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    • Chris MacAskill

      In my years of owning Adventure Rider I've been lucky to meet hundreds of women who love riding motorcycles. I thought it would be fascinating to hear from them about what it's like to hang out on forums & social media, commute, wrench, ride around the world...when the majority of riders are men.

      So I invited a few to this panel and they in turn suggested women to invite. As they join the panel over the next day or two, I think we'd all love a short intro and then whatever is on their minds.

      Photo by @rtwPaul of @Evergreen

    • Hi, Katherine here. I've been riding for about seven years. I did my rider training in Germany while on assignment over there, so I got my license the hard (and expensive) way. I'm still riding my first bike, an F650GS single that just does it for me. I've toured all over western Europe and the southeastern US - working on more of that. I do the majority of my own maintenance. I've been on the internet a bit longer, all the way back to BITnet days. My other hobbies are working on my mid-century modern home and tuning and tracking VWs and my new BRZ. At work, I'm a scientist pretending to be an engineer for a Tier1 chemical supplier in the automotive industry.

    • Hi, Joanne / GearChic here. I've been riding since 2003. I started on a little 50cc scooter, became a MSF RiderCoach from '06 to '16, fast forward 4 sportbikes and now I ride a 2012 Triumph Street Triple R (unlowered, custom rear suspension). I started GearChic in 2007? (it's been so long I can't remember anymore!) to do everything I can to help other women get geared up and ride.

      I enjoy occasional track days (1-2/year) and sport touring. Traveling on my bike is one of my favorite things to do whether it's solo or with my husband. I'm a huge sportbike girl and can't see myself growing up to ride a proper touring bike until my back gives out. You'll also find me selling motorcycle gear for all at RevZilla in our Philadelphia Showroom. It's my "office" to help riders get geared up and answer lots of questions about riding. I'm excited to be a part of this panel and throw in my $0.02 to help increase our numbers and visibility, not only as a female but as a woman of color.

      In all my years of riding, I've learned one thing that has helped me tremendously that has gotten me to where I am today. Learn how to ride, really really well because how else am I going to ride all the fun bikes when I'm only *this* tall (5'2")?

    • Hello all, Mary here. I’ve been riding since around 2007 when my spouse (now ex) and I were given an older Honda CM-400T. Since then, I’ve been through a couple bikes and some significant personal changes – I now ride a BMW R1150GS and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve taken my GS from my home in southeast New England to points west of the Rocky Mountains and back five times, four of those trips were solo. I’ve seen amazing sunsets from a mountain top in Montana, waited patiently for a herd of Bison to cross the road in Badlands NP, suffered across the Blackrock Desert in Nevada, been soaked to my bones by driving rain in Canada, and had to do major engine repairs on the floor of a machine shop in New Mexico. My hobbies include playing in NYC traffic, wondering what that noise is, and hoping I have enough gas to get to the next station.

      When my GS (her name is Matilda) and I aren’t out in the world, I enjoy backpacking/hiking, cycling and I’m just getting back into climbing. I’m a landscape and nature photographer, my work has been hung in shows and strangers have my vacation photos on their walls.  

      I support my hobbies and feed myself by working at a shipyard, where I’m an engineer doing things to submarines before they go to sea (and sometimes when they come back). It might sound exciting, but if everything goes right – and we spend a lot of effort making sure it will – nothing exciting happens.

      My hope for this panel is to give my unique perspective on the topic, because I have moved in this sport (as well as in a technical and male-dominated profession) as both a man and woman; the differences in the way I’ve been regarded on the road – from both women and men – are profound.

    • Hello, my name is Reama. I started riding in December of 2010 after a long time fascination with motorcycles. I was an avid cyclist in the city of San Francisco for many years and that made the conversion to motorcycling relatively easy.

