May 8, 2013

Male Riders and Female Riders

Biker-Chick-titsAfter riding for a couple of years now, both passenger and solo, I've learned a great deal about the views of riders across the board. The least spoken view which really seems to be an underlying, festering problem is often the issues male riders have riding with female riders, and visa versa.

I believe most men believe women should ride if they want to ride. But fitting into the culture of male riders is much like breaking into the Old Boys Club. If resistance is felt by the men, it's probably not for the reasons women tend to assume. I don't believe that any negative feelings or appearances are from prejudice, as many women may think. It's not about doubting a woman's ability to handle a motorcycle, or their right to do so. I think it really goes to the differences between the way men and women work in society.

Many men complain among themselves that women take too long to get on and off the motorcycles. I'm guilty of this, often. I've done my best to limit my prep time getting off to go into a place and getting back on again. My dear, patient, poor hubs often waits while I adjust my helmet, turn on my music, zip my jacket, put on my gloves, find my glasses and THEN start the bike up. Believe me, my process used to be longer, but I've done my best to shorten it from 5 or 6 minutes to about 3 minutes. When he reaches for the check in the restaurant, I start my process right away. Often times I can walk out and jump right on now. Aside from that, I can't tell you how many times I think I'm geared up to walk out the door and realize I have to pee one more time. Seriously, this angers me probably more than it irritates him. But he is very patient and for that I'm grateful.

He told me a story about Loni, a woman he once rode with, who took nearly 15 minutes to go from getting TO the motorcycle to getting ON the motorcycle to leave. Arranging saddlebags, changing jackets, putting on lipstick, etc., caused the other riders in the group to wait, just baking in the sun. To be fair, anyone holding up a group for this kind of time, male or female, should realize this is just damn rude. But chicks like this give biker chicks a bad name.

I get a great deal of advice from male riders about how to ride. I love getting advice, but many women find it insulting. They compare the amount of advice men give to each other to the amount of advice men give to women and assume that men are being condescending. But not me. Most men like to care for women, help them, and know they are safe. How can any woman find this insulting? I love to be cherished, so when I see or hear advice, I heed it and am grateful that anyone, male or female, wants to help me. To me, I listen to advice, heed it, and use what I choose to use. Just getting advice doesn't require one to adhere to it.

Another observation I've made is the desire for women to belong to men's riding and/or motorcycle clubs. To me, this has very little to do with riding and more to do with the invasion of women into a men's social group. I don't think many women regard the importance of men having their own place to be with men and bond. Men need each other, just as women do, to help one another establish their male identities. Respecting that boundary that men choose to set down is crucial for respecting men in general. The relationships between men is sacred, in all cultures, and always has been and always will be. In my humble opinion, I don't see any reason for any woman to want to invade that. I realize this is not a very feminist viewpoint, but it is my viewpoint, nonetheless.

To be honest, I've not met a man yet who doesn't think I should ride. Most men look at Highway in astonishment and envy assuming he has "coerced" me into taking this 6-month journey. The idea that a woman would follow a man traveling on motorcycles for 6 months enthralls them, with most remarking they wish their wives would do this. I'm flattered to be regarded so highly, but the truth is, this is my trip as much as it's my hubs.

Lastly, I will never in my life understand a woman who doesn't want her husband to ride. I've heard it all and I don't want to argue the point. I get it, you know, what the reasons are, but I just can't understand WHY a woman would want to fight this with her man. My personal belief has always been to let a man BE A MAN! To set rules for him, argue, undermine, belittle, bargain, or manipulate a man into behaving a certain way only emasculates him. It is a form of neutering him, in the purest sense. I don't want to be married to a chick, or a unic. If I didn't want a man with balls, I wouldn't have married one. Let a man be a man! His opinions, beliefs, ideals and desires are as important to him as his dick. Let him own that!

Please share with me your viewpoints on this subject, openly and honestly, in the comments below. I'm excited to hear them all. If I'm wrong, in your opinion, I want to hear it.



  1. Sash - I have found my motorcycle community very embracing of women. Men and women come together on events like the Ride to Live for prostate cancer and the Ride to Beat Breast Cancer. Last was International Female Ride Day and we had men on our ride. For me I could careless whether its male or female or on a bike.

