Female motorcycle riders
I am female and I ride a motorbike. Is the fact I am female relevant? No not really from my own perspective; I just happen to be female and that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier or harder to ride a bike.
It doesn’t make me special and the only barriers that there are, are the ones I put there myself. It may make a difference to the instructor though, as women are different to train.
Generally speaking, women will analyse to understand and are more self-conscious, whereas men will be more likely to just have a go.
I don’t think I was aware of this when I started training and it is something to consider if you are looking for a training school to start learning to ride. The instructors need to be able to adapt their training styles to meet the needs of the student (regardless of their gender).
However, there are some aspects of being a female who rides a bike that may be relevant:
Women are shorter than men
Women are, on average, shorter than men. The average heights in England and Scotland are Men 5’ 9” and Women 5’ 3”. For some reason, Wales average half an inch taller for both sexes.
This may mean that some bikes are just too tall to ride. This will apply to men as well, a greater proportion of the women affected by this. So at 5’3” I am not particularly short but I cannot ride a lot of the motorcycles out there.
FACT – Women aren’t as strong
Women tend to be less physically strong than men. This probably only makes a difference if you are already struggling with height issues. You can mitigate this by improving your strength and fitness.
Let’s face it, it is much easier for a man to stop and have a quick wee at the side of the road, or in the bushes than it is for a woman.
Stops have to be considered and factored in to a ride, whereas the guys don’t need to worry about things like that.
Messing up your hair
Wearing a crash helmet messes up your hair. I don’t think that there is a solution for this so you just need to get over it. You are probably the only one that is bothered about it anyway.
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Packing to go on tour
Women have more stuff to take – yes they do, really! But, generally speaking, women are more likely to over-pack.
You don’t need as much as you think and if you plan ahead and think about the fabrics, you can get quite a lot in a small bag. I took my bike to the south of France on a three-week holiday and only had a 40-litre holdall on the bike.
Included within this were three pairs of shoes, two dresses, spares for the bike, makeup, and toiletries, as well as the usual bike gear and daytime clothing. (Note that shoes were first in the list but spares came before makeup!).
Women talk too much
Women talk too much, sometimes more talking than riding. Sorry to say it but this is generally true from my experience.
Riding with a group of women, the breaks tend to be longer, and slower to get going again once the decision has been made to move on.
Taking longer breaks isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. It may suit you if you are interested in having a bigger social aspect of riding, and maybe that’s what many women want.
Experiences as a female rider
Personally I haven’t had many issues because of being a female rider and I think it is as much about my own attitude as it is the attitude of others.
What I have experienced is:
When a female goes into a retail outlet or a bike shop and you are with a man. It tends to be assumed you are a pillion passenger.
I’ve walked away more than once from a salesman who could have sold me a bike.
That may not have been because I was a woman though. He may have been a poor salesman, or not used to selling to a woman on her own!
Some male riders assume you’re a rubbish rider because you are a woman and think that you are going to hold them up.
Some female riders think that they have something to prove to their male rider friends, by riding as fast as they can (this is an extreme error in judgement and is 100% not necessary)
I have had excellent customer service from the bike servicing businesses. None of them have treated me with anything other than respect.
Actually, in some instances, I think I’ve actually had better service because I am a woman. Although I am interested in the biking industry generally and I do take the time to talk to people.
I’ve had many friendly chats with other bikers who I’ve met out and about. There is an unwritten rule amongst bikers, it’s friendly and if you park next to another rider you usually exchange a few words. This doesn’t happen when you drive a car.
Helping each other
I’ve been asked for advice by a male rider who had just bought a bike the same as mine. This proves that men can ask for help too.
To Summarise my thoughts
So in summary, there are always going to be chips on shoulders – both male and female ones. If you happen to cross paths with a rider whose ‘chip’ or ego is causing you a problem, then simply walk away!
There are plenty of riders out there of all genders whose company you can appreciate and enjoy riding with.
Put safety first and don’t be influenced by those who wrongly believe that rider skill is all about getting your knee down or measuring everything in miles per hour.
Written by Moira Day (female rider)