“You ride like a girl” Usually anything “like a girl” is a bad thing. Yet since the inception of motorcycles, women have sought to dominate what most see as a mostly male occupation, whether it’s cruising down the road, racing around a circuit, or taking it to the boys off-road.
Despite finding it hard to find gear and bikes suited to a smaller stature or different body type, women have pushed to become accepted and change the perception that they only belong on a bike as a passenger.
According to a USAToday article, women make up almost 20 percent of riders, compared to 10 percent a decade ago. Companies are starting to offer gear designed specifically for women (and some of its not even pink), and there have been more bikes offered for the shorter statured crowd. The American Motorcycling Association (AMA) even initiated the Get Women Riding Campaign with videos promoting women in motorsports.
So, if the phrase “You ride like the girl” is a negative thing to you, here are some women showing that it is anything but negative.
This Spanish phenom has found success on multiple levels. According to her official page, she started out life riding at the age of 2 and found her way to trials where she competed and won the Spanish Championship in 2000. In 2001 she won the Women’s championship and, for the next five years, competed not only in the Women’s championship but the Men’s Championship as well, finishing well in both series. In total, she had 10 Women’s championships, 9 European Women’s Championships, 4 Female Nationals Trials championships, and 13 World Championship titles all within the trials discipline. During this time, she also started pursuing her goals in enduro and is most famous for dominating the Dakaar, one of the toughest extreme races on the earth. She’s finished the Dakaar 7 times, finishing four times in the top 16 overall, with a best finish of 9th in 2015.
This British woman took the road racing world by the horns and, according to her official page, is one of the only women to have the title of MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her work in motorcycling and in promoting women in motorsports. She has podiumed at the famed Isle of Man TT, the first woman to claim such a title. In 2016 she claimed the female lap record in the Northwest 200, a 12th place in the Isle of Man lightweight class, and a podium finish in the Senior TT class. She keeps on racing despite crashes that have left her with over 24 broken bones. But she keeps getting up and fighting! She is a Guinness World Record Holder and has been racing all over the world. She also founded Woman on a Motorcycle in 2013 to help promote women in motorsports and is a part of the FIM’s (Federation Internationale de Motorcyclist) Women in Motorcycling Commission.
Going back to one of the pioneers, this woman shone in a world dominated by men. She was from London and married a man who worked in a motorcycle shop. She holds the spot as the first female to ride solo in the Isle of Man TT, riding on a 50 cc motorcycle, an event that led to her having her racing license revoked and having women banned from the TT because it was “too dangerous for women”, a ban which persisted until the 1970’s.
Another pioneer, this woman, dominated the American motorsports world, pushing boundaries and track records. She started racing cars in her 20’s in the 1950s but moved into motorcycles. She was one of the first female road racers in America in 1960 and raced until 1963. She then transitioned to off-road racing. She became the first female motocross racer in the U.S., the first female to ride the Baja 1000, and the first female to ride the Baja 500 solo. While she quit racing for a while, she came back to it in her 60’s and 70’s riding vintage motocross events in California. She’s been inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame and was the FIM Women of Legend in 2012.
This California Girl is showing that she’s more than a pretty face. This model turned racer is burning up the road on and off. According to her official site, she is the first women to race a motorcycle on the Indianapolis Speedway, the first female to compete (and finish) the Suzaka 8 hour endurance race, and the first female to race the Harley Davidson XR1200 series. She also has won the Grand National Flattrack Women’s Championship three times, the Superbike race at the Zuhai International circuit in China three times, and has won the LARRS Qatar Women’s Championship. She is also ranked ninth in Supermoto. But beyond her racing talent, she holds a dirt bike camp for girls called She’z Moto, promoting confidence and goal building along with learning motorcycle skills.
hese are just a few of the women, past, and present that are changing the way we use the phrase “ride like a girl.” All around the world, women are finding freedom and new possibilities on the back of a bike. From all-women motorcycle clubs to racers breaking boundaries and limits, women are embracing the motorcycle world more than ever before.