Women don’t have to be biker chicks to ride

Kylie Sonter not one of your stereotypical biker chicks

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.”

Biker chicks

Kylie Sonter not one of your stereotypical biker chicks
Kylie Sonter not one of your “stereotypical biker chicks”

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.”

Big-bike snobsKylie Sonter not one of your stereotypical biker chicks

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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7 Comments

  1. I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 30 years now and didn’t even know there was a ‘myth’ around women motorcyclists. I just ride. I ride bikes I like and suit my stature and strength, wear gear I like that fits and that suits me and the conditions. Sometimes I wear makeup, but lately not much at all. Sometimes I wear nail polish, and sometimes not. I don’t especially like riding in big groups, but sometimes I will. And I don’t have any tattoos either. Once upon a time they were really ‘out there’ and if you had one, you stood out from the crowd. I could never settle on something I could live with for the rest of my life, and so because now everyone and their nanna has a tattoo, I’m standing out from the crowd by NOT being inked. And the word ‘nanna’ has just reminded me…..I’m also a nanna to six kidlets and mother to four. I have snow white hair, am very, very chubby and sometimes my knee requires the use of a walking stick to make shopping centres bearable. I drive an 11 year old white Toyota Yaris with a ‘Gold Member’ RACQ sticker on the rear window, the only clue to my other persona being the ‘Lane splitting is legal – please make room’ sticker beside it, which I imagine people think means my husband is the motorcyclist. If you saw me thus, you’d never in a million years think I’m a biker and have been for more than half my life, or that I’ve undertaken four major interstate motorcycling trips of over 7,000km each time over a month, two of them on my own. Or that I’ve only ever been beaten once from a standing start at the lights on my trike – my one guilty pleasure. I’m a bit slow on my feet nowadays, and I’ll never cut a dash in leather pants again, but I’m the truest biker in every sense of the word that you’ll find.

  2. Good on you, Kylie, I started on a Ninja 250 and loved it, it just didn’t do well on motorways Then I bought a Monster and crashed it because I thought I had to buy a big fancy bike when I got my full licence to prove something or other. Now I have wound back and bought myself a Street Twin, just the perfect bike for this short lady rider.

    I also write about my motorbike life and, same as Kylie, not a tattoo in sight! ladyonmotorbike.com

  3. Absolutely refreshing article on a subject that definitely deserves more publicity. Women DO ride !
    Let’s embrace that and encourage more women to ride beside us !

  4. Well done Kylie! I’m with you girl. I ride a Honda VTR 250 which I have had for over 8 years, my one and only learner bike. Her name is Blossom, and I can’t part with her. Men are always asking when I’m upgrading – I don’t see the point.

    I remember shopping for boots and finding these high heeled chunky things with buckles and some even with pink on them – wtf! Haven’t seen a single female working in a motorcycle accessory store – that is probably the reason.

    I could not agree more that the industry needs to broaden the offering to all segments of the market including young, female riders. There’s a huge demand from buyers outside of the typical young boy racers, or middle aged mid-life crisis blokes. There’s a whole world of sales opportunity out there!

  5. Australia usually lags behind the USA in fashions. In the USA the ugly biker look is dying out. It’s mostly old people who are still doing it. Hopefully the same will happen here soon. It really does look ridiculous.

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