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Archive for Women Bikers
Happy Sunday my friends!! In this mornin’s photo two society women in their 20s, sisters Adeline and Augusta Van Buren bought a pair of Indian Powerplus Bikes. They were the first people ever to climb up and down Pike’s Peak. They, too, completed a transcontinental ride. Their 3,300-mile trip took almost two months, and they had to contend not only with many unpaved roads, but also with social mores. Once they were arrested for publicly wearing trousers. ~ THESE GALS ROCK!!!!! ~ Regina www.SteelCowgirl.com
Happy Sunday my friends! Do something that makes you happy today!!!!!
~ Regina www.SteelCowgirl.com
Check out this video by Heloise!!! She is sooo cute and has some great ideas!
Roaring Down the Road
The motorcycle didn’t spring full-blown into this world. Rather, it evolved from the earlier bicycle. Women loved bicycles for the mobility and freedom they allowed. In fact, Susan B. Anthony said, “The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.”
In the 1880s, bicycles were a huge fad. Then, in 1885, Gottlieb Daimler made one that had an engine. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t a bicycle, because it had four wheels instead of two. Two were safety wheels. This bike went a magnificent and stately 12 miles per hour.
Motorcycle Popularity Grows
An idea was born, and soon other motorized bicycles were invented. Perhaps the first true motorcycle was a charcoal fired two -wheeler made in 1869 by Sylvester Roper of Massachusetts.
Within two decades, motorcyles were being mass-produced. The first such bike was the Orient-Aster, which was made by the Metz Company of Waltham, Massachusetts. This state clearly loved its bikes. Another early cycle was the beloved Indian, made by the Hendee Manufacturing Company in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Later, the company changed its name to Indian Motorcycles.)
In 1902, Harley Davidson sold its first three motorcyles, and soon there were dozens of manufacturers. They had names like Marvel, Exelsior, and Henderson. The Depression killed off all but Indian and Harley, and soon only Harley remained.
Women enjoyed the motorcycles as much as they had enjoyed bikes. After all, they were economical and fun. They also didn’t have the stigma that they acquired later. Early riders were seen as adventuresome, not as outlaws.
In 1915, Indian motorcycles offered front and rear shocks. Since these cushioned the ride, people began to consider long-distance travel as a real option. That year, a mother-daughter team, Avis and Effie Hotchkiss, rode from New York to San Franciso. They didn’t take the direct route. Instead, they meandered about, covering 5,000 miles.
The next year, two society women in their 20s, sisters Adeline and Augusta Van Buren bought a pair of Indian Powerplus Bikes. They were the first people ever to climb up and down Pike’s Peak. They, too, completed a transcontinental ride. Their 3,300-mile trip took almost two months, and they had to contend not only with many unpaved roads, but also with social mores. Once they were arrested for publicly wearing trousers.
In the 1920s, Harley published a magazine called The Enthusiast. It sponsored Vivian Wales on a 5000 mile trip to a Harley factory. Another early motorcycle heroine was Bessie Stringfield, a.k.a. the Motorcycle Queen of Miami . She made 8 solo-cross country trips and was a motorcycle dispatch rider.
Bessie had started out with two strikes against her: she was a woman and she was African-American. At first, she couldn’t even get a motorcycle license in Miami, Florida. However, a police officer interceded in her behalf.
Motorcycles were also used in wartime, which gave them a lot of public exposure. About 20,000 Harleys were used during the WWI. They were ridden by couriers, soldiers, and others.
As motorcycle popularity grew, it was only natural that some people became highly skilled in its use. They showed off these skills in motordromes, which had been around since the turn of the century but grew in popularity during the 1930s. A motordrome often advertised itself as “A Wall of Death.”
Essentially, it was a giant barrel with a platform on top for viewers. They could look down on motorcyclists, who sped around the inside of the walls, held in place by centrifugal force. One of these early daredevils was Margaret Gast, who billed herself as “The Mile a Minute Gal.” She was not the only woman daredevil. May Williams and Jean Perry also performed on the walls.
By 1940, the United States had its first women’s motorcyle club, The Motormaids. Today, there are scores of such clubs. Anyone who wants more information about the history of women and motorcycles may want to check out the book Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles, and the Rapture of the Road. I haven’t read it, but I’ve read several descriptions of it and seen the table of contents. It looks like fun.
