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Women Riders - Riding Stories

Perhaps your interest in motorcycle riding started on the back seat of a bike, or maybe you just woke up one day and decided that you simply must experience the thrill of the ride firsthand. Either way, as a woman rider, you know that there's nothing more empowering than climbing onto your own bike and taking to the open road.

Women riders list many reasons for their passion for riding. There's a unique sense of community and friendship that exists among Harley-Davidson® riders one so strong that you have an instant circle of friends wherever you go. Some women are attracted to the adventure and exhilaration of the ride or the way other people take notice when a woman rider passes by. And of course, there's the sheer freedom of leaving your worries in the dust as you cruise the scenic roadways on your own bike.

But don't just take our word for it. Here's what our own area women riders have to say.

Photo of Nancy, Ph.D.

At age 55, I observed two unique and divergent milestones - I completed a doctoral degree and I learned to ride a motorcycle. Why the motorcycle? It's the challenge of learning something that not everyone can master and overcoming the initial fear of gaining control of a powerful machine. Of course, when you are out on the road, leaning through the turns, feeling the wind on your face, shifting gears, and keeping your balance, no one really cares what letters you have after your name. You are simply accepted as another biker.

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I have never been conventional - I like challenges and adventure. So I am not the least bit surprised I fell in love with riding on a Harley® the first time I climbed on the back of my hubby's Ultra Classic that we call "Big Blue." Needless to say, this past summer, my graduation gift was a Sportster 883 Hugger, aptly named "Baby Blue."

I think the best part of riding is getting to know the other H.O.G®s. The support and camaraderie I have felt in their friendly company are unmatched. Even my university colleagues seem more impressed with my Harley® than my academic credentials. So, this doctor has gained a great deal in learning to ride.

Nancy, Ph.D. | Netcong, NJ

Photo of Michele in Oceanport, NJ

I realized I was a thrill seeker when my Dad got me on my first dirt bike. I loved to ride, especially because I was the only girl who could keep up with the boys. When I got my driver's license, I thought a convertible would cure my passion for the wind in my face, but soon I was getting my motorcycle license. My Dad had just bought a 1200 Harley-Davidson® Sportster®, and riding on the back wasn't going to cut it.

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I quickly convinced him to teach me to ride and we bought my first bike, a Buell Blast. A year later, I was ready to upgrade. I took over my Dad's Sportster® and he bought a 2002 Dyna Wide Glide. We would meet a bunch of guys, including my fiance and his father, at the Wawa every Sunday for a ride. I always started off in the back but quickly learned it's much more fun to lead the pack. I then decided to get a 2004 Harley-Davidson® 1200 Sportster® Custom that I could call my own.

We still go riding every Sunday and I look forward to spending time with my Dad and all my friends. I recently started work after graduating in May 2005 with a chemical engineering degree, and I always enjoy surprising everyone with stories about my hobby.

Michele | Oceanport, NJ

Photo of Carolyn in Howell, NJ

My first taste of riding was on the back of a Gold Wing in 1975. I was dating a man who enjoyed riding, so there I sat. I liked it, but eventually, I thought to myself, 'I can do this.' So, I purchased a Honda and learned to ride.

One day I met a man with a Harley®, and he asked me to go for a ride with him. Halfway through the ride, he asked if I'd like to try out his 1977 Caf' Racer. I really liked it. In fact, I rode it right to the Harley® dealer and bought my first Harley: a 1979 XLS Sportster®.

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Twenty-five years and 17 Harley® motorcycles later, I have toured most of the country and Canada. One of my favorite rides is Skyline Drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains. I sometimes think, Wow, I can't believe at almost 50 years old I'm still riding.' But it has truly gotten under my skin. I plan my vacations around riding, and if I can't take my bike, I'll rent one. I'm currently riding a pearl white 2002 Road King® Classic - one of my top five favorite bikes of all time.

Carolyn | Howell, NJ

Photo of Bette in Howell, NJ

Over the past 20 years, my life has revolved around motorcycles and other people's. My husband had a Harley® Sportster® 1200 in the late 1980s, but back then my young children needed my attention, leaving no time for riding. When my son decided to take on the motocross circuit, our family's lives revolved around that for the next 12 years.

When my kids were grown and out of the house, I surprised my husband with a brand new Harley® Softail®. We had lots of fun, but I was missing something. I took a riders' safety class, and the following year my husband bought me a brand new Harley® Sportster® 883L for my birthday. It's now a beautiful pastel pink.

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At 54 years old, I'm having the time of my life. It's amazing how many people approach me to admire my bike and tell me Harley® tales. I love when my grandson says, "Gramma's Harwee." When most of my friends are thinking of retirement and rocking chairs, I'm enjoying the independence, adventure, and wind in my hair.

Bette | Howell, NJ

Photo of Melinda, DMD in Little Silver, NJ

It is not at all difficult to fall in love with a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. The motorcycle is powerful and has a built-in image. When the bike arrives, it makes itself heard and the rider is seen. No one has ever wondered what brand of bike I ride. I have straight, loud pipes on my Sportster® 1200 - I always say the noise keeps me safe.

