Posted by Andrew Donahey on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 08:19 AM
Why More Women are Riding Motorcyles and How That's Driving Change
Whether it’s for freedom, adventure, spiritual experience, confidence, independence, or community, women are taking to motorcycles with an increased voracity.
Three years ago, Debra Teplitz, 44, decided to silence the voice in her head that said, “Nice Jewish girls from the North Shore of Chicago don’t ride motorcycles.” Like so many women who are learning to ride in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, Teplitz has confronted personal challenges, societal stereotypes, and cultural expectations to embrace the freedom and independence of motorcycling. For many female riders, mastering a motorcycle has served as a catalyst for other long-awaited life changes. While their riding is at an all-time high, women on motorcycles are nothing new. We’ve been riding longer than we’ve been voting. Nonetheless, there are a lot more of us now. Women are one of the fastest growing demographics in the powersports industry.
Why Women Ride: The Faces of Female Motorcycling
After her divorce in 2007, Wendy Lamparelli, 51, was ready to buy a bike to fulfill a lifelong dream. Fearing for her safety, Lamparelli’s mom and kids begged her not to, so she ended up with a convertible instead. But the dream didn’t fade. In June 2012, she made it come true. What does she enjoy most? “The freedom and the pure adrenaline rush I feel when I’m in control of such a beautiful machine,” she says.
Teplitz, editorial operations manager for a multinational publishing house, loved riding with her dad. Even as a child, she felt free and relished the special time spent with him. Years later, while watching her husband learn to ride, she was bitten by the bug. In spite of being terrified of her klutziness, Teplitz signed up, too. She recalls being so tense that her body still ached two days after class. In spite of stressing over learning to shift, dropping the bike, and picking up speed, she passed her test on the first try.
Now 55, Idaho tourism manager Diane Norton started riding 14 years ago because she wanted the independence and a better view than the back of a helmet. She loves riding through Idaho’s scenic back roads alongside her husband. “It’s my Zen,” Norton says. “I’m completely in the moment. There’s no cell phone, music, or email that can take me away from my Zen.”
Account manager Kelly Geissler, 46, always wanted to ride but never thought her husband was interested. Kids and careers took precedence and riding remained something for another day. That day finally arrived for both of them four years ago. Geissler hasn’t looked back since – except to check her mirrors.
To Conquer Fears
Three years ago, 46-year-old Christine Watson, learned to ride when her new husband decided he wanted to ride solo again. It was learn to ride, or see him less. The fear was almost paralyzing, but she overcame it and now wonders what took her so long. “I started on a Honda CBR 250, moved up to a 600, and now I’m on a Ninja 1000,” she says. “Riding’s been the driving force behind life changes. I now know I can do anything I set my mind to.”
Her excitement and drive hasn’t gone unnoticed. Christine’s 20-year-old daughter thinks her mom is cool to try new things and conquer fears. “I think it’s important for people to know you can do anything, no matter what your age,” Watson says.
While riding is often about independence, riders appreciate the community aspect. “It’s given me a sisterhood with a group of women that has changed my life,” Watson says.
To read the rest of this informative article with more infographics, please visit: Why More Women are Riding Motorcycles on Fix.com
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