The roaring engines, the brutish lifestyle, the ratty and torn clothes, plus bandanas keeping all that greasy hair under wraps; these are all the things that pretty much go along with a biker lifestyle, or so they once were. And for the longest time, the world was reluctant to believe that anybody else but a man would want to endure it. But even in the earliest stages of biker culture, there were women waiting to stake their claim in a movement that would soon become a trend.
Motorcycle clubs were depicted expertly by Hunter Thompson after he followed and lived with the world's most famous club in order to write about them—a tumultuous experience all of its own. Well, even back then, there were women who rode atop motorcycles and did so to support the men they loved. But as time went on, these women who had decided to dedicate a large portion of their lives to riding and caring for motorcycles would soon do so for themselves—although, like the movement for women’s liberation, it was slow in coming.
Fast-forward a few decades and these days, people are much more likely to see a woman atop a powerful motorcycle, steering it through traffic and giving the rare gawker a helmeted salute. And the word that comes to mind is refreshing. The worlds of entertainment, fashion, and pop culture have swallowed up the image of women on motorbikes and haven’t looked back.
So, here’s to veritable “Girl Power” and a ton of pictures we’ve got of women on motorcycles in all their glory—exuding class, beauty, power, and intelligence—and every guy has got to see them.
25 THE OPEN ROAD
The call of the open road is very much like the call of the wild, the primordial call of our inner selves. Essentially, it's that knack we all have deep inside that causes us to wonder what the open road holds, what that path less traveled has for us. And it's on that road that we seek answers, peace of mind, or whatever our ailing souls need. The biker culture was born of this aspect and throughout the ages, many answered that call and started epic adventures in search of dreams and adventures greater than they ever could have imagined, sometimes finding and realizing them in the process.
24 BOLD STATEMENTS
Let's slow down for a second here and think about what statement a woman on a bike sends. In many ways, it's more impressive to see a woman on a bike rather than a man, and we ask the question, why? Well, there are many that would argue that women had a lot more of a road to travel—in history, especially. Just take a look back down the annals of time. They have definitely had a harder time striving for equality. Many of the youngsters of this era don't remember that, but the trendsetters and women who first fought for their liberation and voices started something and when we see a tough woman on a bike, glowering at the camera, it's this we are reminded of.
23 WE KNOW YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE BIKE
A beautiful bike, isn't it? We'd most definitely agree. We've shared and posted some of the most incredible images featuring great motorcycles such as this one, and of course, we are all doing a decent job of avoiding the elephant in the room. I'm proud of you all. Well, we might as well call some attention to the gorgeous dame staring off into the distance, and why not? Since the dawn of modeling, photographers have paired great and epic machines with women equally great and epic—and that's because it works. The images always sell. You can't fix what ain't broke, right?
22 WHAT ARE THEY SELLING US?
An interesting point to bring up, though, is that although the modeling spreads we see in magazines are quite effective, we are often wondering what exactly the ads we see are selling. In fact, it happens even when we see the many commercials and advertisements we see every day. You see a woman on a great bike, a beautiful woman, she's riding through the downtown streets of some city, the lights and camera work are appropriately doing their job, calling your eye to the woman and the bike. Soon after the commercial has aired, you run to the fridge for a cold pop and you find yourself asking, "Just what was that commercial promoting?"
21 THE EVOLUTION OF THE BIKER GIRL
There was a time when biker girls were, in fact, a lot tougher and dare I say it, grimier looking. They were very much like their male counterparts, wearing torn and faded clothes, greasy hair hanging down or tied up, with oil-greased bandannas everywhere. But with the fast moving pace of society, these biker girls changed—their styles and their personas—as the years went by. As you look at these photos, take the time to notice the transition, as it's quite interesting to see. And if you look close enough, you should be able to see how society changed along with the styles and frames of mind. It's a study in history and the transition of time, if you will.
20 SHE HAD THAT QUALITY, THAT "JE NE SAIS QUOI"
You're at the supermarket. You're a single dude, a nice enough guy. All you needed was a gallon of milk to go along with your coffee and Lucky Charms. You walk in and then suddenly, you spot her. Your attention was grabbed and at first, you can't say why. Well, you smile to yourself and walk to the checkout, unable to approach her, as you've never been that great at small talk. Later, you see her outside walking towards her car or what you think will be her car but as you pop the trunk to your Hyundai, you see the girl put her bag of groceries in the basket attached to a wicked-looking Harley! You just knew it; there was something about that girl.
19 THAT FAR-OFF LOOK
We've all been there; that moment when the open road seems like a better idea than the lives we're leading. That moment when we say to ourselves, "I wonder what's waiting for me out there." And we're sure that when we feel that way, we get that far-off look in our eyes, as well, and despite the fact that this particular biker has shades on, that look is unmistakable. We can see it and feel it in her body language, the way she's holding herself, the tilt of her head and body. And speaking of the image, we look down at the impeccably classic Indian she stands over and know she can make it as far as she dreams on a machine like that.
