You might very sensibly question why, in 2019, it’s still a big deal to see women get excited about riding. While it’s true that things have been getting incrementally better over time, we still see an awful lot of dealership ridiculousness if you’re a woman who rides. Only recently did gear manufacturers start to wake up and realize women a) need proper gear, and b) don’t want everything to be pink all the time.
2019 is also the first year that the FIM decided to acknowledge and encourage the idea of women in motorcycle racing, a fact that is mindblowing in a pretty terrible way. Believe me, we wish this wasn’t remarkable, but getting the word out is how you change things.
Miss-Fires founder and custom upholstery expert Corinna Mantlo wants women motorcyclists of all ages to know, above all else, that there are other women out there doing this thing we all love. Even more than that, it’s not a new phenomenon. The numbers keep rising, which is great, but women have been rolling on two wheels since the beginning. Mantlo wants to make sure we all understand that fact.
From the Van Buren sisters to Samantha Morgan, Mantlo wants all of us moto enthusiasts—men and women alike—to recognize and share these important parts of motorcycling history. In 1916, the Van Buren sisters rode across the US, going from Brooklyn to San Francisco to prove that they’d make good dispatch riders for the US Army during World War I.
They wore the state-of-the-art protective gear available at the time, which was basically leather pants, jackets, helmets, and goggles. As a result, Mantlo said, they were arrested in various states for the crime of wearing men’s clothing. Nevertheless, they persisted through the ridiculousness. The US Army still rejected their application.
Becky Brown, founder of Women in the Wind, also wants women riders worldwide to know the power of the two-wheeled community. Lots of women ride solo, but it’s an incredibly powerful feeling to ride together—the good word that Brown has been spreading around the globe since 1976.