Female rider numbers continue to grow, but Kylie Sonter of Bendigo debunks the old myth that they all have to be tough biker chicks.
“Yes, it is possible to be female and ride a motorbike without coming across as a tough and ‘beer-sculling biker chick from hell’ type of image,” the 46-year-old says.
“I ride a motorbike and I’m a girl. But that’s as far as I get with identifying with being a biker.”
Her comments follow a recent report by the American “Give a Shift” group of motorcycle industry luminaries that claims the motorcycle industry has failed to reach out to women, minorities and millennials, and that too many riders are big-bike snobs.
“I drink champagne – sorry sparkling wine – and eat duck liver pate,” the qualified chef Kylie.
“I have no tattoos. Not. A. Single. One. But if I’m going out I’ll sometimes sport a fake one,” she says.
“I have two piercings, one in each ear, and I wear pantyhose. I know the bits on the side of my bike are called fairings and I know the carburettor and radiator sit inside those – somewhere.”
Even though Kylie has been a fully licensed for 28 years, she rides a Kawasaki Ninja 250 Special Edition learner-approved motorcycle.
“My first bike was a Honda TZR 250 back in 1995,” she says. “It was a heavy beast with a temperamental kick start. Then for various reasons I didn’t ride for 17 years.”
The Ninja 250 is only Kylie’s second bike, but she is no big-bike snob.
“Often I’m asked if I’m going to upgrade to a bigger bike,” she says.
“I ask why? The Ninja is perfect, does everything I need it to do and suits my small build. It accelerates like a rocket and it handles the small rides I manage to fit into my busy lifestyle.”
Her message to other female riders is not worry about fulfilling an incorrect stereotype foisted on them by other riders.
“Ladies, embrace biking and femininity and don’t worry about ‘not fitting in’. You don’t need to know a lot about bikes, you just need to like riding them,” she says.
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