Who are the Women that Ride?

It is no doubt the number of female riders has grown substantially over the years, with females being the fastest growing group within the motorcycle population, but we want to know who these women are and what motivated them to take control of the road? Can they be grouped into a broad category of rebellious, single women too independent to ride passenger behind a man? Are they tattooed up, rockin’ black from head to toe, mean mugging every person they encounter? No. They’re bikers, not gangsters.

We asked our female Facebook followers what is their story behind the bars and how they fit riding into a workweek. While we can’t sum up all the biker women out there, we do know three things: they’re passionate, patient, and empowered.

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At some point, these women identified motorcycling as a true love and never gave up on the dream of owning their freedom. They took riding and safety courses, mingled with other bikers, and hunted for their first motorcycle. However, with full-time jobs, kids and other obligations, sometimes riding has to be put on the back burner as Teri Downes explained, “When my kids are all out of the house, then I will ride more. And you know what? My bikes will patiently wait for me in there [because] they know I love them!”

Many women have also been inspired by their late husbands who lovingly traveled thousands of miles with their wives instilling a passion and an everlasting spirit for the open road. Whether a single mom of three kids, full-time professional or a woman who just can’t catch a break, riding has empowered them to be strong and vigorous, while providing peace of mind (for the time being).

Meet the women who ride.

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Photos from ChopperExchange Lady Rider of the Month

 

Why May is More Important than Ever Before

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As many are aware, May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. A month dedicated to reminding motorists to watch for motorcycles and help keep them safe. Every year, campaigns encouraging drivers to “share the road” are posted on signs and on the internet to welcome motorcyclists back on the roads after the long winter restraint. Riders are eager to hop on the saddle to head out on the highway and on too many occasions, drivers are unaware.

Motorcycle safety is a growing concern and using this month as a time to increase awareness is growing even more in importance. Why?

  • There are more motorcycles on the road. According to the motorcycle Motorcycle Industry Council, there are over 27 million motorcycle operators in the US with a 67 percent increase in women riders alone between 2003 and 2009. More motorcycles on the road = more accidents and, unfortunately, higher chances of motorcycle fatalities.
  • Helmet laws are dwindling. In the 1970s, there were 47 states requiring all motorcycle operators to wear helmets compared to just 19 states today. Motorcycle deaths rose 9 percent in 2012, with the blame pinned on repealed helmet laws. A motorcyclist not wearing a helmet is 40 percent more likely to die of a head injury than one who wears a helmet (U.S. Department of Transportation).
  • We are victims of a technology age. Not only our kids, but our siblings, teachers, parents, and grandparents are all consumed with social media and which device they should use to check it. Drivers, and even riders, are distracted by what’s happening somewhere else, not what’s around them. Time Magazine calls the Millennial Generation (born between 1980-200) lazy, entitled narcissists “adapting quickly to a world undergoing rapid technological change.” While that may lead to brighter futures for our children, it does little, if not make it worse, to ensure there are safe drivers on the road.

While riders cannot control how drivers act on the road, we can carry with us lifelong tips and promote the Motorcycle Safety Awareness campaign while riding and everywhere we go.

Motorcycle Awareness Month

Every year in May, the Department of Motor Vehicles and riders through the US band together and recognize Motorcycle Awareness Month. It’s an important time to educate all motorists to watch out for motorcycles as well as encourage motorcyclists to be cautious on the road.

While we are aware that safety isn’t always synonymous with style, choosing between protecting your noggin and avoiding helmet hair is a no-brainer. “Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly accident on the road than those in passenger cars.” (U.S. Department of Transportation) Proper motorcycle safety gear can save your life in an accident, so it is critical to pick out the right wear.

