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As the years go on, more and more women take up motorcycle riding. The number of women riding motorcycles is increasing rapidly, so this activity is not only for men.
As a female getting into the motorcycle scene myself, I’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for other female motorcycle riders that I wish someone would have told me. This is a wonderful sport and it’s worth putting in some effort.
Ride At Your Comfort Level
Whether you’re new at riding or you’ve been riding for a while, you’ll notice how some fellow riders may pressure you into a type of riding that’s uncomfortable for you. A touring group might ask you to go on a tour, even though you are not ready for highway riding.
Keep your ground and only ride in a way that’s comfortable for you. Nervous riding can make you more nervous. A motorcycle rider who is nervous while riding can be jittery, which can lead to less confidence and a poor defense.
You’ll slowly be able to ease yourself into more intermediate riding if you’re not there yet by simply doing what you’re already comfortable with. You’ll know when you’re ready to pursue certain types of riding. And if you have good riding friends, they should respect your comfort level and not make you do anything you’re not comfortable doing.
Wear Your Hair Right
Women have longer hair than men. This means that you’ll need to style your hair a certain way in order to stay comfortable and safe while riding a motorcycle (assuming you will be safe and wear a helmet).
There are certain do’s and don’ts with long hair when it comes to riding with a helmet on. Don’t wear your hair completely loose and untied. Loose hair has a tendency to move around a lot underneath a helmet, even if you aren’t moving your head that much. This can be annoying, itchy, and could cause your view to be temporarily blocked.
On the other side, don’t wear your hair so tight that it’s uncomfortable. This can mean you need to have tight braids or tight buns that start at your top. These will be pulled down if you put your helmet on.
It is important to be safe when riding a motorcycle pull your hair back low so it doesn’t interfere with the inside of your helmet. It usually involves a low ponytail or loose braid. Because my hair is not being blown around by wind, I prefer low braids.
Don’t Wear Loose Clothing
Women riders have their own style preferences and like to express it while riding on motorcycles. This is fine. However, you need to be mindful of a few things about the clothes in your wardrobe. Your clothing should be loose.
It can be very distracting to wear loose clothing. The high winds can whip the motorcycle around, and it could get in your eyes. You could feel it rubbing against your skin. This can be extremely distracting as well as dangerous.
Avoid wearing unbuttoned scarves, cardigans, and skirts. I’ve tried wearing all of these on a motorcycle and it didn’t work out too well. Ensure your clothing is tight enough to keep you comfortable and ensure it won’t be distracting.
The Right Gear
Along with avoiding wearing loose clothing, you’ll need to ensure that you’re wearing the right gear. A lot of people assume that motorcycle gear is expensive and unfashionable, but as a fashion queen myself I can assure you that you can find gear out there that’s both fashionable and safe for females.
Gear doesn’t need to be incredibly expensive either. I do a lot of shopping online and have been able to find amazing deals on merchandise that helps me feel safe and feel good in what I’m wearing.
First, you’ll need to ensure you have a good fitting, full-face helmet. Full-face helmets are the best as they provide the most protection in case of an accident. Getting a helmet online can be tricky because it needs to fit right, but it’s completely possible. Just make sure you check the return policy before purchasing so you know you can return it if the helmet doesn’t fit right.
It’s preferred that all motorcycle riders wear leather or other synthetic materials both as a jacket and as pants. There are many choices for females. You’ll also need to ensure you have good riding boots that cover your ankles. Not only will these help in the case of an accident, but they’ll also help prevent burns from your motorcycle exhaust pipes and engine.
Start off with a small bike
It is always exciting to find the perfect motorcycle for you. It can be nerve-wracking, however, as you want to ensure you have the best bike for you.
While you’re learning to ride, I suggest getting an old, smaller dirt bike and learn how the basic mechanisms work. There is a difference between a dirt bike and a motorcycle, but a dirt bike will give you a good idea about what it’s like on a motorcycle.
I recommend starting with something small and dinky because that’ll give you less frustration during your trial and error of riding. You’ll probably tip it over a few times and possibly run in to a few things. But that doesn’t matter when practicing on something that doesn’t cost much anyway.
You can begin to ride smaller motorcycles once you are comfortable. You have two options: borrow bikes from friends or purchase one and use it to practice. Then, you can sell it and get a newer model if you are bored. This is a great system!
