Months ago, while bouldering with my friend Erica, I asked her if she ever wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle; she did a little shoulder dance, scrunched her face and exclaimed: “@#$& yeah, I’ve always wanted to dress up in leathers and be a badass chick on a bike.”
I laughed at the time, thinking her sentiments sounded more performative than substantive, but a recently released report on research conducted by Kelton and commissioned by Harley-Davidson suggests that motorcycling could indeed be a critical lifestyle palliative (or amphetamine?) for women.
Boring statistics first: women now make up 12% of the riding population in the United States — up 30% over the previous decade.
The Kelton study went on to find women who ride a motorcycle are more than twice as likely to always feel happy (37% of riders vs. 16% of non-riders) and 34% say they felt less stressed since starting their riding career.
The revelations don’t stop there. Four times as many women riders to non-riders always feel sexy (27% of riders to 7% of non-riders), and nearly twice as many always feel confident (35% of riders to 18% of non-riders). The use of the word “always” in the surveying logistics is baffling to me.
It’s always interesting to see how these demographical reports on women in motorcycling alter their tone, research questions and focus to supposedly speak to a “female perspective” on motorcycling.
Read the subtitle from the report: “Research Shows Women Motorcycle Riders Feel Happier, Sexier, More Confident and Less Stressed.” The report goes on to reference better outcomes for women riders across the board of Life: in work, in the mirror, in relationships, and in spirit (whatever that means).
Of course, this supposed study is nothing more than thinly veiled marketing material for the big H-D so they can continue their dominance of selling more motorcycles to women than all the other brands combined.
My perspective: diet and exercise can provide similar, if not better, results in your work and love life. Motorcycles are two-wheels and a powerful engine, and riding them is like no other experience on earth. That’s reason enough for anyone to want to swing a leg over.