International Women’s Day 2020. Motorbike women & why we ride!
To commemorate International Women’s Day 2020, mono motorcycles are celebrating some of the remarkable bikers we have met through our business.
Here are six inspirational stories from some of the incredible women we have met since we opened mono motorcycles in 2017.
“I have been into to bikes as long as I can remember. From the age of 15, my Dads workmate would take me to where he was an instructor for the old part one test on a Sunday. There I would hang out with the instructors and the students. They taught me to ride my first bike, a Honda CB125T when I was 17.
I took a break from biking when I was expecting and could no longer reach the handlebars of my GPZ305.
I restarted my passion for biking about 10 years ago with a moped when I needed transport as my car had given up. I soon decided that wasn’t enough and have worked my way up to my current bike a Honda Hornet 600 which is now solely ridden for pleasure”
“My name is Sophie. I’ve been riding bike’s for almost four years. My first bike was a Kawasaki Ninja 650 which you see here. This was taken in Normandy on my first motor biking tour. Was brilliant.
I then switched to a Triumph Tiger which a total beast . I totally fell out of love with this Tiger and wanted something that was fun, which this wasn’t.
I then switched to a retro Street Scrambler which I loved until I took it on Brands Hatch! Naaaah that had to go!
So, my final steed is now a lovely Triumph Street Triple R who I love very much and I have been round brands on him.
I have only been riding for 4 years this year and I absolutely love it. I have made some lifelong friends, enjoyed ride outs and plan to do many more. There’s nothing quite like having a laugh and enjoying a coffee and a cake with dear friends”
“I first sat on a bike when I was 7 years old. My aunty had a Lambretta scooter, which she allowed me to sit on and she’d take me along her driveway. I used to think this was great fun.
Then I turned 16. I brought my first bike a Suzuki AP50.
My best friend had a Yamaha FS1E, we were terrors. One day we were riding our bikes down my road, and steering not being my strong point, we ended up in my neighbours garden on their carefully manicured lawn, I was grounded for a month. Then I discovered cars, being a petrol head after my Dad, they had more of an appeal than bikes.
In 2014 a friend took me out as a pillion on his bike. I soon realised how much I enjoyed the speed and the freedom of being on a bike. It was at this point that I wanted more and booked on the BMW ‘Rookie to Rider’ scheme. With trepidation I headed up to Royston in Hertfordshire to do my Direct Access course over a week. I couldn’t have wished for better training. The instructors were really good, patient, thorough and extremely knowledgeable. I passed my full bike test and was elated.
Within two weeks I had picked up a brand new BMW F800r, a naked roadster. It was the perfect bike for me. The bike helped me gain my confidence. Within 6 months I had ridden it down to the South of France. Then rode it again to the Loire Valley in France. I was putting some miles on the bike, but I wanted more. It was suggested that I do the IAM advanced motorcyclists training. I was incredibly lucky to have the best Observer ever, he is a very experienced rider and is still a very good friend of mine.
I took my F800r up to Thruxton and took part in an IAM Skills day. This was an awesome day, my first opportunity to ride on a track. I loved it.
Sadly, the unthinkable happened. I was riding along a single track road, and a people carrier was driving too fast down the road and took me out. I was gutted the bike was a write off. Luckily I got away with just bruised ribs.
Fortunately, I didn’t lose my confidence, I went and tried a variety of bikes and settled on a Triumph Tiger 800. The bike was different to what I was used too, heavier and faster. I rode it down to SW France and completed my IAM advanced riding test with it in December 2017. I took it to Thruxton for a skills day and it surprised me how good it was.
But, I wanted something which would give me that buzz! That’s when I took out a Ducati 950S for a test ride. I fell in love with it. It’s nickname is ‘Bunny’ (I’ll leave you to work that one out) Every time I ride it, I get the biggest grin from it. It’s feisty and sooooo much fun.
For me biking is all about the riding. Not really into track days and I don’t follow it as a sport. I’ve met some amazing people through biking, who will always remain good friends.”
“My first bike was the amazing Suzuki DR50 back in 2001. I was in year 11 at school and my parents decided I could have one for my 16th Birthday. My dad had loads of motor bikes and my mum even had had one or two before having children. After taking two days passing my CBT I was on the road and it was awesome.
Where the boys at school mostly had scooters and an occasional Aprilia 50cc (pretty cool) I was on my dirt bike and loving it. I was the only girl to ride a motorbike to school – no more school skirts for me just wasn’t practical and no teachers complained. I did attempt some off roading found out it was pretty physically demanding, also I don’t like heights and froze at the top of a few hills- not ideal. But off roading is still on my to do list.
I carried on the dirt bike theme with my next bike the Yamaha DT 125cc. which saw me through a couple of years and manage to pass my bike test second attempt!
A few years passed and I brought a 2005 Hyosung GV 125 Aquila.
It looked great was super comfy but was a pig to ride so quickly upgraded to the Kawasaki ER500 in blue. This was the first bike shamefully that my parents didn’t help buy- and it was completely paid for and picked by me, dad took me to pick it up I was so excited.
This was my first real bike and it was amazing I took my first pillion passenger on the back and loved this bike. I tried to show an interest in the mechanics of this bike something I had shown no interest in on the other bikes. However, after my first failed oil filter change a screw driver rammed in to it, oil everywhere and a mile of pushing the bike to a bike garage to be sorted out. I did not show an interest again.