      By day I am a mild mannered bean counter/small business manager. At night and on the weekends my job is to ride motorcycles. My two bikes are Steffi, a 2001 R1150GS and Isabella, a 2009 DR650 with some tasty modifications. I like roaming around northern California, often alone and this occasionally raises eyebrows and folks ask questions. A lot of them. I've done two quick solo jaunts in Northern Italy when work brought me there. Men were really amused to see me by myself, had questions as to why an American was there "da sola" and I had some great experiences like riding with two locals one afternoon near Sassello.

      It's been a rocky road but I now do most of the maintenance on my bikes. Not because I have much mechanical interest or aptitude. More because I ride so much that paying a mechanic for everything gets really expensive, really fast, and I don't want to wait. I want to ride!

      I ride with a couple of different groups. One of them is mainly older white guys and for years I felt like one of the boys. I apparently did such a good job blending in that I started hearing remarks about women that had me saying "yuck". C'est la vie, I guess.

    • Hi all! So excited to be here, and in such awesome company!:)

      My name is Egle, I'm originally from Lithuania but have been a digital nomad for a while now so feel rather homeless most of the time:) I learned to ride in Peru on a small 150cc motorcycle and, after riding it across South America for some 30,000 miles, decided motorcycling was something I wanted to do more of. After a brief break in Europe, I hit the road again in 2016 and am currently riding Ecuador with my partner Paul; we're both on Suzuki DR650's.

      I'm a journalist and writer by trade which enables me to work from the road. I love discovering strange, obscure and curious places and people all over the world. I'm also into feminism and human rights. Locally grown coffee is an obsession that often gets out of control!

      I run a digital webzine for women adventure riders, www.womenadvriders.com, in the hopes of raising the visibility of female motorcyclists all over the world. Most importantly, though, I hope that Women ADV Riders can be a useful platform to connect, share experiences, get inspired and of course, get going!

      When it comes to being a female rider, I do think that there's a lot of archaic sexism lingering both online and at motorcycling events (and I'm only talking about the West here, not the developing world). It's funny, really, because I don't feel like a female rider - I'm just a rider, period. It's the outside world that keeps reminding me of my "femaleness" - sometimes in hilarious ways, like when policemen in Colombia greet me "hola patron" (hello, boss) and then need a moment to compose themselves once I remove my helmet and it turns out I'm a woman; and sometimes in pretty sleazy ways, like when I was asked to take a photo with a fellow rider at Overland Expo who then inquired whether he could "tell the wife I slept with ya, hehe".

      A lot of the supposed differences between the sexes are just learned social behaviors and perception. I've met and interviewed countless women who were excellent riders but who would only dare enter a beginner's or medium off road riding class, or women who were tall and physically strong and fit but would assume that X or Y bike would be "too big/heavy" for them. I've also met dozens of men who had only learned riding a month or two ago but felt they were ready for an advanced off road class, and tiny, short, slight guys who rode BMW 1200 GS's regardless of their minute stature. Were the men better riders? No, but they felt that they were - and it made a huge difference.

      For me personally, confidence is a very big deal - mostly because for most of my life, I had very little of it. Traveling and motorcycling helps me find more and more confidence in myself with each passing day, and I want to share this awesome feeling and hopefully, help boost other women's confidence through adventure riding.

    • (Evergreen) "...and then need a moment to compose themselves once I remove my helmet
      and it turns out I'm a woman;..." For me, thats when I know an
      interaction will either be fine or I'm in for a lot of sexist BS about
      whether or not the male owner of my bike knows I'm riding it.

    • Bahahaha, true. In South America, I think I'm often perceived as "genderless" in a way because I'm a white foreigner. So I'm kind of androgynous to them, because real women get married when they're 16 and start making babies at 17, and real men tame wild horses and shoot guns - and in this context, I'm neither. So far, it's worked to my advantage though because I'm allowed into both worlds. I can have beers and help shoe a horse with the men but I can also peel potatoes with young girls in the kitchens and talk about medicinal plants with grandmothers.

