If you remember, in last month's article I wrote about water.
Hydration for your body and the rain we encounter while riding. How
ironic that when a group of us left for the AMA's Women in Motorcycling
Conference in Athens, Georgia on June 25th that article would resonate
in my mind!
Rain may be described in several ways: misty, drizzle, light/moderate/heavy
showers, even down pour. None of these adjectives comes close to what
we encountered the first two days of the trip (not to mention all the
other crazy things that happened)!
The weather system at that time was a trough of moisture from the south
(think tropical), moving its way up the eastern third of the country
and held in place by a low from the mid-west. Translation: Our bikes
were our personal watercrafts for two days.
me when I tell you that there is not waterproof gear available that
could have kept us dry, except of course staying indoors (which was
not an option with our leader, Commander Laura)! Yes, Laura navigated
us through the storm. Our minds were too water logged to protest.
However, it was worth every raindrop that pelted us for over
600 miles. (Editor's note: The picture at right
was taken with a cell phone camera when traffic was stopped. You can
see two motorcycles in the center lane of this highway. This was typical
visability during the first two days of the trip)
We rode half of the Blue Ridge Parkway, tackled Deals Gap,
visited the Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, NC, visited
Cherokee, rode the Cherohala Skyway, rode through the Great Smoky Mountain
National Forest, lunched in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and that was all before
arriving in Athens, Georgia for the conference!
The AMA, along with Harley Davidson/Buell put on a first class
conference! Over 900 women attended this year (up from 600 in 2002)
and came as far away as France, England, Canada and Australia! Demo
rides were provided by Harley Davidson/Buell, BMW, Honda, Ducati, Yamaha,
Ridley, Kymco and Kawasaki. Seminars covered topics from prepping yourself
and your bike, endurance riding, world travel on a motorcycle, off-road
riding, turning your passion for motorcycling into a career path, remaining
safe in threatening situations, the law and motorcycling and women's
participation in motorcycling racing, to list a few.
And then there were the vendors! Shopping! There was a nice
variety of female motorcyclist inspired items. Gear, clothing, jewelry,
soaps and bath items and an interesting product called UNIGO (designed
to be towed behind your bike for your luggage, room for more stuff!)
as well as Halogen lights for the bike.
However, there was a noticeable absence of technical type
products like GPS, CB, tools,( you get the picture), "guy"
products. A friend of mine wrote to the AMA and asked why this absence.
Their response: Over 600 vendors were contacted to exhibit at the show.
(I counted the number of vendors listed and there was, ready? 55). Will
Stoner, Director of Special Events for the AMA suggested that absent
vendors be contacted by the conference participants and boycott their
This brings me right into the topic of conversation when myself,
SWMC VP Liz Smith, along with a few other conference attendees had lunch
with Robert Rasor (AMA Pres.), Patricia DiPietro (CEO,AMA) and Guy Maitre
(CEO FIM) and Beaulah Schoeman (Pres. FIM Women's Commission). The question
was asked, "What would women like to see happen in the sport of
Responses were focused on the absence of female inspired clothing,
fit and style. HMMMM. The problem here is that manufacturers and retailers
don't see the "numbers" in this particular market. Besides,
this is just a small part of motorcycling. So the real question we need
to ask and answer is: "How do we get more girls and women involved
in motorcycling"? Even though the number of women in motorcycling
has increased over the last few years, it hasn't been enough of a jump
for most manufacturers.
So, what are your ideas? How can we as women motorcyclists
be more dominant so that the products and services we want/need to spend
our money on reach our market? Send me your ideas, or better yet, send
them to the AMA. I also suggested to the AMA that they have a specific
section on their web site for women motorcyclists. I would like to see
it full of information on how a woman (or young girl) can get involved
in motorcycling (street/off-road/racing), reviews of motorcycles (entry
level/racing/touring), manufacturers and dealers who treat women with
respect when they either purchase or bring their bikes in for service,
gear and accessories that work for us and companies who are meeting
the needs of women riders. A networking board for women riders from
all over the globe.
Next month I will write about the crazy things that happened
on our trip! There is soooo much more….too much to write for this
month! Ride Safe!