Assume that No One Can See You
My husband, who has been riding motorcycles for some time, was the one who convinced I to learn. He taught me one of the most important things I believe was crucial information. It was to assume that everyone around you can’t see you. Because chances are, most drivers around you don’t see you.
Motorcycles are obviously much smaller than cars, that’s why car drivers have a hard time seeing motorcyclists. In fact, other motorists are so unaware of motorcycles that out of all motorcycle accidents and crashes, other vehicles are at fault 40% of the time. General driver’s education doesn’t nearly cover enough about being aware of motorcyclists.
You will be safer riding a motorcycle if you assume no one can see you. This will likely make you more aware to not ride in people’s blind spots, avoid riding by semi trucks, and to not follow other cars too closely.
You can learn how to maintain your own home
For some reason, there seems to be this stigma that women motorcyclists can’t perform their own motorcycle maintenance. This is so false! You can actually save a lot of money by doing your own maintenance on your motorcycle.
The internet offers an infinite supply of information. YouTube, online forums, articles, and this one have a lot to offer. They can help you with any type of maintenance that you may need.
It does make it easier if you have the right owner’s manual that goes along with your motorcycle. If you don’t have one, you can easily and affordably access one on emanualonline.com for your bike specific manual.
For reference, oil should be changed on the motorcycle about every 4,000-5,000 mile or every six month, whichever comes first. You’ll also want to check the tire pressure at least once a month. For more information on how often a motorcycle needs to be serviced, see our article.
Take Care When You Use A Mechanic
You will need to take your motorcycle to a professional mechanic for repairs. This will ensure your motorcycle is repaired properly and that you’ll continue to be safe on the road.
I have noticed, however, that every once in a while when I go to a mechanic they tend to assume that I have no idea what I’m talking about simply because I’m female. This doesn’t happen too often and most shops and mechanics are great, but scenarios like this are still all too common for female riders.
There is no need to be rude, but if you sense a certain mechanic is trying to take advantage of you or assume you don’t know anything about the mechanics of your motorcycle (possibly because you’re a woman), you have a right to stick up for yourself and take your business elsewhere.
It’s a good idea to research and understand how much a certain fix will cost before paying someone else to do that fix for you. It is a good idea to do some research before you get sucked in by those elusive mechanics.
It’s Okay If You Drop Your Bike
If there’s one thing that can make you feel terrible while owning a motorcycle, it’s tipping it over or dropping it. It’s an unnatural scene to see a motorcycle toppled over on it’s side.
Motorcycles are tipped over more often than you might think. It’s okay if you drop your motorcycle. It didn’t happen because you’re female and “less strong,” It happened because almost every motorcyclist has it.
A saying my dad used to say that I believe is true was something that my father used to tell me. “There are two types of motorcycle riders. Ones who have tipped their motorcycle and ones who are going to tip their motorcycle.”
While the sound and the scene of a motorcycle getting dropped seems horrible, it’s really not that detrimental to it. Your main concern will be cosmetic issues if you’re able to get the motorcycle standing back up in a timely manner. It is possible to have a foot peg or handlebar replaced, or parts of the frame repainted. These are all things that you can do by yourself.
Mechanically-wise, there shouldn’t be much of an issue. There are ways to check for damages if it was on it’s side for more than several minutes. Click here to learn more about what happens when a motorcycle is laid on it’s side.
Prepare an emergency plan
An emergency plan is essential for riding a motorcycle, particularly for women. This is a common mistake. As reliable as we’d like to think our motorcycles are, sometimes they just break down and leave us stranded.
Having an emergency plan in place will ensure that you aren’t caught in an awkward and potentially dangerous situation. This is particularly important for women. You need to think of things such as who you’re going to call in case you do break down, getting towing insurance, what to do if your cell phone is dead or you’re in a spot with no service, and always know where the closest gas station is.
Be sure to always tell someone where you’re going before a ride and that your cell phone has a charged battery in case you need to use it in an emergency situation. Look at the weather ahead of time to ensure you won’t be caught in a rain or snow storm.
You should always keep an emergency kit on your motorcycle, such as a battery charger and contact numbers in case you need them. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to carry some pepper spray with you in case you ever need to defend yourself in such a susceptible situation.