Women Riders

Have a Little Cheese with That Whine?

Written by  June 30, 2009

Well, it has finally happened. I think I have writer’s block. After months of writing about safety, women in motorcycling history, the evolution of women in motorcycling and even the Patriot Guard, I cannot seem to come up with a good column idea. Then I thought, this is a column for women riders. While seeing a woman on a bike now really doesn’t get the stares it used to, we are, for all intents and purposes, a “different” breed. Hold on, I am about to go sexist.

It has been my observation this past half century or so that males and females, despite our efforts to the contrary, are bound by traditions of yore regarding their places in both the world at large and their own world of family units. The male species, being the prehistoric hunter and gatherer, to this day has instilled in his primordial being that basic need. So the male of the family unit is generally the hunter, ie, he goes out to work and brings home the “bacon” to provide for his clan. The female, while now having joined the ranks of hunter and gatherer, still has her own primordial role as the nurturer and breeder. OK, I can feel the heat of your steam, but bear with me.

How often do we, the moms, turn down an opportunity to pack it all in and just go? Have you ever uttered the words, “Sorry, I can’t. I’m behind on the laundry (cleaning, grocery shopping, insert chore anywhere).”? Now, how many times have you heard the spousal unit say, “Sorry, I can’t. I’m behind on the (lawn mowing, window beading, grocery shopping, insert manly chore anywhere).”? Even if they do the chore needed, they’re on the bike afterward faster then you can say, “Would you mind doing….?”

This is not to say that men shirk their responsibilities constantly in favor of climbing aboard their two-wheeled baby (although wouldn’t we all want to), but the scales of ability to say “It can wait” are tipped in their favor. Perhaps this is why, as I had mentioned in a previous column, the average woman rider is a middle-aged empty nester. While that statistic is dropping--the average age of a woman rider will probably be early thirties before the decade is done--the desire to get out and just ride seems to be quashed by the “traditional” roles of mother, housekeeper, assistant breadwinner, laundress, and, if we are lucky, pleasure partner. Should we have to throw the care and feeding of an elderly parent into the mix, it’s a wonder we ride at all.

Last month I had mentioned that I would be learning to ride solo. I’m a working mom, so guess what? I haven’t learned yet. Throw in two weekends of Patriot Guard missions, mix liberally with almost two weeks of rain off and on, pour in a badly behaving computer only I know how to fix, and it’s a miracle I got this column out in time.

May was 'Women Riders Month” and June 29 was “Million Mile Day,” both sponsored by Harley-Davidson. What month is “Men Riders Month”? Most of them. Of course, I am being sarcastic here. Women Riders Month is designed to get more women to begin riding. Harley-Davidson’s goal was to see 100,000 women signed up and trained to ride.
Sorry, I couldn’t sign up, but I am behind on laundry, the bills had to be paid, my daughter needed a prom dress, the house was a pigsty and we needed groceries.

Disclaimer: The above was written with tongue securely planted in cheek. Please don’t send me hate mail as I will probably be out riding somewhere and won’t have time to respond, let alone bother with housework.

Thanks to E. for the title suggestion for this article.

By Louise Reeves