Posts Tagged ‘Women’

It’s about damn time

April 22, 2011

Harley-Davidson boasts the highest market share of women riders out of all the OEMs, according to Amanda Lee, the company’s PR manager in charge of Outreach audiences — women, young adults, African American, Hispanic and active military. This, of course, is no big surprise given Harley’s long history with women riding its motorcycles.

Of the 235,000 people trained through the company’s Rider’s Edge courses, 35 percent are women. Lee herself is a graduate of Rider’s Edge, as is Claudia Garber, Harley’s director of marketing and product planning.

The Motor Co. is reaching out to women riders with a host of events and marketing efforts. From the now-ubiquitous Garage Parties to this month’s Biker Bootcamp for Women (a full week in Milwaukee immersed in Harley culture), Harley-Davidson is taking an active and aggressive effort to connect with its female customers, existing and potential.

Harley’s idea is to seize upon the growing women rider demographic and help encourage, support and inform those who have taken or are taking the leap into what has traditionally been a male-dominated sport/pastime/industry.

“As more women get into the sport, it’s kind of a contagious thing,” Lee says. “As more women are riding and more women are seeing other women riding, more women are stepping up to the plate and saying, ‘I want to do that.’

“We’re simply throwing fuel on the fire, responding to a movement that’s happening in the industry,” she adds.

The “women riders movement” — not that it’s a formal title or anything — is a relatively new phenomenon. Yes, women have been riding motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft and snowmobiles forever, but not in any great number and not in a way that ever attracted much attention from the industry at large.

Even five years ago a female motorcyclist would have been hard-pressed to find riding gear that not only was cut to fit the female form, but was stylish to boot. Again, yes, there was riding apparel, but it wasn’t until Joe Rocket and Icon jumped into the mix that women’s gear looked like it had actually been designed by and for women.

These days, apparel manufacturers know they need a women’s line to even compete.

How about riding on the back? You’ve got to be kidding. Women are finally coming into their own in the powersports industry, and it’s about time. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But with more women moving into everything from dealership and OEM/aftermarket management to wins on the racetrack, it’s clear: This ain’t the same old boy’s club.

In honor of May’s Women Riders Month, Dealernews puts its focus on the women who help drive this industry, from the pioneers who pushed through gender barriers to those coming into a business that now welcomes them. Even our cover profile highlights Top 100 dealer Donna Coryell and her dealership, Deptford Honda Yamaha. Hers is an inspiring story.

Why is it important to recognize the women in our industry? Because it’s about damn time. Women are more than the “other half”; they bring new perspective and vitality to a business that — truth be told — could use some freshening up. The industry’s history has been drenched in testosterone, and it’s left things a bit, um, ripe.

Indeed, there are many, many women leading the charge at the dealership, in the media, in the aftermarket, at the OEM level and on the racecourse. We’re profiling just a few of them in this issue. Go to www.dealernews.com/women11 to see a running roster of notable femmes and their contribution to our industry. And if you’d like to nominate women for the list, drop us a line at editors@dealernews.com with their names and brief bios. We’d love to add them.

Dennis Johnson
Editor in Chief
dennis.johnson@dealernews.com

High Fashion Gear for Women Riders? You Betcha

October 23, 2009

In the world of riding gear, there are two notable shortcomings.

1. It’s only recently that women riders have been able to find protective riding gear that isn’t just a small version of something built for a man. Even so, there are a handful of apparel manufacturers doing anything that could be called fashionable. The cut and build might be made for a woman, but the aesthetic is still lagging a bit (in my What Not to Wear-influenced perspective).

2. Riding apparel designed to appeal to scooter riders. (Hurray to Corrazo and Armadillo for helping to fill this niche!)

Apparently Arlene Battishill discovered this too when she started riding a scooter during the 2008 run up

photo from ScooterGirls Inc.
photo from ScooterGirls Inc.

 in gas prices (and subsequent explosion in scooter sales). Like any good entrepreneur, Battishill got to thinking about how to solve this problem. What she’s come up with is ScooterGirls Inc. and its lineup of highly-styled riding apparel for women scooterists and motorcycle riders. (more…)

H-D Awards National Film Contest Winner

December 16, 2008

Harley-Davidson hosted a party last Thursday, Dec. 11, for the winner of Bikes, Camera, Action!, a contest the OEM says was designed to challenge female filmmakers from around the country to inspire other women to get behind the handlebars of their very own motorcycles. More than 65 party guests, including the contest winner, her film crew, members of the media, local Harley enthusiasts and film school professors, were among the first to view the winning film.

Dozens of female filmmakers answered the call to participate in Bikes, Camera, Action! and create original two-minute short films that capture the freedom and control that riding offers women.

Victoria Sampson of Shadow Hills, Calif. was selected as the Grand Prize Winner and honored at the premiere party for her film, Her Need for Speed. H-D says Sampson’s film stood out for the quality and creativity of the content. Aside from unveiling her film at the premiere party, Sampson received $5,000, a new High Definition video camera, a Harley-Davidson leather jacket, and a gift certificate for a 5-day bike rental through Harley-Davidson’s Authorized Rentals.

Melissa Kosar of Orange, Calif. and Marta Masferrer of New York City were selected as First Prize Winners, receiving $1,500 to use toward their next project, a Harley-Davidson leather jacket and the opportunity to learn to ride through Rider’s Edge, Harley-Davidson’s rider training program. Kosar’s film, entitled Girls Night Out and Masferrer’s film, Here Comes the Bride can be viewed, along with the Grand Prize winning film here.