is now proved beyond doubt that riding a motorcycle is one
of the leading causes of statistics." Source
I received an email from Shari in Virginia that asked:
been riding for about four years. I ride with the local Honda club
which is a mixed male-female group. According to your newsletter,
one of your members just had a baby. It is
also obvious from the web site that a lot of you are married and
have families. Why do you have a women only club? Why don't you want
to ride with a mixed
group? I don't understand..."
I asked the members
to comment. Several members seemed to take offense at the question. But
I can relate to Shari. I discovered Spokes-Women nine years ago when
I stumbled on the website. Until that time, I was not aware that there
were women-only motorcycle clubs for women who were married and had families.
At the time I had been riding for 20 years and belonged to a mixed sex,
mixed manufacturer motorcycle club in addition the the local HOG chapter.
by this women's motorcycle club, I contacted the webmaster asking a
lot of questions for more information. He (an
associate member) responded telling me the best way to answer my questions
was to invite me to a meeting. He and his wife arranged to meet me at
my first meeting. I liked what I saw and eventually became a member.
Three years ago I took over as webmaster when Walt retired. I'll tell
you why I joined and stay a member later...
some of the members responses.
Lynn Lenco: "Women support
women in ways that men don't. Women understand the pace of learning,
the reinforcement and encouragement that (most
women need and) many
men do not know to do. Also, in this busy world, it's great to enjoy
of our own sex. The balance of men and women in all things keeps us
healthy and wise."
Jane Kern: "I wonder where this lady got the idea we had no men
riding with us. Walt is no longer a member but we
still have Dan, Tom and Bill. Walt dropped out of the
club not because he did not want to be with us anymore but because
website on About.com took so much of his time.
I have no objection to men riding with
I first join the club Walt had encouraged me to join because he felt
would be good for me to ride with other women. I feel women have their
unique problems to riding such as bike heights, jackets that fit and
boots. I have enjoyed being a member of the Spokes-Women club and have
made many wonderful
I also belong to the GWRRA NJ-F club
which is mostly couples and most of them
ride two up. I just love being in the front seat and being the one
control. You can see I have no problems riding with men."
From Janet Britland (a founding member): "You
really would not want to know how I would reply to this woman....."
From Barbara Zimmerman: "I
took the women only beginner course because I assumed the men would
be better and laugh at me. But when I took the ERC I found out
I was better than most of the men in the course. Some men condition
us to doubt ourselves in certain endeavors..."
wasn't sure how to respond either, as her "tone" seemed
rather abrasive, if Donna quoted her directly. What's to get? None
of us ride exclusively with women, we just like the camaraderie.
Plus, many new women riders are intimidated to ride with men.
is, new men riders are just as nervous, they just won't show it."
(In response to Barbara's comment,
Judy added) "This is very true, Barbara.
Lots of women assume that. I took my first
I figured I'd be less intimidated, as I was sure all the guys would
be faster. Know what? When I started doing regular track days,
I found they weren't. And, many of them were just as freaked out
about going on the track for the first time as the women were.
They're just conditioned to not admit it and act secure.
another note, the instructors at the all-women's Reg Pridmore class
I took in '95 said it was the best class they ever
taught. All the
women listened, everyone improved, and no one crashed. They never
have that in their other classes, which are predominantly
From Kim Jancewicz: "My husband brought
the e-mail to my attention and after
several drafted mental replies, I decided it was in the best
interest of the club if I didn't respond. After all, my personal
opinion(s) should not reflect negatively on the club.
Then, I got lost when I tried to figure
out the kind of exposure this person (confused about gender too)
How could someone even ask such a question?
Maybe it was just a bad, bad nightmare and those
querky people really don't exist?
After reading a fellow member's response I realized I
wasn't the only bewildered one. "
From linda Brown: "...
I joined because we sponsor women and children related fundraisers.
I feel very strongly about
supporting women and children who have been abused and are trying to
rebuild their lives and start anew. That was our main fundraiser when
I joined in 1994. Since then, we have included raising monies for Juvenile
Diabetes Foundation and Breast Cancer Research.
Being women, and the
world being what the way it is, we women have to work hard to raise
awareness to the effects that abuse has on these women and children.
If we can help, even in a small way, we are better people. Since
one of our own member's family has been touched by Juvenile Diabetes,
am proud to help support that foundation. And since my own family
and several of our other members families have been touched by
I feel very strongly about finding a cure for that monster. Most
mixed clubs work hard for other causes. We work hard for ones that
to our hearts.
As for actual riding, there are very
few rides when we don't have men along. I think women view prople
differently than men do. We are more accepting and less judgmental.
There is a wonderful camaraderie
among our members. We are more like sisters that actually like each
other and we feel very comfortable riding and chatting and being together
without worrying about how we look or how we are perceived by others.
I have ridden with other groups and
felt uncomfortable at times by the way some guy has looked at me.
Likewise, I have ridden with numerous
mixed groups and felt totally at ease. My choice, since I don't have
a lot of free time, is to ride with my 'sisters', whom I love and
with whom I feel very comfortable, loved and accepted."
From Bill Dudley (associate member): "I
joined because first, I was married
to Mia, who started the pre-cursor club with Jean Pinelli
and some of the other original members. I came along because more
riding is good, and I like(d) to ride with Mia, so if she wanted
to ride with other women, I'd was happy to tag along.
Second, I think a women's club has a
different dynamic then a club whose membership is mostly male.
Mia and I were
also in a club where
was usually the only riding female. We saw lots of posturing, dominance
displays, and clashing of antlers between some of the men, something we've
NEVER seen in women's clubs. I don't need it, either. It's just an
(embarrassing) distraction from riding IMHO. (In
My Humble Opinion)."
In my experience, having lived all over the country and ridden
with many different motorcycle clubs, motorcyclists in general are
more accepting of differences than most people. All motorcyclists seem
to "Ride to Eat and Eat to Ride". All group rides tend to
either begin or end with a shared meal (sometimes both for really long
Many of Spokes-Women's members are also members of other clubs,
such as manufacturer specific, regional and interest related clubs.
Personally, I joined Spokes-Women because I like the the camaraderie that
I saw among the members. Also, as a woman who lives for math and science,
likes to build things, am an engineer by profession and have been riding
a motorcycle since I was 16, most people in the world have always treated
me like I have three heads. That was especially true when I used to
ride my children on my bike when they were little. I was even reported
the authorities one time for endangering my children because I let
them ride on my motorcycle.
The members of Spokes-Women's attitude toward me was more along
the lines of "Oh, three heads....hmm...is that an advantage or
disadvantage when making
decisions?" In other words, they were willing to accept me the way
Women who like to ride motorcycles have usually run into their
share of non-acceptance by the world in general. The result has been
said, we are more of a sisterhood united by our love of motorcycles.
Our spouses or significant others may or may not ride (several of our
members husbands don't ride) but most of them are supportive of the
As for me, I stay because I feel like I belong here more than I ever
have anywhere else.
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