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Published July 30th 2014
No more are we there yet, just you & your ride
Motorbike riding has largely been the male domain for many years. Of course there have always been women riders,as this picture of my mother taken in the 1940s below testifies. These days more and more ladies are taking to the roads, not just due to rising fuel costs and getting to work, but more and more are riding just for fun.
My Mother riding around Australia in the 1940's for publicity for BSA Bikes
There's something about a woman on a motorbike that is inspiring to many. It makes a statement of being free, adventurous and a little daring but the secret they may not know, and the one I probably shouldn't tell you, is that no one can talk to you! Oh yes, the men have known this for years but ladies, if you can get out here's the secret (even in a side car or pillion); the kids just simply never ask "are we there yet?"
For them (if you are off restricted licences and can pillion them), it also immediately becomes all about the ride and secondly you can't hear them anyway which they quickly realise. Now I am certainly not suggesting beginner riders take the kids out with them, but just sharing a secret of the advanced riders who do - shhhhh. For the record, no one is to mention the dirty word of Bluetooth devices built into helmets, as far as we are concerned they just do not exist.
It's not for everyone and of course there is always an element of danger, so like everything in life you must weigh this up and make your own decisions, but it could be for those with a yearning desire to get their knees in the breeze. Mums, if you can get out, get your licence and a bike, and manage to leave the kids with someone for an hour or 2, you may discover peace. Just you and the road and maybe a friend rider or 2 to enjoy the road.
My kids now know if mummy has had an especially troublesome day (it can get busy as we home school, so we are always together) as soon as daddy arrives home, I'm gone for an hour and they don't mind, because in their words, "Mummy always comes home happy".
So has this article sparked your interest gals?
If you think this may be for you here's how to join this ever growing movement:
Firstly you'll need a license, don't worry if you have never ridden before - just book a full day training with HART or another accredited motorbike training facility. Within the one day, they have everyone riding. Don't panic, when you begin you buddy up and push each other around on bikes, the engine doesn't even get turned on until you are comfortable balancing.
When I did my full day with HART I think the cost was around $200 which includes all gear, training and licensing. They will supply all the helmets and basic gloves, but you will need long pants, long sleeved tops and closed toe shoes. At the end of the day, they run you through a few very simple tests (which surprisingly don't seem to simple at the time, but looking back they are pretty basic).
Upon successful completion of these tests, your L licence is issued. If you fail the first time you can have a second go in the same day.
I have heard of some other facilities that assess you throughout the day, rather than an actual test, this may take some of the stress out of the event.
Upon passing you will be given a paper licence and your card will arrive in the mail.
The rider training facilities at HART, Yes you ride with helmets, it was just taken off as the bike was stationary
On to a motorbike; I really can't offer great solutions here, but there are many bike shops and second hand bikes around. I was given a low to the ground 250 cruiser to begin with, which cost around $1500. Your registration is a little lower and insurance is considerably less than a car, possibly due to most motorbikes costing significantly less than cars.
After being on your Ls for 3-12 months you can apply for your full licence in much the same way as your Ls.
But before this, get riding girls! Ride as much as you can, get some experience up, join some groups. There are more and more riding groups for the ladies and mixed gender groups than ever before. Perhaps even attend some advanced rider training classes.
Take a look at my other articles for how to connect with women riders and great places to ride!
Do you have a motorbike licence?
Would you love to or hate them?
Where else do you know around Australia to get started?
We'd love to hear your thoughts and what sets your heart free, please add in your notes in the comments section of this article to share with us. Perhaps we'll meet up for a ride somewhere.