When you think of motorcycles and the people who ride them, often a specific image comes to mind. Does that image look like any of the motorcyclists pictured below?
Women ride motorcycles across the planet. They ride dirt bikes, sport bikes, cruisers, dual sports and trials bikes. They ride around their cities, to work, on race tracks, and on epic rides across continents.
The Global Women Who Ride Project interviews these riders and tells their stories, to provide much needed inspiration to all the girls and women out there who rarely see themselves depicted in mainstream motorcycling media and pop culture.
If you find these images inspiring, check out the Global Women Who Ride Project and share it with the motorcyclists in your life. Still actively seeking women riders in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America!
More info: globalwomenwhoride.com
Paulina Ulloa, Chile
Paulina has ridden her Suzuki DR200 SE more than 11,000 km across South America with little more than four months of riding experience.
“I have always considered myself an adventurous and passionate woman. I like challenges and what I propose to myself I take very seriously. When I got my motorcycle driver’s license, I upgraded from my little Honda 125 to a Suzuki DR 200 dualsport. It was a very light, simple, and perfect bike to begin my journey. I have ridden more than 11,000 km on it across South America managing to fulfill my own dream of traveling in a way that I never thought possible.”
Coral Yang, Taiwan
Coral Yang rides her Kawasaki ZX-6R on epic trips across Taiwan. She likes going fast! [https://www.facebook.com/nooonooonoom?ref=tn_tnmn]
“I didn’t let my parents know when I got my first bike. They were angry when they spotted it and made me to sell it. Few months later, I got my second bike and hid it well.”
Ele Herronen, Estonia
Ele Herronen rides her dual sport KTM 640 lc4 all over Estonia and beyond.
“Estonia is so small but so diverse! If you begin from the south, you will be on our “Himalaya” region. The nature there is outstanding. Lakes, hills and road go through them like roller coasters. If you head west, it flattens out and takes only 1.5 hour to ride. So within a very short time, you can ride through very different types of landscapes.”
Samiksha Bali, India
Samiksha Bali rides a Royal Enfield. She has ridden it to the highest motorable road in the world in Ladakh. [http://samikshalifeslines.blogspot.in/]
“I finally managed to buy my own motorcycle with my husband this January. Since we got our bike, we make it a point to ride to places within at least a 500 km vicinity whenever we can. Needless to say, I have passed on the motorcycling bug to my husband and we are constantly bickering over who will be at the handlebars every time we ride.”
Kinga Tanajewska, Australia
Kinga has circumnavigated Australia solo on her BMW F800GS. [http://www.onherbike.com/]
“As every woman dreams about her wedding in her own way, my dream was to ride bikes to the ceremony. We borrowed a bike, I rode an R6 and my partner a vintage M72 with side car.”
Bahar Parsa, Iran
Motocross rider Bahar lives in Iran where women are forbidden from riding motorcycles in public. She gets around that technicality by riding her Honda CRF 250 offroad. [www.facebook.com/baharmotocross]
“Since I first got into this sport I fell in love with it and nothing else is as pleasurable to me. My family supports me in every possible way and my goal is to make this sport more known to people here in Iran who are not familiar with it.”
Nichele Wetherford, USA
Nichele rides her Honda VFR 1200F around sunny California. She has been riding since she was 7.
“My getting into motorcycles was just fate. My sister’s father had bought her a Yamaha 80. I was 7 years old and she was 15. I was great at riding my bicycle and wanted to ride her dirt bike so she showed me how in our big back yard at my family home.”
Mila Ovchinnikova, Ukraine
Mila Ovchinnikova has ridden her Yamaha TTR 250 from Ukraine to Magadan. [http://hortainapilin.com/en/#.VS-uRPmUeuM]
“In our motorcycle community, women are treated with honor! Really! Riding motorcycle means that you are brave, smart and strong. Adding to that – that you are reliable friend and partner…”
Marina Sienckiewicz, Poland
Marina rides her Honda CBF 600N around Europe. She is pictured here on the iconic Grossglockner.
“Unfortunately the attitude in Poland when I was younger wasn’t good. Driving, riding and many other things was not for women. Imagine, nearly 40 years ago the motorcycle was rare, and girl on a bike was impossible. And from everybody I heard that riding is dangerous, not for girl, not for woman, not for wife, not for mother. Maybe I was weak, not strong enough to force my dream.
But when I was over 40 my life started to change. I lost the job, divorced, my daughter was old enough, she started live her own life so I was alone, but not lonely. It means NOBODY can tell me what to do. I make the driver licence for bike and bought my Honda. My parents were horrified but seeing my determination accepted this fact.”
