Jennifer Williams: Wind & Throttle

Photos by Nathalie Kossek, Genevieve Davis, Wild Gypsy Tour

About a decade ago it was as if a switch flipped for Jennifer Williams. She wasn’t new to motorcycles, having ridden on them for years, just always pillion. “Wait, why am I on the back and not at the handlebars?” she asked herself. 

So she took a class, realized she was good at riding, bought a motorcycle and started taking long rides along the shores of Lake Michigan – and then across the country.

“There’s an unparalleled sense of accomplishment […] of pushing through a tough day on the road, or not losing your mind when your bike breaks down on a road trip. Those moments that challenge you to your core, when it’s just you, the bike and the unknown,” Williams said. 

That complete self-reliance and adventurous, risk-taking spirit of motorcycling is what pushed her to develop her own brand of female riding gear, aptly named Wind & Throttle. 

“Like many women who used to search endlessly for the perfect riding gear, I was tired of spending hours looking for functional and comfortable gear that didn’t exist. I’d have to sift through tons of men’s gear just to find a mere few options for women,” she said. Additionally, she was tired of seeing sexist marketing ploys by existing clothing manufacturers that relied on archaic tropes of the ‘ideal’ female motorcyclist. 

Williams venturing out with the Wild Gypsy Tour. Williams tries to make it to as many events as she can to promote her brand and female-owned businesses. 

Wind & Throttle was born out of that need, which includes a curated selection of gear that is continuously expanding as more gear is introduced into the market. Even better, a lot of the gear the company carries is designed by women who own and operate their own companies.

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“Our favorite part of this business is working with women to help them find the right gear,” Williams said, “and there’s no better way to do that than in person where we can discuss their needs, challenges, personal style and just chat about whatever.”

Apart from running an ever-expanding enterprise, Williams is an active member of the Wild Gypsy Tour, which puts on female-only group rides during the Sturgis rally and organizes campouts in Colorado where attendees get the opportunity to interact with birds of prey when they are not having dance parties or throwing tomahawks, rock climbing or ziplining.  

While Williams can be said to have definitely conquered the road and the business world, she has her eyes set on a prize with a bit more altitude. 

“Personally, […] I’d love to do some off-roading. I’ve only been on dirt on two wheels once when I first started riding, and being in Chicago I don’t have too much opportunity to do so easily. It’d be great to get out into some mountains and fall down a bunch!”

Wind & Throttle can be found online at windandthrottle.com or on Instagram and Facebook @windandthrottle. Or you can just keep your eyes open at the next rally because they most likely will be there! — Kali Kotoski

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