    I have started a riding group for women in my community and for me it is special because we get together go for a rides, have coffee and just chill out. We invite the significant others on our rides. As for taking advice, I appreciate it when I get tips from seasoned riders, because they have been doing it a long time.

  2. Sash:

    I don't have enough experience riding with female riders. From our limited number of group rides where females were outnumbered 20:1 , and from our BBQ bike nights, I have not noticed any differences and everyone just chatted about where they went or where they were going, plus chatter about bikes, just like any other biking person

    Last year we had one female rider with 3 guys and I didn't notice anything unusual either. We set a time to leave and we were all there ready and waiting all at the same time. Anytime we have set a time to meet, everyone was there waiting and ready to go.

    Here we have women riding groups where they don't allow men to ride with them, thus they don't post their events ahead of time. Sometimes they will post a destination to meet for lunch or dinner, but they will do their own ride

    I find that most of the guys, Ride too fast. I am more into Scenic Speeds, and stopping at every viewpoint for a photo

    As with any dangerous activity, there are always going to be those who LIVE life to the fullest and testing your boundaries VS those who just don't understand . . .

    Riding the Wet Coast

  3. Sash, you're all right.

    I've ridden with women and had a blast every time.

    However, I am a sportbike rider, and furthermore, I love anything with two wheels. I've even been seen on scooters. Like, on purpose. Also, I hate riding in groups bigger than 3. So that right there should tell you I'm not part of the in crowd.

    The whole HD/chopper/cruiser "outlaw biker (tm)" mentality and lifestyle baffles me.

    I mean, I love me some rockabilly, and I do love me some hot rods, cafe racers, and rocker chicks, and I've even been known to enjoy cuffing my jeans on occasion, but I don't wish I was living in the 1950's. That's not my lifestyle. Those aren't my values.

    I don't mean to say that all cruiser riders are atavistic, but when I see all the "rebels" wearing what the Hells Angels wore in the 60's... When you adopt a lifestyle, you're going to end up adopting the attitudes and values associated with that lifestyle, or you're going to be ejected from the group.

    And so far as I know, the Hells Angels weren't known for their gentlemanly and forward-thinking ways. So if your lifestyle mimics the Angels...

    Also, woe to the biker not conforming to the standards and protocols of motorcycle-y rebellion. So if you're cool with women riding with the rest of the wild hogs, you best just shut your fool head.

    Anyway, my point is, I suspect a woman is going to get a different reception if she shows up to ride with a bunch of Goldwings compared to if you show up to ride with "Lenny's Me Too Harleys Only MC."

    Yeah, men and women are different. Thank the infinite intelligence of your choice for that! What's obnoxious is inconsiderate behavior, and everyone can be guilty of that. There are masculine spaces and groups, and some women just can't seem to resist invading them, and it'd be good if they'd knock that off. There's a time and a place for everything. There are feminine spaces too. Lots of them, actually. I once got sweet-talked into going for a manicure (oh, the shame, it burns so deeply). I've never felt more out of place than I did in that shop.

    And to wrap all this up, girl riders smell like girl and gasoline and exhaust, and that's awesomesauce. I have yet to have a woman rider be a total fuckhead to me when I tried to talk bikes while gassing up. Also, if you'll forgive me for being crude, women's butts look awesome on motorcycles. Especially sportbikes. MORE WOMEN ON SPORTBIKES PLEASE. If the No Girls club won't ride with y'all, I will.

    As long as there's not more than 2 of you. Because I really hate riding in a big group.

  4. As for taking a long time to get I have a story for you. I will try to keep it short as possible. A former friend used to carry a backpack equipped with curling iron, short shorts, stilettoes, extra fashionable jacket, and makeup. She used it all at every stop and changed back into riding gear before getting back on the back of her boyfriend’s bike.

    Riding with men...I've never had one man express any negative feelings about riding with me and I've known some hardass manly men! I've been told that any woman who rides is hot, very hot!

    As for men being pick the man based on who he is. You can't try to change him later. you're right to take him as he is. Kudos for you, not all women can except the man in their man. If that makes since???

  5. Too much to contain it all in one post or a comment either! You could write a book on it! The deal as I see it is... there are people who try to work other people... and there are those that simply live. Some of those are men... and some of those are women... both kinds.

