They say the hardest thing about going for a run is the first step. Same with the gym – lifting weights requires significantly less effort than getting off the couch, putting on some old clothes, and walking out the front door. This phenomenon is largely attributed to the universal psychological affliction known as Waiting for the Mood to Strike. Humans simply don’t do the things they know they want to do because they don’t “feel like it.”
But the truth is, attitude follows action way more than action follows attitude. We change our mood as a result of how we act. So if we run three days a week, we feel strong, and capable. Same goes for the weights.
Or riding a motorcycle.
Which, rumor has it, also generates feelings of liberation, a sense of mastery, and a new appreciation for connection – both with the road, our surroundings, and perhaps most importantly, to a larger, global club of “people like us.” Bottom line: if you want to feel a certain way, take action. And if you’re interested in the motorcycle thing, take a cue from Adeline and Augusta Van Buren.
It was 1916, and the globe was embroiled in the First World War. The Preparedness Movement was abuzz on the home front to strengthen the U.S. military. Two sisters endeavored to become dispatch riders to support the cause. They also had a secret agenda – prove women could ride motorcycles as well as men, and leverage that attention to champion women’s voting rights.
Their modus operandi was nothing to scoff at: cross the continental united states (Brooklyn to Los Angeles, a mere 5,500 miles) on 1,000cc Indian Power Plus motorcycles (with gas headlights). Which they did, while navigating poor roads, bad weather, and getting lost in the desert near Salt Lake City (no Google Maps back then). They also became the first women to summit Pike’s Peak in any motor vehicle in the process. Not bad, especially considering the constraints they faced simply by being women in the early 20th Century.
Wait a second. That last bit sounds familiar, even in the early 21st Century. So, considering March is Women’s History Month – a time to commemorate, observe, and celebrate the vital role of women in American history and contemporary society – let’s talk about a few more famous female riders who know that taking motorcycle “action” not only changes their attitude, but it also strengthens the overall motorcycle community, and serves as a welcome mat for any newcomer looking for a sense of liberation, mastery, and connection.
Shayna Texter-Bauman is a history maker, inspirational figure, role model, and possibly the most popular rider in all of dirt track racing. The 27-year-old is part of the Red Bull® KTM Factory Race Team, and incredibly fast on any surface. She’s the first female to win a Progressive American Flat Track Main Event with her GNC2 triumph at Knoxville Raceway in 2011. She’s also the winningest rider in Parts Unlimited AFT Singles history – no other rider is withing six wins of her career class tally of 19.
Elena Myers Court is an American professional motorcycle racer. She made history in 2010 as the first female to win an AMA Pro Racing sprint road race. She is also the first woman to win a professional motorsports race of any kind at Daytona International Speedway on March 17, 2012 (talk about feeling awesome). It gets better. Myers was under contract with Kawasaki Team Green in 2007 at age 13 – three years before she was old enough to obtain a driver’s license. She rides a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship racing series.
In 2006, Patsy Quick became the first British woman to complete the 9300-mile Dakar Rally – the infamous race complete with confusing navigational requirements, harsh terrain, and extreme temperatures. Of course, this came with more than a little resilience. Her first attempt (in 2003) required her being medevac’d to an Egyptian military hospital after an incident. Today she runs a training school and rally support business named Desert Rose Racing.
Okay, if that’s not inspirational enough, let’s hit some fun celebrity female riding facts:
- Alanis Morissette prefers to cruise on the iconic Ducati S4RS…
- Angelina Jolie a BMW F640GS…
- and Olivia Munn a Triumph Bonneville.
Maybe they got started at Babes Ride Out, a series of events designed to inspire women around the world to start riding their own motorcycles. Think scenic rides through the California desert, surrounded by cacti, mountains, and thousands of women on motorcycles, a.k.a. a giant club of “people like us.” But it’s not all riding – at night participants sing Karaoke, watch live bands, and generally throw a party.
Founded in 2013 through a small flyer, Babes Ride Out has grown into an empire. In addition to the original location in Borrego Springs, CA (this year it’s November 4-6) there’s also a Babes Ride Out East in Narrowsburg, New York (June 3-5), Babes Ride Out Central Coast, CA (September 16-18), and a Babes in the Dirt franchise for those interested in off-road racing.
Any woman who rides understands the meteoric rise of groups like Babes Ride Out. Motorcycling is an overwhelmingly male pastime – which is just fine. But sometimes it’s simply nice to connect not with just “people like us,” but rather “people exactly like us,” especially if we represent the minority. Today there is proof that those who no longer wish wait on the sidelines (or ride on the back) are taking action. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, 19 percent of motorcycle owners in the U.S. are now women, compared to only 12 percent in 2012. Among millennial motorcyclists the numbers skew even higher – 26 percent are women. It’s also likely, regardless of age, 100% of these motorcycle owners change their mood every time they ride.
March is Women’s History Month, a time to honor women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and champion equality. It’s also a great time to point out that everyone – regardless of gender – deserves to experience the feelings of liberation, mastery, and connection that come with riding a motorcycle. It’s A Fine Line hopes you don’t wait for the mood to strike. Remember, attitude follows action way more than action follows attitude. Speaking of which, we’re all about motorcycle safety and Target Zero.
See you on the road!