    • Fascinating! So great to have you all here.

      Were the men better riders? No, but they felt that they were - and it made a huge difference.

      There is a wonderful site for women photojournalists, Women Photograph, and their numbers are similar to women motorcyclists: only 15% of photojournalists are women. The owners of the site (all women) say a large factor is the confidence gap: men seem more likely to be willing to fake it until they make it. And yet, if anyone were to list the best photojournalists of the last century, I'd be very surprised if women didn't dominate the list. Carol Guzy, for example, has agreed to a Cake interview and she's the only journalist in history to have won 4 Pulitzer Prizes.

      I'd love to hear more views from the panel about confidence. Does it influence your behavior online, on the road, in the shop? Or are other factors like the way you're treated by men more significant?

    • Confidence? I guess it really depends on which sphere I've got to be confident in. I have complete confidence in my ability to fix my bike, I do all my own maintenance - I couldn't afford to ride a Beemer otherwise. People are a completely different matter, and confidence with them a thing I have to work on every day no matter what I'm doing.

    • The confidence gap is real! This brilliant article in the Atlantic explores why and how, and what can be done about it. Personally, professional off road training has been absolutely revolutionary for me; in other walks of life, experience and constant learning plays a big role.

      Online, though (I mean online motorcycling forums and social media groups) women often choose not to speak out because they're constantly being shut down by toxic male behavior. From sleazy jokes about body parts to classical put downs like "militant feminist", to condescension, to casual remarks about "pussies" and phrases like "did you buy this bike in the tampon aisle" - all of this, if tolerated/encouraged by forum/social media group owners or administrators, tell women their voices aren't welcome. So they remain silent because they're simply tired of hearing it over and over and over again. I know I am. I have left countless FB groups and forums because it was just exhausting to keep repeating the same very basic things to people who wouldn't want to listen in the first place.

      I can't say I have experienced much shitty sexist behavior from male riders in real life though. There have been a few - the Overland Expo incident, a few incredulous looks here and there ("it's YOUR bike??", "you ride? Your own..??..??"), some sleazy behavior, but that's about it. I certainly feel that online behavior is a lot more toxic than face to face.

    • I am plenty confident in bike-fixing skills, too, so long as there is no tyre changing involved! I'm comfortable with my riding skills, even though they could always improve. For me, it's the difference between being confident and being overconfident. I prefer to remain right side up, so I try to avoid being overconfident. Except when wiring harness is involved. Then I am a goddess. My retirement goal is to have a little garage and be the Motronic (R) Whisperer.

      Confidence online is slightly different. It's more subjective and the situations are often very fluid. There is a lot more resilience required.

    • OMG when people discovered that my girlfriend and I were out in the Alps alone and on piddly little 650s.... It was so funny. We would just stare at the guys. The women we met were just delighted that there were two more women riding. The riding culture in the EU is really different from the US - riders over in the EU are seen as positives: less traffic, more spending money, and focused. Nearly every 'Bikerbett' (moto-friendly hotel) was just beside themselves to have two women show up. In Germany and Switzerland, we were treated really well, almost like rock stars, just for showing up on motos!

    • Hello!! I feel quite humbled to be in the company of you amazing women. Some of you I know in real life, some through other FB groups and forums. I started riding as a young girl on an old Husky 2stroke back on the farm. I moved onto street riding as a pelon with my big sister Jenny who managed to hide her motorcycles from our mom forever. To this day Jenny and I still share "don't tell mom" moments even though she is in her 60s and I my late 50'. Somehow something happens on a motorcycle where time stands still and the grin and giggles remove all traces of age from body and soul. Currently my favorite bike in the stable is my beautiful, sexy, and very very red Beta 430 RR-S. The best way to describe this bike is to say "if a ballerina were a motorcycle" our riding group named the bike "Barbie" as I keep purchasing shiny billit bling for her.

