Someone once asked me what it was like being a chick and trying to learn to ride. I have thought about it quite a bit and I don’t think it’s really that different than being a guy learning to ride. You’d be hard pressed to accuse my riding buddies of going too easy on me or being afraid to damage my ‘fragile female feelings’. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that we have a few ladies in our group who ride and ride well. I imagine any misogynistic types would be shamed back into hiding fairly quickly.
If anything, fellow riders seem more apt to tell me I can do something, even if I’m less sure of myself. I’m not positive if it’s because they really have so much faith in me or if they just like watching me dump my bike trying things that are over my head.
I do have a couple funny stories regarding gender and motorcycling though, with people outside my riding group:
When I first went to look at my bike, I brought my friend Dwayne with me. He has been riding motorcycles longer than I have been alive so he seemed a good bike buying sidekick. We were both outside talking to the bike’s then-owner when his wife comes out. The guy starts spouting off that it’s a ‘Mans bike’ and I’m laughing that it’s going to be a girls bike soon! His wife turns to me with this weird expression “Wait a minute…it’s for YOU?!” … “Ummm…yes.” Then she just laughs at me and goes back in the house.
Knowing someone found the idea of my riding a KLR so ludicrous only made me more determined to ride the hell out of it and I’m not going to lie, sometimes I think of this conversation while riding and a smug little smile creeps across my face.
The other one was when I was riding solo and stopped at a gas station. A young guy comes over, walking really slowly, as one might approach a wild animal, with this look of complete wonderment. He introduced himself and we talked a bit about riding dirt, but the entire time he sustained this posture and expression of absolute amazement. Like he had just come across a unicorn and it spoke to him. We had a pretty nice conversation, but I was trying hard not to laugh at how surprised he seemed.