Meet the biker: The Lady Biker.
She’s a daughter, she’s a sister, she’s a mother, she’s a HR by profession, she’s an outdoor adrenaline junkie and she’s Biker.
As a woman, when I first started riding, I felt like I should conceal it from friends, co-workers, and acquaintances to avoid disapproval. But I have since decided that hiding my essential nature from my friends and family is foolish. They’ve probably already got a pretty good idea that this is the sort of activity I would choose, anyway. Throughout my life I have made an amateur career of adrenaline-rush type hobbies so it wasn’t such a big stretch to think about motorcycling. I can’t see why a girl’s story of how they picked up riding would be any different than a guy’s.
I can see how a woman has a lot more to overcome socially to get into it. Most people are going to try to discourage it and gaining the confidence to get on a bike would be a lot harder if everyone is telling you that you can’t do it and that you should “just get a scooter”. Sexism can be very subtle but it is still very present and obvious if you are paying attention. When it comes to something like motorcycles all subtlety seems to go away.
Riding is a symbol of empowerment and liberty for me. In truth, it gives me mobility, and a way to travel without having to depend on anybody else. It is my stress-buster. Despite working long hours through the week, I am excited to wake up at 6.45 am for Sunday group rides because being on the road makes me happy. It provides the adrenaline I need for daily life.
Biking has also taught me about road safety. In a car, there’s a sense of security and you tend to take more risks as a result. On the bike, you have no buffer, so all your senses are alert. Biking makes you look at things, even road safety, from a different perspective. I advise women riders to avoid unlit roads and engaging with over-enthusiastic drivers. In a mix-gender group, there’s always a pressure to perform well. This often leads to mishaps and accidents because men try to over-perform and try stunts.
Biking has inherent risks, and the more you learn and apply, the safer you can be. I’d like to also stress the importance of wearing motorcycle gear every time you ride. Gear can go a long way in protecting you and could even save your life. My motto is safety first (ATGATT – All the Gear All the Time); every time I ride I wear a full–face helmet, gloves, boots, an armored jacket, and riding pants.
The following tips will help keep you and other road users safe.
Advice for Bikers
1. Riding defensively makes you less vulnerable. Make sure you:
• anticipate the actions of others
• are alert and observant
• can slow down and stop if the unexpected happens
• position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards
• take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres, so you know where others are and what they’re doing.
2. Consider further skills training to improve your performance and safety on the road
3. Wear the right gear
4. Choosing the right helmet could help save your life
Advice for drivers
1. Take longer to look for bikes, especially in junctions
2. Keep your distance
3. Check for bikes when changing lanes
4. Check for bikes when turning
5. Bikers might pass you on either side, double check when turning left or right
6. Park safely