Opinion

You Can’t Judge a Rider by Her Leathers

“Hey, man, nice bike!”

It’s meant as a compliment, but it still makes me chuckle each time I hear it.  If I wasn’t wearing my motorcycle gear, it’s not a mistake that would ever be made.  Not only am I of very slender build, I am also very definitely not a man.

I’ve gone through a few “pink gear phases” and even that didn’t seem to help.  Wrapping my supermoto in Hello, Kitty™ duct tape–though extreme– did temporarily get the point across.  At least, it did turn heads.  Sometimes a bit of good-natured satire goes a long way.
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It is an understandable assumption.  For decades, motorcycling was a male dominated hobby and sport.  In recent years, more and more women are getting in motorcycles.  In fact, women are one of the fastest growing demographics in motorcycling.  It’s increasingly true that you cannot judge a book by its a cover– or a rider’s gender by her leathers.

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You can’t judge a rider by her leathers.

When I began riding in early 2009, it was extremely rare that I ever came across a fellow female rider.  When I wasn’t being mistaken for a man, I was being treated a bit like a novelty.  Now, in 2013, it seems I pass or meet a fellow lady motorcyclist almost every week.

It has been encouraging how we have been received by our male counterparts.  Riders really are like one big family.  I have never felt intimidated or unwanted.  The guys I’ve ridden with have been supportive and enthusiastic, not to mention fun to ride with!  I have made some wonderful friends, thanks to motorcycling.

Admittedly, the motorcycle industry itself experienced initial growing pains when the boom first started.  Gear choices were slim pickings for us ladies and most of it was sized wildly inaccurately.  Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.  I have a closet full of gear to prove it  (some women collect shoes; I collect motorcycle gear).

Though it was daunting, I am so glad I decided to first throw a leg over a few years ago.

So, make a fellow rider’s day, just leave it at, “Hey, nice bike!” ;)

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