It’s amazing to see how the number of female riders continues to rise globally. In fact in the US, 1 in 4 motorcycle riders are women. And it’s just a sample of the growing number around the world.
The widespread culture of riding motorcycles among women today, however, wouldn’t be on the same level without the contribution of ladies who shattered misconceptions about women and motorcycling. So let’s get to know these individuals who have truly inspired even the most experienced riders.
Van Buren Sisters
Adeline and Augusta Van Buren could have lived a normal life just like every other women – or perhaps even more seeing as they’re direct descendants of the 8th POTUS Martin Van Buren – but they were determined to prove that women can ride and do other things as good as men. They were the first women in the US to ride solo on motorcycles in a journey which Mental Floss detailed as nothing short of an adventure. From Brooklyn to San Francisco, the sisters faced undeveloped roads with non-accurate maps and have come across all sorts of other challenges including arrests given that it was illegal for women to wear pants during the time.
1973 was the year when the first woman rode solo on a motorcycle across the world. That honor belongs to Anne-France Dautheville, the French rider who embarked on an adventure spanning more than 12,000 miles.
Today, Dautheville is not only a respected motorcyclist, she’s also an icon in the fashion world and her adventures were among the inspirations for Clare Waight Keller for her collection in the fashion label Chloé. The New York Times stated that the designer viewed Dautheville as the embodiment of freedom and none of that was more evident than when the latter was riding her motorcycle.
Benka Pulko had been spending her adult life not knowing how to ride a motorcycle, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream to traverse every continent on two-wheels. At the age of 30, the Slovenian took off after just five months of training to ride for more than five years across the world. A post from the Daily Journal specified that the female rider has now been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for accomplishing the longest solo motorcycle ride by a woman. She even reached Antarctica and became the first motorcyclist on the South Pole – a feat that no man has ever accomplished!
Although she’s yet to gain a grand achievement in terms of motorcycling as opposed to the other riders in the list, Angelina Jolie used the film medium to redefine the word ‘heroine’ and she’s now considered as one of the most badass women on the planet. For this reason, she has a wider reach and has the potential to inspire much more young girls or women of various ages.
Many of her movie sequences involved riding a motorcycle, most notably when she played the role of the iconic female character Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies. The franchise is now considered a cult classic due to the excellent portrayal of the actress, so much so that the series has since spawned many other spin-off creations. A licensed Tomb Raider game on the extremely popular slots platform Pocketfruity was even released making use of the gear that the character brings on her adventures as design elements including her riding equipment.
Though it’s not unusual in movies to have a stunt double in dangerous motorbike scenes, what many people don’t know about Jolie is that her riding skills are not just for show – she loves bikes in real life. A blog post from Frisky even mentioned that the Hollywood star got a brand new motorcycle as a gift for her 35th birthday from her then husband Brad Pitt. She’s independent, cool, kind-hearted, and loves to ride – a winning combination.