Wherever there’s a fellow hurtling along on two wheels, there’s a woman doing the same, and Women’s Motorcycle Month is just a small part of what makes the motorcycle a big part of women’s achievements in motorsports. Across the years since the first motorbike was invented, women have become more and more involved in the maintaining, riding, designing, manufacture, insurance, repair and racing of these mean machines. So how are some of the most important figureheads in the female side to motorcycles?
First up is Bessie Stringfield, the African-American rider who completed eight solo cross country-tours on two wheels (on a bike, not during a crazy car stunt), and all in the 1930s, which helped to break down barriers between both races and genders. Not only that, but she was a dispatch rider in the US Army, which further cemented her reputation as one of the most important riders since the vehicle was invented.
However, she wasn’t the first. In 1910 the Van Buren sisters made theirselves known as two of the earliest women riders ever, breaking all the gender stereotypes and riding all the way from New York to California in 1916, a truly amazing feat and the first of its kind for female riders. Of course, this then paved the way for women like Stringfield.
We of course can’t forget the First Lady of Motorcycling, either – Dot Robinson. The founder of Motor Maids, a women’s motorcycles ownership club, she played a pivotal role in creating a female side to riding culture, and alongside fellow motorcyclist Linda Dugeau, brought the club to the point of being issued a proper charter by the American Motorcycle Association in 1941. She competed in endurance runs and helped prove that women had a place on two wheels whether they raced or worked for the RAC or AAA, opening the doors for many more female competitors.
That’s just a few, and there are countless more in today’s society, breaking records and taking the motorcyclist’s passion for everything riding into the twenty-first century. We salute you!