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Other Barriers

Reasons that hold some women back from riding

11/10/2005


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Many women are still held back from pursuing motorcycling by what they perceive as barriers. Those barriers are confidence, product knowledge, cost, skills, and life stage.

Confidence:
Some women are intimidated by the the thought of controlling such a big machine. "What if I can't handle it on my own?" "What if I drop the bike," are some of the thoughts that run through her head. Other women doubt their ability to handle a motorcycle based on their driving habits. "I'm an aggressive driver; what if I'm aggressive on a motorcycle?" Or just the opposite "What if I'm not as alert on a motorcycle?"

It's natural for some women to question whether they are cut out to ride a motorcycle. Motorcycling is such a male dominated activity. Only recently with the presence of more women riders on the road are other women realizing that "If she can do it, so can I?" As with any sport or activity, there is a learning curve. As one gradually increases in skill level, confidence builds. There are many small women who can ride a motorcycle. One's size should not be a limitation.

Over the last 10 years, the manufacturers have broadened their model lineups to include lots of different size machines. The aftermarket industry has responded by offering plenty of parts to modify a motorcycle to fit a rider better. There are ways to lower a motorcycle, bring the handlebars closer to the rider, lower the seat, adjust the foot pegs--nearly any part of a motorcycle can be changed to accommodate a particular rider. Size is no longer a limitation.

Product knowledge:
If a woman has never been exposed to motorcycling, she may be intimidated by a lack of knowledge on how to operate a motorcycle or not knowing where the controls are located. Proper training takes students through every step of learning starting with the basics. As with any activity, the more you practice the more proficient you become. The same goes with motorcycling. No one can expect to be an expert rider right after graduating from the training class. In fact, some women and men will practice their newfound skills in a parking lot or in a quiet neighborhood before hitting the streets. Everyone learns at his or her own pace.

Cost:
"I can't afford a bike." Some may think a motorcycle is out reach because of a high price tag. Yes, a motorcycle is a luxury item, but like most luxury items, a quality motorcycle can be bought used at an inexpensive price. Cost should not be a reason stopping someone from becoming a motorcycle rider and buying her own machine. There are so many motorcycles available today at a wide range of price levels. Plus, motorcycle loans are available for those who may not have the cash on hand.

Skills:
For some, a barrier to pursuing the enjoyment of motorcycling is a lack of knowing where to start. Fortunately, there are training classes in every state. Most schools use curriculum developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the industry standard in teaching people to ride a motorcycle. These classes are very popular among women with one third of all graduates being female. In some states, passing the riding test in the class satisfies the state motor vehicle licensing requirements. Taking the beginner class is also a good gauge to see if motorcycling is something you might enjoy.

Life Stage:
Some women use the excuse that they are too busy doing something else in their life so they don't have time to learn to ride a motorcycle. For example, "I just had a baby" Or, "I just started a new career." Women can always find an excuse not to ride. The question is how bad do you want to ride? So many female riders say they wish they started riding earlier if they had known how much joy it would bring to their lives.

For a woman, motorcycling is an expression of herself. Many say riding is very empowering, that the confidence she gets from riding her own motorcycle spills over into other areas of her life. It's that "you don't know what you're missing until you do it" kind of thinking.

If you've ever thought of donning a leather jacket, some hot black boots, and a pair of stylish shades and cruising down the open road in search of adventure, now is the time to do it. Motorcycle riding is the stuff dreams are made of. So many women are living their dream right now. Isn't it time you did, too?


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