Below is our favorite pieces of gear to get you rider-ready and stay protected:

  • Biker’s Dream Apparel Ladies Racing Jacket – Made from Top Grade cowhide leather and equipped with multiple pockets inside and out, a proper leather jacket is whatever woman needs while she rides.
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Biker’s Dream Apparel ($119.98)

  • Allstate Leather Men’s Basic Motorcycle Jacket – Made of premium buffalo leather and equipped with more pockets than you can fill, this durable leather jacket also has removable zip out lining and half belt to adjust to your comfort and size.
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Allstate Leather Men’s Basic Motorcycle Jacket ($149.99)

  • Global Vision Chicago AST Sunglasses – With maximum UV protection and lenses that transform from clear to smoke in the sun, the sunglasses are also shatterproof protecting your eyes from debris and anything else that may fly your way.
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Global Vision Chicago AST Sunglasses with photochromic lens ($29.97)

  • Harley-Davidson Packable Rain Suit – While riding across states, it is smart to pack for any weather. This classic style packable rainsuit is flexible for the ride and made of waterproof nylon. It is helmet-friendly allowing you to adjust to your size and shape and equipped with heat-resistant shields on the inner legs. Genius.

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    Harley-Davidson Women’s Classica Packable Rain Suit

  • Harley-Davidson Ride Ready Fingerless Gloves – If you’re a long distance rider, then you know gloves are essential to comfort. These gloves are made of genuine leather and padded to reduce riding fatigue while finger-less to allow optimal use of your fingers in tricky times.

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    Harley-Davidson Men’s Ride Ready Fingerless Leather Gloves

  • Biker’s Dream Apparel D.O.T Motorcycle Helmet – DOT Approved and with a flat black shell and shiny flames to keep your head still looking good and protected.
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    Biker’s Dream Apparel D.O.T. Motorcycle Helmet ($59.99)

    Wearing the right gear is essential to enjoying a long ride with confidence. Be sure to tell your friends that May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and there are many ways to learn how to avoid a fatal accident. Ride safe!

 

How to Win Over Lady Riders

The Motorcycle Industry Council data shows that 25% of motorcycles riders are female. This rapidly growing group of riders has grown by 24% since 2003, and has grabbed the attention of many industry leaders, such as Harley-Davidson®.

Motorcycle dealers are hosting exclusive events for female riders. Motorcycle manufacturers are launching marketing campaigns solely focusing on the lady rider consumer group. Female riders are abandoning the back seat and expecting more from the motorcycle industry, including your dealership. This is your opportunity to win over this powerful group of consumers and convert them into loyal brand messengers.

How to win over the lady riders:

1.  Create a Pinterest board with the latest apparel and accessories available at your dealership, and invite your lady rider customers to follow your board. 1

Experts attribute the rise in women riders and ownership to better education and gear and equipment catered to women. Pin items available for sale in your shop along with the price to get your items circulating around the internet and attract female riders to your site. The more items you pin, the more followers you gain.2

2. Use Facebook to create exclusive events for lady riders who like your dealership’s page, and invite them to visit your dealership. Create event photo albums to show your female fans how much fun they could be having at your event.

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3.  Organize women only rallies and rides to foster a strong sense of community and friendship. Effective marketing and customer relationships are based on mutually rewarding experiences. This is your opportunity to create such experiences and build a lasting bond with your female rider customer base.

Female only rides can occur every month and benefit a local or national charity, while encouraging experienced riders to support new female riders.

Let us know if you have any questions or need assistance via e-mail at info@chopperexchange.com. We are more than happy to help at absolutely no cost to you.

 

Lady Riders on the Rise

It’s no surprise that the number of women motorcycle owners has increased over the years, long leaving behind the days rested against the sissy bar. Perhaps all those years of “falling off” prompted women to hold their own, or maybe the guys just made it look too good to go without. Whatever the reason, ladies are saddling up and charging the road all on their own.

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s latest statistics, female riders are the fastest growing group of new riders in the industry making up 25% of all motorcycle riders and 1 in 10 motorcycle owners being women. While men still dominate the population of riders, manufacturers and other keys players in the industry are picking up on the rapid growth and catering to their needs. More specifically, Harley-Davidson has created multiple ad campaigns over the years targeting women with empowering tag lines encouraging women to ride their own motorcycle; additionally, more dealerships are offering women’s riding apparel and accessories.

