This past April 1 & 2, the Spokes-Women MC attended the
2nd annual E.Penn Biker Magazine Motorcycle Show at the Atlantic City
Convention Center. Myself, along with several energetic Club members
(Thanks to Pat, Christie, Marlene, Janet, Rob, Jan, Susan, Adrienne,
Arden, Jay, Michele and Donna) handed out Club brochures and sold chocolate
motorcycles and raffle tickets for the Club sponsored charities. It
was a great success. We met many wonderful men and women riders from
all over and look forward to joining them on their rides this year.
It's been some time since the Club has actively promoted itself
in a venue of this size. Usually, the club relies on word of mouth or
visits to our web site to attract new potential members.. When the opportunity
presented itself to do the show there were some less than enthusiastic
responses. This was due to the E.Penn Biker Magazine promoting Michelle
Smith (host of the Discovery Channel's American Thunder) as a guest
as well as the E.Penn Biker Magazine Girls. As you can imagine, the
promo pictures on the web site did not reflect what our Club represents
as women motorcyclists!
I know, I know...What did I expect?
In a taped interview for the local TV channel, Norm Keller,
the editor of the E.Penn Biker Magazine, said that men want to see "pretty
bikes and pretty girls" at these shows (to the interviewers credit,
they did interview a woman rider, sans bikini). Call me crazy, but I
believe that most people attend these shows to see the fantastic bikes,
shop for gear, check out what's new in the motorcycle world and meet
up with their fellow riders. Oh, and here's a good one: after a call
to Norm regarding the show, he called me back to tell me "no thongs"!!!!
OH MY GOD! Now that certainly makes it a more family event!
When I stopped laughing at this inane comment (I certainly can't wear
a thong and at my age I believe it's a crime), I just shook my head.
I am not going to get up on the ol' soap box and go on about
how "you know what" is used to sell almost (if not) everything.
If you've been to a motorcycle show, you know what I am talking about.
However, as women riders we have to look past this archaic approach
at these shows and represent ourselves as who we really are: Mothers,
Daughters, Grandmothers, Homemakers, Wives, Survivors, Caretakers, Partners,
Professionals ect.. We ride our own motorcycles, spend our own money
on gear and accessories and who don't necessarily reflect the "biker
Women are slowly but surely making an impact in the motorcycling
world. Kelly Kennedy, an AP writer, reported that the Industry Council,
a trade group in Irvine, California, announced a 36% increase (that
is 635,000) in the number of women riders between the years 1998-2003.
In response to this, motorcycle manufacturers (HD & Ultra Motorcycles)
are designing bikes for women (lighter frames, lower seats ect..).
I realize that the bikini clad girls at these shows is part
of a "culture" (more like a fantasy) associated with motorcycles.
Yes, it's for the guys. Does it really represent those of us that ride?
Not really (however, how about a Speedo/Boxer clad hunk for us?). Only
kidding. We are slowly becoming an economic force in the motorcycle
world. Hang tough. Aretha Franklin sang it well:
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me". Translation:
We mean business when we ride and where we spend our money. Take notice.