Women’s-only riding courses and basic mechanics courses could encourage more women to take up riding, according to women riders.
These are two suggestions from women riders I interviewed today in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
The question arose a couple of days ago after I published a story about a Harley-Davidson study of more than 2000 American women found that women riders feel more confident, happier and sexier than non-riders. Read my story here.
Women represent more than 12.5% of American motorcycles riders, but it is far less in Australia.
If women riders feel happier, sexier and more confident than non-riders, why aren’t more women throwing a leg over?
I took the question to the motorcycle roads of the Sunshine Coast at the weekend and had trouble finding women riders to comment. Read my story here.
Today I stumbled on more women riders with some interesting ideas about how to encourage more women into motorcycling.
Anja rolled confidently into the Bellbird Cafe on her partner’s fully optioned KTM 990 Adventure looking very happy.
“Riding makes you feel happy. You don’t have to think about anything but the next corner,” she says.
Her riding compatriot, Kerrie, agrees but says children slow down women riders.
“It’s risky and you don’t want to leave your kids behind.”
Angie Davis is still on her bike P plates and says graduating to an open licence is on her “to-do list”.
“But chasing around after five kids I get a bit busy,” she says.
Her friend, Madeleine Ellis, rides a 250cc scooter and is happy with her restricted licence, but says she notices more young women riding big bikes.
“Until recently it was just a man’s world,” she says.
“Now I’m seeing younger girls out riding Speed Triples and things.”
Anja says more women would ride if there were more women’s riding groups and women’s only training courses.
“You don’t have to keep up with their testosterone,” she says.
“Young women can ride with older ladies and feel supported and not have to ride too fast to keep up.
“When you ride with men you always feel under pressure to ride fast.”
Motorcycle trainer Mark McVeigh of MotoDNA runs women’s-only courses and says women are great learners because they listen and don’t let their egos get in the way.
Kerrie says a lot of women riders also fear breaking down on a bike and being vulnerable.
Anja suggests basic mechanics courses just for women.
It’s a tactic Harley has been employing successfully for a few years with its women-only Garage Parties where female riders are taught basic mechanics skills.