women were smarter though.
Read the full story here.
Forget about reading, whens the ride?
As regular readers of Biker Diaries will know, I keep my motorcycle at my riding buddy's house, mostly because his garage is set aside for the bikes, covered and treated like the prized possessions they are, but also to stop me from jumping on the darned thing every free minute of the day.
You'll be glad to know then my motorcycle hadn't been taken away by the Harley Gods after my last blog talking about Star's (Yamaha) new line of bikes. Whew. Close one.
This won't stop me watching out for leather-clad bikers with dark visors on mad-max type bikes trying to run me off the road in typical B-movie fashion of course.
Actually with the weather climbing back into the low eighties and beautiful blue skies expected for the weekend, my buddy and I talked about going out for a ride tomorrow.