18 THE PHOTOGRAPHY
A great photographer is always looking for that perfect image. And since the dawn of photography, photographers have all understood that the subject of their photo is often the focal point and where the viewer's eye will be drawn once it's printed or shown to the world. And whether a gorgeous landscape, a gorgeous machine like a car or bike, or a beautiful person, the more beautiful the subject, the better the photo will be received by the viewers. Call it psychology, call it know-how, call it whatever you want; at the end of the day, it's just plain smart. A picture's worth a thousand words, as they say.
17 SPORT BIKES VS CRUISERS
Ah, the age-old debate. Really, this argument has been going on since the dawn of the motorcycle or rather, the dawn of a difference in the field. The minute you give people a choice, rest assured that an argument will arise. But this is an argument that not only involves motorbikes but cars, as well. Luxury cars or trucks? Sports car or muscle car? All these arguments are valid and they provide the world with that wonderful thing we call diversity. And as we've said before when it comes to such arguments, to each his own. All bikes have positive points, just like they all have flaws.
16 ANOTHER NOTE ON THAT OPEN ROAD
It was Jack Kerouac who first properly conveyed the feelings of wanderlust onto the literary page in what is considered to be his magnum opus, On The Road. And although he didn't ride a bike in that book, opting to travel by way of bus, car, and truck, the sentiment was the same. In that fictional account based on real-life events, the characters of Sal and Dean travel extensively and for the period of seven long years, experience adventure and wonder. Well, Jack actually did spend seven years on the road and when he was all traveled out, he sat down to write about his adventures (or misadventures) and it only took him three weeks to do it.
15 SOME GREAT FINDS
When you're out there on the road, you pick up what you can carry—and this time we don't mean in terms of experience, but rather the items you find along the way. Whether it be a cool and interesting knick-knack you found in some obscure shop in Louisiana or San Jose, imagine pulling over at a gas station, with that all too familiar rumbling down in your stomach. You see the pumps and you see a small restaurant at the back. Looks more like a shack, and atop the door a sign: Dave's Place. Well, expecting nothing better than slop, you order off the menu and as you eat you realize that you've found a diamond in the rough.
14 A MOST TRUSTED STEED
Well, there's not much we can say about a motorcycle company that started a whopping 116 years ago. That takes the inception of this company all the way back to 1903. Really, the impressiveness of this company speaks for itself. Its ability to endure not only the Great Depression, but all the other difficult times the world has thrown its way. The company produces some of the most trusted machines the world over and the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle is the choice of most bikers everywhere and we more than understand that choice.
13 THE QUEEN OF 1990s TV
She was the crush of the generation; even yours truly rarely missed an episode of Baywatch or Home Improvement when she was on those shows. But probably, what we all were waiting for back then was for her to have her own feature film and, eventually, we were given Barb Wire. And much like the collective call of wild birds in the jungle, when the film was released, you could hear the cries of joy from all young men in the 13-to-35 demographic cheering Pamela Anderson on as she took on a bunch of bad guys up to no good. The film was a box office flop but in our hearts, we will never forget the image of Pamela atop that great Triumph.
12 OTHER GREAT MOTORCYCLE MANUFACTURERS
Earlier, we mentioned the Harley-Davidson brand. And although we believe that they are definitely one of the greatest manufacturers of motorcycles in existence, they surely aren't the only big dogs in the yard. There are a few that stand out as exquisite contributors to the great cause of building motorcycles. A few highlights include Triumph, BMW, Honda and, of course, Kawasaki. Dare I also mention Orange County Choppers? I guess I should, as they have a great history of production with some pretty stellar bikes. Just take a look at their portfolio.
11 SELLING POINTS
As we've said before, a beautiful person can go a long way when selling a product; sometimes, a very long way, depending on the beauty of the individual and the product being endorsed. But we wonder if vehicles depicted in certain ads go just as far? As enthusiasts of the motor vehicle and the motorcycle, we believe that, yes, a great vehicle, especially a great-looking vehicle, can sell a product just as well, if not better, than a great-looking person. But then again, we may be biased, as we spend a lot of time looking at pictures of spectacular machines.
10 STAR POWER
To take the initial prospect of a great looking person on a great looking bike even further, perhaps one would do well to add a successful and beautiful celebrity to the mix. We'd imagine that that would be a recipe for a rather successful ad campaign, just like the ad pictured above. In this ad for Coco Chanel, actress and worldwide sensation Keira Knightley proves just what can happen when you combine the aforementioned particulars to an ad campaign. We're sure Chanel turned a few heads and got some great attention for their company with this one.