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But aside from being the best therapy out there, what’s one of the greatest qualities of being a lady rider? Connecting to a community of courageous, independent women who have also taken over the reigns of freedom and charged full speed ahead.

Many organizations dedicated to female riders have sprouted up across the nation for new, experienced, or even passenger riders who love all things related to women and motorcycling. Below you can find a list of some of the largest and oldest motorcycling groups and clubs dedicated to women:

Chrome Diva – “A ladies only motorcycle organization, consisting of both riders and passengers and even some non-riding women who just love motorcycles and participating in charity functions.”

Dykes on Bikes – “An organization committed to creating a local, national and international community of women motorcyclists and friends of women motorcyclists.”

Leather and Lace Motorcycle Club -“created to bring women together who have a serious interest in motorcycling and in making a difference in the lives of others. Upon this foundation, the women of Leather & Lace Motorcycle Club have built a strong sisterhood. Not only do they share the wind and the roads, they also share an unwavering purpose and spirituality. Though the miles may separate them, they remain together as one.”

Women on Wheels – “Founded in California by an avid woman motorcyclist in 1982. Its purpose was, and still is, to unite all women motorcycle enthusiasts, whether they ride their own machine, are motorcycle passengers or enthusiasts, or future motorcyclists. WOW members are located throughout the United States, Canada, and several other countries. WOW has nearly 3000 members and is growing strong!”

Women Riders Now – “the leading resource, online or in print, for motorcycling news and reviews from a female point of view.”

 

Preparing for Riding Season

Winter is packing up and moving out allowing room for rising temps and scorching hot leather seats — oh, Winter, how we love to see you go! But before you head out on the road with a grin from ear to ear, both you and your motorcycle need some maintenance to be in top form for a successful start to the season.

To prepare you and your bike for that first ride, follow these tips along with referring to your motorcycle’s owner’s manual for specific maintenance instructions:

1. Undress your motorcycle. 

First and foremost, remove the cover and all plugs from the exhaust to unveil your pretty baby that’s been in hibernation all these months. Take a moment to appreciate. Thoroughly wash away grease or any anti-rust agent applied to protect the bike from rust over the winter.

2. Change the oil and reconnect the battery.

If you did not change the oil before storing it, change it immediately before riding. Oil separates during storage causing condensation buildup that can be harmful to your engine. Before you reconnect the battery that, hopefully, was removed from the bike and placed on a charger during storage, clean the cables and connections with a wire brush. Add distilled water to your battery if needed.

3. Internal check-up

Check your front/rear brake fluid levels, coolant (if your bike is liquid-cooled) and petrol level. If low, fill. If you used a fuel stabilizer, such as Sta-Bil or a similar product, your fuel should be in good shape. However, it is good to double check by opening the filler cap and looking inside for gunk. If not, you are better off getting your tank and fuel lines drained first.

4. Inspect tires and brakes

Check the tires for leaks/cracks, worn treads and the correct pressure with your gauge. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended PSI levels. Additionally, spend extra time checking your brakes, as these are the most important part of a bike when it comes to safety, by inspecting the brake pads and cables for wear and lubricating the front brake lever.

5. Test it out.

Make sure everything is working properly by testing the brakes, lights and turn signals. Ensure the mirrors are in the correct position and are free of smudges and dirt.

Even after you’ve completed the routine checks above, don’t take off on your motorcycle just yet. Review the Motorcycle Safety’s Foundation’s Inspection Checklist to ensure you’ve covered all the mechanical inspections and are prepared for a safe ride. Also consider investing in good riding gear. Wearing the appropriate gear can be beneficial for both your safety and comfort. “Riders who don’t wear helmets are five times more likely to suffer a critical head injury in an accident,” according to Claude Reynolds Insurance.

After that, you are ready to enjoy the rode with confidence and freedom!

What are some other ways you prepare for the riding reason?