    Some Men work women in their way... and some women work men in their way. and ALL of those manipulators NEVER get the life they could have had if they simply lived without judging, manipulating or "working"...

    As for men giving advice or women taking it... or vice versa... anyone who ignores the hard won wisdom of another person on this "road" is a fool. And it don't matter one damned bit which gender is on which end of the advice. If it's honestly given without "working" for a "reward" other than the satisfaction of doing the right thing... it should at least be listened to.

    On the other hand, as soon as the person is found out to be one of those trying to "work" you... be they "your" gender or the other ;)The best thing is to just ride off from them. They're not going to be educated by anything you say... and when you allow them to stir you to anger over their pea wits, it's a stain on your spirit that's best lived without.

  6. I find it amusing when men are surprised that I ride my own bike. It is also funny when they find out the kind of bike I ride. I have seldom had anyone seem to frown on a woman riding. I find that most men envy Joe that I ride my own.
    Learning to ride has been a journey for me. Way beyond just the mastery of riding, it has been my mid-life crisis fulfillment. I am very envious of the journey you are both on. Joe and I plan to do something similar when we retire. I personally wish it was tomorrow.
    As to the women who don't want their man to ride. I think this is out of their own fear. It isn't that they are fearful for their man. They are fearful of the bike themselves and use their "love of their man" as an excuse to put a stop to it.
    Women need to start living their own lives and find their path. They need to stop living through their mate and their children. Until women stop enslaving themselves they will never be equal in pay and respect in the work world. I find it irritating for women to live like this, because they make my life more difficult and my daughter's life more difficult.
    Many women live in fear of living and use their families as the excuse. The bottom line is they are afraid. The funny thing is that men are afraid every day, but their spouses just expect them to venture forth because they are male.
    The bottom line is that I was raised with a Father who told me often there is no such word as "can't". If you don't do something it is because you chose not to, not that you couldn't do it. So continue on with the adventure Tina. You are paving the road for alot of us.

  7. In terms of advice, I think a lot of men just like to give it. They do the same thing to other men, offering an endless babble of "advice" that's not asked for and often not required. It's like when I'm at the gym. My being slender seems to induce meatheads into desperately needing to tell me how to pick up something heavy and put it back down. Because, you know, truly there is no higher art form than a bicep curl.

    People want to feel special and I suppose a lot of men express this by offering "advice" on stuff you quite clearly know how to do. And clearly you know how to ride a bike, Sash; one simply need look at your odometer for proof.

    In my professional life I have most often found myself working for women, so perhaps that gives me an advantage that some men don't have in understanding that women are perfectly capable of doing things as well or better than men. That's certainly true with the operation of a motor vehicle. Indeed, why wouldn't you be good at it? How would your gender affect such a thing in any legitimate way?

    Also, I, too, take a long-ass time getting all my gear on. I personally enjoy taking my time because: 1) It helps ensure I'm not attempting to readjust something at 70 mph; and 2) It allows me to sing theme music in my head, the way it would be if Captain America were gearing up to ride his bike.

  8. I get lots of thumbs up from men that I encounter while riding. This morning, though, on my way to work, I pulled up at a light behind a guy on a bike. (I had seen him a few minutes earlier when he passed by while I was waiting for an opening to get out on the road--I wear a pink helmet and fitted pink jacket, so there's really no mistaking me for a guy). I caught up with him at the next light and when the light turned green he took off like a shot and caught up with another guy on a bike a few cars ahead (they were not riding together). I guess he didn't like the appearance that he might be riding with a woman who was on a motorcycle bigger than his! Ha!

    My husband and I have a blast riding and just got back from a road trip to Nashville. He's my biggest fan and, in his book, being a girl has never been an excuse for me not to do something. He loves that I can do some things better than most men (drive a boat, ride a motorcycle, etc.)

    I try to be considerate when I'm in any group--not just riders--and try very hard not to be that person who everyone's waiting for.

    Just started reading your blog... love it! And love your honesty.

  9. Well i think it is great Women enjoy riding, I personally am helping a young lady learn to ride, She likes and enjoys riding a bike and any other person. She does not have her own bike yet , but soon will. So in the time frame from now till she gets hers I hope to teach her enough about riding and being safe that she does a great job and As always rides SAFE, and in the future she might teach a man to ride some day.


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