By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
These ladies don't take a back seat
Shirley Says
shirley 2
Christine Desmond - photo by Photo by Richard Bates
Before women joined the ranks of motorcycle riders, they found themselves getting excited every time a motorcycle rumbled by. As it passed, they had an urge to jump on! Women were no longer willing to "take a back seat." What is this mysterious switch in some women’s psyche, when flipped there’s no turning back?  
It takes a lot of confidence for a woman to mount a steel horse and ride. Motorcycles are powerful machines and women have been taught such machines are for men only. For decades men have ridden bikes with little training. Are they genetically programmed with that ability? Riding is no longer a sport just for men.  
Confident, motivated, adventurous women are capable of handling two wheels. Riding a motorcycle is more about mental skills and technique than size and strength. It is believed women focus more on technique and training. With experience, they become as good or better than men with the same training.  
Gone are the days when some men viewed women as a sexy accessory for their bike. Gone are the times when women settled for the back seat while the man had the most fun riding! Like the Bob Dylan song title states, “The Time’s They Are A Changin'."
Why do women ride and expose themselves to the elements and risks? It’s about the "rush" and getting closer to nature. Debbie Self, who has been riding for 40 years, says knowingly in her soft voice, “It’s the control of all that power in my hands!” She began riding a neighbor’s dirt bike as a teenager; in 1980 she bought her first bike. These days Debbie rides a Harley Low Rider. Incredibly, she has ridden from South Carolina to the Grand Canyon. Big bikes don’t scare her in the least, but mice do! Her niece, Michelle Browning, is following in her footsteps, often riding her Road King.     
In the past it wasn’t considered lady-like for a woman to straddle a bike, throttle up and roar off. That was then…this is a new millennium. Some women are naturally drawn to the sound of horsepower and the feel of leather. They are up for the challenge of riding bikes and do so with grace and sophistication.
Unlike Clark Kent, these mild mannered 9-5 working ladies don’t need a phone booth to change to their alter egos. It’s grown-up – dress-up time! Rolling out on their bikes, with the wind in their hair and thundering tail pipes, they are free to be whom they choose for that cruise!  
Christine Desmond often rides her Harley Davidson ‘Sporty’ to work…to the delight of 100 children. Once, she rode from here to Daytona Beach. A mere 5’2” 115 pounds, she has no trouble handling her bike which out-weighs her by five times. Having ridden for three years, the hardest thing to learn was, “The breaking, clutching and shifting gears. I had to stop thinking about it so hard.”
Gail Waine, inspired by her friend, Christine, was determined to ride. Although Gail had never ridden a bike before nor had any prior training, she went out and bought a 1200 Harley ‘Sporty’ and has been riding for the past two years. With her brown eyes sparkling, Gail explains, “A bike is to a woman what testosterone is to a man!” A biker enthusiast once said, “If someone has to explain it to you…you just don’t get it and probably never will.” Gail gets it!
These ladies not only ride for pleasure, but for others’ benefit as well! They often participate in charity events, along with male counterparts. Poker Runs are a huge draw for bikers, raising money for various charities.
Although I can’t compare anything I’ve done to what these ‘Biker Chicks’ experience, an afternoon with them gave me a glimpse into another world. Admiring them, I tried to imagine their exhilaration when riding. It must feel something like bungee jumping or white water rafting…they don’t have to do either…just get on their bikes and go hell-for-leather!
Times have changed!
Note: Ladies, if interested in riding, email or
Sign up for our e-newsletters