Lady Bikers Increase in Numbers: Once upon a time, it was unheard of for a lady to ride a motorcycle alone. It just "wasn't lady-like". Riding behind a man was acceptable, but not owning and riding a motorcycle she owned was extremely uncommon. Ladies were supposed to be fragile and unable to "handle" a big bad machine like that.
Times have changed; women's liberation, supposedly the glass ceiling has broken, and ladies ride motorcycles of their own. And the motorcycles ladies choose are not small wimpy bikes. Even petite women now ride the big iron horses. The lady pictured on the left is ready to roll out on a large, extended and racked Harley Davidson chopper. Now more does she have to take "second saddle" or "ride bitch" as the motorcycle enthusiasts often say.
After all, what is riding really about? Balance and freedom, for the most part, was what it takes. While the motorcycle has to allow the lady rider to reach the controls, there are no restrictions on power or size. As long as a lady biker can balance the machine with one foot on the ground at stops and reach the handle bars comfortably, weight and engine size has nothing to do with the choices ladies make when choosing their bikes.
Of course, it is not a great idea for a lady biker to jump on a huge motorcycle and expect to ride safely away. There are some steps that should be taken to ensure safety and ensure that she can maintain control.
It's best to learn to ride by riding behind someone for a while. Then you learn the feel and the ride. "Riding" a motorcycle is exactly what it says; there are not a great deal of similarities between driving a car and riding a scoot - except, of course, that you have to follow traffic rules with both.
The Biggest Difference...
The biggest difference is that a car is steered around curves.
A motorcycle is leaned into a turn with very little steering. Once a lady has learned to ride behind someone so that the person in control hardly knows they are there in turn, a major step toward riding her own bike has been accomplished.
Next, the controls on a specific motorcycle must be learned. It's a lot different to break with your right foot and right hand instead of the break pedal in the car. Every switch position and what it is used for should be learned inside and out. When on the road, it's not easy to look down and try to find the button you need. A few seconds with eyes off the road can turn into disaster. Shifting with the left hand and foot is vastly different than shifting a car. There are also different shift patterns with different motorcycle. The new lady biker needs to know exactly how it feels to hit each gear and be able to easily locate neutral.
As a motorcycle owner, no woman wants to be helpless when it comes to basic pre-ride checklists and basic maintenance. For example, she should be able to check the oil, gas, know the location of gas shut off valve(s), check the drive chain or belt condition, and check the tires for both air pressure and wear.
If you are a lady biker who wants to learn to ride, it is easiest if you know someone who owns a small motorcycle. A little Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or other small, light weight bike is easy to handle and learn the ins and outs of the road before cranking up that big bike.
Another consideration for lady bikers is the kick starter. It takes some power to kick over a big engine. Of course, newer model bikes will have an electric starter, so only pressing a button will start the engine. But what if it doesn't crank? Practice kick starting the engine. Balancing the big motorcycle and kicking against the high compression of the engine can be quite tricky if you have to learn how to do it on the road.
In most state, a motorcycle endorsement is required on the lady's driver's license. A motorcycle safety course is not a bad idea, as well. Often motorcycle insurance is lower if a safety course certificate is provided to the insurance agent.
It's not longer a man's world in the world of Harley Davidson and other large motorcycles. Lady Bikers - start your engines!