A chronology of bikes, roads, rallies and anything and everything motorcycle related

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Fearless Females

With all the hustle and bustle that comes with finishing up the school year, I haven't been able to post in a few weeks.  Thankfully though, all the papers, presentations and midterms are over and its safe to say I survived my last semester of school.

To get back into writing this blog, I decided to do some Google searches to find a topic that I hadn't talked about yet, and a very obvious one came up - females and motorcycles.  It turns out that today there are over 4.5 million female riders on the road (about one in every ten riders is female) and female riders are increasing annually by 28% compared to male riders that are only increasing by 7% annually. So what makes a fearless female stand out in this historically male dominated riding world?  

The Van Buren Sisters
Female riders have been making a statement for almost a century now. In 1916 Adeline and Augusta Van Buren, two sisters in the United States, made a name for female riders by riding from New York to California on Indian motorcycles.  This feat helped to break the gender stereotypes held around bikes in this time period, as the sisters were the first females to make this coast to coast journey.  

In the 30s, there were two women working towards a more female friendly riding world.  Bessie Stringfield was the first African American motorcyclist and competed in eight solo cross-country tours.  She then went on to join the U.S Army, working as a motorcycle dispatch rider which required her to ride through the Southern states in a time when racism was very prevalent.  Then there was Dorothy 'Dot' Robinson, who started the group "Motor Maids". This organization encouraged women to try motorcycling and was the first women's motorcycle club in America.  Dorothy was also the first female to win an AMA national competition, which broke down more barriers for females in the competitive world.  

Jolene Van Vugt
Almost a century later, the riding world is a lot more welcoming to female riders, but women are still working hard everywhere to make a name for themselves and prove the gender stereotypes wrong.  Jolene Van Vugt, who's Canadian, has been named one of the top females in the riding world. She currently holds four Guinness world records, and has a TV show and a 3D movie.  She was also the first female to backflip a full sized dirt bike and was the first CMRC Women's Canadian National Motocross Champion.

So whether they're known for pioneering women's rights almost a 100 years ago, or holding records and continuing to break stereotypes today, females have always been making a statement in the riding world.  As the amount of female riders continues to increase, it can be almost guaranteed that the riding world is going to see a lot more fearless females doing some pretty great things.  


  1. Motorcycling is not for men only. Female riders should not think of their gender as hindrance to enjoy riding.

  2. over 4.5 million female riders on the road wow