Tag Archives: Iowa

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Janet

This whole endeavor of pulling together profiles from women riders has been awesome, yet humbling. So many ladies have responded sharing their story, wisdom, and glimpses into their lives. Wow. I never imagined how wonderful this whole thing would be!

Our next woman motorcyclist is Janet, from Des Moines, Iowa. She has a fabulous blog Biker Chick News, a great page on Facebook,  and can be found on Twitter @BikerChickNews!


How long have you been riding a motorcycle? This is my 10th year riding solo. Prior to that, I had ridden a few times pillion, and as a teen I rode a bright green Honda Express moped.

How did you learn to ride? My (very patient) husband taught me the basics; the state license test taught me a little; reading (mostly online) and riding have taught me a lot.

What was your first motorcycle? My first bike was a 1982 Yamaha Exciter – it was a dorky commuter bike with a little plastic trunk on the back and a side mirror off my bicycle, but it was a great first bike.

How many motorcycles have you owned? Five – the Exciter, a Honda 750 Shadow Spirit, an HD 883 Sportster, an HD 1200 Sportster, and my 2010 HD Super Glide Custom.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I wanted to learn to ride because, at the time, I was noticing how few women rode their own but those that did – looked completely cool and in control.

Tell us about your riding. I love to take trips around the state, find great local diners, enjoy historic or interesting sites, and discover beautiful roads. Iowa is full of all three! I love rounding up a few friends and taking off for the day to a new destination somewhere in Iowa!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Don’t let well-intentioned but horrified relatives rain on your parade – if you want to ride, do it … own it! Also, remember that even the best advice – “ride your own ride,” “don’t ride outside your comfort zone” – doesn’t apply in every single situation for every single rider. Have faith in yourself to apply what you’ve learned to a new situation.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? I’ve ridden to Sturgis, and around the Black Hills region, twice – about 2,200 miles total each trip. For whatever reason, I don’t really have the “bug” to take a cross-country or other epic solo trip. At least not right now.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups?  I’m a current member and past officer in our local HOG (Harley Owners Group) chapter. I also have several close friends that I enjoy riding with – I guess we make our own group!

Do you have a favorite riding story? It’s impossible to pick one as a favorite! I maintain a blog about all my riding adventures at Biker Chick News, and the category called “Iowa Rides” contains a lot of my favorite stories. So do the two Sturgis categories. And the category called “Estrogen Ride 2007.” See? I really can’t pick just one.

What do you do when you’re not riding? Unfortunately, I have to work for a living – but I love my job in the senior living industry so I guess that makes it okay. I love family activities, karaoke, gardening, genealogy, decorating and crafts, blogging, and connecting online through social media.

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Shirley

I sent out several emails Sunday night requesting help and the response is phenomenal! I’m so excited to be able to profile other female motorcyclists! My dilemma – who should start these posts rolling?! I decided to go in order of submission. Seemed fair enough!

First up, I’d like y’all to meet Shirley from Iowa. She replied to my email lighting fast!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle?  8 or 9 years (rode when I was a teen but got out from behind hubby and on my own about 8 yrs. ago)

How did you learn to ride?  Dad rode so I just started.  When as an “older” adult I decided to ride again my husband re-trained me.

What was your first motorcycle?  250 Virago

How many have you owned? three  – the Virago then a 650 V-Star and now my Harley Fatboy (1450 cc)

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle?  My family, including my husband, has always ridden so it was natural.  But what I love is the freedom whether riding alone or with a group.

Tell us about your riding. Pleasure for sure.  I have ridden to work but not on a regular basis.  Have also ridden while on vacation (we take them toTexas with us for the winter) and as a vacation – rode to Sturgis

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle?  Start with a size you are comfortable with – you can always move up as I have.  Don’t be pressured into anything.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle?  To Sturgis from Carlisle, Iowa (about 1200 miles round trip I think).

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I am a member of both the National and local Harley Owners Group (HOG).  Last Fall my friend Janet Green (BikerChick) and myself along with two others started a local chapter of the Chrome Divas, a woman’s national motorcycle organization.

Do you have a favorite riding story?  It is really silly but probably the day when everyone was busy and it occurred to me that I didn’t need others to ride with!  Although it was only about a 40 or 50 mile round trip it was an amazing feeling to get my Harley out of the garage and just ride.  Besides I love the looks women still get on a bike. [Me too!]  Should probably say the ride to Sturgis since it was long and due to a very high cross-wind it was challenging  (and on my bucket list and it was also amazing) but as a woman rider who had ridden several years it just never occurred to me to get on and ride by myself.  Now I do!

What do you do when you’re not riding?  I retired just over a year ago – spent the last 9 years as the Executive Director of a library foundation.

Shirley, female motorcyclist