For this bike after a year I brought all new biking gear and a female pink jacket- had been in black previously. With in a couple of days of wearing a pink jacket I had had two episodes of abuse on the roads in Epsom and Guildford- the worse being a guy who was yelling at me for over taking him and filtering in front of him at traffic lights I thought he was going to get out the car he was yelling at me ‘ what give you the right to overtake etc!!’ I didn’t try to explain filtering and congestion to him and got away as quickly as possible. I took the jacket back to the shop for a black one and haven’t had any abuse since.
And in a way this experience has marked or prevented any expression of femininity on my bikes as I make no effort to look female normally even my long hair is not the visible. It is also a bit hilarious to mention when gender can’t be identified I have had female attention from women who must think I’m a guy lol.
Onwards and upward to my Suzuki SV650 SK8 Sport full faired this was my perfect bike. I settled in to this bike aspirations met.
Then what happened is I had children. Wow I must love those kids because at 5 months pregnant I stopped riding my motor bike and had to wait 7 years for it to be a viable expense to get another bike.
Finally, 2 years ago I bought my Suzuki SV650S.
I still haven’t re-purchased all the bike gear. But it’s a work in progress. Feels liberating to be back on the road although I defiantly need to meet more women bike riders to make it more sociable hobby for me.
I do currently aspire to having a bigger bike now I’ve been ready a good year and am looking at the Suzuki sv 1000s so much so that I have brought an extra-large bike cover in preparation for it (or maybe wishful thinking). I also need a trailer, tow bar and dirt bike (they are on the wish list).
I would like to do some off-road trails breaks. I am interested in women only track days to. But the kids are still young and free time and funds are unfortunately still limited”
“I was brought up being transported around rural Gloucestershire on the back of my Dads bike – he had to raise the foot pegs by about 5″ so I could reach! I must have been about 6 and I loved it!
Roll forward a decade and the remoteness of my location, hilliness of the terrain, and my desire for independence meant that despite some parental qualms, I saved and by 17 procured a Honda CB100N; the road was mine!!! Unfortunately a drunk driver put paid to that steed, but undaunted I upgraded to a CM125 and proceeded to take my test.
On my part 1, I rocked up at 10am in a school playground, and, smiling sweetly at the examiner uttered the words he dreaded….. “Can you measure my wheelbase please?” His face fell but, with cones re-spaced, I demonstrated enough skills to progress!!
Part 2 wasn’t without incident either….. Checking over my bike before my ride to the test centre some 10 miles away, I realised my rear tyre wasn’t just low on tread, it was a veritable slick!! No time to do anything about it I turned up, picked up my examiner, and trundled off to the quiet housing estate roads to do my test. En route guess who was stopped by motorcycle police? who, seeing tears in my eyes, graciously let me continue with a promise that I sort it asap! Phew! I passed and spent many a happy hour shuttling around the countryside.
I did need something a little bigger so, before I moved to Uni in Brighton, I relieved my father of his Honda CB250RS. I remember riding down (with a pillion as far as Harrow) and not being able to move my shoulders laterally for at least 48hrs after! 😆
With the advent of children, the practicality of 4 wheels proved essential, but as soon as they got more independent, and my income could support running 2 vehicles, I picked up a cheap Suzi GS500. With all the stresses that life brings, there is something so “in the moment” about riding, it is almost like meditation…. I’m not into hooning around, I ride for my pleasure and not for thrills. I watch MotoGP, WSBK and BSB.
I currently have an old XJ600N who puts the biggest smile on my face every time I take her out – roll on summer 😍
“I have been a petrol head since birth. With my Dad being a Chief Marshall at Cheltenham Motor Club, I grew up with the smell of Castrol R in my nose & a thrill in my heart every time a motorbike or side car outfit would thunder past.
My Grandfather was a despatch rider in WW2 & a biker, but sadly he was killed in a car accident when I was seven, so I never got to share a mutual passion for all things fast with him.
I have been watching F1 & MOTO GP since I was a child, growing up with the legendary Barry Sheene as one of my ultimate biking icons & subsequently the another hero in Marco Simoncelli in my adult years. Dad & Mum would also take my sister & me motorbike & car racing meets throughout our youth & when we moved South, we would regularly head out to Thruxton every Easter for the Easter Bank Holiday racing.
Despite being a lifelong petrol head, I didn’t own my first motorbike until December 2016, when my partner Daniel bought me an AJS Cadwell 125 for Christmas. I had been entered for my CBT on December 31st 2016, which I got through & then I was on the road.
I spent the next two years learning the roads on my 125 & loved it. However, in the last six month’s of riding the AJS, I was most definitely out riding the bike & knew it was time for more.
Therefore, in late 2018 Daniel purchased me a Suzuki SV650 from a friend of his, but it wasn’t until July 2019 that I finally took the plunge & began the process of getting my full licence.
Well, it wasn’t all plain sailing as it took me four attempts to get through my Mod 1! Apparently it is not uncommon. My Mod 2 was a completely different matter & I breezed through it.
So now I was ready to get my big bike on the road. However, as we were having a bespoke paint job completed by Jamie Gladman of JAA Custom Paint; Daniel let me use his Triumph Street Triple RS to get me used to a bigger bike on the road.
Although the Triumph was very smooth & had all the bell’s & whistles, it was never my bike, so I just couldn’t relax.
Once my SV was ready, it was time to get out on the road. I love the feeling of riding & it is such a great stress buster, as it is just you & your motorcycle; in those moments it feels great to feel so free.
I do have aspirations to take part in a track day or two & would love to one day ride through parts of Europe, which has been a lifelong dream.
Like everyone says, there is a really wonderful social side to biking & I have met some wonderful people since riding & love riding out in the sunshine & meeting up for a chat & tea.
Of course I now also have an opportunity to fully immerse myself in my passion every day, as I run mono motorcycles with my partner Daniel”