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Riding pink motorbikes, the female “Warriors” club races through the streets of Ciudad Juarez on a mission to help the poorest residents of Mexico’s most deadly city. By day, they are police officers, factory workers or housewives, but on Sundays the team of 10 women don black leathers, rev up their bikes and distribute food and medicine across the city shaken by violence and crime.
In recent years, economic and social tensions have worsened in the notorious city, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Empty houses, closed businesses and military patrols are now part of the landscape. ”During the week, we look out for people who might need help: single mothers or elderly people living alone. At the weekend, we do their shopping for them,” said Lorenia Granados, president of the “Guerreras,” or “Warriors.”
”When we created our club, we wanted to do something different. We didn’t want to get together and simply drink, like other bikers do. And we came up with this idea of helping people,” Granados told AFP. At the heart of the country’s relentless drug violence, more than 8,100 people have died in suspected drug-related attacks in Ciudad Juarez since 2008.
Some 100,000 workers in low-cost factories known as “maquiladoras” lost their jobs during the economic crisis, and around 150,000 families in the city of some 1.3 million could not afford basics such as food and medicine in 2010, according to the Solidarity Ministry. The federal government launched a 3.3 billion peso (300 million dollar) plan called Todos Somos Juarez (We’re All Juarez) over a year ago, aiming to reduce the city’s social problems, but the situation has barely improved. And private initiatives, such as the Guerreras set up two years ago, are rare.
The club has targeted single mothers because of their extreme vulnerability. ”The men leave home due to the violence or unemployment and leave the women alone, at home, with their children. They don’t even know where to seek help,” Granados said. The Guerreras fill up their shopping carts with basic items like pasta, salt and diapers, spending between 120 and 160 pesos (10 and 15 dollars) from their own pockets, as they try to attract private donations. The supplies are a welcome gift for Cecilia Carillo de Santiago, who lives with her six children and a skinny dog in one room which serves as a bedroom and kitchen in a dusty, quiet neighborhood. Since finishing a contract with the Red Cross, she has been looking for another job for the past six months.
Carillo apologized for the stifling heat, pointing to a pan of peas boiling on the stove. “That’s all that’s left for dinner. You’ve come at a really good time,” she said to one of the Guerreras, smiling broadly. Isabel Lucero, a co-founder of the motorbike club, said it was an obvious choice to help some of the desperate people in Ciudad Juarez. ”Giving to someone in need helps your personal development and sets an example for children. I hope that one day these children will become good people, who will help others.” Local media call the women “female Robin Hoods”, but they just see themselves as a different kind of motorbike club.
”We try to bring a bit of joy to those who have nothing. We want to bring some good news to Ciudad Juarez,” Lucero said.
Riding bikes isn’t just an all boys club anymore. Each year more and more women are taking control of the handlebars.
At the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet, Jennifer Levine’s stand is booming with business.
“Oh my God, crazy busy we’ve been having a great time. It’s getting back to the old days ofMyrtle Beach. I can’t believe the people are back, we’re really really happy to see that here on the south end,” said Levine. “A lot of vendors had given up onMyrtle Beachand I’m glad I’m still here I really am.”
Instead of leather vests, Levine sells purses, rings, and bracelets. She started catering to women five years ago and she’s been successful ever since. “I saw other things that people were selling and I said there’s nothing that I really like and there’s other girls that are looking for that kind of thing, the quality the different, the girly stuff.”
Local biker Amanda Goodwin also notices there are more options. “You see patches, stickers t-shirts. I ride my own I’m not just a (pause) I’m a rider. They’re actually acknowledging us now and that’s a great thing.”
Goodwin began riding with her husband more than 10 years ago. Three years ago she decided to get a bike of her own and has enjoyed it ever since.
Goodwin says in the past decade she’s seen about a 25 percent increase in women taking the lead and controlling the bike themselves.
She encourages other women to try it and says the height of a motorcycle shouldn’t be a deterrent. “Any bike you can actually take the springs and modify it and drop it down to fit your own height so it’s really safer to be able to be flat foot when your sitting on that bike because you have more control.”
There are many reasons to become a biker. For Goodwin, it’s freedom, “I can have an awful day at work. I can have an awful day with the husband or the kids and I can come home get on my bike ride 50 miles. And your head completely clears. You have the whole world, the time to think. There’s no noise, it’s just you and the wind and the road and it’s just very cathartic.”
A Motorcycle Industry Council Owner survey showed from 2003 to 2008 female bike ownership increased by 29 percent.
Ride on Steel Cowgirls!!!!