9 WHAT IS IT ABOUT A BEAUTIFUL BIKE, ANYWAYS?
What is it about a great-looking bike that makes us pause? What is it about the image of a great machine like the ones pictured in this article that make us stop breathing or even stop whatever it is we're doing? Is it the curves, the shape, or the power—the power beneath the surface, tucked away in that engine? We figure that the answers to these questions are also dependent on the individual we'd ask, with the answer different every time. At the end of the day, whether it's a photo, a video, or the real life thing, a great bike is enough to make our collective jaws drop.
8 THE MENACING BIKER GIRL
Sometimes, with subcultures, there come along pretenses that cannot be avoided. For the longest time, subcultures came with rules and regulations—and said rules and regulations came with a price. For the biker subculture of the late-50s and early-60s, if a woman wanted to join in, then they needed to fit the mold. And as we've seen in countless photographs from the era, one word comes to mind quite clearly: toughness. A definitively "hard" quality can be felt when looking at these photos. And we can't help but wonder where these women came from or rather where they started out in life.
7 THE BIKER LOOK IN ENTERTAINMENT
Posing as a biker in advertisements isn't the only place where the "look" is used to convey a certain feeling. The entertainment industry has used "the biker" as a character time and time again and although they aren't always trying to sell a particular product, they are, in fact, trying to sell something else. In such cases, they are selling attitude and delivering a message to the viewer. Through action and detail, films tell you that a character is tough because he rides a motorcycle or acts a certain way. In music videos, the director is telling you that the singers are tough because they sing their songs while sitting on a motorbike.
6 BIKE CULTURE THE WORLD OVER
Many people from all walks of life consider themselves bikers and whether they be novices, experts, or intermediate riders, riders they are. All over the world, people have purchased motorcycles and have set off on that great adventure. And why not? There are many that believe that life has gotten too fast and taking a great long road trip on a bike is like no other experience. And at the same time, it's the best way to slow things down, no matter how fast you go. So, we guess it can be said that a love of motorcycles and road trips is rather catching; like a good fever, everybody wants to experience it.
5 A CARTOON CHARACTER'S MIGHTY INFLUENCE
Created and first released to audiences in 1930, the character of Betty Boop was a success almost from the get-go. But probably what would have surprised its creators even more would have been the fact that she not only stood the test of time but rather flourished even more, becoming one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time. And what's more, she and her style (along with that aloof facial expression) have actually become one of the most successful and catching fashion. Images like the one above are quite common and they call to mind the styling of the adorable character from way back in time.
4 BACK OFF!
Now, we're not here to tell you what to do but we'd definitely like to go ahead and offer a wee bit of advice if you don't mind. Should you be out there and happen across a biker girl and ask her for a cup of latte at the corner coffee shop, we say, sure go ahead, be respectful and give it your best. But some ladies may scream, "Back off!" with their tough attitudes. After all, think of her. Where is she coming from? What's she trying to get away from? Maybe she just wants to be out there, feeling the wind on her face and the open road ahead of her with no distractions.
3 THE BELLES
"I'm a rolling thunder, a pouring rain / I'm comin' on like a hurricane / My lightning's flashing across the sky / You're only young but you're gonna ...." We're sure you remember the rest of the lyrics from the great AC/DC song. Who knows what Brian Johnson, Angus, and Malcolm Young had in mind when they wrote those inspired lyrics, but we can't help but think of some motorcycle women from back in the day. Man, those women had to be tough. Imagine everything they had to put up with out there. The late, great Hunter Thompson sure wrote of a few experiences but maybe, at the end of the day, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
2 REMEMBER, MODEL AND BIKE ARE MORE THAN JUST OBJECTS
We'd like to take the time here, as we wrap this journey up a bit, to remind you that the women and men that ride bikes are more than just the symbols of what a biker represents; whether it be for fame, beauty, to sell products, or whatever reason, these are people who have set out on their own life goals. And the bikes, well, the bikes are much more than objects that help us get from one place to another. At the end of the day, a motorcycle is an experience like no other you will ever live through and if you haven't gotten out there yet in your lives, we urge you to do so. You won't regret it.
1 LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST
Ask yourself one final but very important question: could we really have done an article like this without including one of the classiest and most powerful women to ever sit atop a bike for TV? We didn't think so. Katey Sagal, the woman who once went on a date with the legend Bob Dylan—before she was famous I might add—has been acting for quite a while, with many accomplishments under her belt. Many remember her from her role on Married With Children but perhaps she will stay nestled in our minds as Gemma Teller Morrow, the character she played on the hit FX show, Sons of Anarchy.
Sources: The New Cafe Racer Society, Wikipedia, and IMDb.