by Lynda Lahman
With the 35 percent growth of women motorcyclists between 2003 and 2012, companies are finally taking notice and letting women ride on their own terms. The Women’s Guide to Motorcycling: Everything a Woman Needs to Know about Bikes, Equipment, Riding, and Safety by Lynda Lahman takes the past, the present and the future of women on bikes, as well as tips and tricks for long-timers and newbies alike and presents it all in a fun package.
Somewhere between a paperback and a coffee table book, The Women’s Guide to Motorcycling is 239 pages, easy to read and easy to display. Its size makes it comfortable to stretch out on the couch with, but its vivid colors, glossy pages, and classic style make it more than welcome to leave on the coffee table for curious friends.
The book’s mission is clear from the beginning. The introduction by Lahman notes, “This is not a ‘how to ride’ book; there are already dozens of books and hundreds of courses that will help you learn the technical aspects of riding. This book discusses what to consider when deciding whether motorcycling is for you, what steps to take if you are becoming involved, and what to do after you take your introductory courses.” It’s a spot on description. In the chapter “Why We Ride” Lahman points out that she, like many other women, got her start on a motorcycle on the back of her future husband’s bike, but relays the importance of loving to ride for yourself, and not for someone else.
One of the book’s first lessons is on history, relating tales of Clara Wagner, Effie Hotchkiss, Bessie Stringfield, Louise Scherbyn, Theresa Wallach and several more pioneers of women’s riding in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These women cleared the way for today’s motorcyclists through cross-country journeys, racing and creating important books and guides for the women of the future. It does not just cover the past, but also ventures into the 21st century with important figures like Sue Fish, the only female motocross rider to be inducted into the AMA’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Besides the historical references and appreciation for the motorcycling matriarchs of the scene, the book spends ample time covering maintenance, gear and riding style tips. It is a great tool for women just hitting the roads, and a great refresher for those of you who’ve been on the trail a long while now. For those just starting out it covers the first steps of getting on the bike, as well as a whole chapter on improving your skills for those who are seasoned riders.
Some sections on things like safety might seem obvious with subjects like discerning if you are prepared for what may happen on group or solo rides, but questions like that aren’t often thought of until it’s too late, and this book makes sure you’ll remember that when packing your saddlebags for a trip. It also covers things like riding etiquette, and how to get out of situations like group rides, without “tipping your hand.”
Overall, the anecdotes from women riders, intriguing history and invaluable tips make The Woman’s Guide to Motorcycling a great read for riders of any skill level, with important riding tools for all genders. The book, published by Lumina Media, can be purchased wherever books are sold.