I had a boyfriend with a motorcycle when I was 19 – it was a blazing red Kawasaki Ninja and it was FAST.
As in, oh-my-stars-this-is-insane fast. Once, he let me drive it and he sat behind me and helped me shift. It was an exhilarating feeling, the wind rushing past me, and I wanted to keep going.
Alas, it was not meant to be –the relationship nor the motorcycle. But I never lost my love for that feeling. As a mom in my 40s, though, my perception was that maybe I should be past the motorcycle phase. The Honda Gold Wing changed my mind.
#1: Because female motorcycle ownership is increasing
When Honda invited me to test out their new 2018 Gold Wing, I was intrigued. I didn’t have an M-class license, so I wasn’t allowed to drive it; my friend Andrew stood in for me and gallantly let me ride with him.
Total U.S. motorcycle registrations were 8.4 million in 2014, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council (source: USAToday). In 1998, only 8% of motorcycle owners were women. By 2014, the most recent year in which the council has statistics, female ownership had increased to 14%.
The number of women who own motorcycles is increasing, but it’s still far from the number of men who do. Motorcycles, when owned and driven responsibly, are fun, fabulous, and can be unapologetically female, too.
#2: Motorcycle manufacturers are getting smarter about female-friendly features
Cycles can seem intimidating, especially one as big as a Gold Wing, but companies like Honda are aware of the female audience and their newest version is lighter, easier to start, and includes some of the creature comforts you would expect in a car, like seat heaters and Apple Car – I mean Motorcycle – Play. The 2018 Gold Wing is 85 pounds lighter than its predecessor, which is a significant amount. My son weighs about 85 pounds, so I know exactly what that feels like to lift.
Other features Honda offers on the Gold Wing include:
- Smart key: hop on and push the button to start it
- Hill-Start-Assist: momentarily holds your bike’s position on an incline when the brakes are released and before you pull the throttle to keep you from sliding backward
- HomeLink: allows you to integrate your garage door opener in the console with the touch of a button
- Seven-inch navigation display
- Simple, dedicated controls right on the handlebars to keep your eyes on the road
- Plenty of purse and luggage space (check out the gorgeous saddle bags in the photo below)
- Full three-year warranty
#3: Driving a motorcycle makes you a better automobile driver
Does that sound crazy?
Consider this: riding a motorcycle will increase your awareness on the road. It also quickens your reaction time out of necessity and makes you more agile and nimble. Those skills come in handy when you shed your leather and get back into regular mode of four-wheel transportation. If everyone had experience riding motorcycles, we would have more awareness and consideration for our two-wheeled friends on the roads.
You can own a motorcycle and drive it with confidence
Whether you think motorcycles are insane or insanely cool, you must admit they’re fascinating. If you’re thinking about buying or even driving a motorcycle for the first time, first sign up for a class with a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)-designed curriculum, or check with Harley-Davidson or Honda to find out more about their driver safety classes. It’s highly likely they’ll start you with a smaller cycle and let you feel it out and master control before moving up to the bigger bikes.
If you move forward with a purchase, look for a used beginner motorcycle and log some hours with an instructor and an experienced friend, if possible. It’s not the same as driving a car, and you need to be sure you understand the nuances of being a cyclist on the road. It’s important to know how to handle gravel, ice, rain, and any other variables that could warrant a different reaction on a four-wheeled vehicle.
Get yourself some riding gear that both protects you and makes you feel great, saddle, up, and ride!