      I have had the honor to be involved with Citybike Magazine for many years. We recently printed our last paper edition and are now fully online. Ecently I was able to host a pop up renduro clinic with Megs Braap another amazing rider in her 20s. who now represents my friends over at Traction eRAg.

      I think my biggest obsticle I face as a female motorcyclist is that people don't always see me as a rider they identify me as a "female ridere" I'd really like to change that.

    • Cera

      Hi all! Sara from the near arctic (Finland) checking in!

      I ride 2016 R1200GS Triple Black, my first bike after a 50cc scooter I owned back in 2006 and my riding gear consists of pink MX boots, pink hi-viz vest and white/pink MX gloves. I haven't found a way to add pink to my pants and jacket yet so they're just black with no nonsense. I simply didn't want to be one of the androgynous, all black/gray textile type of riders. I dress - and ride - with style. ;) With that said, it's kind of difficult not to figure me out as a female rider when I'm out there, which sometimes causes hilarious situations, sometimes less so.

      I'll throw one example here; a guy on a Triumph Tiger literally made an U-turn when I pulled off the main road and stopped my bike to a parking lot. He lifted his visor and, without introductions, started with "I couldn't mistake once I saw the boots! WOMAN on a big GS! I now know total of FIVE women who ride big GS!" Yeah. That lasted for 5 minutes while he smoked a cigarette there still going on about the five women on GS's he knows and it was both hilarious (because it really isn't supposed to be that astonishing, we live in 2018) and scary because, well, me in a parking lot, nobody else in sight, near midnight and someone just made an U-turn at the next intersection after they saw me so "Uh-oh. What now?"

      Another reason for my pink gear is that a female on a motorcycle should be normal. It should be visible. I don't want to hide my femaleness to "blend in with the guys". No. I want to be me, and I want to be treated as equal even if I am openly myself. I also want to encourage other women and by far the best way I've found has been to make it feminine. Distinguish it from the "male only" things. Break the stereotypes.

      That aside, My bike hasn't left Finland yet (although it's seen a fair amount of lakes and forest within our borders) but I've been touring scandinavia and continental Europe quite a lot with my car so I'm familiar with the traffic jams in German autobahn, cost of beer in Norway and of course chaotic traffic of Naples, Italy.

      I also do film photography, among countless other things.

    • Hey Reama! When ever I'm feeling down I rememer us barreling over Lucky Boy Pass me on the old oil swilling ATK and you so new on yor Wee-Strom. You were such a natural. Then we hit that hot spring where all those Adonis like men were soaking naked! Always makes me smile.

    • Mary Cryan

      "The confidence gap is real! This brilliant article in the Atlantic explores why and how, and what can be done about it."
      Thank you for that link, I'm saving it for my lunch break reading.

      I never felt the need for dedicated off road training; I'm a mountain biker going back to the days when rigid bikes weren't just cool, they were the only option in the shops. I've lost a lot of strength over my transition and the things I used to be able to just muscle through now take actual planning and care, making me a much smoother and careful woods road rider. That said, I'm sure there is plenty more I need to learn.
      I couldn't agree more about the toxicity of online communities. I've also walked away from forums and groups when, upon learning I'm a woman, I'm told to go make a sammich and oh, you're queer? Mind if I watch you and your girlfriend having sex? Fuck that. It doesn't take much effort to *not* say those things, but that effort is never rewarded by other men in the group because it "ruins the fun" and those guys are pussies anyway - they should go put on panties and make a sammich. And some wonder why women walk away from those online communities.
      In the real world, I think its harder for some guys to be sexist jerks in public settings because the shield of anonymity is gone and someone else may be watching, or more often lately, recording. I don't attend rallies, so I can't comment on the atmosphere there, interactions with other riders on the road are mixed and generally positive. Breaking that down further, other women who're riding their own bike are very positive, women who are passengers less so, and men are pretty split between You Go! and Does your boyfriend/husband/brother know you're on his bike.

    You've been invited!