Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Joanne


My next guest didn’t intend on becoming a motorcyclist and now, well you’ll have to read all about Joanne, a.k.a. GearChic, from San Francisco, CA. If you want to learn about protective motorcycle gear – reviews, shopping tips and more definitely check out her web site GearChic! Follow her on Twitter @GearChic too!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? 8 years. Technically 9, first year was on a scooter.

How did you learn to ride? I started on the scooter and my husband basically showed me how to ride it in a parking lot. I rode that for 3500 miles or so before I upgraded and took an MSF class to get my license once we bought him one.

What was your first motorcycle? Heh, it was his first motorcycle, a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250. I couldn’t keep my hands off it. He had to buy another one for himself.

How many have you owned? I’m on my 3rd motorbike.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I really didn’t want to. I had every intention of riding the scooter and then my husband would ride the 250. I really didn’t intend to take it, it just happened one day and I simply fell in love with riding it. After that, I didn’t touch the scooter and was forced to find it a good home. It sort of surprised me and my husband how much I loved riding motorcycles. It still does today!

Tell us about your riding. Commuter, pleasure, vacation, racing, or ? Everything but racing at this point. I commute a little bit around San Francisco and then do as many weekend rides (100-200 miles) as I can to my favorite twisties along the coast.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? To take control of your motorcycle career. And never take people’s word for it, even mine! Do your own homework and read up on the bikes, gear, everything so that you’re in control of what you’re learning, what you’re seeing and experiencing. Everyone is going to tell you what they think, but only you can make up your mind.

Don’t learn to ride because someone else wants you to. Do it because YOU want to! There are also NO such things as women’s motorcycles. We can ride anything/everything we want to. The only thing you need specifically for women while riding is gear (except helmets, which are also universal), so don’t forget to gear up, it can really make a direct impact on your ability to ride.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? So far, just San Francisco to Los Angeles [approximately 400 miles one way], about 6 times in my riding career. But someday I’d like to do a cross country trip with my husband on our bikes.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? Off or online? The Motor Maids, and several MeetUp.com groups including Bay Area Moto Girls, which I cofounded.

Do you have a favorite riding story?  Well I guess the closest story I would have would be a little more detail as to how I got into riding.  As I mentioned earlier, I started on a scooter (’03 Aprilia Scarabeo 50), which was my husband’s idea after we rented one on our honeymoon. He fell in love with the idea, I was fine with it and so we bought one that he researched and picked out. Because, well, it was technically for him.

But one day he went on a 2 week business trip. Up to that point, I had ridden it a little bit in a parking lot but that was it. I just felt intimidated by it and I really didn’t want to ride it myself. I would ride on the back when we went to movies, or dinner or whatever. But when he left on that trip, I decided it was time to go riding with a friend who also had a scooter. My confidence skyrocketed and I basically started riding it to work every day to the point where my husband had to ask me if he could ride it since I was riding it so much.

Unfortunately for my husband, the same thing happened when we then bought him the Ninja 250. I had every intention of riding the scooter while he rode the bike. But … after my first ride around the parking lot I was hooked! I took the class, got my license and started riding that every day to work instead of the scooter. And then it all went downhill from there, he had to buy another bike, I made my way through another Sportbike (’06 Kawasaki z750s) and then the one I’m on now (03 Suzuki sv650s), and I love it!

What do you do when you’re not riding? I freelance doing a mix of social media marketing, research, and office work to pay the bills so I can run my website, travel and give gear seminars. I also just started getting into pistol shooting, which has so much in common with motorcycling. Guess that’s why I’m really enjoying that too!

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4 responses to “Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Joanne

  1. Good advice from Joanne. We’re all different and should each pursue our own special dreams.

  2. Well said Joanne. I enjoyed your story.

    Funny how often our husband’s are instigators (I mean motivators). My love of motorcycles comes from my Husband and he is my favorite person to ride with.

  3. Great to hear you started on a scooter, seems to be a common beginning point for a lot of women. I am so glad you talk about gear, your blog has been invaluable when looking for gear and suggestions. My hubs taught me how to ride a scoot and my story mirrors yours in so many respects. I started to eyeball the hubs 750 Magna and he was getting a little antsy about that so he bought me a 450 and now I have moved onto a 500.

  4. Hi, Joanne! We met January 2011 at the DC Int’l Motorcycle Show. No, I don’t expect you to remember me, I’m just sayin’! Youare the reason I bought my day glo Olympia jacket, which I love, so thanks. But now I need a great hot weather jacket. Guess I’d better visit your site and start reading!

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