This is the question which is often asked of me: “What male in your life got you into motorcycling?”
Funny assumption isn’t it? That it had to have been a male. That my interest in riding and motorcycles in general is because of a man. And this presumption seems never-ending, decade after decade. Even when through motorcycling history, women have made solo decisions to explore two wheelers, time and time again.
How is it possible a woman motorcycle rider could ride and / or race motorbikes without a male in her life taking the credit?
In my case, I started riding a motorcycle out of my initiative entirely. My father didn’t introduce me to motorcycling nor did he ever ride one. There are no motorcycle riders in my family, none of my friends had bikes, no boyfriend, no husband. No, no one, just me. This was the very same case years later when I decided to race – I entered into the sport in Europe solo. I wanted to race, in the Supersport 600 so I did.
And now, today, after plus 30 years of passionate motorcycling enjoyment, I still don’t expect the average person, especially a non-rider, to understand the relationship I have as a woman, to motorcycling. Furthermore, I still need to remind myself that people can’t help their perception of the activity what with how media continually portrays bikers – as men. It remains male driven. But it is this very feedback, that of motorcycling and women which constantly reinforces the goals of my company MOTORESS. The aim for equal respect to the activity for women; to help women in making a life of motorcycling, a very great thing for themselves.
Though, I wonder far too often, why this is still an odd happening. Odd for a female to be interested and involved in motorcycles independent of a male influencer or role model? Though I’d like to hope for a different reality, it remains true that men continue to take the credit, and women rather exploited. And women seem to enjoy the attention and of being exploited – another topic for discussion. So the male influence on women is strong.
I must admit, there have been a far number of men in my life I’ve influenced to get on a motorcycle, get a license! And this even though they won’t admit it or give me credit for doing so.
-Motoressing by Vicki Gray