The Brain Bucket

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My Point of View on Riding Rites of Passage

Feb 23, 2019 6:00:00 PM / by Jo Kelley

Motorcycles for Women: My Experience of Becoming a Rider

Every culture, regardless of its values or belief systems, adheres to certain rituals that mark important events in someone’s life. In the biker culture, these important events may include anything from your first motorcycle purchase, to attending your first biker rally, to the first wave you ever got from a fellow rider on the road. Whatever the case, these moments mean the most to those who have pledged their lives to the ride.

Motorcycles for women: rites of passage

“For many people, riding a motorcycle is not only a way to get around, it’s one of the most important social activities in their lives,” according to As someone who has ridden motorcycles for years, I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. Belonging to the biker culture has exposed me to a way of life that I don’t intend to part ways with any time soon. But, this isn’t to say that my introduction to the culture was all sunshine and roses. I’ll admit, being a beginner rider brought plenty of challenges; but, being a woman in addition to being a beginner was a humbling experience, to say the least. 

In the macho motorcycle culture that has long-dominated the sport, being a woman motorcycle rider really is its own rite of passage. I, for one, am beyond thrilled that the 'only men can ride' stigma is beginning to fade; but, I realize we will never be rid of it completely.

When I first started riding, for instance, there was an under-representation of motorcycles for women and female riders. I encountered several long-time riders, all men, who doubted not only my riding abilities, but also whether or not I was even a good ‘fit’ for the culture. I remember thinking, “What does that even mean? A good fit?” There are motorcycles for women out there, and I can ride a motorcycle just as good as (and, in some cases, better than) you can; I respect the rules of the road as far as riding is concerned; and, most importantly, I’m not wedged in-between some dude and the sissy bar, sporting a “Property Of” patch. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Women motorcycle riders

But, for the first couple of years of riding, it didn’t. It wasn’t until I started having conversations with other fellow male riders that my outlook began to change. To this day, I’m so grateful to have met these men because they explained to me that not every guy on a bike subscribes to this ‘macho’ mentality. In fact, these men were more interested in promoting an all-inclusive biker culture, where everyone, regardless of age, experience, or gender, feels like they belong. Needless to say, I was relieved to hear this.

While there were definitely times I felt discouraged in my pursuit to feel like I belonged, the truth is, I’m thankful for some of the hardship because, if anything, it reinforced that the things that matter most to me in life—and to everyone, really—aren’t always the easiest to come by. But, when we do finally find our way, that feeling is easily one of the best we’ll ever have.

Want to share your experience? Leave me a comment and tell me your story. You could be featured on our blog!


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Topics: Articles, Motorcycles, The Brain Bucket

Jo Kelley

Written by Jo Kelley

Lover of horror movies, dive bars, and startled cat gifs. I cover the history of motorcycles, motorcycle news, and tell the stories of some of the most popular brands.

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