 

Festivals of Speed

The annual Festival of Speed is a motor party for Florida’s premier automotive and luxury lifestyle enthusiasts to showcase the finest vintage and contemporary automobiles, motorcycles, and boats, along with many other luxury lifestyle products. The Festivals of Speed currently holds successful events in St Petersburg, Orlando, Miami, and Lake County to cater to gearheads and industry professionals.

For the second year in a row, ChopperExchange has had the opportunity to attend the St. Petersburg Festival of Speed to see what sort of eye candy has made their way to the top of the industry. Although only a few motorcycles that possess V-twins engines were present, the detail of each bike alone was enough to fill up the day.

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For more information on Florida’s Festival of Speed events and marketing opportunities, visit their website.

Also, check out more metric motorcycles at the St. Petersburg Festival of Speed at CycleCrunch.

Learn to Ride and Ride Better

While most of us are ready to hop on at the slightest sight of sun, there’s still plenty of time left to make 2013’s Riding Season the ride of a lifetime. Whether you’re an experienced road veteran or a beginning rider, select Harley-Davidson dealerships are offering riding courses for all levels. Beginners are welcome to Rider’s Edge New Rider courses presented by HD’s Academy of Motorcycling, where experts will introduce you to motorcycle safety, basic skills, and a motorcycle to practice on.

new rider

Experienced riders can enhance their skills with Rider’s Edge Skilled Rider courses and take 1-2 days to learn advanced tips and techniques that help you take control of the road.

Harley-Davidson’s Academy of Motorcycling also offers a Guide to Group Riding, a self study course, Motorcycle Boot Camp for those ready to saddle up and get on the road asap, and Garage Party events for women who are ready to discover their own life on a motorcycle.

No matter what skill level, riding courses can empower you to feel confident on the long road alone and gain knowledge before attempting those risky corners at high speeds. “Even the best can get better.”

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For more information on Rider’s Edge Motorcycle Training classes ➨

Search for classes at your local dealership ➨

The Best Bar in America

An independent feature film directed by Eric and Damon Ristau, The Best Bar in America plays out every bikers dream journey to travel through the American West on a motorcycle in search of the perfect bar.

best bar

The team behind the movie traveled 8,000 miles over 93 days to follow Sanders (played by Andrew Rizzo) on his 1960 BMW R60 with a Velorex sidecar through most of Montana, Utah and Idaho trying to uncover the brotherhood of the bar and the bike. Expected release Spring 2013.

Watch the New Trailer

Find more information on The Best Bar in America on their Facebook page.

Ladies Riding and Rally Wear

Whether riding passenger or straddling your own, ladies need the right motorcycle gear for a comfortable ride while still being able to express their own unique biker style. Luckily, for all bikers black is still and always will be the new black, but with all the long road trips, raging rallies and bugs you’ll swat along the way, even quality apparel begins to look too ragged for continued street wear.

Here are some of our favorite updated ladies pieces fit for any biker event:

  • Studded Joe Tall Boots – these tall distressed leather lace-up boots are perfect for everyday wear and have that studded spike detailing to fierce up any outfit.
Studded Joe Tall Boots (Free People) $199.95

Studded Joe Tall Boots (Free People) $199.99

  • Sons of Anarchy Tank Top – this simple tank top allows your arms to move freely and can be pair with any color pants to give a sharp, sexy look.
Black Sons of Anarchy Tank Top

Black Sons of Anarchy Tank Top (BikerOrNot Store) $20.97

  •  Faux Leather Womens Jacket – Affordable and chic, a leather jacket is a staple for any weekend trip
Ashley Studded Faux Leather Womens Biker Jacket (Tillys) $29.97

Ashley Studded Faux Leather Womens Biker Jacket (Tillys) $29.97

  • Hair Twisters – Mix up your hair styles with metal hair twisters that stand out in long locks come in different sizes and lengths. Perfect for keeping your ponytail from flying in your face during long rides.
HairTwisters.com $14.00

Hair Twisters (Medival Metal) $12.00

For more tips and styling tricks, follow us on Pinterest and check out our Ladies Biker Gear board!