Anita Yusof, Malaysia
Muslim motorcyclist Anita Yusof has ridden solo across all of Central and Southeast Asia. [http://anitayusof00.blogspot.com/]
“I was able to travel freely in Afghanistan until the border guards at the Mazar checkpoint found out that I wanted to go to Kabul and denied me entry. They warned me that the situation in Kabul was unstable and that there had been a bombing there just a week before. I told them that I knew about the bombing but I dared to take my own risk. My principle was very simple – If you are scheduled to die, it will happen even in the comfort of your own bed, no matter where, no matter when, not one minute early, and not one minute late.”
Marina Cianferoni, Italy
Marina rides her BMW R75/7 around Italy. She has written a novel about motorcycles and movies called “Due ruote e una manovella”.
“The bi-cylinder in general is my favorite type of engine since I don’t have to use the brakes frequently: the engine IS the best brake, understand? You have to use just gears to go faster or slower, and that’s means to take a rhythm on the road, like a dance. I don’t like to ride fast, but I ADORE to ride WELL.”
Precious Kubheka, South Africa
Precious Kubheka took a gap year and worked long hours as a waitress to earn the money to buy her first motorcycle.
“Being a black girl with no history of motorcycling in the family made my having a bike as good of a dream as waking up with Oprah’s bank account.”
Voni Glaves, USA
67 year old Voni Glaves has clocked more than a million miles on her bikes.
“In one sense, just riding out of the yard that first time was a huge achievement. Obviously, the million miles is a lifetime achievement. But the one I take the most pride in is riding 73,660 miles in six months for the BMW MOA Mileage Contest. And finishing the Iron Butt Rally and 11 day challenge ranks right up there.”
Lilian Hobbs, UK
Dr. Lilian Hobbs has an RoSPA diploma and rides her BMWs long distance.
“You have to ride to RoSPA gold standard which is considered one of the highest civilian UK motorcycle qualifications and then detect faults in the examiner’s ride as he plays the associate role. Before I became an advanced instructor, there was a small minority of men who didn’t say nice things about my riding. The vast majority were supportive and gave me huge encouragement and I was delighted to pass my advanced instructors course and prove the minority wrong.”
Maria Dalla Cola, UK
Rides a Ducati Monster 696 and Ducati Panigale 899 around London. [http://girlsareloud.org]
“The feeling of freedom and empowerment I have when I’m on my bike is something unique. No matter what the weather conditions are, where I’m going or what’s happening in my life….all the troubles, thoughts and worries just can’t catch me when I’m riding. When I’m on my bike I am truly happy and I cannot imagine my life without it.”
Andrea and Becky, USA
This duo from the United States rode their dual sport bikes across the Americas to Ushuaia. Their video blog and upcoming documentary about their adventures is a must-watch.
“Life on the road together is great. We’re both really easy going people, and quick to laugh about a potentially bad or difficult situation turning it into an amusing experience and a funny story to recall to our friends later. We’ve of course had a few trying moments at border crossings, riding through really intense and dangerous wind storms, and times when the bikes just aren’t cooperating. Helping each other through those times makes it all worth it. We can’t recommend enough going for a motorcycle adventure with a good friend!”
Violeta Ivanova, Bulgaria
Violeta rides a 1200 cc Harley Davidson Sportster. She is a Ladies of Harley Officer who actively works to increase the number of women who ride Harley Davidson motorcycles in Bulgaria.
Violeta: “My greatest motorcycle trip was in Europe from Sofia to Barcelona this May with me on my Harley, my husband on his BMW R1200 GSA and my daughter riding pillion! She loves sharing our motorcycle adventures and I am sure she will be a great rider in a few years.”
Katja Yakovleva, Serbia
Katya rides her bikes across Europe solo, with her girlfriends riding pillion, or with her husband.
“I still think that the dual sport concept of motorcycle is perfect for everyday life. So in my opinion, enduro bike is a “must have” and then if you have more money, you can buy a sport one, sport-touring or motocross.”
Glennel Warren, USA
Glennel Warren rides a trials bike in Hawaii. This is one of the most physically demanding riding that exists.
“Trials bikes have no seats. You remain standing the entire time. In Hawaii the trails are extremely technical. There are trees that you will ride over, riverbeds that need to be crossed, mountains to go up. The trials bikes are small yet because of their huge engines, they are perfect for the terrain here. At first glance they might seem like slow bikes but in reality they are extremely fast and strong. I love my bike because I can make it through areas that grown men who have been riding their whole lives will struggle with.”
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