Not all women riders are battered wives with rough husbands like on Sons of Anarchy, says women riders rally organiser Debb Dagger.
She says women need to “work hard on having the wider community understand who we are”.
“We are not all Sons of Anarchy,” she says.
“Sadly, a woman I met recently referred to me as a battered woman and my husband must be rough like on Sons of Anarchy because she honestly thought that these were the type of women that get into motorcycling.”
Debb started an annual 2Wheelbabes Babe Raid rally for women in 2010 which has grown into an international event with two rallies planned for 2014.
She contacted MotorbikeWriter this week after reading the recent articles about why there aren’t more women riders like in America where they represent 12.5% of the riding population. Read the story here.
The question of why more women aren’t riding was posed in the wake of a Harley-Davidson survey which found that women who ride feel happier, sexier and more confident than non-riding women. Read the story here.
Debb says the hurdles for women riders are money, confidence and stigma.
“Motorsports are expensive,” she says. “Some women just don’t get the opportunity but they have the passion. I am not saying that everything needs to be cheaper or free, but that can simply be a factor.
“Women need to be more in the industries that surround motorcycles but some, not all, need to be more approachable too. I have met a few women who are in the industry and some are very ‘balls and all’ and that can make it intimidating. Then you get the guys that, well, talk down to you because, oh, you are just a girl.
“I am hoping that my work gets more women riding. I do know that since this last Raid four women who attended went and got their licence. They came along as supporters, loved it so much that they are working towards being a rider.”
The 38-year-old mother of two and senior property manager has been riding since 2007.
“I got into riding as my husband (Bull, real name Adrian) has always been a rider and I hated being a pillion on the back,” she says.
Debb and two female friends thought up the idea of the Babe Raid after attending many motorcycle rally’s that were “really male based”.
“We launched the idea of the Babe Raid in September 2009 and held the first Babe Raid in September 2010,” she says.
“We only expected to get 60 women to attend but we got 120. That was with little advertising and mostly word of mouth.
“Since then, the event has grown every year to the point that it is now known not only nationally but internationally.”
Debb says the Babe Raid has reduced the segregation that existed among women between various clubs and groups, and allowed women to express themselves in what is a “very male-dominated area”. Men only play supporting roles in the annual Babe Raids.
“We ensure that we have a mechanic each year that gives free tech talks and advice so that women can become more empowered to look after their own bikes,” she says.
“We also have a rider training session over the weekend.”
There are also gymkhana events, a show and shine, a themed dinner night, community market stalls, breakfasts, yoga, rides and more.
“I really feel that we are helping to reduce the wider community stigma that does come along with riding a motorcycle. The current media hype and laws in Queensland certainly does not help this.
“By bringing support to the local communities where we hold our events, inviting them into part of our event, donating to charities, I feel we can show that we are not about rough, tough and tumble, we are just like anyone else that has a passion. Ours just involves two wheels and great horsepower.”
This year, Debb is organising two events at Ballina on September 5-8 and Warrnambool on November 14-16. Registrations are now open here.
“We will be setting a record for the most women on motorcycles which has not been set as yet by any record-setting body that I have been able to find to date,” Debb says.
“In the future, I want to achieve greater awareness of women riders.”