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A group rides out on the open road with the wind in your face and your friends at your side is a great feeling. Every ride I've ever taken - no matter how long - has been an adventure. And what woman wouldn't fall in love with all the Harley® clothes for herself and accessories for the bike? Dressing up my "iron horse" has been a great adventure in itself. I have it adorned with studded saddlebags and reins off the handlebars. When I ride it with my leathers, chaps, jacket, and one of my countless pairs of Harley-Davidson® boots, I really do feel like I'm on an iron horse.

Every woman with a sense of adventure and independence should try a motorcycle. I love mine.

Melinda, DMD | Little Silver, NJ

Women Riders' Placeholder Image

After working three jobs for 14 years and raising my kids, I decided last summer to start doing things I've always wanted to do. So I made a list, and the first thing on it was to get my motorcycle license.

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I went to the riders' safety class, then to Motor Vehicles, and that same week I walked into a Harley-Davidson® dealer and fell in love. I bought a 2005 Sportster 883 and a few things to dress it up. Now, after life's daily stresses, I ride the freedom of the open road and think about nothing but the wind blowing and the feeling of being free. Thank you, Harley-Davidson, for a wonderful feeling.


Photo of Lisa in Freehold, NJ

I always liked motorcycles, and when I was in my 20s, I always had to wait for a guy friend or boyfriend to come along to get to ride on a bike. My Mom wasn't happy about it, but she would let me go, knowing I loved it. My old boyfriend and I bought a bike together, and then we broke up and he got the bike while I dreamed of getting my own.

When my Mom passed away in January 2001, I realized that life is too short to dream. I took the riders' safety course and had my license that April. I bought a Honda and then upgraded to a 2002 Harley-Davidson® Softail® Standard the following year.

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Sorry, Mom, I'll be careful. Now I have a Harley and my old boyfriend doesn't. And going to the Sturgis Rally is a lot cooler in the rider's seat.

Lisa | Freehold, NJ

Photo of Sandy in Point Pleasant, NJ

I was born into loud pipes. When I was little and I heard my father pull into the driveway with his open pipes, I would run to see his bike. He sold that bike but was very excited to buy a Sportster® a few years ago. He would pick me up to go to lunch and we would enjoy the feeling of freedom together.

When my non-rider friend won a Honda Rebel in a contest, I got very excited and used to ride it up and down the driveway. Eventually, I bought it and rode in the back of the pack on rides. As timing would have it, when I was ready for more, my Dad was ready to upgrade. So, I became an official biker and purchased my first Harley® (and my first Harley® tattoo)!

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In the meantime, my love purchased his first Harley® motorcycle, a Road King®. We have traveled many miles together and Tennessee has been our furthest trip yet. The feeling of riding you may know, but the feeling of riding with the two most important men in my life is priceless. May we enjoy many more open roads together.

Sandy | Point Pleasant, NJ

Women Riders' Placeholder Image

I can't believe the romance with my Harley® ride started only 14 months ago. I feel like it has been a part of my life forever. I recently turned 55, but no one thinks I'm a day over 40. I think I'm getting younger because of riding. Who needs plastic surgery?

I had been riding a Valkyrie for a year when I went to Biketoberfest in 2004 and rented a Deuce. Within five minutes, I knew I would own one when I got home. Well, home I came and I owned the Deuce five days later. I was never so sure of anything in my life.

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Since the Deuce came into my life, I have ridden to Laconia, Myrtle Beach, Daytona, and every state up and down the East Coast. I met my boyfriend while riding my Harley® motorcycle, and we just bought our first house together. Our bikes are side by side in the garage when they are not on the road. Oh, and by the way, I'm thinking of adding a companion. The Road King® is next on my list.

Mary Ann | Forked River, NJ

Photo of Maureen in Wanamassa, NJ

My husband, Bill, "got the bug" in 1978 when he purchased a 1974 Harley-Davidson® Sportster®. I loved riding with him but soon knew I could handle it. After riding around the parking lot, I too was smitten by the bug. In 1982, for my 30th birthday, Bill surprised me with my first Harley® motorcycle, a new XLX Sportster®. I passed my road test with lots of spectators who had never seen a woman rider.

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From then on, we were in the wind. Bill moved up to the 1981 Wide Glide® and we took trips all along the East Coast. At a Harley® Rendezvous in upstate New York, I impressed the crowd by sailing through a plank race not only on my Sportster® but on the Wide Glide®. In 1982 I sold the XLX and purchased a 1982 FLHC. Bill upgraded to a 1997 Road King®. And on my 40th birthday, he surprised me with a 1993 Nostalgia - the first one in our area. I still love it, and we've added a 1959 FLH, a 1980 FLHC with a sidecar, and a 1967 FLH to our collection.

When I see all the female riders now, I just smile. I know that when I started riding, the girls were few and far between. I also know with certainty that I will be riding until I'm old and gray and can't hold up my "iron" anymore.

