My wife has been riding motorcycles for about fifteen years now. In February of this year we traveled to Missouri to pick up a bike she bought on ebay. It was a great deal and well worth the trip. This was the fifth bike she has purchased since she started riding. She bought a BMW F800 ST. She had taken one for a test-ride last summer and really liked the bike. Like most motorcyclists, if you really like a certain bike you have to get one.
She rides about 6,000 miles per year. I ride 7-8,000 but that’s because I am more likely to ride to work than she is. She is a far safer rider than I am and definitely more conscientious. Whether she’s leading or following when we ride together, it makes no difference to me. We’ve been on many short trips as well as long trips and she tends to be more positive when challenges come up. My point to all this is, I enjoy riding with my wife just as much, if not more, as I do my male friends. In fact, gender has never been an issue with who I ride with.
What got me started down this road is how my wife gets treated as a motorcyclist. Based solely on her gender, she has been called “honey” and “sweetie” by service writers and mechanics. I’ve received calls from shops regarding service she is having done on her bike. My response is always “you need to call her”.This has happened because they simply didn’t have her phone number but it has also happened because they wanted to talk to me about her bike.
One of the many things I love about my wife is her independence. She does not need me to take care of her. This is a good thing because I have enough trouble taking care of myself. With my selfishness and self-centeredness, I can barely handle the responsibilities I have. Not to mention, when it comes to her bike, she knows what she wants and what she likes. She doesn’t need me telling her what would be best.
I do need to be clear here. My wife is not some stubborn know-it-all. She just wants to be treated like anybody else dropping off a bike or car for service. It’s ridiculous that her gender would have anything to do with the level of customer service she receives.
Some other things along these lines that baffle me are the women specific stuff that goes on in motorcycling. The “Ladies Bike Night” or “Womens” rides.. Why are these things necessary? I understand wanting to meet like minded riders but what does being a woman have to do with it? I’ve ridden with a lot of women over the years and I can’t imagine any of them showing up at these events just because they’re women. I realize that I may be completely off base with this little rant and that there is a chance I have no idea what I’m talking about, so if there are women out there who can explain it to me, please do.
Here are some things I do know. When I get my bike or truck serviced I want clear, concise, information regarding what’s being done. I want to be treated like everybody else who comes through the door. It’s taken me some time to find places I can trust. I don’t have a problem with that. What’s too bad is when my wife gets treated differently than I do and these small busiinesses lose her as a customer.
While gender has absolutely nothing to do with my passion for motorcycles, it seems to for others. Unfortunately there isn’t much I can do to change that. Maybe next time I get some work done on a bike I can respond to the service writer guy, “thanks sweetie”.