MILWAUKEE, March 8, 2011 -- This week thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are hitting the open road in search of one destination – Daytona Beach, Fla. Every year since 1937, the town plays host for more than 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts during Daytona Bike Week, which serves as the unofficial start of the motorcycle riding season.
While Americans will see thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from all walks of life behind the handlebars this week on our highways and byways – they might be surprised to see a growing number of women in the saddle of their own motorcycles. Women now account for 23 percent of all U.S. motorcyclists, as well as about 12 percent of new motorcycle sales for Harley-Davidson.
To celebrate women who have already accepted the calling of the open road, as well as to inspire even more women to participate in the sport, Harley-Davidson and its nationwide dealership network are staging a series of initiatives over the next several months including Garage Parties, Women Riders Month in May and the first-ever Biker Boot Camp for Women.
"We're very proud of the efforts we've made as a company to pave the way for even more women to turn their dreams of riding into reality," said Karen Davidson, great-granddaughter of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson and Creative Director, General Merchandise, Harley-Davidson. "But we know there are still thousands of women out there who dream of riding their own motorcycles, which is why we're committed to inspiring them to take the first step, as well as providing them with the necessary tools and support they need."
Women Take Daytona
Daytona Bike Week activities take place through March 12. Activities for women include demo rides and interactive motorcycle displays at Daytona International Speedway, as well as a women's area featuring bike lift seminars and Jumpstart at Riverfront Park on Beach Street.
Women riders also hit the road for a good cause this morning (Tuesday, March 8), during the Women's MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) Ride. Karen Davidson led more than hundred female riders from Riverfront Park to Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Harley-Davidson to support those affected by neuromuscular disease.
Harley-Davidson Opens the Garage for Women
Since 2005, local Harley-Davidson® dealerships have hosted women only Garage Parties, which provide a fun and engaging environment for women to learn about the sport of motorcycling. These free events are designed to be both fun and educational, covering topics such as a review of the basic motorcycle controls, how to customize a motorcycle's style and ergonomics, and how to gear up for a ride.
Garage Party event attendees are organized into small groups, getting their first taste of the camaraderie that goes along with riding.
Groups will visit four informational stations, including:
• 'Motorcycle Orientation' is a basic introduction to the motorcycle controls, as well as all of the models in the Harley-Davidson family.
• 'MotorClothes Gear' to discover the important attributes needed in head-to-toe motorcycle gear, from helmets to protective leather to proper boots.
• 'Motorcycle Fit and Function' to learn how to customize a motorcycle to reflect a rider's personal style and ergonomic needs.
• 'Bike Lift' is a hands-on demonstration that proves picking up a bike – even a Harley-Davidson – isn't as hard as you might think.
Between stations, women get the chance to interact with each other, as well as hear from women who are already living their motorcycle dreams.
Celebrating Women Riders Month
This May marks the 3rd Annual Women Riders Month, which celebrates women who already ride, as well as inspires other women to grab life by the handlebars. Dealerships around the country will hold events throughout the month, including a series of organized women-only rides on Saturday, May 14.
During Women Riders Month, the Motor Company also plans to stage the first-ever Biker Boot Camp for Women at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. The special camp is designed to take women's dreams of riding to reality by immersing them in the culture of Harley-Davidson, participating in the Rider's Edge New Rider Training Course and celebrating with other new women riders.
Harley-Davidson has created a robust section of their Web site specifically for women riders (www.harley-davidson.com/womenriders). The site features information including stories from other women riders, as well as Harley-Davidson's Roadmap to Riding, which offers a series of milestones featuring the tips, advice and confidence women need to turn their riding dream into reality. The site also includes a calendar of women events scheduled throughout the country.
About Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's Web site at www.harley-davidson.com.