Maureen | Wanamassa, NJ

Photo of Theresa in Jackson, NJ

It all started when I was about 12 years old. There were a few local guys in my town who would tear up the streets on their bikes, and the sound of thunder would go right through me. My first boyfriend had a bike, and after my first ride, I was hooked. The only problem was that I always had to wait for a ride. After many years, I finally got my own license and my own bike. Now it seems the older I get, the more I ride.

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Over the past few years, I've seen more than 7,000 miles, 42 states, and Canada. This year I hope to add another run across the country with one of my daughters, now 19. I've decorated my Harley® motorcycle with a comfy seat, chrome, and a great paint job which, to my surprise, has won many trophies. When I ride with a group or alone, I'm still as excited as when I was a young girl. Whether you ride in the badlands, on the Dragon's Tail, or on the country roads of the Pine Barrens, life is certainly better on a bike.

Theresa | Jackson, NJ

Photo of Sioux in Toms River, NJ

At age 17 I bought my first bike - a 1967 BSA. I rode until I was 24 when I got married and had three children. It wasn't until 1990 that I started riding again. In 1997, I bought a white Heritage® Springer® and really enjoyed customizing it with a lowered suspension, custom exhaust, and chrome accessories.

I have many highlights in my riding history. The biggest one has been heading out to Scottsdale, Arizona each winter on a different bike, and riding for a few months before selling the bike and heading home. I have also traveled a lot out west on a Springer Anniversary Edition, Dyna® Wide Glide®, and 1200 Sportster®. There are some great biker-friendly places to visit nowadays, and people are happy to see you ride up.

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Today, my highlights happen much closer to home. My seven-year-old granddaughter, Victoria, is thrilled about riding on the back of my Harley® bike and hopes to someday ride out west with me. I have met many wonderful people, and I am happy to see many other women riders fulfilling their dreams.

Sioux | Toms River, NJ

Photo of Louise in Brick, NJ

Louise is the true embodiment of the Unknown Legends campaign, her life, and love of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles are truly legendary.

Louise who lives in her childhood home in Brick with her husband of 33 years, Robert has been riding for over four decades. She has countless stories about her involvement with Harley-Davidson and the evolution of women riders.

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From her early days of struggling with kick-start Harleys to riding alone cross-country twice, she is a real lady in a lifestyle dominated by men. As she recalls the alienation she experienced in the early years, Louise is happy to see progress and women taking control, not just riding on the back of the bikes. 'We're no longer outcasts,' she says. She's thrilled that today women riders are encouraged and even celebrated.

At 64, Louise, a retired claims representative for Social Security and former riding instructor, now rides a Harley-Davidson® Ultra Classic® with a sidecar. She currently fills her days with shorter rides than her cross-country treks. "I take the bike to family reunions, and it's always a hit with the kids," she laughs. "I take all of them for rides in the sidecar, and they love it." Louise remains active in the biking community as a member of the Motor Maids Club, the oldest women's motorcycle club in America, as well as the Jersey Shore Harley® Owners Group, which is the Shoreline Harley-Davidson/Buell motorcycle club.

Louise | Brick, NJ

Photo of Alex in Red Bank, NJ

My passion for motorcycles probably began when I learned to ride a bicycle. Even though I had to pedal, the feeling of the wind on my face and the openness around me was intoxicating. When mopeds came out in the mid-seventies, I was crazy for one. Unfortunately, the answer was "NO" from my folks. I would have to wait, but the seed was planted, a motorcycle was in my future.

Fast forward a few years (OK, more than a "few"), and finally I decided I had waited long enough. I enrolled in an MSF - Motorcycle Safety Foundation course received my license and purchased my first bike. Soon I was ready for a larger bike, and within a year I purchased a 99 Harley-Davidson® Softail® Classic, and off I went!

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I met up with other women who also loved to ride, and then joined the Spokes-Women MC and Jersey Shore H.O.G®. To date, the highlight of my riding experience was a trip to Sturgis, SD. I, along with seven other women set off last July, and, in three weeks, covered over 5,600 miles. The 2003 Heritage® Softail® Classic I was riding made this incredible trip even better!

My advice to women interested in riding is to get out there and make your dream a reality! I will continue to ride and love the feeling of wind on my face for many more years!

Alex | Red Bank, NJ

Photo of Beth

I recently purchased my Harley-Davidson® Sportster® 883XL at Shoreline Harley-Davidson. I was a passenger for years on the back of my guy's H-D® Dyna®. After saying I was going to learn a clutch, I took the Rider's Edge course and absolutely loved learning the ins and outs of riding. Since I learned to ride, I have been riding all over the Jersey Shore. Riding with my guy is something that definitely brings us closer - I should have done this years ago! I am a testament to all women to go and do it. At 44 years old, I feel like I am just beginning to LIVE thanks to my Harley® motorcycle.

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On another note, before purchasing my H-D® motorcycle at Shoreline, I went to other dealerships. I could not be more thrilled with the level of customer service at this dealership. Everyone, from sales to insurance, has been just GREAT!